Category: Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 31 & 32)

It’s the age old battle between obeying one’s duty or following one’s heart — are you willing to risk everything for the person you love? The search for Prince Lee Rim’s wife commences and Hae Ryung’s realistic instincts kick in creating a wedge between our OTP’s blossoming relationship.

Episode 31

The Queen Dowager reminds her grandson that he is a Prince of Joseon and this role entails that he can’t just marry anyone he pleases. It’s such a wistful scene because I feel like she knows there’s no escaping this fate and she’s trying to break it, in the most gentle way possible, to Prince Lee Rim. He and Hae Ryung continue their argument afterwards and don’t come to a resolution. Prince Lee Rim tells Hae Ryung that he doesn’t care what she feels and that he is afraid of losing her. Our rookie historian on the other hand is also upset at the Prince for recklessly confessing his feelings without considering what she feels about the situation.

Much talk and speculation is being discussed by the male historians about Prince Lee Rim’s true identity. They are curious about his relationship with Hae Ryung too given their tense encounter yesterday. Before they can ask her about it, Officer Min interjects and orders Hae Ryung to go record for the Queen from now on. She does not argue with him and accepts it willingly. Prince Lee Rim patiently waits for Hae Ryung outside his room and his court ladies along with Sam Bo are worried that he isn’t showing any visible signs of being upset. The Prince is disappointed when A Ran declares that she is the historian who’ll accompany him today.

Hae Ryung tries her best to record for the Queen Dowager but it’s not an easy experience since she has to jot down details about Prince Lee Rim’s wedding. A court lady breaks the news to her that a Lord So Baek Seon has submitted information about his daughter and she looks pleased. Meanwhile, the Second State Councilor and his minions are also discussing the same thing because they are baffled on why he would want his daughter to marry into the royal family since he has never showed interest in politics before.

Being the quick and sly fox that he is, the Second State Councilor sets up a meeting with Lord So. The former intimidates the latter by saying that the Palace is not for people like him and that he can replace him anytime he wants to. Lord So clarifies that he has no interest in gaining power by marrying off his daughter to gain power (Like he did with his daughter).

A large group of girls enter the Palace as part of the 1st evaluation to be Prince Lee Rim’s wife. It’s like the Bachelorette but the guy doesn’t get to decide his partner, it’s the women around his life who assesses the hopeful candidates. Poor Hae Ryung as she has to sit through this session of girls vying for her man’s heart!😢 Seeing the daughter of Lord So shine and noticing the Queen Dowager’s fondness over her, Hae Ryung tries her best to do her job despite her obvious discomfort. As the evaluation continues for the following days, Hae Ryung finds herself drinking her sorrows away when she gets home from work. She finally says out loud to herself that she is bothered by the fact that other girls are competing for the chance to be Prince Lee Rim’s wife.

In a plan B effort I presume, Sa Hui ends up replacing one of the candidates to be Prince Lee Rim’s wife. She is steaming with anger and confronts the Second State Councilor that she doesn’t want to marry the Prince. He obviously doesn’t care and reminds her that it was her wish to work for him so this is where she needs to be. She is visibly upset about this development but can’t do anything about it. Even the Crown Prince thinks of Sa Hui when she is not by his side as a historian. When her maids were packing her stuff to move, she cries as she looks at the gift the Crown Prince gave to her previously.

Not letting anyone foil his plans, the Second State Councilor makes a petition to the Crown Prince to have Lord So transfer to the province to protect the borders from Russian spies instead of training the military. The Crown Prince doesn’t buy into his request and knows that he’s up to something but the Second State Councilor defends himself saying that he’s only concerned about the country’s safety. The latter makes a threat that if something were to happen to Lord So because of the marriage between his daughter and Prince Lee Rim, there’d be no one to protect the Crown Prince’s younger brother.

Sa Hui happens to be the historian in the room and the Crown Prince takes out his anger on her by accusing her that marrying Prince Lee Rim must have been her plan all along when she allied herself with the Second State Councilor. She is hurt by this and exclaims that she doesn’t want a life where her actions are determined by another person. Being a female historian gave her the privilege to make her own choices, so the predicament with Prince Lee Rim is something she is not happy about. Before she leaves though, the Crown Prince utters that he knows what she feels and asks her to stay and explain her side of the story.

Episode 32

Much to the surprise of 2 court ladies passing by, Sa Hui is caught leaving the Crown Prince’s chambers early morning of the next day. The rumor spreads all over the Palace and even the male historians ask Sa Hui point blank if she indeed spent the night in Dongungjeon. She does not deny this fact and everyone is speechless at her admission. Before she could explain any further, she is summoned to the Crown Princess’ chambers.

Sa Hui gets an earful from the Crown Princess about how she must think lowly of her and that she must be confident that she will become the Crown Prince’s concubine. Sa Hui says that she never once coveted him and that all she wanted to come clean about her feelings. The Crown Princess scoffs at this and asks if she is not afraid that such emotions could get her in trouble, to which Sa Hui confidently says she does not regret anything.

Even the news reaches the Queen Dowager and she is happy because this means that Sa Hui will be out of the running for Prince Lee Rim’s wife. She meets with Lord So Baek Seon secretly and decide that it’s too dangerous for his daughter to continue with the evaluation since his job is on the line. What’s the point in having royal blood when you can’t even use this advantage to battle your enemies?🙄 They walk towards a place where they can see Prince Lee Rim studying from afar. Lord So recognizes the resemblance between him and another King in his younger days. Could this be the King that our current one dethroned? I always thought that the current King dethroned his father but I was mistaken. I think he dethroned his older brother and Prince Lee Rim is his brother’s son😮

Mo Hwa and Jae Kyung have a drink later that night and talk about Hae Ryung. She tells him that Hae Ryung will find out one day about the truth of her identity. Jae Kyung then reveals that he is more fearful that she cannot handle the truth of knowing that it was him who killed her true father. Okay, I can confirm it: Hae Ryung is the physician’s (Yeongan) daughter😙

Sam Bo encourages Prince Lee Rim to go outside and look at houses to distract him from his sadness. He does go out though but all he can think about is Hae Ryung as he imagines his future with her. He envisions feeding her snacks while she reads, wiping her sweat when she plants flowers, and even fanning her while she sleeps. A flashback of all their most significant encounters come flooding back to him and he decides to go and see Hae Ryung that night.

