Scarlet Heart: Ryeo Episodes 17 & 18 Recap: The King is Dead, Long Live the King
Welcome back Time Travelers to the beginning reign of King Gwangjong. It looks like happy times are a thing of the past for our characters. Yo has kicked the bucket, the Ministers/Clans are trying to play So like a puppet, Soo has to give up marrying So for Yeon Hwa to become Queen and bring peace, 9th Prince puts all the blame for all his evil deeds on his brother, Jung is striped of his title, but leaves a message for Soo if she ever wants to leave her gilded cage. Join June, Logan, and I, Tiara, as we examine the beginning reign of our new King.
Tiara: I’m going to start off by saying something a tab controversial. I was actually moved by Yo this week. Sure he’s being haunted by the ghost of his victims (Thanks So & Baek Ah), but the moment his mother dropped him like hot potatoes he’d realized what So must’ve have felt like all his life. It was the first time I really enjoyed his character and kind of wished to see more of this character.
Logan: Actually I completely agree with you, Tiara. Then again, I am a sucker for anyone who’s suffering no matter what they’ve done in the past. I think he showed that his motivations for doing what he did, even if he used horrible means to do so, were kind of legitimate. I mean staying alive is a pretty good motivator. I love Hong Jong Hyun as an actor and I’m glad that his character went out while he got a chance to show his acting chops. He wasn’t as evil as I expected either. Sure he committed a couple acts of murder, but there’s been so much murder at this point that even that seems insignificant.
June: I agree with both of you all! It was a few minutes that I really did feel bad for him. It was like all the Queen Mother wanted was her sons, sans So, to be on the throne and when Yo figured that out was sad to watch but then I was reminded of everything he had done before so the feeling came and left. I think Jong Hyun did an amazing job with this character!
Tiara: I was disappointed by the drama for not allowing Yo to confront So. It would’ve have been such a powerful scene to see these two brothers who’d been against each other to be able to share a moment. Storywise it would’ve been fantastic but the acting would have been amazing. Another missed opportunity. Yo blaming Soo for his downfall was interesting as he made her become the most important person in history. So ripped up the degree paper, but it wasn’t needed to make him king. Soo was given that power and she made a King in So.
Logan: I mean Yo did tell Soo to choose who the next king would be so it’s not even like she did anything shady at all really. It had to be a hard decision for her. While on the one hand she wanted Soo to become king because that’s what he wanted and in theory she believed he’d be a fair ruler, there had to definitely be a part of her that wanted to just run off with him and be a normal couple. As far as how things would turn out between them once he became king, I wonder if she had any idea. I wonder if she would have made the same decision if she knew.
June: Soo picking So as king felt like such a big turning point, even though it's so late in the drama. I feel like they really wouldn't ever have the chance to leave the palace and be normal. I feel as they said So was eventually fated to become a king. It would have been nice though if So and Soo would have been able to be a normal couple.
Tiara: I agree with you, June. They are way past the point of being a normal couple. They’ve both been waiting years for each other, but it’s was never the right moment. It’s never going to be the right moment for them. She’s not from this era and her time is running after. So has been making selfish choices and will always think of Soo in his choices. Soo doesn’t accept being Queen because she can’t protect So and makes the sacrifice again to let Yeon Hwa marry her prince. Soo and So are doomed to be Star-Crossed Lovers. So is the Moon and Soo is his Sun. She’s been the light in his dark world with her shining light, but his Sun is burning out. It’s a miracle Soo and So have gotten the time they have, but just like an eclipse the Sun and Moon will need to go back to their original space. There is never going to be a period of happiness for them.
Logan: So and Soo really aren’t meant to be together in this era. It’s so frustrating from my end of it a fan and viewer, to go through this whole emotional struggle with this OTP that truly seemed like soulmates. We had only very brief moments of happiness and after all that, when things finally seem like they’re going to work out I finally realized that it just isn’t going to happen. Not only can they not be together in the way that they want, but things are beginning to come between them and will keep coming between them to drive them further and further apart. It’s almost an unnatural level of cruel to have to watch it.
June: Yeah, it’s super sad knowing that they just aren't going to work in this time period, which really makes me wonder how things will be once we get back to the future. Star-crossed lovers is like the definition of this couple in this drama right now.
