First the good news. The hair appears fixed. I wouldn’t call it sexy or stunning, but it’s inoffensive and that is beyond good enough as far as this show’s concerned. (I will say, imagining the in-story reasons for all the changes has kept me amused.)
On to the not so good news (so, the bad news? except maybe it’s not? so, the confused news?) I am really, really unsure of where they’re taking Chung-jo’s story. And, as she’s my favorite character and I’d like her story to end happily (or at least, well), I’m getting a tiny bit worried.
Huge spoilers through episode 12 below…
Frankly, both Park siblings are far and away my favorite characters. Their story intrigues me in a way the main characters’ story just doesn’t. I don’t dislike the main characters — Kang-chi and Yeo-wool are adorable and especially adorable together but… Adorable isn’t enough for me. Not in a story this dark. I much prefer the desperate struggle Tae-seo and Chung-jo are going through. I like seeing characters fighting their way back up when life has kicked them to the bottom.
The problem is, I’m not sure the drama is going to show them fighting back. Their story is more an emotional and psychological one and I don’t think that sort of storytelling is this drama’s purview. As can be seen in the total mess of Tae-seo’s storyline. (Did he really think Kang-chi betrayed him? Was he really so foolish he believed the bad guys? Or was it all a result of the hypnosis?)
I can see how the hypnosis made for a good excuse to have the otherwise honorable Tae-seo turn on Kang-chi. The betrayal would have made no sense otherwise. But then why is he being treated like he actually did betray Kang-chi? And for that matter — why wasn’t the betrayal expected? (For a man everyone knew had been compromised by the baddies, he was given a ton of unsupervised freedom. Too bad the good guys didn’t have a flock of highly trained soldiers to make use of — oh wait.)
And then there’s the criminal ignoring of Chung-jo by our good guys. Way back in the beginning she sacrificed her own rescue so that Kang-chi could rescue her brother first. Which was awesome and brave and selfless and a huge reason she’s my favorite character. She was facing a pretty horrible fate, but Tae-seo was facing death. So she made the wise choice. Then she made it again when Kang-chi came to rescue her, instead telling him to prove her father’s innocence and get her out legally. At the time, Kang-chi was operating on his own, and without support they wouldn’t have gotten far. However…
Kang-chi quickly found support with Yeo-wool’s dad and the Lee Soon Shin. And he… totally forgets about Chung-jo. It’s all, “let’s get Daddy Park’s silver!” and proving Daddy Park’s innocence and saving his daughter falls by the wayside. Until Tae-seo finally learns his sister’s been sent to a Gisaeng house and is set to be raped by the head bad guy, Mr. Rapey McRapes-a-lot. It’s his tearful begging that finally sets Kang-chi in motion. And our good guys… are annoyed.
Why? Because the head Gisaeng (played by Jung Hye-young who is awesome so of course I love her character) has it all under control. Except for how she totally doesn’t. Because all she can do is say, “you’ll have to kill me first” and Mr. McRapes-a-lot is totally fine with that. So it’s a good thing Tae-seo begged and Kang-chi acted and Chung-jo is rescued right out of there. (Which also saves the head Gisaeng’s life — no thanks to her well-trained soldier allies, by the way.)
Only there’s no room for Chung-jo in the inn. Apparently harboring a convicted traitor (Tae-seo) is fine. But a runaway state slave is a bridge too far for our good guys. (Again, they’ll take dead Daddy Park’s silver, but to hell with his daughter.) So Kang-chi is forced to take a girl with no outdoors skills on the run. Real show of compassion on our good guys’ part. And then the unsupervised Tae-seo botches the rescue (because of stupidity? the hypnosis? I have no idea) and, long story short, Chung-jo is recaptured by Mr. Rapey McRapes-a-lot and — big surprise — he rapes her.
It’s hideous what happens to the Park siblings (Tae-seo is made to see that his sister’s been raped and is told it was the price for his life); they’ve both been utterly debased. I really, really want to see them fight their way back up from where the show has left them, but…
The problem is I’m afraid the show won’t let that happen. Per the drama, this is Kang-chi’s fight. And the Park siblings have been (very ham-handedly, I’ll add) set against him. He feels they’ve both betrayed and rejected him (though Tae-seo seems to have earned some forgiveness). So I worry Chung-jo has been put through all this to become evil. Which is pretty gross and will make me very, very angry if it turns out that way. Hopefully I’m just paranoid and wrong. But I worry. And I watch.