With a firm resolve, he barges in the Goo residence and hugs Hae Ryung tight when she tells him to leave. Prince Lee Rim says that he can give up everything for her, even his title as a Prince. Hae Ryung takes his hands away and expresses that running away with each other is not a happy ending. They’ll eventually grow tired of each other and she does not trust herself enough to not blame him when the time comes. Prince Lee Rim has tears in his eyes and calls out to her one last time, proclaiming that she is everything to him. Hae Ryung is on the verge of tears, and with all her might, she looks back at the Prince and responds that she does not feel the same way towards him.

Thoughts

As much as I’d like to hate Sa Hui, there’s just a certain determination to her character that I admire. She and Hae Ryung are similar in many ways, yes, but at least for this episode, I preferred Sa Hui more. She knew that her feelings for the Crown Prince won’t amount to anything, but she was still true to herself even if her life and reputation could be tarnished. I do think that she overstayed her welcome in the Crown Prince’s chambers to foil the Second State Councilor’s plans for her, but it also signified her last time that she can spend with the Crown Prince. She has also revealed information written in the sachaek and when the day comes that she is caught, I know she’ll be ready to handle the consequences.

I know that Hae Ryung said it’s not her wish to be married to a Prince probably because her freedom will be lessened and her actions will be scrutinized. But more than this, I think she realized while attending the evaluations that she doesn’t fit the bill to become his wife. Lord So’s daughter was prim and proper and recited all the traits (Gentle, patient, humble) on how a Princess ought to be. Our Hae Ryung is nothing like that, in a good way (haha); and as much as she’s been confident of herself all throughout the show, this is the 1st time that she felt unsure of herself🥺 I think she also realized that she can’t be like Sa Hui who can put her feelings on the line because marrying into royalty is a whole different world. I know she’s confused and scared but pushing Prince Lee Rim away is not the answer!😭

Lastly, why is it that the Second State Councilor has so much power over everyone? It’s crazy that in every Joseon period kdrama, it’s the one seated on the throne that seems to be controlled by the advisors. Can’t they just secretly kill him and be done with all the conflict?💀 haha! Can’t wait for next week!

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 29 & 30)

We go back 15 days before last episode’s cliffhanger. Plans are set into motion as our resident villain, the Second State Councilor, crafts an idea to pressure the King to oust the Prince out in the open. As a direct consequence, Hae Ryung and the Prince’s romantic ties will be put to the test.

Episode 29

Sa Hui goes to check Hae Ryung’s sachaek and copies what she wrote in another notebook. This is given to the Second State Councilor and he finds out about Prince Lee Rim’s confession about hiding Jean in Nokseodang. He goes to the palace to have a drink with the King when he notices the line the latter said about Prince Lee Rim having filthy roots. He continues to badger the King if he is hiding anything from him about the Prince but the King dodges the question and says he is stressed out. For 2 people who are supposed to be allies, this is indeed the start of a power struggle between them.

Officer Seong is late to work much to everyone’s curiosity. Officer Min takes Officer Kim to the royal meeting instead. A petition from Officer Min is read for Officer Seong to be impeached from his position with the reason that he revealed information in the sachaek. Although there are other officials who argue against his petition, the Crown Prince accepts his request and puts an end to the inquiry. The news reaches the Office of Royal Decrees and the men tell Officer Min off when he doesn’t disclose his reasons for the impeachment.

Hae Ryung catches up with Officer Min who went inside the office and tells him that she ought to be punished as well because she withheld information about the foreigner. He tells her that the difference between her and Officer Seong is that she didn’t divulge the information she knew and kept her duty as a historian intact while Officer Seong used those same facts to threaten the Crown Prince. Hae Ryung defiantly says that she does not understand his reasoning because they both had the same goal anyway and leaves.

On the same night, all the historians (sans Officer Min) went out for a drink and continue to backstab Officer Min. They all pitch in some money for Officer Seong since he is now exiled and that he used all of his stipend for his sick father’s medicine. When it is Sa Hui’s turn, she doesn’t budge and exposes Officer Seong’s threat to the Crown Prince about using the sachaek if he doesn’t free the Catholics. Officer Yang asks her how she knows and she tells them that Officer Min visited the Crown Prince to plead for a lesser punishment for Officer Seong. Instead of death, he is forced only into exile. All the other officers regret their actions toward Officer Min and ponder about this truth.

Officer Min visits Officer Seong in his home and gives him money to help with his eventual move to isolation. Officer Seong expresses that he has spent all his life studying and writing on the sachaek. From now on, he wants to help other people write and tend to legal matters. They part with no bad blood as Officer Seong is truly grateful for Officer Min’s help in giving him a second chance at life.

I didn’t expect the next scene to unfold as Officer Min visits the book rental store after leaving Officer Seong’s home. He asks for books that he should be discreet about and Mister Kim hilariously exclaims that what he seeks is his specialty, ew😈 Officer Min opens the books outside of the shop and it turns out to be books about the bible and the Catholic faith. I suppose he can’t get over the fact on how Officer Seong can turn his back on his life as a historian, or even as a normal citizen, to protect a belief that could get him killed.

Episode 30

Hae Ryung talks to Officer Min for getting angry at him yesterday without knowing the full story on what happened with Officer Seong. She does clarify however that she still doesn’t understand his reasoning about not using the sachaek even for good intentions. Before he could scold her though, she takes his documents and runs away to do his errand, hihi🏃🏼‍♀️

It’s a work date with Prince Lee Rim as he and Hae Ryung walk leisurely to the pagoda where they spent the night reading books last time. They are both shocked when they see A Ran and In Im already lounging there — and the fact that the two girls witnessed our lovebirds holding hands comes as a big revelation too, hehe. Both girls assume that Prince Lee Rim tempted Hae Ryung to be his lover and lament that the situation is disadvantageous to her. The Prince’s 2 court ladies see them lecturing him and come to his aid by saying that Hae Ryung was the one who made the 1st move on him. Sam Bo sees both sides fighting each other and puts an end to their confrontation.

