Recap: Sungkyunkwan Scandal Ep. 20 (extended remix)

In the immortal words of Natalie Cole, “I miss you like crazy, I miss you like crazy…”

And so it has finally come to this. But before we say our goodbyes, it’s time for our fair heroes to be put through the wringer one last time as Yoon-hee faces up to the consequences of being outed. 

Lesson 20

Royal Palace. Things are looking up for the Jalgeum Quartet. First, Jae-shin’s notes bring about their intended effect and the the King orders the Minister of War to apologise to the scholars before word gets out to the citizens about what he did.

And then, Yoon-hee returns with the Geum Deung Ji Sa in hand. Hurrah!

As you might imagine, the King is over the moon about this. Finally, he can realise his dream of building a new Joseon!

Er…I wouldn’t pop the champagne just yet, your Highness.

Meanwhile, Seon-joon is declared a free man and as he walks into the courtyard, the scholars erupt in cheers. It’s a 180-degree turnaround from the first episode where, let’s face it, everyone was just looking for the flimsiest of excuses to beat him up. And who knew that Lee Seon-joon could smile this widely?

He overhears Woo Tak and Hae Won talking about him and offers the latter an olive branch, his brief stint in prison having made him realise that it can get pretty lonely without a friendly face around.

And then it’s time to be reunited with the Jalgeum Quartet, well Yong-ha and Jae-shin at least. Jae-shin gives him a typical Geol Oh welcome and tells him that if he ever pulls such a stunt again, he will never talk to him for the rest of his life.

I’d poke fun at him here but it looks like someone has beaten me to it. Ooh, quips Yong-ha, does this mean he’s going to spend the rest of his life seeing Seon-joon? Could this be a confession of luuurve?

And then crestfallen, he adds, “In my presence?” (Oh puppy, how can you be this adorable?)

Jae-shin: There he goes spouting nonsense again

As you might have guessed, Seon-joon isn’t really here to shoot the breeze with the guys and his furtive glances do not escape Yong-ha. Knowing very well who he has on his mind, he fills Seon-joon in on Yoon-hee’s role in leading the demonstration and her discovery of the Geum Deung Ji Sa.

And where is our hero of the hour? Turns out she is having an audience with Minister Lee. The latter thanks Yoon-hee for helping save his son, adding that he knows it couldn’t have been an easy decision for her to undertake.

Whatever you can say about him, the minister is no hypocrite and he readily admits that he never liked her father, who he always thought was too much of a romantic to be giving advice to the King.

However even though they had their differences, he assures her that the thought of murdering her father had never crossed his mind. Regardless, the minister tells her that he will understand if she resents him all the same.

It’s a potentially awkward moment and once again, Yoon-hee uses her wit to defuse the situation. She tells him that what she feels is not resentment but the need to be vigilant and quotes a passage from the Classics to illustrate this, which impresses the minister. Now he understands why Seon-joon regards her as a “precious friend”.

The words have barely left his mouth when he spots the ring she’s wearing on her finger. To his credit, if the minister is having a sudden attack of gastriticis, he doesn’t show it.

Sungkyunkwan. We see our lovelorn scholar pacing up and down anxiously. Thankfully, Yoon-hee appears before he can wear a hole in the grass. And just how does our boy wonder express his happiness?

“Didn’t you know I was released? Exactly what have you been doing all this time?”

Oh, Seon-joon…

“Didn’t it ever occur to you to think how long I might have been waiting for you?”

*facepalm* How difficult is it to say “I missed you”?

Yoon-hee bites back a grin and decides to mess with him a bit. What’s the big deal? They just saw each other the day before, didn’t they?

Trust Seon-joon to take everything literally and they continue in this vein until the scriptwriter realizes that there’s less than 40 minutes to go and still one major issue to resolve.

Out pops Yong-ha to get the show moving again. What the hell are they doing outside? Let’s get the party started!

Centre Room Two. It’s drinks all around and Yong-ha gives Yoon-hee the thumbs up for leading the demonstration and saving the day. She’s a real Daemul, all right.

And then he all but tells her that she is the first woman who he will never get tired of looking at and look who’s joined the party? Why it’s Green-Eyed Seon-joon! He clears his throat, causing Yong-ha to smirk.

Puppy, you need to quit teasing poor LSJ before he gets indigestion

The conversation moves on to the dreams they have for the new Joseon. While Yoon-hee doesn’t have any idea what she wants to do yet, Yong-ha blithely declares that he no longer has any use for dreams. After all, he knows who he is and he has friends who love him. What more does he need?

