The Flower in Prison, Episodes 20 & 21

TL;DR: Are we done with this bribery plotline yet? Please? Oh, I might actually be able to start mildly shipping the main couple now.

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I found myself in a weird, dissatisfied place with these two episodes. The bulk of that has to do with Constable (no, I’m not addressing him by his new title) Yoo’s continued existence. I have found him rather tiresome for the majority of the show, but this week made him downright insufferable.

What am I supposed to do other than endure him? The show has made no attempt to make him sympathetic, though it’ll give a half-hearted try for a jerk like Dae-shik, who has betrayed Ok-nyeo twice now. (Or has it been more than that by now?) Constable Yoo didn’t feel like he was getting a large enough cut of the bribes, so he went and sold out his boss, Ok-nyeo, Tae-won, and Jae-myung. He is, honestly, the worst sort of villain: motivated by petty jealousy, insecurity, and utterly uninteresting. The less time he has on my screen, the better.

(All the traitors, actually. I’m pissed that Choon-soo gave into Won-hyung’s threats. You are the captain of the royal guards! Why the hell are you caving to Won-hyung’s threats instead of being loyal to the queen dowager? *snarls at you*)

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In far-better-villain territory, Nan-jung makes me very happy when she is ready to burn the world down to avenge her daughter’s broken heart. It’s just so refreshing sometimes to have an evil mother whose villainy has an entirely different scope than simply making her child and their love interest miserable. Nah, Nan-jung has trade companies to take over, people to enslave, political problems to solve as bloodily as possible, and the richest family in the kingdom to ruin thanks to a canceled marriage. Thank you for making up for our overdose of Constable Yoo. I particularly enjoyed your smirkiness when you walked off with Jae-myung’s company.

Speaking of that canceled marriage, Ji-hun is slowly digging himself out of my rather crowded shit list. I honestly didn’t expect him to object during the “trial”—I figured, if anything, he would just brood about it. Dare I say I actually respected him for calling out the corrupt sentence and forcing the judge to give Ok-nyeo another trial? (Not that it amounted to much in the end…) I can say that he finally stepped out of villain territory, but he’s meandering about in neutral land. He needs to get a move on that soon.

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The one good thing that came out of Ok-nyeo’s (actually not unjust but definitely unfair) imprisonment was that she got to have some time to pour her heart out to Tae-won. I have a weakness for romantic partners comforting each other, so my heart softened significantly when Tae-won held Ok-nyeo while she cried. His continued concern—and then outrage—about her sentence also earned the romance some points, should it ever get off the ground. It is difficult to not soften toward a guy who is willing to take the blame for a crime that someone else is being framed for. You two could make a good couple, someday. Maybe. Work on your longing looks from afar, though the ones you had this week weren’t bad.

I had thought before that Ok-nyeo had hit her rock bottom and was on a rebound, but clearly I didn’t realize that “make her a government slave” was an option in this particular show. (Naive of me, I know.) I’m hoping that this really is her rock bottom and that Ok-nyeo can come back swinging.

It clearly is other people’s breaking point, what with a rebellion starting up. I’m just waiting for the king to get his act together and take further action on—something, really. Seriously, let your mother have her hunger strike while you try to fix your kingdom! Ok-nyeo is going to be a slave partially because of your secret military intel! Get out of your palace and become a force to be reckoned with, please!

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P.S. Dammit, Tae-won, why did you save him? Other than he has to fulfill his role in history. *hisses at them both*

By the Numbers

  • Slaps: 1
  • Escape attempts: 1
  • Beatings: 3
  • People demoted to slaves: 5
  • Floggings ordered: 120
  • Bechdel Test: 19 episodes passed

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