I just can’t seem to shut up about this daebak of all daebakness of a drama. Bear with me and my ramblings.
On Hang Ah and Jae Ha
(aka- I can’t believe I actually have this much to say about these fictional character’s…fictional relationships…in a fictional alternate universe)
With episode 7 and 8, Hang Ah and Jae Ha’s relationship has grown leaps and bounds- so much so that I’m left catching my breath. Hold up wait a minute. Things are moving a bit fast in their relationship and I’m left wondering about Hang Ah and why she’s chosen this difficult path for herself. The thing is Hang Ah did not have to have this engagement. Sure their marriage was “arranged,” but it was totally her choice. Their arranged marriage was more a matter of getting consent from both sides than of Hang Ah and Jae Ha being forced to do something neither of them agree to. Hang Ah had many opportunities for an out and her father loves her so much and would fight tooth and nail to bring her home if she didn’t want to be there.
I can see why Jae Ha needs/wants and agrees to Hang Ah and the marriage, but why is she there? Jae Ha has yet to show Hang Ah what he can give her as her partner. Hang Ah and Jae Ha are equally matched, but they are equally matched personality-wise. They can each can handle what the other one throws at them, but besides that, they aren’t a comfortable match at all! The cultural and class differences are vast. They wouldn’t matter as much except that Jae Ha always mentions them and since he is a royal, Hang Ah is expected to conform totally to his culture and also class. Not so easy to undo almost 30yrs of social conditioning…just saying. Also, for this relationship Hang Ah puts herself in a very difficult situation– living away from home and her father, basically giving up her career (they didn’t even talk about that at all[!] despite playing up Eun Shi Kyung’s commitment to serving his country at the exact same time), living in a place where people are mistrusting of her, where she constantly has to prove herself, and living in a place where her freedom is restricted even more than the normal royal family member.
My point is Hang Ah has to do a LOT just to even give this relationship a chance. What has Jae Ha had to do yet? What has he had to sacrifice or put on the line, or have faith in to have Hang Ah? It hasn’t happened *yet.* Jae Ha has yet to rise to the occasion. It better happen in the future though. Yes, Hang Ah is a strong girl who can take care of herself and stand up for herself, but the point of having a partner is to have someone who helps to take care of you and watches out for your best interest regardless of the fact that you can do it yourself. A man doesn’t open the door, pull out a chair, or pay for dinner for his girlfriend/wife because she can’t do those things for herself, but because it’s a show of his affection, concern and special attention- basically, wanting to do things for the one you love. I was totally taken by Jae Kang when he told Hang Ah that he would protect her. Swoon. He wholeheartedly accepted the position of brother-in-law.
This is part of why Jae Kang was so awesome and why he will be missed by everyone. Jae Kang knew how to be what was needed for those he loved and for those who loved him.
Jae Kang knew Hang Ah was in a difficult situation and tried to reassure her and let her know that there was someone on her side who would fight for her. Umm, cue the fiance! That’s you Jae Ha. I want Jae Ha to step up and be the one to say-
Hang Ah, I know this is a difficult situation for you and that you are sacrificing a lot to be here and to support me. I will take care of you and make sure no one hurts you.
You don’t have to be in love to say those words. You just have to affirm your responsibility, a responsibility that Jae Ha has already accepted by accepting her as his fiance. So that’s the crux of why I’m left wondering about Hang Ah and why she agreed to the marriage given all the obstacles she has to overcome. Is she actually(!) in love with the jerk Jae Ha chose to present for the first 5 1/2 to 6 episodes of the drama?…And no, I don’t think this is a ‘love overcomes everything’ drama or situation. Love doesn’t conquer all, starting with illness and death and in Jae Kang and his wife’s case, it doesn’t conquer the machinations of an evil international arms dealer….Sorry. Pink heart shaped balloon officially popped. And this is coming from an unabashed romantic! I swear, I really am one.
I can sense where things are going, what with my superb kdrama senses, or it might have been the crazy intense previews from the end of episode 8. All I can say is if Jae Ha doubts Hang Ah when his family and others start attacking her I will have to transport myself to this fake alternate universe and royally (pun intended) kick Jae Ha’s ass!
Basically I’m feeling fiercely protective of Hang Ah, not because I don’t think she can handle it, but because I don’t want her to go through suffering without the support of the man she’s so earnestly and wholeheartedly chosen.
