Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, episodes 19 and 20

WTF, South Korea?

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Oh, the cries…

We knew there would a sad ending to this drama.  This ending was over the top sad.

Episode 19 didn’t impact me much.  It was just an extension of Hae Soo’s anger over the death of  Chae-ryung and the difficulties the king had with various members of the court and his brothers.  The fact that Chae-ryung was a spy and killed King Hyejong (Wang Mu) didn’t seem to matter to Hae Soo.  The woman killed the king, for crying out loud.  Love is all warm fuzzies and all, but murder is another thing, all together.

Regardless, Hae Soo broke her promise to stay with the king if he wavered.  Yes, King Gwangjong (Wang So) was possessive to the extreme, but that was how royalty was to those “below” them back then.  It was the only way he knew how to express his love.

He tried his best to make Hae Soo feel better the only way he knew how, to the point of wanting to make her a royal concubine, and then second queen after bearing a child.  That was how things were done in the palace and she had served long enough there to know this.

And I still can’t get past her blindness when it came to Chae-ryung.  That was just plain delusional.

The episode ends with Hae Soo leaving the palace to go live with the exiled Wang Jung.

Episode 20… oh, the cries.

People are spying on Hae Soo and Jung… what a surprise (sarcastic remark).  This is how So finds out that Hae Soo is sick.  But, he lets his jealousy take over when he misinterprets a conversation between Hae Soo and Jung.  From then on, he wants nothing to do with Hae Soo and Jung.  He feels she left him, after promising not to, which is exactly what she did.

Predictably, Hae Soo is pregnant with So’s baby.  Shortly after giving birth, Hae Soo (predictably) dies.

When So finds this out, he finally reads the pile of letters Hae Soo has been sending him (he thought they were from Jung because the handwriting on the outside of the letters was not hers).  For months, Hae Soo waited for So, yet So’s stubbornness and pride prevented him from reading Hae Soo’s letters.  He never went to her.  She died without seeing her true love, again.

Of course, everyone is upset and So takes her ashes.

In all this, I felt attached to all the characters who interacted with Hae Soo.  Jung loved Hae Soo with all his heart.  It had to be difficult for him to know Hae Soo was in love with So.

Predictably, Gwangjong (So) becomes a benevolent king after reading a book by Taizong of Tang on the wise ruling an empire.  Part of that may also be due to So’s love of Hae Soo and her benevolent, yet posthumous, influence.

Here’s where tears come in.  Several years later and on the anniversary of Hae Soo’s death, a little girl runs into So.  The girl reacts in the very same way as Hae Soo did when she ran into him all those long years ago.  When he asks the girl who she is, Jung runs up.  The girl runs to Jung and calls him “father.”  So realizes the girl is his daughter and tells Jung to give her up.  Jung refuses, explaining Hae Soo’s final wishes about the girl.  Because that was Hae Soo’s wish, So releases Jung from exile.  He most likely did this in hopes of being able to see the girl from time to time when Jung visited the palace.

Back in present day, it seems Hae Soo had almost drowned when she rescued that kid from drowning in the first episode of the drama.  She went into a coma and didn’t wake up for a year.  Now healthy, she has recurring dreams about a man with a scar on his face and she remembers always crying with these dreams.

Working at a cosmetics store, which happens to be near an exhibition of Goryeo artifacts, Hae Soo (now back to being Go Ha Jin) meets up with a man we recognize as Choi Ji Mong, the palace astronomer.  She doesn’t recognize him, but almost faints and leaves the store.

She wanders into a room of drawings of the Goryeo exhibition and she recognizes them.  She knows the artist (Baek-A) and is compelled to look at the drawings.  Each one brings back memories.  She remembers her whole time in Goyreo.  She reads the history of Gwangjong and realizes she did change history and he became a benevolent and wise king.  When she sees a drawing of him all alone in the outside court of the palace, Hae Soo collapses in tears, apologizing over and over again for having left him alone.

