Spoilers through episode 18 below…
I have to admit I was somewhat dreading watching the latest Jang Ok Jung: Live for Love episode. Last week left me very unsettled. Jang Ok-jung made a big gamble and apparently lost. Which seemed to cause Lee Soon’s love for her to cool. Most unfortunately, story-wise it felt a little like we were treading water.
The fight between Jang Ok-jung and the inner-palace (played first, with incomparable gusto, by the Queen Mother — then with a frighteningly icy coldness by Queen In-hyun) seemed to go around in circles. Yes, Ok-jung made some strides, but she never really won. And then she lost.
So I tuned in to episode 17 with some trepidation. By the end of episode 18, all fears are gone. (Story-wise, anyway — Ok-jung’s made some tragedy-forshadowing statements that has me worried for her… but that’s a different beastie.) Lee Soon game-played like a boss. Dong Pyung Goon took on a crucial role that meant he had a lot of scenes (some of which involved his sly smile… I’d missed that smile). And Chi-soo made moves of his own, putting himself squarely back onto the board.
It’s easy to forget how much story and plot-movement this drama can stuff into an episode. But I am once again eager, eager, eager to see the fallout from this week and the antics of our players for next week. (Court Lady Choi is doing the same “I’ll see you later — when I totally muck-up your board” background skulking Chi-soo had done earlier. They even skulked together for a moment. So of course I want to see how they work in to the game.)
My prediction (or more accurately: my hope) for the ending has shifted a bit. Ok-jung’s stated so many times that her place is the palace now and she’ll live or die there that I can no longer see her slipping off with Chi-soo. Even if it’s the king’s plan and will. (You know — in a desperate bid to save her life.) I don’t think she’d go for it; not now that she has her son.
So now my hope is that when she does die (as per history *sob*) it’s to aid Lee Soon and therefore her son, and that Lee Soon knows about, respects, and honors her sacrifice. That their love doesn’t die. (In this scenario I’m spinning Ok-jung handpicks Court Lady Choi to take her place and protect her son, etc.) Okay this might be massive wishful thinking but I’ll think wishfully if I want to!! Seriously, I’m trying to grab as happy an ending as I can get. Damn history. And yay show!