I don’t want Hang Ah to suffer at all, but this is a kdrama so suffering is a given. Point is, Jae Ha should be there for her too and so far hasn’t. I know I’m picking on Jae Ha an awful lot, but I want my heroes as awesome as the heroines who love them.
Umm, so Hang Ah and Jae Ha slept together. I was not expecting this to happen. I can understand being taken by the emotion of a situation, but something about the timing felt off to me especially since they didn’t show how our couple went from Jae Ha grieving for his brother to the two of them in their nighties. I expected that he would have slept over just that they wouldn’t have slept together. It was unexpected and didn’t feel right to me. They made out once. Got caught by their parents/brother. The shit hit the fan in all sorts of ways and then they slept together. It seemed gratuitous, but with the gratuitous bits awkwardly edited out so we didn’t actually get to see any sexy-fun times– but apparently they happened. I wish it hadn’t happened while they were still in mourning for the King…It felt like an oddly American TV-esque move and not so oddly, wrong. (^^Love you USA) I did appreciate that they kept Hang Ah true to her character. She didn’t fall into a daze from the situation, but kept her head and watched out for our new King, Jae Ha, even taking the blame for keeping him the whole night. Le sigh. A long road ahead for our girl.
For the record, I am totally on board with our OTP. I just really really want Jae Ha to hurry up and become the man who is deserving and capable of the position he holds and the woman he has so he can put all his energy into defeating the evil Baddies and protecting his country and family.
On the Baddies
We have Bong Goo, our resident crazy-evil mastermind, the femme fatale assassin which I will now refer to as Lady Fatale – she is a surprisingly interesting assassin despite the fact that she says almost nothing, and now we have Eun Kyu Tae, the King’s secretary? What?! I’m totally confused by him now, but I sure as hell don’t trust him and I’m nervous to see what he does now that he is Jae Ha’s secretary. (Evil, whether through the unintended result of cowardice or through knowing intent, is equally destructive. Just check out Equator Man for elaboration on that theme.) I saw the same scenes as everybody else, but I find it difficult to believe that Secretary Eun accepted a bribe for information on the King’s whereabouts and a few days later the King is dead, and he does not immediately put 2 and 2 together or at least immediately panic (even if privately) that he messed up big time. It wasn’t until he was sent a “thank you” note that he got the message that he had contributed to the King and Queen’s assassination. There is going to be a heart-wrenching father-son reckoning when Shi Kyung finds out his dad’s role in the King’s death. TT Shi Kyung!
I was excited about Bong Goo at first because he was just so entertaining, but now I’m just filled with hate and disgust for him. I actually dread the havoc he is just beginning to put our characters through. Bong Goo is scary because he actually does really bad things that directly affect not only the nation of Korea, but also personally affect each of our characters.
On Queen Mother and Her Daughter
Ban Yang Seon may just be the best written character on K2H. Only in the last two episodes has she really come to the forefront, but in this short amount of time the drama has presented an incredibly layered and complex character. Her character is well written, but it doesn’t hurt to have powerhouse actress Yoon Yeo Jung, whose performance in Can You Hear my Heart was wonderful and heartfelt. (Can You Hear my Heart is the least of her acting accomplishments, but her turn as Bong Woo Ri’s grandmother was one of my favorites.) She just knows how to play a mother with all the love and pain that comes along with it. We know that Jae Ha can rely on Hang Ah for support, but he also has his mother who was the first family member to see and scold him in his new role as king.
I have a feeling Jae Shin takes after her mother. When she looked Lady Fatale straight in the eyes and then ran off the cliff without hesitation, I shrieked out loud. It was such a giant F-you. She just accepted that she didn’t have control over the situation, but she could still have control over herself and her own destiny, even in the end. I was surprised and I really admire her for that move especially since this kind of resounding “F-you Destiny!” move is so uncommon in Kdramas. The scene played out just perfect and at the point Lady Fatale was laying out her plan to stage a car accident, I really couldn’t tell if Jae Shin was going to survive or not… I still can’t believe Jae Shin threw herself over a cliff and, I believe, it was with the slightest hope that she would live through the fall to tell the truth of what was happening that evening. I really hope she regains her memory soon and her memory loss isn’t dragged out to the end.
On North Korea (the alternate universe one of course)
…I miss the North Korean WOC team especially Kang Seok and his Girls Generation obsession. I hope they come back into the story soon.
Excited…and nervous for next week’s episodes!