We transition to So, all by himself in the outside court of the palace, and he seems to have heard Hae Soo cry out her apology.  He remembers a conversation they had once contemplating what might have happened if they had met in a different place and time.  He vows to find her, no matter the place and time.

Yeah, I cried.

When I started to watch this drama, I had high hopes.  This is because I am an avid Lee Joon Gi fan.  He didn’t disappoint me.

I felt uncomfortable with IU, at first.  I felt her portrayal of Hae Soo was over the top and childish.  I understand, now, that her character was just that… over the top and a bit childish.  As Hae Soo mentally matured, I began to realize that IU did a great job at portraying Hae Soo and did an awesome job in the rest of the drama.  I have new respect for her as an actress.

The biggest thing that disappointed me had nothing to do with the drama, itself.  I am in love with this drama and will recommend it to anyone who wants an intro to kdrama watching.  Why not get them addicted to kdramas with the good stuff?

I was totally disappointed in the national ratings of the drama.  WTF, South Korea?  Scarlet Heart: Ryeo seems to be a huge success, internationally.  We want a season two.  We hear rumors of two extra episodes and we can’t wait to see if that’s true.  What in your part of the Korean television universe went wrong?  I don’t get it.  If someone in South Korea ever reads this, I’d love to have an answer to this.  I have comments turned on.

Anyway, I loved this drama.  As it seems to have done well internationally, the door may open for its actors and crew for more projects within the international realm.  I think that would be awesome.

Watch Scarlet Heart: Ryeo on Drama Fever.

Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, episodes 16, 17 & 18

I’m predicting a sad ending to this drama.

Good bye, Prince Eun.  You and your wife held a special place in all our hearts.

We even felt So’s pain when he killed you.  It was heartbreaking.

Feeling betrayed by Hae Soo and devastated at having to kill Prince Eun, So tells Choi Ji that he will, one day, become king.  Two years later, after building a palace (and badly, apparently), So is back.

He and Hae Soo get back together because she says she trusts him and she won’t leave him.  Yeah, right.

After Jeongjong (Prince Yo)’s death, there’s a bit of controversy over how So became king, but that isn’t hard to deal with.  Things are going great for the SoSoo couple, too.  The problem is, as king, So doesn’t have the support of the major families.

Wook’s mother has given up on her son becoming king, so she focuses on having her daughter, Princess Yeon-hwa, half sister to So, become queen.  Other than the ewww factor, this does follow actual history.

Hae Soo has no choice but to accept the fact that Princess Yeon-hwa has to become queen to support the throne.

Then, Prince Jung, who has not kept quiet about his love for Hae Soo, is exiled by So.  Jung had committed treason by questioning So’s ascension.  So easily could have put his brother to death, but for Hae Soo’s sake, he only exiled his brother.  Hae Soo, thinking like a woman from the 21st century, doesn’t see this.

So, by now, things are not as happy with the SoSoo couple as they were before.  Hae Soo is upset and actually makes contact with Jung.  When So won’t let Jung come to his mother’s death bed, Hae Soo doesn’t understand, which upsets So… a lot.

But, then, the unbelievable happens.  So has Hae Soo’s best friend beaten to death.  Even when So explains  Chae-ryung has been spying on her for Wook and caused the death of King Hyejong (Wang Mu), Hae Soo freaks out.

Granted, beating a person to death is extreme by 21st century standards, but by ancient Goryeo standards, Chae-ryung got exactly what is expected of someone who killed a king.

I just don’t get how the character Hae Soo could live in Goyreo for years and not get that kings kill people.  That’s what they do.  If there is any hint of treason, then there death by whatever means the king wants.  Hell, she’s lucky she hasn’t been executed several times over during this drama (and she almost was, at one time).

Now, she is going to give up on So, after promising she would not do so.  Nice way to send So off the deep end.  Again, I don’t get it.  She wanted to change history, but, so far, has failed miserably at that.  Even Choi Ji wants her to stop interfering.

But, this is Gwangjong, for heaven’s sake (in history, Prince So is Gwangjong).  The fact that he didn’t kill his brother Jung showed restraint on So’s part.  Chae-ryung committing the level of treason she did, no matter what the reason, was unforgivable.  She had to be put to death.

