Sungkyunkwan Scandal: Episode 16

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This is not really a recap, in the sense of a detailed description of what happened in SKKS16. Some of you may be new to Thundie’s Prattle, but our regular readers will know that Thundie and I prefer not to do “linear” or “straight” re-telling of stories. We present our personal take. Not quite a review, but not quite a recap either, and certainly opinionated and subjective. I should also add that Thundie does not edit my work and the views I express are entirely my own and do not reflect any “position” of Thundie’s Prattle.

Ready? Hang on to your hats! Let’s start with a confession: While I have enjoyed watching and recapping SKKS, I haven’t suffered an SKKS-induced lobotomy. Perhaps because I have so much affection for the show and its characters, I can’t ignore its flaws. I’m not fully devotedly blindly squeeing-ly 100% fangirlying, to be honest.

Hence I have come to Episode 16 with mixed feelings. I have been pretty on board with the OTP (“one true pairing”) and pretty on board with all SKKS has stood for (e.g., fan-servicey entertainment over hard logic). But I’m not beyond a bit of considered analysis. Especially when it comes to this pivotal episode, where the rubber hits the road, and where I feel that the show’s best aspects as well as some of its weak points surface. It’s as if I have a split personality with this episode: The Rabid Fangirl on the one hand, and the Disgruntled Detractor on the other.

Sun Joon realises Kim Yoon Shik is a woman

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Fangirl:

The moment! The moment we’d been waiting episodes for. The moment when it all comes together or all falls apart. The moment when their relationship either breaks or fixes. The moment when the story takes an irreversible turn and either sinks or swims.

I liked the setting for the denouement: The two of them in an isolated, beautiful setting. The two of them in emotional turmoil and limbo. The two of them aware of where Sun Joon stood. Each of them facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles and in the process of digging deep for inner resources. Each of them knowing by now that they can’t live without the other. Pretty much the emotional pinnacle. I liked the way the show went for under-stated tension rather than for dramatic fireworks and histrionics.

Detractor:

Deus ex machina or what? All of a sudden Sun Joon knows he’s a she without having had to fully resolve his feelings about Kim Yoon Shik. Rather convenient.

And all of a sudden Yoon Hee is off the hook for telling him. I wish she hadn’t slipped and fallen unconscious. I wish she had to tell him, and look him in the eye. And take responsibility. That would have been more in keeping with her status as a heroine who does not baulk.

Jae Shin deals with In Soo’s Minions who were trying to get at Yoon Hee

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Fangirl:

Yoo Ah In is the action hero of the moment. Nobody rocks the strong, silent, tortured man like our YAI does. YAI is Moon Jae Shin, and Moon Jae Shin is smart, he is resourceful, he is brave, and he can take on a legion of Joseon policemen single-handedly. What can’t he do?

Detractor:

Well, he can’t get the girl. And why is Moon Jae Shin wasting his time with those two? He’s always shunted off doing something swoon-worthy but useless plot-wise. Gah!

Sun Joon: “You are a girl?” And in a reprisal of Episode One, they huddle as they shrink from discovery

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Fangirl:

The end of Episode One was one of my favourite moments, when the two were hiding from the pursuing constabulary and he had her hand over her mouth, and in the delicious danger and proximity of the moment the first sparks of physical attraction began to fly between Sun Joon and Yoon Hee.

And so when they press against the rock and against each other here, I love the way the awkwardness surfaces again. But before, it was night-time, neither knew who the other really was, and the discomfort was mostly on her part. This time, it is day-time, all is known, and their combined discomfort is astronomical. The frisson! The way they wanted to be close to each other and yet were afraid to, the way he reached out yearningly to touch her and then pulled back…

And I appreciate how the story doesn’t milk the Big Reveal for the angst, the shoutings and the long-drawn out recriminations. The moment unfolds relatively quietly and with few words. But nonetheless tense with passions and questions.

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Detractor:

OK, we have been cutting Micky the novice actor a lot of slack. And indeed, Sun Joon is a stolid and anal character so flamboyance would be out of place. But this is a BIG moment. I mean, this is major, mega, soul-rocking, cosmos-rearranging shock. We need MORE shock. And some conflict and complexity of emotion would have been nice too. Like, say, happiness and relief warring with horror and indignation at having been led a dance? I mean, this charade took this uptight and conventional man to hell and back, to the point where he was ready to throw away his life. I’m far from asking him to throw a hissy fit. But how about some more, er, feeling?

And as for Park Min Young… This is a HUGE moment for Yoon Hee. Her beloved tore himself apart confessing his forbidden love for her, and now he discovers she’s not a man after all. At this epic moment when he could sweep her into his embrace or he could hate her forever, I was hoping for something a little more epic than the gaping mouth and the fumbling with clothes.

Yoon Hee: “Righty-ho. I’ll be off now.”

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Detractor:

WHAT???!!!!

OK, I’ll be grateful for small mercies. At least he didn’t wrist-grab her.

Fangirl:

Sun Joon is so awesomely Sun Joon-ish when he says, “How can I let you go like this?” and looks her in the eye, all grave and serious.

Crazy Horse searches frantically for Daemul, Yeorim says Daemul is “safely” with Sun Joon

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Fangirl:

Aw, Crazy Horse is too adorable when he’s worried for Yoon Hee, and even more adorable when he pretends to be cool and unconcerned.

And I always enjoy watching Yeorim maul Geoh Oh with his fan, hee

Detractor:

That scene was just a bit too let’s-make-the-Second-Lead-as-nobly-miserable-as-possible for me.

