Shine or Go Crazy - Episode 20 (A SqueeCap)

People, sorry it took me so long to recap this. There was an issue of time (a gazillion birthdays and farewells of dear work colleagues/friends etc. to coordinate) but also an issue of will. I hate sad stuff. I don't want to watch sad stuff. The world is sad enough, you only need to have a look at the news. Anyway, now I'm ready. I think.
Why? WHY would you lead with this face? Why? Now I'm crying again.
See what I'm saying?

Episode 20 verdict: Just sad. 

Episode 20

Shin-yool has stopped breathing in the prison and Wang So's heartbreaking screams are just that: heartbreaking. At the same time, Wang Wook is sitting in his room, staring at the blue Arabian plate, thinking of his vow to never lose what he so loves again.
In that moment, I did not get a particularly warm nor especially fuzzy feeling.
Me neither. 
Surprisingly, that doesn't make him to the prison but to the King! Ooooookay, the King gets crazier and crazier. Today, he's not much afraid but super aggressive, especially against Wook, since he knows he has conspired with Wang Sik-Ryeom. Which will make him a scarecrow king, just like himself. That greatly amuses him. 
Man, I love this guy. He is so good in this role, and he really gives his everything to it, don't you think?
Oh yes. During this scene, I even thought he might be the best of the actors in this show
He works hard.
Can he get the antidote yet?! But no, Wook first has to go and talk to his sister. Oh, clever ... the only person that the King trusts is Wang So, right? So Wang So has to be the one that gives him the antidote. They need to sneak him out of prison!
My heart holds this teeny tiny voice saying Wook? Wook-ah?  Will he be Wook-ah?
Is that an affectionate way to speak to someone, adding an "ah"?
It absolutely is! 
Wang So is screaming his lungs out for somebody to call a doctor, but the guards have orders not to let anybody in (idiots). Finally, Wook appears! With a doctor. They put a mattress in Shin-yool's cell and she is fed some medicine, but it's not looking too good ... Wook gets some braziers in there, too (nice, with all the straw).
One thing I give him credit for...he's pretty much always thinking about her and what she needs.  Not saying he always comes up with the right answers, but still.
It helps here, but I do find him obsessive and immature.  Still, he's Pretty in Pink. (I don't like APink much, though, so I'm throwing in this really pink video by Laboum.)
But what is this? A guard drops a smoke-bomb and everybody who inhales the fumes collapses. Well, everybody but our main protagonists, who can simply shield their faces against the smoke and be fine. Why not. Oh look, it's Saki's favorite, Se-won!
Sigh.  I want to invite him over to play Departing Warrior's Last Night with Friendly Maiden
I'm a maiden, you've been married with a kid already, I get to play this!
Wook turns to So and hands him the box with the antidote. Hurry, So, hurry! Outside, speaking to the doctor, is Yeo-won. She asks after "the wench's" condition and hears that it's a surprise she is still alive - she is quasi frozen inside and is currently living by pure will alone. There is no treatment and she will die before the year is over.
I'm sure that was a comfort to her.
Now Yeowon's got her alliance, she probably doesn't care too much. So, this quasi-frozen inside business is the poor circulation from the heart condition, I'm guessing.
Wang So is in the King's room ... but things start going bad immediately when So tells his brother that he is only out momentarily. The King is a broken man, ridden by guilt and fear, but Wang So manages to once more assure him that he is the rightful ruler that gives strength to people. The King begs for So's forgiveness ... and when he grants it, he takes the antidote. Or maybe not?! Cause we don't see it!
Do not do that to me.
In this prison, Shin-yool wakes up ... and the first thing she sees is Princess Yeo-won.
Yikes. But the woman assures her she means no harm. She is here because Shin-yool wanted to see her. Yup, to ask her to please let Chunghae Trading Company survive. She knows she is dying - and she wants to protect her benefactors. Not for her sake, but for Wang So's sake. They're like family to him, too. Yeo-won is mildly amused, but she is listening, more so when Shin-yool talks about the spices that are delivered and the ginseng she wants for collateral.
It's a bold move, Shin Yool. Yeo Won is bound to respect that.
What I found really amazing was Shinyool listing all the things Yeowon won't be to So, namely family or love. Luckily, Yeowon didn't seem to care much. 
Wang So is back! He informs everyone that the King took the antidote - and while looking at Shin-yool all the time, he adds that tomorrow will be a long day. A very long day. After that, he is locked into his cell again and the siblings disappear.
What bad hair. That face trumps everything.
Those wrinkles worry me. They just do. 
While Uncle Hairline licks his lips happily (tons of nobles have signed a petition for severe punishment of our OTP, Wook is organizing the defense. And then, it's the day... will there be torture? Heads rolling? The prisoners are brought into the courtyard and Wang Sik-Ryeom starts posturing as great Inquisitor.  (Jack of All Trades, this dude.)  He repeats the terrible crime they committed (Marriage! Without royal decree!)
