Raine: Hello world, we are back after FOREVER! Since we live on opposite ends of the world, schedules are just a TEENY bit difficult to coordinate, but we have finally managed it! So Akiko from An Entertaining Cup of Morning Coffee and I are back with another recap. We really like recapping a show we’ve already seen. It’s very different from recapping live and fun to pick apart with prior knowledge of the plot.
Akiko: Yup, here we are, back with another episode recap of one of our favorite dramas from the ‘olden ages’…
It does feel olden ages. How long has it been though?
Raine: Let’s not put a number on it and make it absolutely shameful…
Akiko: (Egging Raine on) Fighting!! ^_^
Raine: And now for the very untimely recap…
episode 2 recap
Raine: Seon-joon and Yoon-hee are huddled together beneath a rock, avoiding capture. Yoon-hee is super aware of the very schmexy man in her very near proximity, holding her to keep her safe. Is HE aware of it? I don’t think so. But he will be…
Akiko: I know as viewers who know the truth, this isn’t weird, but seriously, think of it from Seon-Joon’s point of view-is it really necessary to hold another guy so close? 😛
Raine: I guess in the heat of the moment he didn’t think, but the director sure did…
Akiko: Free fanservice for the viewers… who aren’t to look at it logically.
Raine: This drama has its fair share of illogic…
Akiko: Which was so Swoon worthy the first time we saw it! 😀
The police bypass them and she removes his hand from her mouth. Yeah, now he’s aware of it. He wonders if she has a brain, but she doesn’t care what he thinks because she really needs the money.
Akiko: Classic K-drama plot that NEVER changes-heroine’s always poor and working multiple jobs or so. But it was quite well done here. I liked Yeon Hee’s character and that she stood up to her circumstances-which were justified, after the way her dad died and with her brother’s condition as it is.
Raine: Yeah, she wasn’t asking for help and she didn’t rely on anyone and she actually made things happen by herself.
Akiko: Which is such a rare trait in kdrama land!
Raine: Yeo-rim is happy that Seon-joon escaped because it makes things more interesting. In-soo is pissed; his lackeys are impressed by Seon-joon’s mad fighting skillz.
Akiko: Yeo-Rim *Swoon and SWOON*
Raine: Will you be apart of his “Yeo Rim”? 😛
Raine: Turns out that Seon-joon didn’t bring the money to Yoon-hee’s severe annoyance and she tells him to ask for Kim Yoon-shik at the bookstore tomorrow morning in order to pay up. But Seon-joon wants her to take the exam using that name and help poor, starving commoners using politics and not waste her talents. But Yoon-hee doesn’t think taking a mere exam will change corrupt Joseon and she walks away, leaving a stunned Seon-joon behind.
Seon-joon, meet cynicism. Cynicism, meet Seon-joon.
Akiko: More like practicality turned cynicism.
Raine: It boggles his upright, unbending mind. If he doesn’t learn to deal with her (and the world), it will snap.
Akiko: *Imagining that* LOL! *Imagines a voodoo Seon-Joon doll with the head jerked and dangling sideways*
Raine: The king was affected by Seon-yoo’s words and behavior and learns he is the Left State Minister’s son. He orders the next exam to be conducted fairly.
Yoon-hee shows up at the bookshop for the money, but Seon-joon isn’t there. The shopkeeper, Hwang Ga, tells her that everyone gave up on substitute test-taking because it’s too dangerous now. But she wants to do it or she’ll be forced to become the War Minister’s wife in three days time.
Akiko: And the pervert makes a mighty entrance!
Raine: What gets me more is that he has a daughter her age. G-R-O-S-S
Akiko: *Off to vomit* Okay, even that doesn’t make me digest it better!
Raine: Don’t ruin your awesome cheese sandwich late night snack! (That still boggles my mind, ‘cause it’s midday here. The power of the internet!)
Raine: The palanquin comes early and she secretly switches places with her brother so she can go take the exam. When she shows up at the exam area, she discovers too late that Seon-joon (who she still calls Wang Seobang) is the one who hired her.
Seon-joon raises his hand and says there is a violator of the rules of the exam – him; he spilled ink on his neighbor’s paper. This forces Yoon-hee to present her identification and take the test or get one hundred lashing as punishment for an entrance violation. She also has to finish the exam or get one hundred lashings.
So she hands them Yoon-shik’s identification and takes the exam with trepidation. Seon-joon barely smirks as she begins to write and then waits until she’s through with her exam to turn in his paper.
Akiko: Ball in Seon-Joon’s court! Great strategy!