The party continues until finally, Seon-joon decides that it’s time to call it a night. Much to his dismay, Yong-ha’s too wasted to return to his room.

Fortunately, Jae-shin is still sober enough to reprise his role as the Guardian of Yoon-hee’s Modesty. He tells her to sleep in Yong-ha’s room because it’s too crowded in theirs.

Seon-joon is forever in Jae-shin’s debt

Seriously, who in their right mind would want to pass up the chance to share a room with three hot guys? Yoon-hee pouts. Why should she move to Yong-ha’s room when her room’s here?

She collapses onto the ground and scandalises poor Seon-joon by saying that the Jalgeum Quartet should just sleep together.

Yeah right. If only.

In the end, it’s settled. The two members with the “bad sleeping habits” end up on the floor while our two alpha males drift off to sleep clasping each other’s hand.

*sniff* And to think in Episode 3, Jae-shin was all, “I would rather swallow bleach than sleep in the same room with Noron boy.”

Unbeknown to our fair heroes, the shit is in the process of hitting the fan as In-soo informs his father that Yoon-hee is a girl. Cue ripple effect as he, in turn, drops this bombshell on the Left Prime Minister.

The lull before the storm. Seon-joon is having a little sulk and after some prodding on her part, Yoon-hee finds out that he’s upset with her for being so blasé about sleeping in the same room with Yong-ha and Jae-shin. This eventually leads to him finding out that she used to transcribe porn at the bookstore.

She assures him that she only did it three times because it paid more but even this is one too many times for Seon-joon’s sensitive ears to handle. Look on the bright side, honey. At least you won’t both be fumbling on your wedding night.

Grumbling he tells her that he intends to visit her at her home because he has no idea how she lived her life before she entered Sungkyunkwan. It’s his indirect way of proposing to her—you don’t talk to a girl’s mother unless you’re serious about marrying her.

Royal Palace. Unbeknown to Seon-joon, his father is now throwing a spanner in his plans. The minister asks the King to bury the Geum Deung Ji Sa, telling him that his pursuit of his dreams will only bring grief to Professor Kim’s daughter.


Minister Lee spells it out for him: Your Highness, Kim Yoon-shik…is a girl.

Dun dun DUN.

Over in another part of town, an unsuspecting Yong-ha finds himself summoned by Hyo-eun. He regards her with a condescending air. Still can’t get over Seon-joon, huh?

She tells him to quit being such an ass to her—she’s trying to help them for crying out loud. And with that, she reveals that her brother has found out the truth.

Somewhere a cricket chirps. Yong-ha looks at her blankly.

Surely they’re not all unaware of it.

Patience wearing thin, Yong-ha asks, “Unaware of what?”

That Kim Yoon-shik is a woman.


We cut to Yoon-hee and Seon-joon, who are both blissfully unaware of the trouble heading their way.

As she waits for him outside her house, she checks her appearance again in the mirror and finds out that she is not alone…

Meanwhile, we find Jae-shin having a quiet moment alone as he pays his respects to his brother.

Offering him a toast, he reflects on how much he had misunderstood his brother when he was alive. Now he knows the reason he lived his life the way he did — it wasn’t because he hated Joseon; on the contrary, he loved it so much that he was willing to lay down his life for his country.

His peace and quiet is shattered by Yong-ha, who is here to reprise his role as the bearer of bad news.

They hurry off to find Seon-joon, who’s still blissfully unaware of what’s going on and tries to slink off without being seen.

O.M.G. Why is everyone still speaking in code? How difficult is it to say, “Daemul is in danger. Yes, we know she’s a girl but we can talk about that later. We’ve got to go. NOW.”

Yong-ha spots Yoon-hee’s shattered mirror on the ground and Seon-joon’s brain finally clicks into gear as he pieces everything together.

Royal Palace. With Yoon-hee kneeling before him in full female regalia, there’s nothing left for the King to do except have a meltdown. Professor Jung arrives just in time to bear the full brunt of his wrath and the King rants and rails about his liberal Western leanings, his anguish heightened by the fact that he’s thisclose to realising his dream and trumping those blasted Norons, goddammit!

Over in a shady part of town, the Minister of War is telling an unhappy Chosun that he has something he wants her to do. Chagrined, she protests, telling him that she has fulfilled all her duties. Whatever happened to him being a man of his word? Oh Chosun, I thought you knew better than this. When was “honesty” ever a part of his vocabulary?

And then it’s Cho-sun’s turn to have her world turned on its head. Minister Ha tells her that Kim Yoon-shik is a girl and he needs her brought to him so that he can have his moment of glory.

