Shine or Go Crazy - Episode 12 (A SqueeCap)

Welcome to the heartbreak episode. But first, some cute! *wipes tears*
Episode 12 verdict: An extremely strong hour of KDrama. On top of the world and in the depths of despair. 
S@ki6: I still don't know what this drama is supposed to be or what it wants from me as a viewer. So, I'm going with "Yeowon is awesome" and "SeWon is hot." Now that my biases are declared, I can comment solely based on biasing them.
I read a VERY interesting theory elsewhere involving SeWon, which would, if the drama would depart from history entirely, allow SeWon and YeoWon to be together, assuming she could end things with Wang So. Which we know can't happen, so whatever. The theory was that Se Won is the missing brother of Shin Yool. Which makes him, yes, a prince. A hot, hot, HOT prince.
WHAT THE .... ohhhhhhhhh! Make this happen! Make this happen!!!! 

Episode 12

Wang So is back from yet another emotional slap from his mother. He immediately notices the missing tiger costume. His wife comes in and says she sent it to Chunghae Trading Company (oups. she would, wouldn't she). She asks about his time with his mother, and when she hears about the verbal abuse, she guesses right that the Queen must have been with someone else. Are you listening, Wang So?
YeoWon is smarter than you, Wang So.
Plus, she was the person the Queen asked, so she'd be in a position to know of her sincerity. Wang So can't be blamed for expecting more of what he'd always gotten. That aside, she might have a tiny edge on him.
He wants to know why she touched his things. She says "You're no longer sworn brothers. You know she is a woman, don't you". He just laughs at that - why is she acting the wife all of a sudden? She never cared before that he spent day and night at the gisaeng house. (Because prostitutes are not cheating under the SK way of thinking, or so The Grand Narrative tells us.) "That woman must not be allowed to be at your side", is her answer. Gauntlet - thrown. He retaliates: Dare touch his things or his people one more time and he will never forgive her.  
He does remember that she pays for everything of "his," right?
Where did they say that?
Various points earlier in the series, and I think she made the point here as well, but very smoothly so it didn't jar, it was just there.
The whole encounter has her seething. She summons Shin-yool - for a request. Does she have some pearl tea left? She wants it for herself. And by the way ... thank you for taking good care of His Highness all this time. She must have had fun. But now that he has found out she's a woman, playtime is over. And take back the tiger costume to whence it came. (A note on how Honey Lee plays this character and why it works so well. Not once has she been shrill or overly evil. You could even say she underplays this character's emotions. But that's exactly why she comes across as so damn dangerous).
Really good point regarding Honey Lee's acting. 
She reminds me of nothing so much as a hunting animal, poised to strike. Very still, very observant, coiled energy coming off her in waves. I'm now really interested in her, as my impression was that she wasn't thought of too highly as an actress although she's exceptionally accomplished in many other areas and comes from a very prestigious background.
When Shin-yool sees what Yeo Won has done to the tiger emblem, her eyes grow wide in fearful apprehension. It's a very clear warning, yes - but is the princess' aggression directed against Wang So? Or Shin-yool? Or both?
If I was her, both. She still hasn't gotten paid back for nursing So&So to health, either. 
Well, if she expects tit for tat, it's not love she's feeling toward Wang So. Which removes any guilt I might have for her heart. Kind of.
She did expect a partnership marriage, even if he had his concubines and gisaengs per usual.  She waited for him that night on their wedding and also after the contest.  And she's been patient 5 years when she could've petitioned the king for another husband.  I'd say she is doing her best to connect with a very difficult man. 
Oh, here comes Wang Wook, in a new (much better!) costume and with greatly improved hair, too. (Tis a relief.) The dark side suits him well! Wang Sik-Ryeom likes it too. Wang Wook has one request: he wants to become the Assassin's leader, to get rid of the Righteous Men and their leader. And yes - he knows who that is.
I'm done with him. He's cute, but all the emo is boring.  Even his headband is black.  That's lame.
He does look better, though, even though I am going to want to stab him in his black, shrivelled heart.
Later, in his den, Wang Sik-Ryeom asks Se-won's opinion - would he be willing to serve Wook? Hot Assassin says he is. But we see in a flashback that Wook told Se-won before that he would use Wang Sik-Ryeom to get rid of Wang So and become king. I guess he has promised Se-won his sister. Se-won is everyone's double spy now. But where does his allegiance really lie?
With Yeowon! (When I am less mentally exhausted, that fanfic will burst forth like a spring daisy, I promise.) And gosh, what a smoulder!  Feeling all gooey and giggly all at the same time here. 
My goodness, but he's attractive. I don't see how Wook can promise his sister, though, even with Wang So out of the way. As far as anyone knows in this story, Se Won's not a nobleman. How could he marry a princess? Although yunno... if I were Yeo Won I wouldn't exactly be standing on formalities. because LOOK at the man. Look at his lips... sigh. Good facial hair, too.
Wook is eyeing Uncle Wang's "throne" when the secret door behind it opens and Se-won comes out. He is let into the underground lair - and vows to find the Righteous Men's hideout. Instructions have been given to all the land owners to look for an abandoned/suspicious house in the woods. But Wang Sik-Ryeom has another task for him first; it regards the Chunghae Trading Company, which has taken in all the supplies that they need to move the Capital to the West. Lumber, stone, stonemasons, carpenters, you name it. Wang Sik-Ryeom's plan is to have the Assistant Head summoned and to make her "his underling". But the Ex-Elf suggests he leave the woman to him.
It's sad how his Elf-ness has gone. It made him more visually interesting, though the hair is an improvement now. Look, even SeWon has mixed feeling regarding the new look.
Se Won just quietly says yes to everyone and goes about his business, whatever it really is. He might just be the smartest one in the bunch. Look at the nest of vipers through which he treads lightly. After Wang So, Se Won is by far my favorite, although I do have great sympathy for the poor mad King. And there was that one poor prince. And Eun Chun is fun, oh and so is Ahn Kil Kang over at the trading company. Damn there's a lot of good men in this.