They threaten the bedrock of command!
Unlce Hairline was just getting ridiculous here. But then creepy people do weird stuff.
And now, the witness: General Kwak. After he has told everyone that he witnessed both the marriage and the bedding, Shin-yool and Wang So readily admit that they got married five years ago ... but not really. Wang Sik-Ryeom is breathing fire and brimstone when the King is announced. With him enter all the other witnesses: the whole Chunghae Trading Company (minus most of the servants)
Yay! It's the King! I remember being very happy that he was having a good day.
He did not witness any bedding. This isn't medieval Italy. 
Move over, Uncle Hairline - the King is here, and he is his old self. First witness: Gyu-dal, who tells every little detail about being in love with General Kwak's daughter to being beaten up by him and how that let to Shin-yool being in danger and Wang So being kidnapped. Everybody confirms this and there was no bedding. Looking BAD there, Kwak. Haha. Serves you right.
I loved that he had no idea Kwak had learned Korean in the meantime so he was really laying on the insulting language.  Sometimes Gyu-Dal is too much but sometimes he's just perfect. It must have been a fun role - similar to his MnD role, though, I wonder if this is just what he does.
What's MnD? (Marriage not Dating) I like this actor. I want to see him in more stuff.
But Uncle Wang is not yet done: if the marriage was pretense and Wang So never even saw the bride's face, how come the two are tied up together like this, here? When everybody vows they have only met a while ago at the slave market, he gets really angry and wants all the Chunghae people out. Stop this, shouts the King! His guards and Uncle Wang's guards face each other with swords drawn. The King declares he will not give in today.
How the HELL does Uncle Fuckwit get away with THAT piece of business, really?
So sick of this Uncle. He's like an especially annoying whack-a-mole.
Still, the Chunghae People are led away, while our OTP is left worried and in shackles. Will the King be able to kick Uncle Wang's balls (figuratively)? Or does Wang have the King by the balls? Yes of course he does: he has proof that the current King was involved in killing his daddy. But the King is having one of his good days: he suggests they can just both die. Seeing how he has the bronze mirror AND Consul Wang's signature is also on that scroll. They both agree to keeping their knowledge secret - but they also vow not to budge in today's inquisition. Well, great.
Someone just KILL HIM. Not the king.
Not condoning murder, but this is how creeps get away with being creepy because no one they're targeting can roll in the dirt the way they do.
Consul Wang has the memorandums brought, signed by the majority of nobles, calling for severe punishment. Wang So gets up and implores the King to abolish the old-fashioned and useless marriage law, who are only manipulated by the nobles these days. He then cues in his mother, who calls for "the appeals". It's an equally high mountain of scrolls, calling for the abolishment of the marriage law.
So, kind of out of place.  Not to mention irrelevant. Sure, times have changed and maybe the law isn't necessary now - but it was the law at the time, so that's that.  They can't win this by saying 'look how many people don't like it!' 
They could've gotten pardoned and the law abolished, though.
Fine, fine, says Uncle Wang (just doesn't shut up, does he?), then let Wang So prove that his marriage was really fake and there was no consummation of that marriage. Why did Shin-yool cross the seas to come to Goryeo? Why did Wang So go and learn trade with Chunghae? Why did he attempt everything to save Chunghae Trading Company? It's NOT looking good. But then, Elf Wang Wook gets up and says it's pretense indeed. Because him and Shin-yool are in the middle of discussing marriage themselves. And so, he turns around and begs his Majesty for his consent to marry her.
Fucking brilliant, you mean. In a case that can only be he said/she said, why NOT let something like that be 'proof' that they didn't get married? It's all an entirely stupid argument on both sides, really.
Especially since a previously married woman apparently couldn't possibly re-marry [rolls eyes]. Still, it saves the day.
And Wang So does what he said he would do, what they agreed on: he claims that he and Shin-yool have no relationship whatsoever. They are saved ... or are they?
I sat there thinking 'well your faces have proven the truth, really, which is that Wang So just lied.' They look like DEATH... all three of them.
Especially Shinyool. 
Wang Sik-Ryeom insists on a punishment for Wang So: he will serve as drafter under his son Wang Poong, collecting the men for forced labor. Or else, he will use torture to find out who the leader of the Righteous Men is. YOU EVIL TOAD YOU! And thus, the King decides.
Ah, you loathsome leftover sperm, I hate you.
I like this insult, Joanne. One day, I shall use it. 

