Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, episode 4

Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, episode 4 is worth watching, if for nothing more that to watch Lee Joon Gi’s awesome acting.

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Let’s get this out of the way, first.

SPOILERS!

Honestly, why would you be reading this if you didn’t expect spoilers?

With that out of the way, here are my thoughts, random as they may be, about Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, episode 4.

It’s now confirmed in my mind that Prince So is a psychopathic murderer (by modern day values), and we find out why.  His biological mom and one of the queens…she’s a perfect whack job, right there.  We learned that in the first episode.  Then, we learn where So’s scars (which we saw in the second episode, I think) came from.  His adoptive mother had him beaten and locked him away as a child, when she wasn’t in some hallucinatory state thinking he was her long dead son.

Not only does Lee Joon Gi play the very disturbed Prince So well, he makes us feel for this character we would normally hate.

Now, on to more soap opera like stuff, because hey, it’s Korean drama.

Prince Wook’s wife tells Prince Wook to get a second wife (‘cause you know how he’s been looking at Hae Soo).

And the little prince (Prince Eun) has a crush on Hae Soo.

And the “we knew that was going to happen” romance has begun to start between Prince So and Hae Soo.

Prince Jung may turn away from his crazy ass mother, after Prince So saves him from highly motivated street thugs.  We’ll see.  Hae Soo teaches Prince Jung the word “hwaiting,” which is actually “fighting,” but that’s another unrelated story.

The biggest plot point of episode 4 is Prince So is now allowed to stay in the palace.  That’s actually huge.

Now, I know Scarlet Heart: Ryeo is taking a big artistic license with history, but I wonder by how much.  In history, Prince So becomes Gwangjong, the fourth Emperor of Goryeo.  He marries his half-sister (eww), portrayed as an evil, self-serving bitch in this program.  I haven’t read any history of where he marries some unknown, uppity girl from the Hae family.

Oh, yeah…I looked it up.  Emperor Taejo was very, very, very, very, very prolific.  Somewhere, I heard or read he had 25 sons (princes) or I may have heard that in one of the first three episodes.  I looked it up and yeah…he had 25 sons…let’s be thankful we’re only dealing with six of them (I think) in this show.  Any more and there’d be no way to keep up.

Am I going to watch more?

Of course, if for no other reason than Lee Joon Gi’s acting.

Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, episodes 2 and 3

I liked episodes 2 and 3 much better than episode 1.  Again, it’s a typical thing with me to not really be into the first few episodes of a Korean drama.  This drama, though, has me at the 2nd episode.

Reasons behind the 4th prince’s asshole attitude are revealed and Lee Joon Gi’s performance has become much less over the top (although, in present day, he would be considered a serial killer).  He has settled well into broody bad guy/not really a bad guy mode.

The character Ha Jin (IU) still reminds me of anime school girl, but it’s getting better, or maybe I’m just getting used to the character.

Ha Jin has seriously caught the eye of the 8th prince (Wook, played by Kang Ha Neul).  I’m not comfortable with the prince being married, though, while chasing after Ha Jin.  Is this a case of “It’s great to be a prince?”

In the second episode, there was an attempt on the crown prince’s life.  In an effort to prove his worth (at least that’s what I’m assuming), Prince So (the 4th prince) has taken it upon himself to find the one who attempted to kill the crown prince.

He gets royally pissed off (see what I did there?) at Ha Jin for getting in the way of his investigation.  In kdrama land, that means they will be lovers.  That’s just the way it is in kdrama land.  I think most girls and women watching Scarlet Heart: Ryeo are watching just to see Lee Joon Gi be romantic and stuff.  I know that’s what I’m doing.

I anxiously wait for episode 4.

 

Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, episode 1

There’s been A LOT of publicity around Scarlet Heart: Ryeo and I admit to being caught up in a bit of it.  I also admit that my main reason for wanting to see this series is to watch Lee Joon Gi (이준기), currently my favorite Korean actor.

Scarlet Heart: Ryeo is a remake of the Chinese version of Scarlet Heart.  As I understand it, the Korean version has the same basic plot line as the Chinese version, but is set in the beginnings of the Goryeo Dynasty (which was founded in 918 CE by King Taejo).  There is no secret, though, that the producers of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo will be taking a lot of creative license in the program.  It will be interesting to see just how much they will rewrite history.

I’m watching Scarlet Heart: Ryeo on Drama Fever (dramafever.com).  This is the Drama Fever synopsis of episode 1:
“After seemingly drowning in the present day, Ha Jin wakes up in the Goryeo era, assuming the body of Lady Hae Soo. The princes of the palace nervously await the return of their brother, 4th Prince Wang So.”

My initial reaction to episode 1 was a typical reaction: I felt it was a bit over dramatic.  I feel this way quite often when it comes to korean dramas, but in this case, I think the producers of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo were attempting to solidify the characteristics of certain characters in the series.

The episode focused mainly on Ha Jin finding herself in the body of some young woman named Lady Hae Soo and on Prince Wang So, the 4th out of 10 princes (King Taejo was quite prolific, it seems).  Prince Wang So is feared by just about everyone.  I’d fear him, too.  He kills a horse with his sword within just a few minutes of being introduced into the story.

Lee Joon Gi (이준기)’s portrayal of Prince Wang So is a little bit over the top, right now, but knowing this actor’s talents, I’m sure the portrayal will smooth out fairly soon.  I’ve never been disappointed by his acting, overall.

IU plays Ha Jin/Hae Soo.  I’m not sure I’m going to like her very much.  Her actions and reactions are campy.  She reminds me a lot of an anime school girl.  But, I’m not an Asian male.  Her portrayal of Hae See might very well be seen as cute.  Since this is her first drama (I think), I will wait and see.

It wasn’t a bad episode, as far as first episodes go.  The program itself has a lot of potential and I look forward to watching all the princes, especially Wang So played by Lee Joon Gi (이준기).

I should note that in real Korean history, Wang So eventually became the fourth king of Goryeo.  That’s no guarantee, though, that the character won’t die or otherwise be forced into another path, as saeguks (historical dramas) are notorious for rewriting history.