Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Lots more goes down, this set of episodes, and I’ve got this moment headlining our post today, because it’s such a moment of relief, for both Seung Yu and Suk Joo – as well as for us viewers. 😅
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! ❤️
Well, for those of us who were wondering where this story could go (namely, me, heh), just based on where we’d ended up, it feels like Show is giving us its answer, by expanding its story world.
We actually move beyond the confines of the capital, and this feels like a smart move that gives us a lot of narrative possibilities, where before, it had felt like we were at a dead end, pretty much.
I like that, actually. Maybe more drama writers should experiment with expanding their story worlds? 🤔
It’s not surprising that Seung Yu doesn’t end up killing Se Ryeong, in grabbing her in a stranglehold like that – it’s completely believable that Myeon would have someone hovering close by, to make sure that Se Ryeong is safe.
What I find most surprising (and affecting) about this scene, is Se Ryeong’s response, when Seung Yu grabs her by the neck, and makes like he’s going to kill her, right then and there.
Instead of struggling to free herself like most people instinctively would, she lets him strangle her, and then afterwards, when Seung Yu declares that he will kill her, she basically tells him that he must do so, and that she will wait for the day when he does come to kill her.
Y’know, I’d wondered just how Seung Yu would ever come to accept Se Ryeong again, after what her father had done to him and his family, but.. this attitude of hers, might just be the key, I think.
On another note, I have to say that I really don’t appreciate the way Myeon’s stepping in and trying to grab Se Ryeong by the wrist, and insisting that he can’t let the woman he’s about to marry, wander around at night by herself.
Like, my goodness, does he not have a clue, as to how Se Ryeong feels right now – and specifically, how she feels about him right now, since he’d played a significant part in the downfall of Seung Yu and his family? 🙄
Or maybe he does have a clue, but still thinks that he’s entitled to her acceptance, because her father’s betrothed her to him?
Whatever it is, I’m not feeling too kindly towards Myeon right now, so I’m glad that Se Ryeong’s resisting his touch AND his interference.
I also wanted to say, on first viewing, I’d thought Myeon was extremely obtuse, to look so taken aback by Se Ryeong’s rejection, and then by Su Yang’s words, that Se Ryeong had saved Seung Yu by threatening to take her own life.
On second thought, I rationalize that most likely, Myeon hadn’t ever had a true grasp of the strength and depth of the feelings between Seung Yu and Se Ryeong.
I’m guessing that he’d thought of it as a passing attraction that he’d successfully nipped in the bud, by agreeing to work with Su Yang.
And so, it’s a shock and a blow to him, to realize that Se Ryeong’s so deeply in love with Seung Yu, because not only is he jealous about this, he’s realizing that it won’t be as easy as he’d thought – or easy at all – to get Se Ryeong to turn her heart towards him, even though they are now set to be married.
The only silver lining about Myeon’s actions, is that he goes to see Seung Yu while drunk, and tells Seung Yu that Se Ryeong had been willing to give up her life in order to save his.
Ahhh. Ok, this is important for Seung Yu to know, and he wouldn’t have known about it, perhaps ever, if Myeon hadn’t gone to see him, so I guess I should accord Myeon a brownie point for that.
I’m not surprised that Seung Yu appears unmoved, but hey, at least he knows now, and that’s the more important thing.
Another thing that gives me pause about Myeon, is how he says, so ruefully, that if Seung Yu’s father had killed Su Yang first, that their places would have been switched, and he would be the one in prison.
This is.. technically true, I suppose, and I can see why Myeon is able to convince himself that all he did was choose a side, and that this is just how the chips fell, in the end; that you have a choose a side, and there will always eventually be a winning and a losing side.
I don’t think that Kim Jong Seo would have killed Su Yang, because that feels like an underhanded way of going about things, and Kim Jong Seo gave me the “strictly above board” sort of vibe, so in that sense, I do think that Myeon’s off the mark.
But, I do see his point, theoretically speaking.
I’m glad that Se Ryeong manages to get help for Seung Yu’s sister-in-law and niece, because, 1, they really could use the help, given that Ah Gang appears to be sick, and 2, it gives Se Ryeong a way to ease her heart, knowing that she’s doing something to help Seung Yu’s family.
Meanwhile, Su Yang’s plan to eliminate Prince An Pyeong goes according to plan, but the plan to sink the boat that Seung Yu’s in, and kill everyone on board, goes less smoothly.