A Ran and In Im didn’t let Hae Ryung off the hook yet and they interrogate her relationship with the Prince in the library. It’s odd that they thought the Prince tricked her into getting into a relationship with him, does he really look like a guy with an ulterior motive? haha! They get excited when she accidentally reveals that they “slept” together on the night of the Gyeongsin ritual and insists that they hear every detail of their escapade together. Yes, even the girls are perverts here, hahaha!😉

The King talks to the Queen Dowager about Prince Lee Rim’s marriage since he is 20 years old now. This was the seed planted by the Second State Councilor in their talk earlier when he mentioned that the King should let go of Prince Lee Rim before it’s too late, implying that he is indeed not his son. The Queen approves of his suggestion and talks with her Head Court Lady. The latter warns her that the Second State Councilor will surely get involved in finding a wife for him but the Queen is confident that she can also choose a suitable partner for the Prince. Yikes, Joseon royal family marriages are the worst!

At last, we pick up where we left off from the last episode. Hae Ryung congratulates the Prince when she hears the news and he chases after her to talk. He assures her that he doesn’t want to marry anyone else but she doesn’t say it back to him. I think this was her first splash of cold water realization of how complicated their relationship truly is and that their days of being lovey dovey are officially over.

Prince Lee Rim storms in the Office of Royal Decrees and commands, yes, commands Hae Ryung to follow him. The male historians are confused on why Clerk Yi could suddenly barge in while Officer Min, A Ran, In Im, and Sa Hui look worried. The Prince goes to see the Queen Dowager and he tells her that he doesn’t want to get married because he is in love with someone else. He earnestly confesses his love hoping to change not only the Queen’s mind, but Hae Ryung’s as well.

Thoughts

This is the 1st time that they actually dealt with the fact that Hae Ryung and Prince Lee Rim are a forbidden love waiting for disaster. I felt so bad for her because she knows that it’s his duty to marry someone of a high status, or in this case, a politically advantageous person to the Queen Dowager or Second State Councilor. She has no power to fight for him and this leads me to feeling bad for the Prince too because he’s all out in his feelings for Hae Ryung.

Watching the scene again though makes me irritated at Hae Ryung because I’m sure she knew the consequences of being with a Prince, so now that things get hard she’ll just leave him hanging? I know it’s out of her hands but it does make me sympathize with Prince Lee Rim who seems prepared to stop this marriage at all costs. She will push him away, I’m sure as this is the standard leading lady move, and I don’t know how our Prince will take it💔 I’m almost afraid that they’ll apply an ending similar to Queen for Seven Days but I have faith that they’ll come up with a creative solution to have our leads end up together🙏🏻

In other Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung story arcs, I’m not sure if I agree with Hae Ryung or Officer Min about using the sachaek. When Officer Min’s curiosity got the best of him and he wanted to read books about the Catholic faith, I felt that his character is growing the most in the show. Hae Ryung has a point too, of course, but her belief would jeopardize her job and maybe other people if she’s not careful. She’s stubborn, yeah, and even if it works in her favor sometimes, I think she needs to remember that her actions can affect other people too.

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 27 & 28)

If someone has a different belief than yours, would you find theirs foolish or would you be open-minded enough to listen to their perspective? Prince Lee Rim and Officer Seong take matters into their own hands to save the innocent from getting hurt. Will they be able to convince other people of their cause or will they be shut down and punished for their actions?

Episode 27

Mo Hwa recalls her past when she was just starting out in Seoraewon. We learn that she was given an opportunity by one of the physicians to learn Western medical practices despite being a servant. She is a fast learner and meets Jae Kyung here too. She cries in despair remembering the exact moment she met Hae Ryung as a kid…so is she the physician’s daughter after all?👨🏻‍⚕️

The next day, we find that Jean has integrated well with the family of Nokseodang. He chops wood for them, gives Sam Bo a massage, pull a prank on him🥴, and even reads to them the story of Rapunzel. Being a hopeless romantic, Prince Lee Rim decides to recite the tale to Hae Ryung to impress her. Tsk tsk, hasn’t he learned anything from their 1st encounter? Even if she isn’t a fan of fairytales and its fantasy-like scenarios, she can still be romantic (and mischievous) in her own way, hehe.

Due to the foreigner not getting captured yet, guards have been assigned to patrol the royal residences, including Nokseodang. Sam Bo comes to his senses since they are harboring the fugitive and becomes worried. Hae Ryung comes up with a plan to distract the patrollers and help Jean escape. One by one, they each spread rumors that they’ve seen Jean in another part of the palace and that he eventually escaped. Hae Ryung confides in Seol Geum that she’s also seen the foreigner down the street with blood on his hands. She makes her promise not to tell anyone, but we all know that she’ll spread the rumor all over town anyway, hahaha! Hae Ryung’s plan works and the guards disperse outside the palace to search for Jean.

Sam Bo successfully leads Jean outside of the palace when the latter disguises himself as Prince Lee Rim. Hae Ryung meets with him in the village as he changes his clothes to eventually board a ship and leave the country. She urges him to hurry but when he doesn’t respond, she investigates the room and finds the robe he wore as a disguise neatly folded on the floor along with a letter. Jean writes that he is not really a merchant and that his true intentions for setting foot in Joseon was to find his long lost brother. He thanks them for everything and is glad that they made him feel welcome, a sentiment that his brother must have felt for staying there prior as well.

Episode 28

Jean finally meets with Mo Hwa as she gets teary eyed seeing him. She says that he resembles his brother a lot (Dr. Dominique) as he was one of the doctors who taught her about Western medicine. She takes him to an open field and Jean understands that he couldn’t have been permitted a proper burial because he was regarded as a criminal. He prays for his brother’s soul to rest in peace.

