Sometimes you know just that a drama is headed towards greatness straight from the word “go” or in this case, the minute you hear the names “KSH and JIW.” E1 delivered just like I had hoped and lived up to all of its expectations and parts of it made me have some major SKKS vibes. There are no guarantees when it comes to Kdramas for me – most are misses instead of hits. But I love these rare moments where everything comes into place perfectly and I couldn’t have selected a better group of child actors myself. This is going to be a redux of missing child actors from CYHMH all over again.
Here is a legend of the abbreviations we’ll be using. It includes photos of most (but not all) the child actors and will grow as the drama progresses:
|Lee Hwon – H||Wol – Wol
Heo Yeon Woo – YW
|Yang Myeong Goon – M|
|Yoon Bo Kyeong – B||Heo Yeom – Y||Woon – Woon|
|Seol – S||Princess Min Hwa – MW||King Seong Jo – SJ|
|Park Hoe Bin – P||Gr. Empress Yoon – GE||Shaman Jang – J|
Since sageuks are confusing, here are some very brief character descriptions. There are more detailed descriptions available, but they could be considered rather spoilery. The names in brackets are the actors’ names (childhood actors are listed second, where applicable):
Lee Hwon (Kim Soo Hyun/Yeo Jin Goo) – The future king.
Heo Yeon Woo (Han Ga In/Kim Yoo Jung) – An intelligent and beautiful girl who was betrothed to Lee Hwon.
Wol (Han Ga In)- A shaman who bears a strong resemblance to Yeon Woo.
Prince Yang Myeong (Jung Il Woo/Lee Min Ho) – Lee Hwon’s older half-brother from another mother. He is next in line for the throne after Hwon, but is a loyal brother.
Yoon Bo Kyeong (Kim Min Seo/Kim So Hyun) – Hwon’s first wife.
Heo Yeom (Song Jae Hee/Si Wan) – The affectionate and incredibly smart older brother of Yeon Woo.
Woon (Song Jae Rim/Lee Won Geun)- Lee Hwon’s bodyguard, he is the son of a nobleman and a concubine (which gives him a low status despite his intelligence and martial prowess).
Seol (Yoon Seung Ah)- Yeon Woo’s personal maidservant.
Princess Min Hwa (Nam Bo Ra/Jin Ji Hee) – Hwon’s younger sister who was jealous of Yeon Woo as a child, and smitten with Yeom.
King Seong Jo (Ahn Nae Sang) – Lee Hwon’s father.
Park Hoe Bin (Kim Ye Ryeong) – The king’s consort and mother to Lee Hwon and Yang Myeong.
Grand Empress Yoon – (Kim Young Ae) – Lee Hwon’s grandmother.
Shaman Jang/Guk Mu (Jeon Mi Seon) – Wol’s adoptive mother.
All of the above was done by Fanderay while she is on vacation cuz I sent her a panicked email saying I went on Soompi thread for this drama and there were only 9 pages. Back in the days of Coffee Prince and BOF, there were tons of pages even before a drama began. These days there seems to be fewer pages than usual. I was expecting to see a lot more and to read a lot of info about the drama itself like the storyline. I already read Blue’s translations for the first chapters of the novel and loved it, but the language was super hard so I worried whether I could translate this drama at all.
I will need time to edit and insert names for the first few episodes or so till I have them memorized. Just in case I take forever to post up my first attempt recap of this drama after it airs, here are some cute faces to stare at –aren’t they adorable? This was my backup plan – to flood this post with cute pictures to make up for a lack of recap – pretty clever huh? :)
Fingers crossed cuz it’s about to start soon…those cute scenes with that kid and baby came out for like two seconds.
I knew the gist of what is going on so that’s the info I am passing on to you. Also can I add those two actresses who played Ja In’s mom and In Woo’s mom in Man of Honor are in this too. Almost same roles, one is rich and the other one was in a coma for the better part of the drama. Except this time she suffers more than just a coma – we are talking major suffering and the other plays another rich role as the Queen. why do they look so alike to me? Also yay -nice added bonus- no one told me the kid who plays M is in this. he was the one who was played the older brother to that cute kid -the brother who stole in SKKS. he was so good in that and now he is awesome again in this role. this kid was born to act in sageuk.