This portion of the show really is starting to give me action-adventure vibes, and our characters being out in the wild like that, does give me echoes of Chuno, since our characters in Chuno spent so much time out in the wild, as well.
I do like the detail, that Seung Yu isn’t actually interested in fighting for his life, but because he’s chained to his fellow prisoner (listed as Jo Suk Joo), he’s basically dragged to safety, almost against his will.
This makes narratives sense to me, because, as we’ve seen, Seung Yu’s more or less lost interest in living, after everything that has happened to him and his family.
And yet, we need him to survive this attempt on his life, because he’s our male lead, and we can’t lose him – this early in our story anyway. 😅
As we end off our episode, I’m somewhat gratified to see Seung Yu manage to kill Ham Gwi, the person who’d dealt his father the blow that had killed him.
Yes, it’s a stretch that Seung Yu would be able to resist the sword with literally his bare hands, and then still have hands with which to kill Ham Gwi, but I realize that with this show, it helps to close my eyes to some logic stretches.
And, thinking of it as an opera kinda helps?
I’m rather sorry to see the end of Choi Moo Sung (purely because I enjoy him as an actor, not because I think Ham Gwi ought to live), but I’m curious to see where Seung Yu’s survival-adventure takes him next.
Just because Seung Yu’s managed to kill Ham Gwi, doesn’t mean that his troubles on that island are over, and we spend a good chunk of this episode following his reluctant survival adventures on the island.
And, I find myself having to suspend disbelief around a few things, again.
Like, the way Seung Yu still has use of his hand, after wrestling with that bare blade, with just his palms.
Surely after something like that, he’d be bleeding profusely for a long time, and wouldn’t be able to casually take a rinse in the stream with Suk Joo, like we see him do, soon after killing Ham Gwi?
On an irreverent tangent, I have to confess to being quite distracted by the moobs on display, this episode.
They look.. unnaturally large? Almost like they’ve been surgically enhanced, or something. There’s just something about the proportions that’s throwing me off. Not only do we see them on Seung Yu, we also see them on Suk Joo as well.
And then there’s that random shirtless dude running around with them on the island as well, whose main job seems to be flashing his musculature, because he’s conveniently shirtless.
I do think it’s a sign of the times, since Show aired in 2011, which is when it was still de rigueur for male leads to serve up gratuitous shirtless scenes in every single drama, never mind whether the story actually called for said male leads to be shirtless.
All that to say, I was slightly distracted by all of this, while our fresh-off-the-boat temporary islanders are fighting for their lives, literally. 😅
I have to say, Suk Joo had me going there, for a while, with his whole act around chasing and killing Seung Yu.
But, it all turns out to be a ruse, to fake Seung Yu’s death, so that the Ham Gwi’s remaining men will leave the island, believing that their job is done.
Well. This does put Suk Joo in the category of Trustworthy Character for me, since he literally risks his life in order to save Seung Yu, even though he barely knows anything about Seung Yu.
Plus, afterwards, he brings Seung Yu to that gibang, so that Seung Yu can rest and recuperate from his wounds.
One of the few silver linings, this episode, is the glimpse that we get, that Gyeong Hye is likely softening towards Jong.
The way she looks at him has softened, and she seems to absorb more and more of the things that she’s seeing about him, like the way he speaks up for her and defends her, and the way he is protective of her.
And also, the way she picks up on his sadness, upon hearing that Seung Yu has died, feels important as well.
She doesn’t know what to say to him, right now, but the fact that she’s thinking about him, and looking concerned for him, is really good progress, I have to say.
It gives me hope that she really will come to appreciate Jong properly, and soon.
On a different note, I have to confess that I don’t actually feel sorry for Myeon, this episode, as he looks so disappointed about his future bride being withdrawn and reticent.
The way he goes about things, it’s almost like he thinks he’s only done a small wrong thing, and everyone is blowing things out of proportion.
I mean, just look at how he approaches Jong, and asks him to be an escort at his wedding, like he didn’t just participate in killing Seung Yu and his father.
It boggles my mind how Myeon could even ask that of Jong, after all that he’s done, particularly knowing how much Jong values friendship and loyalty.
I don’t begrudge Myeon making his political choice and standing by it; that’s his choice, after all. BUT, he has to realize that his choice comes with consequences, and he should be ready to bear those consequences.