Sun Joon is exposed by his manservant as having been lovesick. And locked into the room with Yoon Hee! With one blanket!

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Fangirl:

When Soon Dol unwittingly exposes his Young Master by telling Pretty Little Scholar how lovesick he has been, Sun Joon’s uptight embarrassment is just classic!

And how’s this for fan-service? Within moments of the romantic cards being out on the table, the two of them are locked into a room on a cold mountain-side with one blanket between them. Nice work! By golly, it’s refreshing when a cross-dressing romantic drama dispenses with the tedious agonising upon the Big Reveal and goes instead for the instant cute.

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Detractor:

I dunno. I realise that this is family-fare romcom saeguk and I don’t really expect them to jump each other’s bones. But there has just been major gender exposure. (Not to mention, minor bosom exposure.) I feel this is somewhat dissonant. A little anti-climatic, a little flat. Shouldn’t the whole tone be somewhat more, er, epic? Or, something?

Yeorim teases Crazy Horse for pining over Daemul and advises him not to waste energy acting so cool but instead focus on making Daemul his

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Fangirl:

Love how Yeorim mauls Crazy Horse’s chest. Hee.

Also love it when Crazy Horse is all broody and silently noble. When Yeorim points out that Jae Shin has the advantage of Sun Joon as SJ can’t possibly know that Yoon Shik is a girl (oops), Jae Shin just smiles sardonically. The poor, clever, noble boy knows that he has more than that against him – he knows that Yoon Hee only has eyes for Sun Joon, and since he respects Yoon Hee’s choice, the game is over for him before it can even begin.

It’s neat to have a Second Lead who understands the deal, for a change. And deals with it rather than throwing tantrums or going on a wrecking rampage.

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Detractor:

If Yong Ha loves Jae Shin, as I feel sure we have established, why is he encouraging Jae Shin to make Yoon Hee his? And just when he has just plotted to throw Yoon Hee into Sun Joon’s arms? I will never understand Yong Ha’s random machinations. He is always in danger of being used as a random plot device and I feel that this does no justice to Yong Ha’s interesting character. I hope that Song Joong Ki’s next project will let him sink his talented teeth into a meatier and more consistent character.

Sun Joon tries to avoid the embarrassment of sleeping with Yoon Hee by not sleeping at all. He asks her what she meant to say before she fell into the water. But she picks up his Yeorim-endowed porn book!

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Fangirl:

It’s pretty funny how Sun Joon is constantly on the back-foot, first due to his indiscrete servant and now with the unfortunate red book. The poor boy! You can’t win, really. You can be scrupulous and as pure as the driven snow, but the first time your girlfriend stays over she’ll find the porn stash you’ve been holding onto for a friend.

It’s nice that they are comfortably bickering and not going all “OMG you deceived me, you and I deserve to DIE!” At the same time there seems to be a new dimension to their relationship. Comprising, at the moment, mainly embarrassment. But holding out plenty of promise of developments to come.

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Detractor:

While I appreciate the absence of histrionics, shouldn’t there be something more than the cuteness we have here? I don’t particularly want a gratuitously lurid scene (though I find it hard to believe that the pair of them have so little sexual awareness after all the romantic angst they’ve been putting each other through). But, shouldn’t they at least want to talk to each other? Or look into each others’ eyes? Doesn’t he need to process his shock? Isn’t she dying to explain herself? I dunno, the whole tone here just seems so strangely flat.

Sun Joon sleeps away from Yoon Hee, with no bedding. Yoon Hee gives him the blanket. And she tells him why she started her charade, and her real name

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Detractor:

Uh oh. What is this “I am a man and you are a women” business with the rejecting of the blanket? This bodes ill. Not that it should surprise us. Sun Joon is a man of convention, and conventional wisdom would tell him that female-Yoon Shik is weaker than male-Yoon Shik. Sigh.

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Fangirl:

At least Yoon Hee rebuts instantly, reminding him that he got sick after a dunking on the island. And ensures that he doesn’t return the blanket. Yeah, smile at Yoon Hee’s cute blanket-rolling action, Sun Joon. Get used to Yoon Hee defying your prejudices! Way to go, girl!

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And what a lovely moment, when Yoon Hee talked about how she started passing herself off as a boy. And how fitting that it is Sun Joon, her soul-mate, though the last of the Jalgeum Quartet to discover her secret, who is the first to hear of why she took on her brother’s identity, and the first to learn her real name. A name which he turns over in his mouth, savouring.

In Soo confronts Hyo Eun about Sun Joon breaking off the engagement

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Fangirl:

Interesting brother-sister dynamic. Even little sister is terrified of doting elder brother, hee. Wish they had more scenes together.

Detractor:

But really, it’s just more weepy-weep and glarey-glare.

Sun Joon tells Yoon Hee to leave Sungkyunkwan

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Fangirl:

Calling him on the possibility of dreams and miracles for everyone except girls? You go, Yoon Hee. You go, girl! This why we love you!

And Sun Joon, Sun Joon. We love how you are always yourself, always your principled uptight self, protecting those you love the only way you know how. When you ran after her and pleaded that she not endanger herself… sigh.

And when Yoon Hee feistily refuses to listen and ruthlessly points out that she has to find work as a man just to survive, anyway. Or alternatively marry. What a moving moment, when her real-life choices (or hopeless lack thereof) pierce Sun Joon’s sense of righteousness. And we see that Sun Joon wavers.