At the Trading Company, Gyu-Dal is in bad shape. He has been sick for two days and has partial amnesia. Baek-Myo is convinced he's just an alcoholic, but he does recall the tea ... and the nice smell. Shin-yool is a bit preoccupied, so she doesn't realize that something went quite wrong there ... Kyeong is told to take some medicines out to put on a horse - but here comes his Royal Highness!! To protect Shin-yool's true identity, good Kyeong shouts "Jeon-haaaaaaaa ... what brings you here?". Wang So is delighted the mute has finally said something.
The mute finally talking was cute.
I laughed out loud. Isn't he cute? I forgot to put him on the list of good men but he belongs there, for sure. He's well-equipped for that.
He runs up to Kyeong to hug him, but Kyeong claims to be really busy, so "Wang So Jeon-haaaaaaa" should come back later, alright? The rest of the family gathered inside finally hears him. Shin-yool's face lights up, but the rest doe't yet know her true identity has long been exposed, so they move in front of her to hide her.
Such goobers. I heart them. Do you think we'll EVER know where the two men came into the picture?
Enter Wang So. Of course, he is here to see Kaebong. Who, as Gyu-pal claims, has gone out. What, without Kyeong?! Wang So worries. If he is lying, he will be hanged in the street. Haha, just kidding. So where is he? They repeat their lie. He says: are you hiding something behind you? He moves this way and that way and the whole human wall with him. Of course, he sees her - and she signals him to meet outside.
You said we were going to get some cute, Kakashi, but I didn't realize it would be this cute.
When they realize she's no longer behind them, Wang So and Shin-yool are already out of town. They share a horse and look so happy... She is bringing medicine to the needy, as promised. She is sponsoring real little clinics! The doctor there is an expert on poisons and lends her a book he has compiled: antidotes, symptoms, everything. Wang So is visibly impressed by what she has done - and is soon seen laughing like crazy with all the sick people.
It was nice, too, for her to hear what the doctor said - he said a man like Wang So is a real leader, because he can connect with the people. I mean, we know it's coming right? They'll have to be separated, the show can't just give us happy and leave us with it for the rest of the drama. So if they have to be parted, at least she can know that he is on a path that is of benefit to the very people she cares so much about. It's small consolation, but what can you do?
Afterwards, they are waiting for the rain to stop in a pagoda above the town. Shin-yool remembers Yeo Won's words: now that he knows she's a woman, they cannot be together anymore. Wang So isn't thinking such somber thoughts though - he wants to know from his Kaebong whether he is the best among the princes.
Pffft, yeah, let's say that's true, she says a bit snotty. But he gets another look in his eyes and suddenly, he pretends Kaebong is no longer there. "Who are you?", he asks, "you are very beautiful". He asks her to get up (she does) ... and then says she looks like a well-done boiled egg. And a fairy from heaven.
 And in a reversal from the first time they met again after their wedding, he has her turn around and asks how much she costs. She says she doesn't need much - just show her his talents and she will consider. He has many talents of course, but one skill is deadly. He can do some kind of eyeball magic. Just swing her finger in front of him. *Gulp* Okay, that scene ... it needs to be giffed. This is one of the most beautiful, sincere and touching kiss scenes I've ever seen in any KDrama. And his face ... just perfect here. Absolutely perfect.
My mouth went dry. That LOOK. They had more of a physical connection with that look than most KDrama couples get in a sanctioned bedroom scene. I don't think I can watch sageuks anymore if he's not in them. But honestly, it's not just sageuks where he does this. He has a way of connecting with his partner that is very real and you can't help but feel it.
And oh yeah, the kiss wasn't anything too terrible, either. She has to prefer him to Ji Hoon, Kakashi, really.
After that, they just sit there, touching ... and he tells her how much he likes her. He wants to get intoxicated by her scent, close his eyes, and feel the way he does right now. He wants to sit around and eat together. And laugh. He wants to grow old with her.
Sigh. What a satisfying, thrilling, wonderful thing to hear from a man that you love, no?
They spend the day together being very, very much in love - and I get that sinking feeling in my stomach. Yes, that one. Kdrama, you can't fool me. I know this is too good to last ... When it's night, she stops at a street vendor's stall and looks at rings. She denies that she's interested, but of course it's super obvious she is lying. Any day comes to an end, so they end up in front of her home. He is like: It says Chunghae Trading Company on the banner, so we have arrived, it seems. He tells her he will leave. She tells him to be careful on his way home. He says he can't leave now, she has to go in safely first. When she finally breaks from him, he starts saying how cold it is ... so finally, she invites him in for tea. Hahaha. 
They have good timing together, don't they?
She smuggles him in and after a short time of shyness, they are quite ready to get more serious, but DAMN! Baek-myo comes in. Our Highness has barely time to hide himself ... under the table. He can't keep his hands off her though and touches her legs. Can't you just leave, Baek-myo?! When she finally does, our two lovers have another go - but this time, it's Gyu-dal who interrupts! Noooooooo.
I was fascinated by the way he almost looks like he gets sucked under the table. But damn the interruptions because you KNOW they were going for it.
We don't know what happens after that, but when Wang So returns home, he is in a VERY good mood.
Ah, so you think in the end they managed to find some 'uninterrupted time.'
I hope so. I really do... 
Kil-bong, who waits for him, less though ... she has finally come. Her being his mother. Damn. He enters - and immediately apologizes for whatever he has done. But she just came to have a cup of tea. He can't believe what is happening. This is the very first time she has given him tea. What absolutely kills me is not the whole set-up ... but how he doesn't even dare look at her.
I actually laughed.
You are a heartless creature. How can we be friends?
He chokes on it and she jumps up, to wipe his mouth. As if he were a little boy ... And then she takes his hand and apologizes for treating him harshly last time. She can't say what her motives were all this time - and she knows she cannot be forgiven as a mother. But she wants to wipe his tears with her own hands.
He tried to drink it completely curled over. Of course he choked on it.
Just imagining the pain on both sides, my heart is cracking.
Later, the Queen Mother finds out that Wang So and Yeo Won haven't consummated the marriage yet. Now THAT needs rectification right away. A date is set. Brace yourselves, people.
Oh yes, special dates for things like this.
Umm... so there was no date ever set in the past? So everyone just forgot to do that? It slipped the minds of an entire court?
There was the wedding night.

