Sungkyunkwan Scandal: Episode 8


SKKS is turning out to be the You’re Beautiful of 2010. And I’m not just referring to the cross-dressing theme, the light playful tone and the parade of prettiness. I mean in particular its overpoweringly addictive nature. We started out charmed, and we are now thoroughly, utterly addicted. Counting down the days to Mondays. Scouring the internet for sub-titles. Making Moony Faction fanvids when we should be being productive. Otherwise sensible adults turning into pools of gushing goo. Yes, it is Big SKKS Collective Addiction.

We can learn a lot from SKKS about Pleasing the Crowd and Charming their Socks Off. Episode 8 is just one great big fan-servicing squee-fest. So, anyone planning to win the lottery and produce a cult classic drama, do take notes, as we go to SoCanSquee School together to learn from the master. Teamed with a sure-handed director, a competent cast, an elegant soundtrack, and pretty sets and costumes, the following plot points will assure you a winner!

Boy Discovers Girl

The highlight of any cross-dressing romcom is when Boy discovers Girl is a girl.


And are we going to milk this delicious moment for all it’s worth? You betcha! Episode 7 ended with Moon Jae Shin catching Yoon Hee in her desultory bath and being adorably stunned into hiccoughs.


Episode 8 throws more Boys into the mix. Starchy Scholar Lee Sun Joon is doing his heart homing pigeon thing, i.e., searching high and low for Kim Yoon Shik. And Gu Yong Ha’s overweening curiosity launches himself out of his dorm room, in the name of “the quest for truth”.

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As Jae Shin lurches away in horror from where Yoon Hee is taking her secret bath, he crashes right into Sun Joon.

Boy Protects Girl

He may have just suffered the shock of his life, but Jae Shin still has his wits about him and knows that Yoon Hee’s secret must be kept. His protective instincts kick in, and he extemporises desperately and hilariously. “This is a place for holding memorial services! Why should Kim Yoon Shik be here? Of course he’s not here!” Poor Crazy Horse. Little does he realise that this is just the first of very many moments when he will be trying to protect Yoon Hee, preserve her secret and hide the fact that he knows, all at the same time. His life is going to get even more complicated than it already is. It’s as well that he’s a resourceful chap.

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He will need all his wits, too, because Joseon’s Champion Mischief-Maker is here.

Boy Teases

“Why wouldn’t Daemul be here? Indeed, if as you say this place is out of bounds, isn’t it the perfect place for someone who has something to hide? I should just see for myself…” Yong Ha saunters along, speculating provocatively.

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Oh! Oh! What a delicious tease Yong Ha is! How Crazy Horse must dearly love to strangle Yong Ha right now! How the perpetually perplexed Sun Joon is even more puzzled as Jae Shin and Yong Ha engage in a desperate dance: Jae Shin trying to fend off Yong Ha without appearing to put him off. And warn Yoon Hee at the same time. Yong Ha trying to burst on Yoon Hee without appearing too eager to burst upon her, at the same time suspecting Jae Shin has discovered the truth and teasing him with his seemingly-innocent persistence. All the while toying with the watchful presence of Sun Joon.

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Inevitably (and deliciously), things degenerate into a playground fight…

Boys have a Girly Fight

Hands up, who else’s favourite scene from Bridget Jones was the girly fighting between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant? click here for youtube clip (Yup. Just watched it AGAIN. Still makes me giggle, hee.) I don’t know why the fearless Masked Mystery Messenger who can fight off an entire squad of constabulary is suddenly reduced to ineffective scuffling, but who cares when we get to watch this…? (And while I have tried my best with screen-caps, you really have to watch the video to get the full flavour, and so that you can hear Yong Ha’s girly squeals…)

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Yong Ha and Jae Shin are so busy getting to grips with each other (ahem!), they have left Sun Joon alone. To quietly open the door they had been fighting over…


What follows is a wonderfully tense sequence in which I nearly had a heart attack. Involving Sun Joon calmly walking into the building. And the boys rushing after him to forestall disaster, and being astounded to find the place empty. And Jae Shin noticing a drop of water falling from above. And Yoon Hee being perched precariously on a row of shelves.

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And Professor Yoo and school guards arriving on the scene. And candles falling off shelves and being caught at the last moment… You couldn’t get a more exciting night in boarding school if you were having a forbidden secret midnight feast in your dorm.

