Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I know, I know. This screenshot isn’t from these two episode’s events, but.. it was in the closing credits of episode 10, and I couldn’t resist this wistful spot of happiness that our OTP had, before their whole worlds changed.
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! ❤️
A lot goes down this episode, and it’s credit to Show, that even though I already knew a chunk of what was going to happen, thanks to our opening flash-forward in episode 1, I still felt fully engaged, while watching said previously shown scenes.
Of course, in large strokes, we pretty much know what’s going to happen, even before it happens, because we’ve already been told from the beginning, that it happens.
What makes all of this interesting, really, is the reaction of our characters, to the events that are unfolding around them.
And none of that is more central to our story, than Seung Yu’s reaction to his world crumbling around him, in waves.
We start the episode with him being faced with his father’s assassination, and then end the episode with him discovering, to his shock, that his so-called court lady is actually Prince Su Yang’s daughter.
Plus, in-between these huge shocks, is that other shock, where he realizes that his good friend Myeon is actually part of Prince Su Yang’s crew – which means that Myeon is now the enemy.
Woah. Talk about being put through the wringer – and then some.
Honestly, it’s really hard to watch Prince Su Yang’s men systematically kill all the officials who aren’t on their side.
The worst part about it is, I think, the fact that they use the King’s name, to invite those officials to Jong and Gyeong Hye’s residence, and then trap and slaughter each one, as they enter the premises.
THIS is treason, not the other way around.
It occurs to me, that this is why many Kings had their brothers killed, upon ascending the throne. It was likely to prevent such an event from occurring.
The fact that King Munjong hadn’t had his brothers killed upon ascending the throne is a rather thought-provoking one, I feel.
On the one hand, one might feel that this establishes his warm heart and his desire to trust others.
On the other hand, one might argue that if he’d taken the precaution of killing his brothers upon ascending the throne, that this situation, where Prince Su Yang is basically initiating a blood bath to pave the way for his political ambition, could have been avoided.
It’s a rather unsettling thought, isn’t it, that if King Munjong had acted more like Prince Su Yang is acting now, his legacy would have been more secure?
Through all of this, the only silver lining that I can think of, is that Gyeong Hye and Jong are inadvertently bonding through the disaster that’s befallen their family.
I can’t help but notice that Jong’s being much more proactive and assertive with Gyeong Hye in this emergency situation, compared to before, and that she’s depending on him much more than she would have allowed herself to, in the past.
The way he dares those guards to stop him, when they try to block his exit from their chambers, has more fire and gravitas to it, than I’ve seen from him to date.
Honestly, it’s really quite heartwarming to see him rise to the occasion to protect Gyeong Hye, instead of shrink away in fear, like the old him would have likely done.
I also appreciate how Jong tries to help and protect Seung Yu, even if it means putting his own life in danger.
And then there’s also the way Jong has such a deep desire to trust his friends.
When Myeon puts up that show of helping Seung Yu to escape, Jong doesn’t question it at all, because he really wants to believe that Myeon’s a good person at heart, who doesn’t want to see Seung Yu killed.
And.. well, I suppose Jong isn’t completely wrong, since we see that eventually, Myeon does stop short of killing Seung Yu, up on that mountain, when he realizes that Seung Yu is still alive after all.
That said, I don’t think Myeon had actually counted on Seung Yu making it out of that mountain alive, since he was already so badly wounded. My conclusion is that Myeon had left Seung Yu there, expecting him to die on his own, since he couldn’t bear to deal the final blow himself.
As for Se Ryeong, we see that she’s still determined to save Seung Yu somehow, and even rides to Gyeong Hye’s residence, to speak with her father, the moment she is able.
At this point, I think it’s safe to say that Se Ryeong still has some belief in her father, which is why she goes to him to ask him to spare Seung Yu.
That said, I suppose part of the reason is also that Se Ryeong doesn’t actually have any other option, really. What else could she have done, if she didn’t seek out her father? I can’t think of anything, honestly.
I feel bad for Se Ryeong, that Gyeong Hye lies to her about Seung Yu having died, essentially out of spite.
I get that Gyeong Hye’s lashing out at Se Ryeong because of what Se Ryeong’s father is doing, but man, the blow that this deals to Se Ryeong, is no small deal.
It’s as if Se Ryeong has all the life sucked out of her, in the wake of this “news.”
She’s pretty much like the walking dead, as she gets hustled outdoors, to greet Prince Su Yang on his triumphant return.
Which is why she doesn’t notice Seung Yu when he notices her as part of Prince Su Yang’s family entourage.
Gah. What a huge, huge shock this must be for Seung Yu, who’s already had his entire world crumble around him.
I’m sure he’d had no idea, that things could have gotten any worse, and yet, here he is, faced with the fact that his court lady is none other than the daughter of Prince Su Yang – the man who killed Seung Yu’s father and brother.