Sungkyunkwan. The guys have congregated in Professor Jung’s office to find out about Yoon-hee’s whereabouts. With a heavy heart, the older man confirms that yes, she is at the palace.

He tries to get them to leave but then it hits Seon-joon: The King will be calling a Council meeting to announce his plans to move the capital to Hwaseong and he will be using the Geum Deung Ji Sa to counter the Norons’ protests. However because Yoon-hee was the one who found it, they’ll most likely claim that she’s compromised its integrity (I know. Wtf, right? But that’s the 18th century for you.) So the big question now is this: is he going to sacrifice her to realise his dream?

Professor Jung’s silence tells them everything they need to know.

Lee Manor. What would you be doing if you found out that the love of your life is on death row? Minister Lee finds his son in a funk, brooding alone in the dark. He tells Seon-joon he’s a fool. Why is he putting his neck on the line for something so trivial?

Seon-joon pleads with his father to save Yoon-hee. Kneeling before him, he tells him that she was the one who opened his eyes to the world they and showed him that there’s more to life than what’s written in the books.

It’s another sign of how much Seon-joon has changed and even the minister cannot help but ask before he leaves, “Are you really my son?”

Meanwhile, Yong-ha and Jae-shin have taken to the time-honoured tradition of drowning their sorrows in liquor, with the former griping that he always knew the King couldn’t be trusted. Just then, a group of scholars troop in and it transpires that they have been summoned by the Minister of War to help him deal with the King at the hearing.

Royal Palace. Proving that he has his son’s well-being at heart after all, the Left Prime Minister suggests to his Noron colleagues that they should support the King’s decision to move the capital to Hwaseong. If they do this, the King might stop blaming them for what happened in the past. However the ministers, being the short-sighted, decrepit old fools that they are, refuse. Not that it surprises Minister Lee though.

Moran Gak. Cho-sun sits alone in her room, as poised and calm as ever, as she takes stock of the fact that she has been in love with a woman all this while. She reflects on the past, thinking back to their first meeting as well as all the other times when it should have occurred to her that Yoon-hee was not who she appeared to be.

Over in Sungkyunkwan, Jae-shin and Yong-ha are figuring out how best to stall the scholars and foil the Minister of War’s evil plans when the latter receives a note. It is from Cho-sun.

Chez Minister of War. In-soo learns that his father intends to bring Yoon-hee before the scholars at the Council hearing. And it’s his turn to have his brain fail him as he finally realizes who has been doing all the minister’s dirty work.

It looks like Minister Ha has miscalculated yet again. Instead of being furious with Yoon-hee for deceiving her, Dark Assassin Cho-sun tells Minister Scumbag that they’ll have to get past her first before they can get to the Council hearing.

She draws her sword. In-soo’s brain is still wrapped in a blanket of white noise.

Oh Chosun, I have run out of superlatives to describe you…

Chosun does an awesome job of kicking ass but alas she is outnumbered! Just as everything is about to go horribly wrong, in swoops In-soo to shield her with his body.

In-soo finally directs his death glare at the right person


Turning his Laser Glare of Doom on his father, he grits out, “What have you been doing to her all this time?” Oh honey, I think you’d better set enough money aside for therapy first.

Because Minister Ha is not very smart, he tells his son to get out of his way and loses the only ally he ever had as In-soo all but severs his ties with him.

Speaking for all of us, Cho-sun gives him a look that says, “Who are you and where have you been for the last 19 episodes?”

Because he is an idiot, Minister Ha orders his men to deal with his son. Fortunately, before any blood can be spilt, the Show cranks the Crack up to an 11 and has Jae-shin literally dropping in to join the party.

Okay, my squee has reached the point where it can only be heard by small animals.

In his Geol Ol-esque way, he chirps out a friendly greeting, “Nice to see you act like a human being for once.” XD

Meanwhile, over in another part of town, Yong-ha is doing his best to contain the scholars. Professor Jung is supposed to help him but alas he is late. So once again, Scholar Gu has to rely on his wits to sweet talk his way out of trouble. *sigh* Just look at him. Like he’s going to have any problems doing that.

Thankfully, there’s a familiar face in the crowd (a distant uncle by way of some palm greasing), and making use of him as well as some Confucian tenets that he’s squirreled away in his head, Yong-ha quells their feelings of dissent and wins them over, making them forget why they were gathered in the first place.

Unbeknown to him, Professor Jung is listening in on the other side of the door and he smiles, observing that Yong-ha isn’t merely a spectator sitting on the sidelines anymore. (I’m also pretty sure that as a teacher, he’s glad to know that his student a) is actually applying something he learned to a real-life situation and b) didn’t spend all his time reading porn.)