Like, Jong not wanting to be his friend anymore, after he’s gone and killed Seung Yu and his family (as far as they know, anyway). And like, Se Ryeong not wanting anything to do with him, for the same reason.
So, I get that Myeon’s making an effort to give Se Ryeong some space, but dude’s got to realize that she’s not getting over something small, y’know?
Myeon gets a brownie point for taking Seung Yu’s sister-in-law and Ah Gang to a safe place, though he doesn’t get any points from me, for the way he manhandles Se Ryeong and forces her up on that horse, and then gets into her personal space, by riding behind her.
Still, I can see why Se Ryeong would soften towards him momentarily, and allow him to take her home, now that she’s seen that sister-in-law and Ah Gang are safe and sound, thanks to Myeon.
I can’t rolling my eyes at Myeon, though, for his poor-me stance, where he asks Se Ryeong just how long it’s going to take, for her to open up to him, because it’s so hard for him to see her turn her back to him.
Again. Myeon just doesn’t seem to grasp the gravity of what he’s done, particularly in her eyes.
And.. who should overhear this, but Seung Yu!!
My goodness, I have to confess that I’d thought that Suk Joo had brought Seung Yu to somewhere much further away, since the boat has supposedly passed Ganghwa and gone much farther beyond.
I’m quite surprised, really, that they’ve made their way back to the capital, especially since they’re supposed to be dead. Again, a slightly blurry logic lens, tinged with opera, helps.
And, I’m interested in seeing Seung Yu and Se Ryeong reconnect again, so it helps, that Seung Yu’s already back in the capital.
I’m very curious to know, actually, what Seung Yu had hoped to accomplish, in staking out Se Ryeong’s home.
Had he been waiting for her? If so, what had he planned to do; talk to her, or kill her?
Or, had he been waiting for Su Yang, in order to kill him?
What I kept thinking in these episodes: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
I think Park Si Hoo is doing a very good job with these more dramatic episodes, maybe more so than with his lighter-weighted character, pre-family deaths and perceived betrayal by Se Ryung. He’s really selling his despair and anger without being too OTT. Props.
It’s gratifying to read other viewer’s, uh, distraction with the moobs (thanks KFG for the just-right word.) I wasn’t alone! Not one to object to a view of well-defined male musculature, I was nonetheless so taken aback by some of the shirtless scenes, that I paused to google “Korean men’s physique 2011” to see if something specific was going on then. 😂
As KFG said, my “research” confirmed that bared torsos for the gratuitous gaze were indeed, the thing (and if you want to be quasi-intellectual about it, here’s an article from the Asia-Pacific Journal https://apjjf.org/2012/10/33/Stephen-Epstein/3807/article.html for further edification. 😉) Doesn’t completely address the bulging pecs, but to each his own.
And then, one thing led to another and I came across this 2009 commercial featuring the very young 2PM and their “chocolate abs”, referenced in the article – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFeSlo4f5T4.
My dramatic criticism contribution is done. Please enjoy.
@Leslie, thank you for the article on chocolate abs! It was a very edifying read.
As for Park Si Hoo, I like his intense scenes. They are emotional without being over the top. But I could not help but imagine Kim Nam Gil in the role. He would have been perfect as Kim Seung Yu. Alas, he was serving in the military at the time…
@Snow Flower, I didn’t know Kim Nam Gil, which only confirms what a relative kdrama newb I am. Looked him up and, yes, 😍. Can you recommend one of his dramas?
Queen Seondeok is a must, even though the last episodes (50-62) don’t make much sense. His character does not appear until Episode 21, so be patient. Other KNG dramas are Live Up To Your Name, The Fiery Priest, and Into The Darkness (the last one is about serial killers, so be warned)
His most famous recent works are Fiery Priest and Live up to Your Name. Fiery Priest is written by Vincenzo writers. I think they have a similar kind of comedy. I haven’t watched either dramas of his I mentioned though I trust at least his acting to be good in them since I love him as an actor from my most favorite kdrama where he got his breakthrough.
