HWARANG -- EPISODE 9
"Teacher, I have to go."
Moo Myung admits that he's not Ah Ro's brother, but that he will live as her brother, much to her pain. She is conflicted, sad that he's not her brother, yet relieved because she thinks he's hot and is disgusted by this. Both spend the day morose and deep in thought. Princess Sook Myung enters the capital, and everyone is agape and wondering why she's here. Jinheung presses Ah Ro about her sadness and tries to seduce her, but she's not having any.
Moo Myung comes upon Sook Myung and saves her from a poisonous snake. She moves to kill it and they argue. Ban Ryu, already conflicted by his mysterious orders to disrupt the festival, receives another message from Soo Yun. It's obvious that, despite the goosing, they like each other.
"You might try wiping the drool from your chin."
Everyone busies themselves for the performance. Whirling sword and body, Sook Myung shows off her moves to the Hwarang. The Hwarang practice. The girls of the Okta pretty themselves. That night, Ban Ryu and Jinheung leave the Hwarang pavilion for different reasons. Jinheung talks to the queen, who tells him he is to wed Sook Myung. Ah Ro eavesdrops and finds out who the king really is. Guardsman Hyun Chu knocks her out and takes her to the queen. The knights looking for Ban Ryu and Jinheung come upon a gloomy scene, the instruments destroyed. Meanwhile, Queenie holds a blade to Ah Ro's throat...
Finally. This show has become so much better, so much more watchable. The actors haven't gotten better so much as settled into their roles, and while there are knights some that are under-utilized, there's enough to the plot to forgive that. I like the fact that Minister Park's plans are finally taking shape, and he's crafty enough to plant doubts in the already-paranoid Queen's mind as to Wi Hwa's loyalty. And using Ban Ryu is deviously evil. Even though I'm not that much of a fan of Ban Ryu as a character, he deserves better.
Peeping toms. A thing even during the Silla era.
And yes, they've managed to soften me a bit toward Ban Ryu as of this episode. I wasn't sure about him, or how a bitter guy with an attitude problem was supposed to be a character we could enjoy watching. Since I'm a straight male -- Hwarang fanservice does nothing for me. I knew people similar to him in high school, so I wasn't too thrilled to see him on the team. But I like him with Soo Yun. The smile that played across his face when he read the letter was charming. Seems like he could be a likable guy if he could find someone to mellow him out.
Ah Ro is starting to get on my nerves again. It's so much her reactions -- which I suppose could be standard. It's her constant crying. Not only is she crying all throughout much of the episode, she's doing it. so. badly. I'm not the biggest advocate of casting someone based on looks or name recognition, but I have to say that I'm not impressed with Go Ara. I don't know if it's the writing, but I can think of a dozen actresses that can conjure the feels better.
"It's not you. It's that you bathed in your cologne."
The Queen creeps me out. So does the Princess. Anyone else got chills when mother hugged her and she had that absolutely blank expression? And the queen just seems like she just enjoys torture and bloodshed. It's almost like 'Scarlet Heart: Ryeo' all over again. Why do they keep bringing in the bloodthirsty queen in all these sageuks? Is there something I'm not seeing? Is this another manifestation of the evil drama mama?
With decent pacing and halfway decent acting, I'm really into this drama. I'm happy that the show finally found its footing. I'm just a little sad that it took half its running time, and there are so few episodes left. It's always sad to bid a fun show farewell, and I think this will be one of those times.