Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love Episode 1 Recap

This one completely and utterly took me surprise. Gu Family Book was the drama I was looking forward to, while Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love was the one to mock if it turned out to be a disaster or merely tolerate if it was simply serviceable. I never once imagined it would be good. And not just good, episode 1 was ridiculously good with all the hallmarks of being fantastic. This is how a sageuk ought to be done right, people. While there are tons of literary liberties taken with the source material of the real life political love triangle between King Sukjong, Queen In Hyun, and Jang Heebin, the pathos is rooted in historical conflict and the Joseon-era fixation with class structure and rigid hierarchy. There are no flying gumiho daddies and cackling murderous rapey villains here, but rather a spectrum of calculating people each trying to gain a further toehold in their life. A crown prince wants to cement his political power before he assumes the throne, a powerful minister wants to strengthen his factional alliance, a scheming merchant wants to sate his rage through power, and a budding seamstress fashion designer wants to earn enough money to leave this world behind. Episode 1 had a magnificent opening sequence that sets up the central conflict in this drama perfectly while being subtle but clever about it. I love how the historical figures are being expertly jostled about so good people might be bad and bad people may be good. I was riveted through every minute of JOJ and I’m actually giving it the edge over GFB as the better first episode all around. There is no way I’m going to recap both dramas, and my preferences remain to recap the drama I like better. Right now it’s equal so I may recap both for the time being until one drama owns my heart more and that’s the one I’ll stick with. Though with the number of recappers covering GFB, maybe I’ll do a better service by recapping JOJ? Decisions, decisions.

Episode 1 recap:

Jang Ok Jung prepares her atelier (forgive the modern language but not sure what to call it in Joseon terms) for an important customer. It is Lady Min, who is the eldest daughter of powerful Interior Minister Min Yoo Jung. She is here to shop for her trousseau to wear during the upcoming consort selection process.


The two ladies greet each other and the camera cuts away to sometime in the future. Queen In Hyun (formerly Lady Min) walks through the courtyard of the Palace trailed by her maids, while from the opposite side Jang Hee Bin (birth name Jang Ok Jung) walks through the same courtyard trailed by her set of maids. The two wives of King Sukjung stop in front of the chamber doors of Sukjong’s residence and stare off. Now this is what I call a Joseon-era gunslinger match without the actual guns. Nicely done, drama.

Back to the hanbok shopping some time earlier than the royal wife staredown, Lady Min wants the store closed off while she shops and then proceeds to eye all the colorful hanboks. She is surprised its so “gaudy” and Ok Jung explains she was going for a butterfly look and one that would attract a man’s eye. Lady Min sniffs that it’s crass and she’s looking for traditional and ladylike attire. None of this will do. She offers to pay Ok Jung for the lost business keeping the store closed but Ok Jung declines since there was no sale.

As Lady Min walks out, her little slave maid fingers a beautiful hanging jewel and is caught by Ok Jung. It is Dong Yi the future Choi Sukbin, who was maid to Queen In Hyun and later caught King Sukjong’s eye when he saw her praying for her mistress’s wellbeing. Dong Yi is pretty surly and snarks that it wasn’t stealing unless she was caught.

Ok Jung gives the item to her as a present and tells her never to do it again. She asks for her name and Dong Yi says she’s called dog shit or hey you and she doesn’t have a name since she’s just a slave, though she knows her last name is Choi. Dong Yi is taken aback and asks for her name and learns it is Jang Ok Jung. She smiles and says when she grows up, she wants to be just like Jang Ok Jung.

The camera pulls back and we see that while Queen In Hyun and Jang Heebin are facing off, and off to the other end stands Choi Sukbin, watching and smirking. Nice – so she’s not some perfect angel in this version of the story. I like it.

Crown Prince Lee Soon visits a blind fortune teller who gets his life all wrong. The fortune teller says Lee Soon is a beggar who has money fall on his lap. Lee Soon smirks and says just the opposite, he is the Crown Prince of Joseon. And he knows this fortune teller is no simple blind dude, he is the retired and in hiding master musician.

