Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! It’s another eventful week for our characters! I feel like this screenshot sums up our OTP relationship pretty well, for where they’re at, which is why it’s headlining our post today.
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 occurs to me that this is a very pivotal, defining episode for our characters.
I feel like by the time we hit the last few minutes of this episodes, loyalties and directions, for at least a few key characters, are redefined, and will have lasting impact not only on our story, but on their lives.
At the end of our last episode, it didn’t quite connect in my head until afterwards, that Kim Jong Seo standing up to Su Yang like that, as Second State Councilor, is THE thing that causes Su Yang to decide that Kim Jong Seo’s just asking to be killed – which actually links us directly to where we’d started our story, with Kim Jong Seo’s assassination.
Somehow, this makes the moment echo with even more foreboding, perhaps because we already know that Su Yang’s not just making an empty threat.
That lends a sharp undercurrent of bittersweetness to the interactions between Seung Yu and Se Ryeong.
As they embark on their love relationship, and smile at each other with affection and hope, we already know that this thing between their fathers is much bigger than either of them could imagine.
Which leads me to Se Ryeong’s lies to Seung Yu.
It is admittedly hard to watch her lie to Seung Yu, particularly since Seung Yu’s coming to bare his heart to her, saying that he doesn’t want to deny his feelings anymore.
It almost feels like she’s slapping him in the face, metaphorically speaking, by lying to him, when he’s finally being truthful to her.
BUT, I can see why she’s lying. Her father’s warned her that if anyone is to find out that the person who’d been out and about with Seung Yu had been her and not Princess Gyeong Hye, their entire family’s lives would be in danger.
And of course Se Ryeong wouldn’t want to risk the lives of her family members. That’s why she lies.
With that in mind, it does help her lies go down more easily, because I can believe that without this restriction that’s been put in place by her father, she would have told Seung Yu the truth without hesitation.
At the same time, though, reality is starting to bear down on Se Ryeong, with everyone – from Yeo Ri, to her mother, to her father – reminding her that she’s due to marry Myeon.
Yeah, that’s not a great situation for anyone; not Se Ryeong, not Seung Yu, and certainly not Myeon.
Especially not with the bloodthirsty “party” that Su Yang and his crew are preparing to throw, for Kim Jong Seo and everyone who’s aligned with him, eep.
On that note, I can actually see why Myeon would feel almost compelled to align himself with Su Yang.
Not only does he bristle at the sight of Kim Jong Seo warning his father not to associate with Su Yang, he hears from Su Yang that if he doesn’t fight back, his father will lose his life – and what son could bear the thought of his father being killed, right?
So, when things are laid out like that for Myeon, I can see why he would choose his father over Seung Yu. He doesn’t want to kill Seung Yu or Seung Yu’s father, but when it comes down to it, he would be willing to do so, it if meant protecting his own father.
It’s still sad, though, to see the cracks start to show, in his friendship with Seung Yu and Jong.
Up to this point, when they’d managed to keep politics out of their friendship, they’d been the best of buds. But now that it’s becoming impossible to avoid the implications of their fathers’ political involvement, the strain among them is starting to show.
Aw. That is sad, honestly.
And of course, there’s the thing where Myeon’s attracted to Se Ryeong and has started to think of her as his future wife. Of course he would feel territorial and happy about Se Ryeong spending time with Seung Yu, and of course he would bristle at Seung Yu for doing so.
That said, despite the bittersweet undercurrents threading through our OTP interactions, it’s still nice to see them spend some carefree romantic time together.
Sitting by the river and enjoying the sunshine; going through a “lesson” so that they can exchange words of poetry; exchanging shy, happy looks as they hold hands for the first time; Seung Yu stealing a kiss, when Se Ryeong lowers the fan which he’s given her.
It’s all very sweet and wholesome, really.
Another thing I found sweet and wholesome, is Jong’s effort to give Gyeong Hye that pair of rings, for her birthday.
I feel sad for him that Gyeong Hye doesn’t treat him as her husband, and I find it extra touching, that he’s being so loving towards her, despite her cold treatment of him.
I’m hoping that his gesture, of wanting to give her the rings that his mother had saved for her daughter-in-law, would perhaps give Gyeong Hye pause, and cause her to maybe think of him in a kinder, more welcoming sort of light.
I’m also somewhat heartened that when Se Ryeong visits Gyeong Hye on her birthday, there appears to be an element of healing and reconciliation in their relationship, with Gyeong Hye eating the treats that Se Ryeong’s brought for her.
However, with Su Yang getting ready to execute his plan to.. well, execute the people who stand between him and the throne, I do have my doubts as to how much this relationship will be able to truly heal.
And it looks like Su Yang is prepared to be ruthless in his quest – even if it means using Se Ryeong and her relationship with Seung Yu.
I have to confess to being quite horrified, as we see Su Yang promise Se Ryeong that he will talk to Kim Jong Seo again, about her relationship with Seung Yu, and Se Ryeong tell him that she’s so glad that he’s her father – because, based on the context, we can just TELL, that he plans to use this purely as an excuse to visit Kim Jong Seo, in order to kill him. Yikes.
That’s really cruel, isn’t it, to use his daughter’s love relationship in this manner?
