Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! We’re at our penultimate week, you guys, and things are looking tough for, well, everyone. 😬 But this was a legitimate moment of sweetness between our OTP, which is why it’s headlining our post today.
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! ❤️
You guys. I can’t help but have a sinking feeling, that things are going to go Very Wrong, very soon, as I watch this episode. 🙈
I mean, it’s not all doom and gloom, in that there are glimmers of happiness too, but.. I still can’t shake the creeping sense of foreboding, as I make my way through the episode. 😅
Of course, neither Su Yang nor Se Ryeong backs down, after he declares that she will no longer be the Princess, but Myeon’s slave, which is how Se Ryeong ends up in Myeon’s house, after leaving the palace.
I appreciate that Se Ryeong’s mother does her best to speak up for her, and to smooth things over, because it’s true that this isn’t just about Su Yang and Se Ryeong; there’s also her relationship with her mother and her siblings as well.
However, when it comes down to it, Se Ryeong is resolute, and even tells Myeon to give her work to do, since she’s there as a slave and not a guest.
For the record, it should surprise no one, that I am not at all impressed by Myeon, who gets all angry with Se Ryeong, tells her that he’s hers, and that he will never allow her to see Seung Yu again.
Se Ryeong looks obstinate and strong in front of Myeon, but it does stab me in the heart, a little bit, to see how she deflates in private, as worry and despair overtakes her face. Poor Se Ryeong. I’m sure she never saw this coming, in all her efforts to cut ties with her father.
I’m thinking that at this point, Se Ryeong must be quite resigned to her new fate, because, when Seung Yu storms the place to save her, she looks genuinely surprised and concerned, as she asks him why he’s come for her, even there.
On that note, I also just wanted to say, Suk Joo really is a friend in need. This episode, when Seung Yu asks Suk Joo why he’s always putting himself in danger in order to help him, Suk Joo simply grins, “Just because.”
My goodness. Suk Joo sure goes to great lengths for Seung Yu, “just because.”
I’m glad for Suk Joo, though (and even No Gul, in this case), because otherwise, it might not have been possible for Seung Yu to have rescued Se Ryeong, under Myeon’s watch.
And, I also wanted to say that Se Ryeong is clearly on Seung Yu’s heart.
The fact that he pauses his big plans to topple Su Yang, because he cannot bear the thought of Se Ryeong suffering as Myeon’s slave, and heads straight to save her, says everything.
It feels like this is the point at which the relationship between Seung Yu and Se Ryeong reaches a new depth.
The way he tells her that it’s ok to say so, if she’s tired; the way she responds, by telling him just how much her back hurts; the way he asks if she’d like to rest for a bit; the way she says yes.
This all comes together in a way that communicates a new level of understanding between them, where Se Ryeong feels that her input is not only important, but valued.
And of course, we have kisses, and then cuddles by the fire.
I have to confess that part of my brain protests that this is no time for cuddles and kisses, since they are technically on the run, but I rationalize that they think that they’re safe, because they have no idea that Myeon’s on their tail.
On another note, I.. am not super sure about this, so don’t quote me or anything, but I think I’ve heard it said by drama fans, that cuddles by the fire in a sageuk, is pretty much code for the idea that, uh, relations have been had.
I’m not super sure whether this is true in the case of our OTP, but it is true that Seung Yu becomes a lot more, well, passionate, towards Se Ryeong, for the rest of the episode.
First, there’s the scene where he tells her that he’d been dying to hold her (literal translation of the dialogue) when they finally are walking alone together, after visiting with Jong and Gyeong Hye.
And then, there’s also how he’s kissing her more deeply, and with more ardor, each time their lips meet, for the rest of the episode, as well.
Make of that what you will, I suppose? 😅
Importantly, I appreciate that Seung Yu makes a new pledge to Se Ryeong, that they will go forward together, even if there is danger; ie, he will not leave her behind, even though she invites him to do so, in order to keep himself safe.
That feels significant; it feels like Seung Yu fully trusts Se Ryeong, and is determined not to lose her again.
It’s comforting and gratifying to see Se Ryeong and Gyeong Hye sit together and share their hearts in thoughtful conversation, especially considering how they’d last said goodbye, not knowing for certain if they would ever see each other again.
