Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! What an eventful set of episodes this turned out to be! I’ve got this screenshot headlining our post today, because this feels like a pivotal moment in our OTP relationship.
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! ❤️
So it’s not at all a surprise that Seung Yu and Se Ryeong survive the attack by the bandits, because, like I said, this is just the beginning of our show, and we absolutely can’t lose either of our leads this early! 😁
I am only a little bit surprised that Se Ryeong would throw herself in front of Seung Yu to protect him, with no thought to her own safety.
She does strike me as that kind of impulsive, brave personality, and we have seen her coming to care for Seung Yu more and more, over the various meetings that they’ve had.
What I am more surprised by, is that they are saved by the arrival of Seung Yu’s friend Myeon, who’s been after that group of bandits for some time.
Well, I suppose that works out ok, especially if Myeon says that he and his men have been keeping an eye on this group’s movements for some time. I can rationalize that that’s how they could have followed them to this remote forested location.
I must say that every time I see Myeon, I have mixed feelings, because of the flashforward on which we’d begun our story.
In the present timeline, I often watch Myeon and think that he’s a decent dude, and a good friend, and therefore someone whom Seung Yu and Se Ryeong can trust. I actually find myself wanting to like him.
But, knowing what we know from the opening flashforward – that Myeon ends up betraying Seung Yu, while in Prince Su Yang’s service – that lends a distinct layer of foreboding to everything on my screen that has to do with Myeon.
And even though we don’t yet know the details on how Myeon goes from being one of Seung Yu’s best friends, to being the person who betrays Seung Yu, it already makes me sad, that this friendship that we see now, will eventually be sacrificed in the name of ambition (or so I assume).
Because, in the present, Myeon really strikes me as a very decent person and friend.
When he “realizes” that the person with Seung Yu is “the Princess,” there’s no discernible judgment from him, even though the Princess shouldn’t be outside the palace, and Seung Yu certainly shouldn’t be spending time alone with her.
And, even though Myeon clearly feels awkward when Seung Yu and “Princess Gyeong Hye” start talking with each other in such familiar tones, with Seung Yu even raising his voice at her, for not thinking of her own safety, he refrains from saying anything.
I like that about him; he seems like the kind of person who isn’t into minding other people’s business.
I do smell the early whiffs of trouble brewing, though.
First, Myeon does seem suitably impressed by Se Ryeong, so much so that he half jokingly tells Seung Yu that he should have asked to be considered as a candidate for the King’s son-in-law.
And then, later in the episode, after Myeon has learned of Se Ryeong’s true identity, Prince Su Yang broaches the possibility of Myeon becoming his son-in-law – which would mean that Myeon now actually has a legit chance to marry the sparkling girl whom he’d been so impressed with.
It’s a strange position to find himself in, for sure, and I’m sure that Myeon’s at least somewhat tempted to accept Prince Su Yang’s proposal, because he’s found Se Ryeong to be so special.
As for Princess Gyeong Hye, I find that I don’t dislike her, even though she and Se Ryeong are now pretty much on opposite sides, over Seung Yu.
In fact, I feel quite sorry for Gyeong Hye, because she’s in a position where she realizes that she’s going to lose her father, and that she and her brother will be in danger.
There’s no luxury for her to consider whether or not she likes Seung Yu as a potential husband; it’s all about survival now, and she doesn’t even have time to really process the fact that her father is dying.
That’s tough, and difficult, and I really can’t blame Gyeong Hye for losing her smile, and becoming more cold and prickly, particularly towards Se Ryeong.
From where Gyeong Hye’s standing, Se Ryeong’s standing in the way of the safety of her family, after all.
And, credit to Gyeong Hye, for taking the trouble to check with Se Ryeong on how she feels about Seung Yu, and then actually expressing relief, when Se Ryeong says that she doesn’t love him – because she doesn’t want this to come between her and Se Ryeong.
I would say that Se Ryeong does try to do her duty and keep an appropriate distance from Seung Yu, once she finds out that the marriage talks for her and Seung Yu are no longer going on.
But.. she doesn’t actually try very hard?
I put that down to her youth, since she’s only a teenager, and doesn’t quite understand the ramifications of her actions.
Plus, she’s got all these growing feelings for Seung Yu, and the way I see it, when the opportunity presents itself, she likely thinks that it’s just one little detour, and that she’ll be seeing him “just one more time.”