And you thought Yoon Shik was awesome as the poor boy who beat the odds, Sun Joon? Yoon Hee is ten times more awesome as the poor girl who dares to wager her life for a shot at life.

Detractor:

I understand that this is in line with Sun Joon’s conventional character. But this condescending paternalism is so not cool, Sun Joon. So not cool. I mean, your world has just been rocked, and all you can think about are proprieties and rules and regulations? I don’t expect to like everything that a character does, but I would like to find behaviour credible. It seems to me facile and almost shallow not to have to pause to recover from shock, rearrange assumptions and perspectives and unpack history, and instead to move on so swiftly and glibly zeroing in on the need for her to leave Sungkyunkwan. Is this really the behaviour of a thoughtful man?

Jae Shin tells Yoon Hee off for disappearing without word

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Fangirl:

Crazy Horse is so cute when he’s trying to act tough.

Detractor:

Second lead shafted. Once again. Bah.

Sun Joon dwells on what Yoon Hee said about having nothing to lose, and Yoon Hee on him protesting the danger to her life

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Fangirl:

The boy is clearly struck by what she said. Good boy.

And she must know that he is concerned for her. Squee!

Love the way they are living in each other’s points of view now.

Detractor:

What, flashbacks already?

And, their relationship has just undergone a tectonic paradigm shift, and they’re fixating on whether she should stay in SKK? What about, er, um, the rather more far-reaching question of their feelings for each other?

Yoon Hee, Jae Shin & Yong Ha meet Cho Sun on the Road. Yoon Hee sets up a meeting, Jae Shin smells a rat

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Fangirl:

I like the way Yoon Hee gently but firmly faces Cho Sun.

It’s also pretty funny how the dirty-minded scholars misinterpret her determination to meet with Cho Sun. Hee.

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Detractor:

Seriously? Cho Sun, the most street-smart woman in town and kick-ass assassin to boot doesn’t have the wherewithal to remove her distinctive perfume before she goes on an incognito rampage? Sigh.

Yoon Hee and Cho Sun have a heart-to-heart

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Fangirl:

Cho Sun and Yoon Hee interactions are some of my favourite in the show. I love how the unloved and broken Cho Sun responds to Yoon Hee’s respect, empathy and essential wholeness of being. So elegant, so clever, so deliciously ironic.

Detractor:

And so improbable. A gisaeng of gisaengs who could tell from five minutes at a dining table that Yoon Hee loved Sun Joon, still can’t tell that Yoon Hee is a woman? When Yong Ha could, from a glance and a clinch? An experienced gisaeng can fall madly and hopelessly in love with a boy just because he treats her with a bit of respect and writes some poetry? O… k… I could buy a crush, or even momentary fascination. But changing her whole life to wait for him? Hmm…

Jae Shin waits for Yoon Hee. Tells her to keep away from Cho Sun who is Trouble

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Fangirl:

Aw, Crazy Horse is so adorable when he being forceful (and irrational) in order to protect the one he loves. The look in his eyes when he said that he worried about Dae Mul – priceless.

Detractor:

What? She’s so helpless that she needs a man to carry her baggage now? Since when did our inspirational Dae Mul become so emasculated?

A king comes bearing… fruit

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Happy Fangirl:

Such a nice, safe teddy-bear of a king. Who would care for a free republic when you could have an adorable king like this king?

Grumpy Detractor:

Shouldn’t the king be doing important things like, being a king, and, er, you know, governing? Instead of constantly hanging out at SKK?

Sun Joon: “I’ll take responsibility. I’ll help you leave SKK before you are found out.”

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Fangirl:

I love how Sun Joon is a consistent dick-head even when deeply in love. Hee. And how we forgive him for his patronising male chauvinist ways, because we know that he’s being like this because it’s the only way he knows of protecting his beloved. Squee.

And it’s nice that he’s quickly admitting his responsibility for the situation – i.e., her masquerade was as much his doing as hers since he forced her into SKK, so that neatly side-steps all the “OMG YOU LIED!” histrionics, phew.

Also, love it when Sun Joon is being possessive and obliquely (but clearly) declares himself and stakes his claim. “Do you think I would let the girl I like stay in Sungkyunkwan surrounded by men?” Squee.

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Detractor:

Who has abducted our Kim Yoon Hee and left behind this simpering shell? What happened to the girl who stood proud before the War Minister and defied him? What about the smart-ass young scholar who improvised a scathing satirical poem on Sun Joon’s robe? What happened to the young woman who resolutely took her brother’s identity tag (and his life), squared her shoulders and walked with straight spine to Sungkyunkwan to bear the burden of her entire family alone? What happened to the new student who justified her poor-persons’ rice cakes with passion and eloquence at the students’ induction rite? Where have they taken her, and why have they replaced her with this cutesy girl who can’t coherently plead her case and who resorts to begging at Sun Joon like an over-eager puppy-dog?

Yong Ha twirls Jae Shin’s hair, Jae Shin whacks Yong Ha

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Fangirl:

SQUEE!!!!!

Detractor:

Aw, show. You keep teasing us and tantalising us with such scenes. One moment Yong Ha is completely un-manned weeping for Jae Shin’s safe return. Next he is coaching Jae Shin on how-to-get-the-girl. Now he is playing with Jae Shin’s hair? Gah! Gah, because I’m pretty sure you are not going to be brave enough to explore in any depth the relationship between Yong Ha and Jae Shin. Sometimes we love you for the fan-service. But sometimes we hate you for the fan-service. Because it’s such a tease.

