HWARANG -- EPISODE 16
"The stairs are a problem? Don't tell me you're afraid of heights."
Jinheung is consumed by the fact that even though he is king, Moo Myung stepped forward to claim it. Not to mention that he has a thing for Ah Ro, who is taken. Ban Ryu agrees to help his dad claim the throne. The Queen has plans of reinstating the Wonhwa -- two maidens to lead the Hwarang. She makes Sook Myung one, and Ah Ro the other. This is to get a handle on the Hwarang, and set Moo Myung as the decoy king, putting his life in danger instead of Jinheung's. Sook Myung confronts Jinheung about being her brother, her hard exterior cracked by the knowledge. Ji So brushes off Soo Ho and they continue to be tortured by their demons. Ban Ryu breaks up with Soo Hyun. The Queen's brother drinks with Moo Myung and insists he can make Moo Myung the real king.
Minister Park has bought up all the medication for the plague, intending to drive up the price. Dan Se announces that if Han Sung can't defeat him sparring then he will leave the family. The Queen tells Minister Park that she intends to abdicate to "Jinheung" (really Moo Myung). Moo Myung seeks the real Jinheung's counsel on being a king and insists that Mak Moon's life shouldn't have been taken because the king was too weak to stop it. That night, Jinheung offers to give up the throne for her, but she tells him not to use her as an excuse to run away. Later, Jinheung makes a decision, reclaiming his bracelet from a sleeping Minister Park at knifepoint, declaring that he is indeed the king. Later that same night, assassins are dispatched by Ban Ryu to kill the Moo Myung, believed to be the king. His retainer, Dan Se, comes to his rescue, along with several Hwarang. They battle the assassins even as Moo Myung begins to faint...
One of these things doesn't belong here
And now we find out what consequences are due for Moo Myung professing to be the king: all of the danger, none of the power. Wow. What a deal. I can see why the officials chafe under her rule, but they still seem to make it seem more like a power grab rather than anything else. Frankly, I wish they'd do something a little different. But Moo Myung doesn't seem to like his new position either. It seems like it downright pains him. Bah. I think I'd be plotting ways to get out of it while at the same time getting back at her -- and getting myself richer in the process.
And of course, the guy who is king doesn't want it. The problem is, Jinheung/Ji Dwi spent so much time ducking it that he can't seem to see himself as king. And there are poems that remind him of what a king should do, and what a bad king is, and that bothers him more. I think this is where the coming of age aspect comes in. He needs to learn to be a ruler, and maybe not listen so much to what he can't do but figure out what he can do. I can easily see him as a kind and benevolent ruler if he can pull his head out of his backside. Maybe reclaiming his bracelet and threatening Minister Park can be an example of him becoming the king we want him to be.
"When I squint, that birthmark looks a lot like Silla..."
Ban Ryu just lets himself be used. A lot. Probably too much. And I might cut him some slack if he just tried to be a better guy once in awhile. But he just keeps falling prey to the dark side. I know you want to please your father, but he's being used. I think he's getting the idea he's being used, and that's maybe why he let Soo Hyun go. But it's getting a little old. I wanna see him break free from his familial bonds for a change. Besides, I think I know where it's headed. Soo Ho is a good and true friend. And he will be the one to figure it out and get Ban Ryu's head screwed on straight again.
I liked this episode a lot. While it didn't have a lot of action, we got a lot of what was going through people's heads. And quite a bit of character development. And it makes me wonder where it's all heading. How will Soo Ho feel about Ji So's cold dismissal? Will Soo Hyun ultimately give up on Ban Ryu? Will Dan really leave his family, or will Han Sung shape up? I love questions like this, and character conflicts can become super-intriguing if set up right. They did that well.
It's always traumatic when you find out Santa's not real.
Ultimately, we had another solid episode. I wasn't sure about it at first, just skimming through it, but the performances gave enough punch to keep it moving well. It's nice to see a show evolve from less than stellar to something genuinely enjoyable. Hope you guys are enjoying it as well! Until next time!