Shine or Go Crazy - Episode 16 (A SqueeCap)

Oh dear. This was an edge-of-my-seat episode (well, at least the latter half). We're back on track, I'm so glad! this episode comes with a few very strong (and unexpected) character moments for Wang Wook and Yeo-won and things just got 100 times more interesting. When will Wang So stop being reluctant and realize that this nation needs him?
He's trying! Are you suggesting he should let his brother die and then fight to be the successor?
Yes. And since my kdrama club hasn't convened to watch this yet, I'm going to comment with songs from underappreciated boy group, 100%.
Episode 16 verdict: Much better than 15, much better! But still, the live-shoot is showing. A bit too much for excellence, but such is KDrama.

Episode 16

Se-won has captured Shin-yool and Wang So might have near superpowers (well, at least when it comes to being extremely hot all the time), but there is no way in hell he can chase a horse on foot!
Apparently, this is news to Wang So.  He looks very shocked.
Why not?  He's the Goryeo Messiah. Or Super Man. (And yes, the album title is, in actual fact, Bang the Bush.)
He runs back to the Trading Company instead, but this is also the night Wang Sik-Ryeom makes his power move: All their operations are suspended - they're under suspicion for tax evasion (haha, how modern). (I always thought they were too arrogant with their wealth and control. They should've greased more palms.) Wang So gets access to the premises by virtue of being a Prince. But the situation is dire! Somebody smuggled a letter bearing Shin-yool's handwriting and signature into her room, in which she tells her family the tax evasion has been discovered and they need to leave Goryeo.
Uncle Hairline, you fuckwit.
I'll be damned. It's proof enough for the phony cronies and they declare Chunghae's assets frozen. Punishment will follow. Unless ... they confess to everything and hand everything over to another trading company. And who has ordered which one it is? Consul Wang. The moment has come for Wang So to lose it. About time, because I'm not sure whether I should giggling madly or be outraged about the stupidity of this whole thing.
I chose outrage. Uncle Hairline is a terrible man.
Such a Bad Boy.
Wang So calls this a farce, puts the shady officials in their place and instructs the rattled Traders what to do. His priority, of course: finding the Assistant Head. Baek-Myo is to give the guards booze and food. Gang-Myeong must gather information. And poor ol' Gyu-Dal ... has to stay strong. Cause they'll try to bully him into signing that document that will transfer all their goods and assets into the hands of that other company. Uh-oh. Strong and Gyu-Dal don't go together all that well last time I checked.
Yeah, he's so spineless I'm amazed he can walk upright. This will not be good.
Let's see if his furs and earrings get threatened: bet he's not so spineless then. 

