It’s the episode everyone has been waiting for! (Well, it was two weeks ago.) Confessions abound as In-soo’s nefarious plan falls apart yet again.
For this episode, you’ll need:
1) A box of tissues (or two) to stop your nose from bleeding/wipe away your tears
2) Masking tape to bind your heart together again after Jae-shin breaks it
Continuing from where we left off, we hear a collective “thunk” as everyone’s jaws hit the ground following Seon-joon’s stunning bombshell. But no, Seon-joon isn’t committing social suicide. This is just his way of demonstrating why the brain is the sexiest organ in the human body. He tells the council that since he was with Yoon-hee and Jae-shin that night at Hyangkwanchung, it follows that he must be gay as well.
Pointing to the three stooges, he says that they saw him leaving the building that night, so why wasn’t he implicated in the scandal? It’s because the rumours aren’t true. Did anyone see Jae-shin and Yoon-hee doing anything inappropriate? Everyone’s fingers start flying as the scholars play “Pass the Blame.” Short answer: No.
Seon-joon continues: besides, is one man’s love for another such a terrible thing?
Cute Soron leader protests. Of course! Confucius said so.
Is that right? Seon-joon proceeds to school everyone on Confucian ethics. The most important virtue is (in) benevolence (or as Seon-joon explains it, love for a friend), which is what makes us all human. However in this case, love has been subjected to perverse thoughts by people who choose to see things through their own warped perspective. How can these people be considered Confucian scholars when they take pleasure in another person’s misfortune? No one has the right to pass judgement on another person’s love but if this is how Confucian scholars are supposed to behave, then he would rather be labeled a homosexual.
Notes: 1) Someone pass me a tissue. I feel a nosebleed coming on.
2) I’m just paraphrasing this very loosely. By now, I’m sure everyone has watched ep. 15. You know what Seon-joon’s talking about.
You’d think, given the outcome that In-soo would call it a day and spare himself further ignominy but noooo. Because he just doesn’t know when to give up, In-soo persists in asking Yoon-hee and Jae-shin what they were doing in Hyangkwanchung. As he goes on and on about the Hong Byuk Seo, Seon-joon finally understands the reason for Yoon-hee’s refusal to tell him what happened that night. (Okay, where is Professor Jung? He’s supposed to be listening to this. Isn’t he the one looking for the Hong Byuk Seo?)
In-soo orders them to remove their upper garments. Panic ensues for obvious reasons.
However, just as Jae-shin is about to sacrifice himself for Yoon-hee’s sake, Seon-joon steps in and turns the tables on In-soo. Is he making use of the Student Council to nab the masked avenger? The reason why no one, not even the King, can interfere with the Student Council’s decisions is to ensure that it cannot be used to further anyone’s political agenda. Since he’s already accepted that they aren’t gay, isn’t he abusing his power if he pursues this matter?
There is an uproar as all the scholars start turning against In-soo, aghast that they’ve been tricked. Seon-joon, who has in the span of ten minutes taken over as the head of the council, tells him that if he dismisses the charges against Yoon-hee and Jae-shin, they won’t hold him accountable for deceiving them.
So what else is there left for In-soo to do but swallow his pride yet again and declare Yoon-hee and Jae-shin innocent of the charges against them?
As Seon-joon leaves the hearing, he berates himself for allowing his feelings to cloud his judgement. How could he have thought that Yoon-hee and Jae-shin were gay? Meanwhile, Jae-shin fulfills his part of the love triangle by watching from a distance as Yoon-hee asks the three stooges if they’ve seen Seon-joon, who is nowhere to be found. *sigh*
Well, maybe you should have asked Yong-ha instead of those fools. If this show has made one thing quite clear, it’s that Yong-ha knows everything about everyone. Sure enough, Seon-joon crosses paths with Scholar Gu just as he is leaving the university. The latter muses that it’s strange for someone like him to be okay with homosexuality. Seon-joon starts to protest but Yong-ha cuts him off. So he was merely upholding his principles, hmm? If that’s the case, why did he lie about being at Hyangkwanchung with Jae-shin and Yoon-hee? Tsk, tsk. That’s so unlike him.