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Girl Beset

Fleeing the site of her nearly-discovered bath, Yoon Hee is intercepted by Professor Jung. He is not impressed that she has caused a small commotion. Does she think this is a game? She must not be found out. From the moment she decided to stay in Sungkyunkwan, she had staked her very life.

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No captivating boy-meets-girl story is complete without Girl being Beset by Difficulty. Frequently in order for Boy to rescue her – which is fine, if tired. But in the case of SKKS so far, Yoon Hee has been shouldering her considerable problems all by herself, and through them we get to know and love her.

Bad Boy. Very Bad Boy.

And no exciting story is complete without a creditable villain. Student President Ha In Soo serves the purpose well enough. He is mean, he is ruthless. He terrifies his own lackeys. He is plotting to turn our room-matey threesome on each other. But he needs to learn to laugh less fakily. Perhaps Jun Tae Soo could take lessons from his sister on the art of the twisted maniacal laugh (which she had plenty of opportunity to perfect in What Happened in Bali).

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Boys Lay Awake Thinking of Girl

After the shock of discovering Yoon Hee’s gender, Jae Shin is as likely to fall peacefully asleep as he is to wear frilly pink silk. Sun Joon, on his part, is lying awake stewing about the moment last Episode when Yoon Hee pulled her hand away and rejected Sun Joon’s concern over her injury.

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They both turn to contemplate Yoon Hee’s empty sleeping place, and catch each others’ eye. And clear their throats and try to be nonchalant. (Oh, boys! So cute! You’re killing us!)


Boys Spar over Girl

Yoon Hee is ready for bed. After some screwing up of courage, and glancing askance at the backs of her room-mates of inconvenient gender (who unknown to her are acutely aware of her every move), she settles in.

Jae Shin suffers from an inexplicable but adorable malady of hiccoughing in the presence of women. Clearly a psychological malady, as he has been fine sleeping with Yoon Hee in the same room. Until tonight. He is so overcome by hiccoughs, the fearless Crazy Horse flees the room.

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This doesn’t escape the notice of Yong Ha, who has been spying, waiting for just such an occurrence. He gets right in Jae Shin’s face (squee) and straight to the point.

“You saw, didn’t you? He’s a girl, right? You can’t fool me. I can guess the colour of a woman’s undergarments by the scent she puts on.”


(And, you know, I do get that Yong Ha is the flamboyant lady’s man and I’m fine with that. So it’s unfortunate that, coupled with Song Joong Ki’s camp behaviour of late, Yong Ha’s boast gives me a very strong Queer Eye vibe.)

What can Jae Shin do? But adamantly deny.

Yong Ha: “I’ve known you well for ten years. Hiccoughs. You came running out because you can’t be in the same room as a girl.”

Boy shows Girl Brusque Concern and Tenderness

Sun Joon can stand it no longer. While Jae Shin is out of the room, he puts on his best paternal voice, “Where have you been? Even getting into a fight? What’s gotten into you? ” Silence. He turns round to give her the paternal glare, but she is fast asleep. Aw. He sounded brusque, but we know that he was merely venting because he was worried to death about Kim Yoon Shik.


With a sigh, he gently tucks her hands under her blanket. And stares at her slightly-parted lips. Ahem. Yes. Indeed. (SQUEE!)

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Action Boy reduced by Girl to Quivering (Hiccoughing) Jelly – Part 1

Jae Shin has only one way to win his argument with Yong Ha – return to the room and stay there.


The fearless Crazy Horse gulps uneasily. He envisions Yoon Hee as a maiden in repose and gazes at her face. Which sets off a massive hiccoughing fit.

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And a sudden attack of belated modesty, as he closes his shirt tighter and throws on his outer robe. Which is when he spots a handkerchief fallen on the floor. Which he recognises as that offered in thanks by the girl he had rescued from thugs stealing her purse back in Episode One. Yup. It’s her. Now that he’s placed her in the real world, he looks at her with renewed interest.

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Girl Intrigues Boy

No romantic heroine worth her salt fails to excite the fascination of at least one clever, worldly man. Who may or may not be her man. In this case, it is Yong Ha. “That a girl could enter Sungkyunkwan, deceiving all including the king – that’s possible… But for a girl to deceive me – that my pride will never allow.” Yes, our Girl has thoroughly captured this Boy’s imagination, and he’s going to be dogging her every step from now. (Is this a good thing or a bad thing? We shall have to see, when more of Yong Ha’s true intentions are revealed. If ever.)


