Open Thread: The Princess’s Man Episodes 19 & 20

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! We finally get a proper OTP reconciliation, which is cause for celebration, especially given how angsty Show has been of late, which is why this moment is headlining our post today.

Just 2 more weeks, you guys!

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 19

One of the things I appreciate about Show, is that it doesn’t feel predictable.

Of course, this is with the caveat that I am watching this purely as entertainment, and didn’t look up historical records in order to see where our story’s parameters lay.

Because I don’t have any preconceived ideas of how our story is going to unfold, Show’s journey through its various plot points feels quite fresh and daring.

It feels like Show dares to go farther than most dramas would, and yet, it doesn’t feel like it ever risks writing itself into a corner, with nowhere else to go. It always feels like Show knows what it’s doing, even when we can’t imagine where it will take us next.

That’s how I feel, this episode.

I somehow wasn’t prepared for Seung Yu coming face to face with Myeon, even though, when I think about it, it’s something that would have happened sooner or later.

I guess I just feel that Seung Yu would be safer in the shadows, where people don’t know that he’s alive, so it feels a more than a little risky, that he unveils himself to Myeon like that.

And it does end up putting him more danger, like I’d conjectured, because Myeon reports  to Su Yang, pretty much right away, that Seung Yu is alive. And of course, the moment Seung Yu’s on Su Yang’s radar, he’s no longer safe.

Su Yang’s now intent on finding Seung Yu, even if he has to torture the information out of Teacher Lee and Jong, eep.

One of the most affecting moments this episode, for me, is the scene where Teacher Lee, Jong and all the other men who were detained for making an attempt on Su Yang’s life, refuse to acknowledge him as King, and instead, choose to die, while crying out to the previous King, that they will only ever see him as sovereign.

There’s so much passion and courage in these men, that I can’t help but be moved by their willingness to die, in order to make a point in history.

And then later, when Seung Yu comes to rescue them, they all refuse to be rescued, because they believe that their deaths would make more of a difference, than if they were to stay alive.

Woah. That’s a huge statement, and I honestly don’t know if I could do the same, if I were in their shoes.

It’s no wonder Seung Yu is so torn up about their refusal to leave; he’s so close to saving them, and yet, it’s so impossible at the same time, because they won’t be saved. I can only imagine how Seung Yu must feel, in this moment. 😭

This episode, I’m glad for Suk Joo, who ends up functioning as Seung Yu’s common sense, and keeping him safe and alive, when Seung Yu’s not able to think straight on his own.

I’m pretty sure that if Suk Joo hadn’t insisted on going to Hanseongbu with Seung Yu, that Seung Yu would have gone alone, and possibly died in the process – which is why he’d attempted to leave Sister-in-law and Ah Gang in Suk Joo’s care, before going.

And then, of course, there’s how Suk Joo has to literally drag Seung Yu out of Hanseongbu, with No Gul’s help. If he hadn’t done that, I’m sure there’s no way Seung Yu would have brought himself to leave.

Which means that again, Suk Joo saves Seung Yu’s life. He really is a good friend, isn’t he?

As a silver lining, we do get a measure of reconciliation between Seung Yu and Se Ryeong, this episode.

When we begin the episode, Seung Yu’s still holding her at arm’s length, but by the end of the episode, the wistfulness on his part, towards her, is much more distinct.

In that sense, I do feel like Show’s handling of Seung Yu’s softening towards Se Ryeong, in spite of how her father had killed his, is quite believable and organic.

I can believe that with all that’s happened, with Se Ryeong showing time and time again, that she cares about him and his safety, and wants to protect him, even if it means putting her own life in danger, that Seung Yu would eventually come around.

I do love that moment when Se Ryeong’s brought Seung Yu, Suk Joo and No Gul safely into Hanseongbu, and makes to say goodbye to Seung Yu, presumably for good.

The way he holds her back, when she turns to leave; the way he asks plaintively, if she will be ok; the way she assures that she will be fine, and that her heart will be with him, even though she cannot be with him.

The way she holds his hand with both of hers, as a final goodbye, before she turns and walks away, for possibly the last time.

In this moment, they both believe that this is the very last time they will see each other, and it’s all very poignant and stirring; I feel that their mutual care and longing for each other, is coming through very distinctly as well.

I appreciate that Se Ryeong continues to try to do what she can, to stop Su Yang in his tracks, even though the chances that he would listen to her, are slim.

