Tag: must watch

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

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

Episode 27

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

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

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

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

Episode 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts

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

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

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

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

Episode 25

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts

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

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

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

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

Episode 23

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts

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

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

Unnie Recommends: 5 Times Love Alarm will buzz our kdrama hearts

In a world where information is readily available and technological advancements are constantly evolving, our lives have become in sync with an open and fast-paced lifestyle. What if even our most complex emotions, love, can also be determined and shown at the tips of our fingers?

Love Alarm is a korean drama based on a webtoon by Chon Kye Young revolving around a high school student named Kim Jo Jo (Played by Kim So Hyun), who gets a wake-up call when she downloads the app and explores her first steps in falling and love and going through adulthood. The show is produced by Netflix and following its predecessor (My First First Love), the show’s 1st season (8 episodes) have been released already.

Current Impression

1. It has a unique plot involving an app that can show if someone likes you📱

Love Alarm is an app that lets users know if someone likes you within a 10 meter radius. There are certain rules for this to work: For example, one’s Love Alarm has to be turned on so that when you have a crush on them, their app will ring informing them of how many people like them. It cannot show who likes you specifically so if there’s more than 1 person who likes you but there are 3 or more people in the radius, you just need to take an intelligent guess on who likes you, haha!

Jo Jo and Sun Oh’s 1st meeting

Our leading lady, Jo Jo, is attracted to the new transfer student, Hwang Sun Oh, who has also taken an interest with her. Sun Oh is best friends with Lee Hye Young, who also studies in the same school and is the 1st one to have a crush on Jo Jo as they work in the same Korean Bbq restaurant. When she downloads the app, she discovers her feelings for Sun Oh and that both men are also in love with her.

Jo Jo and Hye Young
2. A love triangle that will have you side with either of the guys!

*Spoilers ahead*

I’ll be honest… the majority of the episodes focused on Jo Jo and Sun Oh’s romance that it made me root for them completely. How can I feel a shred of conflict when she and Hye Young had almost zero interaction and he was basically stuck in a one-sided crush? Korean dramas have a tendency to make it obvious who the leading man/woman will end up with despite a love triangle angle. If you’re wishing for a fighting chance for the 2nd lead, tune in and don’t tap out until the last episode💕

There are 2 timelines in the 1st season: One is when they were in high school and another is 4 years later down the road. High school was all about Jo Jo and Sun Oh’s blooming romance while the more grown-up versions of themselves will find Hye Yeong and Jo Jo becoming friends. Sun Oh and Jo Jo started out with an attraction based, shallow, kind of vibe — but it naturally developed into a meaningful relationship because he accepted her problems and truly wanted to be with her despite it.

I didn’t think Hye Young could top Sun Oh’s efforts but the show did a good job in making me root for him too. Hye Young was shy and reserved back in high school, but he became more outspoken and didn’t hold his feelings back for Jo Jo anymore when they met again by chance. Jo Jo was honest to tell him that she might not be able to open her heart anymore but instead of getting dissuaded, he expressed that he’ll be okay with taking a chance on her. He also comforted her when she needed a friend so when she agreed to have Hye Young ring her love alarm, that small leap of faith made my love triangle heart throb🥺

3. It deals with real life issues such as the negative effects of social media and the consequences of depression.

This show surprised me a lot with as it tackled the impact that such an app, or any other social media platform, can have on our mental health. Our life is so exposed because we post and display so much of ourselves — from our mundane thoughts to our worst fears and feelings, we sometimes forget that this kind of validation shouldn’t define our self worth.

Suicide and stalking are some of the severe concerns that grew rampant over the course of this korean drama. The presence of an anti-love alarm group was even established to show that something created out of good intentions can malfunction into an ugly product.

4. Relate or hate the leading lady, but aren’t we all just trying to find our own path in the world?

I didn’t expect this show to deliver so much drama — the baggage of Jo Jo regarding her current financial and living situation showed through her character portrayal. I have always admired Kim So Hyun and this kdrama exemplifies her talent as an actress even further. Physically, she rarely gives out smiles and her lips are almost always curved downward like a pout. She was socially alienated by her peers and keeps her problems to herself. Jo Jo is a fighter though, but I’m hoping that she doesn’t close herself off being with other people to enjoy her life.

I thought Love Alarm would be a cutesy romcom but it actually deals with relevant problems such as self love, bullying, and addiction to the digital world.