Bedtime in the Dorm of Awkwardness! Jae Shin and Sun Joon fight to be the one sleeping in the middle to protect Yoon Hee from the other

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Fangirl:

How come the sleeping arrangement shenanigans never gets lame?

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Detractor:

You know, I don’t really have anything to complain about here. Even Micky’s feeble eye-acting is pretty entertaining. 🙂

Studying in the library? Yeah, sure, we believe you two kids!

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Fangirl:

Sun Joon has always had a thing for Kim Yoon Shik’s lips. And now Yoon Hee is memorising with moving lips right in front of him, hee. His lame attempt to deal with the distraction by building a wall of library books is so adorkable.

Detractor:

If you’re so into her you can’t even focus on your studies, I think you should be trying a little bit harder to see the little matter of her educational future from her point of view. Just a teeny weeny bit harder.

“I didn’t get engaged that day”

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Fangirl:

Yoon Hee is sweet when she smiles to herself on hearing this news.

Detractor:

Seriously? You are a clever girl and this comes as news to you? After all his annoying but revealing statements about needing to protect you, the one he cherishes and worries over? Sigh.

Hyo Eun goes to Yeorim for dating advice

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Fangirl:

Wow. The seemingly frivolous court jester suddenly pulled out all his sharpened knives.

That’s some hard-hitting advice Yeorim is dishing out. “Don’t meet strange men alone, stop reading trashy novels, stop trampling on the weak.” And: “In this romance novel, your part is that of the character who does not receive love.” And: “I’m saying this because someone has to be honest to the princess.” Wow.

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Detractor:

Yeorim is the confidante of every young lady in town, from gisaeng to daughter of minister? Seriously? Has he stuck his mobile phone number to every bus stop in town? (“oppa-at-large, call any time!”)

Crazy Horse pursues Cho Sun in the market-place, gets a red message, and has a little chat with his dad

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Fangirl:

Cho Sun to meet Crazy Horse! Can’t wait, can’t wait for this epic showdown.

In the meantime, his showdown with his father is pretty epic too, on the father-son angst-o-meter scale, the father begging the son to cease his criminal activities and the son accusing the father of not caring about his martyred brother.

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Detractor:

Er, just how did Cho Sun know that Jae Shin was onto her? Just by seeing his boots? And how can she shoot an arrow from the roof-tops in full gisaeng gear?

Sun Joon and Yoon Hee bed down. But not as we might hope

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Fangirl:

Tee hee, uptight but lovestruck Sun Joon is so adorkable when building the Ineffectual Wall of Chastity. And you want to know what she was going to tell you before she fell into the river? Not because you’re curious but for the sake of scholarly knowledge? Riiiiight.

But she falls asleep on him. Again! Tee hee. Or, at least, she pretends to. Which is just as cute.

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Detractor:

Again. Again! After all the build-up, the two of them alone in one room, and this is all the frisson they can cobble together?

The School Competition

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Fangirl:

Love how Sun Joon and Yoon Hee leave everyone else in the dirt.

And I love how, when Sun Joon wins, instead of exalting the first thing he does is look over at Yoon Hee in concern. And that pained look when she walked out despondently…

Also, it seems that Jae Shin has deliberately thrown the competition. Gah! He’s so perfect! Clever, well-read, kick-ass martial artist, sensitive, noble, kind…

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Detractor:

She may still be relatively book-smart, but I dunno. It seems to me that she has lost some of her street-smartness and fire. And I’ll never understand the logic of how or why a school examination (or sports competition) makes or breaks an argument about the place of women in the world.

“I will let you stay”

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Fangirl:

Oh, Lee Sun Joon, it’s so cute how you manage to find a perfectly righteous and probably perfectly true excuse to let Yoon Hee stay (“I want to see the official who wants to be near the people”).

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Detractor:

But, why in the first place is it up to him? Why can’t she stay if she jolly well wants to? And after losing the competition, she gets what she wants anyway by means of an OPW (oppa pout wiggle)? Cop-out!

The Kiss!

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Fangirl:

The kiss! THE KISS!!! Squee!!

The first kiss. The kiss as statement. The kiss as surprise. The kiss as her declaration. And how cool is it that the girl kissed the guy?

Detractor:

You call that feeble peck a kiss?

Jae Shin tires to rendezvous with the fake red messenger. A Trap! Run! Right into Yeorim

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Fangirl:

I’ll never get tired of watching Crazy Horse leap about in black being killingly cool. Never. *rewinds*

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Detractor:

Right. So you are a mystery masked man with a price on your head. And you stand and chat with a man who is dressed in enough bling to light up a small village. Because that’s not conspicuous or suspicious looking, no, not at all.

Jae Shin dropped his bracelet

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Fangirl:

Ohnos!!

Detractor:

That was kinda predictable, from the moment minutes ago when the camera lingered on the bracelet not once but twice.

Our Fab Four find themselves mysteriously abducted. By. The King!

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Rabid Fangirl:

Yeah for the king! And the sublime side-kick Professor Jung. Our Fabulous Jalgeum Quartet get to be awesome and cute on a national stage and change the entire course of Joseon history! Huzzah!

Disgruntled Detractor:

Deus ex machina AGAIN? Sigh.

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28 thoughts on “Sungkyunkwan Scandal: Episode 16

  1. Love it! I’m totally cheering on from the detractor’s camp! Make no mistake but I’m a SKKS addict…okay, fine a Moony addict then.

    That’s how I felt in this episode! I was like…Come on SJ that’s your shocked face??!!!