Hae Soo, no one can trust you, especially the man who risked his heart for you, the murderous Gwangjong.  You played him, and now he’s pissed.

Of all the actors on this drama, I’m respecting Lee Jun Gi more and more.  I already have high respect for him, but I’ve never seen him play the bad guy (yes, he’s a bad guy, for the time being).  He does bad guy really well.  It’s scary.

In episode 19, So is probably going to have angry sex with his wife, Yeon-hwa, thus conceiving that son she wants.  So is probably going to go off the deep end and kill another brother or two.  Since Hae Soo wants to go to Jung, So might just very well have Jung killed.  Way to go, Hae Soo.  You didn’t think of that, did you?

These next two episodes are going to be quite the finale.  Despite the fact I hate the character Hae Soo, she does have the heart of So and I would like to see So become calm and become the king he eventually became in history (yeah, I think Hae Soo slept through that part of history class).

It would be nice to see Hae Soo live out the rest of her ten years with So (a palace doctor told her that her anxiety attacks have caused her physical problems and she won’t live past a decade).  It would be nice if she finally lives up to her word and stays with the volatile So and calms him down.  It would be nice…but I doubt that will happen.

I’m predicting a sad ending to this drama.

Will that stop me from watching?  NO.

Scartlet Heart: Ryeo, episode 15

Sigh. I just don’t want to see Hae Soo and Prince So break up.

Hae Soo!  You left a letter for the general?  What were you thinking?

There are times when you are brilliant.  Then, there are times when you’re an absolute idiot.

Prince So had to have seen the letter you left at the astronomer’s place.  He lives there, for crying out loud.  Of course, the Royal Guards showed up at Damiwon.

It looks like Prince So is going to have to kill Prince Eun.  This is tearing Prince So apart.  Of course, Hae Soo has to help Prince Eun and his wife.  That is a given.  I’m sure this situation means Prince So and Hae Soo will have to break up.

Prince Jung is hopelessly in love with Hae Soo.  Does that mean she will attach herself to Prince Jung?  She could do worse.

But, as I think about this, maybe Hae Soo wanted Prince So to read the message to set up a fake “killing.”  Or, maybe I’m over-thinking this.

Sigh.  I just don’t want to see Hae Soo and Prince So break up.  They look so good together.  I think I’ll pout until next week over this.

On to other matters…

It looks like the king has never really forgiven Prince Wook for betraying him two years back.  He has to have something up his sleeve to cause damage to the 8th prince.  Whatever it is, it’s not going to look pretty and I bet it will have something to do with Hae Soo.

The princess just had her walking papers handed to her with the king’s order to marry that Khitan guy.  I know she’s not going to sit idly by and let that happen.  History has it she married Prince So.  I bet she goes to Prince So with her sob story and he will feel obligated to marry her, just like he felt obligated to marry his little girl niece.

Now, if that won’t break him and Hae Soo apart, I don’t know what will.

Gosh, this was such hard episode to watch after we rejoiced in Prince So and Hae Soo finally getting together.  I’m sure the last five episodes are going to be hell.

Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, episode 13

Wook is a two-faced liar and can’t be trusted, ever.

You know it: spoilers

Taejo’s dead.  Finally, some action.

There was some minor sword play between Wook and So which was pretty fun to watch, but So held back, probably because Hae Soo asked him to try and not kill Wook.  We’ve already seen So kill a whole monastery of bad monks in a matter of seconds.  Killing Wook would have been child’s play to him.

Hae Soo finally sees Wook for who he really is: a jealous, two-faced man.  He wanted So dead, not because So sided with the Crown Prince, but because he seemed to be close to Hae Soo.  And then, he had the audacity to test Hae Soo.  Nope, dude.  You screwed up.  And your supposed alliance with the Crown Prince, yeah…I don’t believe that for a second.

I found it surprising that when So had to kill Yo in a sword fight on a ledge (’cause where else would one fight a runaway traitor), he was emotionally devastated.  Sure Yo is So’s full brother, but the man was evil to the core and had no respect for So.

