Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 17 & 18)

Now that the epidemic crisis has passed, will the romance between our 2 leads flourish further? Prince Lee Rim’s 1st attempt to confess his feelings to Hae Ryung was thwarted by an unexpected visit, but perhaps his second chance will be more timely and appropriate given that they have become closer with each other💞

Episode 17

The Queen Dowager visits Prince Lee Rim in his quarters and tells him that she is proud of what he did. She is saddened when he asks for a favor that he wants to live outside the palace. She persuades him to stay instead so he has no choice but to obey her wishes. I felt a little bad for him because this is the 1st time that he wanted to live out in the real world, probably an effect from having gone to Pyongyang, because he knows that he is lacking in experience and yearns to gain more knowledge. I understand the Queen’s feelings too not just because she’ll miss him, but I think it’s also for his own safety that he stays within the confines of the palace.

Hae Ryung goes back home and is treated to a feast by Jae Kyung and the maid (Seol Gum). As she gets some rest, she ponders about recording what happened earlier at the palace when the Prince got slapped by the King. Officer Min told her in an earlier scene that she must write everything she sees and hears, but I get that she’s hesitant to record such an unfortunate event. I’m pretty sure she’s worried about him too, hee.

It’s a special occasion as the Gyeongsin holiday commences on the next day. It’s an old belief that people who sleep on this day will be punished by having their life span shortened. If you stay awake, your body will be cleansed of evil spirits. Our 4 ladies are forced to stay inside the palace to work and to apparently lie low according to Officer Yang. They make the most of their time by taking a break to drink alcohol and eat outside the office. It’s the first time that the 4 girls are bonding as they indulge in some girl talk and how they want to do more with their life. Although A Ran is rich, she confesses that her family is a mess and does whatever they want so she became a historian to do what she wants. Sa Hui shares that she doesn’t want to be a trophy wife married to a wealthy man that she doesn’t even know that well to care about.

Prince Lee Rim spots Hae Ryung trying to stay awake on a walkway and he goes talk to her. She tells him the myth of Gyeongsin and he uses it as an excuse for her to help him stay awake to avoid any bad luck as well. They read books on opposite ends of a gazebo, stealing glances at each other while the other is not looking. The Prince eventually falls asleep as Hae Ryung tenderly observes him.

The sun has risen and Prince Lee Rim doesn’t know what to do when he discovers Hae Ryung sleeping on his arm. He pokes her gently until she wakes up, shocked and confused. Sam Bo and the 2 court ladies finally see them together, but Hae Ryung runs away and the 3 run towards the gazebo. Prince Lee Rim is not listening to Sam Bo’s lecture as he is still processing his moment with Hae Ryung. He only comments that she smells nice, haha!

Back in the Office of Royal Decrees, the Crown Princess barges in the room and takes A Ran and In Im with her to the Crown Prince’s chambers (Dongungjeon). She interrupts the Crown Prince’s meeting and demands that both historians stay for their conversation. It is awkward and unpleasant but both girls record their lovers quarrel as the Crown Princess expresses her frustrations to Crown Prince Lee Jin😰 People berate her for not being able to produce an heir, but if she voices out her opinions, she is considered insufferable. She further argues about how could she possibly bear a child when the Crown Prince always makes excuses not to be with her.

I have to admit that I thought she was going to be snobby, but she actually has a point. In the end, it’s the woman (Crown Princess) who’ll be blamed and it’s unfair. Crown Prince Lee Jin starts to apologize but she won’t have any of it. She hands him a piece of paper telling him to remain healthy and be present for the next date (written in the paper) when they will try to conceive.

Episode 18

All the historians are in a frenzy as they are undecided on whether or not to delete or keep the record of the conversation between the Crown Prince and Crown Princess. Since it’s the 1st time that a conversation didn’t involve government affairs but a personal matter, they are scared of the possible ramifications this entails. Officer Yang decides that his superiors ought to make a decision regarding this, but both  of the higher ranking officials don’t want anything to do with this as well. Officer Yang then declares that Officer Min ought to decide because if things go south, the latter won’t suffer as much with him being the son of the Second State Councilor.

