And another thing I adore about Jang Ok Jung: Live in Love… it’s smart. The characters are, all of them, intelligent people who have clearly thought-out goals and theories on how to achieve those goals. What makes it exciting is several of those goals conflict. So even the best laid plans get destroyed. And sometimes, within that destruction is a shiny new path, if the character is clever enough to catch it. Which, for the most part, they seem to be.
Which means the game is always afoot, the pieces are always moving and my heart is always in my mouth. Because, of all the various characters playing the game, only a few have goals I want to see achieved. And only one, historically (that I’m aware of anyway), actually achieves their goal. But there is a price to it. And so even while I’m hoping, I’m worried.
(Honestly, that’s a strong argument in favor of this being a historically-based drama rather than a pastiche of various historical courts like The Moon Embracing the Sun. Our viewing pleasure is enhanced because we know what’s coming. There’s a sword hanging above our players and its gleam adds to the dramatic tension.)
Spoilers through episode 6 to follow:
These past two episodes moved Ok-jung into the palace. Which is awesome because she’s that much closer to Lee Soon. And also worrying because she’s firmly entangled in the court machinations and further away from freedom in Qing. (Also, her uncle is happy to see her there. That man being happy makes me scared. Who knew Sung Dong-il’s smiles could be so terrifying?)
The past two episodes have also created deeper game-playing by Lee Soon. Which is awesome because the man is brilliant and just ruthless enough to be dangerous and I love that in a lead character. And it’s worrying because he’s feeling more and more alone. (His dad’s dying advice, “Trust no one,” was wise given their situation. But not helpful in creating emotional stability.) He still trusts Prince Dong-pyung, thank goodness. But I worry about that lasting. Also, he’s become more cruel. His treatment of In-hyun, and now In-kyung, is just plain mean. He’s punishing the daughters for their fathers’ sins. Which I can understand, though not condone — he’s angry. But it does cause me some foreboding. How far afield will his misdirected cruelty go?
Next week can’t come fast enough!