Jang Ok Jung prepares to hold a fashion show. She is meticulous and oversees every little detail.

An invitation is sent to her mother, who we learn is a slave and working in the household of a yanban. The Lord is nice to her but his wife is a total shrieking shew and rages at Ok Jung’s mother for daring to talk to her husband and think Jang Ok Jung is anything more than the daughter of a slave and a disgraced merchant son.

The fashion show starts and all the models are gisaengs while all the attendees are the wives and daughters of yanban and merchants since Jang Ok Jung is now Joseon’s top designer.

Jang Ok Jung’s uncle, Jang Hyun, sits in his study and hears about the fashion show.

The shrewish wife crashes the fashion show and insults Jang Ok Jung, who stands her grand proudly and tells her to leave. She orders her thugs to trash the place and sends all the potential clients scurrying away in fear. Jang Ok Jung stares in horror at the disastrous turn of events.

The ministers of the court are holding a performance for the visiting Qing dynasty envoys, who are here to discuss an alliance pact. The envoys are annoyed since they came expecting to hear from Joseon’s top musician and instead they are being feted with kids dancing and other guys playing.

Cheerful Prince Dongpyung, Crown Prince Lee Soon’s uncle, is told to play for the Qing envoys and stall for time for Lee Soon can bring back the musician. He manages to play well enough to placate the guests. We see Minister Min does not want Lee Soon to bring the famed musician, he appears to be hoping any alliance with the Qing dynasty is scuttled.

Lee Soon shows the musician music sheets carved on wood that contain a song he wrote for his dead son, which was the reason the man went into hiding to nurse his broken heart at losing his son. Lee Soon urges him to play this tune and keep the memory of his son alive, and help Joseon remain peaceful with an alliance with the Qing dynasty so no more sons of Joseon will die in vain.

Lee Soon is traveling back to the Palace with the musician when his convoy is attacked by men in black. He manages to fend them off when it appears the musician is killed when the attackers spear the palanquin he’s riding in.

Prince Dongpyung is almost at wits end playing non-stop when finally Lee Soon walks into the party. He smirks at Minister Min before announcing he’s brought the main attraction of the night. The Qing envoys are happily placated. Turns out Lee Soon stuck two other guys in the palanquin with the musician and those men took the sword attacks for him.

Minister Min passes Lee Soon in the hallway of the Palace and warns him not to think he has easily won an alliance with the Qing, or that it is good for Joseon. Lee Soon says he’s preparing for his rule one day so he has to learn politics now. Minister Min points out that Lee Soon’s mother Queen Myungsung is always calling him in for discussions, so they really shouldn’t be at odds with each other.

Queen Myungsung is in the same faction as Minister Min and she brings up getting Lee Soon married soon to broaden their faction’s power base. She suggests it doesn’t matter who Lee Soon marries as one as its someone from their faction but Minister Min says he has been raising his daughter since her birth to become Queen one day so it has to be her. Queen Myungsung points out Lee Soon hates Minister Min so he’ll reject Lady Min knowing who she is. They devise a plan to have the Crown Prince meet Lady Min without knowing her identity so he can like her for who she is.

Lee Soon and Prince Dongpyung are practicing swords and chatting about how the elders are getting around to having them get married soon for political reasons. Prince Dongpyung is asked to go on a matseon today with the daughter of a high official. Two serving girls run in with envelopes for the two princes but bump into each other and the envelopes are accidentally switched. Prince Dongpyung is sent to the rendezvous with Lady Min that Lee Soon was supposed to go on, while Lee Soon is sent to the household of the girl being set up with Prince Dongpyung.

Jang Ok Jung tries to salvage the situation with her crashed fashion show and tries to get the completed garments to her existing clients before they all stop doing business with her. One particular lady accepts the hanbok and asks Ok Jung if she designs menswear. She does, so the lady asks her for a favor to make clothes for her future groom.

When Ok Jung steps aside, she overhears the maids worried that Ok Jung might seduce the lady’s future groom when she measures him for clothes, to which the snobby lady says Ok Jung is no more than a slave hussy and she needn’t worry about her.

