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

Janggeum’s Dream: Episode 13 Commentary

The Secret Pot Dish Recipe

Collage of Janggeum's Dream screenshots.

I’m really liking some of the music in this series. It fits the scenes nicely. I’ll have to check and see if there’s a soundtrack CD of the series music. (Update: There is. US$11.99 when I last checked.)

Predictably, Choe used the whole “you must uphold your lineage or you’re no longer family” bit on Geum-young. While Yeong-ro is going along with it all, it’s one struggle after another for Geum-young. Ever since Janggeum and Yeonsaeng helped Geum-young in the forest when finding “the taste of nature”, Janggeum’s been nothing but friendly toward Geum-young. No matter what happened, no matter how great of a rivalry Geum-young saw growing between the two, Janggeum didn’t treat it as a rivalry.

Janggeum is a typical “main character” in that she has her up and downs, downs which are not directly her fault (such as the rice pot blowing its top, or the trial after the fire), and ups of perfection (avoiding seasickness, realizing the honey was important to the bees, instead taking the smaller comb). She isn’t able to get by completely on her own, as it was Yeonsaeng who kept the bees lured away, and who told of keeping the honey cool, but she hasn’t been faced with the difficult decisions Geum-young is facing.

I’m not taking shots at Janggeum here, but rather setting up a comparison. Yeonsaeng’s already told of many faults (inability to swim, fear of heights), but none of these have been anything major or impacting. Likewise would be Yeong-ro’s fear of various bugs, which did cause trouble for Geum-young, but we don’t know what Yeong-ro feels knowing Geum-young’s life was in danger because of her.

Finally, back to Geum-young and her difficulties. It’s because of her own greed that she failed. Now to keep from failing in her family’s eyes (or at least her aunt’s, but Choe will certainly speak for the whole family), she has a chance to redeem herself. This time, doing “the right thing” is so wrong it brings Geum-young to tears. If she prepares a Pot dish based on the information her aunt and Yeong-ro gathered, she’ll be disgraced, her aunt will be disgraced, and her family may very well be disgraced. By then it will be too late for true redemption for Geum-young. Her happy ending can only be if she backs out, and Aunt Choe goes through with preparing the dish herself, with Yeong-ro as her only assistant.

The guys also have quite a bit going on. Jeong-ho sounds so casual when saying Suro’s the better with a sword, it’s hard not to believe he really means it.

I don’t know if Jeong-ho believes the ring to be a clue about the kids who helped young King Jungjong, or a clue about who the assassins really are. Either way, Dongi knows Jeong-ho has the ring, and Suro is quite antsy about details of this ring. Dongi can’t tell Janggeum about the ring until he’s rescued it and can return it (or else things may resolve a little too quickly). Jeong-ho will want to get information about the ring from Dongi in secret, but Jeong-ho is the last person Dongi will want to be alone with now.

I’m starting to pick up various Korean words, such as “thank you” and “I don’t know”, although I’ll have to hear them a few more times to have them learned for more than a span of 24 hours. If only all the other words were so easy to pick up…

The Pot dish is better than I imagined it would be. I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the expectations set out for it, but it did and thensome. Also, I get to feel proud of myself, as once the lid was put on upsidedown, I knew what the cup was for, and why the lid was upsidedown. Do I get a see-through hat as a prize?

While Janggeum was able to fret over how to prepare the honey, Yeonsaeng has her own difficulties in whether to tell about the Bee Fairy from her dream. The suprise was Granny Pot confessing to not knowing much about preparing wild honey. Perhaps in their younger years, her husband, the Bee Master, handled the honey preparation part, and they worked together to prepare the Pot dish.

Way back so long ago, Changi asked the girls to bring her an exotic food from the island. With the time to leave approaching, I had been wondering what item Yeonsaeng would select. I’d say things worked out nicely. I’m left wondering how much of this was planned ahead by the writers, and how much was “Let’s have Changi ask for something, then we can use that something to get the characters out of a tough spot in a later episode, for whatever may come up.”

There’s only one bonus item on this DVD. It’s the storyboard for the first couple of scenes of episode 11, which is a nice addition. High quality animations should include this sort of thing more often.

With the introduction of the pirates, Choe’s team will have more than their headstart to get back to the palace. I’m waiting to see if Geum-young does anything to sabotage her own efforts in making the Pot dish, as she doesn’t even know how wrong she has the recipe. She’ll certainly have to make a dish for the young king or the queen, serving it after her first try at making the dish, and without tasting it herself (or worse, tasting it and finding it to be horrible). Will she get her come-uppance before Janggeum’s group has a chance to return?

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