The Flower in Prison, Episodes 50 & 51 (END)

TL;DR: The heroes are rewarded for their virtue; the villains come to tragic ends.

Which ought to come as no surprise. I mean, even if you didn’t know the historical events behind all this (I only know the broadest brushstrokes), it wouldn’t be all that much of a surprise to see that the villains all got what was coming to them: death. So much death. Unless they turned on the bigger bads, then they got to survive. Continue reading “The Flower in Prison, Episodes 50 & 51 (END)”

The Flower in Prison, Episodes 48 & 49

TL;DR: You can tell we’re almost to the end because they’re wrapping all the little things up.

For all her secret intelligence officer training, the instigation of trade wars, numerous fights to the death, and just general badassery, Ok-nyeo has been a surprisingly pure-hearted heroine. So I spent several minutes in these episodes just making awwww sounds as Ok-nyeo took time to reward her loyal followers with money, stores, business opportunities, etc. It was just really sweet to see that her drive for justice extended to her minions—they did a lot of hard work for her, and they deserved to be repaid. Continue reading “The Flower in Prison, Episodes 48 & 49”

The Flower in Prison, Episodes 46 & 47

TL;DR: Everything goes wrong, basically. Like, really, really wrong.

Our villains discovered Ok-nyeo’s ginseng trade deal was actually a farce, which left our heroes with far too much of a perishable product and nowhere to sell it to. And here I had thought that this was going to be our heroes’ final scheme to take down Nan-jung’s trading company; instead, it brought our heroes close to panic. Continue reading “The Flower in Prison, Episodes 46 & 47”

The Flower in Prison, Episodes 44 & 45

TL;DR: Where can I get a job where I get paid to pretend I’m sleeping?

King Myungjong’s heart issues must be historical, because otherwise they came literally out of nowhere, as does the mention of his  son’s death. Still, it would have been nice to have seen him having heart pains before episode forty-three out of fifty-one, but at least they led to some interesting character moments. However, it did remind me that we’ve had absolutely no mention of Myungjong’s queen—and he has one, plus seven consorts.

Why isn’t his queen, at the very least, involved in politics? In retrospect, it’s a bit appalling that we’ve had no mention of her, especially considering we just had a mini plot arc about Myungjong wanting to make Ok-nyeo his concubine. Does the queen still mourn the death of her son? Is she as worried as the rest of the court about the fact that Myungjong has no heir? (She ought to be.) Her absence is a stunning thing in hindsight since Flower in Prison has had—in comparison to the sageuks I’ve watched previously—a wide variety of roles for women. Is the queen on Myungjong’s side? The queen dowager’s? Her own? I wish we knew. Continue reading “The Flower in Prison, Episodes 44 & 45”

The Flower in Prison, Episodes 42 & 43

TL;DR: I had to take a break and play my coffee shop simulation game for a while because I was frustrated with a certain sequence of events.

First with some good news: King Myungjong decided to reveal his true identity to Ok-nyeo. This should have happened six to eight episodes ago, but at least he finally made the decision to go talk to her. I mean, I would have preferred it if he had broken the news to her in a less dramatic fashion; however, considering he was at one point going to just spring it on her during an important rite, this is several steps down on the unnecessary drama scale. Continue reading “The Flower in Prison, Episodes 42 & 43”

The Flower in Prison, Episodes 40 & 41

TL;DR: Sageuk forbidden love is the best forbidden love

I know I complained yesterday about the slow pace of the last two episodes; these episodes more than made up for it. One of my favorite flavors of romance is definitely the doomed-from-the-start-crossed-wires-forbidden sort, which means I ate up the extended flashback in episode forty, where Lee Myung-eon was able to finally fill in all the questions about Ok-nyeo’s heritage. Oof, and what a story it was: palace maiden and palace guard fall in love, maiden sees an attempted poisoning, the slow disappearance/murder of all the other maidens, cowardice, mistimed encounters, the king’s “grace,” and the crushing realization that everything is over before it could properly start. Oh, and eventual failure and death. It made me cry, damn it, which is not what I was expecting. Continue reading “The Flower in Prison, Episodes 40 & 41”

The Flower in Prison, Episodes 38 & 39

TL;DR: RED ALERT. Secret princess confirmed! Also, the main pairing gets tainted for me in the course of roughly thirty seconds. Why did you have to do that?

