It’s 1999 in South Korea — a world on the cusp of a booming digital age, flip cellphones were still a thing, and the possibilities for scientific progress are endless. Melting Me Softly tells the tale of 2 people who wake up 20 years after being frozen in a cryo chamber🥶 The plot reminds me of the Hollywood movie, Passengers, where the leads also went into hibernation only to be awakened with no one to tell them what really happened to them. The similarity ends there though as Melting Me Softly applies a different setting, time, and angle.
Going into the 1st episode, I wasn’t sure what to expect but thankfully, any hesitations went away as Ji Chang Wook’s charm as Ma Dong Chan is simply irresistible, hee. I first watched the actress Won Jin A in her previous kdrama, Rain or Shine, and I’m happy that she’s portraying a spunkier and more outspoken person here as Ko Mi Ran.
I liked how they depicted the 1st episode through flashbacks and not a linear story telling style. In the first few minutes alone, we see both Ma Dong Chan and Ko Mi Ran participate in a cryogenics project of a Doctor Hwang, freezing themselves in a chamber for only a period of 24 hours. How they got to this point unfolds piece by piece when we see glimpses of Dong Chan and Mi Ran’s life before getting frozen.
Dong Chan is as a talented and out-of-the-box thinking PD (Production director) directing a very popular variety show. He is passionate, hardworking, talented, and has an equally supportive girlfriend. He veers away from the ordinary and prides himself in doing things that no one in TV land has done before. He is very interested in cryogenics as it is a very new technology in 1999 and wants to be the first one to show the world its revolutionary effects. He volunteers to be a test subject himself to make it more believable for viewers and enlists the help of another person to go in with him.
Enter Mi Ran, a 24 year old woman who takes the dangerous jobs that no one dares to do in Dong Chan’s variety show because it pays a lot of money. She is enjoying her youth while struggling to find a permanent job in between participating in the show’s experiments, happily hangs out with friends, and takes care of her little brother who gets bullied from time to time. She is initially reluctant to volunteer but when Dong Chan mentions that an effect of cryogenics is curing diseases, she thinks of her brother and is all in with the project.
Something goes wrong as the Professor is chased by a car and supposedly killed on the same day that both go into the chamber. He is the only one who can unfreeze both Dong Chan and Mi Ran to administer a special shot to prevent their bodies from reacting negatively to being frozen for a day. With the Professor still alive 20 years later, he finally sets them free…with a consequence that their body temperatures must be maintained at 31.5 degrees Celsius🤒
Both Ji Chang Wook and Won Jin A portrayed their frenzied and pale 2019 selves very well when the former calls his assistant PD to continue shooting and the latter trying to find her family. They are in for the surprise of their lives when they both finally realize that so much time has passed since their awakening! They can’t exactly resume their lives as if nothing has happened and have to adjust to a more progressive Korea and an older generation of their loved ones.
Melting Me Softly is an intriguing korean drama that combines sci-fi elements with romance and comedy. There hasn’t been much interaction between our 2 leads yet so let’s anticipate the temperature of their love to heat up and see how they navigate their 2019 together!😊
History has proven that dictatorships or countries with a King can fall and be rebuilt into a new nation for the people. The Second State Councilor has his own plans to put into action but our protagonists will not go down without a fight. The only constant thing in this world is change, whether we are ready for it or not — we can either embrace such an occurrence, or die trying to reject it.
We are treated to another flashback 20 years ago showing how the Second State Councilor caught and threatened Jae Kyung as a kid to change the contents of the King’s letter. King Yi Gyeom patiently awaits for his child to be born as Mo Hwa congratulates him for having a son. No time to celebrate though as the invasion happens moments after and King Yi Gyeom is killed for supposed treason. Although Jae Kyung reports back to Seoraewon about what he did, it was still too late. Yeongan entrusts him to take Hae Ryung far away so they can live a new life, just as Prince Lee Rim was saved by Sam Bo and Mo Hwa.
An officer and several guards barge into the Office of Royal Decrees and arrest Officer Min for causing “trouble” at the Royal Court. Despite the historians’ protests, Officer Min doesn’t fight back and simply turns himself in quietly. He has a stare down with his father outside, the latter being pressured by his minions to punish his own son for reading the petition.
Also worried for the Prince’s safety, Hae Ryung seeks aid from the Military Commander to sneak Prince Lee Rim out of Nokseodang. They successfully dodge anyone who can catch them in the Palace and hand in hand go to a safe hideout once outside. Both are greeted by the Queen Dowager and the Prince’s loyal followers, swearing their allegiance to help him. Mo Hwa discloses to the Prince that they plan to end things once and for all at the banquet to commemorate the King’s 20th year of reign to be held in a few days. She warns him that if things go awry, they cannot protect him anymore and must therefore escape.
