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

Janggeum’s Dream: Episode 31 Commentary

The Ice Wearhouse Incident

Collage of Janggeum's Dream screenshots.

This is the first episode that really felt to me as if it had something going for it this series. Pansul has no problem with putting lives in danger if he means removing his niece’s competition. Does Lady Choe know about what he has Hwan doing? Geum-yeong obviously knows nothing about it. She can’t know anything about it, or she wouldn’t stand for it. No matter how many times she might back down, she can’t let someone be harmed in such a way, especially when it’s for her own advancement.

I learned in the prior episode that the Korean syllable λΉ™ (bing, although it sounds like “ping” to me) relates to “ice” in some way. That’s what I took from the context in which the sound was used. This meant I knew whenever ice was mentioned this episode, including whether the ice house was being referred to, or another type of ice.

Hwan sure did find a good day to lock the girls in. This is of course assuming it was Hwan and not Pansul himself who did the deed. If Pansul’s job is delivering goods, he would be in a position to take the drugged drink to the two guards.

Even when he’s talking about a game, King Jungjong sounds more serious than he ever did in series one. Maybe this is just a side of him which wasn’t seen before, but comparing this to the first episode of series one, and he definitely has changed.

Finally Suro gets an episode where he isn’t being made too much to be the fool. He knows how to rally the men, and he plays a pretty good game (save for when he’s going for the wrong goal…) He obviously wanted to compete against Hwan, so maybe that played a part in his actions during the game.

I’d like to know what Yeong-ro was thinking when Geum-yeong showed her how to make a better dough ball. Eunbee was easily impressed, but Yeong-ro looks like it might finally be starting to sink in: she can’t compete. She doesn’t have what it takes.

With this series keeping at the palace so far, Nain gets more and more screen time. Here’s hoping Jisung gets a little as well. It shouldn’t be too difficult to nicely fit him into an episode with a decent role.

One of the reasons I like this episode is because the danger is authentic. None of this “jumping off a cliff to grab a blown-away chima” stuff. Also, the danger is prolonged. It’s not “Here comes the bull! Never mind, the bull is stopped now.” I’m not complaining over the bull scene, as I enjoyed that as well, simply comparing. This episode gave time for the characters to wonder where the girls were, even sending Yeong-ro and Eunbee to check the ice house, only to be told Janggeum and Yeonsaeng had not entered.

The first to notice Janggeum and Yeonsaeng’s extended absence is Geum-yeong. While Chang-I is preoccupied by helping (hindering?) Nain, Geum-yeong anxiously wonders what is keeping the two. Or at least she’s wondering something related to the two. It’s not easy to tell when I have no idea whatsoever what she’s saying, other than the girls’ names.

Seeing all the blocks of ice in the ice house makes me wonder how they come to be frozen in the first place. What matter of technology is used? Could it be the blocks of ice are taken from a mountain top, and somehow transported to the palace’s ice house without melting along the way?

Another disadvantage to not know what’s being said is not being able to understand Janggeum’s story about her little purse character. This could be information I’ve wanted to know since episode one of the first series. Yeonsaeng reacts positively to the story, but she’s just not strong enough to stay awake. She’s not as strong as Janggeum.

Learning to ride a horse must be relatively early training for a soldier. Dong-I is able to participate in the game, whereas he had to run on foot back when following Suro and Jeong-ho to the assassins on the way to Onyang Winter Palace. Does this mean he has his own horse now, or is it borrowed for gaming purposes?

Yun Hwan is quite impressive to be able to bounce off his horse, and for his horse to leap so high up shows he trains his animal as well as he trains himself. Hwan looks to have earned Jeong-ho’s respect after the game, but maybe not such much by the episode’s end.

It would seem Dong-I not only knows Suro likes Janggeum, but he humors Suro with it. Does this mean Dong-I’s given up any hopes of having a chance with Janggeum? He’s known her the longest and knows her better than Suro and Jeong-ho, so I’d imagine it to be a big thing for him to decide to focus less on Janggeum and more on becoming a soldier.

