Read Episode reviews for:
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 1-2
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 3-4
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 5-6
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 7-8
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 9-10
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 11-12
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 13-14
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 15-16
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 17-18
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 19-20
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 21-22
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 23-24
Contains Spoilers for Episodes 9-10
Crown Prince Shin is away in Thailand, so in his absence, Crown Princess Chaekyung has put her sewing skills to work and made a little doll-sized outfit for Alfred, Shin's childhood teddy bear which he still keeps around. This may sound juvenile on both their parts--Shin for still having the bear, and Chaekyung for costuming the bear--but it's actually very sweet. Shin essentially had no childhood, so the bear is all that he has to represent a carefree, innocent time. The bear has also been set up as a kind of representation of Shin himself.
Though Shin is More Prickly Than Cuddly.
Chaekyung is getting very lonely while Shin's on his diplomatic trip. I just feel like warning the prince, "No Shin, don't leave her there with Yul!" Nothing good can come of this. Yul is sowing the seeds of discontent with Chaekyung already, telling her that he knows that Shin's mother, the Queen, has never approved of her.
We get back into Yul's POV and flashback to the past, to the time when Yul was about five years old and was told that he was not the Crown Prince anymore and Shin was taking his place. Ah, so Yul does have some hurt feelings, plus a sense of displacement from his home, because his mom took him away from the royal family entirely.
Don't Cry, Baby Yul!
In a very brassy move, Yul admits to his mother that he likes Chaekyung. Yul pulls the whole "she was betrothed to me first" angle, and even goes so far as to say "They stole her from me." Yowza! Here I thought he was just feeling a little overlooked and lonely, when he's actually working through some first-rate resentment. Yul's Mom is not pleased, because she thought the only good thing about being deposed from the throne was that her son didn't have to marry an idiot like Chaekyung.
Very Opinionated About the Romances of Others.
Chaekyung tries to reach Shin by phone several times, but he doesn't call her back. Her loneliness is palpable, and it's not so much self-pity as acknowledging that Shin is very important to her. Yuck, it hurts that Chaekyung's so sad over him, while Shin is meeting up with Hyorin in Thailand. Shin, you're an idiot and I don't like you anymore.
This Counts as Cheating.
Meanwhile, Yul takes Chaekyung out for a drive away from the palace. The difference between what Shin is doing and what Chaekyung is doing is twofold: 1. Shin knows that Hyorin loves him madly and wants to win him away from Chaekung, while Chaekyung has no reason to suspect that Yul is anything more than a friendly cousin-in-law. 2. Shin left Chaekyung behind on purpose. Chaekyung would choose to be with Shin if she could, whereas he's going to great lengths to avoid her.
Paparazzi get pictures of Hyorin and Shin having fun in Thailand and a car chase ensues, I think for the sheer purpose of having a wacky car chase scene set in Thailand. What follows are my least-favorite scenes in the entire show. I don't want to watch Shin and Hyorin holding hands and sight-seeing, or cutely trying out new foods, or free-spiritedly running from the paparazzi. When their trip is over, Hyorin melodramatically states: "I will never forget our time together today. Goodbye, my prince."
Then She Kisses Him. Noooooo!
Back home, Yul has taken Chaekyung to a fairly romantic place, where says some poetic things about trees and reveals a picnic lunch he has packed. Yul correctly deduces that Chaekyung is feeling sad because of Shin and he openly says, "That selfish jerk. If I was him, I wouldn't abandon you like this." Chaekyung admits that she might have crushed on Yul if she'd met him before Shin. Girl, you're pouring fuel on the fire and don't even know it.
Shin and his guards ride motorcycles to get to his next appointment, supposedly because it's the only way to get through the crazy Bangkok traffic, but then they don't encounter any other vehicles during the entire trip until their path is blocked by an elephant procession. Under other circumstances, I might enjoy this cool footage of Thailand, but it doesn't seem to have a point.
"Pink Elephants on Parade, Here They Come, Clippity-Cloppity"
Chaekyung gets blessed out by the Queen when she and Yul return. Yul speaks up for Chaekyung, though. I never expected to say this, but seeing gentle, artsy (and possibly treacherous) Yul standing up for Chaekyung when it could hurt his own future goals...it's downright awesome. Score one point for Yul. After this confrontation, Yul returns to his mom and says, "Make me a king." His mind is now made up, I think because he was powerless to help Chaekyung when she needed defending. If this doesn't get the plot-ball rolling, I don't know what will!