In what I suspect is his way of thanking Seon-joon for helping Jae-shin (or not, who knows how Yong-ha’s mind works?) he tries to talk him out of his fool engagement. Of all the eligible families in Joseon, he’s choosing to marry into Ha In-soo’s. What’s he doing it for? Status? Or does he really not care who he marries as long as it allows him to escape whatever he’s running away from? Seon-joon is unable to offer him an answer. And because Yong-ha knows exactly which button to press, he continues: Well, is he happy? Seon-joon’s silence says it all.
It turns out that Seon-joon has withdrawn from the university for good and naturally hasn’t bothered to tell anyone about it. After spending God knows how long hanging around in the library hoping to catch a glimpse of him, Yoon-hee finally hears the news from one of the school servants.
Boudoir de Yong-ha. Okay, PD Kim, either quit messing around with my head or please just have Yong-ha jump Jae-shin already. This is getting to the point where even someone as woefully clueless as Seon-joon is going to need a cold shower soon. I swear I have not inhaled any crack but let’s just say if Yong-ha were a woman, this is the scene where his robe would ‘accidentally’ open up or slip off his shoulder to reveal his negligee/bare shoulders/cleavage.
Anyhow, Yong-ha tells Jae-shin that though he doesn’t care for the Student Council hearings. It’s what comes after—i.e. the school trip—that he likes best. Apparently, this is the council’s way of ensuring that the scholars don’t harbor any hard feelings towards one another. What could be better than being surrounded by beautiful scenery, getting drunk on alcohol and being one with nature? As he talks, he keeps
taking Jae-shin’s cup away flirting with Jae-shin (hello, did anyone else notice how the camera lingers on their hands here?), much to the latter’s annoyance.
Yong-ha tells him he shouldn’t be drinking since his wounds haven’t healed yet. Gee, I don’t know. If you don’t want him to drink, then maybe you shouldn’t be putting it in front of him in the first place?
Yoon-hee bursts in right at that moment to announce that Seon-joon has left Sungkyunkwan. This surprises Yong-ha—and here he thought he was leaving to attend to his engagement ceremony. Could it be because of what he said earlier?
Yoon-hee’s heart breaks when she hears that his engagement ceremony is taking place the next day and she returns to their room to cry, leaving Jae-shin to spend another night in the cold (God, I hope he has some alternative sleeping arrangements elsewhere. At the rate this show is going, Jae-shin is going to die of hypothermia before the Minister of War’s men get him.)
Lee Manor. We find Seon-joon mulling over Yong-ha’s words, the doubt regarding his upcoming nuptials growing. His father tells him that the Minister of War has already agreed to move their wedding forward and assures Seon-joon that having a wife and family is a good thing because they’ll give him the strength and encouragement he needs to forge ahead in life. What more can a man ask for?
However, Yong-ha’s parting words continue to play in Seon-joon’s mind: Is he happy? Minister Lee laughs when he puts this question to him. However Seon-joon insists he needs to know his answer. Aghast, Lee Senior blusters that such a silly question shouldn’t even be coming out of his mouth. He tells his son he has never bothered wasting his time thinking such trivial things.
It’s now Yoon-hee’s turn to run her leg of the angst-a-thon. As she walks to class, she is reminded of the times she spent with Seon-joon and it doesn’t help that the three stooges won’t shut up about him. Unable to bear the thought of not ever seeing him again, she steals out of the university and goes to the Minister of War’s house, hoping to catch one last glimpse of Seon-joon.
And what does she do when she sees him? She hides behind a tree. But of course, Seon-joon has seen her. Trying to hide his relief, he tells her: “I was right. I thought I was hallucinating.” (Translation: I wanted to see you so badly that I was on the verge of hallucinating. No point fooling yourself, Seon-joon. We all know your imagination is as fertile as the Nile when it comes to her.)
Yoon-hee tries to play it off by saying she was on her way to the bookseller’s store but it’s clear she’s not fooling anyone. Deciding to come clean, she tells him that she’s just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her she wanted to thank him for helping her and Jae-shin out during the hearing. More importantly, she wanted to see him one last time because who knows when they’ll see each other again?
Deciding to draw out his agony, Seon-joon tells her she shouldn’t have come to see him. Leave, Kim Yoon-shik. Let us never see each other again. Turning his back on her, he leaves, walking into the Minister of War’s compound. As you can see, Seon-joon has quite a hidden flair for the dramatic.