Prince Dongpyung meets with Lady Min and saves her from pretend thugs.

Crown Prince Lee Soon arrives at the house of the lady and walks into a interior garden to find Jang Ok Jung waiting there. He thinks she is the intended fiancee to Prince Dongpyung, while Ok Jung thinks he’s Prince Dongpyung.

Ok Jung cuts to the chase and asks to take his measurements. Lee Soon thinks this lady is trying to show off her sewing skills as a future wife to impress the family. Ok Jung is very bossy and turns Lee Soon around to take his measurements, which brings them in close proximity with each other and both are keenly aware of the other’s presence.

Lee Soon thinks Ok Jung looks familiar and asks if they have met before, but she answers that she has a ordinary face. He chides her for ignoring propriety and touching a man, so Ok Jung explains that a fashion designer is like a doctor and there is no gender shyness with doing her job.

When the real lady arrives, she tells Ok Jung to make an entire wardrobe for her future groom which is when Lee Soon realizes his mistake.

Minister Min is upset the accidental meeting was messed up by crossed envelopes but his daughter Lady Min is okay with it. She believes a fated marriage may be hard to come by and she will earn it.

The two princes sit and discuss their mixed up rendezvous, with Lee Soon still unable to get over how familiar Ok Jung looked to him.

Ok Jung brings a box of money to the lady of the house that owns her mother and asks to buy her mother’s freedom. The lady refuses and Ok Jung demands to know why the lady refuses each time despite her bringing enough money. The lady finally tells Ok Jung to ask her uncle Jang Hyun, and we see Jang Hyun has been paying the lady off to keep Ok Jung’s mother a slave.

Ok Jung goes to confront her uncle, who claims he is trying to protect Ok Jung from the devastating fall from status were she to live with her slave mom. Ok Jung doesn’t care, she plans to move to Qing China with her mom once she buys her freedom, turns out her brother is there as a merchant now. But thanks to the ruined fashion show, Ok Jung doesn’t have the money for the move still.

Ok Jung demands to know what her uncle wants from her. Jang Hyun says he wants to devour all of Joseon, and he needs Ok Jung’s help. Him with his claws, her with her honeyed skirt, together they can control the country. Ok Jung is horrified and wants nothing to do with it. Jang Hyun says he needs Ok Jung, he needs her to take the place of his dead daughter Hong Joo.

Flashback to 7 years ago, a teenage Ok Jung talks with her cousin Hong Joo. They admire flowers and Hong Joo shares a sad folk story about those flowers and a maid who enjoyed one night with the King only to die of missing him when he never visited again. Hong Joo is now a maid in the Palace and her sadness about her own plight seeps into this story.

Hong Joo returns to the Palace and that night a man comes to visit her and she greets him happily. Another maid sees it and reports them to the officials, who catch Hong Joo in bed with Prince Boksun.

Queen Myungsung hears about this affair and wants to use it to cut the Soron faction down to size. Hong Joo is tortured by Minister Min for not only betraying the King by sleeping with another man (since all women in the Palace belong to the King), but conspiring with him or revealing confidential information. She cries that they just are in love with each other.

Prince Boksun arrives to try and save Hong Joo but Minister Min refuses to let this opportunity go to hurt the other faction and insists on torturing Hong Joo until she tells “the truth”.

Elsewhere in Seoul, Ok Jung and her family are on the run from slavehunters. Her father is the son of a merchant (and younger brother of Jang Hyun), but his status fell once he married her mother who is a slave. She also has an older brother. Her father goes to beg Jang Hyun to shelter them but he cruelly refuses and sends them away, he’s not interested an association with his brother’s slave-included family or slave-born children. Ok Jung stares at her uncle in silent rage and Jang Hyun returns her look.

As the Jang family runs from the slavehunters, Ok Jung’s brother leaves the family to divert the slavehunters.

Jang Hyun hears about his daughter’s arrest and goes to visit her in prison. He chides her for screwing up bad, but tells her to wait for him.

