The Flower in Prison, Episodes 22 & 23

TL;DR: It has been a month since I last watched this show, but luckily for me, these two episodes were mostly concerned with setting the stage for the next round of long-term plots. Also, everybody important thinks that Ok-nyeo is dead.

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Our heroine, of course, is not dead (though she did get injured). I was annoyed that she got captured by the bandits without an on-screen fight. Seriously? Come on. If she was going to be overpowered, I wanted to see her fight her hardest—I mean, people were getting slaughtered! Did she just nope out of the fight and surrender quietly?

I am somewhat pacified by the fact that being captured then allowed Ok-nyeo to save half a dozen women from slavery, first to her own government and then to Ming. Honestly, it was quite a nice touch when she asked the other women if they wanted to go with her to the town and respected their wishes when they decided to run off into the woods to form a secret village of badassery make a break for their freedom. I wish them well.

I’ll admit to rolling my eyes when Ok-nyeo was blindsided by being forced to sexually service the visiting minister. Ok-nyeo, you’ve probably watched dozens, if not hundreds, of men and women leave the Jeonokseo as government slaves during your twenty-odd years of living there, and you’ve never once heard what might happen to the pretty women? And while I’ll admit Ok-nyeo’s little possession act was clever, that really didn’t solve the problem. The officials are just going to offer the minister another woman in her place.

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These two episodes were a bit slow, considering how much time was spent on men being sad about Ok-nyeo getting shipped off as a slave and then being even sadder that she was dead/shipped off to be a slave in Ming, depending on the story they got. I mean, it’s great that so many people love Ok-nyeo—I just wish that more people in her close circle were women. Pretty please?

Ji-hun continued to work his way off my shit list by trying to protect Ok-nyeo and by following the plan she came up with. I do hope that Ok-nyeo says yes to his proposal to help him collect the things his grandfather left behind. That is the kind of awkward-near-strangers-road-trip I could get 100% behind, especially if means Ok-nyeo will gain another ally.

Tae-won gets a couple of points for leading a raid on the mountain bandits and trying to reach the port town before the ship left, but I am less impressed by his lack of follow-through. Why didn’t you search for the bandits that allegedly sold Ok-nyeo? Surely they’d have record of who they sold her to. Couldn’t you at least try to track her down? You have connections in Ming, remember? Couldn’t you try to swing something? But nah, go home to mope over your “loss” and brood over your horrible biological father.

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Speaking of, I am supremely irritated by Won-hyung enlisting Tae-won to bring Nan-jung back under “control.” Holy hell, man, Nan-jung is your wife. Sure, you might have your little disagreements here and there, like whether or not Tae-won needs to die, but you are actively working to undermine her by using someone she hates! I hope she rips your throat out.

I also hope that Tae-won is just using Won-hyung in order to lure him into complacency so he can backstab him later. If this plot ends with Tae-won actually considering reconciliation with his monster of a father, I will throw things.

In other news, I am supremely unimpressed with Lee Jung-myung, Gang Sun-ho, and the former court lady (I can’t remember her name, help). Their group attempted to assassinate Won-hyung, and instead of owning it, they’re going to let other innocent people be tortured to death. You may want what our good guys want, but you are clearly not our heroes. Be better than that, or you’ll wind up just like the people you’re trying to get rid of.

By the Numbers

  • Times I wanted to stab Constable Yoo: 2
  • Times I cheered for Clerk Ji: 3
  • Fight scenes: 3
  • Gisaengs not paid enough to deal with this shit: 5
  • Grief-stricken men: 6
  • Bechdel Test: 21 episodes passed

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