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

Janggeum’s Dream: Episode 27 Redux

New Beginning

Collage of Janggeum's Dream screenshots.

Re-watching season one, I clearly remembered most of the events. I don’t recall if I had seen the season one one time or two times before, but it had been well over a year since I last saw it. For season two, it had definitely been almost three years. Couple that with the lack of English subtitles the first time I saw it, and it’s no wonder that re-watching season two is almost completely new content for me.

The episode title here is “New Beginning”. I had “Running Toward a Dream”, based on translating the Korean title and the title on a Japanese site that had Japanese translations for titles.

Something I thought at the end of the last season is how Yeonsaeng returned to being orchid class. It seems if Janggeum was pushed back to apricot class, Yeongsaeng should have as well. Either way, everyone’s worked up to orchid class by the time season two has begun.

Having an English translation definitely helps out. I’d wondered who the royal lady was, and now it’s clear even before her arrival that she’s the new queen. Jungjong has married.

Did I mention yet that I don’t like Suro at the start of this season? In the first season, he was my second favorite character, following after Yeonsaeng. I didn’t care for how he acted during Janggeum’s journey in the latter have of season one, though, especially in the bean episode.

Jisung (the boy soldier from the “Mother’s Table” episode) mentions that everyone came back from Ming except for Suro. There was talk at the end of the first season about Janggeum going to Ming with the envoy, so perhaps she went and Suro followed as a body guard? I would have expected Dongi to go along as well, if there were the case, but maybe he wasn’t allowed if he wanted to keep his job? Thanks to subtitles, I now have Suro’s explanation of leaving Ming on his own and getting lost, and hurrying back meaning he didn’t have time to stop for anything, including eating or (apparently) bathing. Thus the beggar look. (With the smell, at least now he knows how to ward off Yeongro—or at least how to keep her at a distance.)

It’s good to see Geumyeong is helping Janggeum out, with a smile on her face, with making the broth. It shows they’ve been able to become friends, rather than Geumyeong seeing her only as a rival.

What has my interest is the lady who’s seen leaving in a flashback. It seems she was the king’s first wife, but her father betrayed the king and his country. Because of this, the queen had to leave, and King Jungjong had to remarry. I had always wondered who that lady was, and now I know. What a different understanding dialogue makes! This also puts down the framework for the possibility of further betrayal. The interesting thing is that the former Queen had to leave when Jungjong took the throne, which would have been before the first episode of the first season. Why take so long to remarry? The first season had to span at least a year (due to Janggeum’s travels after being kicked out of the palance).

Regarding names, “Sanggung Han” is used. I wonder why “Hyeon Sang Gung” appears for her on the DVD box.

During the cooking scene, with a song playing in the background, it’s nice to finally know the lyrics to this song. I bought the music CD a few years back, and it’s one of the songs on the CD. The title is “Herb Song”.

When Court Granny tells Lady Han she cannot take anything to the former Queen right now, she says, “Send a Nain or Junior Apprentice”. I actually thought “Nain” was the name of Han’s aide (Nain Min) in the first season, but found out via Wikipedia just recently that nain is a position in the court, at a lower level than sanggung.

Looking over my original episode 27 commentary, I’m able to enjoy reviewing what I wrote back then:

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Yeong-ro continues to try and be innocent when she causes trouble.

Janggeum, being the eternally nice person, wouldn’t want Yeong-ro or Yeonsaeng to take any blame for the pot of water being dropped.

Unfortunately, this means she misses out on what appears to be the arrival of a young queen.

It’s nice to see how clear these were from the portrayal of the events. Character reactions such as Yeongro’s facial expressions really make it clear what’s happening when one doesn’t understand what’s being said.

In the flashback, as Yeonsaeng thinks about what happened with Janggeum, Janggeum’s characterized purse appears as being worn. It’s been a while since this was last seen. It sort of disappeared from existence in the first series, so it’s nice to see it back. Maybe it will have some significance this time around.

For some reason, I didn’t even notice the purse when re-watching the first season recently. I wonder why I didn’t. Now I’ll get a chance to find out the story to it, and see how close I was in my guess the last time I watched the second season. I do wonder, though, whether they had plans for it in the first season. After all, why include it her character design for the first episodes unless they were planning on potentially making use of it as a story element? Maybe that was planned, but they didn’t couldn’t fit it into the series? What I wonder is at what point they planned on a second season, considering how nicely the first season wraps up with no hint at a second.

There’s no explanation as to what happened between the end of series one and the start of series two. Apparently Suro went on another trek.

Or, you know, maybe Janggeum went to Ming, and Suro went along. I’m guessing Yeonsaeng went with Janggeum. What about Changi? I don’t recall if Tayo appears in this season, although Dani did in this episode. I think the first time I watched the first season, I didn’t grasp that Janggeum had a chance to go to Ming. Rewatching it recently, that part stuck out, but I didn’t imagine Janggeum would actually go (even though she did say she hadn’t made up her mind on it).

Yet here, I didn’t even recognize [Suro] until his daydream sequence — even his voice and laugh sound different at times — and I’m not alone. Yeong-ro didn’t seem to believe it was him either.

Somehow, Yeongro is easy to understand even when I didn’t have English subtitles. I am very much glad I have an explanation to Suro appearance at the start of this episode now, as that explanation could not be known without understanding what was said.

Everything else seems fine, but the scenes with Suro give this series a lower-quality feel to me, as if they’re trying to inject more humor into it. I did get a laugh out of the girls running out to see what the commotion was, though, with Yeonsaeng holding a broom, Chang-I a lid, and Janggeum ready for action wielding a rolling pin.

This time around, I didn’t get this feeling of “lower quality”, even if I didn’t care for Suro in this episode. I think being able to understand what was going on upped the quality of the episode for me.

When Jungjong is talking with Jeong-ho about the doctor leaving the palace, I’m quite certain he mentions Haeya. Doctor Haeya and her father must be long gone by now. Could this be a replacement doctor, to take Haeya’s place? And if so, did she have to leave her home (perhaps another palace) against her will to be Jungjong’s physician?

Oh, I noticed this time around that I thought I heard a “Haeya” said, but it wasn’t in the subtitles. And now I know that that was the queen who left, not a doctor. What a difference understanding the dialogue makes!

As for the Korean language, a couple of terms were in this episode. There was the dongchimi broth Janggeum had to replace. She got the water for it from Baekhojeong. The linked Wikipedia page, however, doesn’t make sense in this context unless Janggeum’s referring to a specific location she went to for the water, such as a place outside of the palace (which is why she didn’t get things cleaned up before the others returned from seeing the new Queen).

Next stop, season two, episode two.

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