Starts with Empress Yoon’s Narration about the sun and moon. something about day it’s too hot and night it’s cold. (that’s all I got and I was lucky I even got that much –those are some hard words she used) She is talking to Yoon Dae Hyeong (DH) who is doing all her bidding. She says they can’t keep waiting for YW to show up.
*these two want to get rid of anyone who might challenge the succession to the throne. They are loyal to the current king (H’s dad).
I don’t know what to call these men in black that go around killing during Chosun times so I will call them ninjas since that is what they look like. Some ninja guys show up at night and put yellow stickers on walls and bury a yellow book in the yard.
One of them ( a girl) goes into the room and the bed is empty. She looks inside and no one is there. Suddenly there is a sword at her throat and she is asked “on whose orders are you moving/taking action” by Ui Seong Gun (the king’s brother). They fight, and she hits him with a throwing knife.
A woman named Ari suddenly wakes up and Shaman Jang (J) asks where she is going at this time of night. Ari says she has to go to Ui Seong Gun’s home, but J says there is no point even if she does goe, but Ari says she has to go. J runs after her and suddenly J stops and stares at the moon alarmed
Ninjas are fighting Ui Seong Gun. They have him cornered. The guy gets cut down. Right before he is killed, DH stops the ninja (he’s the from the opening scene who is the empress’s sidekick). DH says it’s been a long time. Ui Seong Gun asks if he changed his method or found someone else to back him. The DH says he did (find someone else to back him). Ui Seong Gun threatens to tell the king but DH says he won’t meet the King cuz DH is about to kill him now.
A man in a peach hanbok (Ui Seong Gun’s right hand man) is hung and a letter dropped where he was sitting. Ui Seong Gun asks DH why do that to the man. (from what I can tell DH is setting up the Ui Seong Gun and all the people in this home – four of them as betrayers or something so they made the guy who got hung look like it was suicide)
DH slashes the Ui Seong Gun’s throat. Ari was looking over a wall and watches as the guy gets killed by the old man. DH looks over and sees her. He orders the ninjas to go after her.
Ari runs thru the forest at night and is standing at the edge of a cliff. The ninjas are right behind her. She steps back, slips, and falls and they go looking for her body. They find her hair tie – a long red ribbon. One of them says to report that she might be dead or something.
There are a line of women (I think they may be shamans) and the woman in charge asks J where Ari went. J doesn’t say.
The empress is shown the red ribbon and hears that Ari either died or is missing. DH says they are looking for her. They somehow fit her into the scheme of framing Ui Seong Gun and the empress says the heavens are helping us.
The bodies are found and King Seong Jo now knows about the death of his brother. The king gives the woman in charge of all those shamans one of the yellow stickers (that the ninjas put up) and asks her to say everything she knows about it. She gives DH (who is in cahoots with the empress) a knowing look like he might have put her up to this so she lies to the king and puts the blame on Ari. she lied even though the king ordered not to lie.
YW’s mom is passing by with her servants and Ari stumbles on the road and falls in front of the carriage. YW’s mom (who looks pregnant with YW) gets out and orders her servants to put Ari into the carriage saying they cant leave an injured woman on the road. As they head into town, they are stopped by the guards. The guards show YW’s mom’s maid servant a picture of Ari and says Ari is wanted and asks to see inside the carriage. The servant tries to make up an excuse but he opens the partition and looks anyway. YW’s mom touches her pregnant belly and says she is uncomfortable from her trip and wants to go. (she is actually hiding Ari under her skirt in the back) Guard explains they are looking for a suspect. She says go with us and follow us all the way to my home if you are suspicious but we are going to keep going.