Raine: For him. She ain’t so happy. He is so concerned with being “right” that he doesn’t bother to think of her circumstances. Not that her circumstances are LEGAL at the time, with her being a girl and all, but I think this show really puts him out of his comfort zone and makes him learn to consider other people.
Akiko: A lesson many people in real life need! *Another Seon-Joon dosage coming up*
Raine: Mo’ Seon-joon iz betta fo’ you!
Raine: On their way up he tells her it’s a shame to waste her literary talents on substitute test-taking but she ignores this and tells him she wants her money – she’ll become an official in his dreams.
The guards lock the gates because today the king will personally announce the results and Yoon-hee freaks as people get called up for exam questioning.
The War Minister (In-soo’s father) complains about the king visiting the exams and thinks the king is trying to tramp on the Noron faction. But the Left Minister thinks it’s a challenge to show Seon-joon’s strength.
When it is Yoon-hee’s turn to answer the king’s questions, he is angry. The students were to understand and use words that traced their ambition to succeed as an official in court. She admits that she originally entered as a substitute, changed her mind and took the exam freely so she is not a sinner, but she still did not achieve the fulfillments of an official, so she has no right to pursue a career as one.
Akiko: I say it again, girl has GUTS, and I like that! No damsel in distress, even in distress!
Raine: Seon-joon is pissed. Well, that’s what happens when you take on someone as smart as you buck-o!
The king wants to know who hired her, but she won’t say. However, Seon-joon, the forthright idiot that he is, cops to it.
Akiko: I agree. he does have a tendency to be the forthright idiot… most of the times, at times!
Raine: There is a line that even righteousness shouldn’t cross…like when it could make you dead.
But maybe he’s not such an idiot: he says he did it because “Yoon-shik” has the knowledge and the kind heart that cares for the poor and the needy. His chances were slim so he didn’t consider taking the exam and Seon-joon doesn’t want standards for becoming an official to be connections and wealth. If they were, he’d decline admission.
The king is angry that Seon-joon is publicly testing him and disgracing the law and he doles out the most severe punishment: attend Sungkyunkwan, study night and day, and return to serve him with their virtuous beliefs intact.
Akiko: And only in a drama does the king not say “Off with his head” when faced with insubordination. That aside, I like the King. He’s smart, and he’s just!
Raine: Yeah, a real king would never lose face like that.
Akiko: Like the red queen once said, it is better to be feared, than to be loved, which is the principle on which Kings in history mostly seem to operate!
Raine: Most definitely.
Raine: Yoon-hee imagines refusing entry based upon a weak body and then getting caught as a woman, so she meekly accepts the king’s order. He notes her fair complexion and calls her “nok bin hong an,” or, jet black hair and pretty face and assures her he’ll remember her face, the one who submitted such an honest scroll.
Yoon-hee is angry that Seon-joon tricked her, but he’s pleased. Anyone chosen by him would pass. She’ll leave politics to those who live life without meaning; besides, what can Joseon do for her. Her bitter words disappoint Seon-joon who tells her she only cares about hating the world rather than being self-motivated and seeing the chance in front of her. He wouldn’t have bothered had he known.
Akiko: Forthright idiot again… judging without knowing and considering the other person’s circumstances. But he’s an idiot with a good heart. Can’t hate him for that!
Raine: Yoon-hee the cynic can…hehe.
She tells him to stop and then asks for her money.
We think it’s over, but Seon-joon has one more trick up his sleeve: Sungkyunkwan provides their students with an allowance and free medical supplies. But if she can’t even calculate her advantages, how could she help the citizens as an official?
Raine: Yoon-hee gets fifty nyang from Hwang Ga as a deposit for the study guide she wrote for the exams, which she of course doesn’t pay interest on. This whole ordeal, however, has taught her how scary another person’s money is.
Seon-joon is walking with his servant Soon-dol and thinking that he gave her the fifty nyang for nothing.
In-soo and his lackeys are chatting with Yeo-rim, discussing the acceptance of pretty boy Kim Yoon-shik into Sungkyunkwan and the fact that Seon-joon is now a hero. In-soo will not have a cheating copier and the defiant Seon-joon forget that not even the king is above him, the student body president, at Sungkyungkwan.
Yeo-rim’s expression mirrors how I feel: You’re amusing and hard to take seriously.
Akiko: *Chuckles* Barking dogs don’t bite, they say!
Raine: He should just stick to looking pretty.
Akiko: Sometimes it’s best to realize one’s shortcomings beforehand!
Raine: Yoon-hee takes Seon-joon’s fift-nyang, goes straight to the War Minister, hands him the money and takes back her brother, who is lying in a cellar, beaten bloody. But he’s happy he could do something for his noona for once and is at peace.