Lee Joon Gi played it well, though.  So’s emotional break down in front of Hae Soo brought the friendship between So and Hae Soo together.

With that, I’m not so sure I’m going to like episode 14.  In the teaser for episode 14, Yo comes back, madder than hell, and it looks like So is going to marry his half sister, which will really screw with Hae Soo’s stronger feelings for him.
(Ooh, ooh…I may have misinterpreted the trailer!  I just watched a different one where So and Hae Soo are VERY friendly with each other!)
(and darn, I just realized in that same trailer So may marry the now King’s child daughter (really, maybe 6 or 7 and ewww) to become the King’s son-in-law, probably to protect the throne.  Since I believe that did happen in real history, I tend to believe it.  Darn, darn, darn.)

Episode 13 flowed much better than episode 12.  I was glad to see that.

What did I get out of episode 13?  Wook is a two-faced lair and can’t be trusted, ever.  And, So is human, with an emotional side that can be in a lot of pain.

Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, episode 12

Hae Soo needs to wake up!

Fair warning…spoilers

I hate to say it, but the editing on this episode was horrible.  Too many pieces of the story needed much better transitions than they got and the events of the episode simply didn’t flow well.  It felt like it was edited by a film student.  I’m hoping this was due to constraints of time versus content, because I can’t think of a more terrible way to present a such a pivotal episode.

I can understand why Taejo sent Hae Soo away.  He knew most of the princes were fond of her and she would interfere with the way things should be.

I’m not sure why Taejo sent Prince So away…maybe it was because Prince So openly showed compassion for Hae Soo.

Prince Baek-ah’s “girlfriend”(I think it’s Prince Baek-ah…there are too many princes to keep track of), we get some vague sob story that may explain why she hates Taejo.  I’m sure she got a clue, though, that her mysterious “boyfriend” was a prince when it looks like she impaled him while trying to assassinate Taejo.  Gosh, I hope that’s not the case.

The princess made her move on Prince So.  She asked him to marry her.  It seems Prince So turned her down, though we know in real history, he does eventually marry her.  Meanwhile, here in drama land, Prince So asks Hae Soo to marry him, not once, but twice.

Hae Soo needs to wake up!

She may still have strong feelings for Prince Wook, but he’s turned bad guy and turned his back on her.  Sure, he says he misses her and stuff, but he can’t back up his words by action, because his action abandons Hae Soo.

Prince So, on the other hand, is trying his living best to protect Hae Soo.  She’s still hung up on the fact he will be Guangjong.  While this is true to history, she really doesn’t know that.  All she has is some vague history lesson and some red filter visions to tell her Prince So is Guangjong.

Hae Soo frustrates me.

What do I get from this episode?  I certainly hope the editing returns to normal.  The bad guys are still the bad guys.  We have a new bad guy with Prince Wook.  Prince So is the best mass murdering good guy, ever.

On a side note:  The actors in this series have all impressed me, so far.  Specifically, I knew Lee Joon Gi would be awesome.  He always is.  It’s IU I am most impressed with.  She’s not the best actress, but she is doing a better job with this role than I thought she would.

 

 

Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, episode 11

Prince Wook, you are a prime example of many men women have regretfully trusted over the ages and through modern day.

SPOILERS

Everyone’s true colors come out in this episode.

We all know Empress Yoo is a bitch.  She orchestrated the attempted poisoning of the Crown Prince, along with Princess Yeon-hwa.  We know Empress Yoo wants to remove the Crown Prince to make way for one of her sons to take his place (any of them will do).  There is nothing good that can ever be said about you.

Princess Yeon-hwa, you are confusing.  Just who do you really want to be Crown Prince?  Are you looking at the throne for yourself?

Emperor Taejo, well, I just don’t like him.  I’m sure he was written so no one would like him.  Good job, writers.  He’ll give up anyone to “protect” the throne.  I can’t respect that.

