SCARLET HEART: RYEO -- EPISODE 13
"I don't always look like a badass, but when I do, I do it with sword and armor!"
"The King is dead, long live The King!"
This particular episode was incredibly well-crafted. If I pitched a fit about the last one, this installment more than made up for it. Everything was stylistically perfect: the weapons, the armor, everything. Not only that, but the intrigue surrounding the King's death was extremely tense and gave more purpose to Hae Soo, making her much less a character that things happen to and more a prime mover. That's a very good thing; this modern woman has been pretty passive so far.
Lee Jun Ki really reached deep inside himself and pulled out a multi-layered performance. In particular, his facial expressions were just golden, as he shifted from arrogance when he had Prince Yo on the rocks to shock when Yo fought him and So instinctively killed him and to grief when recounting the events to Hae Soo. This lends a lot more dimension to our 4th Prince. I still don't see him with Hae Soo, though, unless something drastically changes. Yeah, I know what the promo material said.
FYI: this is not the way to fire a bow.
We finally got some combat, not just a couple flashing swords and vague threats. It's about time! I like things fast and furious, and we got some relevant combat to boot, not just senseless violence. The rivalry between So and Wook played itself out as the two princes found themselves on opposite sides and had no choice but to cross swords. I love how that worked since you could well imagine feelings for Hae Soo fueling their aggression. Plus, treacherous Prince Yo gets his just desserts, which is pretty satisfying.
The only thing I can say that I didn't like was Wook turning traitor. That was so out of character for him that it's still hard to accept. He maintains it's so he can marry Hae Soo because he'll have enough power to do whatever he wants, but that is thin at best. The writers try their best to rationalize it, to make it more natural but the simple fact is that it's character drift, a tool lazy writers use when they can't figure out what else to do with a character. Wook goes from scrupulous to scheming in a single episode; I didn't like it then and don't like it now.
When you want to cosplay 'Phantom of the Opera,' but want to retain your unique style...
And this show has left me with a few questions. What happened to Queen Yoo's hair? It's gone completely white! Was her lustrous black hair a wig or...? And does the King know about Hae Soo's time-traveling? Because he mentioned that she was like the court astrologer -- Choi, her fellow time traveler -- but qualified it by saying that's because she could see the future. But this episode, as he lay dying, he told her: "The fate of Goryeo Empire rests on your shoulders. This is probably the reason you are here." That makes it sound like he does know. But whatever he knew died with him.
As I said, they did an excellent job this time around. IU was raving about the 12th episode, but I'm a particular fan of this one. They put all the ingredients for a successful show into the pot and added just the right amount of spice. More episodes like this one and I'll be a happy camper.