Akiko: BEST DONGSAENG!
Raine: I LOVE him. So adorable. I wish he was in this more. I haven’t seen this actor in anything else!
The War Minister is amused by Yoon-hee’s spirit but plans to make her his eventually.
Akiko: *Vomits again*
Raine: String him up by his toenails!
Akiko: The King forgot to add “Off with his head!”
Raine: Seon-joon meets with his father who heard about his antics at the testing grounds. He tells his father of his plans to enter the university and wonders if his father thinks he’s eligible. The Left Minister says that Seon-joon is not qualified at present, but he’ll observe his son with patience. Congratulations.
Tough love, eh?
Yoon-hee’s family is not quite as accepting; well, her mother isn’t. Studying is poison for Yoon-hee, a woman living in a man’s society. But Yoon-hee would rather go to Sungkyunkwan and with her own two hands heal her brother rather than sell herself to the War Minister for a hundred nyang. This is the path she can follow and still feel human.
Even though her brother won’t be able to use his name anymore, he gives it to his sister freely. I seriously love this sibling relationship. Her brother may be ill, but he’s a strong man.
Akiko: Kudos to her for standing up for her thinking and goals, and making something of her life, and salute to her brother for everything he does! *Floored*
Raine: Again, only in a drama though. There is no way she wouldn’t be killed for this in real life. Like in four seconds. No one is listening to the ideological and practical reasoning behind her actions.
Akiko: And no one would care. Case in history-Mulan.
Raine: The king is happy for the commotion that Yoon-hee and Seon-joon stirred and professor Jung Yak-yong is finally understanding why the king asked him to come to Sungkyunkwan.
Akiko: Which is … ?
Raine: To help him achieve some sort of political end that is never quite made clear.
Akiko: Ah, making a story vague just to make it more interesting… which isn’t even needed.
Raine: Yoon-hee’s mother sold her hairpin to provide food for the initiation; she will also take any punishment if it should come to that. If Yoon-hee wants to go, then her mother wants it, too. Then she hands her a knife.
I learned a little something about these little knives. Women kept them on their person NOT for self-defense, but to commit suicide if they were defiled. EEP!
Akiko: *stomach churning* Oh God! I don’t think I needed to know that!
Raine: Anyway, mom makes Yoon-hee promise to keep her gender a secret (no duh!) and then Yoon-hee turns to her brother. She feels badly for him, so he tells her to work even harder because of that. He hands her his i.d. and tell her to live up to this name.
Have I mentioned that I love this sibling pairing?
Akiko: As Barney would say, I request the highest of High Fives!
Raine: Yoon-hee heads out and there are people all along the streets peddling wares to all of the new, ignorant students. The guy who saved her the first episode (Yoo Ah-in) gets salted for drinking wine and not paying. He smirks and walks away.
Seriously, show? You’re such a Yoo Ah-in tease!
Akiko: *Still suffering from FK Syndrome*
Raine: That show should be banished from life. Throw it into a black hole of failure.
Akiko: Make that a black hole… so that it can NEVER come back! I’ll dial the Doctor in his TARDIS!
Raine: Seon-yoon and Soon-dol are in line when the man at the entrance recognizes “Yoon-shik” and knows all his stats by heart: 19, Namin, Namsan Village. He’s not as pretty as he thought, but not bad.
Seon-joon is definitely pleased to see her there.
Akiko: Does he think they’ll be best buddies or something?
Raine: He’s just happy to have his “correct” way of thinking upheld. I can’t wait for him to come tumbling down!
Akiko: *Throws Seon-Joon doll down the hill* Fistpump!
Raine: Now we can nurse him back to health…heh…heh…
Raine: Soon-dol pipes up and says that “Yoon-shik” is almost too pretty, like a girl. Yoon-hee tells him he’s insulting, like “someone” she knows. Seon-joon silences his slave who mutters, “It’s not like a girl is looking to die.”
The brown-nosing headmaster tells them to process Seon-joon first.
Guh, hate people like that and so does Seon-joon.
Akiko: And that’s the world we live in! *Sigh*
Raine: I HATE it. But you learn to deal.
Raine: Yoon-hee steps inside for the first time and greetings and socializing are already underway. One of the three stooges of the drama, Bae Hae-won introduces himself and warns her against angering Seon-joon because his father is powerful. A guy who quotes Confucius introduces himself rather haughtily with a huge speech as Kim Woo-tak.
She and Hae-won take a tour of the campus and she happily finds herself in the library. A while later, she encounters a bunch of guys playing some sort of football and gets flustered when one guys strips.
