Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episodes 3-4 Recap
I’m writing this recap after watching episodes 3 and 4. This isn’t my normal “blog while I watch” recap.
EPISODE 3. Prince Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) has his sword at Hae Soo’s throat believing her interference cost him identifying the ninja leader. Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul) puts his sword to Wang So. The dead lock is ended when Wang So lowers his sword and pushes Hae Soo to Wang Wook. Hae Soo (IU) tells them about the dead ninjas but the bodies are gone when they search.
Wang Yo is surprised when his mother, Queen Yoo (Park Ji Young), considers bringing Wang So to their side if they can’t drive him out of the palace.
Madam Hae (Park Shi Eun) clearly sees Wang Wook’s respect for and interest in Hae Soo’s unconventional ways. Plus, he’s never heard the term “stress” before.
Hae Soo and Chae Ryung, her servant friend, wait for the King’s punishment for the facial bruise she gave Wang Eun. When Wang Eun arrives he claims to have convinced the King not to punish her. He tries to express interest but struggles. Hae Soo wonders if he’s going to deliver the line “you were the first girl to treat me that way”. When those are the exact words Wang Eun says, Hae Soo is amazed that line has been used by men in the past and present. It’s a classic! She tells him to stop by and she’ll fight with him whenever he likes. He takes it a positive sign.
Baek Ah draws and Wang Jung steals the drawing book which shows him fighting with the locals in peasant clothes.
We learn the ninjas that attacked the crown prince are fallen monks that had their tongues cut out so they could never confess. Yuck! The Crown Prince, the adviser Choi Ji Mong and Wang So wonder who is using the fallen monks.
Wang So confronts Wang Yo about trying to kill the Crown Prince.Wang So asks if their mother was the mastermind. Wang Yo’s shock tells Wang So that Queen Yoo is indeed the mastermind. Wang So doesn’t want to believe it.
Hae Soo recounts her unhappy love life with Madame Hae. Little does Madame Hae know that Hae Soo is revealing the betrayal of her boyfriend with her best friend that happens in the future.
Wang Wook applies salve to Hae Soo’s neck wound when she can’t quite get it. They stare at each other. They are both aware of each other.
They are aware of each other again when they put Madame Hae to bed. Hae Soo is drawn to Wang Wook.
Wang So decides he must protect his mother from being caught as the mastermind of the Crown Prince’s assassin. Wang So goes to the monks’ temple that his mother subsidizes and kills them…all of them. Wang So he burns the temple so there is no evidence remaining.
When the Crown Prince and Ji Mong arrive at the temple, it is engulfed in flames. Ji Mong realizes this moment is as he predicted.
Wang So enters his sleeping mother’s chamber to tell her what he’s done for her. She wakes and is startled to see Wang So, covered in blood standing near her bed.
EPISODE 4. Wang So doesn’t get the thanks he expected from his mother for destroying the evidence that would have identified her as the master mind behind the attempted assassination of the Crown Prince. Instead she calls him an animal and states hearing him call her mother makes her skin crawl. Ouch! Wang So asks why his mother doesn’t care about him and give him the love he desperately wants. She snaps that he is not her son. Instead he belongs to his adoptive family in Shinju. Wang So steps backward. He wants to know if his face caused her to send him away. He tells her how badly he was treated by his adoptive family. She doesn’t care and crushes him by saying “You are my shame, disgrace and flaw”. That is harsh! Wang So cries but shoves the sadness down and turns it to anger. He stands and tells his mother that she will remember the day she threw him away. But, he declares, he will not leave like she wants. Fabulous scene by Lee Joon Gi!
In a fit of rage, Wang So destroys the rock monuments. Hae Soo tries to stop him. She realizes that he’s killed tonight. She sees his pain. She surprises him by not censuring him. She tells him she understands how miserable he is feeling. Superb scene!
Things don’t look good for the queen when it is revealed she subsidized the temple where the fallen monks who tried to assassinate the Crown Prince lived. Wang Wook claims this is a plot to divide the family. Wang So apologizes for his part. The Queen watches surprised that she isn’t identified as the master mind.
Hae Soo gets the fun job of hauling Wang So’s dinner basket to him as he sits on high hill overlooking the palace. Wang So warns her not to chatter about what she knows about him. Hae Soo counters she has her own problems. She grouses that he’s constantly telling her to act like they don’t know each other. She asks why he stares at his home, the palace. Wang So counters that if it were home, then he should have a loving family. Great line! He almost helps her carry the basket down the hill, but she manages. I love their interactions, even the non verbal ones!
Madame Hae tells Wang Wook that she’s too weak to provide an heir. She tells him to consider either marrying a second wife or divorcing her. Hae Soo overhears. Madame Hae knows he doesn’t love her. Wang Wook can’t refute that statement. I felt for both of them in that moment.
Wang Eun’s courtship includes giving Hae Soo toys. When she asks how many wives he wants to have, he claims he’ll be true to only one wife. Hae Soo approves of that giving him hope she cares about him.