Jang Hyun brings money to visit Minister Min and begs for mercy for his daughter. Minister Min tosses the money aside and derides Jang Hyun as being a merchant and therefore below him as a noblemen, how dare he ask for mercy. He tells Jang Hyun to know his lowly place in this society.

Hong Joo sits in prison and rips her clothes into strips. Oh no. When Prince Boksun and Jang Hyun arrive to visit her, they find her hanging from the rafters, her clothes torn and shoeless. Jang Hyun reaches in and grabs his daughter’s legs and demands to know why she didn’t wait for him like he asked her! He looks utterly devastated.

Ok Jung’s father is sick and coughing up blood, and the family manages to make it to a nobleman’s residence where the lord is a friend to Ok Jung’s father. When they knock, the widow of the lord opens the door and reveals her husband is dead. She can see the family’s fear and desperation and allows them inside. Ok Jung drops a braided ornament which leads the slavehunters to that residence. The slavehunters forcibly drag her mother away but not before beating up her father.

Ok Jung’s father is brought into the house but the doctor who is summoned cannot save him. He takes his last breath and begs Ok Jung to live.

Jang Hyun sits down with Prince Boksun and discuss planning their revenge. He wants to bring down those in power and install Prince Boksun in power. All he asks for is that once it happens, Prince Boksun has a child with a girl from his family. Prince Boksun points out that there are no girls left in his family, but Jang Hyun says there is a girl alive who carries the Jang family blood. Prince Boksun asks who she is and Jang Hyun smiles.

Ok Jung cries and spends the night sewing a burial outfit for her father in the darkness. When morning comes, the lady of the house is astonished that Ok Jung sewed a traditional burial outfit from memory, and is saddened that the first item she ever sewed was her father’s burial clothes.

Ok Jung is dressed in mourning and prepares to take her father to be buried. Jang Hyun is waiting outside the front door and he walks up to Ok Jung and asks “Are you Jang Ok Jung?”

Thoughts of Mine:

I actually had to take a deep breath when I finished episode 1 of JOJ. Good lord the amount of narrative crammed into one measly hour, yet without sacrificing character development or resulting in awkward transitions. The directing was fluid and confident, the cinematography captivating without coming across as too picture perfect. It was a sageuk with equal part sheen and grit, which is exactly how I like my sageuks. I worried that the Palace intrigue would be boring since everyone knows the story by now, yet from the first scene onward it did feel different and interesting. Queen In Hyun is portrayed as a born and raised snob with a power hungry father. Jang Heebin is a darn great heroine to root for in this version, coming from the daughter of a slave mother and a merchant father and suffering from the loss of both parents and her only sibling in one night. She comes across as resourceful and practical, dreamy when it comes to her fashions but steely when it comes to saving her mother. And the normally angelic and perfectly kind Dong Yi shows her sneaky colors though we learn through the exploitation and degradation of slaves in episode 1 alone what she must have suffered being of such ignominious birth. Who are we to root for? The rightful Queen In Hyun? The upstart Jang Heebin? Or the waiting in the wings for her rivals to take each other out Choi Sukbin?

I thought the acting was rock solid, ranging from so-good-it-made-my-toes-curl Song Dong Il as Jang Hyun, to back in fine sageuk form Yoo Ah In, to pitch-perfect Hong Soo Hyun, and a jolly playful Lee Sang Yeob. Of course everyone wants to hear how Kim Tae Hee did, and I’ll be honest and admit that I thought she did just fine. Not great, but not bad. Much better than I expected, and really a very warm and engaging performance. It harkens back to her My Princess days but without the over-acting and energetic chirpiness. Jang Ok Jung is immediately cemented as the bona fide heroine in this story with a combination of her backstory and how Kim Tae Hee presents her adult personality. She’s not a caricature and is still opaque enough that I look forward to the drama fleshing her out. I am on pins and needles with the upcoming interactions between her and Song Dong Il. Rather than him eating her alive with his acting, she actually parried well with him and held her own. Kudos to her. Same thing with Yoo Ah In, who pretty much washed the stink of Fashion King right off with just a few minutes of screen time here. He really is made for sageuks and wears the clothes and dialogue like second skin. His chemistry with Kim Tae Hee is present but not totally overwhelming, which makes for lots of room to build on it going forward.

