Episodes 5&6! Okay, things are heating (or angsting) up in yesteryear Joseon. We learn it’s a hard knock life for a eunuch. Especially if you’re a eunuch that is secretly a girl who has a prince, a flower boy, and a lecherous despot chasing after you. I’d say poor girl, but she has a hot prince and a hot…whatever the heck Jinyoung is chasing after her.
Stephanie: So Leila, I have to say, I was very impressed by these episodes, you?
Leila: I was! They upped the stakes, continued to trickle out bits of backstory, and gave us clues to mysteries. Just as I was starting to get a little restless with the same-old same-old. I was even surprised a few times.
Did anything surprise you?
Stephanie: Honestly, I was surprised how much I cared? In the previous episodes, the characters were just so surface, I had trouble latching onto them. However, here, I think they’ve lost a lot of the gloss of the first episodes and it’s allowed watchers to sink in and connect with the characters. Of course, it could be the killer acting of our main pair that did it for me. That Park Bo Gum man, he is so good.
Leila: It is fascinating to watch his face. The tightening of his eyes, the lip twist, the ever so slight jaw clench. So much of his feeling conveyed through that. Plus, there may be nothing cuter than his pout and sass mouth. I was also admiring Jinyoung’s acting here too. I’m not sure if it’s the role, but his acting feels subtle. I liked his believable swing from flirt to menace. Go, go Idol Actor. And I appreciate our actress not being all wide eyes all the time.
Stephanie: He definitely has stepped out of his comfort zone here and sometimes (sometimes) I’m able to forget that he is Jinyoung. I do feel sorry for his character though, from the beginning, because of the plot, I did actually consider him as a viable option as an endgame for her. But these episodes? We see the usual drama tropes which show he’s your standard sad-sack B-lead. She didn’t say she’d go out with you, B-Lead! Stop trying to horn in on our cuteness and light date.
Leila: The lantern date! I shouldn’t be so swoony over something so obvious, but I can’t help myself. I am enjoying how selfless they are to each other and not in a way that makes me want to gag from the sweetness. They had lots of good moments. Which was your favorite?
Stephanie: Side note. You know I had a friend who gave me a bunch of those lanterns as a gift once? I have like 12 of them that I’ve never set off. I figured with my luck I’d set the world on fire. How do they not?
Leila: Is there anything in NY Adjacent that we care if it burns? Kidding… They seem to do it over water?
Stephanie: HAHAHAHAHA If the next Kpop concert here happens and NJ is accidentally set on fire, we’ll delete this chat. Deal?
Leila: Deal. ‘Cause we are *totally* setting those off from your roof.
Stephanie: Actually. It’s always been an interesting idea. I was captured by it in Doctor Champ. Writing wishes on the balloons and watching them sail away. It was touching for him to write that he wants her wish to come true, but part of me was like… ”Ummm…you’re future king. Your people depend on you. Your rule is seriously in question. Wouldn’t your wish have been better served by wishing for something bigger (saying of course, that wishes actually work)?” I guess that feeds into the whole theme of the episodes. What he personally wants vs what is good for the country. As a king or to be king can he care about this one person, putting his country in real danger? But then again, it’s a slippery slope that he’s dealing with. If he caves on this one person, where does it stop?
Leila: This brings up maybe my favorite part of Ep. 6 (except maybe his hilarious cartoony sword work in the rescue), where the Prince calls out the Minister of Doom on his “Think about the people” ploy he always uses. Our Prince really is not the idiot he has tried to portray to keep himself under the radar. He’s showing his cards a bit to the Minister in that scene. And we get several other examples of him trying to stay ahead of the baddies – he was already working with Bodyguard with Bedroom Eyes on the whole smuggling thing before RaOn was taken away.
Stephanie: I do like the character more now that they are allowing us to see these inner part of him. Before, we hoped it existed, but didn’t really have any proof. I like that he’s had this plan in place even before we first meet him. I was a little worried about the bodyguard, thinking he’d betrayed his friend and what that would have meant for our to-be-king (his belief he’s all alone and can’t trust anyone) but I’m glad that he seems to be a double agent. I’m not ready for Hyung Kim to be a bad guy.