A discussion occurs between opposing side between the King, Crown Prince, and the Second State Councilor. As usual, the latter insists on continuing the banquet to front that the Royal family is not affected by the issues plaguing them. The Crown Prince worries when he declares that he and his father should accept whatever happens to the Queen Dowager and Prince Lee Rim that day, but the Second State Councilor reminds them that it is because of him that they can be in their positions now. Unnerved and burdened, Crown Prince Lee Jin visits Sa Hui that night to ask her a question about the daily records. He doesn’t ask to see it but Sa Hui does not mind letting him read a copy of the actual text.
The Prince and Hae Ryung discuss their future, with the latter telling the former that she’ll follow him whereever he goes if things go south. In a role reversal, it is Prince Lee Rim who declines her offer saying that she shouldn’t move with him. It’s not a blatant rejection but he explains that he was never locked up in Nokseodang but rather, he was waiting for the right person, Hae Ryung, to come find him. If he ends up running away, he can get through anything knowing that they’ll meet again one day. He seals his promise with a kiss. Selfless and content, I think the Prince wouldn’t want Hae Ryung to have a hard time as they run away together and he understood what she meant when she said the exact same thing to him a few episodes ago.
Episode 40 (Last Episode)
It’s the day of reckoning as the banquet is held with officials, historians, eunuchs, and court ladies witnessing the event. Jae Kyung bravely walks to the middle of the place, on his knees, confessing to the King that the letter allegedly sent by the King was fabricated. He points to the Second State Councilor as the culprit and even presents evidence that the King did not believe in Catholicism and simply wanted Seoraewon to be a place where they can study different cultures. The King is unable to speak yet and the officers argue on whether or not to believe Jae Kyung or not.
In a heated exchange between the Queen Dowager and the Second State Councilor, Prince Lee Rim surpisingly marches inside and announces that he is the son of Prince Huiyeong. He bravely states that the reason why his Majesty hasn’t killed him after all this time is because he also thought deep down that stealing the throne and death of his own brother was unjustified. The King stands up in fury and orders the historians to stop writing or else they’ll be beheaded. They don’t listen though and continue to jot down history unraveling before their very eyes.
Side by side, Hae Ryung kneels beside Prince Lee Rim and unwaveringly speaks that killing them will be of no use because the truth will live and resonate in the hearts and minds of the people of Joseon. All the historians join in the protest, backing up Hae Ryung. The Second State Councilor brands them all as traitors and orders for their death but the Crown Prince orders the guard to drop his sword aimed at Hae Ryung’s neck. He walks down from the steps and gets down on his knees himself, pleading the King to investigate the truth of what happened before. Other officials bow down and in a majestic moment, they all simultaneously chant and ask their leader humbly to right the wrongs of the past and move forward with a just conscience.
The next scene shifts to the Second State Councilor telling Officer Min in his room to pour him a drink in his memorial ceremony yearly. This must signal our heroes’ success in persuading the King and our villain’s acceptance of his fate. His son asks how he could change from someone noble to becoming an insatiable man seeking power. The latter explains when he gained influence himself, it was hard for him to let go of it. He does stand by the decision he made to have killed the King before as he believes that Yi Gyeom violated the principles and pillar teachings of Joseon with the study of Western culture. Officer Min cries in disagreement saying that a new world will arise and pays his last respects to his father.
Mo Hwa and Hae Ryung visit Jae Kyung in prison and inform him that the special investigation will commence with every person involved in the dethronement process will be interrogated. Hae Ryung tells him that she is trying to keep it together despite everything and Jae Kyung assures her that he never took care of her out of guilt. They are each other’s brother and sister no matter what happens.
Meanwhile inside the Palace, the Crown Prince announces to the Queen Dowager that he will step down from his position once the investigation has finished. Suddenly, Prince Lee Rim goes inside her room and asks for his dethronement as a Prince because he wishes to live life as an ordinary and free man. The Queen Dowager does not accept his decision and convinces him otherwise. I know that she means well but like I said in the previous episode recaps, her forcing him to be King is annoying! He can always learn the ropes in governing a nation, yes, but he clearly doesn’t want to involve himself in politics.
*** 3 years later ***
It’s business as usual for our hardworking historians!✍🏻 Hae Ryung looks to have been promoted as she has her own table now while A Ran and In Im have also become a junior ninth rank. They aren’t as afraid to speak their minds when Officer Hyeon, who is no longer a historian but is the same rank as Officer Yang, barges in the Office and tries to bully the girls. Sa Hui is not a historian anymore and is teaching kids instead. Her father comes bearing books saying that someone from the Palace (*Ahem* Lee Jin *Ahem*) keeps sending these for her. She smiles and graciously accepts the gift.
We can assume that the Second State Councilor had been executed as Officer Min and the now single and annulled Crown Princess is in mourning clothes. All the historians visit Officer Min and asks him to come back and work as per the order of his Majesty. They all laugh in unison as Officer Min grins back at them. The Crown Prince is now King and he has taken on the task to introduce Western beliefs and practices to Joseon. He remains optimistic and vows that Seoraewon shouldn’t only be a dream that they cannot attain.