5. Look forward to Love Alarm 2.0 and season 2!

No news yet on when season 2 will launch but I’m hoping it’s within 2019 or my crazy alarm will go off from waiting too long🤣 Before the show’s cliffhanger, a little bit of information was shown in the last episode for the titular kdrama’s newest update.

The app will be able to predict how your feelings will develop and whether or not one will be able to ring one’s love alarm or not. It’s farfetched to think that a program can relay such subjective information but I’m excited to see how accurate it will be given that a person’s feelings can change. I’m curious to how different scenarios will play out such as if the app can detect a person loving 2 people at the same time (because it can happen) or if a person chooses not to follow love alarm’s findings.

Love Alarm poses the question on whether or not we should rely on electronics to convey our emotions and ultimately influence our actions. Before we ring someone else’s heart, we ought to learn to love ourselves first and fight for a life that we want. No program in the world can tell us otherwise❤️

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

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

Episode 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts

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

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

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

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

Episode 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts

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

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

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 15 & 16)

As the smallpox outbreak opens everyone’s eyes, Prince Lee Rim makes a decision for the first time as a governing royalty. Restless and doubtful, he embarks on a perilous task that puts both his life and reputation at stake. Hae Ryung also struggles with the consequences of a choice she made and has to accept the fact that you just can’t save everyone.

Episode 15

A physician goes to the group and he and Mo Hwa bow before Prince Lee Rim’s presence. He becomes a bit hysterical about what Mo Hwa was doing and the physician explains that she was performing a medical procedure called variolation. It’s where a healthy host is infected with a small portion of the virus which can lead to immunization to the disease. Prince Lee Rim is not convinced of the method and orders them to stop doing it immediately.

Later at night, the Prince asks Sam Bo if he indeed did the right thing. Sam Bo is defensive and tells him that Mo Hwa’s explanation made sense because of course he is supportive towards his wife. Even as the Prince interjected that his decision was for the safety of the people, Sam Bo remains stingy and sarcastically tells him that since he’s made his decision anyway, he should stick with it and have a peace of mind. I do think that Sam Bo is biased on this one and if it wasn’t his wife who was performing the method, he’d back the Prince’s decision 100%.

Hae Ryung helps Mo Hwa the next day as she expresses her admiration towards her dedication to aid the infected. Mo Hwa asks Hae Ryung if she’s not afraid of contracting the disease and she tells her that she had smallpox as a kid and thinks that the same medical method was performed on her since she has a small scar on her arm.

Determined to bring the mother and daughter to Pyongyang, Hae Ryung decides to go back to the isolated house. She is rendered speechless as she sees the child lying beside her wailing mother, lifeless. She is devastated about this development and starts sobbing outside the house. Back at Pyongyang, Mo Hwa sees her in a daze and comforts her about what just happened. She advises Hae Ryung that there are some things in life that you just have to deal with and no one is to blame. She should instead focus her time and energy into doing something better. With this, Mo Hwa hands her the book about variolation to read.

On the same night, Hae Ryung hands over the book for Prince Lee Rim to read. She explains that fluid from cowpox lesions are injected into people, although they can get sick at first, the long-term effect is immunization against smallpox. The Prince deems this nonsensical and gets annoyed at her insistence, but Hae Ryung explains that if she was one of the infected, she’d be willing to try anything because of her desperation. She implores him to read the book and if he still decides to be against variolation, she’ll fully accept his decision then.

Prince Lee Rim tosses and turns in his mat and eventually gives in to reading the book. He opens to read the first page, and another, then another. Flasbacks of the author, Yeongan, showed him going around town to administer the shots but people were afraid to be inserted with pus from animals. Although there were 36 people who had a full recovery, he couldn’t win over the rest. He also stated that this isn’t the time to leave one’s fate up to the heavens and that they ought to do something as human beings to save their fellow human beings.

The next morning, the Prince meets with Mo Hwa regarding what he had read. Although he states that the idea is still ludicrous to him, he’s willing to give the method a try. He declares that he wants to have a public demonstration to prove to the people that he, a Prince of Joseon, is willing to undertake this procedure to prove its effectivity. Despite the officials pleas to not go through with it, he is firm about his decision.

Episode 16

As Mo Hwa collects pus from the lesions of cows, the Second State Councilor sends his men to take her thanks to Jae Kyung’s information that she is in Pyongyang. People had gathered to see Prince Lee Rim’s demonstration as he goes through with the incision and infusion of pus on his arm.