His breakthrough kdrama was the historical Queen Seon Deok from 2009. He’s not exactly the most important character, he even doesn’t appear til episode 21 (out of 62 episodes), but once he appears he became the favorite character of most viewers. Won’t say much but I will give an idea that his character is somewhere between the good and the villain characters. I want to put up a link of a video of him from the drama which has about 8 million views but it’s a very spoilery video. You can at least search for his picture from this drama Queen Seon Deok. And then as you go along and watch the future episodes of The Princess Man, you might get to understand more why some people imagine Kim Nam Gil in the role.
Forgot to mentioned Through the Darkness, only 12 episodes but he was good in it. This was the drama of Kim Nam Gil I watched (aside from Shark and Queen Seon Deok).
@Snow Flower, @Flowergirl, thanks for the recommendations. I’ll check them out.
Leslie — in addition to the dramas already mentioned, I believe Kim Nam-gil is starring in the upcoming fantasy/supernatural drama Island, starting in December and apparently available on Amazon prime video, of all places. (As far as I can tell, this is the show that was originally had Seo Ye-ji attached to star, until she hit her little rough patch in spring ’21, and they axed her and gave the project a light scrub. Now the FL is going to be Lee Da-hee, which, after watching Love is for Suckers, uh…yeah, okay, sure, I guess?)
Thanks, Trent. Prime Video, eh? 🤔
I must admit that eps 10 to 13 are not exactly my favourite. I don’t like the island interlude, it is far-fetched in many ways as several of you have noticed. I guess I really need those opera lens. But I’m glad Seung Yu is magically back in town so the OTP can have a chance at meeting again. And I like his new friend, who has already proved to be very valuable.
I think the well lit island scenes are not as much to depict the island realistically but more to help the audience. This is of course a show and they need to show the audience what the characters are doing. I read somewhere that the Titanic disaster for example happened at pitch black night however the movie was depicted to have some sort of light for the audience.
Thank you fangirlverdict so much for the recaps to help me remind of this great drama. I just rewatched this show a month ago (along with other Moon Chae Won dramas like Painter of the Wind, Innocent Man, Flower of Evil) and I had the biggest hangover from this show among the shows I watched.
I just discovered a video about the historical plausibility of the existence of the main couple of this show but since it might provide some spoilers I might comment the video on the last episode.
@kfangurl, I also thought that the shirtless scenes were too gratuitous. It makes sense that we get to see a couple of shirtless guys. They are prisoners dressed in only their underwear, and, given the circumstances, losing a shirt while swimming or running through the woods is not that unusual. What I thought was distracting was that these characters were imprisoned, probably tortured, and not well fed, yet they still looked like they stepped out of a commercial for body wash for men. But this is where the opera lens comes in handy, so I am not complaining too much.
Wow, yeah, so as I said last episodes, I wasn’t sure where show was going to go with more than half its length left and the main factional fight seemingly already resolved. So of course we have a little addition of action and derring-do.
(I confess, in addition to the plethora of inflated pectoral muscles, I also kept getting distracted by how disturbingly well-lighted that island seemed to be at night. Like, have any of the writers ever tried to actually wander around a forest at night? It’s dark! You will not be having any sort of feasible sword fights! I mean, unless your forest is as well lit up as that one was…)
Anyway, so now it looks like in addition to the R+J tribute, maybe we’re going to get a little bit of Count of Monte Cristo homage? (not the whole “decade in prison” part, of course, but the revenge part? Although hmmm, Kim Seung-yu is probably too well-known/too recognizable to come back as a different nobleman in disguise. Anyway… Revenge!)
I also agree that Myeong seems more than a little delusional about where he stands in relation to Se-ryeung. He’s all like, “bygones…no need to dwell on the recent unpleasantness, now past, is there?”. Meanwhile, Se-ryeung’s very much in the “touch me and I will cut you” headspace (or well, at least, that’s what I’m projecting on her, because that’s what I’d be thinking, for sure, if I were her). Interestingly, her father seems to be similarly oblivious, to a degree, at least, about how quickly she will/should recover and fall in line, now that the issue has been “resolved” with KSY passing “out of sight, out of mind.”
So I can’t imagine show is going to want to keep our central pairing separated for too long. How will they come back face to face, what will be the outcome, and where will they go from there?
I’m glad I’m not the only one who wondered how they got to the capital so quickly….I somehow thought that they were at some other island that was known to Suk Joo (who I think it going to be instrumental going forward as a Friend of Seung Yu). In fact, the whole boat scenes had a sense of disorientation and confusion – maybe what they were going for.