Lee Rim comes back from his travels and surprises Hae Ryung with a trail of flowers leading up to him on her mat. He expresses how amazing it was to see dolphins on his trip but doesn’t reveal anything more so she ought to buy the travel book he wrote instead. It seems that the book isn’t doing too well compared to his romance novels, haha, but at least he is doing what he loves for a living. Lee Rim pretends to leave to give Hae Ryung time to rest but she asks him to lock the door instead for some sexy time, haha!💋 They aren’t married yet but that’s okay as they are taking their time enjoying each other’s company.
The next morning, Hae Ryung is awakened by Lee Rim realizing that she is late for work. She gives him a morning kiss on the lips before running off to the Palace. Once inside, she stops for a moment and takes a deep breath to prepare herself for what would be another great and eventful day working as a historian.
A happy ending for our lovers and Joseon🎉 I thoroughly enjoyed watching Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung for its fresh story, plot twists, and girl power!🌸 In the end, the power of the people overruled the tyrant that is the Second State Councilor and the truth shined as bright as the sun. Timing is everything and perhaps it will still take time for the people of Joseon to accept another culture; but after 23 years and no other villain in sight, I’m sure the future of their country is headed toward a positive direction.
If I had to nitpick this kdrama, maybe it would be that I wished some of the side stories would be further explored or solved. Like the stipend corruption that was never mentioned again, what happened to the kid that Hae Ryung helped in the first few episodes, and that Jean Barthelemy was simply a passing foreigner who wished to bid farewell to his brother but was never a crucial part of the overall story. I guess these instances are just meant to be accepted for what they are, an experience that may not mean so much in the big picture, but individually helped shaped our characters’ development.
Cha Eun Woo, the actor playing Prince Lee Rim, could have displayed more facial expressions in some of the show’s more tense or dramatic moments. I read that he was criticized for his poor acting skills earlier when the show just premiered but there’s always room for improvement. His character was sweet and loyal but also didn’t give up even when he had to eventually escape if they did not convince the King of their cause.
Hae Ryung had her fair share of right and wrongs as a character but the fact that she was consistent in speaking the truth & doing what’s right is her best trait for me. She and the Prince never really had a major conflict except of course when he was forced to marry but other than that, their personalities and beliefs always complemented each other. I’m glad that they showed a unique angle where women were emphasized and given a bit of power in a male dominant time proving that women, just like men, are capable of doing work equally and have valid opinions as well.
Will the truth tear people apart or unite them together? Knowing the facts is one thing, but choosing what to do with such information (Do nothing or stand up for it) is a whole different matter. Courage is so much more than laying your life on the line for something you believe in. It’s also being able to endure the consequences of your actions, no matter if the result is good or unfavorable to you.
Eunuchs and court ladies that were involved in distributing the books are captured by the order of the Second State Councilor. The matter is discussed at the Royal Court and confessions from the captives hold the Queen Dowager accountable for the deed. The Second State Councilor connivingly requests the King to close off the Queen Dowager’s chambers and investigate her court ladies to get to the bottom of things. The Crown Prince counters this plea stating that doing that is the same as accusing her of treason. The King does not give a decision at the moment and wants to think it over first.
Once alone, the Crown Prince implores the King not to give in to the Second State Councilor’s request as it will cause a rift between the Royal family. His father finally comes clean about Prince Lee Rim being the legitimate son of the dethroned King, Prince Huiyeong/Yi Gyeom, and that he is doing this to protect the Crown Prince’s position. It’s such a bittersweet moment because at least he now knows the truth but his words come off as a tool to manipulate his own son. He is speechless with this revelation and does not argue with the King anymore.
With the Nokseodang records in her hands, Hae Ryung resumes the search for Historian Kim Il Mok’s daily records after her and the Prince’s 1st failed attempt earlier. She reads that other parts of Nokseodang had been repaired in less than 20 years so she deduces that it couldn’t have been placed there as someone would have found it by then. She takes a closer look at the signboard and notices that it is not as old like the other components of the building. Sam Bo makes a comment that it is strange that the sign does not rot or discolor as well. The Prince pokes the board and the sign, along with a blue cloth with some papers spits out of it.
Hae Ryung stops the Prince from reading because it is forbidden for anyone to else read a historian’s record. She beseeches him not to read it yet his voice rises on why he should wait any further when the answers that he has been so desperate to find is right in front of him. He takes the daily records in his hands and Sam Bo gets down on his knees exclaiming that he will instead tell him the truth as long as he doesn’t commit a crime.
