Mirror of the Witch 1&2: Joseon Is Hell On Women

Posted by Stephanie on May 18, 2016

Reviews

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Jacqueline from Fangirl Musings and I are ready to do a new drama chat! By now you should know the procedure, we watch the weeks episodes and chat about them. I know, so unique and refreshing! Anyway, we decided to get out of our thriller/mystery rut (Village and Signal) and give a saeguk a try. It’s Mirror of the Witch! Oh, Yoon Shi Yoon! So let’s get this section started:

Stephanie: Welcome back to the drama chats, Lady Pants! You excited?

Jacqueline: Dude, IT’S MOTHER EFFING YOON SHI YOON! My lady pants are so excited, it’s downright inappropriate…and SPEAKING of inappropriate (hurhur I’m so good at this), can we talk about how I wanna hate a drama that’s trying to ship a 15 year old with a 30 year old? But, see, I CAN’T hate it because oh dear lord it’s fun and pretty. Episode 1 was a ROLLERCOASTER of exciting back story shenanigans and episode 2 was…well…Yoon Shi Yoon!

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Stephanie: Oh, so you want to jump right in then? Well, let’s twist this, you have officially poked the bear. I tried show, I TRIED to keep an open mind. I tried to be all…well maybe they won’t try to make this an actual romance. Maybe they will love each other like a brother/sister love. But whenever Yoon Shi Yoon got the dumbstruck, I’m touching a girl, or I’m thinking about touching a girl, or I want to do anything for this girl look on his face? I literally winced. Like EW winced. It’s YSY yes, I love me some YSY, yes, but I think casting someone (I understand why the character had to be young, but there was no reason to actually cast someone YOUNGER than the character) so young was the wrong way to go. She may be a good actress, but I’m having trouble getting past the ew. (Sorry for the verbal vomit.)

16-05-18-21-35-26-888_decoJacqueline: I am soooOOoOoOoOooOOOOo with you on that…to a point. Now, I am completely, 1000 percent ewww-ing and side-eyeing this show for that casting choice. There’s no reason they could not have aged up either the character OR the actress. The fact there has been romance-eyes already in ep 2, AND A SUGGESTED LOVE TRIANGLE is the exact opposite of okay…but the only way I can enjoy this drama is by turning off my brain. I can get past the grossness because I’ve made the decision to watch it, KNOWING this would happen. If I’m going to be able to do this, I have to ignore The Big Ewww. Maybe that’s cheap, but I gotta.

Stephanie: Ew, Ew, Ew! I had blocked out the pedo-love triangle. I applaud your ability to ignore stuff, but I have trouble. It just takes me out of the drama, and for a drama who’s world building in both story, mood and effects? That’s too bad. But since that’s not going to change, I’ll just save further bitching for further episodes…So, that world building? Woah. This writer is really good. It’s like an emotional character roller coaster. We feel bad for people one minute and then hate them the next, while still completely understanding their actions (the queen), and have several people we can’t wait to see the end of. Actually, maybe just one. The grandmother queen. Can’t wait for her to get hers. Even over the sorceress.16-05-17-19-58-26-189_deco

Jacqueline: Hey, we all experience media differently, so don’t hate on yourself for not being able to ignore stuff. But no doubt I’ll be flinching right along with you in subsequent chats. And, DUDE! THAT WORLD BUILDING IS AWESOME! I am loving all the fun mysticism, like the shield mirrors and the curses and spectrals and all the cool elements! But, I fear we’re going to get all this neat magical realism stuff now, but it’s gonna trickle off into political Boretown later in the show. So far they’re doing a great job balancing the two elements, but lord I hope they keep that up. I’m also HELLA hoping they keep the show’s sense of humor, because there have been so many laugh-out-loud moments just in episode 2! Yoon Shi Yoon’s comedic timing is everything and I hope we get to see more of it!16-05-18-21-41-10-498_deco

Stephanie: Wow. I feel like Debbie Downer here. Let me start off with a good thing. Man. How awesome was that CGI tiger? So freaking cool. Reminded me of the cover of Tablo’s solo album. Hope they aren’t blowing their wad (of cash) too soon. So. I’m having a little bit of trouble with the tone of the drama. Going from the dark, sad and twisted from episode one to the light-hearted and cutsie of episode two? It was a bit of a hard jump. But it does seem to be a trope to saeguks so maybe I’m just not used to it. I heart Yoon Shi Yoon so hard. He does comedy so well, but right below that we see the layers he’s putting into his character. Why does he need that money so desperately? Enough to put his life on the line? But he’s a good enough person to go and risk his life to get the kite for the GIRL (ahem) once he realized he was stealing it from her and couldn’t do it?