Action Boy reduced by Girl to Quivering (Hiccoughing) Jelly – Part 2

Meanwhile, Jae Shin is surviving being in the same room as a girl – by stuffing his mouth with her handkerchief to stifle his hiccoughing (Ha ha! And, so cute!). Could his manly sensibilities be more offended?


Er, actually, yes. For he turns round only to see Yoon Hee tucking up close to Sun Joon (squee). Horrified, his gaping mouth drops its handkerchief…


Morning breaks. Sun Joon is the first to wake. And is startled to find Jae Shin tucked up again him. And Yoon Hee shoved to the farther side of the room.

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Ha ha! Seriously, I laughed out loud at this unexpected but inevitable outcome of Jae Shin’s attempt to get away from Yoon Hee and correct her improper closeness to Sun Joon. It’s just so hilarious to me how prudish the Fearless Warrior is turning out to be, and how adorably protective.

To Sun Joon and Yoon Hee, however, his behaviour is utterly perplexing. Why is he sleeping next to the Noron scum he swore he would never go near? And why is he wrapped in his outer robe and blanket, when he normally carelessly throws off his clothes? Jae Shin extemporises desperately again. “Malaria!”

And I love the little moment when the fastidious and somewhat precious Sun Joon inches away and checks his own temperature…


Girl Out-Plays Clever Boy

Nothing established a girl as a heroine better than out-manoeuvring the smart-alecky man. And so it is that when Yong Ha and Yoon Hee are alone at communal morning ablutions (which, interestingly, she seems to be perfectly comfortable faking – what would Jae Shin make of that?), the tables are turned on Yong Ha when he leadingly enquires after last night’s bath.

“As if! I didn’t get near the memorial service hall, what with the virgin ghost there waiting for a man. And I’m not just any man, I’m Daemul. Daemul!” pronounces Yoon Hee, with a suggestive thrust of the hip!! Yong Ha is staggered. (And so, I’d warrant, would Jae Shin be if he but saw this!)


Yoon Hee continues: “I came to look for you so we could scrub each other’s backs, but you weren’t around. In any event, you shouldn’t go near the haunted memorial hall, after all the hearts you’ve broken…”

Yong Ha is all a-flutter: “You didn’t go? But I saw a light!”

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“Oh, Senior, you saw a light? That must have been the ghost beckoning you! So, you’d better behave from now on.” She exits jauntily with a sassy grin, leaving him gulping nervously.

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And this whole scene is just so charmingly entertaining, I’m quite happy to forgive the liberties it takes. How on earth did Yoon Hee turn overnight into such a ballsy lass? And since when did the worldly and artful Yong Ha become a scaredy-cat? Oh never mind. That was a real fun moment.

Boy Watches Girl.

School day off! Students are given allowances, and Yoon Hee’s mates tease her about how happy she is over hers. Jae Shin observed the matey joshing with a touch of avuncular disapproval.

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Clever Boy still overset by Girl

Yong Ha accosts Jae Shin and frantically demands again to know whether Jae Shin saw anyone at the memorial hall last night. But Jae Shin shrugs him off with, “Why are you like this so early in the morning? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” An unfortunate choice of words for Yong Ha in his spooked state.


Boy is Nice to Girl

… but, of course, Boy can’t be too open about being nice. So Sun Joon opens his conversation with Yoon Hee by observing that she is as obsessed with money as ever, nothing’s changed.

She tries to blow him off, but he unexpectedly produces a parcel of food. “Didn’t you say you have a sick sibling?” And though she tries to be casual, she is touched that he remembered. And bothered to do something. Aw.

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Evil Boy Poisons Act of Niceness

Into every cute and fluffy blossoming romance a little tense adversity must fall. And so, with diabolical timing Evil Student President Ha In Soo (Boo! Hiss!) comes along to poison Sun Joon’s innocent act of thoughtfulness.


His hateful minions toss at Yoon Hee parcels of leftovers from the school kitchen. “Rather than the leftovers be tossed out for the barn animals, since they are the blood, sweat and tears of the people, I thought of you, Kim Yoon Shik.” In Soo throws back in Yoon Hee’s face the very words used to defend her humble rice-cake offerings at the initiation rites.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Sun Joon rises to the bait.

“I merely want to help one who is dirt poor. More to the point, one who would be smart enough not to let silly pride get in the way.”

Yoon Hee clenches her fist in anger. But is silent. So Sun Joon steps up.

“This is not for Kim Yoon Shik.”

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But Sun Joon has stepped right into In Soo’s trap. In Soo strikes the killer blow, “Why? You can do it. Why not me?!”