Despite a guard stopping him in his tracks; Prince Lee Rim pulls out the guard’s sword and puts the blade near his neck warning the guard that he can easily kill him if he doesn’t let him see his grandmother. He is brimming with a wave of emotions and confesses to her that he always blamed himself for the reason that the King disliked and exiled him to Nokseodang. He confronts her about the promise she made with the King that in exchange for the throne, he would spare the Prince’s life. The Queen asks for his forgiveness and says that she couldn’t lose her grandson too. Prince Lee Rim is a bit spiteful because despite being alive, he has lived such lonely years, thinking that he is being punished for no reason. The Queen dissuades him from giving up and that he should try to endure the pain, as much as she has endured all these years of losing her son too.
The next day, Hae Ryung speaks to Officer Min about finding Kim Il Mok’s daily records. She says that someone edited the records because there is a disparity of details between what is known now and Kim Il Mok’s words. Officer Min is initially reluctant to do anything and Hae Ryung calls him out that it could be because his father is involved on why he wants no part in revealing the truth. She exclaims that a historian who refused to submit his daily records was killed and that those who took advantage of the situation are now living a good life. Hae Ryung will lose respect for Officer Min if he refuses to take this up with the Royal Court.
After a night of contemplation, Officer Min talks to Hae Ryung the following morning that he wants to be a historian who can write the truth even if the effect is not immediately seen. They show the daily records to the rest of the historians and they are dumbfounded with the new details of what they have always known as history and because it means that the current King propagated lies just to claim the throne. To justify the rebellion, a letter claiming that the King then wrote to a French priest that he wanted to make Joseon into a Catholic nation and that he wished to send priests to spread the word of God. But as stated in Kim Il Mok’s records, it was simply a harmless note – which means someone changed the contents of the letter.
Officer Yang, Officer Min, and Hae Ryung go meet with the Chancellor as he was in charge of the historians at the time. They tell him of their discovery of the daily records and that a historian manipulated the facts before. He angrily dismisses their claims but Hae Ryung reminds him that he was also a historiance once in his life. She uses this fact to stir his heart into helping them reveal the truth at the Royal Court. I honestly think it worked!
At the royal meeting, Officer Min reads a petition with Hae Ryung’s name representing the historians. They ask for a reinvestigation of the past records as they have proof of a daily record that presents different details of history. They wish to know who is responsible for possibly threatening the historians to alter such facts and ask that all 42 officials involved in the dethronement of the King then be inspected. Of course, the Second State Councilor’s minions retaliate except the Chancellor who backs up Officer Min’s request. In a twist of events, the Crown Prince turns down the petition and declares that he doesn’t want to hear anything more about the topic. Cowaaaarrrdd!!😡
Elsewhere, Jae Kyung scolds Hae Ryung that the situation has escalated to more than she can handle. She says that she’s always thought it was strange how the 2 of them could survive the raid at Seoraewon and how he could still get a government position despite being actively involved there. She tells Jae Kyung that she forgives him for being the one who changed the contents of the letter and that he must have had a difficult time too in taking care of her and carrying the burden of his betrayal alone. Hae Ryung holds his hand in hers as he holds hers as well, a sign that she is at peace with her brother.
Prince Lee Rim visits his older brother and asks him to reconsider the historians’ petition. The Crown Prince scowls that he must want the truth of the dethronement to be revealed and not to simply discover what really transpired back then. He agrees with Prince Lee Rim when the latter retorts that is it his duty to just do nothing and be powerless. The conflict in the Crown Prince’s face is apparent but he doesn’t let himself be swayed by Prince Lee Rim and orders palace guards to not let him out of Nokseodang.
Hae Ryung gets wind of this development and goes to Nokseodang to see the Prince. She is not allowed entry despite being a historian, but she and the Prince lock eyes from his balcony.
I didn’t think that the Crown Prince would feel threatened about his position, hence not giving in to the historians’ request. I know that he loves Prince Lee Rim; but I suppose the shock that his seat in the throne, his known identity, is actually not legitimate thus making him anxious to hold onto it more. I’m not sure if it’s a misdirect and he’s actually trying to protect the Prince from danger but with this development, I’m uncertain if he’ll go against his own father or support the Prince. I honestly don’t think Prince Lee Rim wants to take over as King; he simply wants justice for his real father and for history to be rightfully restored.
It was also such a heartwarming moment between Hae Ryung and Jae Kyung because I know that the latter was fearful of the former discovering the truth that he was the one who sparked the revolt and ultimately lead to the deaths of many innocent lives. Hae Ryung understanding his predicament back then shows just how mature and insightful she is. This was the best kind of closure they can have with their past and to move forward to a happier future.
Feeling chills over the united front of the historians, I hope that their passion and loyalty influences others to join their side. I’m not sure if the Second State Councilor will employ force to threaten them now but with Jae Kyung, Mo Hwa, and the Military Commander at the same side, I hope that they officially all band together to fight him. I would like to see instead though is a democratic rebellion, one where the people of the Palace persuades the King and Crown Prince that they can no longer bury the truth.