Wang So realizes that Shin-yool knew she was potentially in danger and goes looking for a letter that she would have deposited. He remembers her cryptic message from before in which she calls herself the "Red Lady" - that makes him think the hidden message must be where she used to keep the red wedding dress. When he checks, the dress is still there. Huh? Hasn't she burned it?! (or am I mixing this drama up with Jang Bori?)
She was on her way to burn it when he stopped her, I think. They had an emotional parting, and I guess they didn't show us when she returned to her room still carrying the dress. Or, they forgot.
I remember her burning something in the yard ... but I'll not go back to check.
It just keeps getting rubbed in how they're all Only You about each other:
The message says: If you read this, something has happened to me. The antidote is with Princess Yeo-won. She's also the one who has supplied the poison to kill the King. The evidence: the bracelet. And unfortunately, Yeo-won knows about what happened in Kaebong. Dun-dun.
Why didn't she just say all this before? And the dun-dun gives us Beat
Eun-chun is to make sure he knows where Yeo-won is all the time (he says in her room, as indicated by the burning candle) and investigate that other Trading Company's (Poong Ho) links to Consul Wang. Well, of course that trading company belongs to Wang. When Uncle Hairline boasts about his success in front of Wang Wook, Elf gets rather pissy. Understandably, cause not so long ago, Uncle promised to wait and let him handle it.
Why do they never understand that a liar is someone who lies?
Sigh, lies Still Again
Wook gets all bitter and accuses Hairline for having betrayed him by joining hands with another  (=Yeo-won, who gave him the information). Fine, says Wook: he can do that too, join hands with somebody else (YES!). But Wang Sik-Ryeom isn't afraid of Wook: they have Shin-yool, Wook's greatest vulnerability.
He wants her back. (Want You Back)
Wang Wook runs to the Trading Company and is shocked to see the guards. And even more shocked when he hears that Shin-yool has been kidnapped! Baek-Myo begs him to go after her, too, since a night in the open might mean death for the Assistant Head, seeing what happened when she was little. She even gives the Elf some special medicine for her, against the chills. Man, is this Baek-Myo = Saki? She is so biased!!!
She likes that type, though. Delicate.
Jaehyo is not delicate, though some of these 100% boys arguably are. Bit of history: thanks to watching the Iron Empress, I now know that Wang Wook fathered a Goryeo king with his brother's daughter. Yes, that happened. 
"Yes, I'm Legolas"
Get it now, Wook?! (My love isn't too bright, but I don't mind.) Wang Sik-Ryeom even sneers at him for being such a wuss about this woman and declares him unfit for King if he's acting like that. I want to scream "YES! Bromance! Join forces with Wang So and get rid of the Toad"!!! But unfortunately, Goryeo Legolas starts crying a little and says he will be uncle's Puppet King, if Uncle tells him where Shin-yool is being held. But the thing is this: Yeo-won gave to order to kill the Assistant Head. And Wang Sik-Ryeom gave the order to spare her. The question is: whom will Se-won listen to? And in case she survives this, she will die immediately if Hairline does not get Chunghae this time.
If he just didn't cry, I would have thought that was a cool gesture (which I would then expect him to double-cross but it would be okay because he'd have had his fingers crossed) but no, he cried.
In the meantime, Wang So went looking for Yeo-won, but she isn't in her room. She duped everyone by just having a candle burn all the time. (Like that wasn't obvious.) Wifey is at the torture room, with Shin-yool and a still masked Se-won. Ah, she brought her tea set with her. Smiling her creepy smile, she informs Shin-yool that she has found her "flower garden": Chunghae Trading Company. And that flower garden is currently being torn apart and stomped to the ground and dug up. In other words: completely destroyed. The aim: to let Shin-yool experience humiliation.
Oh, I hope this is the part where Se Won realizes how soul-less she is and decides it's too much even for him.
I'm okay with this. YeoWon just has more Flavour: Personally, though, I'd just kill ShinYool at this point. She's annoying enough. 
I have resisted Saki's ire for quite a long time, but I am a bit annoyed with Yool's character as well at this point. She's just bland. 
It's day now and Wang So is none the wiser. (How?) He goes to see Cheong-ok and asks her whether she can point him to that place she was abducted to. (He really should've asked this ages ago and checked it out.)  The smart woman can, even though she was blindfolded! (She probably counted steps and turns.) You must hurry, Wang So, because the chills are starting to affect Shin-yool. They're not very consistent, these chills, are they. Yeo-won is happy because she reads Shin-yool's facial expression as fear - and she lectures her on what true humiliation is. Her family? They will become like poor dogs at night. All because of her.
Yeo Won is starting to lose perspective, I think. Maybe she's been sniffing that poison.
This whole scene is ridiculous and reminiscent of Blackadder, Elizabethan years, where Lord Blackadder and Lord Melchett are trapped in a dungeon and all the guards do is mock them.  
For Yeo-won, power is life. When one encounters a stronger power than oneself, one can try to avoid it. If that is impossible, one will be consumed. Shin-yool should have avoided a clash with Yeo-won, seeing that Yeo-won is the stronger one.
Oh I think you might be surprised, Yeo Won.
I don't think YeoWon would faint if she was pulled onto a horse. She's an awesome Bad Girl:

Shin-yool may be down, but she isn't quite out yet. She tells Yeo-won that it's Wang So's fate to be the next king - and that she, Shin-yool, is instrumental in making him one. And doesn't Yeo-won want him to be the next King? Hence, she has to be let go! Okay, I get Yeo-won's anger at those words! It really does sound extremely insolent.
It does, but Shin Yool doesn't know that Yeo Won also has that birthmark and thus was given that 'future' as well - plus Yeo Won must think Shin Yool is just bragging about her relationship with Wang So. It would enrage anyone, I think. It's too bad these women love the same man.
So is both women's (Summer) Hero:
Yet, she pushes open the door to the hut and tells Shin-yool to leave. Only ... Se-won unsheathes his sword, right then and there. She may run, but she'll be chased down like a scared rabbit. This is her fate: to die. With that, she leaves the two alone.
I can't believe that Se Won would DO that. I have no evidence to support it other than I like his face, though. But I mean, the only reason Yeo Won wants her dead is because YW's husband loves her. This is a very personal murder, not one he would commit as part of a gang of assassins employed for political reasons. Different entirely, somehow. Emotionally, anyway. Is he THAT whipped?
He's YeoWon's Lovekiller (okay, this is labelmate Niel's solo):
Wang So is following Cheong-Ok's instructions. Start in front of the salt stall. Walk uphill about 270 steps until you hear the sound of water. After that, a mountain path - and secret markings.
So you're telling me no one saw the blindfolded, shackled woman stop and carve markings into trees every 50 or so feet while they moved her to a secret location.
Hurry up, Wang So! Shin-yool is doing poorly. And for whatever reason, Se-won thinks the time for her to die has come and once again draws his sword. Half delirious, Yool recognizes the ornament on his sword as Balhaelian Fishgod. She is so glad to see it and be reminded of her mother and brother, whom she has never seen. FINALLY, Se-won seems to make a connection between this woman in front of him and what Wook told him not long ago about that woman who is searching for her family. And when she says "my brother died on his way to see me", he wavers. Could it be that...?
YES. YES, it could be that! THINK, Se Won. Think!
When will ShinYool shut up? Anyway, no applicable 100% song here, so sidebar to TINT's Wolf Is Stupid: .
Pretty pretty pretty but maybe not that bright
In his moment of inattentiveness, Shin-Yool has the presence of mind to set a fire with the candle - and flees. Oh, you silly woman ... it takes Se-won three seconds to extinguish that and follow her. Poooooor planning. Very poor planning. At least, Wang So has found the hut! But it's now empty. He takes in the scene, sees the teapot ... and smells one of the cups. What?! Poison??! Ah, or is he just sniffing his wife's tea out. He starts running through the forest, calling out for Kaebong-aaaaaa.
I had to laugh at that fire. And the sniffing, because every man who never spends time with his wife would recognize the scent of her tea.
In the forest, Se-won has caught up with Shin-yool, who has simply collapsed after stumbling around more than running. Once more, the sword is unsheathed. Seeing her death is so near, Shin-yool fumbles for her butterfly talisman to fold it into her hands for prayers. He recognizes it!
So now he'll switch and help her because she's his sister, right?
Hurriedly, he asks whether she was born in the Royal Palace. She is too weak to say anything, so she just (kinda) nods her head. He is overwhelmed by his feelings and ... turns around to walk away. EXCUSE ME?! He is such an idiot!!! Behind him, his sister has fainted. And he doesn't even realize.
WTF. Worst Brother of the Year, for every year forever.
I don't get this at all. Must've been some bad editing. 
This is how a frantic Wang So finds her (hours later? We're not sure). He cradles her in his arms, trying to wake her and then to warm her, when he realizes how cold her body is.
I hear you have to get naked and put skin against skin.
Urgh, I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. 