Gu Yong-ha: pass (with flying colours, but then again, I’m biased.)

In a last ditch attempt to save Yoon-hee’s life, Seon-joon goes directly to the King and forces him to admit the truth—that his dream of a new Joseon is nothing but a farce. He isn’t getting rid of Yoon-hee because she went against the law by dressing up as a man and entering Sungkyunkwan. He’s doing it because she’s standing in the way of his dreams. So much for all his talk about overturning archaic customs and traditions.

Needless to say, the King isn’t happy about this but Seon-joon isn’t done yet. He asks him what his true intentions are: to fight the Norons or to help the people? And then, he returns the King the compass that he had been given earlier. Remember all that jazz about the compass needle having to stay vigilant? Well, right back at you, your Highness!

Royal Palace. The time of reckoning has come and the King announces to his mutinous Noron ministers that he is going to move the capital to Hwaseong whether they like it or not. And he has the secret weapon to make it happen: (drum roll please) the Geum Deung Ji Sa.

Right on cue, the Minister of War blusters in, eager to bask in his moment of triumph but the King tells him to shut it because he isn’t done speaking yet.

In a surprise twist (for the Norons anyway), he tells them that the letters did not stand the test of time. Nevertheless, his dream still stands. He will continue fighting to move the capital to Hwaseong, not to spite the Norons but for the sake of his people.

End of hearing. The Minister of War’s ignominy isn’t over yet. As the ministers leave the hearing, Minister Moon stops his colleague to let him know that he is under arrest for masterminding those fateful events that took place ten years ago.

Over in another part of the palace, Yoon-hee watches as the King makes the ultimate sacrifice and burns the Geum Deung Ji Sa. He asks her to promise him one thing—that she will remember, not how he died or lived his life, but the dream he had for his country so his legacy will continue to live on.

Next stop for Yoon-hee: a meeting with her future father-in-law the Left Prime Minister. In a nutshell, he gives her his permission to be with Seon-joon by asking her to stay by his son’s side; no matter how vigilant one is, walking the path of righteousness alone is no easy task.

Sungkyunkwan. The time has come for Jae-shin to officially retire as Yoon-hee’s protector. He passes the mantle over to Seon-joon telling him that he’s no longer going to get involved in her affairs. It’s all up to him now and he had better make damn sure he does a good job otherwise there’ll be hell to pay.

Fellas, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship

(Okay, he didn’t exactly say this but come on! As if Geol Oh will just sit by the wayside if Seon-joon does anything to upset her.)

And with that, Yong-ha twirls onto the scene to announce that Yoon-hee is back. Knowing how eager Seon-joon is to be reunited with her, Jae-shin grabs hold of Yong-ha by the scruff of his collar (hee!) and tells him to go ahead without them.

Yong-ha pouts as he watches Seon-joon hurry off and then a thought pops into his head. So does this mean his place is here beside him?

Like you even have to ask, silly.

Nerd heaven. And so the skilled bear and Wang Seobang are reunited as Jaejoong warbles in the background for the last time.

Seriously kids, isn’t it tiring grinning like that without a break in between?

Sometime in the future…

We see that Yong-ha has followed his heart and is now a fashion designer. Though some things may change with time, our Yeorim is still very much the consummate flirt…

Jae-shin has entered the force and we find that his hiccups continue to be the bane of his existence. Despite flunking his classes three years in a row, he is, as a certain Blue Messenger finds out, quite the pedant…

Given how nerdy they both are, it’s not surprising that Yoon-hee and Seon-joon are now professors at Sungkyunkwan. When not blissing out on Confucian tenets, they are making eyes at bickering with each other.

Guys, get a room!

Back home, Seon-joon finds himself in hot soup as he’s been neglecting his cleaning duties in favour of stewing in jealousy. (How can he help it when his darling wife is surrounded by hormonal teenagers every single day?)

Faced with the possibility of receiving a failing grade as a husband (oh the horror!), he tries to talk his way out of trouble. He kisses her on the lips and tells her he won’t stop till she gives him a passing grade.

But Yoon-hee has a better idea. She blows out the candle and er…let the sexy times begin!

A nerd through and through, Seon-joon grabs a familiar red book for help.


Not-So-Famous Last Words

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, writing recaps is hard work. For sure, there’s no way I’d be able to run something like Dramabeans—my website would die within a month.

