Tag: korean drama

Unnie Recap: Extraordinary You (Episodes 3 and 4)

With the startling revelation of her true role, how will Dan Oh handle her life as an extra? There’s more than meets the eye with in this comic book world and if anyone can get to the bottom of things, it’s our lovely heroine supporting character Dan Oh!😅

Episode 3

Scurrying towards the school kitchen again, Dan Oh gets a hold of the comic book before Dried Squid can get to it. She finally reads the introductory page and confirms the fact that she is indeed just an extra character with her image belonging on that side of the category. With her being self-aware, she admits that her classmates’ names were kind of surreal. She argues with Dried Squid that she doesn’t want to be an extra and badmouths the writer incessantly for making her that way.

Before she can rant any further, Dan Oh is transported to an intended scene in a painting room. She is irritated at the fact that her existence is only to help Nam Ju and Ju Da get together. This is proven when she tripped going to the front of the room to be the model and she knocked over a pen to the floor, only to have Nam Ju and Ju Da simultaneously pick it up and touch hands. When the class focuses on Nam Ju’s beautiful drawing of Ju Da, Dan Oh starts doing wacky poses to get their attention. She accidentally breaks one of the plaster casts situated behind her and breaks another one as well, but a page turning sound erupts and the scene of her just sitting down to model is restarted.

Dan Oh is curious on what happened and has a bone to pick with Dried Squid about it. Probably tired of her rants, he takes out a diorama that looks like their high school and explains the rules of the comic book world:

  1. Stage – Characters say and does things according to what the writer wants. In essence, this is the the main flow of the story. This is why Dan Oh hears a page turning sound and suddenly becomes timid to Baek Kyung or is accommodating to Ju Da in certain scenes.
  2. Shadow – This is outside the stage where unwritten scenes are yet to be created. Characters can move and act freely in this space since the next scenes are undetermined at this point in time.

Dried Squid warns Dan Oh that despite being self aware, things always go back to the way the writer wants to happen in the stage. She basically declares war on the writer and decides that her fate lies in her own hands.

More unfortunate than being a character who does things to further the main couple’s love story is the fact that Dan Oh has to put up with Baek Kyung constantly taking his anger out on her. She knows that he’s a jerk but can’t do anything since it’s her character’s fate to be blindly in love with him. Dan Oh is appalled that she’s talking to him so nicely when he is clearly harassing her; despite her thoughts wanting to talk back at him, the stage scene ends with her heart aching and looking pitiful. Because of this, she vows not to give up on taking control of her life.

Feeling down, Dan Oh wonders if she would have been happier if she was just not self aware like her classmates. Ultimately though, she dismisses the thought because she knows she is happier now knowing about her current state. She gets another vision into the future of her breaking her leg because she cushioned herself to protect Ju Da from falling down the school stairs. A memory of Dried Squid telling her that the “future” she witnesses is called a storyboard: A rough sketch of what the writer is planning to write next. He also adamantly reminds her that even if she foresees such events and tries to change it, things will always go back to the stage’s intended scenes. What a bummer!😕

Episode 4

The next day at school, Dan Oh spots Ju Da dancing while cleaning their classroom. The other member of A3, Lee Do Hwa, walks by and also sees her saying that she’s cute and is different from other girls. Dan Oh teases him that he fell in love at first sight with Ju Da, but technically this is the 2nd time since he was admiring her in the library the other day too. She goes on one of her famous monologues again and tells Do Hwa that 2nd leads always fall short but there are readers who appreciate his role. He doesn’t understand her babbling, haha, and only gazes back at Ju Da.

Try as she might, Dan Oh fails to set the stage her way as the storyboard she saw plays out with her and Sae Mi conveniently positioned at the middle of the stairway. She tries to move away from her position but her body stays in place. Nam Ju walks by but retreats when his horde of fangirls, including Sae Mi, flock to him. Ju Da walks by as well and as Dan Oh pleads in her mind for the events to change, mysterious guy walks past her down the steps. Dan Oh’s watch begins to beep and she finds herself drawn to him. She is somehow able to move her body this time and follows him but Sae Mi pushes Ju Da, consequently pushing Dan Oh, down the stairs. This time though, her fall is cushioned by mystery guy!