It’s also good to see Seung Yu and Jong smiling and chatting together, for the same reason.
But, I hafta say, from the moment Jong assures Seung Yu that there’s nothing to worry about, because the area is out of Su Yang’s control, my heart began to have a sense of foreboding.
And that sense of foreboding spiked tenfold, when we see that Jong doesn’t destroy that incriminating letter of intent, and instead, puts it in his sleeve, to show Gyeong Hye later.
My drama senses are screaming, “NooOOooo~ Burnnnn eeettt!!!”
EGAD. I just know something bad is going to happen, because of that letter being found by the wrong people. I can’t look. 🙈
It is admittedly super sweet and lovely, to see how thrilled Jong and Gyeong Hye are, as they share that happy moment of realization, that they are going to be parents now.
The way Jong looks so blissed out as he tells Gyeong Hye that he’s a lucky man, because he’s married to the one whom he loves, and is going to have a child with her, is also lovely.
But, altogether, this extremely generous dose of happiness, is causing that sense my foreboding around Jong’s future, to peak at a hundredfold, because that’s what dramas do; they pile on the impossibly happy stuff, right before they rippp it all away from you. 😩
And it looks like Show is poised to do exactly that, we end off the episode.
Even though Jong resolutely sticks to his story, that Seung Yu was never at his house, and even though Gyeong Hye does her best to send word to Seung Yu, of imminent danger, it all seems to be for naught.
Because, as we close out the episode, Myeon’s got Se Ryeong hostage, and is essentially baiting Seung Yu, to come and save her.
Grargh. This is not good. 🙈
Glug. This was a tough episode to watch, you guys. 😭
It feels like so many bad things happen to our good guys, and it also feels we’re not quite done yet, like there will be more bad things in their future, coming up soon.
I think we need a group hug, maybe. 😅
Just like I’d predicted, that letter of intent, which basically incriminates Jong as plotting treason, gets found. 😩😩
And, it gets found in such a public fashion, with the letter falling to the ground in front of everyone, and then read first, by Myeon’s righthand man Ja Beon, before being handed to Myeon.
There’s just no way of covering this up, is there? 😩😩
And of course, since Su Yang’s already pardoned Jong once for the exact same crime, which technically is punishable by death, Su Yang’s not at all inclined to pardon Jong again.
In fact, he’s so incensed, that Jong would have the audacity to plot to kill him a second time, that he orders Jong’s execution, for the very next day.
On that note, part of me does wish that Jong would have taken his second chance at life, more seriously, or, rather, handled it more carefully.
After all, it’s a second chance not easily gained, and Gyeong Hye had literally begged Su Yang on her knees, in order to save him.
It feels like the more prudent thing to do, would have been to live quietly, just as Gyeong Hye had promised Su Yang.
At the same time, I can see that Jong sees it as his duty, to do everything in his power to return power to the former king, even if it means risking his life in order to do so.
After all, this is Gyeong Hye’s brother, and her family’s bloodline, that’s at stake.
In that sense, I can see why Jong wouldn’t be able to stop his mission, even though the risk is so high. 😭
And, given what Jong knows, that if Seung Yu were to show up to save him, he would be killed, I can understand why he would tell Gyeong Hye to keep his execution from Seung Yu.
It’s horrible and hard to accept, but it really is the lesser of two evils; they can’t avoid Jong’s death, but they can avoid Seung Yu’s, if they prevent Seung Yu from falling into Myeon’s trap.
Gyeong Hye’s heartbreak, as she processes this, is so palpable, really.
I can only imagine how much anguish she must feel, as she realizes that her husband will die soon, and that the wiser thing to do, in this situation, would be to prevent any attempts to rescue him, in order to minimize loss of life. 😭
I really have to admire Jong for remaining so steady and resolute – and tender towards Gyeong Hye – even as he comes to terms with him impending execution.
That kind of courage feels rare and noble, and I feel so sorry to see him go, and yet, so moved by his resolve, at the same time.
It’s clear that Gyeong Hye is brokenhearted, which makes it even more admirable, that she chooses to honor Jong’s desire to protect Seung Yu, because honoring that desire, means sealing Jong’s death. 😭
It’s utterly heartbreaking though, watching the lead-up to Jong’s execution.