I found myself really gasping in sorrow at some of the backstory surrounding Jang Hyun’s daughter Hong Joo and her ill-fated romance with Prince Boksun, and how Ok Jung had her loving family destroyed and torn apart just because her mother was a slave. This whole “slaves are lower than trash” mentality that pervades this drama isn’t exaggerated in the least, Joseon Korea was indeed tightly regimented among the classes and slaves were wholly untouchable. For Ok Jung’s dad to marry her slave mom was like watching Dae Gil and Un Nyun from Chuno get together and then suffer in companionship for their choice. I love how Jang Hyun is written as smart and vicious, but also someone who suffered a great loss himself in the death of Hong Joo at the hands of even more powerful and vicious people who treat those below them as dispensable. I’m already excited to watch the love lines develop and the political intrigue and conflicts start to emerge, because right now I’m sensing no one is all good or all bad, and it’ll be lots of inevitable situations which will drive the pathos. And those are always some of the most compelling narrative drivers in any stirring drama. It’s bound to tear me apart watching JOJ and GFB duke it out for ratings supremacy for the next 9 weeks.

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Comments

Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love Episode 1 Recap — 56 Comments

  1. I’m a Big Fans Of Dong Yi.. And watching my favorit character in here like that make me really cranky. I Really like the casts, but not for the story..

    • Ohoo.. me too.. which one is the true nature of dong yi??? But i hope that’s only jealousy not her true character….

    • i think it’s because this is based on JOJ pov ^^ like “no one kind really kind, and no one bad really bad”. maybe it will tell JOJ’s kindess side of her, and bad side of the others (like choi dong yi, which known as like an angel). who knows, it’s just my opinion. 🙂 that’s why i find this drama interesting.

  2. now, now, first i have to thank you for this great and insightful recaps! i never had the intention to watch this even if i like YAI and KTH (tho not in the same intensity). after reading the recaps and your commentaries i am now of to download and will give this baby a try. 🙂 thanks.

  3. Thanks Koala – this is very cool. I was rather worried that no one would do a review of this. Every other site is concentrating on GFB which I will admit, I am also looking forward to, but I definitely want to know how JOJLIL will pan out. I hope it stays as good as the first episode.

  4. Please please please i beg you keep recapping JOJ …cause noone else is recapping and please dont drop it in middle ^^ till then Sranghae Ms Koala

  5. This story will go to seed once the adult cast is full time – mark my words. You can already see that YAI doesn’t fit his role and with Kim Tae Hee, the less said the better. Her wide-eyed stare makes me nauseous.

  6. Thank you Ms Koala for Ep1 recap. It is so good to seenYAI back in sageuk drama. I was wondering why nobody recapping this drama, why why? Lets just hope the remaining eps will be great and you will continue recapping. Can’t thank you enough.

  7. Thanks Ockoala..now I am torn…between GFB and JOJ….Like the song verse “I’ll follow you….” with the one you recap…

  8. I´ve been really curious about this Drama, because it is from the Director of My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, which I just loved. I´m glad to hear it is worth checking out!

  9. I’m still waiting for sub but I must say I wasn’t disappointed. Interesting characters, esp the evils, with solid actings. Looking forwards to how the story spans out.

  10. Having watched both ep 1 of JOJ and GFB I think I like JOJ slightly better – narration wise I somehow think it has more potential, or maybe GFB just reminded me too much of Arang, with the evil character written quite flatly (in contrast to JOJ).

    And the costumes are just so gorgeous… @_@

  11. You’re daebak! Thanks so much koala! I’ve been waiting for a recap of JOJ. Really hope you’d recap this til’ the end. <3

  12. thaaaaanks so much koala for recap this drama :’) i was watched JOJ eps 1 without subs,so.. didn’t really understand. and after i read ur recaps, now i totally understand ! thankyou so much, it means a lot for me ^^ i’m looking forward for this drama, and also GFB and Nine times travel. it’s all goood~~

  13. This is the one that I have been looking forward to the most because I had such a huge love for dong yi and love the king driven stories. I am soo curious about the king and Joj. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to see JOJ with sukjong becuase of the real life story and dong yi the series (also liberties taken there). But the series really makes me want to root for the OTP. They are cute together!!