    The only thing I liked in this episode was the SJ & JS bedroom scene butt face off. Hahaha!

  2. Serendipity, i agree on the let’s-make-the-second-lead-miserable shots complaints. By eps 18 I feel kinda manipulated as they shows JS heartbreaking face a bit too often, no I don’t complain that there’s so many Moony shots. I just wish that the show is less weepy on him 😦

    oh, and the flashback gets worse too >.<

    I felt frustration too with how the show downgrade Yoonhee and make her act all cutesy and begging Sunjoon to let her stay, seriously! Where has the spunky Yoonhee gone?

    On the bright side: Sleeping time is a riot! They should have made a montage out of all the bedtime in SKKS XD. Also there's this one scene of Jaeshin taking the bottle from his father's hands and then pour the drink for him. It's just a little gesture but it touches me, how Jaeshin still treat his father with respect and care even with all his disappointment.

  3. I loved this setup for a recap! Definitely much more interesting than mindless fangirling. Here’s my response:

    1. Sun Joon realizes Kim Yoon Shik is a woman
    Tied. Good setup (agree with the fangirl), but would have preferred YHee to at least explain herself (agree with the detractor).

    2. Jae Shin deals with In Soo’s Minions who were trying to get at Yoon Hee
    Detractor wins! The scene was too long, and a waste of precious seconds.

    3. Sun Joon: “You are a girl?” And in a reprisal of Episode One, they huddle as they shrink from discovery
    Fangirl wins! I simply disagree with the detractor. What are you talking about? There was so much tension and confused feelings displayed in this scene!

    4. Yoon Hee: “Righty-ho. I’ll be off now.”
    Detractor wins! WTF, Yoon Hee.

    5. Crazy Horse searches frantically for Daemul, Yeorim says Daemul is “safely” with Sun Joon
    Neither. It wasn’t “cute” per se, but a needed stepping stone for the second lead to slowly remove himself from the girl, and thus required.

    6. Sun Joon is exposed by his manservant as having been lovesick. And locked into the room with Yoon Hee! With one blanket!
    Fangirl wins! I don’t care what kind of mind-blowing, life-changing revelation has been made in the previous scene. The circumstances placed the two in an awkward situation, and the cute scene that ensues is perfect for them to break down and put aside any confusion they may be feeling. A good plot device as far as I’m concerned.

    7. Yeorim teases Crazy Horse for pining over Daemul and advises him not to waste energy acting so cool but instead focus on making Daemul his.
    Fangirl wins! YHa throwing YHee into SJ’s arms has nothing to do with him trying to bring them together romantically. Although he knows that they like each other, he doesn’t know that they have confessed these feelings to each other. Instead, it shows that YHa cared enough for SJ to try to use YHee to convince SJ not to throw his life away. A plot device, yes. But not uncharacteristic of YHa either.

    8. Sun Joon tries to avoid the embarrassment of sleeping with Yoon Hee by not sleeping at all. He asks her what she meant to say before she fell into the water. But she picks up his Yeorim-endowed porn book!
    Oh, this one is hard. The detractor is right logically, but man, the fan-service is over-the-top cute here. I’ll just throw out my logic here and jump on the fangirl bandwagon. SQUEEEEEE! (covers face and runs away to hide)

    9. Sun Joon sleeps away from Yoon Hee, with no bedding. Yoon Hee gives him the blanket. And she tells him why she started hercharade, and her real name
    Fangirl wins! Yes, SJ is being sexist, but they were all at that time. Nothing surprising or even to sigh about. Even Jung Yak Yong, known to be one of the most progressive philosophers at that time, needed some convincing from YHee at first. Makes it seem more realistic to me. Attitude change doesn’t come from some innate nature, but from being challenged by others.

    10. In Soo confronts Hyo Eun about Sun Joon breaking off the engagement
    Neither. Was a weepy-weep and glarey-glare, but it’s about time that the brother-sister got some time together! The last time was in episode 1 when Hyo Eun showed her brother her skin trouble? Ehh, but would never wish for more scenes between them. Two is enough.

    11. Sun Joon tells Yoon Hee to leave Sungkyunkwan
    Neither. Here, I think you got both the fangirl and the detractor side wrong. Although SJ was using talks of proprieties and laws to try to convince YHee to leave, this was just an excuse to cover up for the real reason. He feared YHee would be in danger (umm, death for herself and perhaps her entire family?) if she stayed at Sungkyunkwan and got caught.

    12. Jae Shin tells Yoon Hee off for disappearing without word
    Detractor wins!

    13. Sun Joon dwells on what Yoon Hee said about having nothing to lose, and Yoon Hee on him protesting the danger to her life
    Neither. I hate flashbacks and find most instances of their use to be totally unnecessary (again, waste of precious minutes!). But I also disagree with the detractor here. At this point, the more far-reaching question is not their feelings for each other (although this definitely needs to be addressed very soon), but the concern for whether YHee’s dire situation warrants her risking her life to stay at Sungkyunkwan. Even if SJ may not have the call to make that decision for YHee, I like that this thought was SJ’s priority.

    14. Yoon Hee, Jae Shin & Yong Ha meet Cho Sun on the Road. Yoon Hee sets up a meeting, Jae Shin smells a rat
    Neither. I don’t particularly care for this scene, and I’m tired of the scholars cheering them on whenever Cho Sun and Yoon Hee have a scene together. But as for the perfume, it can be easily explained away. People from that time just did not take baths that often. (Umm, notice the sangtoo hair the men are sporting? It’s because people believed that they shouldn’t cut their hair, but this also meant that putting up the hair was required for sanitary reasons.) Hence, if Cho Sun wore a strong perfume earlier in the day or even the day before, it’s not too far of a logical jump for the scent to linger on at night when she’s doing her HBS duty.