I guess you could call it a result of the folly of youth? I don’t see it as her being purposefully rebellious.
I think she’s more impetuous and naive, at this point in our story.
And, when she’s faced with what she thinks will be her last chance to see Seung Yu and have a bit of fun before they get married to other people, I reckon it’s just hard for her to say no.
Plus, our Se Ryeong just has a thirst for life and adventure in general; she doesn’t want to live a cooped-up stuffy life, which is what she believes awaits her, after marriage.
Her stint on the swing is so thrilling for her, and is such a great writing choice, in the sense that being on the swing also gives Se Ryeong a chance to have the wind in her face, which is exactly what she loves about horseback riding.
The joy, wonder and savor in Se Ryeong’s face, as she stands on that swing, is so precious; I can feel her just soaking up every last second of this experience, like it’s a spring in the desert.
And of course, this is where Seung Yu starts to appreciate her even more deeply, because how could he not, as he witnesses that pure wonder lighting up her face?
Of course, trust Prince Su Yang’s side to jump on the intel that Seung Yu’s been spending time with a girl, and then plot to use that against him, not knowing that it’s actually Se Ryeong who’s been spending time with him.
I did find it rather interesting, that Prince Su Yang’s camp, aside from coveting the throne for him, is also of the opinion that Prince Su Yang’s life would be in danger, if Princess Gyeong Hye were to really marry Seung Yu.
It’s essentially a political game of kill or be killed, once the current King vacates the throne.
Kim Jong Seo’s determined to protect the prince and help him to ascend the throne, and in order to do that, he would kill Prince Su Yang if necessary, because Prince Su Yang, as the King’s brother, would be an obvious candidate to stage a coup.
And Prince Su Yang, in turn, would kill anyone who stands in the way of his kingly ambitions.
..And that includes Park Su Cheon, who’s in charge of studying the marital compatibility between Princess Gyeong Hye and Seung Yu.
Because, if Park Su Cheon gives a favorable report of their marital compatibility, that would make it that much harder for Prince Su Yang to prevent the marriage from happening.
Seung Yu’s clearly falling for Se Ryeong, with the way he buys those rings, and then writes that letter, and passes it to Gyeong Hye’s maid, still believing Se Ryeong to be the Princess.
Given that Gyeong Hye now thinks of Seung Yu as her husband-to-be, it’s no wonder she’s livid when she sees the letter and those rings. This is almost like Seung Yu cheating on her – except that he doesn’t know that he’s cheating on her. 😅
I can see why Gyeong Hye would be angry, and why she wouldn’t be inclined to grant Se Ryeong’s request, to allow her to meet Seung Yu one last time, to confess her lie, and ask for forgiveness.
No.. Gyeong Hye’s taking things into her own hands, and doing the reveal herself – most likely out of anger, but also, quite likely, to ensure that nothing else goes wrong in the process of Seung Yu learning the truth.
What a shock for Seung Yu, though, to enter the room believing that Se Ryeong’s on the other side of that screen – only for a completely different Princess to be revealed.
Well, as can be expected, the truth bomb that Princess Gyeong Hye drops on Seung Yu leaves him in more than a bit of a daze.
After all, he’s just found out that the person whom he thought he was going to marry, isn’t that at all, and is allegedly a court maid who’s now been ordered out of the palace, and whom he is unlikely to ever see again.
There’s just so MUCH to process, from everything that Se Ryeong’s ever said to him, to what it all means now, in the light of this new version of events that he’s just been acquainted with.
On Se Ryeong’s side of things, there’s a lot for her to process as well, because this is the first time she’s hearing that her father covets the throne.
It’s a world-tilting piece of information, because that paints her father in a whole new light in her mind, doesn’t it? She’s only ever seen him as a loving, doting father, and she’s only ever seen Gyeong Hye as her cousin.
But now, if this is true, then her loving father is actually harboring traitorous thoughts, and Gyeong Hye is no longer simply her cousin; Gyeong Hye’s on the side of the throne that Prince Su Yang wants to clear for himself.
If this is true, Se Ryeong’s entire world has changed, hasn’t it?
It’s so poignant, the way Princess Gyeong Hye looks at Se Ryeong and says, “You and I were the only persons who didn’t know.” Oof. I felt that.
