Thursday, September 13, 2012

DFR: Faith ep 9

Unnie and I are members of a KDrama/KPop lovers fan group on Facebook.  On it are people from all walks of life and all over the world.  It's quite fabulous actually.  Many of us are watching a lot of the same dramas at the moment.  Faith included.  So this week, before I even had a chance to see either episode, the group page started lighting up with all kinds of praise and excitement over episode 9.  The story picked up for many who, up until this point, found the show kind of boring.  I also heard a lot of praise for Lee Min Ho's change in appearance.  Let me tell you, that sure got me all excited to watch this week.  I've been sort of lukewarm on the show up til now.  I definitely don't hate it, but I haven't been going gaga crazy for each new episode like I have with a couple of other dramas I'm watching.  And, as much as I  battled and begged Unnie fought to get this show for my reviews, I've decided that I prefer reviewing non-sageuks.  I don't mind watching sageuks, which is a huge step up for me because every one of them I ever started in the past before Rooftop Prince (not a true sageuk of course, but a good training sageuk in my opinion) and Dr Jin, I have stopped early on.  The furthest I ever got was like midway through The Princess's Man before I just couldn't handle the politics and heavy drama anymore and gave up. Reviewing them, however, is more difficult than say a nice, easy lighthearted modern rom-com.  Anyway, my point being, I haven't fallen as head-over-heels in love with Faith as I would have liked or expected to.  Before any of you fellow Faithfuls run away and call me all sorts of names, I didn't say that I didn't like it.  I do.  Really.  It's just not been my absolute favorite, end-all dramas at the moment. {That honor falls on Answer Me 1997 in case you are curious.  Seriously.  I heart that drama so very much.  I won't go on since it's Faith's turn right now and it deserves its own time in the spotlight, but if you haven't seen it yet, seriously consider doing so.  And then come back here and thank me when you do because you will want to.  I want to thank my friend Bonnie for being the one to recommend it to me. Komawo Bonnie. Chincha.  Komawo.  Forever and ever.}

With all that being said, this episode, just as my online group claimed, really picked things up.  I loved loved loved the king finally stepping up and becoming a stronger leader.  I love that he and his queen are starting to work together.  I loved the collaboration between the good guys to root out the bad guys.  And yes, I loved Lee Min Ho's new look.

He was hot before, but now we've added that extra T in there.  HoTT.  Lee Min HoTT.  Just like in Boys Over Flowers - he loses the curls and goes straight when he wants to go from an A to an A+++.

Let's be honest though - those Goo Joon Pyo curls were a lot worse than the General Choi loose waves.  I'm not a fan of the Goo Joon Pyo curls, but was totally fine with the General Choi waves of luscious locks.  Hmmm.  How much more time can we dedicate to discussing Lee Min Ho's follicles?  I've got all day.  You?  No?  Well, then we should leave it at that for an introduction to this week's episodes and get on with it.

Wow, so I don't know if you caught this or not, but there was a lot of information coming at us in this episode.  Like a lot a lot.  So much that I had to go back and rewatch it, pausing every few seconds to write stuff down, despite having nearly 200 screencaps trying to get it all the first time.  You know in shows where one character comes up with a scheme and whispers it in someone else's ear, and that person nods and smiles and then the next thing you know, major stuff starts happening?  Well, this is sort of like that, only there's not whispering, but private conversations going back and forth between mainly Choi Young, Lady Choi, and the king.  These are his new advisers, for lack of a better term.  These are the two, out of the entire court that a) he trusts and b) have between them all of the information he needs in order to get started cleaning house.  And cleaning house is exactly what they are doing.  As Lady Choi puts it, there are rats all over the palace that need to be dealt with.  The biggest rat is the one closest to the king - none other than Jo Il Shin.  The king is hesitant to accept this when told as Advisor Jo was by his side for those 10 years that he was stuck in Yuan.  Then Lady Choi tells him that the first thing Advisor Jo went looking for upon their return to Goryeo was the key to the palace warehouse.  That and he's been working with the palace guards.