Before she gets a glimpse of his face though, she faints from the accident and when she opens her eyes, she is inside the nurse’s room. Instead of wearing a cast like the storyboard, she has a gauze on her leg instead. Dan Oh looked incredulous when Nam Ju made a big deal of Sae Mi pushing Ju Da since the latter only has a small bandaid on her leg, haha! It was the perfect opportunity for Nam Ju to tell Ju Da to stay by his side as not to get hurt.

Dan Oh teases Do Hwa for standing outside the nurse’s room, obviously concerned about Ju Da’s well-being, just like a good 2nd lead is supposed to act. When she sees Do Hwa’s back, the flashback of her falling onto mystery guy gives her an idea. She bumps her own back against Do Hwa’s to test her theory, but since her heart isn’t reacting, she knows that he is not the mystery guy. She is hopeful again and thinks that her fate can change if she meets him.

Our determined extra hilariously bumps her back against every guy that she encounters, much to their unwarranted surprise, so that she can find her mystery guy. She teases Do Hwa that Ju Da is at the schoolyard and their connection develops a little bit. After several unsuccessful tries, Dan Oh becomes tired and decides that he can come find her instead and joins in on the class’s dodgeball session. On the sidelines, Nam Ju and Ju Da continue to flirt as their romance develops too.

Dan Oh tries her best to get hit with the ball, hoping mystery guy will save her from being hit. Right on cue, he blocks her from getting hit and her head lies on his left arm. Her watch starts to beep again but before she sees his face once again, a page turning sound is made and Dan Oh realizes she is back in the classroom. Ugh, so close! Another stage scene is set up and Dan Oh is stuck lying down on a bed inside the nurse’s room. Ju Da is locked inside by Sae Mi and the other girls but once the scene is over, Dan Oh gets up and unlocks the door. I suppose she can do this because she’s not meant to be locked in yet she stops Ju Da from getting out because she knows Nam Ju is the one meant to rescue her.

Another attempt is made by the mean girls to humiliate Ju Da (I guess this is the sole reason for their existence) and ever the persistent one, Dan Oh tries to prevent another accident from happening. Ju Da ends up being splashed by a bucket of water despite Dan Oh shielding her from it with an umbrella. Dried Squid’s words that nothing will change resonates within her and she is irritated at her situation in this world.

After walking around and remembering that mystery guy is the one who helped her out with the fallen books, Dan Oh heads for the library. She smiles spritely and goes outside again when she catches a glimpse of what looks to be her mystery guy at the garden. No one is around but she notices the umbrella that she used awhile ago stuck on a branch and she tries to get it. As fate would have it, mystery guy ends up helping her. She runs to catch up with him, opening the umbrella in the process. The mystery guy looks back at her, just as she raises the umbrella high enough to finally behold at the person who can change her destiny.

Thoughts

Have I already mentioned how much I adore Dan Oh as a lead character?❤️ Her determination to be more than an extra and her monologues of talking to herself is adorable for me. It must be frustrating to do something you don’t want but have no say in changing it. I know that this just means Baek Kyung’s father is not intentionally hurting him, and so is Baek Kyung to Dan Oh — it just so happens to be their character arc. But even if they don’t purposely mean to be harsh, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t painful when being told off nonetheless.

For someone who just found out that she’s an extra in a comic book world, I think she’s still handling it better than most people would, haha! Mystery guy must be another supporting character who gained consciousness and from the snippets of scenes we were given, it seems that he has taking a liking to Dan Oh. What if he is able to change her stage scenes because they are a potential separate love story? As much as I want Dan Oh to succeed in changing her status by herself, I suppose a little help won’t hurt.

Unnie Recommends: 3 Reasons Extraordinary You is a kdrama to tune into!

It’s comforting to know that we are the heroes/heroines of our own story, but what if you find out that you’re merely the supporting character of someone else’s fairytale? Would you resign yourself to the grand scheme of fate or will you try and change the path laid out for you? Our protagonist, or rather, supporting heroine, Eun Dan Oh, gets the shock of her life when she discovers that not only is she a character of a comic book, but that she’s only an extra!🤯

Extraordinary You offers a fresh perspective on leading roles as a supporting character realizes that she isn’t human and her life’s purpose is to serve as a bridge between the real leading lady and man of the book . Funny, entertaining, and has stunning cinematography and comic book style graphics, this kdrama is certainly a page turner in its own league.