I mentioned in one of my earlier comments that I was considering writing recaps for Episodes 1-5. I must have been insane when I wrote that. As it is, it took me forever to reach this last one. If you’re looking for recaps of the earlier episodes, Dramabeans and Thundie’s Prattle have those covered and Phrenk has some hilarious caps as well.

Okay, back to the show.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal was a drama of many firsts for me. Before this, I had never:

1) followed a drama while it was still airing in Korea

2) recapped a drama and stayed the whole course

3) heard of Micky Yoochun, DBSK, TVXQ or JYJ. Actually, I had never heard of Song Joong-ki or Yoo Ah-in either

I won’t tell you that it’s the best drama of 2010 but what I will say is that it’s one of the two shows that I loved this year, with the other being The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal was a drama that was as flawed as it was endearing. Much has been said about the way the Geum Deung Ji Sa affair was resolved and while I agree that it might have helped to have four more episodes to wrap things up satisfactorily, I do think that the show was done in by its own ambitions as well.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal was nothing if not ambitious. Not only did it have a huge cast, it was also playing with a lot of heavy themes and multiple storylines. Nothing wrong with that except that there were times when the show felt like it had ADD. It would hint at a particular backstory (for example the relationship between Cho-sun and In-soo) or set up a particular situation (e.g. the Minister of War wanting to marry Yoon-hee), only to forget about them and shift its focus to something else. To be honest, I wasn’t so much annoyed with the epilogue (more on that later) as I was with the way it wasted its supporting characters, particularly In-soo and his groupies. What was that all about?

By right, In-soo should have been one heck of a character. You have a guy with anger and jealousy issues, not to mention a lingering obsession with a woman he’s known since she was 10 (who in turn has a weird working relationship with his father), and instead of mining this, you turn him into a sad cardboard cutout. Instead of the treasure hunt that was the Geum Deung Ji Sa arc, I’d have preferred a scenario that made better use of its supporting cast.

Yet, despite all its flaws it still swept many of us up in its youthful exuberance and idealism. In Kim Yoon-hee, it had a heroine who was fighting for the right to a privilege reserved for men in 18th century Joseon (and one that many take for granted nowadays.) She was sassy and smart, and she had one hell of a left hook.

And how can I not mention the Jalgeum Quartet when they were the reason I tuned in every week? Or the two BFFs and their friendship of Brokeback proportions? The characters were endearing in their own right and surprisingly, it was the character who I thought was the least attractive on paper that had me swooning first.

When I saw the first press photos of Yoochun as Lee Seon-joon, my initial reaction was: “Couldn’t they have cast someone hotter?” I think it says something that by episode 10, I was ready to name my sister’s first born after LSJ. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he’s an excellent actor but for me, he did a believable job immersing himself in the role. He brought warmth and humour to the character and if anything, I found it very difficult reconciling Seon-joon with Yoochun’s DBSK persona. This particular video had me hitting the replay button going @.@ for days:

Together, the Jalgeum Quartet had a chemistry that should be bottled up and sold as an anti-depressant. They were not always the best of friends, and there were times when they were more at odds with each other than anything else, but come together as a group they did. And this was the reason I tuned in every week—not to see how Yoon-hee’s dilemma would be resolved but how four individuals with completely disparate beliefs and personalities would band together. For me, Sungkyunkwan Scandal was always about the journey, not the destination.

And now for the epilogue. I know there are many who hated it and dismissed it as pure fanservice. (ETA: You know, I find this funny because this drama was, for me, all about fanservice right from the get-go.) Well, I’m going to have to play the contrarian here because not only did I not hate it, I also think that it showed us what the characters themselves would have chosen to do had the whole sorry Geum Deung Ji Sa mess not happened.

I think the problem lies not with the epilogue, which was in keeping with the spirit and tone of the show, but the kind of expectations that it set up for itself with the Geum Deung Ji Sa backstory. I always felt it was biting off more than it could chew because ultimately, ideological convictions notwithstanding, Sungkyunkwan Scandal worked better as a character drama, not a political one. It didn’t have the means or time to do such a hefty subject justice and this became woefully obvious as the drama tried to tie up all its loose ends with only four episodes to go. Asking the Jalgeum Quartet to build a utopia is like asking four teenagers to build a new Iraq. It was an idea that was destined to remain just that – an idea. Seriously, I don’t know why they wanted to include the GDJS story when it wasn’t in the novel in the first place.