Another rat is the queen's lady who is spying for Gi Cheol.  After the whole robe changing ceremony in front of all the ministers, and the king's pardon and promotion of Choi Young and the Woodalchi (more on that in a bit), she goes running back to Gi Cheol to tell him how the king himself brought the Goryeo garb to the queen.  Gi Cheol and his goons incorrectly assumed that the queen, because everyone knows how the king and queen hate each other and how she is in fact Yuan and not from Goryeo, would have refused to change out of her Yuan robes.  How shocked was Gi Cheol to find out that that was indeed not the case - that instead the queen willingly went along with the king's wishes.  Ha!  It's at this point that Gi Cheol starts to realize that all these changes - Choi Young's release, the robe changing, etc. all happened in the space of just one night.  He is surprised to find that this king he thought to be a weak young child has more courage than assumed.  Looks like he might just be a worthy foe after all.  The game is afoot, then is it, Gi Cheol?

As mentioned, life has improved for Choi Young and the Woodalchi corps.  They are all released from prison, and not only that, given power second only to the king.  The king is the only person allowed to disarm, arrest, or otherwise do anything to them.  Ha!  Take that bad guys!  How awesome was that part when the sniveling Royal Inspector Ja Won freaked out at the Woodalchi/Choi Young pardon and promotion by the way?  "But your highness, he turned against the king and plotted treason and then killed the late king."  King: "Which is it?  Did he plot against me or kill the one plotting against me?  General Choi's actions up until now have been in accordance to my orders so are you saying I committed treason against myself?"  Yeah, baby!  Take that!!  Boo-yah!

Back to housecleaning.  They have their strategic game board out and are going through the list of what they need.  First - information.  Second - people.  Third - military protection to protect those people.  Fourth - money.  Little snag there.  Guess who funds Goryeo?  The Prince of the Court.  Guess who that is?  Gi Cheol.  Hmm.  Should be interesting.  Wonder how they'll work around that one?

Enter another faction that we are now hearing about for the first time.  The Suribang.  We aren't exactly who they are quite yet but we do know a few things.  First, there is a saying around town, "Lady Choi in the palace, Suribang outside the palace", meaning, if you want to know what's really going on, they are your eyes and ears.  They are the ones hip to that jive if you catch what I'm laying down.  Another thing that we know about the Suribang is that Choi Young knows who they are and, though it may take some force on his part, he can get them on their side.  We learn a little more later on, but before then, let's stay focused on the housecleaning.

Another issue arises.  That of the high doctor.  The king would like to retrieve her first before doing anything else.  He says that it is the only way he can face the queen.  Aww...he wants to face the queen.  Is it just me or was that a heartwarming moment?  He also wants to bring her back so that he can face General Choi as well.  I love this king!  He really is a good guy, isn't he?  I just want to pick him up and squeeze him and pinch his cute little kingly cheeks and give him a pat on the back for finally manning up and growing a pair.  Choi Young volunteers to go and verify where her heart stands (remember the wager? The king and Gi Cheol are vying for Eun Soo's heart this week?).

This earns him a stern talking to from Lady Choi.  Hahaha!  I loved this part.  Even though I don't love what it means will follow, I still loved that she found the need to check him.  She's no dummy.  She can see that Choi Young is falling for this woman.  But doing so puts everything in jeopardy.  She even brings up the naked leg incident after throwing him down and saying, "don't you dare!".

Hilarious!  "The high doctor is not someone a sod like you should hold any silly thoughts about". CY:  "Why can't I?"  Lady Choi: "Gi Cheol, that's why.  She's someone he wants and he is one scary dude.  There's nothing in this world he can't have.  Why?  Because he gets rid of whatever he can't have.  So if you want to keep the high doctor living, don't even dare gaze at her.  Don't talk about her.  Don't even think about her."

CY:  "Don't worry about it.  She's just the one I brought her and promised to look after until I could safely return her.  There's nothing more there."  Lady Choi:  "I suppose that's possible since you still hold that warrior chit in your heart, the one that has had you doing nothing but sleeping these past 7 years."  He then stalks away without a word.  Lady Choi reaches into her robe, pulls something out and chucks it at the back of his head.  He turns and catches it - it's some sort of medallion and the calling card for getting in touch with this mysterious Suribang group.  Oh my gawrsh, he's hott.

I'm not the only one who thinks he's hott.  Eun Soo is there at Gi Cheol's walking around (wearing quite a lovely gown in the garden I might add), lost deep in thought.