As the Queen Dowager officially makes a move, the whole Palace will be suffused with doubts leading others to seek the facts of what truly transpired in the past. Now that we’re nearing the end of Rookie Historian: Goo Hae Ryung, what further revelations will be discovered now that our leads are slowly piecing together the truth of their identities?
Hae Ryung opens up to Prince Lee Rim about moving to Qing as a child by Jae Kyung to save her life. She confesses that Yeongan must be her father’s pseudonym and that he was accused of treason back then as well. She starts crying and it takes all of Prince Lee Rim’s might not to hug her. She wonders why the King couldn’t do anything to help her father before and now wishes to know what really happened everything. She further remembers her childhood where Ho Dam carried her while trying to find a book in her father’s library room.
The King tries to clear his name to the Queen Dowager that he had no hand in the attack against Prince Lee Rim. She accuses him of protecting the Second State Councilor because they have the same goal and warns him with a suicide threat. He does genuinely looked hurt and seems concerned about her, which is strange because he’s done things or have been doing acts that he must know upsets her.
A group of men convene with Mo Hwa and Jae Kyung and it is revealed that they are the ones who actually planned the ambush against Prince Lee Rim. Their plan was to have the King suspect the Second State Councilor being the mastermind behind it to cause a rift between both men. I think it worked as it did plant seeds of doubt in the King but the Second State Councilor is too smart to fall for it as proven by the last episode.
Hae Ryung searches through Jae Kyung’s things and finds an old government newspaper. She copies the contents into a new sheet of paper and finds out that a historian named Kim Il Mok who refused to submit his daily record and was therefore decapitated. The next day, Hae Ryung asks Officer Min if he knew Kim Il Mok and Officer Yang butts in their conversation narrating that he was a historian who took his job very seriously, leaving late but starting early. The story that he died not wanting to submit his daily record was echoed by another officer. Officer Min cautions her not to ask anyone else about it because others might misunderstand her intentions because he was also accused of high treason.
Marching into the King’s chambers, Prince Lee Rim asks the King boldly if he was not concerned of his well-being after being shot by an arrow. He gets down on his knees and declares to stay in that position until the King agrees to talk to him. Hae Ryung goes to him that night and he still hasn’t budged from his place. When the King finally comes out, the Prince earnestly asks if he ever cared for him, even for just a short moment. The King does not respond and orders Sam Bo to escort him back to his chamber. I guess that pretty much sums up his answer.
Prince Lee Rim is in a daze and is teary eyed remembering that even as a child, the King never showed any kind of affection towards him. I guess deep inside it confirms his suspicion that they might not be related but it still must hurt to know that the person you treated as your father all this time doesn’t love you back. Hae Ryung hugs the Prince as he cries in her arms.
We get a glimpse of how Sa Hui is doing as she is preparing to go back to work. Her father wants her to quit her job. She assures him that she can protect herself and that once she opens her mouth, the Second State Councilor will get in trouble too. I love how her dad is showing how much he really cares for Sa Hui, despite their misunderstandings, family is still family… even if the person they are in conflict with is the Second State Councilor.
Late in the night, court ladies and eunuchs are shown leaving books in different parts of the palace. The Queen Dowager’s plan is continuing to unravel as Jae Kyung, Mo Hwa, and the rest await what ensues next. The next day, every essential room in the Palace has the book, The Story of Ho Dam, easily available for them to read. The King is astonished how the book could have circulated and orders the immediate seizing of all copies. It is too late however as several officers, eunuchs, scribes, scholars, and court ladies are already turning the pages of the book. Officer Yang warns the historians not to read the banned book and Hae Ryung cleverly volunteers to hand over the books to the Royal Secretariat. She hides 1 copy behind a rock under a nearby tree just in case.
The compiled copies of the books are gathered inside the Royal Court. The Second State Councilor advises the King that it’s not those who have read it that ought to be punished, but the ones that brought the book and spread it inside the Palace are the ones to blame. His minions are bewildered on how detailed the book is and if this means that the Queen Dowager has found the missing daily records. It seems that the only way to verify the truth is through Kim Il Mok’s sachaek.
Depicted through a flashback, Hae Ryung narrates The Story of Ho Dam that a scholar named Ho Dam realized that Neo-Confucianism was not enough to sustain Joseon anymore. With the help of his friend Yeongan, they established Seoraewon to learn and better understand how Western practices can help better the nation. Anyone who wanted to study here was of equal rank and it signaled the future of their country. But other villagers, even the King’s own advisors, were wary of this assimilation to a foreign culture and the tragedy of Seoraewon getting shut down occured. Along with its destruction, both Ho Dam and Yeongan also died protecting their beliefs.