Insulting Yoon Hee, you see, was just the fun part. The real point of the exercise was to drive a wedge of resentment and suspicion into the “Political Harmony Party” of Kim Yoon Shik, Lee Sun Joon and Moon Jae Shin (Jae Shin has now joined the spectators to this confrontation). In equating his public insult with Sun Joon’s act of kindness, he is poisoning Sun Joon’s gesture, making Yoon Hee see it as patronising and demeaning.

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And, indeed, there is often a thin line between kindness and condescension. The act may look similar, but the motive of the giver makes all the difference. Sun Joon was motivated by care, In Soo by malice. Unfortunately, actions speak louder than unspoken motives. Yoon Hee’s heart has been dealt a blow.

In Soo continues to Yoon Hee, “You asked me to acknowledge you as a Sungkyunkwan scholar if you won at Dae Sa Rae? This is my answer.”

Jae Shin can’t stand by passively anymore. He strides up to In Soo. “Shut up!” But In Soo is so sure of his move, his satisfied smirk never leaves his face.

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In Soo’s minions mock: “Oh look! From Lee Sun Joon to Moon Jae Shin, the entire Kim Yoon Shik Faction is here!”

Girl is Brave. Boys are Stricken by Girl’s Humiliation

Yoon Hee speaks up. “Senior, please stop. I am fine.” With tears in her eyes, for the humiliation is not lost on her, she accepts the “gift”. Jae Shin protests, Yong Ha looks mildly perturbed.

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Yoon Hee grips her horrid parcels and walks off. Sun Joon goes after her and turns her to him. But she can not meet his eye, and turns away… (Ohnos! Our poor babies. Oh, the tortured misunderstanding!)

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In Soo’s work is still not done. Addressing Sun Joon and Jae Shin, “You can not be one with Kim Yoon Shik. Whether Noron or Soron, you are privileged. We should get along.”

Jae Shin predictably reacts with his fists to this attack on the very root of their friendship and on the very worth of Yoon Hee. Sun Joon just looks kinda grim.

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For while Sun Joon meant well, In Soo’s shaft digs deep because, like the best of all lies, it has a grain of truth in it. In Soo has reminded Sun Joon that he is a privileged young lord who has no idea of how hard life really is for Yoon Hee. Sun Joon never meant to insult Yoon Hee. But his world and his experience is so different from hers, there is a real gulf between them that can cause hurt and resentment.

Boy Grapples with Formidable Father

And Sun Joon’s troubles are not over. Nothing threatens to tear Boy and Girl horribly apart quite like the power of a formidable parent. And such titillating formidability, in the charismatic and scary person of Sun Joon’s father, the Left State Councillor and leader of the Noron Faction. Somehow I can’t see him warmly welcoming into his family a girl of no consequence, with seditious tendencies to boot.

Sun Joon arrives home to find the household preparing to host a large banquet to celebrate his father’s birthday. What has gotten into his father? He’d always been scrupulous to avoid any lavish birthday celebration and hence any suggestion of political favour-making.


In a father-and-son chat over a Go board (Ah, the Symbolism! Gamesmanship, eh?), the Left State Councillor congratulates Sun Joon on keeping the King sweet with this “Political Harmony Faction” nonsense. No point in making enemies with the king just yet. It is, afer all, the nobility who really hold the country together, and the nobility must stick together against the king, as a united Noron political faction.

Sun Joon is shocked by the notion that he may one day be enemies with the king. (One wonders where this boy grew up, precisely. Does he only now realise that his father is the most cunning old snake in the country?) He protests that he genuinely likes and respects his room-mates. But his father flatly orders him not to dabble in misguided “political harmony”.

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(I’m really curious to see how this show deals with this conundrum. Will Sun Joon really go against his own father in pursuance of his principles? And in pursuance of the love of his life? And if so, how will he live with his Confucian conscience? My own guess is that at the end the Left State Councillor will be conveniently disgraced / disposed off through no fault of Sun Joon’s, and Sun Joon will survive, shaken but intact, with Yoon Hee standing loyally at his side. I can’t see that this essentially light-weight show will go totally Wagnerian Tragic on us. But I could be wrong. Let’s watch and see!)

Girl is Kind

I’m usually allergic to the exaggerated Heart of Gold antics of heroines, of the weeping-over-abused-kittens and railing-hysterically-against-social-injustice variety. But this scene in the market where Yoon Hee shares her food with a couple of street kids is acted and scored so sensitively and rings such an authentic note (the grubby girl and her little brother easily being herself and little Yoon Shik), I found it quite a touching moment.