The thing that strikes me about their conversation, is how Se Ryeong tells Su Yang that the fact that he’s her father, torments her.

That feels like such a poignant yet ironic echo of the past, because it really wasn’t that long ago, that Se Ryeong had told him, that she was really happy that he’s her father.

How things have changed, and how their relationship has changed, in that short span of time, forever.

To Su Yang’s credit, he does tear at this, and look sorrowful about how things have turned out, even though I don’t believe that he would have done anything differently, even if he’d known how things would have come to this, between them, in the end.

Also in the vein of giving credit, I just wanted to give Myeon a bit of credit, because he does clear out Hanseongbu of guards, in order to facilitate Seung Yu’s rescue of Teacher Lee and Jong.

In fact, I was rather surprised to see how upset he gets, when he realizes that Teacher Lee and Jong are still in the cells, and were not rescued, after all.

For all of Myeon’s faults, I do believe that he cares about his friends, and doesn’t actually want them to die.

How he deals with his values and decisions is another matter, but in this issue, at least, I genuinely believed that he’d wanted Seung Yu to succeed in breaking Teacher Lee and Jong out of prison.

I’m honestly just so relieved, though, that in the end, Gyeong Hye manages to save Jong.

It’s very touching, really, that she would be willing to submit to Su Yang, in exchange for Jong’s life.

For Gyeong Hye, whom we’ve known to be a prideful and principled person from the beginning, this is a huge concession; it really shows how important Jong has become, to her.

That scene where she comes to pick Jong up off the ground, and asks him to live, for her sake, is so very affecting, as is the way Jong looks at her and tells her that just for today, he hates her.

Augh. AUGH. This is quite possibly the best scene so far, in this show. SO good, because it shows us so clearly, how much these two people love each other and understand each other.

Even in his resentment towards Gyeong Hye for not allowing him to die, he recognizes that he doesn’t actually hate her, and that’s why he tells that he just for today, he hates her. Isn’t that so poignantly bittersweet? 🥲

It’s sad that they will be exiled, but I’m just so relieved that Jong gets to live, that I can’t begrudge Show the exile.

As we end off the episode, Seung Yu’s got his heart set on continuing the mission to remove Su Yang from the throne.

I can understand his determination to do so, since his comrades had entrusted the mission to him, before their executions. But.. this doesn’t bode well, does it, since Seung Yu is once again a lone operator, without their support? 😬

And, Se Ryeong’s move, to cut ties with Su Yang does take me by surprise, not because it doesn’t jive with her character, because it does.

I think Show’s been hinting for a while now, that Se Ryeong might actually leave the palace, in favor of living as a commoner, because she doesn’t believe that she is the rightful princess.

I guess I’m just surprised that she would announce it formally, and cut off her hair, to seal it. Now it feels so.. final, as she tells Su Yang that she’s cutting ties with him, and leaving the palace.

Again, this is not something that I saw coming – at least, not in this exact form – so I’m happily curious to see where Show takes us next, even as I hope that our remaining good guy characters (ie, the ones who aren’t on Su Yang’s side) get to live. 😅

Episode 20

This was another whirlwind of an episode, where I was legitimately surprised by where Show takes us, by the end. Really good, honestly.

Su Yang’s clearly flummoxed by Se Ryeong’s declaration that she’s cutting ties with him, but, as we see later in the episode, he doesn’t take her too seriously.

Based on his actions later in the episode, I feel like he thinks she’s going through a phase, and will come around eventually, which is why he continues to keep tabs on her, and still treats Myeon as his future son-in-law.

Se Ryeong’s dead serious about it, however, and goes straight to Gyeong Hye to tell her about this new direction in her life, but mainly, to apologize about what’s happened to the former King, because of her father.

On that note, I have to say that I am glad that the friendship between Gyeong Hye and Se Ryeong has been restored.

At the beginning of our story, they had been so happy spending time together, and then it had been so hard to see their bond fall apart, because of Su Yang’s political ambition.

It’s taken some time, but now, we can see that Gyeong Hye’s fully reconciled with Se Ryeong, and now trusts her implicitly. That’s one of the bright spots for me, in a story world where there are more angsty times than happy times.

Their goodbye feels bittersweet and poignant, because, just as their friendship and sisterhood has been restored, they’re now being forced to say goodbye, because Gyeong Hye is about to go into exile with Jong. 😭

I do love how earnestly Gyeong Hye tells Se Ryeong that as long as they survive, they will eventually meet again.