Girl, enjoy the view!
Akiko: The avoiding makes her even more suspicious as a girl! But people in kdrama never notice!
Raine: If I was them I’d immediately wonder about “his” sexuality. Haha.
The headmaster sucks up to Seon-joon and he even offers him a private room. Seon-joon tells him that he’ll convey his wishes and the headmaster gets happy until Seon-joon starts saying he’ll tell daddy that he’s a blackmailer. Then he rejects any special treatment forthwith.
Oh, you’re so righteous.
Akiko: Seen that kind. Righteous is good, but show the world you live outside Dad’s shadow!
Raine: Professor Jung comments that Seon-joon’s desired to be treated equally may make it hard for others, but Seon-joon thinks that sticking to a principle isn’t always easy.
They get their room roommate assignments and she freaks out that she’s not alone; not only that, she’s with Lee Seon-joon. Yeo-rim sidles up behind his fan assures her that Seon-joon will be allocated to the West Wing, home of the Norons. She’s also with Geol-oh, Crazy Horse, but she doesn’t need to worry about him either. He never sleeps in the dorms.
Looks like she’s getting her own room! *cough*Yeahright*cough*
Akiko: What about my roomie hijinks?! *Wails like a baby*
Raine: We’ll give you Yeo-rim as a consolation prize.
Akiko: *Sniff sniff* ALRIGHT! *Smiles broadly*
Raine: Yeo-rim gets up close and personal to ask if there’s any reason she’d need a single room – the guy’s sure got some spidey senses when it comes to the ladies.
He introduces himself as Gu Yong-ha, better known as Yeo-rim, and shakes her hand. When she takes it and introduces herself, saying she has no nickname, he lowers his fan and sweeps her into a hug. She’ll have one soon.
*Swoon* So sexay! And she flips.
Akiko: *Double Swoon* I think I feel a faint coming. Oh yes, it’s a faint alright. *Faints*
Raine: I will be the one to settle him down…Rawr….hehe…
Raine:Everyone gets ready for the night and Yoon-hee enters her room in which she finds Lee Seon-joon. She protests that she doesn’t want to room with him, saying he’s a Noron, but upright Seon-joon will stick to his assignment. He’s also disappointed that the one who wants a new Joseon won’t stick to her principles because of how she feels. He feels the same, but he will tolerate it. Rules were made to be followed at all costs.
Dude, you are sooooo obnoxious…and so right.
She heads outside and finds people blowing out all the lanterns. Then the freshmen get hearded to the Welcoming Ceremony by masked individuals, gongs and an awesome display of fireworks and floating lanterns. And then they’re sprayed with flour.
The headmaster wants the ceremony stopped but Professor Jung manages to convince him otherwise, especially when he brings back days of the headmaster’s hazing.
Akiko: Hogwarts, anyone?
Raine: Seon-joon at Hogwarts? Awesomesauce!
Akiko: What house do you think he’ll get? Don’t say Gryffindor. That’ll be so predictable!
Raine: No, Yoon-hee would be Gryffindor. He’d be Ravenclaw. Fo’ shizzle.
Raine: The seniors are led in by two dancing dragons and wear ghoul masks. They ask for gifts of food. The students give beef and fruit. When Yoon-hee is called up, her offering is immediately made fun of. They knock it to the ground and silence follows. She turns to leave and decides against it. Scholars study literature and search for truth but she doubts one of those texts says that they can throw food from a poor family on the ground.
Yeo-rim watches with amusement and, dare I say, respect.
Akiko: See, someone has a good eye up there, hehe!
Raine: She asks them to answer her and Byung-choon, In-soo’s lackey who knocked the food to the ground, replies that edible food should not be thrown on the ground, but her gift wasn’t food. Then was is it? Yoon-hee queries with her voice full of passion and tightly held rage. Byung-choon says it’s food fit for dogs and moves to step on it, but Seon-joon picks up the food and puts it back in the basket as Yoon-hee wipes her tears.
Seon-joon tells them that it isn’t food, but what the seniors require of them: hardship of the citizens. Yeo-rim smiles as Seon-joon offers Byung-choon a flatcake that was on the floor. When he refuses, Seon-joon takes a bite and says the upper classmen are disgraced already, but the rules of being a man have not yet been. If he’s neither dog or pig, then he should have some. Yeo-rim is loving it and starts handing out Yoon-hee’s offering with a laugh, the hardship of the citizens, and taking a few bites himself.
