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Posted by eric_r_wirsing AKP STAFF Tuesday, September 6, 2016

[Drama Review] 'Scarlet Heart: Ryeo' - Episode 4

Baekhyun, IU, Lee Jun Ki


No, man! Don't get sick there!

This episode divulged a lot about how they treat Prince So, as well as what he thinks of it all.

Prince So reveals that he killed the assassins so no one could trace it back to Queen Sinmyeongsunseong. Angry at this setback, his mom rejects him. He leaves in shame, lashing out at the prayer stones in the courtyard. Hae Soo talks him down. 

These scenes surprised me a lot, mainly in part because I thought those prayer stones were sacred, and to knock those down is to tempt the wrath of the gods, or at least to invite really bad luck. Another thing is the reason he killed the assassins. To cover for his mom? Really? I was hoping it was to stop her, to let her know he was wise to her. I wanted something a little more epic, but maybe the writers wanted to remind us how little his family thinks of him.

Later, the contingent that was sent out fails to find any leads to the assassins. Prince So claims the temple he burned belonged to Queen Yoo, implicating her, but the accusation goes nowhere. That afternoon, Hae Soo hikes up the mountain to take So his meal. When she gets back, her older cousin Lady Soo tells Wook to take another wife, feeling guilty for her illness.

"I don't think the "expelliarmus" spell will work if they're not actually armed."

While Hae Soo waits outside, Prince Eun tries to interest her in toys, and he takes her chat with him as flirting. I thought that was cute. Truthfully, I like all their interactions. I know that some people have complained about his acting, but I don't think they quite understand his character. He's in many ways childlike and doesn't think his actions all the way through. The scene with the toys was adorable, and a great way to offset the darkness.

Later, Hae Soo convinces Chae Ryung to hide Prince So's hairpin back in his room. She's tied up and whipped for theft by Yeon Hwa, each stroke drawing blood. Yeon Hwa takes obvious delight in this. Hae Soo takes her punishment instead, until Prince So stops the sadistic game, saying she belongs to him because it was his item. Wook corrects him soon after, saying that nothing belongs to him. That night, the kindly 8th prince leaves medicine for her back and promises she'll never have to go through that again. Wook gives her those puppy dog eyes as she goes back inside.

What do you call a boomerang that won't come back? A stick.

The next day, Hae Soo sees the 14th Prince, Jung, led into the forest by a group of men and beaten. She attempts to defend him to no avail. Prince Wook arrives and manhandles them, but they regroup. Prince So rides in and they run in fear. Prince Puppy-eyes can fight! I had no idea... I know they've hinted at it here and there, but nothing really solid til now. I really appreciate the action scenes. They have an epic feel to them that reminds me of wuxia. The hits sound like they hurt, and the moves are simply awesome.

Wook stalks off, mad, and when she confronts him he tells her couldn't bear to lose her. Upon their return to the palace, Queen Sinmyeongsunseong  dotes on Prince Jung, and makes So promise not to hang around Jung. Moo arranges for So to live in the palace. A mealtime with Wook and his wife is uncomfortable, given his feelings. Hae Soo is fascinated by the snow, but So and Wook are more fascinated by her...

Just what the doctor ordered.

I think this show handles the blend of action and character development well. I'm intrigued. I like the details they reveal about a world not entirely familiar to me, and I think the conflicts are well set up. The shipping I'm not so sure about... one of them is a jerk, and the other love interest is married. Those aren't impossible hurdles, but they are hurdles nonetheless. And I don't need action all the time, but if they throw me a bone once per episode I'm happy.




  1. Baekhyun
  2. IU
  3. Lee Jun Ki
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