At this point, it’s hard to say if that wish will come true, but for now, it’s enough for me that Gyeong Hye wishes it so sincerely. 🥲

I feel the same about Gyeong Hye’s goodbye meeting with her brother the former King.

It’s so sad, really, because they are so dear to each other, and barely have any family left in the world but for each other, and yet, they are being forced apart, because they are both being exiled to different locations.

When I think about where they’d been when we’d started our story, I really feel for them, for where they now find themselves, all because of Su Yang’s political ambition, upon their father’s death.

Instead of being surrounded by people who support them, they will now be exiled to remote locations. Gyeong Hye will at least have Jong, but the former King will be alone.

What a lonely fate, for someone so young, yes? 😭

I don’t know how much hope to put in Gyeong Hye’s words to him, that they will meet again, and that she would send good news, at the right time, but at least it gives them something to hold onto?

I’m glad that Seung Yu goes to see Jong and Gyeong Hye off, because, 1, it’s so great to see them smile together, even if for just a brief moment, and 2, it gives Gyeong Hye the chance to tell him that Se Ryeong’s left the palace, and is at Seungbeopsa Temple.

..Which, of course, is where he heads to immediately, because he’s way more concerned for Se Ryeong than he would generally like to admit, at least at the moment.

The reunion is full of feeling on both sides, but I have to admit that my first reaction, when Seung Yu comes up behind Se Ryeong and reaches out to touch her hair like that, I felt like if I were in Se Ryeong’s shoes, I would’ve jumped out of my skin.

I mean, she’s standing there by herself, expecting to be alone in that place, and then the next thing she knows, she feels someone touching her hair? 😅

I feel like the only reason she doesn’t jump out of her skin, is because this is kdrama, and this is supposed to be an emotional, romantic moment. 😅

I really do like the strong note of mutual empathy in this scene, with Seung Yu showing empathy for what Se Ryeong’s going through, and Se Ryeong replying that it’s nothing compared to what he has gone through.

This gives me true love vibes, because isn’t true love (well, part of it anyway) about putting the other person’s needs above your own?

I also appreciate that Seung Yu tells Se Ryeong to go back to the palace, not because of any other reason, but that he thinks it would be the safest thing for her to do.

I like even more, that Se Ryeong gently but firmly stands her ground, by simply telling him that she’s grateful that he’d come to see her.

And again on the note of putting the other person’s needs about your own, Se Ryeong demonstrates that again, when Yeo Rim comes running with the news that Myeon is about to arrive, and Se Ryeong urges Seung Yu to leave, because she wouldn’t be able to bear if, if he were to get captured again.

Honestly, the way Se Ryeong puts herself out there, in order to protect Seung Yu, is very touching to witness, so I’m not surprised that when Myeon’s left, Seung Yu can’t help but take her by the hand, and make to leave, together with her.

What a significant milestone, that Seung Yu would declare, out loud, that it doesn’t matter if it puts him in danger; he wants her to go with him anyway.

Wow. All that pent-up yearning and emotion is coming out to play now, and I have to admit, it’s quite swoony. 🤩

It’s pretty nice to see Se Ryeong start to settle down at Bingokgwan, despite the misgivings of the other girls there, mainly because this way, she’s no longer alone.

Plus, it’s also really heartwarming to see her reunited with Sister-in-law and Ah Gang. 🥰 And, it’s also nice to see the shy looks that Seung Yu and Se Ryeong steal with each other, like when she tells him that she can’t believe that she’s there, with him.

But.. No Gul turns into our convenient blabbermouth of an exposition fairy this episode, and tells everyone about Se Ryeong being the Princess, at what feels like every opportunity.

I feel like everyone is pretty darn forgiving of his complete lack of secret-keeping ability, because if I were Seung Yu, or Suk Joo, I would’ve kicked him out by now, for being such a weak link.

Thanks to No Gul’s blabbering, everyone at Bingokgwan finds out that Se Ryeong is the Princess – including Sister-in-law, who goes into momentary shock, from learning the truth.

I have to admit that I was slightly thrown by this, because I’d forgotten that Sister-in-law only knew Se Ryeong as a kind, noble young lady, and had accepted her help without knowing that Se Ryeong is actually Su Yang’s daughter. 😅

I’m glad that Sister-in-law manages to process her reaction pretty quickly, and come to a place of truce, with Se Ryeong, because I would’ve hated for their friendship to have been broken.