And just who is filling her mind?  Oh yeah.  The sight of Choi Young strutting his bad self down the royal catwalk.

I'd be standing there in a garden, white robe and hair flowing in the breeze and glinting in the sunlight all romantic-like biting my pinkie too.  Mmmhmm, you know it!  Dreamy, dreamy boy he is.

*Cough cough*  Sorry.  Got caught up in the moment there for a minute along with Eun Soo.  Just trying to, you know, get in the head of the characters and all.  Purely professional of course.  Speaking of Eun Soo, she's having a flashback.  It took me until this second viewing to realize that that is what it was.  She's in the garden, remembering events that already happened.  We start with her spending some time with white haired hottie killer flutist boy.

We learn along with her that it's a good idea to always stand behind him, as he has learned to direct his deadly tunes forward.  He can't pinpoint more accurately than that, so you best be staying behind him when he starts his killer jam sessions.  Do flutists even jam?  I wouldn't think so.  Well, there was one dude I saw once on YouTube that I would say could jam with a flute, but he's probably more the exception than the rule, wouldn't you say?  Either way, killer flute, stay behind, don't blow up or die horribly.  Check.  At this point, Choi Young is still imprisoned.  Chun Eum Ja (that's the flutist's name, I finally looked it up) has been given an order to follow what Eun Soo says should be done with him.

Only, he's not to follow her so much as he is to do the opposite of what she says.  If she wants Choi Young killed, Eum Ja lets him live, if she wants him saved, Eum Ja kills him.  This is what Gi Cheol has ordered.  Eun Soo storms into Gi Cheol's room, demanding of him answers.  He tells her that it is his goal to win her heart and so what becomes of the other man shouldn't concern her.  Thankfully she's a smart cookie.  She tells him, "That man is the one who kidnapped me, if anyone gets to kill him, it's me.  I want to kill him myself, so by the name of heaven, you better leave him to me."  She then grabs off the hanger the beautiful white gown Gi Cheol had made for her that we now see her wearing.  Does this mean she's Gi Cheol's girl?  Naw.  Of course not.  She's sitting there gazing and stroking the yellow flowers that remind her of Choi Young.  Good girl.

Okay, so at this point we're only 18 minutes into the show.  Told you there was a lot of information being thrown at us this episode.  As much as I would love to pick it apart because there really is a ton of stuff here, I'm afraid, for time's sake, that I'm going to have to just skim over a lot of the rest of this.  I know, I know.  We had a good thing going here.  We were having fun.  But it's taking longer to talk about this episode than it did to watch it...twice.  ;)  I hate to miss anything important, so I will do my very best to surmise what happens.

First, the Suribang.  Let's jump back to them.  Young meets with them, or at least three of them.
It is a man and a woman and a younger guy.  The older man is related to Young's old general who was killed by King Icky Perv.  They are surprised, after all that happened in the past, that Choi Young is now fighting for the new king.  Young insists that this king is different and is a good guy and is worth fighting for.

Now, for the little workaround about money.  Remember that it is Gi Cheol who holds the purse strings - a little troublesome considering they need money in order to take him down.  "Hey, can we have some money so that we can get rid of you" probably isn't going to go over real well.  Well, here comes the good part.  The scheme that wins them considerable ground on all of the fronts they are fighting.

First, Choi Young goes to Gi Cheol's place to retrieve something precious.  Eun Soo?  Nah, not yet.  Remember that he has to pretend not to care for her in order to protect her from scary psychopath Gi Cheol.  No, he goes under the pretense of retrieving his sword.  While there, he surreptitiously asks Eun Soo if she can lie because she's going to need to.

Then it's Lady Choi's turn to approach Gi Cheol.
She goes to tell him that the queen is gravely ill from her injury sustained during their journey to Goryeo and the high doctor is the only one that can save her.  He's understandably wary, but is told that he can come too, that the queen has something she would like to discuss with him privately.  So, they take off for the palace - Gi Cheol, Eun Soo, and flutist Eum Ja.

Eum Ja is stopped before they enter the royal chamber.

Gi Cheol and Eun Soo, instead of being brought to the queen's chamber as expected, suddenly find themselves in the king's court, and a trial is beginning.
Remember the governor of Ganghwa Island that housed them and then betrayed them?  Karma's a bee watch baby!  He's dragged in before the king, all busted up and charged with treason.

