Shine or Go Crazy - Episode 7 (A SqueeCap)

So, we're facing a double-cross-dressing-fiasco (that's a girl dressing as a man dressing as a girl) in this episode, but otherwise, it's continuing strong.
S@ki6: Yeah, this part of the storyline does nothing for me. The drag is dragging. 
I look at this way: I get swooning Jjang Hyuk. That makes it okay for me since it's not the only thing going on.

Episode 7 verdict: intense!

Episode 7

When Wang So sees Shin-yool as a girl, he can only stammer how strange that looks over and over and quickly leave the building in utter confusion. For the umpteenth time, he asks himself whether he is really a guy, that Kaebong (hint: he isn't). He is feeling all weird and his heart flutters. Poor dumb guy.
Too stupid to be a hero. And who wants a king who is so easily fooled? Other than the ministers etc, that is. 
A leader needs a vision (check), he needs to win the hearts and minds of people (check) and he needs to be someone who can surround himself with smart, honest advisors to help him on the path toward the vision (check.) He's not hung up on pomp and circumstance, his heart is truer than an arrow, and I don't really care if he thinks he's got it bad for a man or a woman, truthfully. Wang So is the one for me.
becca: I'm with you 100%, Jo.
Shin-yool comes out and he takes her to the library (saying that "he went there a few times with the royal family", ergo knows where it is). Inside, Shin-yool finds herself in heaven: so many great and rare books! Wang So keeps looking at her, smiling and wondering. He is darn cute - and totally enthralled.
Can I have him? Please? I'll be good. I won't ask for another thing.
But someone is coming! Quickly, Wang So presses Shin-yool against a wall. It's only Ji-mong though, the king's aide - after a small nod from Wang So, he leaves the library. But Wang So is in a new crisis already, brought on by the proximity and her very soft-wet-sexy lips.
Wet lips don't appeal to me as a general rule, though. Nor sticky, shiny lipsticks/glosses. I won't wear them and wouldn't kiss them.
Agreed re the wet lips. And the dewey look in makeup. Just looks sweaty. 
No shiny people!
Ack! Let's keep the vampires out of this!
She goes back to reading, he back to watching her - but when she looks up after a while, he's gone. He is meeting with Ji-mong, who leads him to the king. In the meantime, Shin-yool gets really worried and searches all over for him. The king is almost frantic with joy to see his bro - he is clearly not feeling too well. Wang So lies about his disguise, but then tells the worried king about how he met and dined with the outlaws - but that it's not yet the right time for the king to connect with them. Poor king. Poor, poor king. That was his big hope; he wanted to discuss ways to stop the Princes Competition with them, which he knows will make a fool out of him.
This poor guy, he's trying so hard and he's barely hanging on by a thread. The one thing I don't understand here is why it is more important to figure out who killed their father than it is to support the CURRENT ruler, his brother.
Because finding out who killed their father will help support the current king by destroying the same enemies. Because those people who killed the father are likely after his named heir. 
Then TELL him that. Half the reason he goes crazy is he is hanging in the wind twisting.
Damn, right when the brothers are bonding very strongly (Wang So tells his brother that he'll make sure it'll be no humiliation) the awful Queen Dowager comes in! She asks So whether he wants to kill another brother, since horrible things always happen when he comes to the palace. It's a curse for her to see him. A curse for her to have given birth to him. All the memories of him are a curse.
That's a bit harsh, but So&So is annoying, so my sympathies are 50-50 here. 
A bit harsh? A BIT harsh? Setting aside whether he is annoying or not (Not. Okay, I didn't set it aside.) any mother who could say that and not immediately fall dead from guilt and shame is made of ice and stone and takes daily injections of the dead souls of drowned kittens, in my book.
Yep. And it's not like she hates him because of anything he's said or done. She simply hates him for existing. I have zero sympathy for her.
And Wang So walks out of there like a dog with its tail between its legs. Outside the gate, Shin-yool (and hung Kyeong) are waiting for him. She starts scolding him for being so late, for making her worry so much, but he steps closer. It's odd, he says, that it usually hurts him so much when people are upset with him. But when she scolds him, it feels kind and nice. And he pulls her close and says he wants to stay like this for a while. Just a little while.
I love the Korean emphasis on the restorative and rejuvenating powers of a good hug.
If anyone ever needed a hug, he did in that moment. Poor guy.
Watching them from the shadows, looking mighty pissy: Goryeo Elf. (Yay! Elves rule!) He went to pick her up after hearing from Baek-Myo that Shin-yool was still at the palace. And he follows them to the brothel next, the best drinking place in the whole of Goryeo, where Shin-yool wants to go and cheer up her "hyungnim".
Goryeo Ken is an emo prat who spends all his time plotting to betray family OR inserting himself in the affairs of a person who barely registers his existence.