Mo Hwa runs away from the men who have arrived and finds herself in the middle of two opposite sides: On her left are men on horses and on the right are the thugs who chased after her inside the village. The former came to save her, probably sent by Jae Kyung. I suppose he told the Second State Councilor her whereabouts to avoid getting suspected that he knows more than he lets on. It was a dangerous risk though but at least she was saved. News of her disappearance though couldn’t have come at a worse timing because Prince Lee Rim is highly feverish and is sick.

Back at Hanyang, Sa Hui’s father is shocked to see the beans from his warehouse being emptied and loaded to various wagons. He demands to know who apparently ordered them to do this and they reveal Sa Hui as the culprit. He is summoned by the Crown Prince and is presented with a chest filled with expensive silk in return for giving up the herbs to help the people. He gives a hearty but pretentious laugh and says that it was his pleasure to do so but when outside, he throws a tantrum and mutters to himself that the cost of the silk is nothing compared to the cost of the beans, haha😈

The Crown Prince confronts Sa Hui who happens to be the historian on duty in the same room that he knows she was the one who made this happen. I thought he’d praise her for doing such a noble act despite going against her father but instead, he lectures her that the latter was able to avoid punishment since the act is considered a “donation” and she gets to record it. She looks hurt by this accusation and reads aloud that she wrote in her book of records that her father (Section Chief) bought the herbs to earn money. The Crown Prince halts her to stop and she sneers at him saying that she didn’t do it to help her father but rather as a duty of being a good citizen. Aww yeah, go tell the stupid Crown Prince off 😏

Everyone is relieved as Prince Lee Rim wakes up and asks for water. When the physician examines him, he confirms to the Prince that he is indeed getting better. Villagers have lined up to get variolation as the Prince sits in the middle of the place as a testament of the method’s positive results. He meets up with Hae Ryung later that night to give her boiled pork as a gift for because she must have been worried about him all this time. It’s not a pick-up line but oh boy, the Prince needs to step up his game, hahaha!😉 He gets surprised that she doesn’t admit her concern but tells him that she is happy that he’s finally feeling better. Prince Lee Rim smiles brightly at this.

On a lighter note, Hae Ryung orders the Prince and Officer Min to help out in the village instead of just observing what is going on. It’s a funny sequence of scenes as they both struggle to feed children and are useless in doing various chores. I will always admire Hae Ryung’s spunkiness in being able to command people who have a higher rank than her, I suppose it helps that she has a good relationship with both but it shows that in a time of a crisis, one’s social status is not an exemption to perform hard work😜

It’s time for Prince Lee Rim to go back to the palace and he is met with disapproval from his father, the King. He slaps him on the face for disobeying his orders to stop the treatment and Prince Lee Rim apologizes for his actions. The King scoffs at his apology saying that he doesn’t mean it but before he orders to have him punished, the Crown Prince intervenes. Tension bubbles as the Prince is on his knees and both Officer Min and Hae Ryung get up on their knees, with their quill and book on hand, ready to record history unfolding right before them.

Thoughts

Finally, the Prince is on fire!🔥 I’ve waited so long for him to step up and become a more responsible adult. Him doing something concrete regarding the country’s problems is the growth that he needs to become a more well-rounded person. I don’t think he’ll grow out of his giddy smiles and positive aura, perhaps his next biggest challenge is whether or not he’ll rebel against his father.

At first, I thought that Yeongan could be Hae Ryung’s father but since their surname is different and Mo Hwa didn’t react too much even when Hae Ryung shared about her past experience with smallpox, maybe they aren’t related. I’ve always assumed that Ho Dam is the Queen’s husband and the current King’s father but I’m curious if it’s another person altogether. Mo Hwa and Jae Kyung know so many secrets I hope they find a way to work together and shed more light on weight of the book.

I know I haven’t been mentioning the possible romantic connection between Sa Hui and the Crown Prince because I wanted to wait for a significant moment before writing about them. I loved that she was able to defend her actions towards him and proved that she is different from her father. Crown Prince Lee Jin’s interpretation of her action is valid but is it really a crime, strictly speaking, when you hoard something but bought it with your own money? Of course this is ethically unacceptable given the situation, but I personally think what Sa Hui did made more sense in terms of punishing her father. I’m not invested in this team-up yet but to see Sa Hui shine on her own terms is pretty swell😁

I’m excited for next week’s episodes as the Crown Princess finally makes her debut and will surely stir up more trouble in the palace 🎎