Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I thought the lighting was so beautifully done in this shot of Seung Yu with his sword, which is why it’s headlining our post today. How very artful, yes? 🤩
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. After Se Ryeong literally takes an arrow for him, it’s no wonder that Seung Yu spends much of this episode in a cloud of confused angst.
I’m sure he can’t decide whether he hates her (because she’s the daughter of his enemy, and because she’d lied to him) or loves her (because he does, doesn’t he, and just hasn’t admitted it to himself yet).
For a hot second, I was worried that the men pulling Seung Yu away from Se Ryeong, were Su Yang’s men, ready to arrest him and throw him into prison again.
BUT, it’s actually Suk Joo and No Geol, who’ve clearly followed him there, presumably to make sure that he doesn’t get into trouble, or well, get himself killed.
Thank goodness for them, honestly, because if they hadn’t been there to drag Seung Yu away, Seung Yu would’ve definitely been hauled into prison again, and this time, how would he possibly escape death, right?
I did get a slight kick out of the idea that Suk Joo’s basically always hauling Seung Yu to safety, while Seung Yu’s not at all cooperative, and basically functions like a big lump of clay or something, heh.
Poor Suk Joo, he’s Seung Yu’s reluctant knight in shining armor. 😁
While this turn of events does separate Seung Yu and Se Ryeong, it does seem like a good thing, since Se Ryeong’s wounded and needs to recuperate, and shouldn’t be hiding out in random storehouses like she’s been doing, while being held captive by Seung Yu.
Also, Se Ryeong’s mother seems to have been genuinely worried sick about her, so it feels like a good thing, that Se Ryeong comes back home, because that at least helps to give Mom some peace of mind.
I’m side-eyeing Myeon, however, because while his furrowed brow suggests that he’s worried about Se Ryeong too, I’m kind of taken aback, that when he hears that Se Ryeong’s regained consciousness, he opts not to visit her, so that he can channel his efforts towards finding her kidnapper instead.
I mean.. yes, I can see why he would be keen to find the person who had abducted Se Ryeong and put her in danger, but if he’s so concerned about her, surely he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from rushing to see her, once he hears that she’s finally woken up from her dead faint?
The other thing that makes me shake my head at Myeon, this episode, is how he allows himself to be persuaded that Jong needs to be arrested, for conspiring to kill Su Yang, but then gets all upset, when he realizes that Jong had only agreed to be an escort at his wedding, in order to facilitate the plan to kill Su Yang.
The thing that really throws me, is how Myeon appears to be genuinely upset with Jong for this, like he sincerely doesn’t see anything wrong with his own actions, even though he’s literally escorting Jong back to the palace, where he will be in mortal danger.
Myeon’s blinders are really, really strong, is all I can say. His double standards are huge, and his pity party tendencies are strong. Neither of which are things that endear him to me, honestly.
That said, the silver lining about Jong being arrested, is that Gyeong Hye’s feelings for him become more pronounced.
I suppose there’s nothing quite like your husband being threatened for his life, that will get you to quickly realize how important he is to you, after all?
The way Gyeong Hye gets tears in her eyes and tells Jong that she won’t let them take him, and the way Jong looks at her, with such tenderness in his gaze, holds her hand, and tells her to stay there, because he will come home to her soon.
And then, there’s also the way Gyeong Hye reaches for Jong’s sleeve, to express her desire for him to stay.
Augh. That feels like so much, coming from Gyeong Hye, who’d shown so little interest in being married to Jong, to begin with.
Plus, there’s the way Jong turns around and touches Gyeong Hye on the cheek, so that he can wipe away her tears. AUGH.
After Jong leaves, there’s also how Gyeong Hye doesn’t sleep, but sits at his desk and fingers his books, as if doing that will make her feel closer to him, somehow.
There are real feelings between these two, and it’s so bittersweet to see those feelings come to the surface, only because of these dire circumstances.
There’s also how Gyeong Hye goes to Su Yang, later in the episode, and gets down on her knees to beg him to spare Jong and Grand Prince Geum Seong.
Given how proud Gyeong Hye’s shown herself to be, from the very beginning, this is a profound demonstration of her care and her desperation, I feel.
