This week the past and present story lines both moved apace. In the past, Lee Gyeom and Saimdang are almost killed by the word of the king, and then face prosecution and persecution respectively. In the present, Ji Yoon is still facing difficulties as well, with her son angry with her over his father’s death, and charges of plagiarism lobbied against her regarding her thesis. Both women find new strength in their relationships with their children, and return to their big fights. But with so many enemies arrayed against them, can there ever be justice? Fighting the king, the university president, wealthy businessmen and the king’s advisors, can Saimdang and Ji Yoon get what they deserve? Join Wendilynn and me, Kate, as we discuss episodes twenty-three to twenty-five of Saimdang: Light’s Diary.

Wendilynn: There were some really sweet moments in these episodes and then they would destroy all those lovely feelings with the crazy King and Professor Min. Its amusing that both characters are played by the same actor.

Kate: They both do share a certain ruthlessness and ego-maniacal tendencies. At this point I would venture to say that Min hasn’t completely jumped off the deep end yet...the King is fully swimming in it. His desire to kill Gyeom and Saimdang because people like and value them and he is vain and paranoid make him incredibly dangerous to them. So far, I’m not necessarily fearing for Ji Yoon’s possible murder. But give him time. I definitely think he’s capable.

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Wendilynn: True. I could see him pushed to that limit if necessary. He’s sold his soul enough. And it looks like one of his aids has finally realized how corrupt their boss is and at what lengths he’s willing to go. The King on the other hand is just dumb. I liked that Lee Gyeom confronted him and told him to stop hiding behind excuses. He wasn’t doing anything about the drifters and Saimdang was. To kill her for it is just petty and wrong.

Kate: I think that he was definitely motivated to have Saimdang killed for those reasons, but I think the fact that killing her would compound his desire to ruin and kill Gyeom might have even been a larger motivating factor. I won’t say it was surprising that he was willing to pardon Chi Hyung to get him to take on this job, though I will say I was relieved that Chi Hyung was killed in the process. One less foe to worry about.

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Wendilynn: Yeah, Min Chi Hyung was falling off the deep end pretty badly. I’m glad Whieumdang finally got smart and did what was necessary to save her boys. The King’s need to kill Lee Gyeom is crazy to me. I just don’t feel like there is a good enough reason for it. The only reason Gyeom got involved into politics was to prove Chi Hyung’s corruption, which the King had ordered him to do. And then he left for 2 years to wander. Exactly how did this produce the King’s need to kill him for getting into politics? Unless its because of that former concubine’s meddling. But still, something seems off. Which I suppose fits because the King is losing his mind.

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Kate: Poor Whieumdang! Though it took her long enough to develop a conscience, I’m glad it happened. Then again, I’m not even sure she quite has one yet. It’s her motherhood that is the key motivating factor in her freeing Saimdang from captivity. She is terrified about what will happen to her children, and she is smart enough to see that Saimdang is a good mother, and her son was well treated by the family in the past. Without that breathing down Whieumdang’s neck, I’m not sure that she would accept Saimdang’s offer of burying the past. Still, how hard it must be to see your husband ignore all pragmatic suggestions and worry that your children will suffer further if you don’t do something drastic. I liked the comment that Saimdang made, though, about how she hopes they can be friends in a future life and Whieumdang can help her next time. Now I’m scouring the present day storyline looking for that actress to appear. Wouldn’t it be karmically perfect if she was a part of the Rade collective or key in helping Ji Yoon secure justice over the painting and her career?

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Wendilynn: After Saimdang saved Whieumdang’s boys, I started hoping that she is a friendly person in the present day. I was surprised to find out that Rade is an organization. I also found it interesting how they connected the “Man dressed in Hanbok” painting to the story. I looked up that painting and it really is a drawing of a man who was taken to Italy. How they are weaving these different story elements into one story for this loose interpretation of Saimdang’s story is really fascinating. I know a lot of people have been upset at the laid back, quiet nature of the story, but I get the feeling it's not going to stay that way.