Leila: We got a lot of little-interrelated bits – Hyung Kim working with a new Uprising? Or at least belonging to the Robin Hood group. And them telling him he’s not the Prince’s friend – and watching the character make a decision to choose the friendship over the Cause was heartening. And then they dropped that little bit of information about the people from the Uprising, the mother disappearing scene, and the Old Eunuch being interested in Ra On’s age… What is your theory at this point?
Stephanie: While I did give side eyes to the guy and his interest in her–oh, your mother died in the Uprising? And you’re 18?? Woah, you might just be somebody. With that many people apparently being killed off during the Uprising, I’m guessing there are going to be lots of random 18-year-olds with dead moms. Just a guess. But, because this is, in fact, a Kdrama of course she’s whoever they are looking for because Kdrama does have a hard-on for those coincidences. But with the Uprising? I’m guessing Hyung Kim’s not totally dissing them as they do seem to be doing good. My guess is he’s a triple agent. The to-be king and his plan may also be figuring into their plans.
Leila: We’re still in the dark about the Good Guy’s endgame. Though, Prince did say to Yoon Seung (Jinyoung) that he was going to get rid of the Maternal aspect of the palace? I was confused a little by that. Also, now we know it was probably Hyung Kim who shot the arrow into the Minister of Doom’s party, I’m not sure if/how Yoon Seung is actively fighting the power. He seems to want to? What’s his game?
Stephanie: Maternal. Well, the queen is connected to Jinyoung’s grandfather who is trying to scoop the kingdom away from the king, so it could be that. Or going bigger, at this point in history aren’t they essentially a territory of China? This is why they have to pay tributes, right? So if we are looking at the bigger picture, could they be trying to separate themselves from China? I’m not sure if we have been given enough information to know for sure. Now though we have the new girl, the potential future fiance of Jinyoung, the girl who has the hots for future-king. I’m hoping they don’t pull a Sungkyungkwan Scandal and have him accept her in order to separate himself from his feelings from the eunuch.
Leila: Gosh, I’m thinking, since the Prince is not a dummy, that he knows Ra On isn’t a boy? But, to stay on topic, the New Girl… I can’t decide if I like her or not. She’s a little preening and spoiled, but she had some really likable moments too. And I wasn’t sure what they were trying to show us about her with the tea with the Princess – that she’s a Mean Girl, or has grown out of it. And because this is Kdrama (though this will be my first historical), she’ll end up with one of the leads… Do we need to sort-of like her for her to go to Yoon Seung or the Prince? We already know Ra On, in the current circumstance, can’t end up with the Prince.
Stephanie: Ugh. If they pull an angsty he marries the other girl for the good of the country, I’m officially done with this show, I’m telling you right now. Honestly, I think he has his suspicions, but I don’t think he really knows that she’s a girl. I think he hoped, then when she pulled the ‘lets go visit the lady house’, I think he realized no, she was a man and that’s why he freaked out, forcing space between them. So, he’s done it once, maybe he’ll do it again. (Going back to New Girl.) I’m still not loving the princess storyline, everyone else has evolved here, but her storyline and acting seems to belong back in the tone of the first two episodes. Are they trying to keep a lightness to it now that the show has taken a darker more angsty tone?
Leila: The brothel and following Prince snit was both funny and sad. PBG really made my heart get tight for Ra On. The Princess storyline is lame. I think they needed her romance to start the plot, and now they’re not sure what to do with her character so they just randomly have he be mean, pathetic (poor thing forgotten about in the boat – that did make me feel bad), or silly. Like you said, no forward momentum with her even here at Ep 6.
Ok. The two dashing moments of the episodes. Yoon Seung and the pistol, and the Prince and his gambit/rescue at the end. Oh! And the rape rescue! What did you think? Swoony?
Stephanie: As Jinyoung (I should probably stop calling him that) is absolutely B-lead, there was no swooning there. However, the To Be King and his swooping actions towards her/him? The big hero moments they gave him? Yeah, I may have swooned just a bit. Possibly. I still don’t know how he’s going to explain this, how he doesn’t understand every time he brings attention to her it’s worse for her than it is for him, so I remain concerned. Swoony, but concerned.
Leila: Well, now that they’ve had their little romantic moment on the horse with the sunset, and the childhood friends have reunited a little to rescue Ra On, we get to see what the fallout is next episodes. I’m looking forward to it. I like that I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen.
Stephanie: Well, I don’t think either Jinyoung or the Prince have any idea they worked together, but the bodyguard knows. And the groundwork has been laid. Can’t wait for the next episodes!