Elsewhere, I can understand Se Ryeong starting to recalibrate her view of her father, after what Seung Yu’s told her about how her father had been behind the sinking of the boat to Ganghwa, in order to eliminate his enemies while under the pretext of sending them into exile.
It is a betrayal of her trust, after all, since Su Yang has willfully given Se Ryeong the impression that he’s been magnanimous in saving Seung Yu from execution, when in reality, he’s been trying to get Seung Yu killed in other ways.
I can understand why Se Ryeong would confront him about this, while still keeping Seung Yu’s identity as her abductor a secret.
It’s because she can’t not say anything about it to her father, since it’s such a world-tilting reveal, and at the same time, she doesn’t want to put Seung Yu in danger of losing his life, all over again.
And, since Se Ryeong’s agreement to marry Myeon had been in exchange for Seung Yu’s life, I can see why Se Ryeong now feels that this promise is void. If her father didn’t keep his end of the bargain, then why should she, right?
It’s her way of making a stand with her father, and showing that she will not be a chess piece in his schemes.
I’m also glad that she doesn’t mince her words and tells Myeon, the minute she sees him, that she isn’t going to marry him.
Because I’m not feeling too kindly towards Myeon, I have to admit that I felt a stab of satisfaction at him being rejected by Se Ryeong like that. 😛
I feel really sorry for our young King, because he must feel so helpless, as he watches his uncle kill so many people, under the guise of being a righteous councilor.
Now that both Jong and Grand Prince Geum Seong are in danger of being killed next, I can see why he would come to the conclusion that the only way to save them, and stop Su Yang from killing more people, is to cede the throne to him.
On the upside, it does save their lives, and we do see Jong return home safely to Gyeong Hye, but honestly, I’m not so sure that Su Yang would actually stop killing people.
I mean, don’t many kings, er, take pains to prune their fleet of ministers, in order to stabilize their positions of power, once they ascend the throne? 😅
It’s sad to see everyone so torn up about the young King giving up his throne, and at the same time, it’s sickening to see how gleeful Su Yang’s cronies are, at the prospect of him ascending the throne.
As a silver lining to this development, Seung Yu finally reveals himself to Jong, and their reunion is really emotional and heartfelt.
Guh. It was really good to see these two friends together again, and feeling a sense of peace and assurance, in each other’s company.
As we end off the episode, it looks like Jong’s words to Seung Yu, during their drinking session, about being a hidden enemy, have given him fresh drive and direction.
It looks like he plans to ninja his way around all of Su Yang’s cronies, and assassinate them, one by one..?
I suppose that’s an interesting direction to take, in that it gets Seung Yu closer to his ultimate revenge goal, even as Su Yang readies to become King.
It does make me wonder, however, how Seung Yu plans to eventually get to Su Yang. After all, security for the King is a whole lot tighter than the security for a Grand Prince..?
..And yes, it does look like Seung Yu’s been newly inspired to be a shadow revenge assassin, by killing the people who had been responsible for his father’s death – and then leaving his father’s pen name behind, in blood. 😬
It’s pretty dark, but at the same time, in this world and in this situation, it feels like Seung Yu’s actions are justified, particularly since Su Yang’s cronies have been especially gleeful, at his successful acquisition of the throne.
My gut just wants someone to punish them for taking so much pleasure in the downfall – and deaths! – of the people who were in their way.
And also, my gut also wants someone to stop them from laughing so heartily, and congratulating themselves so smugly.
The way they start talking to Su Yang as if he’s the King, addressing him as “Your Majesty,” and using royal-speak with him, even before he’s actually accepted the royal seal, is really quite aggravating to watch.
In fact, through all of this, it’s actually quite interesting to see that Su Yang himself seems the most sobered, out of them all. It seems like he’s the only one among them, who is actually cognizant of the blood they’ve had to shed, in order to get this far.
..Which makes me think that Su Yang has a conscience, after all.
He may have many ways to convince himself and others, that he’s only doing what is right and needful, but it does appear that when it comes down to it, he’s not completely ignorant of the darkness that he’s leaned into, to achieve his goal.
Likewise, there’s a sobered expression on Seung Yu’s face, not too dissimilar from the one on Su Yang’s face, even as he cleans the blood off his sword.
This tells me that Seung Yu isn’t exactly taking any kind of pleasure from killing his enemies.