Tiara: Our poor So is finding it lonely up on the Throne. He’s been forced to marry Yeon Hwa and make her Queen. His Ministers want full control of running the Goryeo. I don’t think this is the vision of Goryeo So had in mind. I’ve read people aren’t happy with the change in So. I don’t see a change in behavior. He’s still the wild wolf who has just been give lots of power to clean things up. He’s starting to learn how to be a politician and in the era of Goryeo it’s not puppy and rainbows - it’s blood, threats, and death Game of Thrones style. There’s no good vs. evil in this game. It’s all shades of gray as monsters are not born but they are made.
Logan: I get where people are coming from in saying that there was a change in So. However, I also don’t see it as a change- this was real personality all along. I don’t know if naive is the right word either, but he wasn’t realistic in believing that he could make everything go the way he wanted. It’s funny how with this drama started I thought King Taejo was the worst ruler ever and a coward, but from the way his sons are ruling he was benevolent by comparison. I’m worried for So right now just as much as Soo. So is at a crossroads. He should realize by now that if he keeps trying to hold on to Soo he’s just going to keep hurting her. I would hope that he would see that letting her leave the castle would be what’s best for her, but I doubt he’ll see it that way.
June: I'm actually kind of missing King Taejo, not going to lie. It's maybe because everyone was still alive and not worried that they were going to get killed at any given time. I hope So realized what he's doing before it's too late!
Tiara: From the end of King Taejo’s rule, I have to agree he came across as a kind ruler. However, he created Goryeo and became king by age 40. He too probably had a few years of trying to assert his power as King much like Yo and So had done. So wanted to be King and not give up anything, but it’s unrealistic idea. It’s the beginning of his reign which is the time to assert his power as King. This is how 9th Prince’s spying has been found out. I understand why Soo is mad at So for beating Chae Ryun to death, but he tried to give her an out and she didn’t take it. She got to greedy in her pursuit to spy on Soo. Chae Ryun lied, killed and had to be punished. Soo understands being a slave gives you no right and forgave Chae Ryun, but not So for sentencing her to death. I’m worried for Wook’s safety at this point after 9th throw him under the bus for everything.
Logan: To me the seemed like the way that So dealt with Chae Ryun was more about him being right than out of consideration for Soo. He didn’t take her feelings into consideration AT ALL. Think about the progression of heartbreak she experienced through that. First she sees one of her closest friends has been beaten to death upon orders from the man she loves and only then does he tell her - in a not so gentle way - how much she had been betrayed by the so called friend. Chae Ryun was crazy and clearly a narcissist so I don’t feel bad for her but if I were Soo, it would totally change the way I saw So too.
June: The realization that Chae Ryun had done all those things really put things into perspective. It reminded me of Court Lady Oh and how she said not to trust anyone in the palace and she was right.
Tiara: You’re right on the money, June. The palace is a dangerous place where people will use you. I do think So should’ve been straight with Soo when she asked to allow Chae Ryun to stay. He knew the friendship these two had for one another clearly the night of his Wedding to Yeon Hwa. If he told Soo the reason why he granted her leave, Chae Ryun may still be alive and would’ve saved Soo heartache. It was poor decision on his part not to include Soo. Is he started to not trust Soo? Is this why he’s keeping things from her? With Soo being super angry with So, do you think Yeon Hwa will try to work her evil claws into him?
Logan: You’re right, Tiara. That would have saved a lot of heartbreak and maybe even their relationship. Ugh, the fact that he agreed to marry Yeon Hwa disgusts me. I know that he needed the power, but when he said he wouldn’t do it I believed him and now I feel betrayed too. I think Yeon Hwa is going to be successful in her attempts to seduce him and if she is that is going to be the final straw for me. I absolutely will not forgive So after that. I don’t care about his reasoning. I don’t even blame her. She’s just trying to survive. I just expected more out of So.
June: Yeon Hwa is going to do anything in her power to get what she wants and I find her just so annoying. I hated that So had to marry her but it made sense because he needs to protect the throne. But still, I did not like it one bit.
Tiara: At least we knew So and Yeon Hwa were going to married. Our poor King couldn’t say no to the marriage. The clan were going to use every dirty trick against Soo from her scar to her book written in Hangul to stop her from becoming Queen. (*side note* I wonder if So will ever ask her about the book?) I just find Yeon Hwa’s greed amazing. She told her mom she wanted the world, but clearly she wants the world and So’s love. I’m with you, Logan if So falls for her charms. I won’t forgive him if he goes to Yeon Hwa while Soo is alive. I might have to break up with the drama if the story goes that direction. I’m not a forgiving fan.