An announcement has been made all over Hanyang that if no one is able to bring Jean into custody, all the 73 people who were caught as Catholics inside the palace will be executed. The Crown Prince cannot believe that such an order was made though it is revealed that the Second State Councilor had a hand in this. Prince Lee Rim scrambles to find his royal robe to profess to his father that he is the one who hid Jean. He tells Sam Bo and Hae Ryung that he won’t get them into trouble and that they were just following his orders. Despite Sam Bo’s insistence that he won’t let the Prince go, the latter cannot stand by and let innocent people die. I think Hae Ryung was conflicted up to this point on whether or not to let him go, but him wanting to be brave not just for other people, but for himself, was enough to convince her to say that she would accompany him to see the King.

Prince Lee Rim looks nervous but remains undeterred from his mission to talk to the King. He gets down on his knees and confesses that he was the one who helped Jean in and out of the palace. In his usual enraged mode, the King berates him saying that Westerners are barbarians and that he is not fit to be a Prince. He commands to have all the Catholics beheaded and warns him that if Prince Lee Rim brings up the topic again, he’ll also kill everyone who knew about his deed starting with Hae Ryung. Yikes! Despite ordering his eunuch to execute his wish, the latter informs him that the Crown Prince has already issued an acquittal of all the Catholics.

A confrontation is imminent as the King storms off to see his other son now. The Crown Prince only says that he thinks the King’s decision was a mistake and before the latter can do anything else, the Queen Dowager barges inside the room to intervene. The King is unable to do anything else as he angrily tells his son that he’ll let this one incident slide and walks away. Sa Hui is inside the room when all of this happens and she chooses to stay with the Crown Prince just like last time when he told her not to leave him.

The controversial decision made by the Crown Prince is talked about by the historians in the office. They wonder why he suddenly freed the Catholics because even if they are not executed, believing in a different religion is still considered a crime. Officer Min grows highly suspicious that Officer Seong had a hand in what happened and goes to find him when A Ran admits that the latter asked to speak with the Crown Prince first before Sa Hui goes to do her job. Officer Min confronts him about it and without lying, Officer Seong discloses that if the Crown Prince doesn’t release the Catholics, he’ll show proof that Prince Lee Rim helped Jean all the way. Officer Min is furious for what he has done and he cannot believe that Officer Seong does not regret what he did. He asks to be punished and declares that he’ll face the consequences of what he’s done.

Sa Hui is called by the Second State Councilor to his house. He tells Sa Hui that he wants her to steal Hae Ryung’s sachaek to read about what happened between the King and Prince Lee Rim’s meeting. Uh oh, I know she’s a spy for him but revealing what someone else wrote is another thing altogether. I’ve grown to like Sa Hui but she’ll have to face her just dues when it is revealed (and it will) that she has disgraced the title of being a historian.

No unlawful deed, well at least for the King, goes unpunished as Sam Bo bears urgent news to Prince Lee Rim. He panics and tells the Prince that he is being set up for marriage, just in time for Hae Ryung to hear as well.

Thoughts

I thought that Jean would be a catalyst for Mo Hwa and the others to mobilize and prepare for a fight against the King/Second State Councilor. I’m a bit disappointed to know that he was in Joseon only to visit his brother, although the repercussions of his visit will resonate moving forward with our characters. Getting married to someone you don’t love is although normal and a duty for being royalty, it’s a punishment nonetheless to Prince Lee Rim who is known to be a hopeless romantic and still has his freedom. I have a hunch it’s Sa Hui who the King will set up Prince Lee Rim with… let’s see how they’ll get out of trouble this time around.

It’s hard to remain impartial on a subject that is close to your heart, but I understand that Officer Min is a stickler for the rules he believes in. A historian only records events, whether you agree with it or not, to preserve what really happened. It’d be interesting to see his reaction though if he checked Hae Ryung’s records and read about Prince Lee Rim helping Jean. He most probably will keep it a secret but it’s this kind of situation will make you question your principles…no matter how much you want to maintain it.

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 25 & 26)

There’s no such thing as the calm before the storm as problems are always pouring hard in Joseon. An unlikely visitor makes his way inside the country, but does this spell a blessing or disaster? Get ready for a jam-packed episode as the story gets deeper and shocking secrets are unveiled this week😮

Episode 25

Last episode’s confession has Hae Ryung dolling herself up more than usual in the morning while the Prince is deliriously spaced out again. He has a serious case of lovesickness as he sees Hae Ryung’s face in Sam Bo and his 2 court ladies early morning, haha! He tries to distance himself from the temptation of wanting to kiss her when she arrives at Nokseodang, but she takes charge of the situation and kisses him on the lips anyway, hee💋

The Crown Prince is informed that a male foreigner from the West was caught in a nearby river and has been taken to the Investigation Bureau. He wants to talk to the person directly as he speculates that he isn’t simply passing through Joseon like any other merchant. His interrogation proves to be futile as the foreigner remains silent to the interpreters (Mandarin, Japanese, and Dutch) or even Prince Lee Jin’s (Korean) questions. He gives a slight response when spoken to in Dutch, only to say in French (Aaahhh💡) that he does not speak Dutch. Before he is imprisoned though, he fakes a stomachache and takes a guard’s spear before escaping. Gunshots are fired and the sound echoes throughout the palace. An official manhunt is executed to find the missing runaway.

Just as the guards finish searching in Nokseodang, the foreigner jumps in front of Sam Bo and they all get into a small brawl. The group manages to tie him up in Prince Lee Rim’s room but Hae Ryung suggests that they don’t tell the Royal Investigation Bureau just yet of his capture. She, just like the Crown Prince, is curious of his reason for being in Joseon. The Prince agrees with her (of course) but they find no one in the room as their intruder has already escaped.

Officer Seong runs into him in another part of the palace and the former shows him a wooden beaded bracelet with a cross. The runaway sighs in relief as it signifies a friend in Officer Seong for having the same religion. He and Officer Min attend the royal meeting and the King is furious that the intruder has yet to be found. The Second State Councilor declares that he must still be inside the palace because no uproar has been heard in Hanyang of a strange man loose in the city. They deduce that someone inside must be helping him: Catholics who have sided with Westerners before. Officer Min notices Officer Seong’s discomfort as the King orders a thorough inspection of everyone in the palace. Anyone who is suspected to be a Catholic will be severely punished.