Heartbroken, Yoon-hee does as she is told, the tears streaming down the face. As usual, it doesn’t take long for regret to catch up with Seon-joon. As he walks up to Hyo-eun’s room, the doubt that has been festering in his mind continues to grow. To be honest, this is my favourite scene in the episode. I love how the conflicting emotions play out on his face as each step brings him closer to an irrevocable future. Even as his resolve is slowly falling apart, he’s still trying his darnedest to stay on what he feels is the right path.
Taking a deep breath, he opens the door, only to see a beaming Hyo-eun. As she embraces him, she tells him she will do her best to be a wife worthy of him and reminds him of his promise to try and love her. (Do or do not, there is no try, Hyo-eun!)
It’s now or never, Seon-joon. Either tell her the truth or live forever with the knowledge that this is the moment you destroyed both your lives. Unable to deceive himself any longer (thank GOD!), Seon-joon gently breaks her embrace, telling her that he cannot fulfill the promise he made.
And with that out in the open, he leaves, running off to find Yoon-hee.
Spotting her in the marketplace, he grabs her by the shoulders, and turns her around, telling her what everyone has known since the beginning of the show: “I…like you, Kim Yoon-shik.” (Please hit the rewind button at your own leisure.)
He then reveals why he’s been behaving like an ass to her these past few weeks. It’s because he, the morally upright and principled Lee Seon-joon, has done the unthinkable and fallen in love with her, another man. That’s the reason why he kept pushing her away. If she stays by his side, he won’t be able to continue lying to himself.
And then he tells her that he will not let his feelings for her taint her good name. This will be the last time she will ever see him. It’s the least he can do for her. With that, he turns away, disappearing into the crowd.
Chez Minister of War. Too mortified to tell her father the real reason why the engagement fell through, Hyo-eun pretends to be ill and lays the blame on herself.
Though she manages to fool the minister, her brother is not so easily taken in. He tells the minister that there’s been no sign of any doctor, let alone Seon-joon. Something’s not quite right here.
Back in her room, Hyo-eun tells Beo Deul that she will not give Seon-joon up. I know this sounds like a foreign concept to you, but there are other good-looking young men in Joseon, you know.
Lee Manor. Seon-joon finds himself in another “Oh shit” situation when his father asks him about Hyo-eun’s illness. As it turns out, Seon-joon, being the gentleman that he is, had asked her to announce she was breaking off the engagement so that it wouldn’t look like she had been dumped.
Unaware of what is going on, his father tells him rather than postpone the engagement, they’re just going to go ahead with the wedding. Seon-joon decides to come clean (good for him) and tells his father the truth: the engagement is off. Minister Lee practically jumps up from his seat. You know, for a moment there, I thought the Left Prime Minister was going to smack his son.
Showing incredible resolve, Seon-joon replies that this is his way of taking responsibility for Hyo-eun. Whatever it is, he’s not getting married and that’s final. And once again, Seon-joon takes yet another step away from the man he loves.
Perplexed by this turn of events, the Left State Minister summons Soon-dol and finds out that his son had met up with Yoon-hee before his engagement. It doesn’t take long before Seon-joon’s entire history with her is out in the open. So his son is best friends with the son of his nemesis. Oh dear…how unfortunate.
Sungkyunkwan library. Now that Seon-joon has confessed to liking her as a man, Yoon-hee finds herself in a pickle. To tell the truth or not? She laments that this must be heaven’s way of punishing her for her deception.
Right on cue, her guardian angel appears. Why so serious, pumpkin? Yoon-hee says since he’s read all the books in the library, he’s probably the best person to give her advice. Gallantly, he pulls up a chair. Ask away, he’s all ears. Well, she’s told someone a big, fat lie that is now causing said person a lot of pain. She wants to tell him the truth but is afraid that he’ll hate her for it. What should she do?
Gaaah! Why do you keep using Jae-shin’s heart as a pin cushion, show? To give the girl you love advice while she moons over another guy…’tis a shitty job and Yong-ha’s not around to dole out his infinite pearls of wisdom. Because there is no end to his sweetness and generosity, Jae-shin tells her to be straight with that person about how she feels. (Easier said than done, babe. You of all people should know this!)
