Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hwarang ~ Episode 1 ~ Recap & Review

I'm not typically into the period dramas, but Taehyung from BTS is in this, and as a good ARMY and V bias, I am contractually obligated to watch this. I'm going to attempt to recap as I watch, and you can definitely put money on the fact that my opinion is going to show up more often than not. I know that Tae doesn't show up for a few episodes and I'm ok with that, because my boy from Witch's Romance and She Was Pretty is a main star, Park Seojoon.

Dude looks good in black turtle neck. Dude looks good always.
So, I'm in. You got me, show. No matter how bad you are, you have Seojoon and Tae Tae, so I'll watch you to the end. Hook....line.....and sinker.....

We start with narration...a summary of everything about to happen. Then we open with our hero Moomyung (Seojoon) being harrassed by 3 dudes. Then he mysteriously passes out, only to be defended by my real life hero Makmoon (Lee Kwangsoo aka Giraffe)....though he promptly gets his ass handed to him by the 3 thugs.

Aw Giraffe. I love you too!
Moomyung wakes up to find them beating up his best friend, and thus ensues a comical chase through the woods, with an unrealistic jump by our hero and most likely a well deserved butt whoopin' to the 3 jerk faces. We also find out his nickname is Dog-Bird (because he can jump well? Like fly? I dunno).

Cut to the Queen Dowager, henceforth referred to as QD, getting ready for her day. She goes to meet a prisoner, a guy who was the late king's friend until he banged the king's concubine. He calls the QD on her bullshit, that she just wants power which is why she sent her son away. The QD can't really argue that point, but she has a job for our prisoner. She wants him to make the sons of the city official guards for her son when he returns to be king. He doesn't want to help her in any way, but she promises to step down for her son if he does her this favor. He seems to be in a mind to accept.

Back to our hero and his bestie, they are talking about climbing the wall into the city, and how people get killed if they get caught. Moomyung doesn't want Makmoon to chicken out, but Makmoon knows his family is there. We are introduced to a necklace that he wears, and that he belongs in the city...but we don't know why he's out in the boondocks of Korea.

We are then introduced to the man that is their "father" who starts shooting at them with arrows. It's pretty funny, and we are starting to be introduced to Moomyung's yelling (dude has a bit of a temper) but mostly it's a scene to tell us the boys have been living there for 10 years.

In the city, QD is pissed because her son has returned to town without her permission. We see a pretty-eyed boy with his face covered, but it must not be well enough because the Queen's guard kills the man who sees his face and recognizes him. Apparently you can't see the King's face and not be killed. FYI, the King is played by Park Hyungsik, a member of ZE:A.

Hyungsik is so pretty. Go look up pictures of him. I love.
Back to our adventurous lads, they are climbing over the wall. Moomyung lies to Makmoon about nothing weird being at the top of the wall, but there are heads on spikes, which ends up, somehow, being comical. Maybe it's the music, but Giraffe's scream had me chuckling. Makmoon really wants to see his sister ASAP, so they leave the area. They steal some clothes so they won't be wearing "rags" and crack me up posing like fools in the street to show off their new outfits.

The city is full of brightly colored clothes, and these two boys stand out because they are freakin' tall, but no one really notices.

We are now introduced to Ahro (played by Go Ara) our feisty female lead. She is a storyteller, and not only has she captivated the crowd, she has the hiding King's attention. She's apparently a good storyteller because they are all just swooning at her words. The King, however, falls asleep to her words. When he is awoken later, the girl is gone. The King, and his pretty, pretty face, wants to find the girl who told the story made him fall asleep? Isn't that what bad story tellers do?

Meanwhile, Moomyung has found a straw hat that looks ridiculous, and he and his bestie go into an establishment to find food. Instead, they find trouble. Moomyung figures out the guy at the gambling table is cheating, calls his bullshit, and starts shenanigans. This guy, the cheater with a scar at his mouth, comes back to bite him in the ass later, I am sure of it. This scene can't be for nothing. Also, he's being called Dog-Bird again. This bar fight is weird, I think we just needed to create an enemy for Moomyung, and also a reason to run through town.

The chase scene is fun, if not ridiculous, but I love the music. Moomyung lost his straw hat, but he found another one while running. Scar-face is really pissed at Dog-Bird, determined to at least beat him up, if not kill him.

Cut to a teahouse? with many people, cute girls and old men mostly. Oh, okay, I guess it's also a whore house. Nice. At least we are upfront with that, I suppose. The owner gets called over by an old man and it took me a moment but, yes, that is the prisoner guy, now NOT a prisoner, but in nice clothes, looking to recruit the owner for... I don't know what. But, the innuendo that he's looking for pretty boys is a little humorous.

The introduction to Daiso cracked me up, because Daiso is a store in Korea that sells a little bit of everything, kinda like an upscale dollar store. I am pretty sure they are making a correlation there, and it didn't slip past me, show. I see you.

Back to Ahro, who only gets paid 1 silver after 3 months of work. We are introduced to the fact that her father is someone of note, but her mother was a peasant, so she's a "half-breed" which makes her essentially a peasant. Her 'boss' spits on her, which is super rude, I mean, she's been doing work for him for 3 months at least, why be such an asshole at this moment?