    Thanks for recapping ep 1. I am excited to see what happens next. I was searching around yesterday to see if anyone recapped it and all I found was the other drama. So thanks for this particular recap. I hope it stays good.

  14. I would love if you recapped this! There are enough GFB recaps and I love reading your recaps. I’d love to see your opinions about this show as it progresses. But it’s up to you.
    Thanks for recapping! 😀

  15. Koala, thank you so much for your recap & insight; I really love Dong Yi so very interested to see how this drama is going to portray Jang Ok Jung as the heroine.

    I watched ep 1 raw and thoroughly enjoyed it, can’t wait until the sub is out. The cinematography is gorgeous, and the beautiful colorful hanboks are the feast to my eyes.

    Cruel Palace, Gu Family Book, Jang Ok Jung; and with the addition of Mandate of Heaven which will start in 2 weeks; these sageuk dramas will keep myself busy this season.

  16. What I find confusing is that while the members of the slave class are “untouchable”, they can become a royal concubine. (Dong Yi, for example.)

  17. I knew from the git and the go, I would like JOJ better.

    I didn’t peek at your recap. I just checked out the new viki and it looks fully subbed there. Am going to watch now!!

  18. For the start it has good scenery. Best costume. Pretty casts. Nice story?. Acting?.
    Thumbs up for the director of photography and the costume designer they did good joob. this is thr first time i see the finest hanbok ever so stylish and colourful hanbok not to mention that’s all alluring with the pretty casts and the intrigue theme..will never loss appetite with this eyes catching scenes. still i wonder how the story line and the acting will grow. literally it would be a waste if the casts not giving their best. i do hope yoo ah in will make grand achievement with this drama.. while kim tae hee.. since it is her first saeguk.. not too much if we ask for her best. or it would turn even with gu family book since GFB has lee yoon hee then JOJ has kim tae hee both are pretty faces, one with flat action other with blank expression.. haven’t give their best yet.. unfortunately in JOJ tae hee is the lead. I really hope she can absorb her character well..and leave us in awe for her character.. but if she fails hhhhmmm then she really is just a pretty face…

  19. Thank you so much KOALA, We are an avid fans of Kim Tae Hee and Ah-In. Truly every hour we’re keeping track of your update for we love so much KOREAN drama, its ACTORS and DRAMA as well. Sincerely gratefull to your update. CONGRATS!

  20. Hi Ms Koala, i am so happy you recapped this first ep. I am a fan of LSG and Suzy, but also a fan of YAI and KTH, and was thus in a dilemma which show to watch. Your recap made me decide and i started watching JoJ. I was totally floored by YAI. His saguek speech is so good, and plus that baritone of his, just makes me shiver when he speaks. I will prob watch both shows but would really love it if you can continue to recap this since so many others are already recapping GFB.

    Also, on the gunslinger scene, i totally agree with you that they did a real nice job there.

  21. This slavery thing is confusing the heck out of me. If the father is free in a totally patriarchal society like that, why shouldn’t the kids be free?

    And aren’t concubines technically slaves? Yet, they also seem to be part of the family as second and third wives etc. So, why are their kids by the man of the house treated badly? Oh I don’t know, I’m finding this all super irrational.

    • Lineage follows the mother’s side. They also gave caste system made up of:
      a) Royal family/nobles
      b) Concubines
      c) Average citizens
      d) Slaves/ butchers

      You are technically not supposed to marry across the line and I don’t know how her dad did it without already having a wife in the noble class.

  22. Also, if Jang Hyun’s daughter, Hong Joo, is friendly with her cousing, Ok Jung, why would Jang Hyun have to ask who she is?

