This is a episode commentary. It is intended for someone who has seen this episode, and will contain episode spoilers.

Jewel in the Palace: Episode 5 Commentary

Early on, Keum-Young acts as a friend to Jang-Geum, but after Jang-Geum refuses Keum-Young’s help, Keum-Young has a sly look on her face. Does she see Jang-Geum as a potential friend, or a potential rival? At this point, she doesn’t exist as a potential threat to Choi Keum-Young’s future in the royal palace.

It’s shown that Chef Gang Duk-Gu is a very good cook, although he seems to try to lie his way around in advance to cover up for any possible mistake he makes. Still, he has a very good role in the palace, and he might even be brought into the Choi family’s plots if the right position for him comes up. Duk-Gu’s wife successfully lied about Jang-Geum’s parents, so there’s no reason any longer to suspect his family and their adopted daughter.

Speaking of the Choi family’s plots, things are going strong up through that decision to put Lady Jung in as the puppet. When Lady Jung first said she’d make the meal on her first day, my initial thought was, “She wants to get herself fired on day one,” but seeing her in action washed away these thoughts.

Lady Jung may be a sauce lady, but she knows her stuff. She’s an easygoing person, not concerned with age, rank, or position. She wants the court ladies to speak freely about food, regardless of their rank. She will pass on her position of the highest kitchen lady to the most skilled, not the most qualified.

The part of this which stands out about Lady Jung’s announcement of passing on her position is where she says she’ll pass on the position regardless of age, yet Lady Choi could not take the position for a few years more due to her age. Fast-forward from when Jang-Geum is 10 years old to when she’s an adult, and Lady Choi should have had plenty of time to remove Highest Kitchen Lady Jung from her position, so it’ll call into question why it hasn’t happened yet.

Learning that Yeun-Seng in is training under Lady Jung makes sense, looking back to what Yeun-Seng said about her when Jang-Geum asked if Yeun-Seng also had to bring water.

The best scene in this episode has to be when Jang-Geum speaks up about the taste of ripe persimmon. It reminds me of episode five of Janggeum’s Dream, where Janggeum and Geum-yeong face off in a water-tasting competition, where the goal is to identify the source of the water. Somehow, watching Keum-Young being knocked down a peg is a lot more pleasing in this series than in Janggeum’s Dream (save for the parts where Geum-yeong is arrogant or jealous or just plain not nice to Janggeum).

I’m sure going to miss seeing Jo Jung Eun as Jang-Geum, as well as the younger actresses for Yeun-Seng and Keum-Young. They could have gotten far with a series about the younger years of the characters, but it’s time to step forward. Skip all the intense training, and move right up to the rivalry for Jang-Geum and Keum-Young. Both of them have their reasons for wanting to become the Highest Kitchen Lady, so neither of them can stand down.

What I’ll wait to see is what became of the item Jang-Geum’s mother left behind. Jang-Geum failed to find it at one point, and perhaps things have steadily worked out for her so that she didn’t need to look for it. If things went up from there, there’d be no need. This leaves it still waiting for her to find it.

Another thing to look for will be Lady Han and Chef Gang’s continued search for information about Park Myeong, as well as the man who was at Gang Duk-Gu’s house on the day Jang-Geum was taken to the palace.

A strange thing came up in the subtitles this episode. There was a line, “This is mitsuba (wild parsley). It has a unique scent, so it’s good …” Why not just put, “This is wild parsley. It has a unique scent, so it’s good …”? I’ll never understand such decisions.

More Korean characters were shown on screen. I’m not good at differentiating when a letter should be written as “g” or “k”, so I simply opt for “g” each time.

The scene with the highest kitchen lady asking if her ailments aren’t caused by the cold air, the word “진두통” (jin du-yong) appears on the screen. The word du-yong means “headache”, but jin I am unable to find a translation for. Following this is the physician talking about cold air entering the body, and the writing “궐역(厥逆)” (gwol-yeog) appears, meaning “cold limbs”.

Another scene while the highest court lady is talking has a lot of writing, beginning with 장고 (jang-go). The only thing I could find on this is the proverb “서투른 무당이 장고만 나무란다” (“A bad workman always blames his tool.”) I believe this places jang-go as meaning “tool”. If I remembered the dialogue at this scene, or it I translated the rest of the on-screen text, maybe I’d know what the “tool” means.

At the scene where Lady Jung says she doesn’t want to become a person in a high position, the words are “상궁 정씨” (sang-gung jeong-ssi). Sang-gung is her position as a court lady, and Jeong-Ssi is her name. The Jeong portion appears to be what’s subtitled as “Jung”, and I must say, the “Jeong” looks a lot better to me than “Jung”. But then, I’ve said the same about “Yeonsang”, “Keum-yeong”, and “Yeong-ro”.

Upon learning the name of the food Newly Appointed Highest Royal Kitchen Lady Jung has prepared for him, the king repeats its name, Mac-Juk, and letters appear on the screen. These letters match the name of the food.

As Keum-Young names the ingredients used in the food she tasted, a word appears, followed by more text. I can’t read the first character or two in the first syllable, so I can’t determine what this one says.

The next word (followed by more text) is “소갈” (so-gar), shown during the scene where the subtitles about cedaline appears. The closest thing I could find to this is Galbi, which comes from “소갈비” (sogalbi).

Finally, the scene where the line about adding milk to improve taste, the writing is “타락(駝酪):우유” (or, “ta-rag: u-yu”). Ta-rag (and the Chinese reading beside it) appear to be “cow’s milk”, and then u-yu is simply “milk”. What significance this may hold, it’s lost on me.

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