To get back at him, she drinks a whole jug of one his beverages, obviously alcoholic, which is kinda dumb and a good way to kill yourself, but of course she just gets a little tipsy drunk. She wanders though the town in a drunken stupor, trying to get kids to stop stealing something, trips over Moomyung in a bamboo hat, and her shoe flies off. He catches her, only to promptly drop her, lol. She wants him to get her shoe for her. He doesn't want to, he starts to run away, but then he has to save her from random galloping horses (the equivalent of the speeding car in modern dramas). The music starts and this is where I realize the music, while fantastic, will never be appropriate for the time period. This is like A Knight's Tale, where you have the period drama with the modern music.

And I'm okay with that.

So he does the hero saves the girl thing, and she's now in love (mostly because she's drunk) which makes him uncomfortable, so he drops her, again, lmao. Then he chucks her shoe at her and it hits her in the head, which is awesome. He runs away, she goes home.

This scene is so we can be introduced to her father, Jigong, who is working as a doctor. At this particular moment, he is helping a seriously skinny dude, like disturbingly bony, and TBH it made me uncomfortable. The point of this whole scene is so we know that Jigong is Makmoon's father.

Cut to pretty-boy King Jinheung coming into the palace? where he is confronted by his momma, QD. Flashback to when she feared for her life and her son many years ago. She sent her son to be protected by the guy who is still looking after our handsome King to this day. The flashback ends with Mom who is pissed because her son came back into an untrustworthy group of nobility in the palace, but really we all know that she's worried about her power being taken away. We ain't fools, omma.

And I don't think our King is a fool either. And, QD knows her son isn't stupid. But, since it's a Kdrama and no one can just call a spade a spade, we dance around it, and the King is like, nononono, I just forgot what the throne looked like and I didn't want to forget who I am. I "trust" you mommy. Which then QD kicks him in the teeth and says she gets to decide when he returns to court, and until then he as to live as "dead mouse." Whaaa? I mean...really? I suppose that might be a saying in Korean, but it's a pretty big cut down to tell your son...the King at that. And he doesn't say shit, but he's obviously pissed.

Cut to two old dudes that look like they might be important, but we've never seen before, talking about the palace doors being opened. They speculate that it's the King, but they decide to look for an assassin. I think they mean, they sent an assassin, but, you know, words.

Now the King is looking at his bracelet, alone, in the dark. Because that bracelet will be important, I'm sure. Rarely are scenes like that pointless, but you never know.

Makmoon is waiting by a wall for his bestie, who is, of course, late, for no reason. It was daylight when Moomyung was saving the chick from the horses. It is now dark, so why is he so late? Makmoon sees someone climb over the wall and decides, stupidly, to follow him.

Is it an assassin? Why yes, yes it is. He tries to kill the King, but the King was ready and is such a bad ass in this fight scene I am in love immediately. Plus his snark is at a level 7 and I can dig that.

The assassin saw the face of the King (though he just thought he was nobility, not the king) so the queen's guard kills him immediately, without question. Just runs forward and slices him to the ground. The King doesn't like that.

Now we have stupid Makmoon trying to figure out what that assassin was doing, and I bet he's going to see the King's face, damn it.

The King finds out that the QD commands anyone who sees his face is to be killed. Then Makmoon sees him, hears him called "your Majesty" then runs away, because, yeah. The queen's guard chases him down, but doesn't catch him immediately, even though he is on a horse.

Luckily, Moomyung makes his appearance again just in time to pull Makmoon behind a wall before the guard shows up. The guard rides past, but comes back, and my friend pointed out...why is it that in every TV show/movie, American or otherwise, do the bad guys always come back to the exact spot where our heroes hiding? I mean, there are a million stopping points, why that spot? Of course it's for drama, you'd never see it if they stopped elsewhere, but it's true. Such good intuition, but in this case, he doesn't listen to it and rides on. Our heroes are safe, for now.

Makmoon admits that he thinks he saw the King. While they lay in hay in a barn, Makmoon tries to convince his friend that it was the King. Moomyung tries to convince him he did not. He then has a very smart idea, that Makmoon should lay low because he's so freakin' tall he stands out. Moomyung will go inquire about the necklace.

It is at this point in the story that I realize that everyone in town has really nice, colorful clothes, that are never dirty. Never. Everyone is always shiny and pretty and new. I love the costumes, but they were not going for reality at all.

Moomyung and his dumb bamboo hat can't find out info about the necklace, but he flashes back to the pretty girl he saved...and dropped. He doesn't remember that part, but I sure do, lol.

Makmoon is waiting outside the restaurant where there is a very happenin' party going on. Pretty boys and girls in pretty shiny clothes are out flirting and dancing to some very 2000's music.  Makmoon spots his sister with the necklace and tries to get to her but is somehow blocked at every turn.

Inside the party is going strong with performances, dancers and dancing and music, and then we have the best scene so far...the F4 of Silla showing up amongst girls screaming and the crowd parting so they can fashion walk their way to the other side of the room.