Gyeong Hye trying to look her prettiest for him, because it will be the last time he sees her; Jong choosing names for his baby, one for if it’s a boy, and one for if it’s a girl, and giving that to Gyeong Hye as his final gift; Gyeong Hye telling him that she can’t die with him because of the baby, but will tell their child about what a righteous man he was.
Augh. AUGH. It’s just too much, really. 😭😭
It somehow breaks my heart even more, to see how calm and resolute Jong is, in the face of death.
He even tells Myeon that even though there were times when he’d hated Myeon, he’d never disliked him.
And, he doesn’t cower for one second, even when Su Yang dares him to beg for his life.
It’s altogether so very affecting, really. 😩
It feels only natural, that so many people would mourn Jong’s loss; he really was a great man, in his own way.
Jong’s not the only person we lose this hour, though.
Both Grand Prince Geum Seong and the former king are ordered to take poison, and I just feel so, so sorry for the former king.
I mean, you could say that Grand Prince Geum Seong knew the risk he was taking, in trying to return the former king to power, but the former king honestly didn’t do anything except exist – and yet, that alone was reason enough for Su Yang to order his death.
While I do think that the scene itself could have been acted better, just the idea alone, that the former king died a lonely, tragic death, at such a young age, for no other reason than that he had been his father’s son, is so sad and heartbreaking to me. 😭💔
On a tangent, I just had to say, that I don’t really feel sorry for Myeon at all, even though he cries for a bit, over the fact that he’s got Jong’s blood on his hands.
Uh, yeah, you kinda chose that path yourself, Myeon, and you knew this was coming, and yet, you didn’t do anything differently.
This makes me feel like you were just waiting for it to happen, so that you could cry. Sorry, no sympathy for you.
I can see why Se Ryeong would go along with Gyeong Hye’s instruction, to not tell Seung Yu about Jong’s impending execution, because Jong’s (and now Gyeong Hye’s) logic rings true; it’s better to lose only Jong, rather than Seung Yu as well.
But, I can also see why Seung Yu would be so upset, to realize that she’d known about Jong’s execution, and had kept it from him.
It’s understandable that he would feel like Se Ryeong had betrayed him, in a manner of speaking, since she knew how much Jong had meant to him, and how much it would hurt him, to lose Jong.
I’m glad he doesn’t keep Se Ryeong at a distance for too long, though, because through it all, her heart for him remains so steadfast and pure.
It’s honestly such difficult situation, where, if she’s with him, she would have to contend with the fact that Seung Yu cannot help but feel the need to plot her father’s death.
It’s perfectly understandable, actually, that the men whom Seung Yu is working with, would feel uncomfortable at the idea of Su Yang’s daughter being with them, while they plot to kill him.
And so, I can see why Se Ryeong would decide not to follow Seung Yu, but wait for him to return.
Her midnight request to ride a horse, feels like her version of a farewell date; a memory to sustain her, while they are apart.
This closing scene, where Seung Yu embraces Se Ryeong, and kisses the scar from the arrow that she’d taken for him, is so poignant and bittersweet.
There’s so much burgeoning emotion in this scene, as their tears fall. They love each other so much, and yet, this could be goodbye forever. 😭😭
Rest in peace, Jeong Jong. You were also a Princess’s Man.
To all: hugggggggggg…..😢
In the history of recorded drama, the number of times that a character has failed to destroy an incriminating bit of evidence and that said evidence was not discovered by an adversary is exactly zero. Even on that basis, placing a poster-sized letter into a big ole floppy sleeve and walking around for it for hours or days is unusually unwise.
When the plans (which really didn’t need to be written down at all) were found, I wondered which of the newly deceased scholars had taught Myeon and Lackey Ja Beon how to read in the first place.
I often find myself impatient with dramas dawdling on things (for example, I was with kfangurl on “hey, guys, not the time for snuggly-wuggly since Myeon is on your trail”), but I thought the way they honored Jong’s execution with the events leading up to it and following it were earned and well done. For my money, he had the best arc of the entire show, from charming, immature goofball to man of honor, right up to his peaceful acceptance of one of the most horrible deaths than one can imagine. (Vividly demonstrating why, in medieval times, changing a sentence from being drawn/quartered/etc. to merely beheaded was viewed as a commutation.) I do think that our heroes made the right choice in not accepting Myeon’s so-called bargain – there was no way that he had the right to make such a deal and no way that Su Yang was gonna let Jong slide, for any reason.
