Tuesday, May 29, 2012

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 9-10

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.

Available For Only $15,999.99 If You Act Now!


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.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Psalms on Sunday: Psalm 1

Hello, everyone! Now that I've gone through the whole Bible with Scripture Sundays, I thought I'd start over with the Psalms and discuss one each Sunday. There are 150 Psalms, so I have enough material for the next three years! :-)

Psalm 1 is just six verses long, and it's all about contrasting a godly man (and the good things he will receive from God) with ungodly people and the trouble that will come to them. Here's the full Psalm in the King James version, copied from BibleGateway.com


1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.


So we've got nature metaphors going on, here. The "godly man" is compared to a very specific type of tree, a flourishing tree planted near a water source. The tree produces fruit and it's untouched by rot or blight, so this makes for a lovely image. The "ungodly" get a nature metaphor as well, but they are compares to wheat chaff, a waste product that can't be eaten by people--it's essentially useless. While the tree is rooted securely in one spot, the chaff has no root and can be blown around by a breeze.

The breakdown of the Psalm reads almost like a well-written public speech: the main point of the psalm is discussing the godly man, but as a secondary point, the writer wants to contrast the godly to the ungodly. So the first three verses establish what the godly man is like, the next two focus on the ungodly, then the final verse strongly contrasts the two types of people.

The godly man isn't just contrasted to the ungodly, either; in verse 1, he's shown as someone who totally avoids their influence. He doesn't listen to their advice, hang around them, or join in with their scorning and mocking. Instead, he takes his joy in following God and thinking about God's word.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

K-Drama Review: Rooftop Prince, Episodes 19-20 Finale

Read Episode reviews for:

Rooftop Prince--Episodes 1-2
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 3-4
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 5-6
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 7-8
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 9-10
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 11-12
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 13-14
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 15-16
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 17-18

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 19-20

Our time-travelling romantic comedy is finally ending, so let's settle down for a long look at the Rooftop Prince finale!

Park Ha is hit by Taemu's car and knocked into a lake. Taemu and Sena flee the crime scene, natch. Yi Gak can't process the accident for a few moments, because it reminds him of his wife's death in the Joseon era. He's moaning and weeping like a little child, just on the verge of being deranged.

Park Ha has a liver injury from the car accident and she needs a transplant from Sena. Yi Gak finally tells Sena about the reincarnation and how she and Park Ha used to be sisters in the Joseon era, too: "You are the only person who can save Park Ha now. You can break this evil cycle". Yi Gak gives up the evidence he was holding against Sena and Taemu, and says he doesn't need retribution anymore, he just needs Park Ha alive. (That's just you, Prince--I'm still plenty ready for retribution!) Sena painfully recalls every rotten thing she's ever done to Park Ha, and there are a lot of them.

Never Going to Win the "Big Sister of the Year" Award.

But Taemu's not above using Park Ha's tragic accident (which he caused) for his own gain. He wants all of Yi Gak's shares in the shopping company in exchange for the use of Sena's liver. (What-what the whatting what? Grr.)  But it's a double-cross, and Taemu takes the company shares and flees with Sena, heading for a boat that will take them overseas. Fortunately, Sena double-double crosses him and lets Yi Gak know where they're going.

Cue a big showdown fight by the wharf. The Joseon sidekicks drive Sena to the hospital where she prepares for the surgery, and Taemu and Yi Gak have a bloody fistfight that somehow does not result in one of them being punched into the water. People being punched into large bodies of water is almost a motif for this show.

Taemu gets caught by the police, but he's not really punished the way we'd like. He's going to prison on all kinds of major charges, but it still seems like his end is lacking something. Police finding a bad guy and taking him to jail just seems so anticlimactic after all Taemu has put everyone through.

Park Ha's surgery goes well, and Sena holds her unconscious hand, for once acting like the unnie (big sister) that she ought to be. I didn't really want Sena to get redeemed, but it's kind of sweet even if her change of heart seemed to come right out of nowhere. Sena's going to have to go to jail too, but her sister, birth mom, and adopted mom all forgive her because she saved Park Ha.

Okay, That's a Decent Ending. I'll Take it.

Now that Park Ha's life is no longer in danger, the Joseon guys have to think about her finances. The three boys all start part-time jobs which result in them getting piles of money in just a few days. Yongsul becomes a skilled extra in Joseon historical dramas (love the meta!), Chisan plays traditional instruments as a street musician, and super genius Manbo writes a romance ebook called "Joseon Scandal".

I Would So Read That.

