Open Thread: The Princess’s Man Episodes 9 & 10

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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! 😉

SPOILER ZONE

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! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 9

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Romeo and Juliet vibes of this show just got all the stronger, methinks. 😝

Episode 10

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.

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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.

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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”?? 😛

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uyen
1 month ago

Truly, knowing what is going to happen from the opening scenes of the drama, does not make it any less devastating. I’m still intrigued by Su Yang — apart from the fact that yes, he’s diabolical, there’s little snippets of him having at least a twinge of awareness or guilt when it comes to Se Ryeong. When did he first decide to take power? Has he always wanted the throne from his brother, or was it when his brother started getting sick that he got greedy for power from his nephew?

I have no idea what’s going to happen and how they’re going to pull off the development back to (I imagine) Se Ryeong and Seung Yu reconciling (although I guess we do have plenty of time for that). How do you move forward from trying to choke the girl you thought you knew and loved because her dad’s responsible for killing your dad?

I did get a lil emotional at the beat where Se Ryeong’s mom kneels before her and asks why doesn’t she just hurt her instead — I know it’s a bit too little too late, but it just goes to show how Se Ryeong’s resolve impacted the people who witnessed it.

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago

So, questions and observations have I.

(1) Lotsa blood and brother-killing etc., but I have a question for the historically knowledgeable among you. Why doesn’t Su Yang just kill the young king and take the throne that way? I assume that it’s because regicide was somehow beyond the pale, but it appeared that he had the chance and chose not to take it.

(2) When the Su Yang gang were gleefully chortling about offing about offing Kim Jong Seo, was it just me or did I detect a more measured response in Su Yang himself? Not that he didn’t want that outcome but I think that he seems to have more respect for his adversaries than most of his troupe.

(3) Props to Young King, Jung Jong, and Princess Kyung-Hye for really stepping up in the face of adversity. Who knew that JJ had it in him? And the king’s retort to SY: “I’m not having a conversation with my uncle right now. I am giving a royal command.” Snap!

(4) On just how deeply this has affected Seung Yoo. Normally such a verbal and intellectually playful person, by the end of E10 he has been practically rendered mute.

Last edited 1 month ago by j3ffc
seankfletcher
1 month ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Well j3ffc, some great questions. Apart from the first King of Joseon, monarch wannabes didn’t bump off the king and put themselves on the throne. They tried to control the king through every other means possible.

SY did make a statement he would be king, but the reality is, unless someone else killed the king, it wouldn’t happen. This is because:

  • Each time Joseon needed a king, if their were no living princes, then the next closest relative would be chosen.
  • The monarch’s body was sacrosanct, so doing something to it was a tricky business eg trying to use poison.

Now, of course this didn’t stop the new king from bumping off potential rivals eg siblings, or other close family members. This happened often.

Yes, SY did respect his main rival, which is why he knew he had to get close to him for any assassination to be effective. Enemies know they need to eyeball each other.

That retort by JJ was awesome and long overdue. “Zinger,” as we say 😂🤣😂

enapeters
enapeters
1 month ago

Episode 9 – I’m really liking Jong and hoping the Princess realizes what a great catch she got.

Episode 10 – As fast paced as this show is, I felt like they really dragged this episode out with like 30 minutes of the episode being repeat from the last episode or flashbacks. Seong Yu not dying and not being as sick or immobile as he should be considering that no one ever dressed or cleaned his wounds is pretty illogical, but the twists are so exciting that it’s hard to dwell too long on it mentally. Seong Yu trying to strangle her at the end is the exact right reaction. She has been such a liar.

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago
Reply to  enapeters

I was so struck by all of the flashbacks that I almost thought I was watching the wrong show. My guess is that the writers or production were behind a bit at this point so they put in the FBs for filler.

seankfletcher
1 month ago

Yay – I have finally caught up! Show continues to be awesome through eps 9 & 10 and just as engaging as promised in the initial episodes.

I think the artistry we see throughout and the sincerity of the production has held well. It’s a very enjoyable watch.

In some ways, TPM is the superior template for many shows of the same ilk that have followed – until now.

I’m going to mention The Queens Umbrella for a moment. Here we have a show that moves with breath taking fluidity. In comparison, TPM is like watching stop, start motion. Both shows are fabulous in how they do their thing.

When it comes to treason, it depends how it is defined by each country or culture. Also, historically, or even present day, it may be framed in law or not.

Rebellion or civil war is not necessarily treason.

Typically, in a monarchy, treason is defined by the monarch. This meant (or means), it’s application is very fluid ie to suit the monarch.

Even if enshrined in law as a concept, the monarchy generally held sway in how treason was applied. It was typically limited to the monarch, their better half and maybe their offspring.

In the modern context, many countries define treason as an act of a particular type against the country – generally undertaking war against the state or aiding and abetting an enemy.

What we see in Joseon is this: – those who control the narrative, control whether treason is applicable. Prince S understood this, hence the process he used to ring fence the King and then “execute” his plan, which in itself, is certainly against the great code (but, very much overlooked by the story writers).

On a side note re the factions – this was typically defined by where a noble’s house was located in relation to the palace. If you were a westerner, that meant you lived to the west of the palace. I guess you needed to be very careful where you moved to, if a noble family ever did 😂 “Jumping the fence” in this instance would be seen as quite literal and more than a bit dangerous 😉

Trent
1 month ago

Wow. So that, as they say, escalated quickly.

What I mean is, I kind of knew this was headed toward an irreconcilable battle between political factions. It’s just that, for whatever reason, I was kind of expecting show to build toward the final apocalyptic showdown as the more-or-less climax of the show, in the last episodes. Instead, we get the downfall of Kim Jung-seo and the ascendancy of Prince Su Yang’s faction, the imprisonment and almost-execution of the ML, here in eps 9-10, even before the halfway point! What’s left to do?! (Lots, obviously…just not sure where show is going with it).

One thing that this is bringing home in rather dramatized fashion (but other sageuk have done similarly) is just how bloody the factional infighting in the Joseon court could be. Some commentator here (Sean? BE? …don’t recall who it was) pointed out that over its lengthy five centuries, the Joseon dynasty really hamstrung itself by turning so much of its energy inward, toward factional strife. I don’t know that they were any more bloody than other dynasties and ruling elite in other times and places, but yeah, they were definitely up there, it seems.

As far as killing off all your brothers…I’m not sure if they would wipe out all their brothers, or just the ones they perceived as likely potential threats. For instance, even here, we see that Su Yang is definitely going out of his way to get rid of Prince An Pyeong, but it appears that he was more than willing to leave Geumseung alone, at least until he showed up to support the king when he stood up for the accused there at the end. (I went and checked the historical record for Sejong’s sons, and it appears that at least a couple of Su Yang’s full brothers, and a number of his half-brothers, survived well beyond this coup period. An Pyeong definitely got the axe, though).

Anyway…I mean, obviously Seung-yu is going to get out, somehow, and obviously our young couple is going to reconcile, somehow, but… it’s looking pretty grim at the moment!

(what is endgame, I’m wondering? Does one or both of our couple die, in keeping with the R+J motif? Do they fake their deaths and run away under assumed names to live happily ever after, more or less? Don’t tell me! I’m just musing out loud!).

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent, political strife and purges were a common occurrence in Joseon. I am surprised that the yangban class maintained high numbers well into the 19th century

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
1 month ago

These episodes were so intense! The young King deserves the MVP award for sparing the innocent prisoners’ lives, including Seung Yu’s. But SY’s ordeal is far from over.