That said, I can understand why people are disappointed that Yoon-hee and Seon-joon didn’t go into politics but seriously, Yong-ha? Barring the fact that he’d be drinking himself stupid every day, it would have been completely out-of-character for him because he’s too much of a free spirit to work for anyone, let alone the King. Right from the start, he’s been the least politically inclined—and idealistic—out of the four. Yong-ha is someone who values his own freedom and independence. If he chooses to do something, it’s because it interests him, not because it subscribes to some political ideal.

He might have said that he wanted to see if a Joseon without class distinctions was a possibility but that doesn’t mean he wants to be the one who makes it happen. If anything, being outed as a merchant’s son reinforced the importance of being true to himself, as twee as it may sound. I don’t think it had the effect of turning him into a class crusader.

At any rate, Yong-ha will never just be a mere fashion designer because he has too much energy to limit himself to one occupation. Knowing him, he’ll probably be one of those multi-hyphenates—you know, philosopher-gentleman detective-designer-whatever catches his interest next.

As for Jae-shin, now that he knows what his brother’s true intentions were, entering the force is really the most logical step for him. Jae-shin is someone who will always want to work in a position that puts him close to the people. After all, Sungkyunkwan’s doors open to Banchon, not the palace.

Of the four, Yoon-hee and Seon-joon were probably the best suited for a career in the King’s palace and it would have been fitting to see them in politics. However if the epilogue is about the characters following their heart, then a career in academia isn’t all that far-fetched either. For a nerd like Seon-joon it’s the ultimate dream job, hello! And as for Yoon-hee, it’s really a case of following in her father’s footsteps, isn’t it? Going back to the idea that Sungkyunkwan is the birthplace of the nation’s leaders, as a professor, she’d be able to inspire and guide its future politicians.

Now I don’t know why she didn’t teach under her own name either. It would have been awesome to end the show by having her be the first female professor at Sungkyunkwan. Maybe the producers didn’t want to invite any trouble with the real Sungkyunkwan University. Maybe it wasn’t thought out properly. Who knows?

I enjoyed the epilogue for what it was but let’s face it, it won’t be the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Sungkyunkwan Scandal. What I will remember are the quirks of the characters, their crackling camaraderie and the high that I got watching the quartet together.

Without further ado, it’s time for me to bid my darlings a long overdue farewell:    

Once More with Feeling

Goodbye Lee Seon-joon. My brain is still unable to reconcile you with Micky Yoochun. When we first met, you had a huge stick up your ass and there were times I wanted to beat you on the head with it. And then I got to know you, and I found you to be honourable, steadfast and true. Your cluelessness about the ways of the world—and women—was adorable and I love the way you grew as a person in the show. Now that you’re married, I have only one piece of advice for you: the wife is always right.

Goodbye Moon Jae-shin. From now on, you will be the yardstick by which I measure all other Second Leads. You were magnanimous even in the face of your own heartache and your loyalty, integrity and willingness to take one for the team time and time again made you all the more unf-worthy, if that’s even possible. You are, as Professor Jung said, one hell of a man and I feel sorry for the boyfriends and husbands of all your fan girls because God knows it won’t be easy measuring up to you.

Goodbye Gu Yong-ha. Sungkyunkwan Scandal wouldn’t have been the same without you. I love your flamboyant sense of style, sly wit, and the way you messed with all our heads. Most of all, I love you for being the one and the only Gu Yong-ha. Never change.

Goodbye Geol-Rim. Please act in another drama/movie soon. I am getting puppies and naming them after the both of you.

Goodbye Kim Yoon-hee. I hope in my next life, I can come back as a cross-dressing university scholar and share a room with two extremely hot guys. It looks like wishful thinking on my part though because I am nowhere close to saving my country (not that it needs saving in the first place.) Thank you for being brave, strong and smart, and for making Seon-joon a better man.

Goodbye Cho-sun. I wish you had been given more screen time. You were awesome from start to finish and I love how you always kept your poise and dignity even when under duress. You are one hell of a woman and I hope you find the happiness you deserve.

Goodbye In-soo. I hope you give your eyes a rest, go away for a long vacation and rethink your megalomaniacal ambitions. The last episode redeemed you for me and I would like it to stay that way. Please find new friends (not just lackeys and silent bodyguards) and learn to develop a sense of humour. Women like men who can make them laugh.

Goodbye Hyo-eun. Life’s too short to spend it pining after a man, especially one who has no intention of ever looking your way. I hope you find someone who will cherish you for being the person that you are. If you want recommendations, the Soron faction leader is pretty cute and he is, if I’m not mistaken, available.

Goodbye Soon-dol and Beol Dul. You cracked me up and proved more than once that having good help is a godsend.

Goodbye secondary characters. I may not remember all your names but your infectious camaraderie was an indispensable part of this show.