Several court ladies and eunuchs are dragged away for possessing Catholic books and cross bracelets. The search continues to the Queen Dowager, but she shows up before the guards outside and tells them to search her right then and there. The guards don’t enter her chamber because of this and it is revealed that Mo Hwa is inside. It turns out that the foreigner has knowledge about Seoraewon and that she was supposed to meet up with him. The Queen Dowager issues a warning to Mo Hwa that if he is caught and mentions his true intentions for being in Joseon, he will have to face an unfortunate punishment.

Episode 26

It’s the historians’ this time who are searched for having any Catholic possessions. Officer Seong is nervous as he clutches his bracelet hard in his hands, but Officer Min pries it away for him to hold instead. A guard tells another to back off when Officer Min refuses to show his hands. The search continues into the library but Officer Yang quickly makes the guards leave because of the sensitive information stored inside the room. Luckily, they don’t find the foreigner hiding in between the bookshelves.

Officer Min confronts Officer Seong on how long he’s been a Catholic. The former scolds the latter how dangerous it was to risk his life for having the bracelet. Officer Seong argues that he would be willing to put his life on the line for the belief that everyone is created equal.

The hungry foreigner is fed a ton of food when he is found scurrying around Nokseodang again. Can I just say how scrappy and quick this guy is? Haha! He can apparently understand and speak Korean and is delighted to finally eat. They don’t understand when he utters his name (Jean Baptiste Barthelemy) so he explains that what he just said was indeed his name. He recounts that he is a merchant who sells books that got screwed over by the bookstore rental owner (Mister Kim). Sam Bo and Prince Lee Rim sympathize with Jean because of their bad experience with Mister Kim in the past.

Not fully convinced of the backstory just mentioned, Hae Ryung cautions Prince Lee Rim to be careful. This is because merchants are more fluent in Mandarin when conducting business, but Jean is remarkably good in Korean despite their language being more difficult. She also retorts that Mister Kim is not bold enough to trick a merchant out of his money.

Unable to sleep, the Prince thinks about what Hae Ryung said and checks on Jean. He finds him outside and they talk about what it’s like living in France. Jean tells him that they have no King anymore because the people overthrew him for making them suffer. He talks about democracy and repeated Officer Seong’s sentiments that everyone is born free and equal. Jean suddenly asks him if he knows of a place where the dawn comes to greet you (pertaining to Seoraewon). When the Prince is genuinely clueless, he retracts his words and bids our loverboy a good night.

Mo Hwa is hesitant to knock on the Goo residence when Hae Ryung sees her outside. The former doesn’t want to intrude but the latter insists on treating her to a meal. Jae Kyung is invited by Hae Ryung to meet Mo Hwa and unbeknownst to her, both of them are already acquainted with each other. When Hae Ryung steps out for a moment, Mo Hwa looks at him very suspiciously. She asks him how he could have a younger sister when his father died before he was born and his mother was sickly. She looks around Hae Ryung’s room and it dawns on her that she is someone else’s daughter. She is livid at what Jae Kyung has done and he begs her not to tell anyone. The last scene is a flashback showing a young Mo Hwa meeting a a much younger Hae Ryung.

Thoughts

Between the external (Smallpox) and internal (Salary corruption, Historians getting investigated) problems that happened, I’m glad that they are finally expanding and building on the 1st and main conflict of the show. I’ve only realized again that Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung has 40 episodes and that the creation of other but relevant dilemmas has made the show more interesting. Other than Mr. Sunshine, I don’t think any other period kdramas that I’ve watched tackled the timeline of Korea getting to know democracy and the influence of Western culture. I know that this kdrama promotes girl power but I’d like to see the men learn a little something too💁🏻‍♂️

Before watching episodes 25 and 26, I did for a split second think that Hae Ryung could actually be the physician’s (Yeongan) daughter but since Mo Hwa wasn’t more surprised when they both talked back at Pyongyang, I dismissed the thought altogether. I’m not sure what the big deal is if my hunch is correct.. could it be that Yeongan has proof of the King’s father’s death? But why do I get the feeling that she could also be the current King’s daughter?👑 Since Prince Lee Rim is presumably not the King’s legitimate son, what if they were somehow swapped? My conspiracy brain is kicking into overdrive but anything is possible with a TV show. Gimme the next episodes stat!!🙈

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 23 & 24)

Hae Ryung and the historians may have won the fight against the King, but the war isn’t over yet as he deploys his own tactics to punish her. After everything she’s been through, no matter who she’s up against, don’t expect our rookie historian to go down without a proper fight😈

Episode 23

The loud banging on the Goo residence was not of a dangerous kind, but a summon back to the palace. Apparently, the King has requested the royal family along with Hae Ryung to greet the Queen Dowager in the wee hours of the morning. He apologizes for not visiting her as often and from now on promises to go at the same time everyday to see her. It’s an odd proposition given their estranged relationship, but things get weirder when the King joins in on the daily lecture of the Crown Prince; even telling Prince Lee Rim to participate in as well.

It is the Second State Councilor who reads the lesson for the day and an awkward silence ensues when the King asks if he has ever portrayed any of the 6 traits that a King must abstain from. I don’t know what kind of answer he was expecting when he asked Prince Lee Rim, but despite the Crown Prince signalling him to not say anything, he speaks up his mind declaring that he has engaged in at least 3 of the taboo behaviors. Instead of taking offense, the King laughs at his answer and does not scold him in any way.

There is a truth to the Prince’s words as Hae Ryung has been tasked to follow the King and be his historian moving forward. I was pleasantly surprised that the King had this comedic side to him and that they downplayed the punishment he intended for her. It wasn’t child’s play, but his scheme was something that Hae Ryung could battle against. In a hilarious scene of events, she wrote down what he specifically ate, spoonful for spoonful. This in turn gave the King a stomachache where he had to walk around in circles and take a dump later. Poor girl as she was instructed to take his 💩💩 to the medical bureau as an obvious attempt to make things hard for her.

