SCARLET HEART: RYEO -- EPISODE 9
It's the new issue of Maxim. It just came today.
Wow. That was dark. And heavy. Like all the stuff that had come before was a warm-up. And the thing is, no one died, but there were some twisted things going on that didn't sit well with me.
The romances took a giant step forward, which was part of my problem. The arranged marriage of Prince Eun and Soon Deok happens, but he's not happy about it. It even takes some promises from Hae Soo to make it happen, which I thought was sad. His brothers are happy for him, but he can't seem to be excited about not marrying for love. And Prince So pretty much forces himself on Hae Soo, who's rattled after she has another blood-soaked vision of him cutting down his family. Not. Okay.
He lost his marbles, heh.
Another thing that bothered me was the family dinner that So attended. The only reason Queen Sinmyeongsunseong even agreed to host him is so she could ask a very specific favor: kill the Crown Prince. Wow. Way to be blunt. She plies him with tea and meat, but he instead suggests that if he does it, he'd take the crown, not Yo as the Queen intended. That has to go down in history as one of the more terrible family dinners. And you thought your relatives were bad at holiday gatherings!
I have to take issue with the sound effects in one particular scene. They didn't ring true to me at all. There's a scene that is equal parts cool and cute, where Woo Hee is whirling blades about, engaged in some kind of dance. She stops to reassure children that she means no harm, and the 13th Prince confronts her about the drawings she tore up. While she dances and and whirls, the blades make all kinds of racket, exactly the kind they shouldn't make. You whip a sword through the air, the most it will make is some kind of whooshing sound (if you do it fast enough). Unless I'm missing something. This just didn't seem authentic to me at all.
Worst. Family. Dinner. Ever.
I don't think this episode would have worked as well as it did without the intensity of the actors. These people know how to take a situation and just milk it. The writing is a part of that, but it'll only take you so far. The astrologer knows Yo's ambition well and makes it known he doesn't approve. Even the normally hilarious Baekhyun gives us a sense of pathos as he submits to his fate. Lee Jun Ki becomes even more menacing than he normally is as the tortured Prince So. I was really drawn in.
Which brings me to my dilemma. Every other episode seems to show So as off-balance somehow. It doesn't make shipping him easy if one moment he's tender and the next he's a jerk. He's extremely mercurial, and that makes it dangerous for Hae Soo to be around him. Frankly, I'm more comfortable with Wook, but I'm pretty sure they're trying to get So and Soo together.
Soon Deok demonstrating her skill in the marital arts.
The show doesn't suffer, though, for all my criticism. It's still got that immersive magic that pulls me in and leaves me waiting for next week's installments. So let me know your thoughts in the comments!