    15. Yoon Hee and Cho Sun have a heart-to-heart
    Tied. I do love the dynamics between the two, and the conversation between them was truly beautiful in this scene. It wasn’t hard to convince me that someone like Cho Sun who’s been abused and taken advantage of by men all her life would fall hard for the first man who’d ever treated her with respect. And once she did, I don’t think Cho Sun is someone who would have a mere crush or a momentary fascination with that person, but that she’d be willing to give her all. But… but… really, Cho Sun? You, of all people, couldn’t tell that YShik is a girl?

    16. Jae Shin waits for Yoon Hee. Tells her to keep away from Cho Sun who is Trouble
    Hmm, not sure how JS is being forceful or irrational here, so pass!

    17. A king comes bearing… fruit
    Fangirl wins! I thought the king didn’t bring the fruit basket to Sungkyunkwan himself, but the headmaster came to the palace to pick it up and that’s where they encountered Left State Councillor and the War Minister. But also historically, Jeongjo was very involved in Sungkyunkwan. Perhaps the drama portrays him being TOO involved?

    18. Sun Joon: “I’ll take responsibility. I’ll help you leave SKK before you are found out.”
    Detractor win! Yoonhee should not have begged SJ to let her stay. Uncharacteristic of her. I wished she talked her way out of it, instead of resorting to betting on a competition to convince him that she’s worthy of staying. I thought she’s already proved that to him for the last 15 episodes?

    19. Yong Ha twirls Jae Shin’s hair, Jae Shin whacks Yong Ha
    Detractor wins! Cute scene, but now that the drama is over, I wish they could have used minutes, seconds like this to explore the depth of their relationship instead.

    20. Bedtime in the Dorm of Awkwardness! Jae Shin and Sun Joon fight to be the one sleeping in the middle to protect Yoon Hee from the other
    Both win!

    21. Studying in the library? Yeah, sure, we believe you two kids!
    Fangirl wins.

    22. “I didn’t get engaged that day”
    Fangirl wins! I don’t see why it wouldn’t be news to her. After all, SJ did say that he plans to get engaged to Hyo Eun because of his need to protect and cherish YShik. There was no reason for Yoon Hee to have believed otherwise.

    23. Hyo Eun goes to Yeorim for dating advice
    Tied. Who better to give a dating advice to Hyo Eun than Yeorim, but why does it always have to be Yeorim? But then again, what other options are there? Hmm, I think Hyo Eun getting the dating advice from Soondol would have been epic though.

    24. Crazy Horse pursues Cho Sun in the market-place, gets a red message, and has a little chat with his dad
    Hands down, detractor wins!

    25. Sun Joon and Yoon Hee bed down. But not as we might hope
    Hmm, I’m divided about this one. Let’s call it a tie for now.

    26. The School Competition
    Detractor wins!

    27. “I will let you stay”
    Detractor wins! Well, I didn’t like this whole competition arc, so yeah.

    28. The Kiss!
    Fangirl wins! Just what the doctor ordered.

    29. Jae Shin tires to rendezvous with the fake red messenger. A Trap! Run! Right into Yeorim
    Nothing to fangirl about or nothing to complain about. But just out of curiosity. Was that place where they met at Yeorim’s house?

    30. Jae Shin dropped his bracelet
    Neither. Predictable, yes. How I feel about this scene will depend largely on how they go about resolving this issue. Will JS get caught because of this? Will he lose the bracelet forever?

    31. Our Fab Four find themselves mysteriously abducted. By. The King!
    Fangirl wins!

  4. Let the tangerines fly! 😆
    And, oh boy, they sure did in this episode. Aside from the butt-smacking, chest-manhandling, hair-twirling bromance…many tangerines were thrown at the screen.
    Come on, Writer! This is all you could come up with? Sighhhh.

    What the what was SJ trying to do when he opened YH’s top after he pulled her out of the water, anyways??? HELLO…no CPR in those days!
    And YH basically became emasculated as soon she donned her Yoon Shik clothes – yeah, that makes sense. A girl who acts more like a girl when dressed as a guy than she did while dressed as a girl. Let the sappy-sap weepy-weep games begin! 😛

    Thanks, Serendpity, for the entertaining laughs!
    You and Thundie are TEH awesomesauce, as always. 😀

  5. Looks like a party I finally won’t ruin so I can de-lurk w/o fear of rotten eggs getting thrown at me. Love the review, recap or whatcha-ma-call-it.

    YH lost her groove back during the school gay trials when she went from the spunky heroine I could identify with, to the girl who went dumb & then resorted to oppa-wiggling herself out of getting kicked out of SKK and yes, “why does SJ get to decide whether she stays or leaves?”

    This episode is haphazardly constructed like the writer is more interested in getting ratings than telling a story that is cohesive to the original tone and of course this episode totally cops-out on several fronts. Besides further emasculating the Kim Yon Shik–who I don’t even recognize from the first few episodes, this episode went way too cutesy & ignored the “Big News” change your life stages of acceptance that needed to be addressed between the OTP (I think SJ getting angry/emotional on par with the field hockey game is in order, yah?) & yes, the freaking deus ex machina IN THE END. Big eye roll! But horror of horrors ep 18 amps up the cotton candy cute. Wish you were whatcha-ma-calling that one too.