Chae Ryung returns the hair comb to Wang So’s room that Hae Soo found at the royal bath. Unfortunately she gets caught by Princess Yeon Hwa who assumes she’s stealing from Wang So. Yeon Hwa has Chae Ryung whipped. When Hae Soo sees this she offers to be whipped instead. Yeon Hwa agrees personally whips Hae Soo. The princes watch. Wang Wook and Wang Eun want to stop her but know their sister has full latitude in household affairs. Wang So grabs Yeon Hwa’s arm to stop the whipping. Wang So surprises everyone when he looks at Hae Soo and says “she belongs to me”. Love it! He tells Yeon Hwa the hair comb was his so he has the right to determine the punishment. Wang Eun and Wang Wook defend Hae Soo. Hatred gleams in Yeon Hwa’s eyes as Hae Soo leads Chae Ryung away. Yeon Hwa asks Wang So if he cares for Hae Soo. He sidesteps that question and apologizes for disrespecting her.
Wang Wook warns Wang So to take care with Hae Soo who is under his protection as his wife’s cousin.
Wang Wook checks on Hae Soo. She admits she’s not as upset by the whipping as she is by the treatment of those that are not royal family. Wang Wook touches her shoulder and apologizes for not being able to stop the whipping. He promises no one will treat her like that again. Hmm, can he only keep that promise if she is his second wife? Hae Soo is affected by Wang Wook. She reprimands herself to think of Madame Hae. She pulls away and leaves. They have chemistry.
The next morning Hae Soo expresses her displeasure to Wang So for calling her “his”. He counters that she should thank him. He asks why she’s not afraid of him and always talking back. She tells him she’s not afraid of him. She tells him not to say she belongs to him. She’s a person not an object. He asks if he should call her “his person”. Ha! He gets close to her. She pulls back and states forget these titles and come up with something else. She strides away. Wang So is amused. They have chemistry.
The next day Wang Jung is fighting with the locals dressed as a peasant. He wins but then he loses when a former foe, whose hand was cut off arrives. Hae Soo and Chae Ryung observe the bad situation Wang Jung is in. Hae Soo sends Chae Ryung to get help. Wang Jung is taken away by the unhappy men and Hae Soo follows. As Wang Jung’s hand is about to be severed, as payback for the Queen ordering the man’s hand severed, Hae Soo runs into the fray brandishing a stick. She strikes and flails. Wang Jung and Hae Soo end up back to back surrounded by the men. Wang Wook arrives (Chae Ryung beseeched him to help). He fights the men but more men arrive and he is outnumbered. Wang So arrives on horseback. His reputation precedes him. Then men are afraid and want to run. Wang So draws his sword and asks the men if they are brave or if they want to die. They run.
Wang Jung thanks Wang So for saving him. Wang Jung thanks Hae Soo for saving his hand. He tells her he owes her his life. She hugs him. All the men are shocked. Realizing she’s broken ancient etiquette releases him. She jokes Wang Jung reminds him of her little brother. Wang Jung boasts she need only watch what kind of man he turns out to be. Hae Soo raises her fist and says “fighting”! LOL! The confused looks on the men! Wang Jung manages to say fighting and raises his fist. I love the future phrase and hug being used. Clever!
Wang Wook is upset with Hae Soo. What’s a girl to do? Feign an injury. Wang Wook grabs her and says she scared him. If she was killed, he’d never see her again. He leans to kiss her but they are interrupted.
Wang So tells Wang Jung that he must take responsibility for his actions and the ripple effect they have on others. Angry, Wang Jung tells Wang So it is embarrassing to have been born from the same womb. Wang So hits him. The Queen arrives just in time to see the hit. She shoves Wang So out of the way and tells him to stay away from Wang Jung. To his credit, Wang Jung tells his mother that Wang So saved his life. The Queen doesn’t care. She demands that Wang So not go near Wang Jung again. She calls him bad luck.
Wang Wook contemplates his feelings for Hae Soo. He is a torn man.
Hae Soo can’t sleep.
Wang So rebuilds the rock memorials he destroyed earlier. He cries thinking of his mother’s harsh words to him.
The Crown Prince asks the King to allow Wang So to stay in the palace. The King states that the Queen tried to kill the Crown Prince. So he knows! Wang So tells his father he was not nor will be part of the plot to kill the Crown Prince. The King asks where his loyalties lie. Wang So kneels and declares he is a loyal subject of the King and Crown Prince. Ji Mong tells the King that having Wang So in the palace would be good. The King decrees that Wang So will live at the palace. Wang So is stoked and thanks his father.
Madame Hae invites Hae Soo to eat with her and Wang Wook. The conversation is a bit stilted. He feels awkward and leaves.