Just then, the Crown Prince arrives at the Office of Royal Decrees and asks to speak with Officer Min. The Crown Prince reminisces about their past and mentions that he never imagined marrying the Crown Princess, who happens to be Officer Min’s sister. He doesn’t deny that he hopes to have their conversation deleted because he doesn’t want future generations to see her in that light. Being the ever stern and upright man that he is, Officer Min says that he cannot erase the record. He assures Officer Min to not worry and that he understands his sister now.

It’s reenactment time at Nokseodang as Prince Lee Rim narrates to Sam Bo and his 2 court ladies what happened between him and Hae Ryung last night. Sam Bo says that he knows the Prince likes her and that he’ll teach him a move on how to win her over. When Hae Ryung arrives a few minutes later, he executes the move by walking straight to Hae Ryung and pinning her against the door, leaving only a little bit of space between them.

Instead of feeling romantic, Hae Ryung looks weirded out by his gesture and slides under his arm to escape, hahaha!🤡 She apologizes for the incident earlier and promises not to get too close to him from now on. With the plan backfiring, Prince Lee chases after her and tells her that:

It’s not a direct confession of his feelings but girl, that’s more than enough for you to realize that he really likes you, romantic styles!🥰

Jae Kyung and the Second State Councilor have another meeting and the latter is baffled at how she was saved back in Pyongyang. He is convinced that she is getting help from people in Seoraewon (A school that teaches Western medicine) and wants Jae Kyung to investigate. He leaves with his friend and they go to a forest to investigate Mo Hwa’s last whereabouts. Just then, Mo Hwa appears with a bow and arrow in hand. She shoots an arrow near them probably to issue a warning to not come look for her.

The Crown Prince goes to see Prince Lee Rim to ask him to shoot some arrows. The latter declines at first, but the former reassures him that no female historians would be with them since he gave them a day off. The Prince’s face turns to worry when Sam Bo mentions that the location (A valley) the Crown Prince sent them to is known to be a place where guards take a bath after training. Little brother’s imagination runs wild as he envisions the ladies playfully ogling at shirtless men as Hae Ryung gets excited at the sight of muscles and hair flipping from a guard😘 It’s a funny moment where the Prince actually shoots a bullseye but is too distracted to even care about it.

The very opposite is actually happening as the girls are alone (Looking cute in their hanboks!) but still enjoying the scenic view. In Im forgets to bring charcoal to grill the meat with so Hae Ryung volunteers to go find some firewood instead. Soon after, an unexpected downpour showers through the valley. Just as she was about to brave the rain, a cloth is suddenly draped over her head. She turns to look and is surprised to see Prince Lee Rim.

Thoughts

I am loving the slow burn between our two leads as it is both their first time to experience falling in love. Prince Lee Rim’s facial expressions are like an open book– the way he looks at Hae Ryung with such glee and enamor is so obvious. The scene where they both read books in the gazebo was perfect. No words exchanged, no unnecessary conversations — just an unspoken connection with each other’s presence is enough. Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung is doing a good job of pacing the show by focusing on one aspect (Romance) for an episode but it also peppers in other elements (Conflict) to progress no matter how brief the scene.

These episodes highlighted the fact that your lifelong partner is chosen for you and that you just have to deal with it. I was a bit surprised that Sam Bo taught Prince Lee Rim how to court Hae Ryung because wouldn’t his partner be chosen for him as well? The Crown Princess speaking her mind was such a powerful scene that goes to show there are 2 sides to a story. Getting married to a stranger is scary but perhaps the Crown Prince really never gave her a chance to get to know her. I do hope that this kind of problem doesn’t happen to Hae Ryung and Prince Lee Rim anymore since a much bigger dilemma of a possible rebellion and the banned book looms over this Joseon dynasty.

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