A letter has arrived at Chunghae ... from Wang Sik-Ryeom. Things are moving, just like she planned. But when she gets to the palace, it's not Uncle Hairline that welcomes her but Wang Wook. Uncle Wang comes in a bit later and is taken aback by how much she resembles Wook's stepmother. She learns that Wook is the one she has to negotiate with and he utters bullshit such as "give us back all you've bought - we'll pay you back what you paid". Pffft. What a bully! He threatens to bankrupt her, but she won't budge.
I don't understand her at all in this. She bought all the stuff hoping to monopolize the market and make a fortune off moving the capital to the west, except she MUST know that moving the capital to the west means overthrowing the current government. Why would she want to be part of that? She's a good businesswoman and she likes to make money, but I think she has some limits, and I'd expect this to be one of them. Unless she never cared and doesn't still, because for her one government is much like another - but now that she knows Wang So is part of what she'd be overthrowing, shouldn't she?
Before she leaves, she asks him about that woman he once loved - why did he not ask to marry her? He would have been able to keep her that way. But oh no ... she is mistaken. A prince's first marriage needs to be granted by royal decree. If it's not, the prince and his bride can be killed. Oh shiiiiiiit.
Yep, happened in all the monarchies all around the world.  The horror stories I know the most are from the Tudor era, such as Queen Elizabeth placing her cousin's husband in a cell too small for him to even stretch out of, all because they married without her permission. Death might be preferable.
So what's the problem? He can go to his brother, right?
He still broke the law.  As a prince he's under a strong obligation to follow the rules that do apply to him or else anarchy. 
Wang So has bought the rings she looked at the other night ... and enters the Trading Company. Shin-yool isn't in ... so he takes his time in the room, finding a good place to hide. He is looking forward to seeing her smile soon. But that won't happen. She is coming back from her meeting with Wook, remembering what Wang So told her that first night - never tell anybody about this wedding. It all makes sense now.
She goes into her room, where he is expectantly waiting. She starts crying, while Wook's words echo in her ears. She gets up and opens a little chest. In there, the red wedding dress from Gaebong. She unfolds it ... and he, who watches it all from the side, realizes who this woman is. He steps closer, slowly ... reaches for her ... and walks away.
Son of a BITCH.
He is in the courtyard, looking shellshocked. He stares at the rings in his hand - and puts them away. Inside, she readies the red garment to be destroyed. Her legs take her to the same spot he is already standing.When he turns, ever so slowly, she quickly hides the red cloth behind her back. The look on his face is heartbreaking. But he catches himself and shouts "Kaebong-aaaaa"! He wants to know what she is hiding behind her back and she says she wants to throw an old item away. When he looks at her face, he asks himself quietly whether she knows that their marriage is a death sentence.
CAN be a death sentence. CAN BE. Go to your brother and explain what happened. He's not completely crazy yet! This can be worked out! Although, if it doesn't, you'll be dead. So it's a risk.
But ShinYool will definitely be dead because a) brother hates her and this is an excuse, and b) someone would have to be punished to maintain sanctity of rules and laws.
Well, even if the brother would sanction it, it would still be very clear that he had gone against the law back then. It would still jeopardize him greately.  
He draws her close and says that she may well throw an object away, but the memories, they will stay. They're buried deep within your heart. That's the courtesy one owes to a memory ... especially one that doesn't belong to only oneself. And with a last heartbreaking "Keabong-aaaaa", he turns around and leaves.
*sobbing* Couldn't you give us one FULL EPISODE at least? Fuckers.
 Of all people to meet outside the gate, it's Yeo Won who has arrived. Of course it is. She has come to fetch him. There, his mother informs him (all happy) that the date for their consummation of marriage is 5 days from now. It's all for his benefit, she thinks: all his misfortune will disappear. Wang So realizes that his wife has deliberately lured his mother into his room - so that she would realize that they had separate bedrooms. There is no way out of this trap anymore.
And this is why I'd just like Yeowon to divorce So, marry SeWon and take over Goryeo. The rest can go make private clinics or whatever.  Looks like So is finally seeing Yeowon as someone to take seriously, maybe. Aish, who am I kidding? He'll never get it in his head that she would've been an amazing ally.
He's not looking for an ally. He's in love. He's always been in love, although not quite as much as now, and it was never with her, nor was she with him. Her ambition was to make a king. His ambition has never been to be king. Yes, they could be a great team - if he was a completely different person. They don't want the same things at all.