Hae Soo is surprised that Wang So is rebuilding the memorial markers. He tells her he will be moving into the palace so they won’t see each other that often. She tells him not to glare at others, not to draw his sword on others, and don’t destroy other’s belongings. Then she softens her tone and tells him to eat well, sleep well, and avoid bad dreams. Ah, sweet! He stares at her stunned at the offered simple human kindness which has been minimal his entire life. She asks why he is staring. He jokes that he doesn’t understand how she’s not scared of him. Hae Soo counters she’s most scared of herself. Nice line! She admits she can’t even figure out her own emotions. She notices the abundance of stars and smiles. It starts to snow. She smiles. He smiles. I smile too. Want to know who isn’t smiling? It’s Wang Wook. He stares at them noticing their obvious ease with each other.
Scarlet Heart Ryeo has a balanced mix of royal backstabbing, budding romance, and humor. I like the leading characters. Hae Soo is charmingly spirited as her heart is pulled in different directions and copes with her new reality, Wang So is a wounded man that needs someone to care and Hae Soo could be the right woman for the job, and Wang Wook cares for his wife but cannot deny a romantic interest in Hae Soo.
Not sure I’ve ever seen as many full face shots in a series. The cinematographer adores full face shots. Good skin is a must for this series! The martial arts and fighting is decent but not great. Wang So defeating all the men at the temple was a bit ridiculous. Then Wang Jung, Hae Soo, and Wang Wook all got their turn fighting a large group of men solo. Again a bit ridiculous. I love good fights in all forms. These fights are so choreographed their impact is lessened.
Hae Soo (IU) is charming and it is understandable why multiple men are drawn to her. She’s not demur. She’s got an opinion. She’s willing to thrust herself into situations. Because she’s a modern women stuck in the past she knows women can save men and not sit around helpless. All this adds up to Hae Soo being a breath of fresh air to all the men she encounters. No wonder Wang So, Wang Wook, and Wang Eun are drawn to her. The chemistry between Hae Soo and all the characters is solid. Her heart may flutter for Wang Wook but she’s drawn to Wang So. I like this leading lady!
Fourth Prince Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) wanted his mother’s approval but she cruelly rejected him. His mother dearest, dreadful Queen Yoo (Park Ji Young), is the worst kind of mother. She has clear favorites and relishes being cruel to Wang So. It was a sucker punch when she told Wang So he wasn’t hers after he wiped out the temple to protect her. At least Wang So’s father, King Wanggun, granted his request to live at the palace and not banish him again, that was some modicum of consideration. I love how Wang So studies Hae Soo like she’s an interesting species. She constantly surprises him, amuses him, and much to his chagrin intrigues him. When he declared she was his, I loved it! She’s not swooning about him because Wang Wook is making his play for her, but she’ll get there. My favorite moment was when she simply told Wang So that she understood and sympathized with him after he wiped out the temple. He was stunned at her acceptance when he expected her censure. I like this leading man!
Eight Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul) has a sickly wife and wants a romance with Hae Soo. He was surprised when his wife, Madam Hae, suggested he take a second wife or divorce her. She bluntly stated she knew he did not love her which he could not deny. I would think divorce was not the norm. But under the circumstances of not being able to begat an heir, it must be an option. I appreciate that he respects the women in his life. They are not chattel they matter. But he cannot deny that this new and improved Hae Soo has captured his heart. She of course hesitates because she likes and respects Madam Hae, but her heart is tugged by him. I like this Prince!
Crown Prince Wang Mu (Kim San Ho) asked the King to allow Wang So to stay. He kept his promise to Wang So and entreated his father to allow Wang So to stay. I also appreciate that Wang Mu isn’t weak but he is targeted for death because he is the first in line. That must be dreadful to live with a target on your back.
Third Prince Wang Yo (Hong Jong Hyun) is known to be his mother’s man of action. I was pleased that the King knew that Wang Yo and Queen Yoo worked together to kill Wang Mu. It’s more interesting when opponents are not blind to each other.
Fourteenth Prince Wang Jung (Ji Soo) almost lost a hand. Wang Jung likes to fight the locals but he almost lost his hand when a former opponent wanted to extract the same punishment the Queen gave him. Wang Jung likely had no idea retribution was made on his behalf. I liked that he admitted that Wang So saved him, even when his mother didn’t want to hear it, he said it. He was stunned when Hae Soo hugged him. That kind of contact is not normal!
Tenth Prince Wang Eun (Baekhyun) likes Hae Soo. You had to smile at his youthful courting when he gave Hae Soo toys.
Thirteenth Prince Baek Ah (Nam Joo Hyuk) drew pictures. I missed this plot point but in the comments Kelli noted “…Baek Ah had a scene with Madam Hae calling her sister. That struck me because it hints to a larger backstory of those two. Also, her telling him that Hae Soo is more like his sister will hopefully point him to a strong familial relationship with her, and most likely Wang So”.
Ninth Prince Wang Won (Yoon Sun Woo) is nondescript at this point. I can’t remember anything he did.
The second song of the OST, “Say Yes” is sung by Loco & Punch. Check it out via the embedded video below: