Friday, June 1, 2012

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 11-12

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 11-12

A new girl shows up at the palace, and she's Shin's older sister Princess Hyemyung, returned from her travels abroad. (She's played by actress Lee Yoonji, who I loved as Teacher Shi in Dream High and as Jaeshin in King 2 Hearts. I like this actress so much, and I didn't even know she was in Goong!). It does seem weird that no one mentioned Hyemyung before, except Queen Mother referencing her once. She has been off doing diplomatic and volunteer work, and the household servants love her, so that is our cue that she is a nice person.

A Nice Person With Not Nearly Enough Lines.

In the enthronement plot, Yul's Mom's spies have given her photos of Shin getting close to Hyorin and being kissed by her at the Thailand airport. Good. I hope his name gets dragged through the mud because of this. I don't want to see Chaekyung hurt if these photos are revealed, but it would be a better alternative than Shin going along like he's doing nothing wrong. I hope I don't gloat too hard when he gets his comeuppance. Ah, who am I kidding?

I Will Gloat Like the Madness When He Gets Paid Back.

Chaekyung gently asks Shin whether she was supposed to marry Yul. Shin looks troubled and admits that her original fiance was Yul, then he gets huffy and asks if she's disappointed in the way things turned out. But Chaekyung's a bit sick and she has fallen asleep already. Shin leans close to her as she sleeps. So...he does have feelings for her, but does that change anything? It's a nice cuddling moment until Shin's mom walks in. I can understand a mom frowning at cuddling teenagers, but what if those teenagers are also married? Do you still get to level the disapproving frown at them?

Apparently So.

The Queen yells at Shin for the first time! Wow. She's not so composed when the servants aren't watching, eh? Mom waits until Chaekyung's gone, then throws down a Thai tabloid in front of Shin, displaying pictures of him traveling with Hyorin. Oh yeeeeeaaaah, he's in so much trouble! I now feel like Shin's kid sister, ready to tattle on him for every offense. But seriously, he deserves a big 'ol falling out and this is the first time I've appreciated the Queen's ability to make someone feel lower than a worm's belly.

Chaekyung sees the newspaper and questions Shin about it, but Shin says he doesn't have to report everything he does to her, and that she didn't need to know about him meeting with Hyorin. Chaekyung takes the smart route and says that if his life is none of her business, then hers is none of his.

Maintenance of His Teddy Bear Is Still Her Business, Though.

Now everyone at school knows about the pictures. Shin looks like a cad and Hyorin looks like the Other Woman, but Hyorin still sees Chaekyung in the halls and smiles with a little "Annyeong!" wave. Hyorin's now hurting Chaekyung on purpose by saying things like. "I don't care about being the Crown Princess, I just want Shin." From a combo of sickness and sadness, Chaekyung faints at school. Shin comes to the rescue and carries her away, then tends to her when she's sick. He does it while stylishly dressed, of course.

This Guy and His Bow Ties, I Swear.

Chaekyung's parents visit their sick daughter and ask Shin if they can take her home to recover, Shin says he understands, but he's going through some tough times and really needs Chaekyung by his side. He plays up his jerk quotient and tells Chaekyung that she cannot go home because she must follow his wishes. But the jerkish statement was not entirely true: when he is alone, Shin sadly says, "If I let you go home now, you'll never return."

Shin says to Chaekyung that when he comes of age, he'll resign as Crown Prince. But part of me wants Shin to step up and do a great job as king. He always seems to be running away from things and ducking responsibility if he can get away with it. Wouldn't it be great to see him become a true grownup? Shin meets with Hyorin and finally breaks things off with her permanently, but then he has to be an idiot and turn down a special cake Chaekyung has baked for him.

All Those Hours in Home Ec, Totally Wasted.

Yul has been questioning his role in bringing down Shin, and he tells the Queen Mother that when his father is enthroned posthumously, he still wants to be just another prince in line for the succession behind Shin, not in front of him. Hmm, what does he have to gain by this move? Seems like Yul is trying to figure out a way to get Chaekyung without becoming king. Yul's Mom is angry when she hears what he has done. Yul finds her lying dramatically on the floor, and when he panics she says, "What? Did you think I'd try to kill myself again?"

Oh, the Mental Instability Now Rears Its Head.

The King faints at the posthumous enthronement ceremony, and Yul discovers that his mother is slightly crazypants.Yul's Mom warns Shin to be careful of attacks outside the palace. Shin astutely says he's more concerned about attacks from within. Chaekyung goes into Shin's photo room and finds an entire book full of nothing but Hyorin pictures and keepsakes. (Chaekyung, honey, it's time to get away from these royals. Yul's mother is insane and possibly violent, while Shin is a cold, aloof waffler. Shin is officially such a louse that his prim, emotionally distant mother tells him to be kinder to Chaekyung.) Anyhow, the last episode kind of trails off with Shin making another stab at being nice to Chaekyung.

But You'll Never Be As Nice as Yul.

Things I Loved:

1. Chaekyung. I don't think I mention it enough, but I adore Chaekyung. She may be in my Top 5 Favorite Heroines, right up there with Hyemi in Dream High and Gil Raim in Secret Garden. Her effervescence is amazing, and I like her youthful energy. She's a normal teenager, but she'll be a great woman someday.

Even Cooler Than You Know.

2. Shin's Feelings for Chaekyung. There aren't nearly enough of them, but they are nice.Shin seems to admire Chaekyung when he tells his sister that Chaekyung could never be a princess doll on display, like so many other royals. The formal life that suffocates Shin fascinates her: "She's not getting used to the palace--the palace is getting used to her". Shin's Noona says that he and Chaekyung might fall in love someday.

Today Is Not That Day, Though.

3. Yul's Feelings for Chaekyung. Yul comes to see Chaekyung when she's ill and brings an herb plant to help with her cold. He sweetly says "Don't get sick anymore. When you're sick, I'm sick too." But these episodes don't really advance his plotline or character development much.

A Poetic, Sensitive Soul. Probably Won't End Up Well.


1. Hyemyung's Absence. Why cast someone awesome like  Lee Yoonji in this sisterly role, and then not make any use of her? Hyemyung doesn't have a whole lot to do in these 2 episodes, except give Shin and the Queen Mother someone to discuss important matters with.

Just Here to Keep Baby Bro Dialoguing Instead of Monologuing.

2. Hyorin's Smugness. Chaekyung assumes the best of Hyorin and says, "You probably just happened to meet Shin in Thailand..." But Hyorin says no, it was intentional, because when Shin got married, she could no longer talk to him whenever she wanted, because Chaekyung was always hanging around. "He might have married you, but he asked me to marry him first and he liked me first." (Oh, so we've all got to stick with our first loves forever? I had better go hunt down Mikey from my days at Sunnydale Preschool and see if he wants to reignite our toddler romance...)

One of These Girls Has A Lot of Chutzpah.

3. Chaekyung-as-Puppy. I don't like that Chaekyung's always hanging around, surprising Shin with thoughtful gestures and happily approaching him first. She's a doll and any normal guy should be charmed by her sweetness, but if he wants to see her, he should come to her more often than he does. I just don't knwo what to think of Shin and his relationship with Chaekyung anymore.

Don't Let the Innocent Look Fool You--He's Still a Jerk.


Switched Roles: Yuls' Mom and the Queen have, like, a double turnover of reversed roles. The Queen says to Yul's Mom, "Let's play fair (about plotting for the throne)." Yul's Mom says, "To play fair, don't we need to be on the same level, first?" The Queen has everything and Yul's Mom comparatively has nothing, and the Queen has risen in prominence while Yul's Mom has fallen...but all that is about to change again.

The Queenly Smackdown is Stunning.

Survivor's Guilt: The King can't sleep at night, for worrying about his dead brother. The King isn't just guilty that he lived and his brother died; he was actually responsible for the car accident that caused his brother's death. Oh, he'll be putty in Yul's Mom's hands after this.

Episode Evaluations: These episodes are kind of "meh". Shin stands up and acts like a man on a few different occasions, then he's back to being pouty little boy. Yul shows some sweetness, but doesn't really do very much. Chaekyung and Hyorin remain the same as ever, one excellent, one frustrating. The only really new thing that happens is the posthumous enthronement and the revelation that Yul's Mom is possibly crazy and dangerous. I hope the next episodes pick up.


  1. Ooh the sister is a character that wasn't in the book, looks like things are starting to divert more now.

  2. I remember staying up really late in 6th grade to watch this one on TV! I think this is one of my all-time favorite K-dramas. Can't wait to hear more of your thoughts on the remaining episodes. Btw, do you watch Korean reality tv shows? Running Man is really good and hilarious. And Song Ji-hyo is there. :)

    1. I haven't seen much of Running Man, but I do watch clips of Korean variety shows when my favorite singers or actors are appearing. It's so fun to see them doing different challenges! We have nothing like this in the States. :-)

    2. Although apparently nothing is happening, things are being cooked, and secondary characters are starting to reveal what they are like, especially Yul and his mother. Yul's character is getting more and more complex for me, he's apparently cute, but when he reveals his plans he seems to be other person completely different. Chaekyung has to be more rude with Sheen, I agree with you, I totally hated him in the 12th episode! And Hyo-rin has lost some interest for me, she has ceased to be apparently a real rival for Chaekyung, just a silly girl! Political trama is moving at an amazingly fast pace...

    3. Great points, Claudia! I went ahead and watched the rest of the Goong episodes, and I really started to appreciate the show again. Shin drove me nuts for a long time, but he got his act together further down the road. :-)

  3. Yes, I've seen the 13th episode and Shin's move was not totally unexexpected but indeed surprising! By the way, thank you for these reviews of yours, they are a great guide to accompany the watching of episodes! Haven't you written about the rest of them? I cannot bear to continue this drama without your advice!

    1. You're very welcome! I started writing reviews because I enjoyed other poeple's K-drama reviews so much. :-)

      I stopped writing about Goong at this point because I started a couple of new shows in June...but they're both over now, and nothing new is starting for another week or two, so maybe I'll get to go back and write up something on the remaining episodes.

    2. Yes, please do! I've continued seeing Goong and it would be great to read your opinion about the remaining episodes. :)

    3. Your wish is my command! I've got 2 more recaps up, and the rest will be coming soon. I really needed to finish writing about this show, to get some closure.

  4. what ep is this pls someone tell me.,i really can't find it -,r:67,s:300,i:205&iact=rc&dur=215&page=24&tbnh=194&tbnw=256&ndsp=15&tx=167&ty=125

    1. I think that's ep 16. That should be the 2 of them being playful together just as Hyorin tries to commit suicide.

  5. i love your review it was spot on and i would totally sit next you you at the mental hospital

  6. So I'm here at half-way through the drama and I like your analysis/thoughts. I was looking for something like this in English, since I'm watching this without subtitles (I'm Korean-American and relatively fluent, but the old/formal Korean they use is not familiar to me)...

    (I haven't read the manhwa, so can't comment about that, just on the TV):
    Anyways, overall, I have to say Shin as a character is good. About 9/10 well-done and developed. There are some things, I don't know if it's just the actor not portraying it properly, but there are some things that he could have done better-- for example, maybe be a bit more adherent to the royal family rules and tradition? That way, the things he does that doesn't fit the code seems that much more different. Emotionally, I think he's portrayed well: the center of his emotions is his loneliness-- portrayed via the teddy bear he has... and the fact that chaekyung can fill that void can really be felt, albeit just budding. compared to how warm he was towards his sister, because they grew up lonely together, you can really see he has a thirst for real human-level bond with someone.

    No need to comment on Chaekyung or the actress playing her. Both are loveable and well done. 10/10 for sure. I wouldn't change a thing.

    Hyorin character and the actress: I think it's so "meh" that I don't have any strong feelings either way for her (the character or the actress). They could have made her a bit more of a villain (maybe they needed a better actress that can really give off that sense of wanting the audience to hate her-- there are plenty of good actress that can pull that off). Cos overall, I don't care for her character, and as a villain, she is weak. It's becoming annoying, her story line. So I'm disappointed in how this character was developed and played.

    Yul's character is confused. If he is supposed to be a villain, he sure doesn't seem that way at all. Maybe this is also a "need a better actor" to portray the character better? I am really curious at this point if the manwha really portrayed this character this way (both him and Hyorin-- because their characters seems so mediocre compared to shin and chaekyung)-- or if it's just the actor not doing it well. For example, they could have made it so that his being nice to ChaeKyung has a sinister motive and for his own gain to want to marry her because originally that was what their grandfathers had intended, etc...

    Overall, the drama is turning out to be "okay" for me. 2 of the main characters are weak/mediocre. 2 of them are good. The overall story is good (good mix of comedy and drama). And Yoon Eun Hye is really awesome; I can see why she is so hyped (never understood it before, but I just watched Coffee Prince and she is quite brilliant and totally loveable). I just remember she was sort of the oddball maknae in Baby VOX back in the 90s. Who knew she would become quite an actress! I particularly love her facial expressions. She has the most diverse facial expressions-- I think that's truly her talent!

    Thanks again for the blog. I've got this open in one window and the drama playing in another... :)