Goodbye bedroom scenes. You made me squee like a nut and for that, you will always have a special place in my heart.

Goodbye Sungkyunkwan Scandal, I’m already missing you like hell.


  1. Thunderous Applause in the background as Ellely steps forward to take a bow……………….

    The last one was worth the wait. Loved each and every moment of it! Was grinning like LSJ-KYH in the scene b4 the fast-forward. LOL on Prof. Jung finding out Gu Yong Ha has read more than porn in SKK. Also, the Chosun-In Soo-Jae shin scene was real fun to read.

    The actress who played Cho sun is really talented. Love her grace and poise. And after coming to know that this was her debut and that she learned the nuances of acting on the job, my admiration for her has increased.

    At the end of the day, mixed feelings, really. Happy I could read your brilliant recaps of SKKS and sad it’s over :-(

    Final verdict: Ellely : pass with flying colours:-)
    Now, looking forward to the “Not-so-famous Last Words!!

    My exam was good. Hoping the results are better :-)

    1. *curtsies* Thanks novkid and happy New Year :) I didn’t know that Kim Min Seo was a rookie actress when I was watching the show either. She had so much poise and her movements were so graceful I just assumed that she had acted in a period drama before. I really hope she gets representation, though it must be tough with so many people trying to break into the acting biz.

      I’m glad the recaps made you laugh! I was a bit concerned that they weren’t as funny as the earlier ones. It’s not easy keeping the momentum going once the initial buzz has worn off.

      1. A perfect summing up!

        Like you, this was the first show I followed while it was still airing in Korea. Maybe it was bcoz of that, I have never been this much excited about a drama.The whole experience was really surreal for me. I caught up on a host of other kdramas in b/w. It says something for SKKS that I could come back from ‘Coffee Prince’ to it with the same amount of eagerness n enthusiasm.

        I agree with u on where SKKS faltered. Most dramas run out of steam, for me, this one ran out of episodes. There was so much to tell and so many loose ends to tie up that it couldn’t successfully manage it. I understand why they put the GDJS plotline. In the novel, nothing much happens once LSJ realizes KYS’s true gender. So, they wanted to thicken the plot n considering that the politics part was right there from the beginning, this was one which could have worked. The problem was that it came too late n was resolved too quickly n unfortunately didn’t leave much time for exploring the main plotline, which was KYH, a woman, entering SKK with her head on the line if caught. Where GDJS worked for me was in helping to develop the dynamic between the quartet, esp b/w SunJoon n Jaeshin. Hope the Screenwriter learns from her mistakes n in her next venture, will bite only as much as she can chew.

        Yes, In Soo’s character was totally underdeveloped other than as a foil to show Yeo Rim’s awesomeness.
        Granted, his character was not in the novel. But so much could have been done with his character, esp. after showing so much promise in the first few episodes (in his relationship with Chosun). Poor In Soo!

        However, the end did not let me down that much. None of the characters behaved uncharacteristically and the friendship between them remained intact.
        What I loved was the slow build up to the romance b/w the main pair. Usually my feelings when watching dramas go through a ‘love the OTP- isn’t the second lead the better man? – woman, are you blind? – somebody slap the hero – hate the OTP – tears for the second lead’ curve. LSJ started out as a snob, but his snobbishness was different from the rest. He was willing to learn from the others. Loved how his character development had consistency n depth. Also, KYH was not the cliched ‘innocent’ girl trying to redeem the guy with the dark past n a dark hole in his heart.

        Jae Shin was thankfully not relegated to the shoulder to cry on for the girl when pushed away by the confused n confusing main lead. He had his own story n issues. And a BFF to die for who was both audience and puppet master in moving the story along and who could be counted on to bail you out of the most dangerous situations. That’s why, every drama should have a Gu Yong Ha (Unfortunately, there’s only one Song Joong Ki).

        Once again, thank you for the 100% unadulterated reading pleasure that were ur recaps… Goodbye SKKS!

      2. Actually, I don’t think it’s entirely the scriptwriter’s fault. In her interview, she mentioned that a lot of the GDJS plotline got edited out, which really goes back to what I was saying – that ultimately it was too “heavy” a subject for SKKS to handle. It would have changed the tone of the show dramatically if they had really explored the issues it raised. I get that they were trying to work in the political themes of the earlier episodes but I maintain that they could have done so with something more manageable. I would have preferred it if they had developed LSJ’s political harmony idea, which the show flirted with for 13 episodes and then dropped in favour of a classless utopia.