Although, I can already hear in my head, how Su Yang would defend his actions, where he’d probably say that these petty love relationships are nothing when compared to matters of the nation.
I feel bad for Se Ryeong, when she overhears her parents talk about this, specifically about her father’s plan to kill Seung Yu – for her sake, no less.
What a world-tilting moment this must be for Se Ryeong.
She’s been under the impression that her father was going to try to make a way for her to marry Seung Yu, and now, she’s suddenly apprised of the truth, that in reality, her father’s literally planning to kill him instead.
I can already guess that Se Ryeong’s not just going to sit by and do nothing about this, but at the same time, I can’t help wondering what she CAN do, given her limited power and influence..?
Well, so I was right?
Meaning, Se Ryeong doesn’t sit by and do nothing, despite her limited power and influence, and yet, it doesn’t appear to have actually accomplished anything.
But, you can’t fault her for not trying, I’ll say that.
Also, like I’d mentioned, this is a world-tilting piece of information for Se Ryeong, who’s always believed her father to be a good person who wouldn’t go around killing other people.
I appreciate that Show gives Se Ryeong the space to wrestle with her disbelief, because that is something that goes towards making her feel real.
Also, I have to say that for all of Se Ryeong’s limited options, she does make it quite far.
I was actually pretty impressed that she manages to make it to Kim Jong Seo’s house, and even gets invited inside.
If Yeo Ri hadn’t shown up and basically kidnapped her to take her back home, she would have succeeded in telling Kim Jong Seo about Su Yang’s murderous plans.
Grargh. So close, yet so far, isn’t it?
Between Myeon and Seung Yu, I feel that my sympathies are more with Seung Yu, because he’s the one who takes a step back, to reach a compromise with Myeon, despite the news that Myeon is due to marry Su Yang’s daughter – thus putting their families on opposite sides of the political divide.
Even so, Seung Yu sends word to Myeon, that he would be happy to be Myeon’s escort, on Myeon’s wedding day.
That’s a big concession, isn’t it?
And in the face of that, Myeon still chooses to kill him.
I mean, yes, it’s to protect his family, so it’s not like Myeon’s not in a difficult position at all. It’s just.. it feels so heartless, doesn’t it, for him to still make that choice to kill Seung Yu, even after Seung Yu’s made a peace gesture in his favor?
So, while I do feel for Myeon to some extent, because of his distinct inner conflict, his ultimate choice still lands cold, to me.
In the midst of all this tension, there’s a small bright spark for me, and that’s in the potential budding of a real relationship between Jong and Gyeong Hye.
The way he praises her in front of her brother the King, and says that her harsh words are as beautiful as the singing sounds of a bird – with such an affectionate look on his face, no less – makes me think that Gyeong Hye’s going to soften towards him, in spite of herself.
After all, she even smiles in response, when he says that, and that’s the most relaxed and happy I’ve seen her, in a long time.
I like the idea of Gyeong Hye falling for her earnest husband, and I’m hopeful that the other goings-on in our story world won’t get in the way of that happening, but.. I also have a feeling that I’m asking for too much? 😅
In the meantime, Se Ryeong’s cover story, that she’s a court lady, lines up perfectly with Su Yang’s story, which he uses to seek an audience with Kim Jong Seo.
Argh. It’s frustrating – and somewhat eerie, actually – to see that an untruth can be used to mimic the truth, so convincingly.
On a tangent, for anyone who’s wondering, I thought it would be useful to mention that the reason Seung Yu could face death for wanting to marry a court lady – even one who has supposedly left the palace – is that all court ladies are considered to be the King’s women.
Whether the King actually ever chooses to give a court lady his attentions, is irrelevant.
They are his women in principle, and therefore no other man may romance or marry a court lady, and that is something that applies for life, so even a court lady who’s left the palace is not free to marry.
This is why it’s such a serious matter, that Seung Yu is revealed to be in a relationship with a court lady, and that’s why Kim Jong Seo agrees to meet Su Yang in the dead of night – because this is a serious matter that should be kept under wraps, for Seung Yu’s safety.
Man, it’s really hard to watch Su Yang and his crew take steps to assassinate Kim Jong Seo, from hiding weapons under the palanquin, to having Su Yang’s righthand man Un keeping a literal ball and chain in his sleeve. 😬
On the one hand, I’m relieved that Se Ryeong manages to get Seung Yu out of his house, by sending him that message written in her blood, but on the other hand, I can’t help wishing that the message could have been something more useful?
Ok, to be fair, it’s not like she had a lot of time (or fabric!), to write out the whole story, and it’s true that what she wrote – her fake name and her fake place of residence – does get Seung Yu out of harm’s way.
BUT. That’s only temporary, as we soon see, and it’s not long before he leaves the temple – because he doesn’t find her there, duh – and finds his father and brother at home, felled by Su Yang’s sword (in a manner of speaking).
As far as I’m concerned, this doesn’t put Seung Yu out of harm’s way in any real way, and it’s obvious that he’s not going to sit still and do nothing either, not when his father and brother have been attacked like this.
It looks like we are reaaally close to arriving at the point in our story where Show had first opened, and I am legitimately curious to see where Show is going to take us next, because.. where could we go from here, while keeping our OTP safe..? 😬