They buy Park Ha a new vegetable store and fix it up. Yi Gak tells her it's so she can go on with her life after they're gone. Park Ha doesn't want to plan for her future, though. She wants to marry Yi Gak right now, so she can have the memory of being married to him before he goes. She proposes and he says no, because he thinks it will hurt her in the long run. He finally does agree to the marriage, because their time together is running out; Chisan disappears and goes back to Joseon, and then Manbo and Yongsul vanish as well.

Park Ha and Yi Gak spend the rest of the day holding hands, even while they eat. They don't want to miss a single second together. The next morning, they go out on their rose-festooned rooftop and say their vows to each other, alone.

Possibly the Best K-Drama Wedding Ever.

Then he begins to disappear. Park Ha says a few last tear-filled words to her new husband, and then he's gone forever.

Doggone it, I need some tissues. Kleenex break!

And as if the writers of Rooftop Prince knew that we needed a break from all that harshness, Episode 20 begins with Yi Gak landing in a barnyard in the past, staring down a flustered rooster.

And With That, All Tears Have Dried.

Next thing he knows, he runs into Chisan, followed by Manbo and Yongsul, who have brought extra historical garb for their pals. And it turns out that a massive plot has been going down in Joseon, perpetrated by none other than...historical Taemu!

With a New and Improved Villain Beard.

Turns out, only one night has passed in Joseon, though the guys spent months in the modern world. It's like a Narnia time-warp.

Flashback to the day before (actually months before) when Yi Gak went to visit Booyoung, Park Ha's Joseon double and posed this riddle to her: "What dies while still living and what lives while still dying?" Booyoung didn't know the answer, but she did know that some plot was afoot. The Crown Princess was acting suspicious, and the king's older half-brother (Taemu!) was lurking around Booyoung's house.

The Crown Princess tried to poison Yi Gak's food, but Booyoung ate the whole plate of poisoned food to save the prince from his fate. Booyoung goes outside to sit by a lake and die, still thinking about the prince that she loves. As a last request, she asks the Crown Princess to trade out clothes with her so that Booyoung can "drown" in the lake and no one will find out about the attempted poisoning.

It was Booyoung's sacrificial and wrongful death that started this whole chain of time-travelling. It was like the universe itself couldn't stand for the Prince and Booyoung's story to end this way, so it arranged for the wildest series of events, just so that Yi Gak could know the truth and could come to love at least one version of Booyoung.

A major swordfight ensues between Historical Taemu's fighters and the king's guard. The good guys win. Yi Gak sentences Historical Taemu and everyone else involved in the plot to execution by beheading, while the Crown Princess and her mother are sentenced to exile on a deserted island. Now, that's more like it! Yi Gak writes a letter to Park Ha and leaves it in a secret hiding spot for her to find in the future. Present-day Park Ha finds the letter and thinks of his sweet words as she runs her juice store. And then...

...a familiar face walks inside.

Looky Who Just Woke Up Out of His Coma!

It's Taeyong, the present-day version of Yi Gak. But she doesn't even look up at him as he orders his juice! Never mind. I have a feeling he'll come back. In Joseon, a running gag comes around full circle as Chisan, Manbo, and Yongsul open a popular restaurant serving omurice. The three guys still go to eat with Yi Gak, and they all secretly wear their brightly-colored tracksuits under their historical garb. Too cute. Yi Gak tears up while eating the omurice and thinking of Park Ha.

In the present, Taeyong leaves a note for Park Ha to meet up with him. But then when she meets him, he turns into Yi Gak, complete with his kingly robes. We end there. I'm confused as anything, but whatever. They're together at last!

Things I Loved:

1. Meaningful Loss. When we start losing beloved characters to the inexplicable time-warp, it hurts to see them go. Chisan disappears first, and it's like a death-knell for everyone else. They know that they could disappear at any time, and the audience is left to wonder who will be departing next, and when. It makes for great dramatic tension, so bravo!

Five Seconds Ago, This Elevator Contained 4 People.

2. The Emotions. I love this show for making me sad, I really do. It's a testament to how great a couple Yi Gak and Park Ha are, that even in the midst of some very silly and overblown corporate plots, we had a hero and heroine we could bond with, admire, and miss.

3. Joseon! It's so cool to be back in the past. The plots and schemes are more interesting when there's a kingdom at stake instead of a shopping company.

And The Robes Are Awesomer.


1. Nice, Neat Villain Tie-Ups. The baddies in the past are punished properly, but I didn't want the villain subplot in the present to just be settled the way it was. I want the villains to be dealt with in an extreme fashion, and to get an end that involved poetic justice!

I Had Hoped For a Keelhauling Or Tar-and-Feathering.

2. Park Ha's Injury. It was dealt with pretty quickly and it did allow for one villain redemption, but Park Ha's hospitalization felt kind of redundant. I was afraid they would put her in a room next to Taeyong and they'd be stuck in his-and-hers matching comas.