Taking a break from the King, it’s the Crown Prince who gets to have some fun today. He is dressed to go outside as he permits Sa Hui to tag along with him. He plays with kids, strolls along the market, and has a delicious meal in a tavern. Crown Prince Lee Jin is beaming with happiness and tells Sa Hui that he grew up outside of the palace. Doing an undercover inspection reminds him of his simpler times so that he doesn’t forget the feeling. Before returning to the palace, Sa Hui asks him that the reason he probably had her join him was that so he could ask her what Hae Ryung wrote in her sachaek to get the King so angry. This time though, it’s the Crown Prince who looks hurt with what she said but he simply gave her a gift he bought in the market and left.

Poor Hae Ryung as she only gets back to the office at night and has to start work very early the next day. Officer Min treats her bruised hand and offers her advice to avoid incurring one again next time. I want to say it’s a love triangle tease, but that’s a misdirect. Both of them are truly friends as he feels bad for her and says that there’s no shame if she gives in to the power struggle between the historians and the King. Come on, do you even know who you’re talking to?😼 Hae Ryung is determined to power through the King’s mind games, a trait befitting her strong and sometimes rambunctious persona.

Episode 24

Karma’s a b*tch and it’s time for Hae Ryung to take her sweet, silent revenge on the King. In another royal lecture, the King is asleep even when the Chancellor is reading the book aloud, haha!😴 His early visits to his mother prove to be his downfall and Hae Ryung gets to record such mishaps on her end. His Majesty is shocked when his eunuch wakes him up at 4AM and that Hae Ryung is already there inside his room.

Later that day, the King employs a new tactic trying to get her drunk to spill what she wrote in her book. Hae Ryung informs him that her alcohol tolerance is very high and the latter gets frustrated with her hardheadedness. He offers her 2 propositions: Either she can get rid of what she wrote secretly or he’ll grant her anything she desires. Her interest is piqued on the latter idea but we don’t get to see what she decides on just yet.

A letter is sent to Officer Yang written by his Majesty himself. It’s an apology for not acknowledging a historian’s true worth and that they will now be able to roam around in the palace to record daily life/history without any restrictions. She gets a vigorous name chant from her peers as she smiles and cheers in triumph.

It’s the King who reminisces about their conversation and we find out that Hae Ryung told him the truth that she actually wasn’t able to hear anything that day. She shares that she thought he was a good King because he still withdrew his order to check the administration record and instead of threatening her to spill what she wrote, he tried (in his own way) to ask her about it instead. Granted it wasn’t a sincere talk but like I mentioned above, I was amazed that he didn’t do anything harmful to have his way with her. Hae Ryung did a good job of telling the King to not hate historians anymore because they don’t just record the mistakes of the royal family, but that they also write down their good traits. It was enough to make him contemplate and give a little smile at how interesting she is.

To celebrate their victory, the historians went out that night for a drink. Two of them find Prince Lee Rim (Who they still know as Clerk Yi) skulking around near their table and insists that he join them for drinks. Hae Ryung ends up saving him by drinking all of his cups because he might not be able to hold his liquor. It’s the 1st time that they aren’t divided by their gender; they’re all just genuinely having fun, singing, and dancing the night away.

Hae Ryung escorts the Prince back to Nokseodang, but he makes her warm honey water outside to help her sober up. Hae Ryung is inside his room as he prepares the drink and happens to see a piece of paper sticking out in his main drawer. As she opens the paper, it’s actually the poem that she requested him to write for her. Prince Lee Rim heads to his room but wonders seeing Hae Ryung sitting outside. Without warning, she begins reciting the poem to him. Aww, this is her official admission of her feelings for him!🎉 Before the Prince can say anything further, she plants a tender kiss on his lips💏

Thoughts

Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung does a good job in balancing out the serious moments and funny breathers and these 2 episodes were no exception. Not all fights need to be violent and Hae Ryung’s solution to appease the King was just brilliant. Of course this could have gone another way if he was really ruthless and unforgiving, but it just proves her belief that his Majesty can listen to other people’s opinions. Her honesty most of the time gets her in trouble, but it is what redeems her and the other historians this time to be accepted and understood😊

I’m happy to see Sa Hui smile and loosen herself up in the palace but the moment between her and the Crown Prince is puzzling to me. How about the story with the Crown Princess? Does that simply go away now?🤔 I’m a fan of the Crown Prince’s character, but I hope we don’t get strung along a possible romance that gets sidelined in the end because it doesn’t serve the kdrama’s overall direction. I also like Sa Hui’s character and she doesn’t need a man to let her character shine⭐️

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 21 & 22)

A war breaks out inside the palace, but it’s neither a rebellion of the masses nor an invasion of a foreign country. It is a defiance though — a righteous cause spearheaded by the historians. I gladly declare FINALLY! as they stand up for themselves and give the King a piece of their mind for punishing them in doing what is right.

Episode 21

A little bit of background is revealed before Hae Ryung’s untimely capture. It is revealed further that the Second State Councilor had confessed to the King that it is the Queen Dowager who has been plotting against his back along with Mo Hwa. Hae Ryung was not allowed to go inside the chambers and was dragged away by some court ladies. It was then that she snuck in anyway.

Word travels fast inside the palace as Hae Ryung is thrown inside a jail cell for eavesdropping on the King’s conversation. Even Prince Lee Rim, who is shocked and frazzled with the news, insists to have an audience with his father to help her. Sam Bo tells him that she’ll be released soon enough since she is a historian, but he imagines her getting punished by drinking poison and/or getting beheaded; so he gets more panicked and insists that he does something now. Jae Kyung also seeks aid from the Second State Councilor but he is obviously disinterested and tells him that just have to wait for the King to change his mind about his decision.

Poor Officer Yang who constantly has to put out the fires caused by his fellow historians😁 He scolds Officer Min for his insistence to send a historian to record a conversation inside the King’s chambers. They have conflicting opinions of the situation but having the highest rank among them, Officer Yang, has made a decision. He doesn’t say it verbally but the next few scenes play out his plan in a funny but decisive manner.

