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

Janggeum’s Dream: Episode 28 Commentary

Skirt Rock

Collage of Janggeum's Dream screenshots.

This episode’s title is 치마바위. 바위 (bawi) means “rock”. 치마 (chima) is part of a woman’s hanbok, the baggy skirt. I take “rock” in this title to refer to the location where Janggeum hangs the chima for Jungjong to see.

I’m finding myself in the negative position of “trying to like” series two here. It might be partly because this was a monologue-heavy episode, and the best I could do was pick out names and a small number of words I know to give a touch of context.

Once again, Suro is given an extreme role, in a bad way. He’s seeming less and less like a developed character and more and more like a pitiful attempt at comic relief. Hopefully things improve for him, because I do like him as a character. He’s probably my favorite after Yeonsaeng, so it’s sad to see him in this state.

I’m getting a bit ahead. It’s easier to comment on the episode linearly, as there was so much I didn’t understand.

With the potential of others knowing an item from the king was being transported, it was smart of Janggeum to put a fake item in the bag she was carrying, but if the item was in danger and worth protection, shouldn’t Jeong-ho have been in the background watching over her and the others? Although Lady Choe may have been made a fool of, she was actually saved from what might have happened had she really had the pin being transported.

The house Janggeum and the other two deliver the goods to has what may be a storage house or kitchen, which is where the girls drop off the items. The ground to this building looks to be dirt ground, not wood flooring. This means the girls are free to walk in without taking off their shoes first.

When Janggeum sees the lady the king’s item is meant for, a single pair of shoes are seen outside the house. After Janggeum bows, then sits down, it can be see she’s not wearing her shoes, then a following scene shows two pairs of shoes outside the house. This means only Janggeum entered, as seen following with Yeonsaeng and Chang-I sitting outside.

The reason I mention the shoes is because I’m reminded of the role they play in a similar situation in Japanese animation. If a character returns home and sees her older brother’s shoes and another pair of shoes, she may know her older brother’s best friend is visiting. Likewise, if the older brother returns home and sees two small pairs of shoes beside his sister’s, he knows she has a couple of friends visiting. Seeing an unexpected adult-sized pair of shoes when entering the home can be foreboding of someone delivering bad news to ones parents. None of this applies to this episode of Janggeum’s Dream, of course. Just an observation.

I have no idea of the significance of the pin between the lady Janggeum delivered it to (whose name I have as Sin-ssi), and Jungjong. I’m not sure what the item is, either, but it could be something like she’s wearing in her hair in the flashback. I don’t know what those are called, so I’m referring to it as a (hair) pin.

During the flashback, Sin-ssi wears her hair up. I don’t imagine she’s married. She might have worn her hair up because it was a special occasion, the type wearing ones hair down to might be frowned upon. She wears her hair down in her home when Janggeum arrives, but this could be because she isn’t planning on leaving the house.

The house Jungjong and Jeong-ho are playing a board game in has a nice reflection in the water. I take it Jeong-ho knows Jungjong is waiting for a signal on the mountain, but couldn’t he wait until the girls returned to hear if the pin reached Sin-ssi?

That red cloth is the other portion of the episode adding to the “trying to like”. I understand there is an importance to showing the cloth so Jungjong can see it, but it is not worth throwing oneself off a cliff for. What if the rope wasn’t secured well enough? (Would you trust your life to Yeonsaeng’s knot-tying skills?) What if Janggeum lost her grip of the rope? What if the rope rubbed against rock while she was being pulled up, and it snapped in two? What if after the rope stopped her fall, she slammed against the rock wall, and lost her grip on the rope? What if Chang-I and Yeonsaeng weren’t strong enough to pull her up? I can accept Janggeum doing reckless things, but I feel this was an over-the-top stunt to add drama. Back when she fell from the bridge and Jeong-ho jumped after her, this was falling beyond Janggeum’s control and Jeong-ho leaping to save someone. At the cliff with the cloth, it’s unnecessary and downright foolish of Janggeum. I could understand if the wind on the mountaintop was strong enough to blow Janggeum off, but then she wouldn’t be the “hero”, rescuing the cloth, and getting the signal to the worried king. At least Chang-I gives Janggeum a good scolding for it.