  6. *comes out of hiding*

    I LOVE this! Serendipity dahling, have I ever told you you’re a genius? Because you are. 😀

    As a major detractor, I naturally found myself nodding along like crazy to the detractor comments. SJ annoyed the hell out of me in this episode, far more than he normally did, and thus it was here where I forever gave up trying to like him. And YH…*sigh* Let’s not even go there.

    But I loved the fangirl comments too, because I’ve been wanting to get a peek into the mindset of the fangirl, and try to understand what is so lovable about this series.

    THANK YOU! *muah*

  7. Prof. Jung to blue1004:

    “For unbelievable attention to details in this recap, PASS!”

    …our regular readers will know that Thundie and I prefer not to do “linear” or “straight” re-telling of stories. We present our personal take. Not quite a review, but not quite a recap either.

    Haha! *laughs nervously thinking about remaining recaps-that-aren’t-recaps*

  8. But, why in the first place is it up to him? Why can’t she stay if she jolly well wants to? And after losing the competition, she gets what she wants anyway by means of an OPW (oppa pout wiggle)?
    Regarding this, I felt that during their conversation prior to going back SKK, Yoon Hee had seriously expressed to Sun Joon about how she’s not going to leave SKK, etc. So, I actually didn’t mind the OPW scene too much because there’s this light-hearted, joking (can’t think of another word to describe) vibe to it and I don’t think that Yoon Hee got what she wanted because of that single maneuver. Now, if Sun Joon continues to insist that Yoon Hee leaves SKK and she listens and does not stand her ground, then that’s a major character inconsistency and I wouldn’t be okay with that.

  9. hi. first time to delurk here. 😀

    I admit Yoonhee’s OPW was a bit too cutesy. But I think it also shows how much she cares about Sun Joon’s opinions about her and what she does. Even during the De Sa Re, it was his opinion that she sought for during the actual competition. And that time she was thinking of him as a friend. Now, she was asking the man she likes (and who likes her too) to allow her to stay. Honestly, I thought she was just distracting him with the competition, with no intentions of really leaving skk if she lost. She was entirely too sure of herself during the next scenes, when she should have been nervous.

    As for Sun Joon insisting that she leave SKK, I think it was partly out of guilt. When she (Yoonhee) was a ‘he’ in his eyes, it was more about the overcoming of obstacles (of being a namin, of being poor, etc). And Yoon Hee was able to prove herself worthy of being at SKK time and again. But when it came out that ‘he’ was actually a ‘she’, it added another element to the mix. He realized that she was actually risking her life to stay, which she wouldn’t have had to do if she had been a boy/man. And he was the one who pushed her into entering SKK.

    Lastly, I think Sun Joon’s reactions to the ‘big’ revelation was consistent with his character. For the mind to react much faster than the body, that’s the typical nerdy lovable SUn Joon. I bet in a small amount of time, he’s already processed (and calculated) all the possibilities that have opened up now that he found out she was a girl. So by the time his body could register the shock, he probably had his new gameplan all worked out. Hehehe. 😀

    Nevertheless, that was a great recap. Enjoyed it very much. Thank you for continuing to feature SKKS. Kinda eases the separation anxiety now that the series is over. 😀

  10. ya the OPW (love the acronym btw!) move was def. not a serious tactic.
    it was just her paying respect to his penis.

    no way was she gonna leave SKK on someone else’s terms.
    the OPW move doesn’t make a girl less assertive.
    it just makes her a smart politician.

    ^^

  11. Awesome recap cum insights. Thanks Serendipity.

    Awesome treat for the fans of Prof Jung at this youtube link. I was rewatching 18 vs 29 and then it strikes that it’s the same actor as a desperate love-lorn guy in this drama. Just thinking about the Prof acting as this character throws me off…hope u enjoy it too!

  12. What’s doesn’t flow with me :
    1. She falls and he opens up her dress. What’s the purpose? Both of them are wet anyway. He doesn’t have any dry clothes to cover her if he were to take her clothes off. It’s okay if her clothes get loosen up (wardrobe malfunction) during her struggle underwater and he saw ‘it’ when he brought her on the rock. Not because he opens up her clothes.

    2. Hiding from other scholar at the big rock. I don’t believe that the other scholars can’t see them. It’s a bright day. It’s not like the rock formation in ep 1, where they can hide underneath. I’m sure they can see their feet jutting out.

    The rest…i like! 🙂
    1. SJ lack of drama on YHee’s a girl revelation is because he’s a fast thinker. During the HBS/gay student council trial, in a split second he connects that YHee’s secret was ‘JS is HBS’. This scene should be better explained if they did some flashback of all the dots telling him that it’s his(SJ’s) doing that YHee ended up in SKK. She and her family might lose their life over what HE did. The editing of this series sometime is a big let down. The hockey game, the opening scene when YHee saved SJ by wearing gisaeng dress, JS’s bracelet… a few others.
    Another thing, the other scholars are passing through at that time that they need to hide. More time to mull things over.

    2. The YHee kimbab/sushi roll to the time he speaks her name, Kim. ..YoonHee, is one of the best scene. They really talk about things that matter. I really love that scene.

    3. “You call that feeble peck a kiss?”
    i think that’s about enough for the first time 🙂 They are both very green at it. It’s in character. It’ll be so out of character if it’s passionate. Anyway they are in the library. It’s hit and run 🙂

    4. SJ wanting YHee to leave SKK and YHee adamantly refused. Win! I agree with doozy, I don’t mind the OPW because she has said all that she has to say about why she should stay in SKK. After the competition, I think SJ already can see that YHee suits to be in SKK better than outside. He just want to goad her.