But Yoon-hee isn’t convinced it’s as easy as saying “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” It’s such a huge lie—what if he’s so angry he never wants to speak to her ever again?
Jae-shin rises from his seat. So is this person someone she likes? *sigh* Like he even needs to ask. Magnanimous till the very end, he tries to lighten the mood by teasing her. Who is it? Cho-sun?
Someone pass me another friggin’ roll of tape please.
Chancellor’s office. Yong-ha and the Chancellor are deciding where to go for the scholars’ trip. The former pooh-poohs the latter’s suggestions. Who wants to go to the mountains? That’s so last year. The gibang is where the fun’s at! After much beating around the bush by the Chancellor, it is finally revealed that this is his way of luring Seon-joon back to Sungkyunkwan. If he sees the scholars having fun, he might just change his mind about staying at Jukjeong. Yong-ha perks up at the mention of Seon-joon’s name. Well, why didn’t he just say so? Wolchul Mountain it is!
L’ecole de Jukjeong. Speaking of young scholar Lee, we find Seon-joon in the final stages of a terminal illness—lovesickness.
Can’t sleep? Check.
Can’t eat? Check.
And you know that someone like Seon-joon is 360 shades of gone when his brain comes to a complete standstill and he is unable to study.
Royal Palace. We see the King and his two devious subjects playing a game of chess, in more ways than one. The former expresses his surprise at Seon-joon’s withdrawal from Sungkyunkwan and tells the Left Prime Minister, much to the latter’s puzzlement, to ask his son to return as soon as he can. At this, the Minister of War pipes up that Seon-joon is merely following in his father’s footsteps by choosing to study at Jukjeong.
Oh, you think you’re so clever. The King informs them that he too will follow in his father’s footsteps by moving the capital to Hwaseong, which is what his father had wanted to do.
Needless to say, Minister Ha loses it the moment they’re no longer in the palace. How could he even think of doing such a thing? Minister Lee tells him that if he gets hold of the Geum Deung Ji Sa, this could very well become a reality. What they need to do is plant one of their spies in the palace to win his trust.
Royal Palace. With the two ministers gone, the King finally reveals why he is so anxious for Seon-joon to return to Sungkyunkwan. It is because as the son of the Norons’ leader, he will play a crucial role in winning the Norons’ support. What is at stake is not only the Geum Deung Ji Sa but the future of the country. Without the Norons, his dream of political unity will be just that.
Sungkyunkwan. The day of the school outing has arrived and as Yong-ha prepares to leave, the Chancellor corners him again, reminding him that his future (i.e. whether he continues spending it in the sticks or in the capital) depends very much on Seon-joon returning to the university, so could he please bring the wayward scholar back into the fold?
Spotting Jae-shin and Yoon-hee, he extricates himself from the Chancellor and twirls over to them. Yoon-hee’s glum expression doesn’t escape Yong-ha. Why the long face? She looks like she’s on a trip to the slaughterhouse instead of the mountains.
Look, even Jae-shin has come along and he’s
even cleaned and prettied himself up never ever taken part in these extra-curricular activities before. It’s because of her—mppf! Jae-shin shuts his friend up. It’s too early in the morning to be spouting such nonsense. Ha ha.
Wolchol Mountain. Jae-shin has traded in his Hong Byuk Seo getup for an apron and is currently in the lead for the “Wife of the Year” award. As Yoon-hee pines away for Seon-joon, he busies himself roasting a sweet potato for her, looking as pleased as punch when it’s done.
And to make sure she doesn’t burn her tongue eating it, he sweetly blows on it to make it cooler. All I’m going to say is that this sweet potato is going to be worth a lot on eBay.
Touched, Yoon-hee tells him: “You’ll make a good husband one day, sahyung.” Jae-shin tries to suppress a smile. Needless to say, he doesn’t try very hard.
And then he notices that she’s gotten some ash on the side of her cheeks and moves to brush it off. Okay, I can’t watch you do this anymore, Jae-shin. I don’t know what your heart is made of but if mine cracks again, it’s going to break in two.
Meanwhile, over in another part of the mountain, Yong-ha has not only managed to find his homies but is also putting his plan into motion. He gives Soon-dol some money, telling him that he has just the antidote for Seon-joon’s illness. If he wants his young master to recover, all he has to do is follow his instructions…
Soon-dol rushes back to tell Seon-joon that his mother has arrived to see him. Soon-dol, just because he is terminally lovesick doesn’t mean your master is stupid. Sure enough, the latter quirks an eyebrow. She came without letting him know in advance? Lie smarter, Soon-dol! Er, maybe something serious happened at home?