We are near the end of another drama and, I fear (no spoilers, just speculations, since I am a first time viewer) near the end of Seung Yu’s life. I am anticipating a pregnancy and a new life to carry on his legacy, but gahhh.
@j3ffc – Hear! Hear! on the supremacy of Jong’s character arc.
And, I third your “no time for snuggly-wuggly” vote. But thanks, KFG, for the insight about the possible sageuk code in snuggling by the campfire. I did notice the deeper kisses and more free embraces the day after, but wouldn’t presume… 😌 But since Seung Yu is kissing Se Ryeong’s bared back at the end of ep 22, the sageuk-verse is probably onto something. My prurient observation for this drama. 😉
I NEED THAT GROUP HUG 😭
Show, you are not supposed to be torturing ME 😔 would not have believed you if you told me at the start that Jong/Princess Gyeong Hye would’ve been the couple to capture and shatter my heart more than the leads. The way he looked at her searchingly when she mentioned Myeon offered to save his life if she betrayed Seung Yu, and then ofc he realized she would never do that and then he tries to put on a brave smile. The way she put on a smile for him while she’s crying bc she wants his last memory of her to be a smile.
I thought the former king’s line of “sister, it’s a beautiful day” was when he was right about to die, but it also kinda gutted me that that was right BEFORE he gets the notice. So he’s just constantly missing and thinking of his sister when he’s in exile 😭
Myeon gets the award for character regression arc of the year for me. [insert Tyra Banks meme here]. I understood his conflict when it seemed like he was weighing his duty to family but I’ve lost count of the times I’ve wanted to whack him in the head for just becoming obsessed with Se Ryeong after being told no countless times. His interesting moral dilemma just became so flat. Here when we go back to him having a smidge of a conscience seeing Jong die is a bit interesting again but I’m still glaring at you, Myeon.
Seung Yu 😭 Se Ryeong 😭
One thing I did think of was even though the sunken ship/island arc was kinda meh to me, I get it was importantly narratively and introduced us to Seok Ju and co. If they had never met Seung Yu, they likely would’ve not cared that much about politics, but seeing their faces going to the execution ground after Jong died, they really do see how brutal Su Yang is and become even more invested in helping Seung Yu.
I’m with you, uyen, about the surprise of Jong/Princess Gyeong Hye being the couple to capture my heart in this drama. A kind of painful delight? Thanks again for pointing my attention in that direction, a couple weeks ago.
And, yes, on the importance of the sunken ship sequence – it’s turned out to be pivotal in the ability of Show to connect Seung Yu to allies and a significant, life-saving hyung.
I paused watching ep 22 when Gyeong went to Jong’s cell to say goodbye one last time, because I didn’t want to watch the heartbreak ahead. Instead, I hopped over here to these notes, and read what I knew was going to happen (well, I hadn’t anticipated the former young king’s death 😭) – and learned the rest of the story, at a distance. Thank you for saving me from the immediacy, KFG. I think I’ll just move on to ep 23 now, rather than finish up ep 22.
I’m thinking about the early scenes of near silliness between our main younger characters, and how it was hard to see where the substance in the drama would come from. Now I’d give just about anything for some lighthearted high jinx and over-imbibing. Substance is so overrated.
you did make a good call here, Leslie 😭 agree, give me fluff 😭 to be fair I did know what I was signing up for 🥲
Yeah, when Jung refused to get rid of this very incriminating letter, because his wife would be really excited to see it, I was practically yelling at my screen “no, you stupid tit, that’s how people get dead! I’m sure she’ll be really really excited to see that!! Moron…” .
And then it has to get discovered in possibly the stupidest way imaginable, by inadvertently falling out of his sleeve. I thought at least we would get a forcible search or something. I mean, yes, okay, still very sad and tragic that it’s end of the line for our dude, but whew, that was kind of hard to take…