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

Janggeum’s Dream: Episode 10 Commentary

The First Mission Given by Pot

Collage of Janggeum's Dream screenshots.

Everywhere Jeong-ho goes, he manages to find trouble. He could probably get by with a series of his own, travelling across Korea for the king, seeking out corruption. Add Suro in as the goofy side-kick, and there’s a lot of potential there. Suro’s recurring line from episode to episode can be something like, “Corruption? That’s the one thing I hate the most!” The best part about Suro is that he’s not all talk. While I imagine he cannot compare with Jeong-ho’s ability, he’s probably the closest match to be found on Jeju Island.

Abalones must be something special to be of value to pirates. Were they so valuable before the government caused a shortage? They’re as accessible as the sea cucumbers, but may be rarer. Still, it seems anyone able to stay underwater for a decent amount of time could get one, although not without risk involved, as Janggeum learned.

When it came time for Janggeum to go underwater, Suro just happened to be there. Did he find a few good lookout spots from which to keep an eye out on the group? And after the Bumbling Duo’s failed kidnapping of Yeong-ro, shouldn’t he be protecting the other team? Jeong-ho on the other hand may have pieced together their true target, knowing Janggeum is the one in need of protection.

As much as I expected Janggeum’s work collecting items from the water to pay off in the end, it seems her work (to the extent of getting things for Granny Pot) was in vain. This isn’t true as she used the abalones to feed the kids, which led to their sister giving the dried sea cucumbers, but nothing Janggeum risked her life for was taken to Granny Pot, and Granny Pot accepted the items Yeong-ro and Geum-young purchased (at least the abalones). It’s not as if the “where from” matters, so long as the items are fresh and usable. By the way, what’s with all the sibling families without parents?

Suro could probably hold his breath underwater for a long time as he claims, so long as he keeps his mouth closed. Is being so boastful a bad thing if you can back it up? His recognizing the Bumbling Duo further shows his competence. He has to be competent to have come as far in his martial arts and other training. His personality simply shows through. Were there a series following Jeong-ho and Suro travelling the country and stopping government and business corruption, there would have to be flashback scenes of the two during their training, showing the struggles Suro had to go through, being a loud, outgoing fellow, versus his teacher, wanting quiet, attentive, respectful students. At least, that’s how I imagine his training days to have been.

Lifting those rocks, Suro showed their weight to be nothing to him. Either those were rocks with a density low enough that even Yeonsaeng could easily lift them, or Suro’s strength knows few limits. This is the guy who lifted a tree from the ground, after all, and the smaller rocks did leave some decent bumps on the heads of the Bumbling Duo.

I don’t have any idea how much thirty nyang is, or what it was worth in Korea during the era of this series, but I can imagine the price. The guy who sold the abalones knows of supply and demand. When supply is down and demand is up, raising the price ensures those with less of a need will not buy any, and those desperate for it will pay the high price. The alternative to paying a high price is to have the price low enough that they sell out before the person who needs it most has a chance to get any. Even though the supply was being artificially lowered by the local government, dealings with the pirates did mean the abalones had already been moved out, so the supply was low, even at the government official’s office.

The shared view of Jeong-ho by Dangi and Suro might just give these two something to talk about, at least until they learn they both like Janggeum. But how can they compare with the guy who gave Janggeum oxygen so she could survive long enough for him to guide her safely out of the water? These two will have quite a bit of work ahead of them. At least, that’s how things look to be. Dangi and Suro hope to catch Janggeum’s interest, but her attention goes toward Jeong-ho, only to find his focus is his duties to the king. That’s unlikely a scenario, though, as this series hasn’t once gone in the direction I expected it to (which is only a good thing).

If Jeong-ho and Suro had their own show, it would have to be one hour episodes, perhaps split into two thirty minute episodes. The first half would set up the story for the current location being visited, slowly giving information, allowing the viewer to piece together what’s happening behind the scenes. The second half of the episode would then be about learning the information necessary to turn ones perceptions upsidedown, leading to everything being revealed, a grand battle (always larger than the minor battle which would take place in the first half), and finally the badguys would be taken away, while a good government official wearing a see-through hat would take temporary control over things.

Just what’s up with those see-through hats, anyway? I didn’t comment on it before, but back in episode one, the king in disguise also wears a see-though hat. I want a see-through hat…

With three sets of battles, there’s a nice amount of action this episode. Thankfully the battles are short. If there’s one thing I’ll never understand, it’s long battles. I realize a lot of people like this, but the longer a battle goes, the less attention I’m able to pay to the show I’m watching.

The Ibang official’s outfit being mostly white reminds me of the night outfits the girls wore at the royal palace. Did the corrupt officials lock him up in his pajamas, or do all Ibangs wear these?

The location name Hanyang comes up. This is the former name of Seoul, South Korea. I thought this series took place in North Korea, so I’m all confused about what’s where now.

In the English subtitles, the queen is referred to as the “Queen Dowager”. I don’t know what the Korean word used was, but a dowager is a widow holding the title of her deceased husband. A queen dowager would be a queen with the status of the deceased king.

Although Jeong-ho’s purpose for travel are to be kept secret, it seems he’s able to trust others from the palace. This is good for Suro, at least, as otherwise it’s seemed as if Jeong-ho sees himself as being greater than Suro simply because of having moved up a rank.

Janggeum’s life was in danger in this test, but Granny Pot seems to have a much more dangerous task in mind for the next trial. She sure knows how to build up anticipation for the next episode.

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