Good golly, there's a lot to it, but basically Young gets Eun Soo to lie, saying that it was the governor who ordered her to go care for the exiled prince.  The governor is ultimately charged with treason and his title and holdings stripped away.  Turns out that he held a lot, and I do mean a lot, of holdings.  And guess where two-thirds of his holdings currently go?  To a certain statesman.  Any wild guesses as to who that statesman may just be?  Hahaha!  Squirm Gi Cheol, squirm!  Eun Soo is also charged with treason.  But wait, this was all part of the plan to save her - I promise, they're not doing this maliciously.  What it means is that she is "arrested" and returns once again to the palace to serve her 'sentence'.  The queen is supposedly gravely ill and so her punishment, seeing as how she's not from around there and is not aware of their treason laws, is to remain there as the queen's personal doctor.  Ahh!  See what they did there?  So clever!  They won back Eun Soo, got some much needed cash, and took out the rotten scoundrel from Ganghwa, and there's absolutely nothing Gi Cheol can do about it because they acted according to the law.  Not only that, but they make it so that if he argues that he himself will be held for treason.  Young: "With what power would I trespass alone into the house of the Prince Deokseong (aka Gi Cheol) and move someone unless the Prince of the Court handed the High Doctor to me to go and treat Prince Kyeong Chang?  That is not how it was, right?"  Haha!  Take that scumbag!

So, the queen isn't really sick, that was all part of the ruse.  I loved the scene between the king and herself as she was lying there "unconscious" and he was apologizing for putting her through this.  She sits up and thanks him for letting her help because that's all she's wanted to do from the very beginning.  She wasn't trying to work against him, she just wanted to help but he was making it impossible.

Yay!  These two kids!  I've said it before and I'll say it again and again, they're adorable and are so cute together if they can just learn to work things out.  And since the king is growing into an honorable man, I think that this is very possible.  Fingers crossed!

Eun Soo isn't quite so on board with the whole scheme.  She initially is really upset that she was arrested and charged with treason.  She really is slow sometimes, isn't she?  She is told by Lady Choi that Gi Cheol is too powerful to attack directly and that this was the best route in order to save her and serve their purposes.  She is also told then what the price for her "crime" will be - being the queen's personal doctor.

Now, come on, that's not so bad is it?  Better than being Gi Cheol's caged bird surely, right?  Still, she's having a rough go of it and doesn't like being a pawn in these games where people lose lives.  She may have taken some of that anger out on Choi Young by kicking him a couple of times in the shin.  *giggle*

The girl's feisty, I'll give her that.  Slow on the uptake, but feisty.

She has a breakdown, crying on Doctor Jang's shoulder.  Saying how she can't stand living anymore, that this world is horrendous.
Guess who overhears her meltdown?

Once she calms down, she and Dr Jang talk.  They talk about Prince Kyeong Chang.  She feels like as a doctor she failed him.  She asks Doctor Jang if there was anything that he could have done to save the boy.  He assures her that there was nothing that could have cured the boy, that it's all about just finding the route to die most peacefully.  So Young did the right thing.  Except, Doctor Jang goes on to say that Young shouldn't have stabbed him with his knife, for in doing so, he killed his own heart.  It was after this that he gave up on his desire to leave the palace and service to the king and live his own life.  That was his only hope - to leave and live his life freely and now it's gone.  Good for Goryeo and the king, bad for Choi Young and his broken heart.

We end this episode (seriously, we're at the end here - I know, I can hardly believe it myself) with Gi Cheol. First, something weird happens to his hand.  It's frozen in a claw position.

It only lasts a moment and then we move on, but I mention it because I feel like it will be important later on.  I suspect he has some physical ailment of some sort.  He is off to visit Eun Soo at the Royal Hospital.  He has a second item of Hwata's he wishes to show her.  Now, here's the drama moment.  She unwraps it and is shocked.

It's a diary.

It's supposed to have been Hwata's from a thousand years ago.

It's purple and says "Diary" in English.  Inside are writings, numbers mostly.  And down in the corner of a page, a name.

Eun Soo.

Go ahead, insert the "duhn duhn duhn", you know you want to.


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