Also, Yul brings Chaekyung yummy chocolates after a hard day of diplomatic princess work. Yul, you'd better do something bad soon, just to remind me why I should be rooting for Shin instead of you, because in these episodes, you've done a lot of thoughtful things for Chaekyung, while Shin has done nothing but neglect her and cheat on her.
His Royal Majesty, Cheaty McCheaterson.
Elsewhere, Yul's Mom talks to Shin's Dad, the King, and asks him to enthrone his deceased elder brother (her dead husband) posthumously. This would make Yul's dad a king, and put Yul, not Shin, next in line for succession. And...there are more than a few hints that Yul's Mom and Shin's Dad once had a romance. So this thing where two guys in the royal family are involved with the same girl? It's not new. It might even be genetic.
It's so strange to have Shin back at the palace after a 2-episode absence. He's surprised at Chaekyung's distance and hints that he wants her to hug him and welcome him home. Why does he think he deserves affection? At least he seems genuine when he tells her that they should travel together next time. Ah, but it kills me that Chaekyung loves the present he leaves for her, when he didn't even pick it out--his butler got the present for her, then guilted Shin into giving it! Shin admits to her that it wasn't his idea because he doesn't care about getting presents for people. JERK.
Things I Loved:
1. Yul's Thoughts. At long last, we know a bit about what he's like! Yul gains my respect when he is adamant about liking Chaekyung, even when his Mom is not pleased: "The more people doubt her, the more I fall for her." I wonder if he sympathizes with her because they're both outsiders in a sense?
Yul finally monologues out his feelings about being a deposed prince. He says he didn't really mind living away from the palace all those years; he only wants to fulfill his mother's dream because she can only be happy as part of the royal family. He changes his mind in episode 10 and decides he wants the throne, but he's not plotting too hard, yet. He's more into reading and baking.
Yul is All Kinds of Domestic.
2. Sympathy for the Queen. This marks the first time I've felt sympathy for the Queen, Shin's mom. She's cold and fastidious but she clearly dotes on her husband, and after seeing him talking with Yul's mom, she looks crushed. This makes me think that life for the Queen has not always been smooth: she was probably always in second place to Yul's Mom, both in her palace position and possibly in her husband's affection, but then when Yul and his Mom went away, the Queen saw it as her chance to shine. I'm so glad the writers added depth to her primness.
Not the Only One Who's Been Overlooked By Her Man?
1. Hyorin/Shin. My dislike for Hyorin has now reached anger-inducing levels. Not to say that I'm yelling at my screen, but gosh. This girl is wholly unlikable, and Shin is unlikable when he's with her. The two of them launch off on a self-indulgent festival of moping whenever they're around each other. I don't care that they're suffering when they're inflicting it on themselves, apparently just so they can bask in the impossibility of their own circumstances. You are an attractive prince and a lovely, filthy rich ballerina. Get over yourselves.
No More of This Business, Please.
2. Car Chases/Product Placement. The pacing of these two episodes lagged because of so many chase scenes, shopping scenes, and travel scenes. When Shin and Hyorin ran from the taxi paparazzi, the sequence was very long and had some peppy rock song playing in the background, like it was a travel commercial. Shin's big motorcycle ride also adds nothing much to the story, and looks like a commercial advertising sweet rides.
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Shouldn't Be Separated: Everyone thinks it's weird that Shin didn't take Chaekyung to Thailand with him. She's not really happy apart from him, plus it's royal custom to stay together on all state visits.
Lonely, She's Mrs. Lonely...
Grandma Loves You: Chaekyung has messed up a few things lately, and the Queen says, "I am deeply concerned that you will make a fool of yourself." But the Queen Mother, Shin's Grandma, soothes Chaekyung's feelings and literally wipes her tears. What a darling person!
I Want Her to Be My Grandmother.
Episode Evaluations: Frustration abounds. Episode 9 made me dislike Shin, who I've liked all along despite his coldness, and I'm not sure if I like having the writers take us down this path. Shouldn't our main guy get increasingly awesome, not increasingly bothersome? But Goong is still fun because, what a whirlwind we've had! The Crown Prince has fallen from grace, and steady vanilla Yul has gotten a lot more interesting, partly because he's acting heroic and partly because he's exhibiting villain tendencies. Shin, you're on notice--get more heroic fast, or I'll be forced to move on.