I’m also glad that Seung Yu and Se Ryeong manage to spend some meaningful alone time together, which I feel like they sorely need, because all they’ve been doing for a long time, is just work to stay alive.

It’s nice to see Seung Yu reach out and start massaging Se Ryeong’s arm, because he knows that she’s been working hard to earn her keep at Bingokgwan, and it’s not something that she’s used to.

I like this overtly thoughtful side to Seung Yu very well, and I actually hope we get to see more of it, though I don’t know how feasible that would be, given where we are in our story, with just a few more episodes to go.

And how telling, that the first thing Se Ryeong does, is ask him if he’d really slept sitting on a sword. Again, her concern for him is so strong, you just know that she truly cares for him more than she cares for herself.

The fact that Seung Yu opens up and tells Se Ryeong how he hadn’t been able to trust anyone, feels like a significant thing, because it feels like something very personal to him.

I’m glad that when Se Ryeong offers him her shoulder to rest on, he takes it, and finally manages to sleep soundly, in a long time.

This idea that he feels safe in her presence, enough to fully let go of his fears, and just rest, is quite an affecting one, and it just reinforces the idea that these two belong together.

The way Se Ryeong reaches out to straighten Seung Yu’s clothes, when he leaves with Suk Joo the next day, and the way he holds her hand and smiles at her, is testament to how their relationship has been fully healed and restored, which is very nice to see.

And I echo the sentiments of the other girls watching, that these two really do come across as a married couple, with the way she tells him to go safely and without worry, because she’ll be waiting for him to come back.

Elsewhere, I’m getting nervous about Jong getting involved in more efforts to reinstate the former King.

I mean, he barely escaped with his life, with that last attempt; this new thing makes me fear for his life all over again, and I’m getting the sinking feeling that if he presses on with this, he won’t be able to survive our story. 😭 I really, really, really hope that I’m wrong about this. 😬

And then, just as I mentioned earlier, No Gul the Hapless Blabbermouth, goes and tells Gong Chil Goo, in a drunken fit, that the Princess is at Bingokgwan – which is how Myeon and his men end up storming Bingokgwan in search of her.

Instinctively, I just want to bonk No Gul’s head against the wall, so that he passes out and therefore won’t be able to leak any more secrets, but I get that with limited screen time left and a good chunk of story to tell, Show is just using him to hurry things along. Fine, fine, FINE. 🤨

And that’s how, as Seung Yu’s out making connections and gathering ammunition for another plan to oust Su Yang from the throne (again, making me nervous here), Se Ryeong ends up going back to the palace, because that’s the only way to keep the folks at Bingokgwan safe.

I’m not surprised that Se Ryeong, with her unique brand of velvet and steel, continues to stand her ground about wanting to cut ties with her father.

What does surprise me, is how Su Yang finally responds, declaring that since she is set on it, she is henceforth no long the Princess – but Myeon’s slave (the subs say servant, but the dialogue says 노비 (nobi), which means slave).

That’s something that I totally didn’t see coming. In my mind, Se Ryeong cutting ties with her father meant leaving the palace and getting to live her own life.

But I hadn’t factored in that Su Yang would be able to declare her a slave, upon her departure from the palace.

Yikes. Where will we go from here, I wonder..?

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uyen
2 months ago

I felt that they had less time together in the beginning, but I love the moments we’re having now because they know exactly who each other are and there’s a lot of shared grief and understanding, yet they still choose each other in spite of everything! We went from “I will kill you myself/I will gladly die by your hands” to this and I was doubtful about how the transition would be but I’m quite glad we passed that mark.

SO happy about Jong — also one of my fav scenes. Also heartbroken about Teacher and that moment with Seung Yu saying goodbye

Flowergirl
Flowergirl
2 months ago

Fangirlverdict, you have to check this website https://hausofkpop.com/open-thread-the-princesss-man-episodes-19-20/ , it has almost the exact same words as your recap here.

j3ffc
j3ffc
2 months ago

No Gul no good. Although I gotta love “exposition fairy” and am still on the Suk Joo fan train.

Totally taken aback by Su Yang’s choice of punishment for Se Yeong, as apparently was Myeon. (Hate to criticize actors, but for such a morally conflicted and interesting character, I have found this portrayal a little two-dimensional.)

