SCARLET HEART: RYEO -- EPISODE 17
There is nothing uncool about this shot.
The game of musical thrones continues, only this time Prince So is the unlucky winner...
Yes, it's time to switch kings again, and doubtless, we'll witness yet another descent into misery, madness, and death. Why? Because 'Scarlet Heart: Ryeo.' I've written before about how the game of thrones is getting excessive, and this is no different. I'm not sure what they're angling for here -- are we supposed to feel sorry for him because he's the male lead or what? Already he's lonely and the crown is a heavy burden. His accession could have been more realistic. Jung and Sinmyeongsunseong questioning Hae Soo about what was on the torn up abdication decree was...um...weird. You've got all the pieces, right? I know jigsaw puzzles hadn't been invented yet, but still...
The So and Hae Soo romance here was a bit clipped and not as interesting as it was starting to become. I think the whole idea was to humanize So, but I think there's little hope of that now. He's king, and probably this aces Hae Soo out of the picture. At least they're sleeping together. I like her insistence that he woo her properly, instead of offhandedly suggesting marriage. Score 1 for the modern era!
Dude...Look while you're pouring, you're going to miss the --- too late.
And we have that most wonderful of tropes: the sudden fatal illness of the main character. I'm not real happy with that because I'm emotionally invested in Hae Soo and I don't want to see her dead. This show started as a 10, but it's writing itself a lower and lower score, particularly here. As much as she was out of character, I still wanted to see her keep the prophecy from coming true. Maybe now that it hasn't, there's no need for her? I know saeguks are sometimes pretty merciless, but this is simply excessive. I was rather hoping she'd end up in her own time and bump into a reincarnated So (cliché, I know, but I'm a sucker for a happy ending).
The performances were what made this episode fun. Almost everyone was just intense, and even Yo's over the top madness was just top notch. It was all brilliant: Yo's paranoid screams, So's fierceness -- gaslighting the mad king and taking the throne, Jung's anger at being cheated out of the throne, and Wook's begrudging promise to help his sister become queen. Whatever else I can say about the plot holes, I can't say the acting wasn't absolutely riveting.
"I never wanted to be king. I just wanted to be a writer. Here, my latest masterpiece..."
This episode pretty well zipped by. I didn't notice much of an issue with pacing until the end. That's when we heard about the disease and they ratcheted the intensity way down. That was a bit annoying, but whatever. I got some of what I wanted, which is a pretty watchable episode. When it ends before you expect it to, I think the writers succeeded.
This was one of the better entries in the last half of the series. While I was disappointed with the lack of battle scenes, we still had some of the elaborate armor and opulent scenery to drool over. And I've already mentioned the speedy pace and the fantastic acting, so there you have it. I'm still waiting for it to return to how it was in the beginning, but I'm not sure there's much hope there. It's almost over -- let's hope it goes out on a high note.