oyceter: (dramas dramas dramas)
[personal profile] oyceter
TW for suicide

Wow, that was very eventful! I really love what the show has been doing with Eun-Ho's death and how it underlies so much of what happens in this arc. I think I was more expecting it to have less influence and for it to mostly be a tragic tale of doomed love, but instead, it's a huge turning point for Jin-Yi's character. Stoic Ha Ji-Won is always fun to watch, but angry, bitter, somewhat self-destructive and take-no-prisoners Ha Ji-Won is AWESOME. I know I've said this several times already, but the sheer amount of manpain she has is great! You so rarely get to see sympathetic female characters who are allowed to be angry and unpleasant and act superior to everyone else, and it's even rarer to not have that stamped out of them or have them change their ways. Myong Wol is just so outrageous! I thought her slamming down bags of money in front of Baek Gye-Soo and ordering him to take off articles of clothing was great, but then she MAKES HER TEACHER BOW IN FRONT OF HER. I was so shocked by that! And not only does she do that, she then refuses to forgive her!!! That actually felt the most sacrilegious of all.

And it's written just like manpain, where she is a total jerk 95% of the time and then is vulnerable, usually due to memories of poor fridged Eun-Ho, and that's what makes everyone in the drama fall for her, and the viewers as well. Also, she gets hurt-comfort scenes as well, where her being physically beaten up is in the narrative not to make her vulnerable, but to basically demonstrate just how badass she is.

In general, the romantic storyline interests me insofar as it means Jin-Yi gets tons and tons of angst that she takes out on Baek-Moo. The minister is nice enough, but so far, the guy I find most interesting is Mu Myong (does that just mean "No name"?). Stoic hot bodyguards who say they will always be there for you for the win! I am also so amused that the show briefly flirts with having Jin-Yi temporarily falling for Baek Gye-Soo, thanks to her mother's advice to him on how to win her over, but after about ten minutes, you realize she knew what was going on all along and cuts him down mercilessly.

That said, even with the "I'll pay you to strip for me" scene, which I LOVE, the absolute best one is when she shows up to the banquet dressed in funeral garb and throws a rope at his feet because she would rather hang herself than be his concubine. And then she proceeds to beat ten scholars in strip poetry! Seriously, Baek Gye-Soo, what were you thinking? Now I totally want an icon with that cold smile on her face with the text "Myong Wol is better than you."

I've also really been enjoying how the show has been fleshing out Mae-Hyang, particularly during the episodes when Jin-Yi ditches the Songdo troupe for Mae-Hyang's. Alas, Bu-Yong is not nearly as interesting. I think she would be if it were mostly about her trying to best Jin-Yi in dance, but all the scheming with Baek Gye-Soo and trying to sleep with the minister is a bit boring, and it makes her occasional declarations of wanting to beat Jin-Yi fair and square completely random. I would like her so much more if she were trying to scheme with Baek-Moo. And I feel she would be a much more formidable rival then. Instead, she mostly reads as very young and very jealous, but without the skill or threat to make her a really great frenemy like how Mae-Hyang is with Baek-Moo.

I do wish we got a bit more Dan-Shim and Jin-Yi interaction, particularly given Baek Gye-Soo. Poor Dan-Shim! He is such a jerk! That said, their friendship fading after Eun-Ho's death feels very real, particularly with how Dan-Shim normally hangs out with the other gisaeng but feels conflicted whenever they complain about Jin-Yi and the combination of jealousy and not wishing her ill due to their old friendship. I wonder if Jin-Yi distanced herself after Eun-Ho died, forgiving Dan-Shim for doing what Baek-Moo wanted her to while also resenting her as well for her matchmaking with Jin-Yi and Eun-Ho. That conversation they have when Jin-Yi is about to go offer herself as Baek Gye-Soo's concubine to save Baek-Moo's life was great, the two of them standing with their backs to each other and how they're not close any more but still about as close as Jin-Yi really is with anyone. I very much hope things turn out okay for Dan-Shim, poor girl.

Also, I was happy that the show finally confirmed Eom-Su's thing for Hyun-Geum. Awww!

And OMG. The Baek-Moo storyline!!! The way she yells at Baek Gye-Soo for not letting them finish dancing! Sigh. I was really, really hoping that the character wouldn't die =(. That said, I love how what I thought was going to be a suicide note was actually a letter to Baek Gye-Soo to say that she was thwarting him even now. And it was great getting that look into Baek-Moo's relationship with Hyun-Geum. Mostly, though, I am just sad.

Now I need more people to watch so I can flail about the gender role reversals re: manpain and how JIN-YI IS BETTER THAN YOU.
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April 2017


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