        I could go on all day about what I didn’t like about the final arc but the drama is over so I shall get off my soap box :)

        You know, I was never caught up in the whole Coffee Prince craze. I actually dropped the drama. Maybe I should give it another chance?

        Thanks for all your incredibly nice comments! It was lots of fun reading and responding to them!

  2. Sorry i’ve been remiss in not dropping by lately and thanking you for your dedication to finishing the recap for SKKS it was a wonderful and enjoyable read and loved hearing your point of view about this series. The show ended over here in the states this past Tuesday i’m still missing it.

    Grades: Recaps Pass

    Point of View Pass

    Hilarious insights Pass

    The fact you’re not trying to compare it to the Coffee Prince major Pass

    Thank you so much Elley i think you’ve earned a A+ for this endeavor :)

    1. Ooh…I think this is my first A+ in a long, long while! Thank you! And happy New Year!

      LOL@Coffee Prince. Well, it’s like comparing the Jalgeum Quartet with F4. I guess you could make certain comparisons but there are factors like the script, scenario, time period etc. that make the two different, right? At any rate, I never had a problem with Seon-joon’s acceptance of Yoon-hee’s gender. I think the relief that he felt at finding out he wasn’t gay outweighed all his other emotions.

  3. Happy New Year to you also Ellely i just felt certain people took umbrage about this comparison thing too much on another blog which shall remain nameless ahem(DB) is the site:). Not even considering how smart and quick thinking Sun Joon is also like you said those getting upset about being called out for comparing this drama to the Coffee Prince never once considering the factors that made Yoonhee dress up as a man. We all saw how quickly he figured out Moon was HBS don’t you imagine he remembered every conversation he had with with Yoonhee that led up to that point her pointed bitterness towards the Joseon society. His non reaction wasin keeping with his personality and yes i do agree he was probably so glad he wasn’t gay that’s why he was stunned by his relief.

  4. Coffee Prince was good for me. This was one show where the secondary characters were so well drawn that it made the main pair look more credible n put their relationship issues in perspective. Though I had not much interest in the the other lead pair in the beginning, by the end of it, I found their relationship to be very realistic n believable.
    I know the cross dressing ploy is a cliched one, but I found the way it was treated refreshing. The skillful treatment of the interrelationships among the characters also gave greater depth to the story. To actually see two male cousins sitting down n have real talks or the first n second female leads being able to clear their misunderstandings over a cup of coffee was a relief! Saved me lots of hair pulling!

    Hope u didn’t hate it too much to give it another shot! It’s way way way better than ‘Marry me Mary’, that much I can assure u :)

  5. I love the wittiness in your text! I salute your random comments and advices! i so love your writings. You already said what i wanted to say about Sungkyungkwan Scandal! Reading your article makes me want to re-watch the series ♥

    Thanks =))))))))))))))) Kudos to you!

    1. Er, I don’t know about the wittiness of those SKKS recaps (my memory is hazy but I think they were written under a great fog of silliness XD) However I will take your word for it! Thanks so much for stopping by :DDD

      SKKS is one of those classics, isn’t it? Good times! :D

  6. I’m not a follower of your recap nor I like K-drama. But this K-drama trapped me! and somehow I come across this recap of yours. I love your opinion about the epilogue and many other things. Especially “Cho-sun gives him a look that says, “Who are you and where have you been for the last 19 episodes?” so hilarious LOL

    Anyway, do you by any chance know, is Yoon-Hee still disguise herself as a man in the end? Because she seriously really look like a girl and the teacher white robe looks confusing for me. That means in the end girls are still not allowed in Sungkyunkawn??

    I wish the best for Cho-son and In-Ha couple too <3
    btw, who do you mean the Soron faction leader in Hyo-eun part??

    in the end thank you for your writing, very nice reading and funny too my dear
    (please answer my question ok? hehehe)

    1. Hi there! Thanks for dropping by and apologies for the late reply.

      Anyway, do you by any chance know, is Yoon-Hee still disguise herself as a man in the end? Because she seriously really look like a girl

      Er…yes. That’s Yoon-hee pretending to be a dude. You do know this is a K-drama, right? Have you seen You’re Beautiful and To The Beautiful You? K-dramas don’t do crossdressing very well, in general.

      That means in the end girls are still not allowed in Sungkyunkawn??

      That looks like it. I’m guessing the scriptwriter didn’t want to piss off the real Sungkyunkwan University by rewriting history, as sucky as it sounds.

      who do you mean the Soron faction leader in Hyo-eun part??

      The dude who kept picking fights with Jae-shin. Pls refer to ep. 15. Hope this helps!

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