Kate: With only three episodes left, it’s bound to get a bit heated. I was glad to be back in the present day story, since that had languished a bit. I was even surprised that Professor Min was still attacking Ji Yoon and her friends; he must really be petty or worried if he’s not happy with having academically exiled Ji Yoon and Han Sang Hyun. There’s a lot to go with that story. How will they best the Professor? How will they confirm the artistry of the painting? Will Ji Yoon be able to resuscitate her career? Is her husband truly dead? There’s less story to wind up in the past. It seems like Gyeom will either escape or be exiled to the West. Saimdang must find a path to live quietly and support her children.

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Wendilynn: I get the feeling the modern story would have filled up the episodes we won’t get and so we’re going to get a shortened version of that end of the story. They just might keep her husband dead now. I understand why Prof. Min went after their degrees. He has to try and make them die, so to speak. I’m not sure what he’s going to do with the photos of Saimdang’s diary. All he can do is learn her story the way they did. He’ll finally learn the meaning of that extra poem on the painting and learn about the imprint next to it. I don’t see him suddenly turning into a good guy to use these items to prove everything and bring down Sun Group first and restore Ji Yoon and Sang Hyun’s reputations.

Kate: They really did hit the “her husband’s dead” note hard in that very long “previously on” section at the beginning of episode twenty-five. Cutting the episode run definitely might have an impact on the story to come, but I think we’ll still be getting a 50/50 past and present storyline for the last three episodes. In the episodes as well, they spent a fair amount of time helping Ji Yoon and her son adjusting to losing his father as well, which would seem a little superfluous if he wasn’t really dead. Mother-In-Law is also encouraging Ji Yoon to have a new life as well…. So who knows? Since the filming of these episodes wrapped months ago, I also wonder how this will affect the end too. A re-edit rather than a re-shoot seems more likely. What that means for story elements, I don’t know.

Wendilynn: As for the story elements we are seeing. My heart is owned by Lee Gyeom. I’m in love with that character and the part of me that hopes there is a future for our two lovers in the modern story hit a new pitch for me. When Saimdang left Lee Gyeom that painting with the lovers seeing on the mountain, my heart just broke. When our modern photographer left that card about courage to Ji Yoon, I yearned for them a little more. I realize this makes me a bad person to want the hubby to stay dead. But I really want to see them get together in the modern story now.

Kate: It seems that that is the only way for them to truly find a happy ending together. Painting together on the mountain is about all that Saimdang and Gyeom will be able to get in the past. It was completely in character that Saimdang would choose her children over scandal, even if her husband has effectively left her for his mistress, but that didn’t make it any less sad. They deserved happiness. I too, will be disappointed if they don’t find each other and love in this present lifetime.

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Wendilynn: Oh, that cowardly husband in the past bringing that mistress to Saimdang’s home was completely awful. I cannot believe he would do that. Talk about losing all respect for your father. And to watch her walk into their home and act like she had a right to whatever was in that home. Oh my gosh, the gall. I’m curious how they are going to resolve this because Saimdang’s reputation is such that she won a mother of the year award in her lifetime. I don’t see how we get to that point from where we are in the story.

Kate: I thought Won Soo had learned something about his mistress’s greed a couple episodes back, and was glad that we didn’t check in with that storyline in episode twenty-three, but I guess things are pretty much the same there. Saimdang’s got a tough enough situation without her husband installing his mistress in their home. I don’t know how Saimdang will regain her reputation enough to get her award, but I definitely know Won Soo won’t be getting any father of the year awards. His difficult relationship with Saimdang has left his children out in the cold. She left the possibility of happiness with a truly matched partner for her children. Won Soo made the opposite choice.

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Wendilynn: Makes me wonder what choices Ji Yoon will make that will lead to the happiness that has been denied all these centuries. Or will we ever see justice for those broken hearts?

How will Saimdang make mother of the year when on the outs with the King? Will Ji Yoon get her professorship? Will the souls of Saimdang and Gyeom find love in the present? Let us know where you think things will head in the comments.

For more from your Drama Club check out:

Wendilynn: As the Kimchi Turns | DF video drama club | My Shy Boss | Past Drama Clubs

Kate: Let’s Fight Ghost | Answer Me 1988 |Entertainer| Orange Marmalade| Fall in Love Like a Star

For past episode reviews