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

Janggeum’s Dream: Episode 33 Commentary

Dano Festival

Collage of Janggeum's Dream screenshots.

Once again, not knowing what anyone is saying works against me. Funny how that is. The visiting Jang Gyeong must not have been poisoned after all. Whatever was put in her food wasn’t dangerous, only something which would cause a temporary difficulty. This puts Hwan back in the running for being the guy who added the drops to her meal.

Just as Jang Gyeong has already recovered, meaning it wasn’t a dangerous poison added to her meal, Lady Han didn’t have to leave as I thought. This is good, as it didn’t make sense for her to be sent away for poisoning royalty when the prior punishment was being locked in a cell. Instead, her actions against Jang Gyeong are met with a demotion to librarian, it appears. Maybe she’ll use this time to read a little from various books, gaining knowledge for the duration of her stay in the library.

The demotion cannot be too bad for Lady Han. She wears the same outfit while organizing books, so she hasn’t lost her upper court lady position completely.

To my dismay, Yeong-ro continues to get the greatest of pleasure from the misfortunes of Janggeum and Yeonsaeng. Since she doesn’t care anymore about Suro, my second favorite character after Yeonsaeng, I can’t use that as an excuse to give her extra chances. Maybe she’ll encounter adversity later in the series, but for now I’m writing her off as a background character on the same level of Chang-I: yet another person who didn’t even make it into the outro segment of the first series endings.

Even Eunbee smiles as Janggeum and Yeonsaeng walk off after being told…something or other by Lady Choe. Geum-yeong isn’t so happy, and it looks as if it will only continue. She and Janggeum were finally becoming good friends, but ever since their dual-promotion, they’re never shown spending any time together. If possible, Geum-yeong looks sadder than in the first series. Or, perhaps not sadder as much as miserable. She has what it takes to step up to her aunt and take charge of what she believes in, but the situation isn’t dire enough yet for that.

Somehow I don’t picture Nain as the teacher type. Do all bamboos teach, or is there something special about her? If Lady Eun and Nain are both teaching, then my guess would be that Lady Han and Lady Choe also teach at times, but with Lady Han’s absence, her duties thus fall on her right-hand court lady, Nain.

The festival in this episode is the Dano festival, which takes place on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar Korean calender. This festival, Korea’s oldest, marks the start of summer. While men wrestle in a Korean style called “ssirum” during this event, women would compete to see who could swing the highest.

Yeah, it would have been nice if I looked this up before watching the episode, so I’d have some manner of idea what’s going on with all the playing and throwing.

Apprentice court ladies had some dangerous festival games to play back in the early 1500’s or so. A seesaw you jump on; a swing obviously designed with the use being to stand rather than sit on it (as apparent by its closeness to the ground). Yeong-ro goes a good distance just to show the dangers, even if one of them was prompted by Chang-I. I can’t exactly feel bad for Yeong-ro getting caught in the tree after she forcefully took a turn on the swing from Yeonsaeng. I’ll readily admit that Yeonsaeng may have been taking an extra long time, but how does one actually have fun on a swing knowing they knocked the previous person off? The swirly-eyed look may be strange to see in this series, but it’s fitting for Yeong-ro’s situation.

The guy Jeong-ho talked with, then was met by Pansul after Jeong-ho left, I gather he’s giving some false leads or something to Jeong-ho. He’d better be careful that it doesn’t come back to get him later, as Jeong-ho is not the person you want to give wrong information to. He’s got a sword and a dog. A big dog.

I’ll have to find out the name for the kid with the instrument now. And the name of the instrument, as well. Since he appears in the show’s intro, he’ll have more parts down the line, so it would be nice to have a name to call him. For now, I’ll go with Little Red, as he’s little and wears a red outfit.

A number of things happen in the sack tossing event. Chang-I takes notice of Yeong-ro cheering for Hwan’s side rather than Suro’s. It’s not shown who hit Jeong-ho, but he didn’t notice the sack coming his way due to being focused on Hwan. What was with Hwan’s reaction to Jeong-ho being hit? Was he surprised to see Jeong-ho go down so easily? As for Suro, he continues to show off good moves, only to have things go wrong. He has some overly-loud scenes this episode, but losing he flag wasn’t over-the-top as some of his past actions this series. The best part of the event, naturally, is Yeonsaeng blushing again, carefully watching, wishing, hoping Hwan will win. Too bad it’s Hwan, the oh-so-obvious bad guy of the series (working under others, of course). At least Haeya had her redeemable points. Hwan on the other hand looks to be someone who sits around posing, probably enjoys stoicism, and doesn’t seem to be very sociable.

I can’t let go of Hwan’s expression upon Jeong-ho being hit. For all I know, he could have been saying “This is the chance of a lifetime!” in his mind as he watched Jeong-ho fall. It’s nice how the game continue being played, none of the competitors concerned in the least for Jeong-ho…

I had been wondering when the scene of Yeong-ro and Yeonsaeng holding hands (seen during the opening theme) would come up. I hoped for some event which would be the first step towards a potential friendship one day would be the cause, but it was just over Hwan. Hwan.

Another day, another meal, once again Geum-yeong serves the young king his dish. Janggeum doesn’t appear to care one bit to be in the background. She has her own mission, preparing and delivering the treat for the young musician. While Geum-yeong continues to serve the same person each day, Janggeum is meeting people, making friends, and giving gifts she prepared herself. Of course, Janggeum does serve the king dessert. This may be because it would be strange for one mum level apprentice court lady to serve both when there are two mum level apprentice court ladies.

Serving the king did give Geum-yeong a chance to overhear about what happened to Jeong-ho. Maybe she’ll make him a special meal to help him get better? It could be the perfect chance for her. Of course, it’s Janggeum who shows a good deal of concern after hearing the situation from Suro later.

The meal Janggeum takes to Jungjong (while others serve to the rest of the court) includes a round bowl with a soup in it. I don’t know what this is, although I would guess maesilcha (Japanese apricot tea, which has a sweet and sour flavor). There’s also jehotang (a healthy soup made with powdered herbs, honey, and water). Both of these are drinks typical of the Dano Festival from what I read.

The clear, night sky is a perfect end to a festive day. Watching the guests enjoy their meal under the stars, and the soft singing and music in the background, make for a soothing atmosphere. Even Geum-yeong is smiling. Too bad Jeong-ho couldn’t take part in the mood of the evening.

By the next episode preview, the next episode looks to be one I’ve been waiting for: more information about Jeong-ho and Suro, and how far back they go.

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