It's too much for Shin-yool, who collapses again. She may be alive, but she might wish she were dead as soon as she wakes (I'm with Gyu-dal here). Wang So is just shellshocked, sitting there big-eyed and vulnerable, accepting the King's explanation (he had to save him and all will be alright with time). He very clearly won't be alright, that much is clear. Lonely cat from Geumgang Mountain. OOooookay, enough of the crying :((((((
Okay the cat thing was weird, but heartbreaking. But weird. He's a grown man. Come on.
I actually felt for him here.  
Or maybe I prefer the crying to this resigned, sad lump of a man who just nods when Wook says there was no other way. And asks him to please forget about his Gaebong. Why make things harder. Despite all his pain, Wang So has the grandness to thank his half-brother for saving the Assistant Head.
I feel for them both. Wook will have his dream come true in the most nightmare-ish way possible, and Wang So has to let go of his dream of restoring his brother and then running away with GaeBong, since now she'll be the wife of another man.  Except hello, he's the husband of another woman and he was going to run away, so what's the diff?  (Exactly.) He understands right away that Wook wasn't pulling an underhanded move, he was pulling the only move he could - and he didn't do it for himself, he did it for her.  So does So think they'll have any more of a marriage than he does with Yeo Won?  (They will consummate, I'm sure of that.) Honestly,  now that a week has gone by and my tears have dried up, I really think this is a bit of over-reaction on So's part.
I'm not so sure about this forgetting business, because next, Wang so is on Shin-yool's bedside and calls her name. When she wakes up and seems him there, she flies into his arms ... as he pats her back, he asks her to come with him.
It's that shrine where they swore to become blood brothers. And he brought her here to release her from this bond. They tell the God of heaven and earth that even the little time they had with each other made life worth living for. And the vow to be strangers from now on. (uhmmm, wait a minute. Won't they be living in the palace, side by side?!)
I guess maybe he just figures that okay, they had their run, and they have to give it up for real or jeopardize a whole lot of people.  So maybe this goodbye is sincere and they each plan to try and have a real marriage with the partners they ended up with.  You know, that they would make a genuine effort to be married to the people they actually ARE married to. Ah, shit.  Tears.
Maybe. That's why I felt some care for them for a change, since they were being all responsible and all. Also, they have to be responsible this way or risk Uncle Hairline's spies bringing them down.
But not yet enough of the sad. He accompanies her home for the last time ... and it's time for the final goodbye. He is strong ... and turns around, to walk away. So does she. But on the door step, the aching of her heart brings her to her knees. And he, who has walked a bit up the street, falters and slowly turns around ... when she comes running out again. They silently hug - and kiss.
I think we can give them at least that, right?
Sure, why not, assuming no one hostile sees them. 
Wang Wook might be the big winner here, but he isn't, really. He has promised Shin-yool (I think?) that he'd cancel the marriage with her once he has become king. That's very noble. No, people ... he doesn't deserve your hate. Also because he cries a lot. People who cry a lot are very sensitive. And indeed, getting to marry the woman you love to save your half-brother that you hate, well-knowing she will never ever love you is not my definition of happiness.
Yeah. He did a good thing here, and a whole bunch of people are completely mistaken about what happened. He certainly does not deserve hate, and he actually earned respect from me this episode.  I didn't understand that HE'D cancel the marriage, though - I thought it said that when he became king the marriage would have to be cancelled (she's not royalty, as far as they know, and so perhaps can't be Queen?) - but either way, he knows from the start that this marriage won't last long and that it isn't a love match by any stretch.  
I think he's so into whatever will make her happy, that he'll promise, and maybe even mean it, that he'll cancel the marriage. But since she doesn't have long to live, that promise doesn't mean much. 
And thus, the wedding preparations begin. Shin-yool smiles a sad, sad smile when they make her wedding dress and she remembers her first wedding. The one with her true love.
More tears, of course.