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Jacqueline: Hey, it’s balance! I’ll fangirl, you rant, and between the two of us the truth exists! LOL Me, though, I LOVE multi-toned media, which is why I love Sherrilyn Kenyon so much; stories that give me humor AND darkness are my catnip. When given  just one or the other, it gets exhausting and feels unrealistic. Also can I just say that watching Yoon Shi Yoon act is SUCH a rewarding experience? He commits so hard to every emotion, like during the tiger chase scene? Dude. His fear and terror was AMAZING! AHHH so much good.16-05-18-21-44-24-983_deco

Stephanie: Within one episode it reminded me just why I loved him before he went into the military and made me, despite my hesitations to the drama, hope it does really well so he can continue to get leading roles. (Possibly with leading ladies his own age in the future.) He puts so much into his acting, so many crunchy layers. But a lot of characters here have layers. The sorceress? Why does she want to destroy Joseon? What is her connection with the uhhh…white magic guy? The queen? She did awful things, things I’m not sure I can forgive her for, but her own life depended on her producing an heir. (You can’t tell me she had a real connection with the king) but this is Joseon. And as the title says, Joseon is hell on women. We may not agree with it, she did what she needed to do to survive. The king? Well, let’s hope he grows a pair in the future. The white magic guy? Well, he seems a little one note, like he wants to do good but I’m not entirely certain he wouldn’t have sacrificed that girl. Even now he’s not exactly warm and fuzzy towards her, more like a responsibility than a real father/daughter relationship.

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Jacqueline: Dude, YES! To all of that! It is gonna be SO fun to see that evil witch get what’s coming to her, and I can’t WAIT til Queen Mom and Queen Granny get taken down…even though a part of me understands their motivations. I’m still torn on the priest because I’m not entirely sure that it it’s not fear for the heroine’s life that’s driving his coldness. I’m also super interested in how his wife is going to play into the story, because as it stands now she seems to be considerate of our girl, but also somewhat distrusting of her as well.

Stephanie: Yeah, stepmother dearest seems to have a resentful air to her. I first thought this drama was going to be a bit of Repunzel, but we’ve wen’t through a bit of Rosemary’s Baby, to Game of Thrones, to Sleeping Beauty and have landed on Snow White. I asked a question of you last night. Do you think the original mama shamen cursed the babies? Or was she reading the curse that was already there? Do we think she had that sort of power? She was pretty pissed (and had every right to be) but would she have had it in her to curse the babies? I’m going to say no. Especially considering the queen mother having the dark shadow stork coming to visit her before the plot was even afoot. Maybe the white witch was right and this was all pre-ordained.

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Jacqueline: When you asked me that question I literally gasped aloud. I had struggled to reconcile this woman, who heretofore hadn’t demonstrated bitterness or vindictiveness, to  suddenly be capable of cursing what are ostensibly her OWN children. It just didn’t seem to jive with me that would or could be responsible for that. As such, I think it was preordained. It’s shown she just hears the future and recites what she experiences, so that aspect is a part of her power. Add in how all the good guys were like, “Yo, Queenie, DON’T DO THIS! BAD STUFF WILL HAPPEN!” and yeah, I think part of the consequence due were these kids being cursed, but not by the mom. By the evil that brought them into the world.

Stephanie: No matter how kind of a soul you could be, these people had put her through some shit. Tricking her into sleeping with the king, working some black magic hocus pocus on her, killing her innocent family in front of her, betraying her trust, and then murdering her. My good will would snap too. Out of everyone I felt the worst for her and I hope the story doesn’t forget her in the future. Baby girl can NOT forgive her original fake mom (as she now has 2) by the end. No matter her situation, she tricked and murdered her real mom AND then was willing to double whammy her with a curse, all before sending her off to her death.

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Jacqueline: I agree completely that our poor girl got the shortest end of the shortest stick, and while logically I know it would make sense she could flip and curse the babies, it would be a lot less interesting from a story standpoint if the show just starts and ends with her curse. I feel like there are bigger, darker powers at work and I’m curious how they’re going to unfold. All while thinking, “If ONLY they’d cast another actress in this role, then I could have a fun ship to sail, too. IF! ONLY!”

Stephanie: YES! Seriously, the miscast and the pervy retired queen who keeps wanting to watch her kid procreate are the only big issues I have. (Uhh…have I mentioned I really, really can’t wait to see her get hers in the end?) Can I bring up one more thing? Yoon Shi Yoon’s sidekick? How adorable is he? He’s so loyal and yet trixy. When they were trying to get past the whole pants wetting thing? I felt for him. Although that is two pee jokes in one episode. One.16-05-18-21-48-32-953_deco

Jacqueline: SO MUCH YES TO ALL THOSE WORDS! And, incidentally, the sidekick. Oh dear LORD my heart had a sad for him when he wet his pants because OUCH, his sad puppy face just shot me with feelings! I really hope he doesn’t get killed off because this is a drama I could see that happening, especially if it gets as dark as I’m anticipating in later episodes. I will never, EVER understand, though, why this actress was cast, and the only thing I can figure is that somebody pulled some strings. Because, why. WHY?!

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Stephanie: Well, she’s an up and comer who has got some good work to her. We can’t say she’s a bad actress. Just young. Is Yoon Shi Yoon enough to make up for it? Well, I’ll do a lot for some YSY, so we’ll see.

Jacqueline: Yoon Shi Yoon, we’re counting on you, buddy. SAVE US WITH YOUR AWESOMENESS!

Stephanie: Wait! Wait! I know we’re ending, but I have one more! Subs? Jacqueline was watching on Viki and I on DramaFever and we certainly had some differences in subs. Ummm….pretty sure they didn’t actually say Abracadabra. There were a few other ones, oh wait! In episode 2 when the queen said that the king to be was just going through puberty. Umm…okay. It was just pretty laughable the differences between your subs and mine.

Jacqueline: Reason #297 Why I Love Viki – They didn’t say Abra-freaking-cadabra! *Cue all my face palms.*

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