Current Impression

*As of this writing, I’ve only watched until episode 4 of this kdrama.

It’s an age old question of destiny vs. freewill as Dan Oh goes to great lengths to change her predetermined fate as a student with a heart condition and is engaged to one of her classmates.

1. Ever wondered if a minor character told the main story in their perspective? In this comic book universe, this is how extras live and feel their existence.

Dan Oh first realizes that something is not right when she experiences memory loss such as when she was about to take a test in class; in the blink of an eye, she is done with her exam, with answers and all. With the help of another extra character, she learns that she has become self aware and that’s why she recognizes these gaps between scenes.

She also finds out that despite her nice background of being rich, kindhearted, and well loved by her classmates, she is not the heroine of the story. Entitled “Secret”, the comic book is set in Seuli high school where a love story between two of her other classmates, Oh Nam Ju and Yeo Ju Da, takes place. Along with this revelation, she comprehends the rules governing the comic book realm and realizes that despite wanting to say or feel something else, she speaks and acts how she ought to according to how her character is supposed to act.

Although she can act freely at times and upset the course of the comic book’s story, things always go back to how the writer intended events to occur. Actions such as not paying attention in class, wanting to buy strawberry milk, and avoiding accidents are attempted by Dan Oh but she hears the sound of a page turning a few seconds later and she goes back to her original planned scene and story. Frustrating right? That is, until one fateful day…

2. You’ll surely root and hate the characters of the comic book as each person has a distinct role to fill.

Like any book, each tale has a set of characters to pique our interests. It follows the bullied heroine and the bad boy with a heart of gold type of romance, complete with a 2nd male lead who falls in love with the leading lady. From left to right, meet the cast of “Secret”:

  1. Eun Dan Oh – The main, supporting character
  2. Yeo Ju Da – A transfer student who frequently gets bullied and is the actual heroine of the book
  3. Oh Nam Ju – Leader of his gang, “A3”, and develops a romantic interest on Ju Da
  4. Baek Kyung – Dan Oh’s fiance who doesn’t like her and is part of A3
  5. Lee Do Hwa – The other member of A3 and is the 2nd male lead who falls for Ju Da as well
  6. Ha Roo – The mysterious classmate who helps Dan Oh change her fate in the comic book
  7. Sae Min, Il Jin, Sam Jin, Ae Il – Dan Oh’s classmates in school

It is because of Ha Roo that Dan Oh doesn’t get her leg broken when she was supposed to and she goes on a manhunt to find him. She believes that he is the key to changing her fate. I think that he’s also a self aware character at this point and it will open up a whole new story with her, Ha Roo, and Baek Kyung as the love triangle. Oohhh, I am so excited for this show’s potential!

3. Just because we are supporting someone else’s story doesn’t mean we can’t become a main character in our own story. We are our own person no matter what!

Dan Oh’s character is someone who talks to herself a lot and has an animated persona due to her saying her thoughts aloud and doing hand gestures to express her being dumbfounded or determination in lots of scenes. It’s not that she wants to be the main character in the book itself, like replacing Ju Da or ruining the main leads’ romance, but she just wants to live a life that is decidedly hers.

Will Eun Dan Oh defy the odds of her supporting role and become her own lead character of her own story? Or is she meant to be a bystander in someone else’s story? I have such high expectations for Extraordinary You and hope that like how Dan Oh is forging her own fate, we pen the chapters of our life with choices and memories that we willingly make✨

Unnie Recommends: Gender Switch Shenanigans for The Tale of Nokdu

Pretending to be a member of the opposite sex usually falls as a woman’s responsibility in Joseon dynasty shows, but this kdrama has a male take center stage for a gender role reversal👨🏻👉🏻👩🏻 Based on the webcomic Nokdujeon, Jang Dong Yoon pretends to be a woman to infiltrate a widowers only village to find the people that are hunting him and his family.