The Romeo and Juliet vibes of this show just got all the stronger, methinks. 😝
Y’know, I’d half thought that Seung Yu might decide to postpone his attempt on Prince Su Yang’s life, for a while, if only to let him process this new piece of information, that the woman whom he’s been thinking of as the love of his life, is actually Su Yang’s daughter.
But.. that is not the case.
Seung Yu charges at Su Yang anyway, even though his mind is reeling from the realization, and even though he knows that he’s not likely to succeed.
It’s not the smartest nor most logical choice, to be sure.
That said, I totally buy that Seung Yu’s not in his right mind right now; his entire world has crumbled around him in a very short span of time, and I would believe that revenge on Su Yang would be top of mind for him, whether he actually believes he will succeed or not.
And of course, Seung Yu gets overpowered and apprehended, and of course, this causes Se Ryeong to go into a frenzy.
I mean, it is a whirlwind of information for her too.
One minute, she thinks he’s dead, and then suddenly, he’s alive (!!!) – but oh dear, he’s now being captured, and might soon be dead. Gulp. It’s a lot to take in, that’s for sure.
I’m just grateful that Mom chooses to be soft and sympathetic with Se Ryeong for once, which is a departure from her previous stern slaps and harsh words.
This time, I believe it’s because Mom sees the impossibility of Se Ryeong’s love, and chooses to console her daughter, instead of punish her even further than the situation itself is already punishing her.
What Mom says is true; Seung Yu won’t be able to see beyond the fact that Se Ryeong is the daughter of the man who killed his father.
Logically speaking, there’s nothing more that Se Ryeong can do now, to save her love.
On top of this, Seung Yu also looks like his own days are numbered, with the way Su Yang’s determined to have him executed, and soon.
It’s partly to ensure that Myeon proves himself, but it’s mainly to fulfill Su Yang’s political agenda, to wipe out his opponents, and not leave any traces behind, who might show up later, to create problems for him.
Like I said, this is cruel, absolutely – but it’s also what King Munjong didn’t do, which is the reason we’re even having this terrible situation today.
And so, even though I hate the idea of Su Yang now readying to kill his remaining brothers, I can see his reasons for doing so.
I do still hate the smug looks that we see on the faces of Su Yang and his various followers this episode, though. The way they look so pleased that all these people have died, is quite horrifying, honestly.
As for Myeon, while I don’t like the fact that he’s decided that it’s in his best interest to align himself with Su Yang even if it means killing his best friend, I do appreciate that he owns his decision and doesn’t try to palm it off as something that he’s being forced into by his father.
And, we do get glimpses of his internal struggle over this, from time to time, which does humanize him in my eyes.
In fact, I can’t say that if I were in his shoes, I would definitely make a different decision. It’s easy to say, “Don’t kill your friend,” when you’re not in his shoes, and the safety of his entire family is literally hanging in the balance.
All that to say, I still don’t condone his actions, but I don’t hate him. Myeon’s believably gray as a character, as far as I can see right now.
..Which is the opposite of Se Ryeong, who, regardless of the fact that she’s Su Yang’s daughter, is steadfastly pure in her way of viewing the world.
As far as she’s concerned, there is no justifying the killing of one’s friend, or even the killing of one’s political opponent, and, as we see this episode, she’s willing to lay down her life for her beliefs.
Very, very ballsy indeed.
I think the thing that strikes me, this episode, about Se Ryeong going against Su Yang’s wishes, that it’s no longer just about her love for Seung Yu and her desire to protect him from harm.
Now, it’s about preventing her father from killing innocent people, which seems like a much bigger, deeper and wider thing.
The way she puts that sword to her own neck, determined to either prevent Seung Yu’s death, or die with him, is as brave as it is badass – as it is foolish, honestly.
Because, as we see, her actions do nothing to prevent Seung Yu’s execution.
The reason Seung Yu’s isn’t executed, is because the young King puts his foot down and orders that the executions of alleged traitors stop, and not because Se Ryeong sits there with a sword to her neck.
In fact, piecing it together, it’s clear that Su Yang had left her sitting there with the sword to her neck, and gone to the palace.
So much for maximizing her influence and her resources, eh? 😅
THAT SAID. I fully believe that Se Ryeong’s entire heart is in this. She’s not playing around, and she’s not making an empty threat. I do believe that she would have at least attempted to kill herself, if news had come that Seung Yu had been executed.
As Su Yang and his crew regroup and reconsider their options (which mainly appears to lead to the decision to kill Seung Yu while he’s en route to his exile location), our Se Ryeong decides that she needs to see Seung Yu.
I don’t know what she was expecting, going in there to see him like that, but I don’t think she bargained for how Seung Yu ends up grabbing her neck in a stranglehold.
Eep. How things have changed between these two, in just a few short episodes!
I know that this isn’t the end, because we still have more than half the show to go, but right now, I honestly can’t see how Show is going to repair this terribly broken, tattered relationship.
Honestly, where can you go from here, after, “Your father literally murdered my father and my brother – and tried to kill me too”?? 😛