He seems fully aware that in pursuing his revenge, he’s leaning into the dark side, and that doesn’t seem to be what he naturally wants, either.
But, this revenge is also something that he can’t ignore; he feels duty-bound to seek (rogue) justice for his father, who had died such an unjust death.
I think that’s why he uses his father’s pen name as his assassin signature, even though it could point investigators in his direction. I think it’s important to him, that people know that these deaths are punishment, bestowed on behalf of Kim Jong Seo.
Ironically, this is the thing that accelerates Su Yang officially accepting the throne and becoming King.
I say ironic, because it looks like Su Yang would have taken more time to accept the throne, in order to appear more politically correct, if he hadn’t decided that his life was in danger, outside the palace.
It’s really so poignant, to see the young ex-king leave the palace, while Su Yang takes the throne. He looks so worried and sad, as a general rule, and yet, it feels like he doesn’t have a real choice about this, if he wants to keep people alive.
That scene where he is met by Gyeong Hye and Jong, is so poignant and bittersweet.
Gyeong Hye’s so heartbroken at what her brother has had to do, and is doing her best to put on a brave face for him, while Jong looks so sorry, grateful and helpless, all at the same time, because his life was saved by the abdication.
Elsewhere, I have to wonder whether Suk Joo’s words to Seung Yu, that he should forget about revenge, and just run away with Se Ryeong, are actually giving Seung Yu food for thought.
I mean, it does seem like the most viable way for our romance to actually work out, given the circumstances.
At the same time, the way Seung Yu declares that what Suk Joo describes sounds like a dream, doesn’t give me a great deal of hope, that Seung Yu’s actually considering this as a possibility.
Meanwhile, it doesn’t look like Se Ryeong has any intention of becoming a Princess – although Su Yang’s ascension to the throne does make this show’s title take on a new shade of meaning.
In the beginning, Seung Yu had been set to marry Gyeong Hye, and that is what had made him “The Princess’s Man.” But it’s Se Ryeong who had truly won his heart, and now that her father has become King, Seung Yu’s “The Princess’s Man,” in a whole new way.
I thought that was pretty neat.
On another note, I have to say that I equal parts surprised and moved, by Seung Yu’s meeting with Teacher Lee, at Jong’s residence.
I’d assumed that Seung Yu’s survival would be kept a secret, except from Jong, so it was a little startling, to see Teacher Lee come upon Seung Yu, as he’s talking to Jong.
The emotional reaction of Teacher Lee, accompanied by Jong’s tears, as Jong stands silently by, is such an affecting sight, honestly.
I love how much Teacher Lee genuinely cares, and how grateful he is, that Seung Yu is alive.
Unfortunately, Teacher Lee’s ideology now seems so different from Seung Yu’s, as he tells Seung Yu to give up on his revenge.
I know that Teacher Lee has a good point too, that he just wants Seung Yu to stay safe, but it also feels like he can suggest this, because he hasn’t walked in Seung Yu’s shoes and seen and experienced the horrors that Seung Yu has.
I am not surprised that Seung Yu tells Teacher Lee to go on his path, while he walks his own way. It’s quite sad, actually, to see that – at this point in time anyway – they care about each other so much, but yet, can’t see themselves walking on the same path.
As we round off the episode, it feels like everything comes together quite perfectly, for Seung Yu and Se Ryeong to meet again.
First, there’s how Gong Chil Gu decides that he needs to get Myeon involved, to teach Suk Joo a lesson, for “stealing” his men.
And of course, Myeon is intrigued by Gong Chil Gu’s claim that there’s a survivor from the Ganghwa boat sinking, at the location he’s going to bring him to.
On top of this, Se Ryeong’s made her way to Maponaru instead of getting ready for her royal installation, and I’m preetty sure that her entire reason for going there, is to look for Seung Yu.
..Which is how she ends up being the one to pull Seung Yu aside, out of Myeon’s line of sight.
Ahhh! Seung Yu and Se Ryeong are finally face to face again!
And, unlike the last time, this time, Seung Yu knows that Se Ryeong is for him, and not against him.
I’m really curious to see how he responds to her now.
Like, will he start to think about the suggestions from Suk Joo and Teacher Lee, to forget about his revenge, and live a normal life, with the woman he loves?