Jae Kyung and Hae Ryung have a heart to heart talk about the book. She confronts him on why he wasn’t upfront about her past to her but he responds that she should get on a boat to Qing the next day. She outright refuses and doesn’t want to run away anymore. She demands to know the whole situation but Jae Kyung combats that he made a promise to her father to protect her and doesn’t want her involved in this battle.
Being the stubborn girl that she is, Hae Ryung goes back to the Palace to dig up more information herself. She visits Prince Lee Rim and they talk about the book. Although it reveals a colorful picture, The Story of Ho Dam is still historically unverified and both of our leads seek to pursue the accuracy of the details. They go find a historian who had quit when Kim Il Mok was executed to help them shed light on what happened. They are first met with resistance but when Hae Ryung confesses that she is Yeongan’s daughter, he eases up and welcomes them.
He informs them that Hae Ryung’s father was his mentor but that only Kim Il Mok accompanied the deposed King to Seoraewon. He reveals that Officer Kim remained adamant to the end in not giving up his daily records because it will be distorted by those who betrayed the dethroned King. He also told both of them a riddle that Officer Kim told him about finding the truth in the island of green forest.
Prince Lee Rim has an epiphany and hurriedly goes back to his quarters. He asks Hae Ryung if she ever thought about the meaning of Nokseodang and she realizes that it means the island of green forest! The key clue that they needed to turn the tide was literally within reach this whole time, hehe.
FINALLY! It seems like such a slow burn to get to the climax but our heroes/heroines are prepared for a fight. I appreciate the fact that they didn’t just believe what was written in the book, even if their instincts tell them otherwise, and that they still want to confirm the story’s authenticity. I know Hae Ryung can be a bit reckless but these are moments where her bravery is needed the most. It’s nice to see her and the Prince share their thoughts with each other like friends. To me, it shows that they are mature enough to set aside their romantic feelings and solve a bigger problem at hand.
I do hate the fact that the Crown Prince, Jae Kyung, and the Queen Dowager are “protecting” our main couple by keeping them in the dark. It is a dangerous mission once they get involved but isn’t it better to know the truth, no matter how hurtful, than to live in a comfortable lie?
With the main theme revolving around historians, I know that they will band together again to expose Kim Il Mok’s daily record. Maybe this is the beginning of democracy for Joseon? Hmm.. probably too forward thinking of me, haha! My prediction is that the Crown Prince will take over the role of King completely and that improved checks and balances will be implemented to prevent another revolt. Aaahhh, last week to go for our Rookie Historian! Can’t wait!😊
Every action star is a superhero, someone who can withstand an immeasurable amount of hits and thuds, and survives the most impossible situations imaginable. Especially those who have a clear drive within them, may it be revenge or finding clarity, a man/woman will do what they can to finish what they started.
I was blown away with the first 2 episodes of the show! Not only does it highlight how gorgeous Morocco is with its cool beaches and cascade of color roofed houses, but the action sequences and chases are of Hollywood movie quality👌🏻
Lee Seung Gi (Odyssey) stars as Cha Dal Geon, an ex stuntman who is now a cab driver raising his nephew (Hoon). He quit that line of work so he can ensure his own safety to be able to raise Hoon alive. He absolutely loves his craft with a montage showing several of his jobs (Getting beaten up, experiencing a car crash, being engulfed in flames) but also ending up hospitalized or needing care as well.
When news breaks out that the plane his nephew along with 200+ people rode in crashed leaving no survivors, he and the parents of Hoon’s judo team go to Morocco to pay their respects. Hoon uploads videos of his life and Dal Geon watches him laughing and goofing around with his judo teammates on the plane. Things get dicey in Morocco when he spots a man who he saw in Hoon’s video as someone on the plane and wildly chases after him. This is the catalyst that echoes throughout the show as it jumpstarts a game of cat and mouse to see who catches each other first. The man is backed up by a powerful corporation hellbent on landing a trillion dollar deal to have their fighter jets purchased and probably entangled with future conspiracies.
He meets Suzy Bae’s (While You Were Sleeping) character, Go Hae Ri, in Morocco as an intern for the Korean embassy who helps the parents with the memorial. Initially setting her up as part of the evil side, she clears her name as an NIS agent stationed at Morocco. She plays her character of being undercover well and is the breadwinner of her family. I like her role here so I hope this catapults Suzy into further stardom as an actress.
Lee Seung Gi portrays Dal Geon as an intense man who would hunt down the truth even if it costs him his life. His desperation to get to the bottom of things is evident and proves that he has great instincts when he concluded that the plane crash was not a systems/machine error. His chemistry with Suzy is electric, being at odds with each other due to Dal Geon’s brash personality and Hae Ri’s reluctance to believe him but ends up helping him in various situations. She does discover the truth thanks to the video clip Dal Geon provided her proving that the plane crash was an act of terrorism. It’ll be interesting to see how their romance (IF there is) will blossom given their not so great first impressions but I know it will amplify their connection further⚡️
Vagabond follows the normal formula for an action genre TV show — Money hungry powerful person/company bulldozes anyone who gets in their way, a protagonist victim seeking retribution, plot twists, a looming romance on the works with another lead fighting for the same cause. But formulas can be rearranged to get the same end result. Given the characters, action scenes, and story, expect the variables of this kdrama to be bold, feisty, and explosively good!💥
How do you go from being lovers to awkward workmates? The aftermath of Hae Ryung’s decision is seen as she and Prince Lee Rim still have to work and see each other often. But a bigger, more pressing issue might just be their ticket to slowly reconcile and come to terms with their relationship.