  13. “Haha! *laughs nervously thinking about remaining recaps-that-aren’t-recaps*”

    hehehe *smirks and rubs hands together in anticipation* 😉

  14. Interesting, interesting, interesting. How i love thee’ s comment. I guess everyone has their opinion on this episod. I love everybody here, but i loved dramaok the most :))))))

  15. The fangirl/ detractor duality recap is awesome. =) This is definitely the episode where I started going between “ooh soo cuute” and “waait, she’s stronger than that!” And it kinda continued in the subsequent episodes.

    I can understand the change though. Yoonhee finally doesn’t have to build a wall around herself since SJ knows she’s a girl. She is then able to actually be a girl (ie the presence of the OPW). I think it’s quite a relief to her, especially thinking about her speech in episode 10 when she’s in her gisaeng garb and all her emotions finally get to her.

  16. Sun Joon sleeps away from Yoon Hee, with no bedding. Yoon Hee gives him the blanket. And she tells him why she started her charade, and her real name

    In my imagination, Sun Joon take the ribbon (sangtoo?) off her forehead slowly, so he can see her girl face clearly, and ask:”Since when was that you started to mask your beautiful face under the guise of a man?” Gah! I will die if that scene is ever exist.

    And about Yoon Hee is being weak this episode in front of Sun Joon, I think it’s not because she is weak now, but she wants his approval because she loves him. Before, they are friends. Now she is considering Sun Joon feeling as his girlfriend. They are in a relationship before married life.

    Thank you for a ‘not really a recap’ recap, it sums it all. And thank you for keeping SKKS alive. I’m still in denial syndrome. I play episodes over and over again.

    I never said thanks for all of your soompi subbing team, so .. thank you very much. I much appreciate all of your hardworking. Awesome job!

  17. KOMOWO.. nomo nomo nomo nomo nomo chua… on the recaps but not recaps… been looking forward to serendipity and thundie… weeee wait isnt its thundie’s part is in ep.17 wahahah ill wait.. patiently 😉 then on blu thnkz for that.. and thank u also for giving us info’s in viikii.. wahahaha

  18. fun as always! of course we need the detractor – as much as i heart skks, there were so many times when i was yelling at my computer saying “REALLY????? REALLLLLY??!” haha. thanks!

  19. “Right. So you are a mystery masked man with a price on your head. And you stand and chat with a man who is dressed in enough bling to light up a small village. Because that’s not conspicuous or suspicious looking, no, not at all.”

    *Tofu cracks up in the middle of a coffeeshop and almost inhales mocha into her lungs*

    Serendipity — you are awesome! =D The Grumpy Detractor is so much win, and you know what? No matter how much of a rabid fangirl I am, I agree with…… well, most of it! (Shall I check myself into the SKKS AA hospital again on accounts of suspected split personality disorder? XD)

    Looking forward to more snark!

  20. Wow, you guys are going to milk this for all it’s worth…and I’m loving it! More time to bask in the glory that is SKKS. And I love that Serendipity got into “detractor” mode…because it’s true, we were all blinded with love for SKKS, but when all was said and done, we knew it wasn’t perfect. Oh, who am I kidding! No matter how much we go “detractor” on it, we’ll still be SKKS addicts! Looking forward to the next episodes’ recap/review/whatever-it-is-we-love-it! Thanks much!

  21. hahaha love the Disgruntled Detractor. hope to see her more in future “recaps”.

    “Yeorim is the confidante of every young lady in town, from gisaeng to daughter of minister? Seriously? Has he stuck his mobile phone number to every bus stop in town? (“oppa-at-large, call any time!”)”

    ha! i wonder what sort of communication networks they had in those times, it amazes me how everyone (ok mostly Yeorim) knew exactly where to be at the right time.

    ” O… k… I could buy a crush, or even momentary fascination. But changing her whole life to wait for him? Hmm…”

    actually, i don’t think Chosun’s decision was too far-fetched. i mean, out of all the men she encountered, Yhee was the only one who did not treat her with derision, condescendence or oppression i.e. like a proper human being. so yeh, i actually buy her love for Yhee. i quite adore this pairing, but i don’t think the show had enough time explore their relationship, which is a shame, really, and maybe partly why some ppl find it a bit contrived…

  22. I’m loving everyone’s comments! I’m sorry I haven’t been active in replying. Life is somewhat busy. But I have been reading, and I’m delighted that my little not-a-recap has sparked some interesting discussion.

    Special mention to @blue1004 – your detailed response made me think! For instance, I think you’re right about Yoon Hee not knowing about the non-engagement. Chronologically, that could have happened before he openly declared for her, so she couldn’t be sure.

    @kfan13 – Thanks for the video! You’re right, it’s funny seeing Prof Jung act as a completely different character, Prof Jung mannerisms and all.

    @Tofu – You and me schizo, dear, you and me. Most of the time I had no trouble doing both Fangirl and Detractor for reals. In the odd spot I had to work a little harder at one or the other, but more often than was sane I was genuinely sitting in both camps!

    @J – So sorry, this is Serendipity writing, not softy. Softy did the awesome live recaps. In any case, welcome! And, enjoy!

  23. Your weblog appears to be having some compatibilty issues in my safari browser.
    The wording seems to be running off the page pretty bad.

    If you want you can email me at: mckinley-buford@gmail.
    com and I will shoot you over a screen shot of the problem.

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