Shoo, shoo, go away you mean drama. So sad. :((((
Remember episode 12?  We though that Wang So would "have to" sleep with his wife and that was sad. But in reality, Shin-yool and Wang So were never really in danger - up until now. The only way this can be averted is if he becomes King - but he will never betray any of his brothers for that. At the moment, Shin-yool and Wang So are endangered in at least two separate ways: a) she is dying and b) she is becoming his brother's wife. One thing alone is serious enough but both together? DAMN.
I sort of want her to die while she's married to Wook, though, and that Wook calls So in to be at her deathbed. I think then the two brothers can focus on taking down Uncle Fuckwit, and maybe Wook will die tragically in that battle, and then So and Yeo Won will rule the country brilliantly, because King Brother will die soon - right? Do we all think his mental reprieve is short lived?
He's got too much guilt to stay sane. I'm cool with the scenario Joanne sketched out. The story can work well like that. 

I know that poor Elf got a lot of hate for his actions in various online forums, but hey, he meant well. He will even release her once he is king. I seriously can't hate him. The question is, though, whether a life apart is better than a short life together. The Romeo and Juliet way, you know.
He did it to save her, and by extension his brother.  I wonder would he have done the same if it were not her, though. I FEEL like he's siding up with So because they have to be together to take down Uncle Fuckwit, but I'm not entirely sure that can be proven by what's been seen or said.
I don't think she'll live long enough to be released. :-o

Let's take a vote:  who thinks they're really married, to begin with? Apparently it was a valid ceremony but they never intended to take it seriously and never consummated it - so if you need both a valid ceremony and consummation, at that time it wasn't a real marriage. But then they re-met and fell in love and by this point it should be no surprise to anyone that they DO want to be together forever and that they probably HAVE had is that long dormant 'fake' marriage now genuine?  Which of course would make her 'real' marriage to Wook invalid from its first moment, not that that matters.  But more importantly, to me - it means that they DID lie in that court. It WAS a fake marriage, but it no longer IS a fake marriage. I somehow feel sad about that deception, although I do understand it.
I don't know how it works in Buddhism, which is what they would've followed. If you need intent and full agreement, then no, it was not a real marriage. If you just need the words said by the right people with the right motions, no intent necessary, then it is a marriage. As for the consummation part, that's usually important in the Abrahamic traditions since the primary purpose of marriage is to regulate sex. But it could be that in Buddhism, you can have sexless marriages. 
What matters here is that AT THAT TIME, it was pretense and certainly not real. The law is only about the 1st marriage. After he got married to Yeo-won (that was only a few a days or so after the Kaebong incident) he could do whatever he wanted with whatever woman. So no breaking the law.