So Many Injuries in This Show.


Always Repay Kindness: The Joseon guys work to repay Park Ha for all the trouble she's had in rescuing them. Sena also decides to repay Park Ha for her sweetness. I find it interesting that past-Sena was not redeemable and present-Sena's repentance and redemption is partly to pay for what the Crown Princess did to Booyoung.

Home is Where the Heart Is: Park Ha has a chance to get married in a really nice wedding hall, but instead she opts to tie the knot in the place that means the most to her--the rooftop apartment.

A Small Home Wedding With No Frills.

Reincarnation: Booyoung explains that the lotus flower (which can be called "Booyoung" or "Park Ha") is the symbol of reincarnation. It's also her answer to the Prince's riddle, "What dies while still living and what lives while still dying?" Booyoung may die, but Park Ha is still alive.

Watch it HERE on DramaFever.

Episode Evaluations: Not gonna lie, the end of episode 19 made me cry like a baby. Rooftop Prince makes you feel all the feelings! And Episode 20 was mostly exciting and mostly satisfying.

While this show may have flounced and floundered a lot in its 20-episode run, and it certainly seemed unsure of when to emphasize its own best points, it still managed to be a sweet, crazy love story that could be both touching and entertaining. I think the pacing and logic were all over the place, but ultimately I'm glad I watched Rooftop Prince. The solid acting, colorful humor, and believable depiction of true love were worth tuning in for.

This is Tiger Holland, signing out and looking up recipes for omurice.

Friday, May 25, 2012

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 7-8

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 7-8

The Queen Mother, Shin's Grandma, is worried about how few children there are in the imperial household (there are precisely three, all of them in their late teens). Queen Mother suggests that Shin and Chaekyung should go ahead and produce an heir. Like, right now. Grandma's very frank about these sorts of things.

 Shin's Mama, However, Is Horrified.

But the idea is quickly dropped. I expect it to make another appearance in later episodes, though.

In an unexpectedly nice move, Shin offers to take Chaekyung to visit with her family for a few days. Shin even fishes for affirmation from Chaekyung, coolly saying that he'll make a lot of trouble for her family, so wouldn't she just prefer to leave him behind? But when Chaekyung seems inclined to leave him, Shin is quick to assert that he has to go on this trip, or else the adults will never let Chaekyung go. Ooh, he was just trying to see if she really wanted him to come along.

In the car on the way over, Shin can't help but grin at Chaekyung's irrepressible happiness. The home visit is uncomfortable, as Chaekyung's family tries to figure out how to treat the Crown Prince, but Shin kinda likes it. What's even better is when Chaekyung's family staggers out of the livingroom as one, panting from the exertion of talking to the prince for so long. After dinner, since there aren't enough rooms for everyone, Shin takes Chaekyung's hand and suggests that they share a room. *gulp*

Mere Words Cannot Describe the Awkward.

Chaekyung gets upset when Shin stays in her room, and she asks: "Did you come to my house just to annoy me like this?" The answer? "Yes." And he looks so happy about it. A mostly one-sided kickfight for bedspace ensues. Chaekyung eventually loses and gets the floor.

Elsewhere, Hyorin feels tense, so she goes to Yul's Mom's yoga studio to chill out. Hyorin already sees Yul's Mom as a mentor and source of relief, which is really bad since Mom's a deceptive and seasoned plotter. Her plans are gaining momentum, and now Yul's Mom outright promises her son to get the kingdom back for him.

Hush Little Baby, Don't Say a Word. Mama's Gonna Buy You a Constitutional Monarchy.

Ah, and it's back to the funny hijinks at Casa de Chaekyung. Shin grins widely while watching Chaekyung's parents doing cute things, and he even smiles when Chaekyung fusses at him for leaving the roots on lettuce they pick for a meal. I am not just enjoying these scenes--I am heartwarmed by them. The cold, distant prince is enjoying a friendly, chaotic home at last.

Shin reports back to the Queen and Queen Mother that everyone at Chaekyung' s house hangs out together and splits the chores evenly. They're like friends! Queen Mother marvels over whether family can really be chingu. Later, Shin tries to apply the warmth he's learned at Chaekyung's house and call his mom eomma, or "Mom" instead of "Your Majesty," but she shuts him down immediately, appalled that he's letting his manners slip. In a flashback we see that the Queen pounded it into Shin's head from an early age that he was special and had to act dignified because he was the next king. Now we see where he gets the coldness from. If only Chaekyung understood some of this, she might know how to handle Shin's bouts of random distancing.

Chaekyung Is Blissfully Unaware of Shin's Hang-Ups.

