Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Thanks for joining me for this epic journey that is The Princess’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! ❤️
What a solid, solid opening episode! 🤩 This bodes very well for the rest of our watch, because if memory serves, Show stays consistently solid all the way through to the end.
Full disclosure before we start: I watched this show when it first aired in 2011, and loved it a great deal then, but it’s now been 11 years since, and just about everything’s hazy in my brain and I can’t remember details.
Which means that it will feel very much like a new show, to my eyes. Or, as new as a rewatch can feel, eh? 😁
What I like about this premiere, is that it’s so efficient and engaging, all at the same time.
We get an immediate sense of the tragedy that is to come, with the flash-forward to when Prince Su Yang sends men to kill Kim Jong Seo, by using Kim Seung Yu.
We don’t get to see what happens afterwards, but this already gives us a very particular lens when viewing the events of the episode.
When we see scenes of Prince Su Yang trying to persuade Kim Jong Seo to agree to a marriage between Seung Yu and Se Ryeong, we already know that Prince Su Yang ends up killing Kim Jong Seo.
We don’t know yet, if Prince Su Yang is actually being sincere in his words to Kim Jong Seo, because there’s still the possibility that he could be earnest in this moment, but things changed along the way, and that’s how he ended up plotting to take Kim Jong Seo’s life.
And of course, the other possibility (probability?) is that he’s being two-faced with Kim Jong Seo, even now.
We’ll have to see how that unfolds, as we go.
Another thing that I like about this show so far, is that the politics, while present, doesn’t feel overbearing.
What I mean is, the focus is clearly on the relationship side of things, with the politics being present to provide context to our central love story.
This makes me interested in the politics, because all of it ultimately impacts the central loveline.
On that note, I also credit Show with making the politics pretty accessible and digestible, even at this early stage.
I feel like I know the various important bits of information, in order to appreciate the impact of various events, and at the same time, I still feel free to focus my attention on the central loveline. Very nice.
So far, I really like Se Ryeong.
She’s wide-eyed and curious, and has a sense of adventure about her, with her deep desire to ride a horse.
At the same time, we get a sense of her independent, slightly rebellious streak, where she says that the more she’s told that she shouldn’t ride a horse, the more she wants to do so.
Beyond that, I also like the sweet core nature that we get glimpses of, like how she’s gentle with the horse, and has such a sense of wonder about her, as she touches the horse.
Also, beyond her fixation with horses, she does appear to be genial and warm, like in how she is on close terms with Princess Gyeong Hye, even though Se Ryeong’s younger sister doesn’t care for the Princess’s airs.
So far, I find myself enjoying the friendship between cousins Se Ryeong and Gyeong Hye.
Even though Gyeong Hye’s a Princess and Se Ryeong should therefore observe palace decorum around her, I do get the sense that they like each other, and get along well.
The way they hatch that little plan (which soon gets out of hand), with Se Ryeong taking Gyeong Hye’s place during her lessons, also feels like an exciting secret between girlfriends.
The moment Se Ryeong shyly tells Gyeong Hye her real reason for suggesting that she attend the lesson in Gyeong Hye’s place – because she is likely to be betrothed to Kim Seung Yu and is curious to see what he’s like – Gyeong Hye’s all in on the plan and even directs the transformation, by choosing Se Ryeong’s princess outfit for her.
That feels extremely supportive to my eyes, and I find myself really warming to this friendship, even as I sigh with bated breath, because it’s so clear that this ruse is going to go wrong. 😅
As for Kim Seung Yu, I have mixed feelings about him so far.
On the downside, I don’t have an extremely good impression of him, on introduction, because it appears that he makes it a habit to drink all night at gibangs with his friends.
And then, not only does he show up for his first day at work, at the palace, no less, with lipstick marks on his face and neck, he is rather rude to the person behind the screen, whom he believes to be the Princess.
I mean, it seems extremely irresponsible to drink all night, the day before you start your new job at the palace, no?
And, even if the Princess has a reputation for making things difficult for her tutors, I thought his words to her, and his behavior, in raising the screen, are highly inappropriate.
Additionally, the way he goes back the next day, and lays down the law with “the Princess” also feels rather petty and manipulative, to my eyes.
I believe he’s trying to win the alpha position early, with his charge, but it still feels rather rude and inappropriate, I feel.
..Which is why, when Se Ryeong pushes back, and gives as good as she gets, without actually losing her cool, I find stars growing in my eyes, for her. 🤩
All that said with regards to Seung Yu, I don’t find him completely unlikable.
For example, I like that he’s loyal to his friend Jeong Jong, and doesn’t hesitate to take on responsibility for Jeong Jong’s debt with the loansharks, in order to save him.
That, and the way he doesn’t hesitate to go after Se Ryeong, when she sees that she’s having trouble with her horse, even though he believes that she’d made him look bad in front of the King on purpose, makes me believe that he ultimately has a good heart.
And, with him swooping in to save Se Ryeong like this, the connection between them can only grow stronger, yes?
At the same time, the fact that the King now announces that he would like Princess Gyeong Hye to marry Kim Seung Yu, definitely throws a very big, very fat, and very valid spanner into the works.
Color me suitably intrigued and invested. I’m eager to see what happens next.