Logan: I’m glad that you warned me about their impending marriage, Tiara, because I am ignorant when it comes to Goryeo history. It made it a little less devastating for sure. I think this is the first time that I’ve ever said this about a drama, but honestly I don’t even want So and Soo to be together at this point. Maybe it’s a little hot-headed of me but I feel like if they don’t split up now they’re just going to end up with negative feelings towards one another. I’ve seen a lot of people say that they’re hoping Soo will die and then wake up in the present and they’ll finally be able to be together for real. That I could root for, but with the way things are going in Goryeo my OTP ship has sunk to the depths of the deepest sea.
June: I'm really anxious at this point for everything to be brought back to the future. Everything in the past is just so dark and sad with people dying left and right. I'm ready to see how things are back in the future.
Tiara: That’s the first rule of watching Sageuks drama - read up on the history no matter if the drama states it’s taken a creative license to history. But I’m a person who doesn’t mind spoilers. I’m a sucker for this OTP and will go down with the ship. Apparently I like my OTP to be complex with tons of suffering. I must be a masochist because I’m still hoping for the miscarriage plot from the original. It just doesn’t seem right not to include it. Yay for more misery for the OTP. I’m all in for a second season in present day, but before we start thinking ahead, Soo just sent a message to Jung that she wants it. I still don’t think Jung is doing things for her benefit, but it will be interesting to see the palace go into chaos because of the mischief Jung is up too.
Logan: Now it’s my turn to say something a tad controversial and I know it’s unpopular opinion and I know that you won’t be surprised by me saying this at all, but apart from the lapse in judgement Jung had by trying to get Soo to rat on So, I’m pretty impressed with his character right now. Here’s why. I predict that when Jung got his favor from Yo it was permission to marry Soo. I believe that he could have married her whether she wanted to or not. I also believe he has this in writing. Yet, he hasn’t tried to take advantage of her and he hasn’t pushed. He offered her a way out and left it at that. What I see from him is that he genuinely cares about her. I believe he would give up anything that she asked him to. Now I don’t in some fairy kingdom where I think they’re going to get together, but he just might be able to give her what So can’t.
June: I'm kind of iffy with what I think about Jung right now but I do believe he really does want the best for Soo and he might be her only way out.
Tiara: Haha, that’s not controversial at all, Logan. We know you have a huge crush on Ji Soo \^o^/ I call your marriage and raise you this - So will allow Soo to leave the palace with Jung, but he’s not going to allow Soo’s name to be written down as his wife. I also believe Soo will look at the marriage as a name in only and won’t make it romantic evening if Jung wants it to be. I’m not sure I buy Jung’s intentions really for Soo. Jung has gotten mad at her for supposedly taking So’s side. He’s also super annoyed with So with being kicked out of the palace and not being able to be by his mom’s death bed. I see a tad bit of concern as a friend, but he also wants to hurt his brother too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Soo has an out.
Logan: Lol. I’ll stop having a crush on him when he stops being perfect. Haha. But you make a good point as always, Tiara, Jung’s desire for revenge could become a hindrance to him like it did to his brothers. It’s like all of the Wang’s need anger management classes or something. But then of course there’s the pure and so far flawless Baek Ah. *Sigh* He represents everything that’s good about this drama and it really makes me sad to see him stuck in the middle of everything that’s going on with little power to do anything about it as he and Ji Mong brace themselves for the impending trainwreck
June: Baek Ah is seriously my favorite and I really hope something really terrible doesn't happen to him. I think I would be devastated to be honest. I just want Woo Hee to come clean! I know it's going to hurt him a lot when he finds out the truth. :(
Tiara: Baek Ah being tease by So and Soo was a highlight of this week’s episodes. OMG I want a drama with just these three hanging out, eating, & drinking. I have to admit Woo Hee is pretty bad a**. Yes there was some selfishness in killing her uncle, but dude the girl can take care of herself. However, I’m waiting for the shoe to drop. I’m with you June about Woo Hee coming clean. It seems no couples are safe in Goryeo.
Logan: I’m a bit bummed out that Woo Hee was working for Yo, but I agree- she’s pretty cool. She also hasn’t seemed to have lost her spirit, which is a sharp contrast to Soo. Remember when Soo showed up in Goryeo? She was so bold, so brave. She stood up for everything she believed in - but she was manipulated, mistreated, tortured, humiliated, and watched so many people she cared about die - Goryeo took it’s toll on her.
Tiara: Boy has Goryeo taken a toll on her. Her knee was never properly healed and now she has heart issues. Talk about the worst luck ever. Will Soo ever be able to find that spunky girl from the present ever again? Until next time, watch more Dramas.
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