Wang So pretends to not having been there before, first hiding his face behind a flower and then quickly cutting the bordello queen off, when she greets him as his majesty. They're promised company by Ryung Hwa ... oups, that rings a bell. Shin-yool quickly asks whether there's a Cheong-Ok here, too? There is. BUSTED, So So.
Because there can only be one.
The mood is chilly inside the room, cause Shin-yool is angry. Her mood doesn't get better when Ryung Hwa starts hitting on her quite heavily. And then, So So tells the gisaeng that "it's big". Muuuuch bigger than what she is imagining. Shin-yool has no clue what he is going on about. Ahahahaaaaaaaa - btw, where did they leave hung Kyeong?
He's outside, just hanging around.

The gisaeng gets quite excited and starts taking Kaebong's clothes off, but Shin-yool pushes her to the floor. Hilariously, Wang So has also gotten up, to defend his Kaebong with a spoon.
I read this book regarding cross-dressing women soldiers and where to put the socks, since that even affects how you walk as well as how you look, was a crucial question. Hint: not on the feet.
I don't understand. Going sockless affects how you walk.
Sigh. You want socks to mimic a man's thingy. That thingy changes your balance. Changing your balance changes how you walk.
I'm not sure I understand.
I get it. I'd walk weird if I had socks in my undies.
*heavy sigh* Never mind.
Ohhh. The longer that went on, the less I understood what was happening. I need to sleep. For a week.
Fine, no more drinking with women! Wang So gets really drunk ... and really close to his cute little dongsaeng. He likes her name a lot (I mean his name), he says - cause he didn't only have a rough time back in China. No, for the first time in his life, he also saved somebody. Somebody's world. That made him so happy he almost cried. That meeting changed his world too - and he missed that girl. Shin-yool starts crying and he veeeery, very gently wipes her tears away.
I just realized he touched her face and should've noticed that her skin was fine and soft, just like a girl.
That's a good point, but I'll cut him some slack because he's drunk.
And then, and then ... he very gently and slowly pulls him/her closer on the strings on his/her shirt ... closer ... closer ... when BAM, the pissy Elf bursts in.
I also read somewhere that men being gay with their younger male friends was okay in those days. It might've just been about Japan, though. 
See? Cockblock. But yeah, I've read that too. I think I remember something about it being prevalent in highly militaristic societies, ones with a real 'warrior class'. It's accepted within certain limits but then when they become civilians it's less of a thing and more of a deviation.
Bleh. He pretends not to know Wang So who pretends not to know Wang Wook, but of course, Wang Wook has the upper hand in this and he's totally enjoying it. (Because he's a bitch.) He asks his brother whether he likes men, which Wang So answers with an outraged outcry. Wang Wook then shows off his closeness with Kaebong, which makes Wang So jealous and angry. Wang Wook then offers to take Kaebong home and Wang So wants to intervene, but Shin-yool quickly lets go of his hand - it's dangerous to anger a member of the royal family after all. Wang So is heartbroken.
He really was. You'd think he'd have understood immediately why GaeBong had to do that, but no, he's so unsettled about his feelings for his little buddy that he can't even think logically.
Outside, Shin-yool insists on going back home with Kyeong though - haha, Elf. Fail. (Hot Bodyguard is an acceptable substitute.) Inside, Wang So has some kind of melt-down because Kaebong left him all along. But hoho, look who's back! Wang Wook. They sit and drink together, but the atmosphere isn't friendly, of course. When Wook asks why So has made a new brother even though he already has so many, So says he may have many, but none that care for him.
How can you hate someone who so clearly just wants to have a connection with the people he loves? He values family even when they threw him away.
I can't. I just can't hate that. It's too sad.
After Wang Wook has left and Wang So has muttered angrily after him (hilarious), Wang So has a very sexually charged hallucination about Kaebong being there with him. When he is about to start kissing that imaginary Kaebong, Wang Wook's voice sounds in his head: does he like men? 
It never gets old. Jang Hyuk speedtalking in angry swear-laden Korean is always hilarious.