Officials waiting impatiently inside the Royal Court as they cannot start their meeting without historians. Two of them are merely standing outside and stalling, saying that they have no paper and thus cannot do their job to record the conversations. Other officials go to the Office of Royal Decrees and ask for the documents they need from them but they all pretend that they have a stomachache and leave the room. Even Officer Min, who is awkward and clearly out of his comfort zone, pretend that he badly needs to go #2, hahaha💩

The King is pissed off with this development and orders the Chief Royal Secretary to punish the historians. Armed with clerks, they march towards the Office of Royal Decrees to seize and inspect the administration records. The historians stand outside with books and brushes in hand, not letting them pass. It’s a stand off between the two sides as Officer Yang speaks up that no King has ever looked through the records and they will not back down from a fight. Officer Song takes the first blood as he repels the secretaries that come at him and an all out fight ensues between them. They punch, kick, scream, and pummel the living hell out of each other as the female historians join in on the fun.

Meanwhile, Prince Lee Rim sneaks inside Hae Ryung’s jail cell and brings her a platter of food and a pillow. She tells him that she is preparing herself mentally for her punishment. He replies that he’ll follow her wherever she goes if she’s exiled and she looks touched with his words. She manages to still tease him that he’s useless on practical knowledge though and she’ll just end up getting exhausted living with him. He takes offense and unintentionally leans closer to her face.

Episode 22

Prince Lee Rim leans in much closer to kiss Hae Ryung, but he misses her lips when Sam Bo calls for him and she dodges. He hits his forehead on the wooden jail cell as Hae Ryung giggles quietly when he has to leave. She kisses him on his cheek though and he is, again, stunned but ecstatic on what just happened. Hae Ryung is also thrilled when she saw that the rice he had prepared for had black beans in the shape of a Chinese character meaning “love”.

The historians are holed up in their office waiting for the female historians to arrive with food. It’s an official protest from them but there are 3 of them who feel uneasy with this. Officer Yang explains that once they let the King read the administration record even just once, it’s most likely to happen again. They will most likely be criticized for what they wrote and make changes here and there which is basically violating the very essence of their job. Not to mention altering history and eliminating the need for check and balance. They start to cry as they feel afraid but united they stand — the historians banded together to protect their duty and uphold their dignity.

Several petitions are written to the King to withdraw his order. As he discusses the issue with the officials, Officer Min suddenly marches towards his chamber wearing an all white robe and places an axe in front of him. He implores the King to change his mind in reading the administration records and that he can just take his life if he doesn’t change his mind. The King and the other officials go out to see him and convince him to leave the premises immediately. Officer Min is adamant in not letting the King check the records and repeatedly told them that historians are meant to write down the events without having to succumb to authority. The King becomes enraged as the other officials stop him from getting the axe.

Just then, a group of scholars march inside the premises performing a wailing protest. They support Officer Min’s stand that the King cannot inspect the records. Even the historians who were watching from afar joined in the protest. It’s such a profound scene as it shows that even a King can bow down to the people’s wishes. Especially when he is in the wrong.

The Second State Councilor advises him to draw back his order because people will start to wonder what Hae Ryung actually wrote in her sachaek instead of what happened to her. Given that their conversation is meant to be kept a secret, this convinces him to give in to the historians wishes and Hae Ryung is finally set free from imprisonment. She goes home to a crying Seol Gum and her worried brother as she is now safe and sound.

Hae Ryung and Jae Kyung talk outside for a moment on that night. He tells her that she should quit being a historian, but she refuses to do so. She expresses that she is now living a life that she wants and that she is determined to live it to the fullest no matter what the consequences.

A loud knock intrudes the house of Goo later that same night as Seol Gum and Hae Ryung go investigate who is at their door.

Thoughts

I think that someone should have spoken up that the very reason female historians were hired was to record conversations that took place in the Inner Palace. That it was hypocritical of the King to punish Hae Ryung for doing the job that they hired her to do. Perhaps it could cause a rift between the Second State Councilor and the King where the latter would start to get paranoid that the former (Since he was the one who brought up hiring female historians) could be spying on him as well.

Regardless of how they fought the King’s order, I’m happy to see that the historians took a stand to protect not just one of their own, but that they defended their right in having such an influential role. All this time, Hae Ryung was consistent in doing what was right even when no one was at her side. This time though, all of them knew that what the King wanted was wrong and if they didn’t (literally) fight back, it’s not just that their jobs that would be on the line, but also who they are as an individual.

I do feel like there’s still a catch for withdrawing the order but with what just transpired, I am confident that Hae Ryung won’t be alone in her battle against the oppresion and politics inside the palace💪🏻

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 19 & 20)

No day is complete without trouble being caused in the palace. Politics and government affairs are like bread and butter — they go hand in hand no matter what era. Expect a target on your back as long as you possess an advantage whether by familial relations or by merit.

Episode 19

With the rain not letting up, Hae Ryung and Prince Lee Rim find themselves seeking shelter under a large rock. The Prince hesitates to hold her hand but musters up the courage to do so and Hae Ryung does not move away. Their moment is interrupted when her friends’ voices call out her name. Hae Ryung helps the Prince find his way back by teasing that there are tigers in the mountain so they need to go together.

Hae Ryung asks the Prince if he wants to hold her hand with the reasoning that when she was young, her older brother would hold her hand in the mountains so she wouldn’t get scared anymore. She reaches out her right hand to hold and the Prince declares that he doesn’t have an ulterior motive in agreeing to this. Riiight😏 As they walk hand in hand down the path, they hear A Ran and In Im’s voices looking for her. She pushes the Prince to a nearby bush to hide him and the girls find her. She tells them to go ahead first and just as she was about to help him up, she lets go of his hand when the girls call her again, hahaha!

Several eunuchs are waiting outside Sa Hui’s house to curry favor with her father. They hand him a paper with their name and rank for him to get to know them and possibly get transferred to a higher ranking or better government position. When the appointment paper arrives, 3 historians are disappointed because they spent a lot of money to get in good graces with the higher ups but discover that their names are not in it. Hae Ryung takes the Record of Appearance book since changes in positions mean that they have to update the book as well. She finds discrepancies in the addresses of a number of newly appointed officials and investigates herself where they really live.