Akiko: Yeo Rim ah, you are so amazing! *starry eyed*
Raine: What makes it work is that Yeo-rim is not in any particular social group. He has the power to be respected by and listened to by everyone. And he uses it. He’s not as oblivious as he makes himself out to be.
Akiko: That’s exactly the type of character I love most!
Raine: Seon-joon continues. Sungkyungkwan is a place of study because of the citizens, and if they do not agree to this, the new students will not recognize the seniors.
In-soo does not look very happy. In fact, he looks like he just ate a piece of dog poop. Byung-choon finally takes a bite. In-soo makes a speech about weak and strong people and he’ll teach Seon-joon about strength today as Yeo-rim munches on a flat cake.
The headmaster and an employee listen and fret over Seon-joon going against In-soo, the powerful student body president.
Akiko: Lol, this reminds me of those teachers from the movie ‘Princess Diaries’
Raine: I haven’t thought about that movie in FOREVAR! But you’re so right!
Akiko: It was so fun, ne? ^_^
Raine: Then the freshmen are given tasks that are to be completed by midnight; if they fail, they are stripped naked and thrown into the pond.
They are sent off and Yoon-hee teases him until he gets annoyed and asks what she wants. She thanks him for going against someone so powerful. She’s worried because she offended him publicly. Seon-joon didn’t do it for anyone, but to protect his own principles and Yoon-hee wonders who’d want to hang out with someone who sounds like Confucius 24/7.
Akiko: Haha, love her last remark!
Raine: She’s happy because whoever is disqualified gets kicked out no matter what the king said. But Seon-joon informs her that once erased from the register, the name Kim Yoon-shik will never be able to take an Imperial Examination again.
So Yoon-hee is off to protect her brother’s name. She figures out that she needs to acquire a gisaeng’s undergarments. But it’s not just any gisaeng, it’s the gisaeng of Moran, Cho-seon, the most desired gisaeng.
Akiko: Which is Yeo-Rim’s idea of a fun game, ne?
Raine: Byung-choon is schooling In-soo’s younger sister on her task: to act indignant when Lee Seon-joon comes to call.
Yeo-rim asks In-soo why he hates Seon-joon so much, they’re both Norons. In-soo hates him because he’s a Noron. (I.E. fighting within a faction is a lot trickier than if Seon-joon was of a different political faction.) This is why Yeo-rim hates politics – it even makes wine tasteless.
Akiko: Since I don’t drink wine, I’ll take his word for it!
Raine: Yeo-rim will drink yours for you…that I’m sure of. Hehe.
Akiko: How about I send him off with you ‘n’ you two drink it up together! 😉
Raine: I like that idea! Bring on the wine…I had plum wine yesterday. Yeo-rim, buy me plum wine!
Raine: Then In-soo asks if it must be Cho-seon and indeed it must. Yeo-rim wants to thoroughly test Yoon-shik’s cover. Cho-seon has never dated a man – no matter how In-soo tries, he can’t charm her. Not even Yeo-rim had even touched her hand and he’s been to gisaeng houses since he was born. Isn’t it worth waiting to see what happens?
Akiko: Now that sounds like a good challenge, ne?
Raine: Yes, especially if it requires a pouting In-soo.
Akiko: Which then becomes a loser and even more pouting In Soo.
Raine: At the gisaeng house, Yoon-hee is trying to stay clothed while the gisaengs flirt shamelessly with her on Yong-ha’s orders. She tries to get to see Cho-seon, but fails.
The Minister of War has heard about the Welcoming Ceremony and that someone is here to spend the night with Cho-seon. She says the pond will have another victim tonight. Then the minister gets down to business, trying to undress Cho-seon who tries to stop him. She’s only here for one reason. But the minister won’t have it. If she wants to see her family, she may reject the king, but not him.
Akiko: This dude has nothing better to do, does he? I swear I have nothing even left to vomit!
Raine: He should be castrated.
Akiko: Don’t forget the beheading part!
The gisaengs are still attacking Yoon-hee who blows out a candle to escape as the disgusting minister undresses Cho-seon. They all trip and knock down the wall revealing the minister and a partially clothed Cho-seon to a bunch of men at dinner and a gaggle of gisaengs.
The minister glances down at the young “man” laying on the floor and demands to know what’s going on. He seems to recognize her.
Akiko: Now that’s what they call, out of the frying pan, into the fire!
Raine: This show is so cute and that’s what it needs to be taken as. There are a lot of illogical moments, especially politically and socially, but it’s what makes the whole cross-dressing thing work. Also, I like seeing Micky Yoochun slowly improve throughout the show. By the time he gets to Rooftop Prince he’s a natural!
Episodes 1, 2