Time for some evil! We hear that on the evil mirror, the 5 letters Sal, Je, Su, Ho, Guk are written, which means: To kill a king to protect the powerful families. Those 5 pieces with those letters were spread to the conspirators - as an insurance against potential betrayal of the others (huh? How does this work? By saying "but this guy also has a piece of the mirror"?). In addition, their names are on that mirror too (still don't understand how it works). If it were to be found out, it would amount to the annihilation of their families. (Conspirators can be so irresponsible.) After the meeting, Evil Wang tells hot assassin to use the other nobles as bait. To catch and kill Wang So.
It makes no sense to me. Since they each took their OWN name, the only way to implicate others is to have the OTHER pieces, too, and then you also implicate yourself. So I could see it if the idea behind was 'guard this with your life so we are all safe' but it's not that, it's 'we have this so we can't betray each other.' No. Logic fail.
My brain hurts trying to understand.
The nosy (irritating, disloyal, whiny) Elf Prince is checking up on the mirror maker ... who is dead. His son is in charge now, but he knows his father made a mirror with a special pattern/letters for the late Kim Jong-sik, right before he was killed by "bandits". As soon as the Elf is gone (and runs to his sister to report), Eun-chun turns up. Yeo won gets it immediately: her husband is taking on the great Wang Sik-Ryeom. And she warns her brother of that powerful uncle, who would turn him into the next weak king, if he could. 
Yay, Yeowon! 
Which she was fine with yesterday, so I'd hold that yay if I were you, Saki. The only side Yeo Won is on is Yeo Won's. 
If she's on her own side, and, frankly, that of her family's, then she's on Elf's side and not on Evil Uncle's side.  Still a yay for me. Besides, I don't mind bad people in dramas if they're awesome.
Oh I quite enjoy her. But I'm saying she's on the side of whomever she thinks will win and that she can influence. So she's not really on her family's side, at all. It's just that for a long time, her brother was her most likely candidate.

Wang So is still deeply troubled when he turns up at the Outlaws' hideout to meet Eun-chun. While romantic music plays, he starts to test his feelings for another man ... only to interrupt himself abruptly. Several times :D He cannot concentrate at all and Eun-chun quickly despairs of him. Can't blame him!
I laughed hard enough to choke at this. How many takes do you suppose it took to get it right?
Well, for all it's worth, Shin-yool is similarly afflicted and tries out her feelings on her brother and Gang-Myeong ... and on Kyeong. Only it isn't Kyeong at all, but Wang Wook! She feels ... nothing. And ... awwwwwkward!
No taste, this girl.
It's just that she prefers men.
I still don't buy that he loves her. If you leave out the part where she looks like his step mom, why does he love her? We've been given no other reason.
Because he's a barely fleshed out character who is only highlighted because he is a convenient obstacle at court and in love.
Wang Wook is here to ask about So So. He wants to know how him and Shin-yool met, but luckily (I guess?), Baek-Myo doesn't tell him the whole truth. He also inquires after Shin-yool's real parents (you little spy, you) and Baek-Myeo tells him about her sad past. Her brother is most likely dead, her mother is rumored to be wandering around Goryeo under her Buddhist name, Mun Dam - but might be dead as well. Ha! Zombie Mum Amber Alert! Elf also hears that she is from Balhae. Of course, he jumps on that opportunity right away - he manages all the Buddhist temples and promises Shin-yool to find her mother for her.
All these options for her missing mother: alive, dead, nun, any combination of these.
I figure this is a good thing. Either he'll fail, which will won't exactly make her feel romantic toward him, or he'll have to tell her Mom is dead, which, again, doesn't exactly set a lovey-dovey mood.

Shin-yool is told by a servant what it means that her heart races when she hugs a certain person: it's love, you silly woman.
Could be a heart palpitation.
Could be a late acting love potion forced on her by the weaker brother, miscalculating as always.
Her brother thinks he has to act on his own and sends out invitations to all the princes: a) he wants to make all of their embellishments for free and b) he wants to invite them to the brothel. In the meantime, things are heating up at the palace: The King still tries to stop the competition (and the move of the capital to the West) ... and shows first signs of weird behavior (*twitch, twitch*).
Becoming weird is normal for kings.  It's all that attention and stress and poisoning.  