He lets her pass but then he sees blood dripping on the ground (it’s from Ari’s wounds). So he goes after her carriage and opens it and YW’s mom pretends the blood on her dress is hers and she is miscarrying and in pain. Servant says who YW’s mom’s husband is (Heo Yeong Jae) and the guard will be in trouble if anything happens to YW’s mom so the guard gets scared and lets them go.
YW’s mom drops Ari off when it’s safe. Ari: I dont know how to repay your for all this – cuz of me you ruined such valuable clothes (cuz there is blood on it) and pretended to be in shock. YW’s mom: it wasnt pretend shock-I really thought you were going to die back there – I didnt do it – this baby saved you. Ari: it’s a baby who is milky white like the moon. Hearing Ari’s prediction, YW’s mom asks: so is this baby a girl. Ari: yes she is. YW’s mom says how she wanted a daughter. Ari suddenly sees the future with H, M. and YW and stops talking (it looks like she sees YW’s death, as well as her grave). YM’s mom asks if Ari can go alone in her injured state but Ari says she can. Ari says she wont forget what the woman did for her today. YW’s mom says she knows how to judge people and Ari is not a bad person. YM’s mom starts to leave but Ari calls her and Ari says: I will protect your baby even if I die.
Ari stumbles into town, limping and covered with blood. She is caught by the ninja guards.
Ari is tortured. J watches all that from the crowd and the leader of the shaman – that woman who lied – is there too (J looks at the shaman leader pleadingly, but she turns her back). DH orders them to stop the torture and shows Ari the yellow paper and asks who is behind it. Ari says she doesn’t know. He says there is clear evidence that she is part of it. She accuses him of being the man who did that. He orders her tongue to be taken out.
Ari threatens him – you think I was the only one who saw what happened – you think you can silence me and that will be the end of it- the starry night and heavens saw you – one day your life will be taken. He orders her to be tortured more.
J bribes a guard to see Ari in Ari’s prison cell. J: didn’t I tell you that you shouldn’t have gone there and that it would be no use. Ari says she wanted him to be well. J cries cuz she cant save Ari. Ari says all of this is what God wants. J says let’s go tell the king together cuz I was there too. Ari asks her to do her a favor and protect the little girl. J asks who is the kid I have to protect. Ari: please live and protect that child. Guard takes J away.
Ari is says there are two suns and one moon put the three together (she is seeing the future of the three protagonists again).
This is the gross scene. Ari is on the ground with her arms and legs tied to four cows on opposite directions facing away from each other. Ari is drawn and quartered.
A baby is born. YW’s mom says the baby really is milky white like the moon. She asks her son (Y) in your eyes too is your younger sister milky white? he says yes she really is milky white. Mom names her YW. Your dad prepared this name in advance before he left- do you like it? Baby smiles (the dad isnt dead he just couldn’t be there for the birth).
(What the…how is it possible for a baby to be so adorable? That much cuteness should always follow a scene of someone being drawn and quartered. -Fand)
J buries Ari and remembers her request for J to protect a child in Ari’s place. J looks up at the sky.
It’s like SKKS testing site day – there are lots of preparations and mats laid out. Suddenly stuff starts to go missing. Like a red parasol and other stuff. Missing items at the test site are reported. H stole them all. Servant goes to look for H but he is not in his room and is somewhere else changing into normal student clothes.
The mom calls out to YW to come out of the carriage and to hurry and cuz she might not get to see her brother (YW had her nose stuck in a book). YW steps out of the carriage and looks on with a smile.
Y is already sitting in his spot and so is Woon. Y and looks over at Woon and they smile at each other. YW and her mom look over to her brother. Her mom says her son looks good and points out Woon saying he looks good to like her son. YS: when you said Woon…her mom says you havent seen him yet have you? her mom says that kid over there is Woon. she says YM’s father (the head scholar, Heo Yeong Jae) taught Woon too along with M. her mom asks: you know that those two are close friends of your brother right? her mom mentions how since they graduated from the father’s tutelage, she should treat them to a lavish meal so YM jokes the food pantry will be empty again.