But then, Wook appears! Another sword unsheathed. So immediately moves to shield her with his body, but Wook hasn't come to harm him or her! He has come to give her medicine (that's the one Baek-Myo gave him, no?) AND to shout at Wang So for not doing what he told him: resolve his problems with Yeo-won! This is all his fault! But not, it's Wook's fault, because he conspired with the Traitors! Wook says that there is no prince in the palace that doesn't want to become King. But the current King is their hyungnim first! shouts Wang So. How can he sacrifice a brother to become king?
Can we focus on saving Shin Yool and table the succession discussion for later, guys?
I also learnt from the Iron Empress that Wang So killed off huge chunks of siblings and even tried to kill his own son. So, whatevs to the "hyungnim" talk. We all know that's political posturing. 
No, no, Saki! In this version of history, Wang So is GOOOOOooood
All this shouting (and the medicine, I guess), makes Shin-yool wake up. Her thoughts are immediately with the antidote. And her family! Wang So carries her away ... and Wang Wook says nothing. So he's still a dick. And who's that, hiding behind a tree?! Se-won! Wook demands to know whom he is working for: His sister, Consul Wang, or himself?
Yeah, I'd kind of like to know what Se Won is thinking, myself. This whole bit was exciting, but very weird.  People are not reacting in ways that make sense.
I don't care much because a) this show doesn't really make any sense and is forcing a love story, and b) when I see SeWon my own brain shuts down a bit to think U Beauty
(And gosh, Elf is so Purple!)
At the Company, the Traders try keeping the investigators happy (but more or less fail). That shady one that we have seen wtith Wang Sik-Ryeom before finds out that 240 people (slaves) are missing. I.e. not on the premises. Hm. Does she buy slaves and let them free?
That's my assumption.
Later, they simply lock themselves into a room and claim the door is broken.
Idiots, truly. Lovable, but really stupid.
The officials put on the pressure to sign that transfer of ownership document. Okay, we need more Gyu-dal scenes :D
He's okay in small doses. Very small doses.
He makes more sense than anyone else in this show. Seriously, his derpiness is so consistent.
Wang So is near! He is still carrying Shin-Yool (our strong herooooo). They're so loath to part ... poor darlings. The friggin Snake Servant is watching them from the shadows. Just drop dead already! Wang So promises to be back ... but there's something he must do. Yeah? Like ... kill your poisonous wife?!
Please. And find out who has the antidote. If it's Wook, why did he take it? Did he think someday Yeo Won would use it on Shin Yool? Does he plan to 'rescue' the king and create a new alliance for himself? Or does he just want to screw with Yeo Won's plans, no matter what they are?
Whatever it is, he's back to an ungrateful brat for me. His sister has spent her life protecting him.
Consul Wang's henchman have finally broken Gyu-dal (well, they threatened to throw him in prison) and he readies the stamp to finalize the transfer. He isn't quite sure where to stamp the document though :D He did well to stall until the last minute, because that gave Shin-yool the time to appear! She can prove that the ledger that shows the discrepancies is a fake - and Wang Wook will be able to vouch for that too. Ah, never was I gladder to see the Elf, he's here!
But if he vouches for her, these things happen: He publicly breaks with his uncle (after having just broken with his sister in a very concrete way) and he only buys a little time before the NEXT attack against Shin Yool, which he might not be able to stave off because he no longer has any strong backing - unless he throws in his lot with his brother So, which he doesn't seem all that interested in doing.
But will he go against Uncle Wang and confirm that this whole shebang is a ridiculous farce? Remember, Uncle Hairline directly threatened Yool's life! Come on, Wook! Be a man! Ah, but Wang So also has an important decision to make ... what to do with his wife! If he dumps her, Consul Wang wins too.
Why? (because they will be divided powers, not combined. If they go against him together, they have a chance of winning)