Indeed, the princes all turn up at Chunghae (minus one, of course). We meet Wang Moon, Wang Whi, Wang Jong, Wang Rim, and the clearly troublesome Wang Won. Since Wang So isn't there, Shin-yool asks about his character and hears that he is lazy, a fool, a womanizer, etc. Next, the men relocate to the brothel, where Gyu-Dal treats them to food and drink.
I like that prince in pink and yellow too. Pretty.
I know him from somewhere and it's bothering me. I liked the one who was broke.
Ooh, I liked the broke one too! He was a cutie. 
Also there, in a different room, Wang So, who meets his spy Cheong-Ok. She tells him his brothers are all here ... so he goes there too. And quite smartly, he tells them what the competition is really for: to appreciate their brotherhood. But Wang Wook interrupts him: It's the way to the throne and nothing else. "The King is on the throne", says Wang So, talking about the next king is clearly an insult!
Bit of history: in real life, this Wang plotted with a brother to remove another brother already on the throne.
All this talk just out in the open about replacing the current Crown Prince really puzzles me. The plotting to replace him would be in secret since it would be treasonous behavior, and in every other thing I have ever seen in any language, so would SUGGESTING it. The other piece of that which is puzzling: why is he the Crown Prince? He's clearly of a majority age, why is he not the King? Why is he not married, producing the logical next in line? I know it's not always direct like that but in GENERAL it is, right? The time when it's not is if there is no heir, or someone overtakes the throne.
From what I've gathered, the current Crown Prince is still a kid.
If he's Wang So's older brother, and Wang So is old enough to be married, then it seems like he can hardly be considered a kid.
No no, the Crown Prince is the King's son. We haven't met him, and… oh. According to Wikipedia (that oh-so-reliable source), Wang So will kill him someday. Isn't that lovely. o___o

But all the others think like Wook: the competition is about a seat on the throne.
Because that's what Uncle Hairline told them. Fine, is Wang So's answer: if that is what they all think, he'll participate as well. He'll show them the true meaning of the competition. They laugh at him, of course - but when they're all gone, he asks Wang Wook why he wants to be king. "Because only the King can protect his own people", says Elf. But that's not the king's duty, Wang So thinks. The duty of the Goryeo king is to cut out the rotten roots of the world: which are the nobles. This nation needs a king that creates bloodshed.
Yeah, I think that's what he actually did according to wikipedia: he killed off the nobility a lot. Tudor-style politics, basically. The only thing is, the nobility is pretty much all going to be related to him and the extra princes and their children will be part of the nobility, so Wang So pretty much wants to kill his own relatives.


Oi, intense. In that last scene, Wang So completely dropped his mask in front of Wang Wook - and Wang Wook looked quite afraid of his hyung. Wow, I'm getting very, very excited for the Competition!! That said, I'm having difficulties liking Wang So's bloodlust. Not because I like those nobles, of course not! But simply because I've never considered killing people a good solution for anything.
He doesn't strike me as particularly bloodthirsty. In fact, I think what he wants more than anything is a peaceful life where everyone lives comfortably. But he's a man who acknowledges the truth that you cannot let a cancer fester, or it will spread. To me he's simply acknowledging that being the King means being ready to do tough things.
If he's killing because they committed treason, okay. But since whole families get wiped out, this is something that makes me uncomfortable too.
Sure, it's kind of old testament-y...but yes, the people he's fighting against are committing treason.

The intrigue-stuff has always been quite, well, intriguing for me, but the most interesting aspect is his wife, Yeo Won. I repeat myself, but I'm not sure how she stands with him. She clearly LIKES the idea of him being the head of the assassins. She knows who the real danger is: Uncle Wang. I like that she's not simply evil, but cunning and calculating. I still think she could truly become one of Wang So's allies ... since it's power she wants, above all.
He has to ally himself with YeoWon, though, and he's still being dumb about it.  So far, Yeowon is my favorite character, but I'm not holding my breath.
As Yeo Won becomes aware of the fact that her husband is not a simple fool, she becomes more interested in him both as her King and her partner. The question for me is will she be his ally if he isn't interested in the latter?
If she can't be Queen with him, then I'm guessing she will not be an ally. So, depends whether this show goes the rom-com in Goryeo fashion route or the sageuk route: the former means So will live with Shin-yool and the latter means So will give up or lose Shin-yool.

As for the OTP: so they're both in love and starting to know it. Good. Oh wait ... he still doesn't know she's not a man. Sigh. Can that go away already?

And this is for JoAnne:

Every breath you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you...

I love you to the MOON and back, Kakashi! Thank you!