Is it just me, or does the man who requests Jungjong’s attention not sound the same as Jeong Eunuch, the villain from the first series? Maybe it’s a coincidence, but I wouldn’t surprised to learn they had the same voice actor.

After being pulled up, Janggeum’s face is understandably covered with dirt. What I don’t understand is why Chang-I and Yeonsaeng’s faces are also covered with dirt. Sure, it makes for a nice “we went through a lot of hardship to make it this far” type of scene, but the problem is that Chang-I and Yeonsaeng didn’t actually do anything that would leave their faces looking like that. If they did, then their faces would have looked like that after pulling Janggeum up. Maybe Janggeum didn’t want to be the only one with a dirty face, so she roughed up the the other two a bit. This could be why Chang-I looks worn out and why Yeonsaeng looks miffed as the trio sits at the tree, although not a likely scenario.

I take it the girls were scolded for returning so late, without Lady Eun knowing about their side mission. This leads to a punishment to them for doing the right thing, which is about the first negative element of their trip which doesn’t feel forced. I’m curious about the sad look on Lay Han’s face at the end of her conversation with Janggeum. Not understanding what’s being said really leaves a lot to be desired.

This episode and the first of this series both have a nice amount of dancing and orchestra playing music. Episode one of the first series also had dancers during the wedding festivities. It’s a nice show of Korean traditional culture, something different from the usual Japanese culture I see in the majority of my animation watching.

Something about the young queen, Jang-gyeong, doesn’t seem right. Her thought-dialogue in the first episode has a bit of deviousness to it at one point, and her dialogue this episode makes her seem even more like she’ll be a villain. Seeing as I have no idea what she’s saying, she may very well be saying, “I’m glad to be visiting; I’m really enjoying my stay here,” and I can be thinking, “That so sounds like she said something evil.”

The apprentice court ladies look to be getting younger and younger every year. The two girls admiring Geum-yeong and Janggeum look to be no older then nine. Pansul, Geum-yeong’s uncle, didn’t seem too pleased to hear one of the girls talking about Janggeum. He must have missed the part where the other girl was praising Geum-yeong.

I imagine Geum-yeong is led away by her aunt as part of the whole “make Geum-yeong a top cook” thing. Presenting the dessert (I think it’s a plate of dessert items), Geum-yeong looks happy to display her work. It’s good to see her smile, so the episode isn’t a complete loss. Too bad I don’t know what the monologue was from her to the couple. Likewise, I wish I knew what her uncle said to the two. More importantly, I must know where the bearded guy got his see-though hat. It’s a different style from what everyone else wears. Is there a “Kim Young’s Custom-Made See-Through Black Hats” shop somewhere? Maybe I can get a decent see-through black hat for under 30 yang.

If things between Janggeum and Jeong-ho are moving too slow, Chang-I is always ready to help, as she lead Yeonsaeng away so Jangguem and Jeong-ho could be alone together. I’m waiting to see if an actual relationship will appear this series, as there’s barely anything there right now. Too bad I won’t actually understand anything they’re saying which might show their feelings toward one another.

Lady Choe has to be planning something related to Janggeum and Jeong-ho after seeing the two alone together. I’m hoping to magically understand what the book scene was about. My first thought was that Pansul left the book there to set Janggeum up, but he obviously didn’t know that that girl was Janggeum until Yeonsaeng said her name. Furthermore, he punished, I gather, the person who dropped the book.

I’m glad the girls are all orchid rank, as it gives a chance to see Janggeum and Geum-yeong in the orchid outfits, a ranking they bypassed in series one when they moved up to mum class directly.

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