We are thinking along the same lines.
But Wook ... GAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! testifies that the ledger is genuine. At that, Shin-yool faints again. But Wook is going to noble idiocy road. It's okay to hate and abhor him as long as she is safe. GODDAMMIT. Wang Sik-Ryeom is winning ... and the King gets worse and worse.
I see this as just a way to buy some time. I somehow think Wook is not giving up, here.
And then, Wang So's moment to shine has arrived. His wife is waiting for him, calmly. She knows he knows everything. She has always been this, yes: brave. She doesn't deny that she has poisoned the King, but she also needs to tell her husband she doesn't have the antidote. Yikes, Wang So is scary...
She's got to know that he'll do everything he can to ruin her now, right?
No, he still needs her money and the flexibility that gives him.  
But he is not about to get violent, it seems ... he voices his disappointment in her. He thought she was human. A human like him, with emotions. But why did she do this to her stepbrother, his brother, the King? How could she have sunk that low? She is not human. Okay, he may be speaking calmly but he still scares me.
Yeah, the tiger is out.
She continues drinking her tea, slowly at first - but then, her time to talk has come. His brother? He was involved in the assassination of his own stepbrother. The assassins who tried to kill her brother Wook when they were young were from his maternal family, the Choongs. The 34 princes and princesses of Goryeo fought each other to death. To survive, they must fight like animals. He, who was exiled, lived a happy life on that mountain. He should be forever grateful for that. While they all learned to live like animals, he was the only one that was able to keep his humanity.
I think she's a bit crazy at this point, but you know, when she puts it like that I have some sympathy for her. I don't forget that she could easily have lived a quiet life; she could have had power in any number of ways that DIDN'T involve ruling the country and never had to kill anyone or betray family members. It was her greed to be the boss (or the power behind the boss) that led to this. A choice she made - nothing she was forced to do. So my sympathy only goes so far. Still, what both Wook and Yeo Won have said to Wang So, that growing up outside the palace was a gift - those words were true.
Remember how much they all believe in prophecies, though. She believes in hers. 
Wait ... does she know her prophecy? In any case, I had quite a lot of sympathy for her during this complete breakdown. I fully understand where she comes from. It's kill or be killed, that is what she is saying. You might not like this system, but if you don't play along, you're dead, sooner rather than later. She has already survived assassination attempts. She'll not make that mistake again.
Instead of blaming her, he should consider blaming his own brother, who joined in the murder of his stepbrother. Or his own father, who created this situation of prince-overpopulation. If he finds this situation abhorrent, become the King. And change things. The King who is stronger than anyone else. It's what she wants with all her might: such a strong King. 
Not quite accurate, and definitely self-serving. She wants a strong King who is HERS to control or influence. She's not doing this for the country, she's doing it for herself, and maybe a little for her family.
I dunno, she looks pretty traumatized in that gif. She's probably the only person with some depth in this show. 
That I wouldn't sign, but I agree that she is not a truly selfish person. Up until the time that Wook started to rebel against her, she did everything to protect him.
But can somebody who kills a sibling to get to the top be called the King? he asks - and leaves. But she is not done and spits out: "In order to save you, I tried to kill the Assistant Head."
I do think she sees Shin Yool as a problem for Wang So, since she makes him vulnerable. That is true. And she still has hopes that Wang So will be the king - but she'll only want that for as long as she thinks it will bring HER power, and I really don't understand why she doesn't understand that knowing what she's like means Wang So will NEVER be her partner in any real way. She may end up Queen with him King, but I'm not sure she'll like that life.
I think she really wants some peace and a stop to the in-fighting and she thinks Wang So can do it. Also, this drama is not a sageuk, it's a typical kdrama rom-com with some melo in Goryeo clothing. So, a lot of YeoWon can simply be explained by four words: Crazy Second Lead Female. Unfortunately, it's boring. 
It would be if they truly followed the Crazy Second Female Lead reasoning, but they're not. They saved her character for me in this episode, by giving her a reason way beyond jealousy. Wang So is her ticket to protection and stability. She covets nothing more than that - a strong King who will put an end to the constant fear. She doesn't care about him as a person or his love. She cares for his power and his position. This can work. It can.  