And so, the date arrives. The Prince and the Princess are readied. At Chunghae Trading Company, Shin-yool calculates a date for the consummation ... she was told to do so by that snake servant of Yeo Won's (I don't understand this ... is it to humiliate her or to fool her? Does she not know when it is?). And as Wang So enters the chambers stone faced, she sits at a table, while everybody is merry around her, and cries, though trying to show a smiling face to the world.
If he doesn't like YeoWon at all, why does he get annoyed when Dumb Brother drools over her? Then, he shouldn't care. 
Wasn't Brother talking about the beautiful woman in context with the stupid husband? So maybe he was annoyed at that, not so much about the wife.
Other times Brother has squeed about her just being so beautiful and Wang So was annoyed. 


It hurts :(((( I was devastated the first time I saw this ep(and that was raw, so I didn't even understand the finality of this mean fate) and I'm devastated again. What a bomb. And here we all were, believing it would be so easy for them to be together, first wife and all ... How on earth should they get out of this?! Oh, I know! Wang So has to become king immediately. You can't kill the king for having a first wife without royal permission. Also, where's Eun-chun?! He has to attack the palace right away and disturb this consummation! I want no consummation between those two, eeeeeeeeek!
Neither do I. I think Yeowon will tolerate it, but I would like her to have love instead.
Yeah, me too. Anything that keeps her away from Wang So's loins.
Okay, I've seen the preview for 13. *shuts up*

This was a truly masterful episode from beginning to end. The beautiful "date" they had, right until she invited him in for "tea" ... and then, things went down the drain. Please, don't stay down there. I need some happy stuff in my life. Pleeeeeeease!
Agreed. Really good episode. And I kind of love that the thing that keeps them apart isn't some last minute thing that someone pulls, but her finding out something that's always been there - and us finding out at the same time as she does. I REALLY love that. Even if I hate it.