The king shows up. A butterfly flies close to YW. H sneaks a look and comes out and the sun is too bright so he takes out his parasol saying he cant ruin his skin and starts to walk holding it over his head. Kids names are called and asked to step forward. Y and Woon are included. YW’s mom is pointing to YW’s dad says YW’s father looks happy-that’s the look he makes when he is happy. But YW is gone and didn’t hear that.
YW is chasing that butterfly. H is climbing over a wall on a ladder with the parasol when he hears the gate open. He looks over and sees YW following a butterfly. The butterfly goes near H and the two kids look at each other.
H loses his step and falls off the ladder and lands on top of her. the parasol is thrown in the air as he falls. they both lay on the ground on their sides and YW has her head on his arm. The parasol comes down and covers them.
They get up quickly and H asks who she was, able to come here. She asks how he happened to be climbing over the wall. He says he is the one who has the right to ask questions only. She says she came to see her brother. He asks how he is supposed to believe that. She accuses him of stealing (cuz he is carrying that bag full of stuff). H says he was only looking for a door to get out and lifts the bag and stolen items spill out. He stammers these are stuff his hyungnim picked up but she calls for guards cuz there is a robber here.
Guards start to run over to them so H grabs her hand and he runs thru the courtyard with her. They hide from the guards and keep running. After they stop to rest, H says: it’s cuz of you – if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have had to run and be out of breath. She asks why he keeps speaking down to her from a while ago. H: you are younger than me so isnt that obvious. YW: how am I younger than you – how old are you? H: subtract two from your age. YW: then that means you are only 11 so how…he interrupts and says : 13 so see I am two years older arent I? she starts to walk away so he asks where she is going. she says like she said she is going to report him to the guards, but he says again that he isnt a robber. He starts his lie about some guy he referred to as his hyung, but she cuts him off and asks how he could lie every time he opens his mouth. she she catches him in his lie and says her brother is close to that person and that guy doesn’t have a younger sibling. He asks if that is true. Does he not have a younger sibling? she starts to walk away again so he says : Ok I will tell you everything – there is no need to hide anything from you anymore – I wanted to go meet my hyung. She thinks he is lying again about another guy as his older brother but H says that isnt it. H: my brother was born from a different stomach that was borrowed (meaning they have different moms) and is a warm person more than anyone – (H goes on about how M is limited and cant go past certain boundaries and stuff cuz of M’s background and he cant receive something from their father) I am the one who receives a lot of love from people but in front of so many people i cant interfere and also the reason why my hyung cant help but live like that is cuz of me – it’s been so long since he came to see me so I was going to see him myself. Now is that enough explanation. She is more understanding and says : why do you blame yourself? H: what? YW points out how they ended up were not things they could decide or choose on their own (meaning the circumstances put them in their current positions) so why are you blaming yourself? he asks if she didnt distrust him saying he lies as soon as he opens his mouth. she uses hard words to say stuff like if your brother is as warm as you say he is and he cherishes you then he wouldnt blame his younger brother and so like you shouldnt blame yourself – dont blame others. he smirks and likes that answer until she goes on and says stuff against the laws of the country how there are too many rules that one can’t understand. she goes on about how “nobles and commoners are all the same people” and everyone should be treated equally but they aren’t treated fairly with regard to who has more education and stuff.
YW stops herself from talking so he asks if she means that things aren’t going well with the laws and stuff. This time should I go report that? She asks him not to and holds his arm to stop him. H: then what should I do? YW: could you act like you didnt hear what I just said. H: Then if I do- will you now know that I am not a robber? YW: no. H: why? what is the problem now? she asks where he got all those items in that bag. H: it’s mine all of it is mine. she points out those were expensive/valuable stuff so how could he have those things. (at this point she thinks he is just a nobleman’s son and doesnt know he is royalty) He gets irritated and says he was going to think she was cute but now she is crossing over that line – are you looking down on me now? I am this country’s Chosun’s …attendant. He doesn’t say Prince.