Have not checked out the spoilery historical record, but looking forward to seeing how this goes next. Overall, this has been such a solid watch, given that I am not Mr. Saeguk; I may even jump into another sooner than later (thinking about “Umbrella”).

Trent
2 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Yeah, Myeon’s main indication that he is feeling morally conflicted is to look really grumpy, like maybe he’s suppressing an upset stomach or something. Since he looks that way most of the time, hard to tell.

I would give Umbrella the strongest possible recommendation, even though I think it is very different from this show in style, tone, even subject matter. I’m not generally big on saeguk either, although I’ve gradually warmed up to them, but Umbrella turned out to be way more watchable than I was expecting it to be.

Leslie
Leslie
2 months ago

I, too, thought the scene between Gyeong Hye and Jong was one of the best so far. His resolve to die, honorably and with impact, meets head on the love from the princess that he’s been yearning for. It was such a mature interaction between two people who have had a tough time connecting. I’ll hate you today for denying me the honor of death, but tomorrow I will love you with all my being to honor a life of love made possible by you. Swoon.

Last edited 2 months ago by Leslie
Snow Flower
Snow Flower
2 months ago

Speaking of historical record, the Six Martyred Ministers really existed. Younger versions of the same characters were also in Tree With Deep Roots.

j3ffc
j3ffc
2 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I liked the various comments to Su Yang and his cronies to the effect of “how will you ever be able to meet King Sejong in the afterlife.” It has more impact with the knowledge that some of these characters might have actually known him.

Trent
2 months ago

We’re gliding into the home stretch!

I agree that Seung-yu revealing himself to Myeong has to be for dramatic effect, because otherwise it’s just stupid, and I prefer not to think our protagonist is that dumb 🤔🤨

Also, tall dumb guy at the courtesan house (No-gul?), if he didn’t have the high-power plot-exposition armor, whew. Not only is he kind of cowardly, after the first time he blabbered to the wrong person, someone should frankly have cut his throat and dumped him in the river or something (I’m being a little bloodthirsty, but man, he was just ridiculous the way he was broadcasting state secrets far and wide).

Also, as usual, I’m going to be That Guy, but… being made Myeong’s slave. I mean, we know the reality of what more often than not faced young pretty slaves in a noble household, right? I assume her father knows this; surely he is not so naïve as to imagine that Myeong is going to be an upright moral Confucian gentleman? (maybe he would be…but given Myeong’s various self-pitying comments along the lines of “when are you finally going to open your heart to me,” I wouldn’t bet on it). So, Suyang is really punishing his wayward daughter here (I do feel like he has consistently misread her resolve and not given much weight to her stated views, although he’s not the only one).

Four more episodes; still not sure where our characters finally end up (although based on the historical record, I’m relatively confident about a couple of them. Se-ryeong and Seung-yu aren’t really in the historical record though).

Flowergirl
Flowergirl
2 months ago
Reply to  Trent

It’s more like Seryung and Seung Yoo’s existence is debatable whether real or not. I did some research. In the 1800s there was a private document that appeared, it was written as a historical record. The record stated about Grand Prince Suyang’s daughter having a relationship with Kim Jong Seo grandson. However, it’s not an official historical document, so their love story is debated. There is some official documents that gives a clue about this daughter of Suyang. In an earlier record (cant remember if it’s King Sejong or his wife’s death record), it mentioned about Grand Prince Suyang having 2 daughters and one son (I think the second son was still too young or wasnt born yet to be included in this record). A later record of King Sejo (Suyang king name) however mentioned about him having only 1 daughter in addition to 2 sons. This is in line with the episode we are currently in of Seryung cutting her ties plus her father demoting her. I want to the video of where I learned of this but that video contained some spoilers.
will post that vid on episode 24 comment section

Trent
2 months ago
Reply to  Flowergirl

Ah, that’s good to know, thank you for the more detailed information! I should preface all of my “the historical record says” comments with a warning: “…according to the Wikipedia entry.” (In this case, the Wikipedia article on King Sejo mentions an older daughter “Uiryeong” as “disputed”).

Although I don’t think he’s even been mentioned in our story, Suyang’s second son (with his first wife; he had three? others with concubines) would have been pretty young (born 1450, so around 3 or so?). That second son is the one that eventually succeeded him on the throne, although he only lasted a little more than a year…

Flowergirl
Flowergirl
2 months ago
Reply to  Trent

The second son didnt appear in the drama but I remember a later episode mentioned him. Can’t remember which.