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Posted by eric_r_wirsing AKP STAFF Tuesday, September 20, 2016

[Drama Review] 'Scarlet Heart: Ryeo' - Episode 8

IU, Lee Jun Ki, Z.HERA


"No, I'm not afraid of going to a creepy cave at night with a ton of candles. Why do you ask?"

We learn more than a few things in this episode, including a lot of why some people do what they do.

Prince So got a lot of screen time. In some ways it was his party. I like the fact that he's developing as a character, and the astrologer and the king are helping him along. I really like his character, probably because he sets himself apart from others. In a personal way, I empathize with the need for solitude and not fitting in. It's highly enjoyable to see him struggle with his weaknesses and be forced to confront them head-on.

I used to think his vanity was his downfall, but not anymore! After I witnessed his treatment at the hands of others, that's when my opinion changed. But why do the people demonize So? Just because of his scar? I have to take issue with that. True, he was sent away and is little better than a stranger at the palace, but since he's a noble, wouldn't that inherently make him untouchable? From what I know about ancient kings, daring to do anything like what the mob did would result in a mass execution. Plot hole? Maybe -- I'm still keeping an open mind.

"I told that bird not to chirp. Now he's lunch!"

Prince So's role in the prophecy might not be as cut and dried as we think. At least, I hope not. While we know that he will become a feared king (Google it, seriously), Hae Soo apparently doesn't realize this. This is one of the only problems I have with this -- I don't remember him killing all his brothers as she fears. It would be far more interesting to twist what she saw in the vision when it happens in real life so that it's something entirely different from what we think.

The romance is not coming along as well as I'd like. The characters dance around one another again and again without ever going fully onto the dance floor. Prince Eun seems too prissy to keep up with the more pragmatic Soon Deok, and Wook makes sweet gestures toward Hae Soo. At least So finally does more than stare in those overdrawn edits that linger a hair too long to be anything other than creepy -- an effect I don't think the writers intended.

It's not what it looks like.

Woo Hee Jin does a marvelous turn here as Court Lady Oh. In charge of the court ladies and servants, she's often painted as a severe authority figure, heaping abuse and punishment on Hae Soo. Here, they humanize her, and Hee Jin is more than up to the task. She shows a vulnerable side here, which I like, as Lady Oh reveals she's punishing Hae Soo because she cares. Awww. And it's her turn to be taken care of by Hae Soo when she falls ill and begrudges the care. Fantastic!

What I can't figure out is how they keep it all intact and watchable. We've got princes who have different motives (and fight, as siblings do), a woman thrown back in time who ends up with a prince and needs to stop one from becoming the killer Gwangjong, a scheming queen, a king who's ready to crown a new one, all tangled up with personal subplots and one-time events, all hurtling headlong toward the end. Usually, there's something that falls apart by now...

The 4th Prince was a messy eater...

But it hasn't. And I think that's the thing. It's hard to say enough about this drama without fairly gushing. It ranks up there with 'Doctors' and 'Descendants of the Sun,' and that's saying something. I'm not a huge saeguk fan, but this isn't purely a saeguk; more of a fantasy. Maybe that's why I like it, is because there are still things I can relate to, without the need for nonstop action.

But enough of my ramblings. What do you guys think?




  1. IU
  2. Lee Jun Ki
  3. Z.HERA
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