Back in Hyorin's subplot, Yul's Mom tells Hyorin a story about Prince Charles and Camilla; how although Charles married Diana, his marriage grew rocky and he fell for Camilla. Then after years of struggling, the brave Camilla finally got to marry her prince! Um. I don't think most people view the Charles/Diana/Camilla situation in such a glowing light.

Hyorin follows Yul's Mom's advice and says that she'll use Camilla's example and stay close to the royal family, even helping Chaekyung out, so that she can get her man in the end. Hyorin, before you were somewhat pitiable, but now you've become someone to despise. Ick. It's noteworthy that only Hyorin is supposed to see stealing Shin as a noble thing--Yul's Mom is actually trying to get Hyorin to ruin Shin's reputation, so that Yul can become the beloved William to Shin's disgraced Charles.

Everyone Seems to Be Plotting Shin's Downfall.

While playing a form of polo, Yul's horse runs into Shin's horse and they both fall off. Twenty people run to help Shin, and only Chaekyung runs to help Yul. She doesn't even go see Shin afterward, and this hurts his feelings terribly. But Shin's been hanging out with Hyorin, so Chaekyung thinks he doesn't want to see her. Shin keeps Chaekyung from going on a ceremonial visit to Thailand with him, but his reasons aren't clear. And the episode ends on this down note just as we'd made so much progress! Yargh.

Things I Loved:

1. Shin at Chaekyung's House. Royalty enjoying themselves in the messy common world is one of my favorite monarchical tropes. It's even cute how the prince's table manners have been completely eroded after staying with Chaekyung's family--he's slurping and scarfing his ramyun like a regular guy. Shin even gets into the communal spirit and offers to do the dishes! "You don't think I can do it?" He asks Chaekyung. "I can wash dishes! I used to be in the Boy Scouts!" Gotta love his logic.

Looking Like Average Teenagers, For Once.

2. Shin Talking! It's hard to like a character who never says anything, so Shin gets a lot more likable in these episodes because he's discussing things, for once. Why, in episode 7 alone he probably says more words than in the previous 6 episodes worth of silent moping combined. It's really fun to watch.

He's Capable of Speech! Who Knew?


1. Yul...Good or Bad? I'm leaning heavily toward "bad" at this point, but the storyline isn't making it quite clear how we're supposed to see him. Yul has a monologue with himself in the mirror, saying that he's disappointed in himself...but in what way? Yul is still illusive, even when we get a closer look at him.

Though He's Definitely Angsting Over Something.

2. Hyorin. I think we're supposed to feel sorry for Hyorin, who is being forced to go to school with the guy she loves, but I feel no sympathy. She came back of her own free will and inserted herself into the situation. Plus, I don't think it's been established that she loves Shin; they just have history together and Hyorin hasn't met a guy that she likes better.

In Hyorin's mind, Shin will gladly give up his position as Crown Prince and drop Chaekyung to be with her. Ladies, if your plans for future happiness require the guy you like to dump his current girl and quit his current job just to be with you, you might want to rethink your gameplan.


Flawed Hero: There's no hiding the fact that Shin can be a real jerk. He insults Chaekyung or ignores her or pushes her away about 75% of the time. And yet, I think he's on his way to something good. He's rude to her face, but Shin always seems to go behind Chaekyung's back to do nice things, like arranging the visit to her parents' house or taking over dish-washing duties or figuring a way to let her keep riding her forbidden bike on the palace grounds. He's far, far, far from perfect, but I think he has great potential.

When He's Not Being Snooty, That Is.

Character Avatars: We already know about the teddy bear (named Alfred!) representing Shin, but Chaekyung also sews together a big doll of Shin (which is less weird than it sounds). She wants to give it to him, but instead she ends up using it as a punching bag in frustration. Shin sees her doing this and reconsiders his behavior.

The Door Was Open; Did You Think No one Would See?

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: At school, all the girls are all wearing ugly pink arm-warmers and sweatpants under their skirts, like Chaekyung always has. Her sloppiness has become chic! 

Cultural Observances:
Kai Bai Bo: Chaekyung and Shin play Kai Bai Bo (Korean rock paper scissors) for who gets the bed and who gets the floor at her parents' house. Chaekyung keeps losing despite the fact the Shin never produces any sign other than rock.

New words:

Kansamnida, Mama is "Thank you, Your Majesty"
Ya! Gachi-ga! is "Hey, let's go together!"
Yeobo is "honey" or "darling"
Eegon mwoyeyo is "What is this?"
Cheonyo is "Not at all".
Naga is "Get out!"

Episode Evaluations: Best. Episodes. Ever. This drama is finally hitting the good parts--it's like we have gone past the crumbly graham cracker crust and have reached the delicious chocolate filling of the pie! Horrible analogy, but anyhoo, we've grown into funnier antics and deeper conflicts, which are always wonderful.