We have Banryu (played by Do Jihan) who just looks pissy all the time...resting bitch face, please. Then Sooho (played by Choi Minho of Shinee fame) the smiley, flirty one. They have their cohorts following along, boys that are cute, but of no significance to the plot. This scene is to establish that they hate each other, Banryu and Sooho, and also it reminds me so much of Kpop and fanwars that I think it is meant to make fun of that exact thing.

Do Jihan. He's perfect for the part, such a sour puss. Adorable resting bitch face.

Choi Minho. One of my first Kpop crushes. He's adorbs.
The King is in a room alone, I think in this restaurant, but I'm not sure. There are an inordinate amount of girls in one room, wanting to hear Ahro's story and we are cutting between people so quick my head is spinning. Makmoon is trying to get in by carrying food. Ahro is telling a love story to the girls, I think the King is listening next door. Also, Sooho and friends are listening in next door.

Banryu's room is a little less enthusiastic by the stories, and by his room I mean Banryu himself. His friend Kang Seong comes in, happy and drunk, talking with the other two happy drunks. Banryu is just reading with a frown on his face and the script obviously wants us to think he's a dick. And he is being an absolute ass. He makes Kang Seong go get wine because he's got the lowest ranked daddy, which is a pretty dick-y move to pull on your friend, especially when the other guy offered to go get the wine already. But also, nothing Banryu says is untrue. And if this society acts around those ranks on a daily basis, this kid can't be mad about this. It's just the way it is. Suck it up and go get the wine. It's like being the maknae of a kpop group. Do what they say, dude, and chill. But, Kang Seong must have anger issues because he overreacts and gets pissy, even though he does go get the wine.

Moomyung is asking the Daiso owner about the necklace, and the Daiso owner is trying to swindle him out of the necklace. Moomyung tells him it is his friend's so he can't just give it over.

Makmoon is wandering around the restaurant looking for his sister. Something bad is going to happen, I know it. He watches her tell the story, Kang Seong runs into him, and causes a lot of undue attention to come toward Makmoon. Kang Seong, pissed about being called out on his low status earlier by his 'friend', decides to take his anger out on someone obviously lower than him. I'm telling you, people have anger issues in this show.

Ahro is finishing up her story, everyone is listening, the King is sleeping, the girls are squealing, and Makmoon is getting beat up by an irritating Kang Seong.

Sooho gets pissed at the noise, and goes out to confront Kang Seong. This starts a fight between Sooho and Banryu, which in turn, causes everyone to leave Ahro's story to see the fight. Because we are all high schoolers at heart, aren't we? Wanting to yell "fight, fight, fight" on the playground while the bullies beat each other up?

Jim says "Yes, yes we are."

It's okay though, because with a magical sound, the King comes in to confront Ahro, blowing out the candles with a swooshing door opening. She thinks he wants to attack her? And he talks like he wants to. But really, all he wants is to sleep. And her stories make him sleep. And damn he is attractive.

Kang Seong wants to kill Makmoon because he doesn't have a day pass or something. No one is going to stop him because they are all pussies. He taunts Makmoon instead of just killing him, giving Moomyung enough time to show up and throw his big ol' dice at Kang Seong's head.

Moomyung's dramatic entrance is dramatic, entering with the stupid hat (yes! Sooho agrees with me "What's with that bamboo hat?") and bad ass music. He picks up his dice he threw at Kang Seong's head and says some cheesy lines about luck, then THE MUSIC! It's Tae and Jin's song, and I just swoon at hearing my Tae Tae's voice I can hardly pay attention to the story.

Moomyung is not cool with Kang Seong beating up his bestie, so he has to show Kang Seong how to really fight. Sooho is so pleased with the action, Banryu looks like he just sucked on a lemon but doesn't try to stop the fighting. Moomyung makes a circle on the floor with his sword (don't ask how that works) and dares to beat up any royals that cross the line.

And that's where we end episode 1!

Most of the time I hate the first 1 or 2 episodes of a drama because they are all set up and back story. This show has, so far, done a good job of keeping up the current story line with giving us hints about the past. We got introduced to a lot of characters in one go, but there are a lot more to come, so I think it's pacing the intros out fairly well.

I didn't hate this episode. It was okay. It had me wondering what was next, especially since I now have a thing for the King. He's so pretty. In a handsome way. And I will watch Seojoon to the ends of the Earth and back again. This show is not lacking eye candy.

lol. I love Sailor Moon.
I don't think the story is all that original. Evil Queen mom wants to take her son's throne; she currently has power so she wants to prevent him from getting power. Also, bad politicians in the capital. Also, peasants are treated poorly. Also, sister and father searching for lost brother/son, while he is searching for them but they just miss each other. All tropes, but not all poorly done. I'm okay with it.

Next episode I am sure will resolve the Makmoon seeing the King's face incident, most likely that will end in tragedy. Will he get to talk to his sister and/or father before then? And what is the point of the King being home right now? I know he wanted to see his throne, but why is he in the capital? Is there a reason? Will Moomyung be able to protect his friend forever? Will the pretty boys ever be friends, or always enemies?

Can't wait to find out!

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