She reports the irregularities to Officer Yang and Officer Min interjects that the change in address must be due to the Kinship Act (A ban on people working in the government office where they reside). It causes a ruckus inside the Office of Royal Decrees as they all double check the information for themselves. Once they had verified that the details were indeed forged, Officer Hyeon (A**hole🤬) points to Sa Hui pertaining that her father is the culprit.

Officer Min takes the appointment list without a word and heads directly to the Section Chief’s quarters. He confronts him about forging the addresses and says that he cannot write the new certificates of appointment. Sa Hui’s father admits to this eventually, explaining that appointing people in their own hometown is good since they ought to know their own village and must know the people better too. Officer Min disagrees arguing that such connections lead to lax enforcement and corrupt decisions. The Section Chief is pissed and boasts that he is good friends with Officer Min’s father and that this is no way to treat him. He does not budge with this fact and leaves the room anyway.

A new day means another meeting at the Royal Court. One of the officials is hesitant to read a petition but the Crown Prince insists that he continues with it. The petition is a request to impeach Officer Min as a historian because of his past about that his father-in-law was branded as a traitor to Joseon and how his wife committed suicide because of this. One side defends while the other side supports the issue. The Crown Prince orders Officer Min to leave the room for his sake.

The news reaches the Office of Royal Decrees and the female historian find out about Officer Min’s unfortunate past. It becomes a backbiting session as the Scribe who came says that he wasn’t qualified to become a historian in the first place and it was only because of his father why he got the position. Officer Hyeon (Yes, you’re an a**hole👿) chimes in that Officer Min’s tainted past with his father-in-law should have been considered when hiring him. As Officer Min walks in the room, Officer Yang assigns both of their work to someone else and they head out.

Episode 20

Both historians went out for a drink. I was surprised at Officer Yang’s concern to be honest because he acted indifferent to Officer Min and got along with the other historians more. At the other table, other officials are gossiping about Officer Min and mock his character. They even go so far as insulting his wife and he tries his very best to keep his anger at bay.

Hae Ryung is requested by Officer Min to go to the Crown Prince’s chambers with him. Officer Min gives his letter of resignation to the Crown Prince with the latter profusely refusing it. He reminds him that the reason he became a historian was to right his father’s wrongs. Even if he passed the state exam with flying colors, he decided to start from the very bottom rank as a historian. Officer Min admits that he cannot take people talking ill about his deceased wife and bows respectfully to Crown Prince Lee Jin. Officer Min’s character has been nothing but admirable, but it’s only natural that jealous people will undermine his authority. Hae Ryung tries to convince him to stay but to no such luck.

Later that night, the Second State Councilor informs Officer Min that he agrees with his resignation. The latter asks the former on why he did that to his wife (Dan Yeong) and he lashes out that a lot of people suffered because of him. He is infuriated that his father said the same thing to forget about the past when he simply cannot because Officer Min is not like his dad.

He visits his old house and memories come flooding back of a happier time when his wife was still alive. He was a different man back then — affectionate, sweet, and more talkative. Another flashback reveals how his wife begged the Second State Councilor under the pouring rain to spare her father because the latter was suspected of plotting a conspiracy. She cried and pleaded for his forgiveness but we all know what happens next…

Officer Min finds his wife having hung herself a few days later. Back in the present, he caresses a handkerchief that his wife had made before with both their names embroidered on it. As he quietly weeps for her, he does smile probably remembering their good memories together.

It’s a quiet day at the office as the elephant in the room of Officer Min resigning hangs heavily with everyone. It’s only when Officer Hyeon (Yes, this is a 3rd time I’m saying it. He is an a**hole to his very core🤮) comes in, happy and beaming, that noise fills the room. He expects to be promoted now that a position has become vacant and even sits at Officer Min’s chair to imagine the feeling of moving up a rank. He is stupefied when Officer Min walks in and hits his leg on the table, HAHA🤣 Officer Yang treats him the same way as he always has and smiles.

It’s been awhile since the focus was on Prince Lee Rim, but he’s up next as he is bored waiting to see Hae Ryung. Sam Bo tells him not to be too available and play hard to get with her, but he is wary of this idea. Officer Min and Hae Ryung take a walk and he apologizes to Hae Ryung and she teases him to try saying thank you in a sweeter and more informal manner. It’s a shame though because I think she’s the only one who can bring out the side of him that he had lost but it’s looking like just a blooming friendship at this point. Crown Prince Lee Rim and his group see them walking and calls for them. He tells Hae Ryung that he needs her at Nokseodang but Officer Min states that he needs to tell her the reason why she is being summoned. An awkward silence follows until Hae Ryung gestures that it’s okay and that she’ll be back at the office.

Hae Ryung asks if there’s anything he’d like to say and he expresses that he is frustrated not knowing anything about her. She begins telling him bits of facts about her family, hobbies, and a little about her childhood. She also confesses that the story about her brother holding her hand was a lie. He doesn’t probe too much on why and smiles in content with their conversation.

Officer Yang is told by Officer Song that he saw the Second State Councilor heading to the King to talk with him. He is worried that when Officer Min finds out, he’ll want someone to record their conversation; but since it’s held in the Inner Palace, it’s technically outside a historian’s jurisdiction. Just then, Officer Min overhears them talking. The next scene immediately shows Hae Ryung sneaking outside the King’s chamber as per Officer Min’s instructions. She overhears the Second State Councilor ask the King if he is hiding anything about Prince Lee Rim, but 2 guards suddenly spot her lurking around.

Thoughts

Sorry if I’ve been repeating my sentiments but it just goes to show how much I love Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung!😊 I feel like Shin Se Kyung is her most versatile here as she makes jokes, smiles spritely, and has a different set of facial expressions compared to her previous kdramas. She is my kind of heroine and I hope she continues her trajectory to influencing change in the palace. Even if she ends up in trouble😅

I’m convinced now that there is no love triangle between Hae Ryung, Prince Lee Rim, and Officer Min anymore. It was only a small tease but these 2 episodes confirmed that Officer Min is not ready to move on from Dan Yeong yet. I love the background they gave to him, it was a startling revelation, but it adds color to why his character is portrayed the way he is. People may mock his inflexibility and initial advantage, but he got to where he is because he is a man of principle and no one can take that away from him.