Several petitions are being made to remove the female historians in the Royal Palace due to the scandal. The Crown Prince is furious because such a petty matter is being prioritized more than the country’s well-being. He berates the advisers for jumping on the bandwagon and putting all the blame on Sa Hui, when he is equally at fault for what happened. The King calls of Prince Lee Rim’s wedding because of what happened and the Second State Councilor has no choice but to take all of his rage with an apology.
Bearing medicine, the Second State Councilor visits Sa Hui at her home and apologizes that if he only knew she felt that way for the Crown Prince, he wouldn’t have pushed her to marry him. Sa Hui tells him that she’d rather be punished for her deeds but he responds back with a threat that since she works for him, he is willing to spare her life just this once.
It’s Prince Lee Rim’s 20th birthday and Sam Bo and his 2 court ladies excitedly surprise him with flowers and confetti. He visits the Queen Dowager in her chambers and she asks him to accompany her to the dethroned King’s grave to pay their respects as it is the latter’s death anniversary. Hae Ryung also accompanies them to the trip since she is the historian assigned to the Queen Dowager. After the ceremony, the Queen treats him to lunch and promises him that she’ll find a suitable bride for him in the future. Prince Lee Rim replies that he wishes not to get married soon but his grandmother seeks help from Hae Ryung to encourage the Prince since she has spent a lot of time in Nokseodang. She awkwardly agrees that he would be a great husband one day.
Once out of earshot, the Prince clears the air with Hae Ryung that she should not feel uncomfortable around him. He is still upset with her, even mentioning that he got annoyed listening to her telling the Queen that any woman would be lucky to marry him. Still standing by her decision, Hae Ryung exclaims that she is trying hard not to think about their situation because they frequently have to see each other. The Prince leaves her with his last words that he also tried his best and that she should treat him like nothing happened. Yikes😥
Jae Kyung meets with the Queen Dowager that same night as she is fuming with hatred for him, blaming him that it was his fault that the revolt against her son (the King then) happened. Mo Hwa explains to her that he wants to pay for his sins and is looking for a missing daily records book. The Queen Dowager reluctantly agrees but only until Prince Lee Rim becomes King.
Having dreamt about the deposed King (Prince Huiyeong), Prince Lee Rim walks around the Palace to clear his head. He meets Hae Ryung along the way and she asks if he had a nightmare again. He opens up that he found it weird that the Queen Dowager asked him to go attend the memorial ritual. Hae Ryung finds it odd as well and they wonder what Prince Huiyeong was like and what crime he had actually committed since little information is known about him. The Prince thanks Hae Ryung for listening and she smiles ever so slightly, I think feeling relieved that he is not mad at her.
On their way back home, the Royal party is ambushed and attacked by assailants with arrows. Prince Lee Rim falls off his horse and is separated with the others in the middle of the road. Hae Ryung gets a small table to shield herself from the incoming danger and manages to get close to the Prince. He hugs Hae Ryung when he sees an arrow being shot near her to get her out of harm’s way. They make their way to the other side to where Sam Bo and the others are hiding behind an overturned wagon. A few minutes after, the assailants stop shooting and runs away. The coast isn’t clear yet though as it’s revealed that Prince Lee Rim was shot in the back with an arrow.
The King is furious (again, hahaha😜) at the Second State Councilor as he suspects him of planning the attack. He responds back by saying that Prince Lee Rim is the first son of the dethroned King and doesn’t know why he hid that information from him all this time and why he’s even still alive. The Second State Councilor exasperatedly shouts back that it is the Queen Dowager who is leading Seoraewon. They leer at each other, with both men trying to contain their anger towards the other, knowing that they need to set their differences aside if they want to to stop the Queen.
After finding shelter and recovering from the attack, Hae Ryung notices that the arrows that were shot at them had blunt tips. She goes back to the site where the ambush happened and found one of the bows used to attack them. She discovers that the bow is flimsy and that the bowstring is too thin. Hae Ryung relays the information to both the Crown Prince (He came to ensure his brother’s safety) and Prince Lee Rim that the body parts targeted (Arms and legs) were not fatal. If they we’re really planning to harm Prince Lee Rim; they would have been easily able to do so, yet the clues they have gathered says otherwise and no one was killed. Prince Lee Rim concludes that the raid happened because he visited the deposed King’s grave.