YW tells a guard that her daughter has been gone a long time and begs him to find her but she sees YW walking with H. YW was asking how much higher up he is in status to be able to touch those valuable items. her mom calls out to her and runs over and hugs her. H runs over to the guard who was about to bow to H, but H asks the guard not to move or say one word-dont open your mouth – not one word- if you open your mouth I will punish you. H calls out to YW that he is admitting to his crime and turning himself in and will return all the stolen items. He leaves with the guard.
As YW is about to leave and gets in her carriage, a servant girl calls out for YW and says H wanted her to give this to YW and hands YW a handwritten note on a cloth.
H wrote a note to YW about how he has a lot of things he wants to say but since he cant he feels more frustrated and the more he thinks about it it’s unfair and he feels indignant. he hands it to the servant and says “that kid YW will know what this means.” YW asks what else he said and girl says he said “be careful walking at night.” YW says since he said that he isn’t a bad person
King is lecturing his son and asks why H stepped outside of the palace – what does he miss – what is lacking here for H to keep going outside. H explains why he did that – cuz he wanted to meet his brother and go over what he learned with him. but the king says H has his teachers to do that with. H points out that none of this teachers engage with him opposing him or anything so how can he be expected to learn -it’s only possible to converse with his brother to do that.king asks if that is H’s explanation for crossing the line. H: my front and back were blocked so I stepped out to the side for a short time. king yells at the servants asking what they were doing to allow this to happen. King orders H to be watched at all times
Empress meets with that DH and plots something and DH says he already has his hands in it (meaning he already took steps to do what she wants)
Queen tries to talk to the king about H and M but he doesn’t hear her out. she was asking to let H see his brother by allowing M to live here. As she leaves she passes by M’s mom (Consort Park) and they seem to be on good terms. the Queen tells M’s mom that the king said no.
M is at a street market. M asks for a good price for the ducks cuz he has to buy presents for his friends. He looks around and sees a line so M asks why there is such a long line and vendor says how popular that psychic kid is cuz she can guess exactly what is ailing you without you telling her and the tonic they are selling is a cure all and will fix any illness. M says he was wondering what to buy as a present so should he buy that. some guy walks around selling the tonic saying there arent that many left. people all rush to buy it including M.
Some girl reports to J how those bad men keep using children as psychics who can guess ailments and those men mistreat those children by starving them saying they are fasting and every time one dies from starvation, they get another child to take her place to continue their business so J decides to go in and see for herself. they are all supposed to wait in line till their numbers are called. 41-45 are called. J tries to walk to the head of the line and as she goes past, M tells her to take a number and shows her his number is next and he goes in ahead of her. J looks at him and remembers how under the chosen sky there are two suns.
A little kid has her eyes closed and guess the woman’s ailment. J looks at M’s back and says “(he is) the second sun.”
