Do you leave your life in destiny’s hands or do you believe that you shape your own fate? What if our choices, despite being made on our own free will, is all part of a grander scheme to lead us to the very destiny that we are trying so hard to avoid?
Visually appealing, funny, romantic vibes laced with a bit of drama, Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency will surely be a match made in heaven to brighten up your weekday kdrama habit!🌸
I like that it’s not another ordinary show as the story centers around a trio of young men running a matchmaking agency. What tasks they do, how they work, and what problems they encounter when setting up 2 people in the Joseon dynasty era is a tale worth telling. For our titular Flower Crew, the friends consists of:
Ma Hoon – Smart, aloof, and is the leader of the agency.
Ko Young Soo – Handsome, a ladies man, and lives his life to the fullest.
Do Joon – A happy-go-lucky trendsetter/fashionista who says the wrong things as he actually means another word.
They’ll meet Lee Soo, a blacksmith’s son who wishes to be set up with his childhood friend, Gae Ddong, the stubborn but hardworking leading lady of the show. Without spoiling too much, Lee Soo and Gae Ddong’s case was accepted but just as they were about to get married, fate intervenes leaving Gae Ddong without a groom to marry. Our trio will find themselves getting involved with a mystery much bigger than their cupid style moves. Add to the equation Gae Ddong joining their team soon so expect lots of mishaps and learning curve for our Flower Crew.
Of course, in true Joseon dynasty fashion, no story is complete without the presence of the Royal family. One of the King’s advisers is the head villain, along with the Queen who he helped put into a position of power. But this is the 1st period kdrama that I’ve watched featuring a weak, but nontheless, scheming Queen who is an annoying, wannabe antagonist if you ask me.
Smack dab in the middle of this romcom is a love triangle between Soo, Gae Ddong, and Hoon. Soo is clearly in love with Gae Ddong and has the most sincerest intentions for her while I’m sure she also cares for him deeply, I think she loves him more of as a friend than a romantic partner. With Hoon, they always fight with each other but he helps her nonetheless when she is desperate to find Hoon. This is the 1st kdrama where I’m not sure who the girl will end up with because both seem like leading men material so I’m excited about that!😁
Sparks flew, (un)pleasantries were exchanged, and the seeds of a new adventure awaits. Join the Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency gang as they tackle their futures together, weathering whatever destiny decides to throw their way!💓
How will the Crown Prince choose the female historians and what future lies for those who will pass this test of mind and heart?
The palace is filled with several women as they scurry down to a seat on the ground and prepare for a life changing event. Hae Ryung takes a seat as we are treated to a flashback from the night before. Walking along the busy streets, she sees the poster for the female historian exam. She secretly meets up with her husband-to-be and implores him to break off their engagement. Hae Ryung was successfully able to convince him because as we all know, he indeed did not push through with the wedding.
The question for the test is revealed to be: A solar eclipse is believed to be an occurrence that reprimands Kings for their shortcomings. Solar eclipse rituals are performed to satiate the heavens but this phenomenon still happens. Therefore, how can a King prevent a solar eclipse?🌒 As time passes, we see that some ladies have finished, some are given cheat sheets, while Hae Ryung’s paper remains blank. She seems hesitant to write down her answer but proceeds to do so before time runs out.
Officials and historians browse through the answers and they come across a particular one that they deem brazen and inappropriate. As the Crown Prince enters the room, he quickly filters through the papers and asks Officer Min to recommend him a notable answer. He hands him Hae Ryung’s much to the other officers’ complaints. She explained that solar eclipses occur because it is a natural phenomenon caused by the movement of heavenly bodies. She suggests to create a book to help explain this truth so that people will not be misinformed about it in the future. As the Crown Prince finishes reading her paper, he also concludes that her response was indeed blatant.
A shortlist of women candidates are posted instructing them to meet with the Crown Prince. It seems like he wants to meet them face-to-face but I don’t think that’s a good thing😅 Hae Ryung is summoned inside to meet Prince Lee Jin and he scolds her for giving such a frank answer that could get her killed. The Crown Prince enlightens Hae Ryung by telling her that Joseon is a poor country and that a majority of people cannot even afford to have food on their table or even seek proper medicinal care. Having access to a book that can provide information would be the least of their concerns. He states that the rituals are performed to calm people and let them know that despite the sun seemingly disappearing, things will still turn out okay. Hae Ryung is speechless and distraught after this. But daaaamn, they both got a point!🙊
After that heated discussion, the Crown Prince meets the shortlisted women again as another man announces the names of those who passed. Hae Ryung was surprised that she was called out, among 3 other women (Heo A Ran, Oh In Im, and including Sa Hui). I loved how they all beamed with giddiness and pride as the Crown Prince handed them each a red congratulatory letter.
Normal activities resume in the palace not long afterwards. Prince Lee Rim gets a visit from his brother giving him an identification tag to use whenever he needs it and slyly informs him that he can go to the Royal Villas for some R&R. He gets to go with his eunuch but before they leave for that place, both of them pay a visit to the bookstore owner. Prince Lee Rim asks for the name of the fake Maehwa and the owner blurts out Hae Ryung’s name. With a mischievous look on his face, he contemplates what is probably his next move for revenge against her.
As the Prince arrives in the Royal Villas, he is greeted by a very cute dog and sees an engraved marking on the ground mentioning the name Ho Dam. As he tries to relax inside the hot spring, he again has a nightmare and hears the name Ho Dam. Restless, he tries to dig up the spot where he saw the tombstone earlier but can’t seem to find it at night. Eunuch Sam Bo is worried because he thinks that the Prince is merely hallucinating.