The Second State Councilor and his minions discuss what happened and suspect that it was actually the King who planned the attack. The former doesn’t seem to think so and speculates someone else to have done it. The Queen Dowager apologizes to the Crown Prince for putting Prince Lee Rim in danger. She turns sour when he mentions that the dethroned King committed high treason and asks her to stop visiting his grave. The Queen Dowager cryptically counters that he doesn’t know the whole truth of the matter. Then why don’t you just tell him? Aargh!!😤
Hae Ryung and Prince Lee Rim go for a walk that same night and talk about the incident further. The Prince mentions the tombstone that he saw about Ho Dam and Yeongan’s name and Hae Ryung deduces that Yeongan is the author of the cowpox variolation book. They also connect the book to Mo Hwa, who Hae Ryung states she saw the other night meeting with Jae Kyung. Prince Lee Rim goes to check a locked villa inside the Palace, the one similar to his dreams. He and Hae Ryung see a portrait of the dethroned King and are in awe of their discovery. A memory comes to her mind as she recalls meeting him when she was a kid as Ho Dam.
Okay, let’s get our facts straight:
-Ho Dam is an alias the dethroned King used. He had a hand in establishing Seoraewon and is Prince Lee Rim’s true father.
-Yeongan is Hae Ryung’s father. He was a great doctor and is most likely friends with Ho Dam.
It’s sad to see the Queen Dowager making decisions for Prince Lee Rim, someone who she loves dearly, not consider his feelings. Yes, yes, it was a different time back then and I suppose losing her son made her more protective of the Prince. I just wonder what the Crown Prince would feel since it’s obvious she’s favoring his younger brother over him. I’m sure they won’t fight over the throne given their good relationship, not that Prince Lee Rim would want to handle state affairs as well. Since Ho Dam/Prince Huiyeong was in favor or Western practices, that’s probably why he was viewed as a heretic and rumors could have twisted the truth of his intentions even further. This is enough reason for the current King to oust him and take the throne.
I was a little bit disappointed that the marriage plot was discarded as quickly as it started because this was the 1st actual confrontation our OTP had with regard to their relationship. But it’s ripple effect was huge, that even if the wedding is called off, it doesn’t mean things can go back to the way they were before. I’m not sure how they’ll resolve it other than Prince Lee Rim abdicating his throne because I can’t see Hae Ryung becoming a Princess or a Queen at this point. Forget about their social status and duties, I truly believe that she wants to explore the world and soak up every bit of knowledge she can as a free and adventurous woman.
Do you leave your life in destiny’s hands or do you believe that you shape your own fate? What if our choices, despite being made on our own free will, is all part of a grander scheme to lead us to the very destiny that we are trying so hard to avoid?
Visually appealing, funny, romantic vibes laced with a bit of drama, Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency will surely be a match made in heaven to brighten up your weekday kdrama habit!🌸
I like that it’s not another ordinary show as the story centers around a trio of young men running a matchmaking agency. What tasks they do, how they work, and what problems they encounter when setting up 2 people in the Joseon dynasty era is a tale worth telling. For our titular Flower Crew, the friends consists of:
Ma Hoon – Smart, aloof, and is the leader of the agency.
Ko Young Soo – Handsome, a ladies man, and lives his life to the fullest.
Do Joon – A happy-go-lucky trendsetter/fashionista who says the wrong things as he actually means another word.
They’ll meet Lee Soo, a blacksmith’s son who wishes to be set up with his childhood friend, Gae Ddong, the stubborn but hardworking leading lady of the show. Without spoiling too much, Lee Soo and Gae Ddong’s case was accepted but just as they were about to get married, fate intervenes leaving Gae Ddong without a groom to marry. Our trio will find themselves getting involved with a mystery much bigger than their cupid style moves. Add to the equation Gae Ddong joining their team soon so expect lots of mishaps and learning curve for our Flower Crew.
Of course, in true Joseon dynasty fashion, no story is complete without the presence of the Royal family. One of the King’s advisers is the head villain, along with the Queen who he helped put into a position of power. But this is the 1st period kdrama that I’ve watched featuring a weak, but nontheless, scheming Queen who is an annoying, wannabe antagonist if you ask me.
Smack dab in the middle of this romcom is a love triangle between Soo, Gae Ddong, and Hoon. Soo is clearly in love with Gae Ddong and has the most sincerest intentions for her while I’m sure she also cares for him deeply, I think she loves him more of as a friend than a romantic partner. With Hoon, they always fight with each other but he helps her nonetheless when she is desperate to find Hoon. This is the 1st kdrama where I’m not sure who the girl will end up with because both seem like leading men material so I’m excited about that!😁
Sparks flew, (un)pleasantries were exchanged, and the seeds of a new adventure awaits. Join the Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency gang as they tackle their futures together, weathering whatever destiny decides to throw their way!💓