OOOoooookay, breath. Oioioi, that last scene had me bite my nails - the tension was off the charts! I seriously did not know what to expect of Wang So. And I was completely surprised by Yeo-won, too. Once again, great acting, Honey Lee! But what did Yeo-won mean with that last sentence? Why would killing Shin-yool mean saving Wang So? From her own wrath? Does she mean to say she didn't do it out of jealousy? I'm not sure I understand.
Kind of addressed above - Shin Yool puts Wang So at risk because 1) the indiscretion of their early marriage (perhaps negligible) 2) she's a nobody who brings next to nothing to the table, leaving him at risk from all clans, perhaps even his own 3) he loves her and will risk himself to protect her, so anyone who wants to get to him only needs to take action against her.
Yes. And I think Yeo-won fears that Wang So might divorce her. That would plunge her into the deepest hells of political uncertainty. 

You know what I am thinking? It is not just Shin-yool that Wang So needs on his path to become king - it's both women. It's not the first time that Wang So gets to hear how lucky he was not to grow up in the palace. And in fact, it's his father's initial plan - to remove him from this horrible place so that he would survive and become the king. But for the first time, we realize how truly horrible this Goryeo is and what the price of sleeping with 34108 women is - a price that the First King's children have to pay.
Agreed. I was serious when I said I wished they would all put on public faces that allow them to move on with political necessities, and then just live how they want behind doors. Wang So and Yeo Won are king and queen and the public First Couple, but then behind doors she has her Se Won and he has his Shin Yool and they all just live happily ever after. I guess the problem would be it wouldn't be Yeo Won's kid who becomes the next King, unless Shin Yool never has a son.

But when will he stop being a reluctant Prince and become the strong King? What will it take? He loves his older brother dearly, which isn't surprising, seeing how starved of affection Wang So was and how friendly that particular brother always reacted (as long as he thought that Wang So was a silly weakling). And all of a sudden, he is not that benign, slightly soft, hapless creature anymore. The current King Jeongjong killed his sibling to get the throne. Do you hear this, Wang So? He is an "animal" like everybody else.
So was the current king willingly Uncle Hairline's puppet at the beginning? Did he participate in the assassination plot with Hairline's backing, not realizing that it would make him a puppet?  Would he have tried to kill Wang So, instead, if Wang So had been the clear favorite back then?
I am pretty certain that yes, he would have tried to kill Wang So
I have no sympathy for this Hyungnim and Wang So's idol worship of him. 

Wook. Well, well, well. I remain cautiously hopeful he will understand that Wang Sik-Ryeom is a devil and that siding with him will not get him anywhere.  For the time being, he chooses Shin-yool's safety (not understanding that Chunghae and that family is "her world" and that by exposing them to the evil doings of Consul Wang, he destroys that), which happens to be in Uncle Wang's favor.
I think he knows that, but at that moment he is willing to do anything that ensures Shin Yool's safety. 
But of course, that won't be enough to stop the Beast. The only way to go against him is siding with Wang So (and accept that he's by far the better man). The moment will come, I'm sure of it.
I have been waiting for it since at least last episode!
Is Wang So the better man? I'm not convinced. He took a side in politics and he defends that side. And he kills when it suits his ends (the Righteous Men aren't angels).  
All history aside, I think the drama is making a point that Wang So never wanted power. He was sucked into politics very reluctantly, through the necessity to protect his father, the First King. He dreams of a quiet life somewhere on his Tiger Mountain, with Shin-yool. It may seem like he "took a side", but in truth, I think he never did. The Righteous Men are there to protect whoever is King. He believes in that office - the King is the benign head of state. As soon as he became the leader of these fighters, he became protector of the current king. In this episode, for the first time, his belief in the goodness of that particular king is being shaken. The question is what he will do now, with that knowledge

Finally, Se-won. He is a bit of an idiot, isn't he. I hope he is able to step away from his current entanglement with the people who covet power and find the right path for himself. His sister is back and his sister is in danger: surely, that's enough impetus to stop being a shadow-lurker?
Brothers aren't always nice to sisters, though. In fact, they're more likely to be horrible to them than to brothers. And if Se-Won's loyalty is to YeoWon, he may not care about his sister, just as Wook has stopped caring about YeoWon because his loyalty is to ShinYool. I'm just going to stick A Guy Like Me in here:
I don't have a brother but you're certainly right :) In any case, the drama will not go there. He WILL of course start to re-connect with his sister. The only "secret" that is not out yet is that Shin-yool is a Princess as well. And once he is established as prince, he and Yeo-won can be together. Yay.