The transition from young Jang-Geum to older Jang-Geum started out a bit slow for me. Some episodes were nice, but something seemed to have been lost over the years. Jang-Geum’s triumph in growing the herb began the change to an even better series, as Lady Han and Jang-Geum continually swapped wins for loses for wins back and forth with Lady Choi and Keum-Young.
I enjoy comparing characters with their animated counterparts. Min Jeong-Ho is a strong character in Jewel in the Palace. In Janggeum’s Dream, I felt his relationship with Janggeum didn’t feel right somehow. Setting age differences aside completely, there didn’t seem to be much to it other than Jeong-ho saving Janggeum’s life repeatedly. The character of Jeong-Ho the scholar-official, on the other hand, is filled with an outright righteous character who acts with honor, and will put his life on the line to save unjustly accused innocents. I’m sure his animated counterpart would do the same, but that’s never shown.
A lot of events were fairly predictable within the series. Lady Jung’s death was expected. Her selecting Jang-Geum’s whale meat dish was expected because it was time for Team Han to get the next upperhand. However, episode 27 caught me offguard with Lady Han’s final moment. I was not expecting her to die. Jang-Geum needs Lady Han by her side. Without Lady Han, Jang-Geum will be unable to do anything, unable to move forward. At least, initially. But without Lady Han, where will Jang-Geum find her strength? The only place I can foresee will be in Jeong-Ho. He did ask Jang-Geum to let him share in her pain, and I don’t doubt he’ll be there to lift her up and out of slavery.
Lady Choi speaks coldly about how she hates the position she’s in. She sounds as if she doesn’t want to get Lady Han and Jang-Geum out of the way, but she must. She hates that she has to do this. Just the same, Keum-Young is in the position of acting without wanting.
This actually brings up another unexpected turn. Keum-Young’s plan of the servant having the fever worked perfectly, and no one will ever find out. How can Jang-Geum ever get back into the palace after this? And what kind of threat can she be to the Choi family when she never read her mother’s letter? I’m expecting she’ll see the letter in the future, but that would raise the question as to why Lady Choi and Pan-Sul never destroyed the letter. Because of Jang-Geum’s interactions with Jeong-Ho, Keum-Young cannot be the one to reveal the contents of the letter to Jang-Geum, and I don’t foresee her revealing anything to Jeong-Ho.
Even though Keum-Young’s intentions are that of a true member of the Choi family, I do give her credit for standing up to her aunt and uncle when it came time for harm to befall Jeong-Ho.
Early on, Jang-Geum was being punished often, but kept doing the right things to help out everyone. Later, Jang-Geum and Lady Han were playing a continuous game of one-upmanship with the Choi family. Now Keum-Young’s actions have contributed to the death of Lady Han, and Jang-Geum must learn to get by on her own all over again. The writers behind Jewel in the Palace undoubtedly knew what they were doing, and they managed a wonderful balance and pace of change to keep the series from becoming stale.
Typically dramas are not my genre of choice. My genre of choice is Cute, something which tends to be at odds with drama. Jewel in the Palace, however, combines historic culture. Add in my having watched through Janggeum’s Dream, and Jewel in the Palace easily becomes a series I’ve enjoyed until now, and I know I’ll continue to enjoy.