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Boy Stalks Girl (but in a kind gentle way, not a creepy way)

Jae Shin secretly follows Yoon Hee through the market, watching her intently, looking concerned (squee).


Yoon Hee buys a hair ornament. And looks wistfully at a gaggle of girls trying on colourful trinkets. And we are reminded of what her mother said of her a few episodes ago, that she has been so busy taking care of the family she has not had much opportunity to just enjoy being a girl.

She fingers an embroidered pink ribbon. Jae Shin looks moved as he watches her and fingers her handkerchief. He sees that she is hankering after girly things.

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Yoon Hee nearly buys the ribbon, but realises that one of the shopping girls is Hyo Eun. Not wanting an encounter with the girl who is laying claim on Sun Joon, she hurries away.


In a heart-fluttering moment, Jae Shin steps up to the store and picks up the pink ribbon Yoon Hee had been admiring. Oh! Oh! Is a Significant Symbolic Object born? Will he buy it for Yoon Hee? Will her heart stop when she realises he had watched her admiring it?


Alas for our over-active imaginations, he catches sight in a mirror of a bunch of lurking man (whom we recognise as the War Minister’s men), and turns from Watching Boy to Action Boy, dropping the ribbon and hastening off. The one who picks up the ribbon, thinking that it must be worth having if two young men admire it, is… Hyo Eun! Drats.

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Action Boy does his Thing (and has more reason for being protective)

Action Boy Jae Shin plucks a man out of the lot pursuing him and efficiently bullies him into revealing that he has been hired by (shock!) the Minister of War (In Soo’s father), and that he had been tailing not Jae Shin but (more shock!) the “girly scholar”.

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Jae Shin is even more mystified by Yoon Hee’s identity. And has even more reason to be watchful and protective (squee).

Evil Boy Rules at Home and Hatches More Evil

The Minister of War is furious at his chief minion for losing Yoon Hee. Impervious to the fact that Yoon Hee’s archery stance is nothing like the Mystery Archer’s, he clings desperately to the idea that apprehending the winner of the archery contest would mean capturing the Mystery Archer. Hmm. None too bright. And when In Soo arrives home it becomes evident just whose brains and force of personality rule this household.


In Soo reads his father some fairly elementary lessons in politics: That the Left State Councillor is throwing a birthday feast to remind the king who really rules Joseon. That Kim Yoon Shik would be no trouble. And that the “Political Harmony Faction” was doomed because Lee Sun Joon would soon become one of his own people. Through Hyo Eun. That’s a lot of machinating to fit into the first five minutes of hitting home. But all in a day’s work for our resident master schemer.

Smitten Girl Wants to Hear what she Wants to Hear

Speaking of Hyo Eun, she is seeing a medium, famous for his accuracy and for being foul-mouthed when most deep in a trance (So convenient. Think I could use that excuse for swearing at my clients?). As is the way with wilful young ladies, she wants the best medium in the business, but only if he will tell her what she wants to hear. So she is not pleased to be told that she does not own the heart of the object of her desire.

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And indeed, it does seem as if the medium knows his business. For he perceives that Hyo Eun’s paramour can’t see the one who is right in front of him – if only he would open his eyes and see the woman, the game would be over! Yup. Indeedy. Except that, both the medium and Hyo Eun mistake this woman for Hyo Eun. The medium has some advice (and a sales-pitch) for Hyo Eun…


Clever Boy is Still Exercised

Yong Ha is watching Hyo Eun from an outer room with incredulity. Does she really think picking a bunch of cards does anything? Oh, the pair of gisaengs who surround him cry, this medium can really tell your fortune!


Indeed? Well, perhaps he should get a reading. Not to get a girl to like him, oh no, but to change his heart so that he doesn’t always get bored with women.


The camera pans to show Yong Ha’s third companion – it is Cho Sun. “If you ever meet a girl so amazing that you don’t want to tire of her, you should introduce this gem to me.” At which Yong Ha (and we) sneak a knowing smile, for we know that Cho Sun has already met such a captivating girl.

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Girl’s Poisoned Mind is given More Reason to Suspect Boy of Unforgivable Behaviour

Yoon Hee pays the book-seller her customary business visit. She can’t bring herself to ghost-write Hyo Eun’s love letter to Sun Joon, and refuses that job allocation. In his thwarted agitation, the book-seller lets slip that he still has to repay the 50 nyang he had loaned her so that she could repay her family’s debt and go to Sungkyunkwan. Repay the advance from the young Noron lord…

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It’s all about timing. First food, now money. Will the interfering patronising never end? Yoon Hee would probably have been a little miffed to learn of Sun Joon’s high-handed ways with the loan anyway. But right now, she is beyond furious – just when his recent actions have been associated with hateful condescension, and just when she is hurting from being pressed to write a love letter to him on behalf of another girl.

Beautiful Girl is Head-over-Heals over Girl

Nothing establishes a girl’s romantic heroine status so well as another girl falling in love with her.

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As Yoon Hee stalks through the market on the way to confront Sun Joon, stewing madly, she does not even notice Cho Sun turning to great her. Cho Sun is dismayed that the young man has ignored her. Again.


Boy Spurns Other Girl

The purpose in life of the female second lead is to demonstrate by her devotion to the Boy how very desirable he is, and to show us (and himself) by the vehemence with which he rejects her the extent to which his heart is already given to Lead Girl.

Poor Hyo Eun. She is fluffy and insubstantial and no match for Yoon Hee. But I feel sorry for her. For, when a young lady enterprisingly dressed up as a man turns up at Sun Joon’s house, how painful is the way Sun Joon’s delighted smile vanishes when he realises that it’s Hyo Eun?

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Worse, he starts lecturing her sternly on the impropriety and offensiveness of her seeking him out in this manner. “Please go home,” he intones pompously.

She suddenly grabs his neck. He’s stunned for a moment, but quickly throws off her hands.

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Which is when he spots a paper charm in her hand, which she had been trying to stick onto him (Ah! Now we know what the medium sold her). Mr High-Stickler is disgusted by this, and tells her to stop having feelings for him, for he can’t abide trickery, and he didn’t want her affection or even her friendship. Ouch. Hyo Eun is kind of pathetic, but that’s pretty harsh, ouch.

Nothing to lose now, she blurts it all out: She hates herself for behaving the way she does, but she can’t help herself. She’s known he doesn’t like her, but she can’t stop loving him.


She apologises and turns to leave. But brave though her words are, she is trembling and overset, and crashes loudly into a banquet-server. Right in front of the Left State Councillor and all his eminent banqueting guests. Who stare at the War Minister’s daughter making a spectacle of herself. As she stands rooted to the ground, too shocked and upset to move.


Sun Joon sizes up the situation. Unable to bear her humiliation, he tries to lead her away. And when she can not move, he hoists her into his arms and carries her away. Watched intently by their respective fathers. (Er, wouldn’t it have looked less compromising if you just hauled her away forcefully rather than carried her in that intimate and Byronic fashion? Oh well, whatever.)

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Sun Joon is not quite as mean as his words might suggest. “Don’t worry,” he says, “nothing will happen…”

Overcome with gratitude, Hyo Eun plants a kiss on his cheek. (That shut his boring prattling up, haha.) “How can you ask me to give up on someone like you?” (Er, because he is cold and unkind to you, and only acts out of pity? Oh, I’m just kidding. Yes, my dear, I can totally understand why you are smitten with the upright and uptight Lee Sun Joon.)

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Girl Misunderstands Boy. Jealousy and Recriminations ensue. Alas! Alack!

Sun Joon sees Hyu Eun off, to be escorted by his manservant. Hyo Eun is entranced by his seemingly gentlemanly behaviour (sigh, will she never learn, he just wants to be rid of her).

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And of course, right at this cosy moment, Yoon Hee rounds the corner. She understandably draws her own conclusions and turns away. But Sun Joon has seen her and, Hyo Eun instantly forgotten, dashes after her.


“Aren’t you here to see me?”

Yoon Hee: “All this time, did you have fun? Seeing me so thrilled to be a Sungkyunkwan scholar, and so ignorant of what was really going on, how much you must have secretly laughed at me!”

“What do you mean?”

“50 nyang! I found out from the book-seller. I never want to see your face again!”



Closing Remarks

SKKS is just about the perfect piece of entertainment. It has just the right blend of light and dark. Dollops of cute, and enough conflict to keep me invested in the plot. It doesn’t insult my intelligence, nor does it try to be too clever.

If I have one complaint, it is that Lee Sun Joon has one expression. Maybe two. Sorry, Micky Yoochun fans, but there’s no getting away from that sad fact when one has been screen-capping him. But here’s the thing:- I don’t care. Even though I usually like my lead actors to, well, act. I don’t care that Micky can’t really deliver much range or expression. I think it helps that his character is rather stodgy and out of touch with his feelings, and I think his sheer earnestness goes a long way. I also credit the huge charm of the show and the strength of the story that I’m thoroughly enjoying the show and not spending any energy wishing a more experienced actor was cast. Micky is Lee Sun Joon. Not only that, I totally buy into the OTP (One True Pairing) and the rightness of Yoon Hee and Sun Joon being together.

And my OTP-support is not even rocked by my love for Yoo Ah In who is acing the swoon-worthy Moon Jae Shin. I guess I’m quite a promiscuous romance connoisseur, I don’t mind more than one man being in love with my lovely heroine. I don’t fret over the foregone conclusion that Crazy Horse is not going to get his girl. In fact, I hardly bother analysing the plot at all. I’m just savouring the multitude of squee-worthy moments, and trusting the show to carry me safely to the end in fangirly bliss, on a cloud of adorableness.

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  1. nooooo way. it’s way better than YAB, to the detriment of my online health (dodges all sorts of flying rotten objects)

    But I have absolutely no contradictions towards my F4 love. In fact, I think all girls need an F4 quartet in their social circle! SunJoon is the boy you discover you’ve loved for a long time without knowing about it – the nice boy next door who grows up to be an honourable man your parents all approve of, whilst Yongha is the boy you grow to love,despite all his faults – the gay best friend who goes shopping with you and lends you a shoulder to cry on when you break up with your boyfriend and Moony is the hot guy that you’re not JUST friends with, but isn’t your boyfriend either!

    I have a Yongha in my life, and a Moony but I’m waiting to find my Sunjoon… Sunjoon, oh Sunjoon, wherefore art thou?

    And SWEET recap! I love the way you’ve done it, breaking it up into little sub-chapters. I’ve been referred over by a koala, whom I see overhead! *Waves* Is it your turn to do it next, ockoala? I’m waiting, not-so-patiently…..

  2. Ssssssssqqqqqquuuuuuueeeeeeee!!! thank you so much for your recaps, serendipity(both yours and thundie’s, and ockoala’s guest post too). i truly enjoy reading all of them!!!

    this drama is truly addicting. am counting the days to mondays too!!! the last time i was as giddy as this was during you’re beautiful broadcast!!! am stalking soompi for the translations during the live feed then off to download the raw and watching it even without any subs. he he he.

    thanks again!!!

  3. Hi! I am new here. Accidentally stumbled on your blog through dramabeans&daheefanel (I am a stalker of any blog with Korean in them, haha) and bookmarked this page already because as you can probably notice, I am already inlove with it, haha. Thanks for sharing with us all your insights and recaps, lovely, lovely and so fun to read. SKKS is currently my obsession, too, as with almost every Kdrama lover out there. And yep, I am all for Yoo Ah In/Moon Jae Shin, aja!! I do know he will not get the girl but who cares? I don’t. As long as I can get my Moony loving, I am on board till this epic of a drama finishes!

    Thank you so much!



  4. Oops, Carol, sorry to disappoint you… but thundie’s recapping the next episode. :mrgreen:

    Thank you for your squeetastic recap, Serendipity! So much fun to read and so deliciously detailed, muahh! I love this episode to bits; it’s just one giggle after another. After watching ep 8, there’s absolutely no contest…

    Sungkyunkwan Scandal is the cutest kdrama ever!

  5. Although I love Moony, I also support the main OTP… I think they’re cute together, and I don’t mind seeing Moony falls for YHee, just that I know I’ll probably be even more heart broken than him at the end haha

    Gosh, YHee is so lucky~ I want my own Moony ❤ Moony is super adorable in this ep :DD

  6. oh thank you! I needed the fix, especially now that I won’t be able watch any future subbed episodes until viikii has sorted out licensing issues with kbs. *sob*

    The beginning of ep 8 was gold, I can’t count how many times i’ve re-watched it. I like SJ, but i can’t seem to connect with him the way i do with the other characters, perhaps that’s why I am having a lil trouble rooting for the OTP. I mean, in theory, SJ and YH are perfect for each other, but i can’t feel the chemistry, i really want to, but i can’t…maybe i will later?

    I am starting to suspect that GYH is actually gay and his womanising ways are only a façade to cover his um…queerness…?I could be wrong…

    Thank you again for the recaps.

  7. Counting down the days to Mondays. yes
    Scouring the internet for sub-titles. big YES
    Otherwise sensible adults turning into pools of gushing goo.

    Thanks so much for the lovely recap, serendipity!

  8. But it was only one video!!! And it was the weekend.

    SKKS hasn’t quite reached unicorns and rainbows, but it’s pretty close. 😎

    Strangely, right up until last month, I was going to say that the 2010s dramas had all promise but no payoff. (I haven’t seen Comrades, so don’t hit me). I take it all back. I have 3 shows I’m watching raw now that are making me happy, and that is a record. Normally I watch maybe 2 k-dramas and one dorama, but nope – I’m even ditching Glee for SKKS at the moment.

  9. Comrades and SKKS is totally rocking 2010 for me. Love your recap and ep8 happens to be my favorite episode so far! I agree with everything you wrote about loving Crazy Horse to pieces while accepting the OTP but, BUT! I’m only willing to keep accepting the OTP as long as the PD keeps giving more scenes with crazy horse like in ep 8. Ep 9 – 12 while good has been disappointing on the CH cute scenes. Micky is indeed limited in his acting but its a good thing his stiffness happens to suit his character & I’m not distracted by his acting like a certain someone *cough cough foxhunter*

    While watching SKKS, I’ve been wondering/itching to see how these “boys” will act once they go off into the real world and leave the relative safety and bubble of college life. Will their principals go to the wayside once they get a taste of real power? will their friendship hold together or sacrificed for practical politics? Book II?

  10. doozy, count me in. Cant remember the last time i was so addicted to kdrama. An old ahjumma like me shouldnt be gushing at the three young heroes like a teenagers! now i understand why my girls cant keep their eyes away from arashi!!

  11. Thanks for the recap! But got to agree with Carol: YAB doesn’t hold a candle to this gem.

    Though they are both thoroughly entertaining, SKK’s conflicts are integrated with the characters’ identities while much of YAB’s were manufactured. Also, this show speaks to bigger issues like class and gender restrictions. As much as I LOVED YAB and LOVE how entertaining and fun SKK is, I don’t think I would like it half as much if I didn’t feel that it hit issues deeper than just girl-cross-dressed-as-boy-oh-no.

  12. hi thundie! no disappointment! I like your recaps a lot too! i’d especially like it if the next recap was to be done …. dare I ask it… today? but I’m still trying to decide between MGIAG and SKK Scandal as the most squeetastic drama ever.

  13. I must’ve squeed like five million times while watching the first half of this episode. Moony, you own me, heart, mind and soul. ❤

    This recap got all those adorable moments down pat, and then some. And for that, I thank you.

  14. (I’m really curious to see how this show deals with this conundrum. Will Sun Joon really go against his own father in pursuance of his principles? And in pursuance of the love of his life? And if so, how will he live with his Confucian conscience? My own guess is that at the end the Left State Councillor will be conveniently disgraced / disposed off through no fault of Sun Joon’s, and Sun Joon will survive, shaken but intact, with Yoon Hee standing loyally at his side. I can’t see that this essentially light-weight show will go totally Wagnerian Tragic on us. But I could be wrong. Let’s watch and see!)

    –> it gets me thinking because the root of the possible problems between Sunjoon and his father lies in the GDJS – the elusive memoir book of the king’s grandfather. i think that what will happen between sunjoon and his father – twe he can go against him/betray his father – will be embedded or revolve around the true nature of GDJS and what the accepted version of history about the relationship between Noron and the king. I always find that popular historical dramas in general never stray too much from the accepted/approved version of history. Since my source is nothing but wikipedia, my impression is that GDJS is already considered not true (which means that Crown Prince Sado was indeed a sadist – confirmed by the memoirs of his wife) and that the Noron were the ones who helped the King to the throne and they were still quite dominant for some time later.

    In this case, things can happen like what you predict there (like his father being exiled and stuff but that SJ will retain his position) or that nothing substantial will happen – because the Left State Minister is simply too good a politician to be able to wiggle his way around the trap – both from the possible implication of the GDJS and other things in general (I seem to remember that in the novel, nothing really happened to SJ’s father).

    “In fact, I hardly bother analysing the plot at all. I’m just savouring the multitude of squee-worthy moments, and trusting the show to carry me safely to the end in fangirly bliss, on a cloud of adorableness.”
    My sentiment, exactly.
    Sorry for the long long long comment, and thanks for the wonderfully fun recap!

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