I can see why Se Ryeong would feel so overwhelmed that she’d feel the need for some time alone, and I would believe that she would wander aimlessly – and find that her feet had brought her to the place where she and Seung Yu had ridden and gotten attacked by those bandits.
And, it makes enough narrative sense, for me to buy that Myeon might just happen to go there too, because he’s still keeping an eye on the movements of those bandits.
This episode, I still find Myeon to be kind, decent and understanding.
Even though he knows that truth about Se Ryeong, he doesn’t speak any judgment towards her, and listens with patience and understanding, when she expresses that she couldn’t tell Seung Yu the truth, even though she’d wanted to.
My drama gut tells me that some of that softness is coming from a place where he’s starting to think of her as his potential wife, but I could be wrong.
But judging from our opening flash-forward where Myeon is aligned with Prince Su Yang, my guess could well be on the right track?
I do find it a bit of a stretch that the gisaengs at the gibang, where Seung Yu’s been a longtime customer, would be so cheesed off with him, that they’d sell him out to Prince Su Yang’s spies. That feels like quite the overreaction?
I’m trying to rationalize that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and that gisaeng had felt very scorned by Seung Yu, in favor of “the Princess,” but it’s still a stretch in my mind.
I can believe that Seung Yu would want to see Se Ryeong one last time, even while on his way to the final selection.
After all, she’s the one he has actual feelings for, and also, there’s the thing where she lied to him. Surely he wants to hear what she has to say about that, too, right?
But of course, everything that could go wrong, goes wrong, before the final selection can even begin – because Prince Su Yang’s camp is determined to not only prevent Seung Yu from marrying Gyeong Hye, they are determined to kill him too, so that he can’t be used against them, in marriage to someone else.
It’s admirable of Seung Yu, to refuse to mention Se Ryeong, even when his honor and his life are in danger; that’s just evidence of how much he cares about Se Ryeong, even after he’s realized her deceit.
I have to admit, my breath caught in my throat a bit, in that moment where Seung Yu’s being dragged to the interrogation, and his and Se Ryeong’s eyes meet.
I’d half imagined that they would miss seeing each other, since we do get a few moments prior, where they’d been so close to seeing each other, but ultimately had not.
It literally feels like time freezes for a moment, as they look at each other in shock, and try to process what’s going on.
At least, I’m sure Seung Yu’s processing the fact that Se Ryeong can’t be a court lady, since she’s dressed as a noble lady.
When Se Ryeong ducks away, I’d thought that it was because she was too embarrassed to face Seung Yu, but credit to Se Ryeong, it’s actually because she wants to ask Gyeong Hye for help, to get her to the interrogation, so that she can speak up for Seung Yu.
And it’s so like her, really, to say that it doesn’t matter to her, if she has to die in Seung Yu’s stead.
My gosh, our girl is just so steadfast, and pure, and wild, and courageous, all at the same time, isn’t she?
While Gyeong Hye says that Seung Yu is hers to save or to kill, I do think that part of the reason she refuses to help Se Ryeong get to the interrogation, is to protect Se Ryeong as well, because Se Ryeong could literally lose her life there.
Instead, Gyeong Hye goes there herself, and speaks up for Seung Yu herself, and I really do think that she does her best, in her capacity as Princess.
It’s just too bad that Prince Su Yang’s insidious plan is working too well, and all these petitions for Seung Yu’s execution keep coming in, for showing contempt to the royal family.
Thankfully, the King postpones making a decision till the following day, but Seung Yu’s life is still in danger.
..Which is why I’m not surprised that Se Ryeong would find a way to see Seung Yu, to urge him to tell the truth about her, in order to save himself.
This selfless streak in Se Ryeong, where she pays no heed to her own safety, once she sets her sights on the safety of someone she cares about, is really quite endearing to me. It’s reckless, sure, but it’s also very pure in how straightforward and guileless it is, isn’t it?
And, it also looks like Se Ryeong’s on the cusp of telling Seung Yu her real identity – but gets interrupted by the arrival of none other than her own father. Eep.
Given what we know about Prince Su Yang and his thoughts towards Seung Yu, it feels like things could get even more complicated, next episode.
Would his doting father side be strong enough to balance out his politically ambitious side, I wonder..?