Very nicely done, Show! 👏🏻
Things get really complicated really fast, this episode, and I realize that this is one gigantic, mammoth-scale misunderstanding, or, a circus of multiple misunderstandings, whichever you prefer, where everyone has a different understanding of the situation.
Credit to Show, because that’s a lot of misconception to juggle, and yet, Show does such a solid job of it, that everyone’s various actions make sense, given their different perception of the situation.
In the first place, the reason Se Ryeong shows an interest in Seung Yu, and allows herself to be closer to Seung Yu than she would the average man, is because she has reason to believe that Seung Yu is very likely going to be her husband.
And, the reason Seung Yu feels obligated to protect her, is because he believes that she is the Princess.
Of course, that already creates the situation at the top of the episode, where he rescues her from her runaway horse, and then takes pains to escort her back into the town.
Over the course of their interactions, I feel like Show does a very nice job of teasing out a growing connection between the two, even though neither of them actually intends for things to develop this way.
For example, even though Se Ryeong’s rather disdainful of the fact that all the gisaengs at the gibang appear to be oh-too-familiar with Seung Yu – which is evidence that he’s very much a regular there – she can’t help but also soften towards him, like when she realizes that he’s applied medicinal herbs to her swollen ankle.
On Seung Yu’s side of things, I completely understand that his main reason for getting involved in Se Ryeong’s matters at all, is because he believes her to be the Princess.
And, it’s not like he’s planning to romance her in any way whatsoever; it’s just that Se Ryeong is just that guilelessly charming, in her own way.
The moment he leaks a smile when he spies her asleep behind that screen at the gibang, I knew he was a goner.
If he can’t help but smile at her with such amusement and affection, in spite of himself, that’s a Very Strong Sign that feeeelings are growing, whether he’s cognizant of them or not, right?
And then, later, when his father informs him that he is going to be married to the Princess, he also leaks a smile, while mulling over it.
This tells me that while he hadn’t been thinking about getting romantically involved with “the Princess,” he’s not at all opposed to the idea of marrying her – because he’s accumulated that much attraction to her.
All of this is unfolding like true romance clockwork, but there’s a layer of tension for us as viewers, because we can also see what’s going on in the court, while Se Ryeong and Seung Yu have their unexpected rendezvous.
The King decides that it’s best to have Seung Yu as his son-in-law, because he feels that joining hands with Seung Yu’s father Kim Jong Seo, would help to keep his children – particularly his son – safe.
But that changes the entire ballgame, doesn’t it?
Credit to Princess Gyeong Hye, who tries to dissuade her father from the match, partly because she knows that Se Ryeong anticipates that Seung Yu will be her husband.
But with the King telling her that this is the best way to protect her brother, that basically changes everything for Princess Gyeong Hye, doesn’ it?
Now, instead of seeing Seung Yu as a potential cousin-in-law, she needs to look upon him as her future husband – and of course that affects her response to Se Ryeong’s interactions with him.
Even though Gyeong Hye doesn’t have a romantic interest in Seung Yu, she simply can’t condone the idea of her future husband having such close interactions with another woman, can she?
..Which puts her in opposition towards Se Ryeong’s growing connection with Seung Yu, all of a sudden.
I’m quite bummed by this, honestly, because when this little role-play had started, it had been a bit of fun between the two friends, who had both been rather thrilled by the idea of Se Ryeong getting a good look at her future husband.
At that time, the ruse had seemed to bring them closer, as friends and sisters.
But now, with how things have changed, Gyeong Hye cannot help but suddenly find herself on opposite sides, with Se Ryeong.
We don’t see what Gyeong Hye intends to do with this new turn of events, but from the way she mutters that Seung Yu isn’t Se Ryeong’s man, it does feel like she’s going to do something about it, and soon.
Of course, Prince Suyang’s first instinct would be to find a way to prevent this royal match from happening, because the only thing worse than Kim Jong Seo opting not to join hands with him through the marriage of their children, is Kim Jong Seo opting to join hands with the King instead.
On paper, his plan for that isn’t such a bad one – except for the inconvenient fact that Kim Seung Yu is apparently the most outstanding young bachelor (with the cleanest family record) in all of the land, and none of the other potential candidates even comes close.
..Which is how he lands on his back-up plan, which is to kill off Seung Yu, so that Kim Jong Seo wouldn’t be able to join hands with the King.
Basically, if I can’t have you, I will destroy you, eh? 😬
..Which is how Seung Yu and Se Ryeong end up being targeted by bandits on what is supposed to be Se Ryeong’s final hurrah on horseback, before marriage.
(And again, the only reason Seung Yu would offer to do this for her, is because he believes her to be the Princess, the woman whom his father has told him he will marry.
And the reason Se Ryeong would accept such close proximity with Seung Yu, is because she still believes that he is going to be her husband.
Oh, but what a tangled web we weave! 😅)
As we close out the episode, we’ve got Seung Yu felled by an arrow and looking like he’s ready to pass out, and Se Ryeong at her wits’ end, as the bandits close in on them.
I have no idea how they’re going to escape this very dire situation, but I am very sure that Seung Yu won’t die. I mean, it’s just impossible, isn’t it, given the nature of our story, and the fact that we’re only just done episode 2? 😅
I’m curious to see how Show works a way out for both Seung Yu and Se Ryeong, and I’m even more curious, to see how all this cross-wired matchmaking is going to shake out, next set of episodes!