It’s nice to finally have it confirmed that Ok-nyeo, is, in fact, the daughter of a king and half-sister to the current king. Which means that the terms for a happy ending have changed: it now must include Ok-nyeo being recognized and brought into the royal family, right? That’s how these things typically work in secret royalty stories. And since we’re in the Joseon era, the moment King Myungjong discovers she is his half-sister, that ought to halt his ridiculous “bring Ok-nyeo into the palace and make her my concubine” plot he has cooked up despite Ok-nyeo’s explicit rejection of that exact same scheme. (More on that later.) Continue reading “The Flower in Prison, Episodes 38 & 39”

The Flower in Prison, Episodes 36 & 37

TL;DR: So, it turns out that allowing the accused counsel at trial actually helps prevent grave miscarriages of justice. Imagine that!

I know human rights aren’t really a thing right now, but holy hell, the first part of Clerk Ji’s trial really was a mess. From the minister shouting at him about daring to speak at his own trial (?!?!) to an utter lack of substantive questioning for any of the people involved. Thank goodness the minister listened to reason and actually seemed to care about being competent at his job once someone point out how deficient he was, but I hope that was a reminder to him to get his life together ASAP. When someone’s life is on the line, you’d better make sure the government investigation isn’t a circus.

(Oh, and thank you for both punishing Clerk Ji for what he really did to wrong and for demoting the corrupt police captain. Those were both good things.) Continue reading “The Flower in Prison, Episodes 36 & 37”

The Flower in Prison, Episodes 34 & 35

TL;DR: For once, the misfortune befalling our good guys does not appear to be the result of a targeted attempt to take them down. Clerk Ji was just the most convenient scapegoat. And while I have some gripes about how this particular mini arc was set up, it does mean that we finally, finally have mentioned the lawyer-esque position that the original synopsis promised us Ok-nyeo would eventually attain.

It’s no secret that I have problems with the “comedic” characters in this show, but Clerk Ji’s saving grace has always been his love and genuine care for Ok-nyeo. (And his inevitable honesty when it comes to her.) Consequently, I actually felt bad for him when he was accused of, arrested, and tortured for a murder he didn’t commit. I have no doubt that Ok-nyeo will prove his innocence (really, Show, don’t fail me on that one), but it was still a little distressing to watch how upset everyone was. The scene where Ok-nyeo snuck into the prison to see him was rather touching. Continue reading “The Flower in Prison, Episodes 34 & 35”

The Flower in Prison, Episodes 32 & 33

TL;DR: All (okay, maybe not all) of the secrets are being revealed, and yet somehow Ok-nyeo is still the one most in the dark. This displeases me.

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The longer King Myungjong pretends to be a secret royal inspector, the more irritated with him I grow. Look, I get it, your disguise to walk amongst the people was an important thing for you, especially since your mother has worked very hard at controlling all of your information and who you have access to. I can’t fault you for sneaking out and lying.

But there comes a point in this charade where it strains credulity. While it’s funny on one level to watch Myungjong flail about as his haphazardly crafted persona threatens to split at the seams, on another level it is entirely un-funny because it makes Ok-nyeo appear to be unobservant, naive, etc. when she flat out doesn’t register how flustered and off-kilter Myungjong, Sun-ho, and Jung-myeong are. Come on, Show. Don’t sacrifice your leading lady’s secret-agent-level guile and general ability to notice suspicious goings-on in order to make the audience laugh. That’s cheap and unacceptable. Do better. Continue reading “The Flower in Prison, Episodes 32 & 33”