All of you guys be like: "Why your drama reviews so long?!?!"
(Note: when you see 'OM' in the following review, it stands for 'original movie', referring to the 2001 'My Sassy Girl' movie.)
We saw one major new character emerge in episodes 3 & 4 by the name of Dayeon (played by Kim Yoon Hye). She's the daughter of the evil advisory board member Jung Ki Joon, and oh so obviously the 4th figure in the love square(?) involving Gyeonwoo (played by Joo Won), Princess Hyemyung (played by Oh Yeon Seo), and the royal guard Kang Jun Young (played by CNBLUE's Jungshin). She only came up in a few scenes, but already, we can tell that her character is loaded with hidden motives - if she takes after her evil father even a little.
Other than Dayeon, the characters we got to know in episodes 1 & 2 were explored further for the most part in episodes 3 & 4. These episodes still qualify as beginning episodes where viewers need to get more used to the overall tone, mood, and feel of the drama, but one element I simply cannot seem to get used to still is the accents and speech used. Many of you are probably well aware by now that in historical dramas, the actors and actresses speak old-fashioned Korean. But it seems strangely like the characters in the drama are awkwardly switching back and forth between using more old-fashioned speech, to using more modern, regular speech, without any sort of recognizable pattern. The character who does this the most, in my opinion, is Princess Hyemyung. Her way of speaking is totally modern, especially during her very straightforward, outspoken scenes (which are like all of her scenes). She'll then randomly switch to more formal, old-fashioned speech if she notices other characters around her doing it? Or something like that. She seems to be influencing the characters who surround her the most in this as well, notably Gyeonwoo and her servants.
What do you think about this issue? Sure, 'My Sassy Girl' has been advertised as a fusion historical drama. But does that mean that preexistent rules from previous historical dramas in regard to old-fashioned speech, can just be avoided or ignored? Are they doing it on purpose or with some sort of structure? Or is this just bad directing and scripting on the drama's part?
Let's totally sit in this secret room and do a circling camera discussion like 'That 70's Show', but Joseon-style.
Meanwhile, the King is facing major political struggles with his advisory board. It's pretty clear that the King is not an antagonist, at least, for now in the series. Both the King and his mother are warm, loving family figures. But we note in episode 3 that the King wants to go out into the streets and hear what the lay people have to say, especially, since there is a shortage of food and crops in the land. The advisory board is very opposed to this. Jung Ki Joon, seemingly the most evil and plotting member of the board, even stated that if the King tries to "think" with his own mind again, then he'll just have to be reminded of how he'll lose important things to him. The board member may have already begun taking measures to plot something against the King, who seems to be set on being more authoritative with his ruling. There's also the queen, who is still very much in league with Jung Ki Joon and is very angry about the King's desire to officially pronounce the only prince as the official heir to the throne. (I want to apologize for referring to the young prince as 'the crown prince' in the last review. It seems they are currently calling him 'Won Ja', which means the eldest prince. Once he becomes the official heir to the throne, I believe he'll be called 'Se Ja' from then on, which is the word for 'crown prince'.)
So what conflicts will ensue in the political feud between the King and the advisory board, and what role will Gyeonwoo and Princess Hyemyung play in this portion of the plot?
So wrong... but so funny...
Next, let's list out some of the similarities and differences between the 'OM' and the drama in episodes 3 & 4. The most notable? The imaginary side scenes! Even in the 'OM', those imaginary side scenes were iconic gems. In episode 4, the "malicious" rumors about Princess Hyemyung being turned into those imaginary scenes provided the first, real, truly funny couple of scenes in the series so far. Oh Yeon Seo's overly pompous acting really shone in the ridiculous scenarios, and while being similar to the 'OM' in that there are imaginary side scenes, the content of the scenes were definitely original and exclusive to the historical drama. Princess Hyemyung's weakness toward alcohol is another mirror-like element to the 'OM' we see in these episodes, as well as Gyeonwoo's ideal type of woman - a woman who is beautiful on the outside and proper, ladylike, and reserved personality-wise. Which leads me to the question: when Gyeonwoo found out that the unruly woman he'd been having issues with is the royal princess, why didn't he provide any type of inner reaction? That is a pretty big piece of info, Gyeonwoo! In his genius brain, he should have had some alarming reactions! This is where the narrations in the 'OM' really played a huge role, because audiences were able to get updates on Gyeonwoo's thoughts toward Geunyeo at every moment. But, this Gyeonwoo, seemingly, does not have lengthy inner monologues about his life in his head…
There was also a scene during which Gyeonwoo confronted Princess Hyemyung to be more princess-like, scolding her by saying that a royal princess should not act the way she does (leaving the palace, drinking, speaking foully, etc). In my opinion, such dialogue would never have transpired in the 'OM'. The Gyeonwoo of the 'OM' was a lame guy in a sense, but he was never one to try to judge Geunyeo for her behavior, nor did he ever tell her to change or be more 'ladylike'. Inside his mind, sure, he said that he disliked women like Geunyeo, but the 'OM', having strong themes about women's societal images, is representative of a story in which a male understands and accepts a woman's odd and unconventional personality. In other words, Gyeonwoo's challenge toward Princess Hyemyung? That's no-no. Certainly a red marker for plot points these two episodes.
For Korean speakers, "Ni chi fan le ma?" just never gets old.
Finally, who is the man who gave Princess Hyemyung her precious jade ring? Most likely, it's her uncle, the warrior responsible for saving the baby prince in episode 1. But maybe someone unexpected? Beginning next week is when we will be able to really find out if this drama will move forward with a good pace or not. For now, I will conclude that while the plot and slight moments of the performance contained questionable points, there was no notable flaw in the pace thus far.