M looks at the kid’s lips and notices how dry and cracked they are from lack of water. The man next to M asks why M came to see the psychic today. M says he was trying to catch a wild boar and sprained his ankle/leg. The man relays that to another man with blinks and stares and other secret ways of communication and all that info is fed to the kid so when it’s M’s turn, M limps up to the steps and the kid already starts to guess M is here cuz of his sprain in the mountains but the kid says something different and that she sees a light coming from him so M asks what light. Kid mutters she is hungry. She gets pinched by the bad man watching over her. the guy tells M that his leg will heal in four days. M stands up and says how there is nothing wrong with his body and heard made up lies from the guy and M threatens to beat up the guy for abusing a child. M shows the audience all the bruises the kid has on her body – on her wrist and neck and all the mistreatment. M: how many more hidden injuries does she have? bad guy slips up and says he had to leave bruises to prevent her from eating so she can fast. audience starts talking that maybe the girl and those men are imposters. M tells the kid to open her eyes and M feeds her a snack. the bad guy hits her for eating cuz she is supposed to be fasting and she cries saying she is hungry. All the people make a dash for their money backs calling those people frauds/imposters. In the middle of the chaos, M picks up the kid and carries her out of there. he tells J to call the guards on his way out with the kid. he piggy backs the little girl and as M runs away with the kid, the little girl says “ajussi you are running too fast so I am dizzy” He says she is dizzy cuz she has starved -just wait a little longer till i can take you to be treated. And I am not an ajussi. The bad men catch up to them and take the kid away. She calls out for ajussi (M). J orders the man to put the child down right now. she has guards coming behind her so he drops the kid and runs
J tries to talk the men into letting go of the kid and that he will leave her with a place and ask them to raise her well. bad guy grabs M saying cuz of M they ruined their business today and cant work around here ever again. guy hits M. M says don’t make me mad or it will be dangerous for you. The guy says the same thing. It will be even more dangerous for you if you get me angry. he kicks M. M: I will warn you again – if you make me more angry than this, it will be really dangerous. M uses an empty threat about how he knows someone high up but the guy punches him. The guy retorts if that is true then my father is the king. As M lies on the ground with his lips bleeding, he stares at the sky and gets up and says I know the Jusan king and he never had a son like you. M fights really well suddenly and beats the crap out them. M is really impressive
At night, M looks over the city. He talks to his family (not literally) and says to the king- I finished my travels and came back. he wonders if H woke up and is well.
H is pacing the grounds and a bunch of servants trail his every step. He says he wont run away so stop that. Petals rain down and he remembers falling with YW in his arms. If she knew I was the prince she would nag more. but I probably wont get to meet you again anyway. He looks up and sees the red parasol floating in the air.
YW is reading H’s letter trying to figure out what it means. S (her servant) comes in with drinks. YW asks the riddle written on it something about if a rabbit lives and the chicken dies.what do you think will happen. S: if a chicken dies who will wake people up in the morning. S tells her to just sleep – do you want to get in trouble with your father again?
M sits on the wall and watches YW’s home. She comes outside and holds up H’s letter and tries to read it. She thought she could read it under the starlight. She repeats what S said – If a chicken is dead who will wake us in the morning . Suddenly YW figures it out and realizes the word was “sun” and H was going to say he is this country’s prince.
H thinks to himself: by some chance are we going to be able to meet again?
YW’s voice asks: Are you really the prince, then it’s good that we don’t meet again
M sits in the wall and says aloud : It’s good to meet you again YW
M says to YW: it’s ok if everyone becomes the prince’s people as long as you are mine (as long as you become my person)
empress asks to see the young ladies (children) cuz maybe among them -who knows- one of those kids could become our prince’s wife. B has a stare down with YM
I know what you are going to say – for a recap there is an appalling lack of content. I am the first to admit I was going to throw in the towel in the middle of translating, but then my stubborn streak kicked in. along with my pride that refused to go down without a fight. I can’t bow out with this one effort – I have to prove to myself I can do better than this. Let me take one more stab at this tm night and if E2 is worse than this, then you will see a white towel waving in the air.
I’m pretty sure this is one of the strongest “child” casts I’ve seen, particularly because there are so many of them! H’s earnest eyebrows always bring a smile to my face, and YW is so pretty and intelligent that I can hardly blame the boys for being so quickly smitten with her.
I’m on the tail end of my holiday vacation right now so I’m going to hold off on any real discussion for now, but this first episode definitely delivered. I was sort of dreading it in a way because I thought it would feel like work to wait for the adult cast, but I’m already fulling engaged and can feel myself getting invested in the characters.
I can already tell that this show is going to be screenshot torture though. How am I going to pick? I’m already annoyed about all the shots I had to leave out! At least when I’m back home I’ll have lots of drawing inspiration! I love these:
Hopefully no one avoids this show because it’s a sageuk or because there’s no Kim Soo Hyun or Jung Il Woo for the first 6 episodes (or was it 4?). I have a good feeling about it and think it has great potential!