Wolchol Mountain. Seeing her reading on her own, the three stooges, who are drunk off their asses, try to get Yoon-hee to go into the water. Predictably, this sends her running.
However what she doesn’t know is that Byung-choon and Go-bong are following behind, having hatched another one of their harebrained schemes. They’ve noticed her reluctance to join the other scholars in the water. Could it be that she’s hiding a scar? *gasp* That’s it! She’s the Hong Byuk Seo! Imagine how pleased In-soo would be if they caught the masked avenger in his absence! I have only two words for you, In-soo: recruitment drive.
Fortunately for her, Jae-shin swings by soon enough and seeing her book on the ground, finds out from the three stooges that she went off with Byung-choon and Go Bong.
Meanwhile, Seon-joon finally finds out the real reason Soon-dol brought him out. No, Soon-dol. Sungkyunkwan is dead to me. I will have nothing to do with
Kim Yoo- anyone there. If I repeat this to myself often enough, perhaps I will believe it one day.
As he is turning to leave, Soon-dol spots Yoon-hee. Look master, there’s the pretty scholar!
OMG, really? Where? No!…Must…resist…contact! Scraping the last dredges of his will power from the bottom of the barrel, Seon-joon walks away, only to find that it expired a few episodes ago. Fine, he’ll rot in hell. It’s not like returning to his room is going to do him any good. He’s just going to end up staring off into space and hallucinating again.
We cut to see Jae-shin collaring Byung-choon and Go Bong just as they are about to push Yoon-hee into the water. He hauls them both away while she conveniently drops her shoe in the water.
Seon-joon, who is looking for her, sees it floating past him and goes into full panic mode, yelling her name. And just when thinks he’s lost her, he turns around, only to see her staring up at him with those large, familiar Bambi eyes that he’s missed so much…
To hell with propriety and the law! Overcome with emotion, he runs towards her and pulls her towards him in a tight embrace. (Where’s Hyo-eun? She needs to come see this. This is what a man who is in love with a woman looks like. Sorry, I belong to the school of tough love.)
After what seems like an eternity, he lets go of her and tells her he’s not going to go to war with himself anymore. He’s tired of running from her. And with that, he turns to walk away again. Wait, I thought you just said you weren’t going to run away anymore? OMG Seon-joon, you drama queen!
Unable to keep silent any longer, she tells him she too has something to say as well. However, she slips just as she is running towards him and falls into the water, prompting Seon-joon to dive in (score: perfect 10) and carry her out.
Oh no! She’s unconscious. What to do? What’s the first step for administering CPR? Right, loosen the unconscious person’s clothes.
He pulls apart her inner garments and sits back in shock.
Okay, son. You’ve made it this far. Don’t pass out now, you hear? Repeat after me: I’m not hallucinating. Those are breasts. She’s a girl. Repeat as often as is necessary.
Okay, here’s the thing: I haven’t watched the last four episodes of Sungkyunkwan Scandal yet. Er…I guess I’m just trying to delay the inevitable? Anyhow, I’ve been trying so v. v. hard not to spoil myself but I caved and had a peek at some of the websites and blogs out there. So yes, I know there’s the infamous hat scene, not to mention that scene with Seon-joon and Yoon-hee in the last episode. I was planning to have a mini-marathon over the weekend and spazz/squee/flail myself hoarse but it looks like my will to wait two more days just expired on me.
I said once that it’s quite difficult to hate anyone in this show and I still believe this. It may sound as if I dislike Hyo-eun a lot but I don’t; I just wish she’d stop clinging so stubbornly to this infatuation of hers. On the one hand, yes, it’s a bit brutal the way he broke off the engagement at the last minute since he was the one who proposed. On the other hand, she knows that he doesn’t love her. He has never shown her anything but polite indifference and I want her to recognise this and move on. But she’s spoiled and she’s always had things her way, and so it is with affairs of the heart as well. Thank God then for the next episode.
Anyway, I’ll stop babbling now and save the rest of what I have to say for next time.