Poor Hae Soo.  She gets accused of trying to assassinate the Crown Prince.  Prince Wook promises he’ll help her.  Hae Soo believes him, even through torture.  Then, Prince Wook turns his back on her.  He’s afraid of the Emperor and turns out to be a little power hungry, too.  He’s willing, even though extremely guilt ridden, to let Hae Soo die.

Oh, Prince Wook, I’m so disappointed in you.  When you literally turned your back to her when she was begging for Court Lady Oh’s life, you broke Hae Soo’s heart.  You were the one person she could trust.  Prince Wook, you are a prime example of many men women have regretfully trusted over the ages and through modern day.  Power is more important than true love.  Fear (and hence selfishness) is more important than love.  I dare say, Prince Wook, you never truly loved Hae Soo and it was cowardly to let her think you did.

Court Lady Oh, you were a true lady.  Your sacrifice was noble.  We all know Hae Soo will never forget your selfless act.  I’m not so sure Taejo will be the same, although he did seem a little upset when his former lover, the mother of his unborn/dead child, was hung.

Prince So is now solid as Hae Soo’s true friend and protector.  He actually made a valiant effort at thwarting Hae Soo’s hanging (before the Royal Order cancelling the hanging was presented).  While the other princes were afraid to physically stand by Hae Soo (even when it rained), Prince So tried to protect her from the rain and even tried to console her when Court Lady Oh was finally executed.

Hae Soo, you finally know who you can depend on: the one who will eventually become Gwangjong.  You thought your life was complicated now.  Just wait.

By the way, Lee Joon Gi is still awesome as Prince So.

Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, episode 10

Lee Joon Gi…he keeps me watching.

requisite warning: SPOILERS

I’m really not sure how I feel about this episode.

Despite three offers to leave the palace, Hae Soo turns two of the offers down and can’t seem to make a decision on the remaining one.

Hae Soo believes she can have a good life with Prince Wook, but can’t give him an answer to his marriage proposal…not that it matters, anyway.  I can’t see Emperor Taejo giving permission for one of his sons to marry a woman who scarred herself so she would not have to marry him.  Let’s not forget, too, that Hae Soo is a court lady.  Court ladies don’t marry princes (I think).

It’s ironic that Hae Soo can give wise instruction to the various princes, but can’t seem to make wise decisions for herself.

Now, as for Prince So…it doesn’t matter he’s going to be Gwangjong (historically, anyway).  Because Lee Joon Gi is playing Prince So, and doing an awesome job of it, we are pulling for Prince So.  We sympathize with him.  We want him to succeed.  The chemistry between Hae Soo and Prince So is what we yearn to see in all kdramas and it’s much more compelling than the chemistry between Hae Soo and Prince Wook.

Lines, blurry or not, are being drawn.  The princess is in cahoots with evil mom to Prince Yo and Prince So…a woman who easily resorts to murder to get what she wants.  Prince Yo does a masterful job at planting the “hate” seed against Prince So in Prince Wook.

Back to Prince So…he wants Hae Soo, and he just may succeed in his efforts.  He forced a kiss on her, but promised not to do that, again.  He takes her on a romantic date/not-date.  He gives her a pretty present.  That all means impending romance in kdrama land.

Prince So also shows his fealty to the Crown Prince, and the action seems to work.  Too bad Prince So got poisoned in the process, drinking the poisoned tea meant for the Crown Prince.

Now, we know that Prince So will live.  He has to.  The whole series centers around him.  The man is destined to become Gwangjong.

Hae Soo, well, she’s going to get into trouble…we know this.  She’s going to be accused of trying to kill the Crown Prince, or at the very least, Prince So.  Again, kdrama land.  The preview for the next episode shows her possibly getting hanged.  We know that can’t happen.  She’s the focus of the story.

Character interactions and futures aside, I’m finding the flow of the story a bit slow.  I’m sure it will pick up, soon.  Maybe it will feel more like a historical drama when swords and arrows start flying.  A brother has to die soon.

What do I come away with after watching episode 10?  I just love watching Lee Joon Gi.  To be honest, he’s the main reason I’m watching.