Before I go any further, can I just say that Jang Dong Yoon is beautiful as a girl?😍 You’ll enjoy this korean drama, The Tale of Nokdu, as the first few episodes dives right into the story and features Jang Dong Yoon’s character, Jeon Nok Du, struggle to fit in as a woman, deal with his first romance, and at the same time find his enemies.

Current Impression

Living on a remote island, Nok Du and his family are attacked by masked assassins. He manages to fight them off and slashes the legs of one of them who he finds out is a woman. Against his father’s wishes, he chases after her all the way to Hanyang. He meets Dong Ju (Kim So Hyun’s character) at a bad timing but helps her get out of a sticky situation that involved almost killing the King. In his quest to find the person responsible, he ends up disguising himself as Ms. Kim when he discovers that a secret group is inside the village: Ordinary women by day, mercenaries at night.

Having watched his previous kdramas (School 2017 and A Poem, A Day), I’m so happy that Dong Yoon is finally the leading man this time. He is smart and determined to achieve his goals as he thinks of ways to become chummy with the girls who he suspects is involved with the secret group. Nok Du is the funniest when he gets awkward and stammers to avoid eye contact when the girls of the village are so casual in taking off their clothes. It’s a stark contrast for women who disguise themselves as men because while they need to come off smug and strong, Nok Du tries his best to be reserved and keep his physical distance from the women😅

Dong Ju is a reluctant gisaeng in training at the widowers village. It’s not yet explained whose side she is aligned with because although she tried to assassinate the King, it seems like she isn’t part of the secret women’s group. Her character is a bit of a troublemaker and does things her own way, even cutting off her long hair to save another girl from being taken away. She and Nok Du end up as roommates and fight like cats and dogs, but asks later on if she could treat him as an older sister — which makes me think that she’s lonely and doesn’t have a real friend in the village. I’m curious about her backstory and hope that she can shine as an individual in this kdrama!

We’ll have to see when or how the women will find out that Nok Du is a man, but even if he’s been kind or isn’t a pervert, I’m sure the consequences will be hilarious and bad for him🤣 I have a feeling that the mystery surrounding Nok Du’s true identity could be similar with another kdrama (I’m looking at you Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency) where Nok Du is of royalty but let’s wait and see if my hunch is correct.

The Tale of Nokdu narrated its first few chapters with fun, laughter, and a little danger. Let’s enjoy our hero’s journey and watch his eventual happy ending unfold weekly😁

Unnie Life Lessons: 4 Woman Empowerment Tips by Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, empowerment is defined as “the granting of the power, right, or authority to perform various acts or duties.” I believe though that empowerment is not about just taking action, but it’s also being able to listen and realize when your deeds are wrong and doing something to correct it💪🏻

Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung gave women a voice — an influence and power that one can only dream of in a dynasty such as Joseon. Not only Hae Ryung, but supporting characters such as the Queen Dowager, Mo Hwa, Sa Hui, and even the Crown Princess, who stood up for themselves at one point in time and didn’t let other people deter them from speaking their mind when it was necessary. The men here (Prince Lee Rim, Crown Prince, Officer Min, etc) were also nothing short of gracious and respectful to our heroines — without their help, a woman’s revolution at the time would have been impossible.

I cannot emphasize enough my high regards for this because of the unique angle given to women, the romance, and the overall fresh storyline💞 Read about my recommendation post for this kdrama if you’re interested in watching this. My recaps for this show is also available for your reading pleasure!

Unnie Life Lessons

1. Just because you know and speak the truth doesn’t mean other interpretations or opinions are necessarily wrong. Sometimes, understanding the reason for such actions can open our eyes to an issue/perspective.
  • Hae Ryung is a smart and knowledgable female lead who rarely hesitated to voice out worldly facts. I appreciated the fact that she loved to read books but it also isn’t wrong if someone has a different opinion about a particular topic.