All it took was a single look at Hwan for Yeong-ro’s infatuation with Suro to completely wash away. She wasn’t too pleased to hear something related to Hwan and Yeonsaeng (maybe that he saved her?), but that won’t stop Yeong-ro. And what a better time for her to try and get to know the guy Yeonsaeng likes than when Yeonsaeng’s missing, freezing to death?

Suro did disappoint me when it came to lunch time. I expected him to try the dish, then say, “Wait, this isn’t something Janggeum made.” I guess that’s too much to expect. He did recognize the soybean paste’s flavor back in an earlier episode, but as Yeonsaeng said at that time, Suro isn’t exactly the type to know one flavor from another.

I take it Suro has random outbursts from time to time, as his at the meal table went completely without a reaction from Jungjong, Jeong-ho, or anyone else. Why did Hwan get the dark screen look, though? If he’s the one who locked the girls in, he might have realized he best course of action would be for him to save the girls, rather than Suro.

After the two soldiers didn’t let Suro in through the gate in a prior episode, I hoped Suro wouldn’t be too hard on them. They were properly doing their job. The job performance guarding the entrance to the ice house, on the other hand, is something they need to be reprimanded for. Yeong-ro and Eunbee could very well have been the two to find the freezing girls, had the guards not told them no one has entered. After the two apprentices left, the guards could have at least checked, just to make sure. What looks worse on ones record, a show of misconduct, or a show of misconduct followed by lying about ones misconduct, resulting in the death of two young teenage girls?

Even when around Suro now, Yeong-ro doesn’t show one bit of interest in him. Thankfully Suro only has eyes for Janggeum, or he might feel bad about losing Yeong-ro to Hwan, and might want her attention back.

I’m disappointed in Suro’s reaction to seeing Jeong-ho holding Janggeum and Yeong-ro’s reaction to seeing Hwan carrying Yeonsaeng in the freezer. The two girls have been locked in the freezer for a long time now. Have a little compassion for the two. Consider what they’ve been through. Yeonsaeng was genuinely worried when Yeong-ro was sick, but Yeong-ro is never concerned when Yeonsaeng is sick, or in a life-threatening spot.

The guards must have gotten quite an earful when Suro got to them. He’s shown ready to lambaste them, then the scene cuts to Janggeum and Yeonsaeng back at the palace being checked by a doctor. They’ve both been changed into their night clothes. After the time was taken to transport them back to the palace and change their outfits, the scene returns to Suro giving the guards a firm talking to. Now that’s a long talking to!

After Janggeum awakens and sits up, her braided ponytail is over her shoulder — it’s a cute look. Now if only Yeonsaeng sat up with her hair the same way. I’m still waiting to see if we’ll see the girls with their hair not in a braided ponytail. So far the only one has been Lady Choe.

I may not know what Chang-I and Yeong-ro are saying after Janggeum awakens, but Yeong-ro does look sad. I gather she prepared a meal for the two girls out of guilt, but because Chang-I presented a dish from Geum-yeong which will actually help them get better, Chang-I decided to sample Yeong-ro’s dish for herself.

Poor Chang-I about Yeong-ro’s dish. Not so much poor Yeong-ro, as it sounded like she was crying because that dish was meant for Yeonsaeng. Well, I take back that about her looking guilty. Maybe this was intended as an attempt to get Yeonsaeng up and back to her old self again? Nah.

The next episode preview looks like the start of a steady second story for this series. Just as the first series combined Janggeum’s dream and competition with the plot to dethrone King Jungjong, this series looks to combine Lady Choe’s plans against Janggeum along with another plot against royalty. Could it be food poisoning against the visiting royalty, and a calling card left behind?

Final observation: Is it just me, or does Yeong-ro actually look cute when fawning over Hwan, where she often looked somewhat creepy when going gaga over Suro?

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