Hae Ryung can’t contain her excitement as she longingly savors her historian uniform and smiles giddily while looking at the mirror. She excitedly goes to work the next day only to have officials scoff at them and her other fellow historians when they converge before the palace gate. The 1st sign of opposition is underway and I can only imagine what other horrors the four women will encounter once they actually start working.
The four women experience first hand the male historians’ displeasure towards them. They are ridiculed, belittled, and treated below their rank as they do chores such as getting water, cleaning the floor, and even running laps since they felt sleepy. The girls complain about being worked like slaves and come to the conclusion that this could be a form of hazing towards them. Sa Hui comes up with a plan and suggests to Officer Min to conduct a hazing ritual for them to get their frustration and pettiness over with. He doesn’t like the idea but Sa Hui uses the argument of gender equality and well, who can argue against that right? The head historian, Officer Yang, thinks the idea is ludicrous if they think that this will get them to accept them but they come up with their own plan too.
As night falls, they all meet at a kisaeng parlor. Being the jerks that they are, the male historians goad them into drinking alcohol from a bowl instead of a cup. Sa Hui obliges by drinking but her discomfort is evident after the 2nd full bowl. Hae Ryung intervenes by drinking the 3rd bowl and tells Officer Yang that as a sign of the male historians affection towards them to drink, she wants to return the favor. It becomes a last (wo) man standing match wherein Hae Ryung and Officer Yang trade drinking bowls of alcohol. I know Hae Ryung can hold her liquor since she drinks with her brother but I didn’t expect she could outlast him, haha!💪🏻 Seeing her succeed was such a great sight as she proves that women can also drink as hard as men and the hazing ritual is done.
The next morning, Hae Ryung is running late and a guard does not allow her to go inside the palace. A different guard tells her that she can go through another entrance and she ends up, coincidentally, at Prince Lee Rim’s quarters at Nokseodang. She hides behind a rock when she heard Eunuch Sam Bo call out the court ladies. A figure behind her taps her shoulder as she dismisses it. The voice speaks: “Are you lost?” And once again, Hae Ryung and Prince Lee Rim meet in the most unexpected circumstances.
At first, I thought it was gender inequality and severely rude that Hae Ryung and the other girls were being treated unfairly. But after giving it some thought, it’s not like if you’re a newly appointed male historian, you don’t get the same crappy treatment too. If I demand for equality in being treated fairly in the workplace, shouldn’t that also extend to being treated badly too? Nobody should be treated poorly but regardless of whether I’m a woman or a man, I am not exempted from experiencing hardships and problems. It is a different matter altogether if physical or sexual abuse is used of course. But as weird as it sounds, true equality shouldn’t just apply to good or the advantageous circumstances in life.
The actor playing Crown Prince Lee Jin is so good…and handsome too, hahaha! I thought it was kind of cruel of him to berate Hae Ryung harshly only to have him pass her but I understand his intentions for doing so. What he said about the ritual being performed to calm people down made sense too, especially being in his position, and it’s like a lightbulb went off in my head when this scene unfolded. I hope Hae Ryung applies the same fervor in listening to other people’s opinions and facts like how she willingly absorbs new information she reads in books👂🏻❤️
Get transported back to a time where a king ruled the country, marriage was the only viable future for a woman, slavery was acceptable, and fashion would be rockin’ an everyday look in a colorful hanbok. MBC’s newest period drama, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung, looks to impress with its fresh story and narration of a society on the brink of change.
Set in 19th century Joseon, the story gives high regard to books and how the written word can impact the minds and hearts of a nation. It also sets up a premise where women will be given a chance to be employed as a historian: A government post with the job of recording/transcribing everyday life in the palace. This is a revolutionary event as only men are allowed to take the civil service exam and get a job as a historian.
Almost all Joseon dynasty kdramas have leading ladies that are cut from a different cloth — outspoken, single, beautiful, and don’t conform to society’s norms. Shin Se Kyung’s character, Hae Ryung, is no different as she is a clever and determined person who is perfectly content not being married and sneaking off to do book readings at night. This is not the 1st kdrama where I encountered women eager to read and listen to romance novels, it’s a nice consistency to know that a part of people’s hobbies back then was to read books (Even if they preferred the more perverted parts, haha🤭). Hae Ryung doesn’t like reading those cheesy novels though and prefers books with a radical plot instead (Ex. The main character dies in the end because he sacrificed himself for love).
A period kdrama is not complete without the presence of a King, a Crown Prince, the evil minions of ministers (Advisers of the King), and a brewing power struggle. Our leading man (Played by Cha Eun Woo), Prince Lee Rim, is the younger brother of the current Crown Prince and the 2nd son of the King. He is quickly revealed to be a famous romance novelist, under the pen name Maehwa, who wrote a book (“Moonlight Love Affair”) that every woman in the city of Hanyang are nuts about. I’m not too fond of his acting though because he just looks the same in every scene with his puppy dog eyes and cute smile. I hope he improves further in the succeeding episodes and can show more range especially when he needs to be angry or is feeling anguish.
I’m personally not a fan of Shin Se Kyung’s acting because I feel like her facial expressions are one dimensional as well. But I wanted to give Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung a chance since a new kdrama is a fresh start and as mentioned above, the plot for this seems intriguing. Her portrayal of Hae Ryung is more expressive than her previous roles and I hope that when she becomes a historian, her character will shine brighter. I’m already liking her tenacity and compassion towards other people who need help, even though she is a noble here and can have her way with anyone of lesser status, she definitely doesn’t act like one.
The first 4 episodes of Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung were delightful and eased us into the show’s story well. More than the romance, I hope that this kdrama gets to highlight woman empowerment and prove that women can work just as hard in a prestigious job. In an era that glorifies men and the supremacy of a King’s orders, I’m excited to see how Hae Ryung will effect change and fight for a woman’s rights to be seen, heard, and loved as an equal💁🏼♀️