  • In the historian exam, Hae Ryung wrote that a solar eclipse was a natural phenomenon and that it’s not something that a King can control simply by performing a ritual. But when the Crown Prince explained that not everyone in Joseon can have a good education like her (Since Hae Ryung is a noble), they wouldn’t know that fact. There are poor people all over and the ritual is meant to calm the villagers nerves and assure them that everything will be okay.
  • Yes, what Hae Ryung answered was true but it also makes sense that not everyone can have access to that information. I know that back then was a different time because now, information is readily available for anyone to peruse. But we can’t expect everyone to perceive an issue the same way — there could be different solutions to a problem and both could either be right or could be improved upon.
  • Even when it doesn’t make sense to us, putting ourselves in another person’s shoes can give us more insight on their situation giving us clarity about their actions.
2. Doing the right thing is not always met with everyone’s approval. Be prepared to take responsibility for your actions and be mindful if your decisions can affect other people too.

  • Hae Ryung submitted a petition that got her into trouble because it involved palace politics. She was made to do all of the tasks left by the assistant clerks and was frowned upon by her male historian peers.
  • Like Officer Min pointed out, one must be ready for the responsibility of such deeds. Don’t complain or lament that you only did the right thing because every action, no matter how good the intention, can elicit a consequence that you must be ready to handle.

  • Doing the right thing is not a crime, but we must consider the effect our actions can have on other people and try exploring other ways to deal with a problem. Hae Ryung could have approached the stipend corruption in a different manner and pondered some more about how the petition can affect her coworkers as well.
  • All throughout the kdrama, Hae Ryung insisted to help and divulge the truth and true enough, she humbly accepted any praise or backlash (if there was) that came along with it. Like her, Sa Hui was bold enough to make her feelings for the Crown Prince known even if it meant people would gossip about her. I know this example is not a “right thing” per say but the fact that she was ready for any punishment is owning up to her actions😁
3. Accepting the fact that there are things in life we cannot change and that this shouldn’t stop us from continuing to live our best days.

  • Mo Hwa comforted Hae Ryung when the latter found out that her decision led to a child’s death. She felt responsible because she could have taken the child with her back to Haeju, but because of Hae Ryung’s concern that the kid might already have smallpox and infect others, she decided against bringing her there.

  • Death is a permanent part of life. Hae Ryung thought of what was best for everyone but it doesn’t mean that if she had decided to take the child with her, that the child would have survived either. If someone we love passes away, we mourn and feel sad about it. But we don’t let such an event weigh us down forever, we have to make good use of our time and do what we can to live well.
  • It would be unfair for us (the living) to deprive ourselves of what life can offer, both joyful days and hardships, by blaming ourselves for things that are out of our control. Let’s use the time we have to continue to work hard and pursue the things that make us happy🦋
4. Be true to yourself and don’t compromise your values just because there are people/situations who/that put you down. Your sincerity and honesty will attract good karma & people into your life.
  • Hae Ryung’s character was never shy in speaking the truth and fighting for what she believed in. She fought tooth and nail to be heard and ruffled up a few government feathers along the way but eventually won over the good graces of people. In the scene below, she was bold enough to persuade the King to stop hating the historians because their role is not to criticize the Royal family, but rather, to write their good traits as an example for the next generation.
  • Even when the King had given her a hard time, she was still perceptive enough to impart such a realization without compromising any values as a historian.✍🏻

  • In relation to tip #2, when Hae Ryung submitted the petition to request for a special investigation regarding the past, she was supported by her fellow historians. It was a risky move but because it was the right thing to do and she did it properly, everyone backed her up and they were eventually rewarded with a happy ending.

Like I mentioned in my last episode recap for the kdrama, Hae Ryung was an imperfect character that also learned a lot from her experience as a historian. In the end, I do think that she and the other women have come a long way since the 1st episode. They are now respected and treated as equals who possess thoughts that matter as well✨

Just like the traditions of the past, it’s not always easy to speak one’s mind and have the courage to be ourselves now in a world where social media triggers comparison and hateful comments. But I believe that as long as we’re mindful of our words, don’t treat mistakes or odd comments as a negative but rather a learning experience, we’ll live an empowered and loved life😊💕

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 39 & 40) – Ending

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.

Episode 39

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.

Thoughts

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.

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 37 & 38)

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.

Episode 37

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.

Episode 38

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.

Thoughts

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.

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 35 & 36)

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?

Episode 35

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.

Episode 36

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.

Thoughts

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!😊