  23. so good.
    I enjoyed this episode too and so glad you did also!
    I love the storyline and yes, with the twisting of all the characters it’s def intriging for me 🙂
    thanks and hope you recap more!

  24. I am so grateful that I have you to recap on JOJ! I was truly looking forward to this and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised. Very strong casts and especially pleased with KTH in her first saguek. I will definitely follow this through right to the end.
    However, I wish to have a totally different view of Jang Hee Bin here as compared to the one in Dong Yi as I am deeply rooting for the OTP……I hope that their love story shall be the TRUE one right till the end despite how it was presented in Dong Yi or even as compared to actual history.
    What does history depict on this anyway as I am totally unaware of actual historical facts, being an ignorant foreigner!?
    I hope you will continue to recap/review this……pls
    Thank you for the job well done!

  25. thnk u so much!!! I definitely enjoyed the first ep! saegeuks stress me out! but I can’t seem to not watch this one! lol 🙂

  26. Hi Koala, we thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts by delivering us the RECAP of JOJ drama, we love both the lead ACTOR’s and the story itself. This we know that there was already an array of FASHION clothes & designs during the JOSEON era. Storyline was totally different We’re looking forward on the next review. Many, many thanks to you!

  27. Wow. What a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t even entirely sure I would watch this. Or I thought maybe I would put it on the backburner until it was done and then give it a shot depending on the reviews because the story just sounded too goofy. But I’m soooooo glad I watched it. This first episode was AMAZING! I can’t wait to watch the 2nd one! I’m still not the world’s biggest Kim Tae Hee fan, but I love everyone else so much that I’ll let it slide.

  28. Thanks so much for recapping! I’ve watched episode 2 as well and I think it looks amazing! I really hope there will be more recaps! The childhood scenes are lovely!

  29. There’s quite a number of dramas currently airing and am watching it, When a Man’s love, Gu Family Book, Iris, Nine and few others, but this drama l had put it aside. The only reason why l perhaps watch it is the pretty Kim Tae Hee. But after watched ep 1 and 2 of Jang Ok Jung, l realised that this drama overcome all airing at the moment (l dont know how Mandate of Heaven will be).

    All those past, l was been told of evil JOJ and her brother, and how good, smart and kind Dong Yi,.. and how kind and gentle the queen. l wonder whether this drama is actually the rightful and actual behind the story and not just diy plot. l agree with Koala that the bad that we think is bad is not totally bad and vise versa. Now it is more to sympathy and fate of Joseon’s era that change JOJ, of which slave is a very low standard and all woman in the palace is king’s. l’m spri Korea, but l dont get it.

    With this drama, it would totally change my taught and knowledge of the evil JOJ. Thanks drama!

    • History is written from the eyes of the victor, but I do like the fact that they are blurring the lines between good and bad for all the characters. It’s much more realistic that way. That said, I should make clear that this “grey” form of history is not necessarily more or less true than the accounts of Jang Hee-bin we read elsewhere.

  30. This show should get more ratings than Gu Family Book or whatever it is. Gu FAmily Book has so many cliches and the scenarios in that show are corny but Jang Ok Jung has the potential to be great like Tree With Deep Roots. Perfect blend of acting, pacing, and plot.

  31. Strong backstory and storyline, strong characters and actors (Sung Dong Il & Yoo Ah In), beautiful scenes. I hope they can keep this up! (Plus, with all those strong actors around, I hope KTH manages to accelerate her acting skill)

  32. Thank you very much for the recap of Episode 1, Koala! I’m eagerly waiting for your next recaps of JOJ. I had intended to watch JOJ even before it was first broadcast for the sole resaon: it has Yoo Ah In in it!
    But having watched Episode 1-2, I’ve become even more convinced that JOJ is really a very well-executed drama series with innovative story line, script-writing, directing and cinematographic works, as well as excellent acting from most of the actors/actresses, including the young ones.
    I hope you will have time to recap all the episodes, as your recaps are very well-written with wonderful & informative observation.

  33. thanks for recapping! reading this really helped A LOT. introductory episodes for sageuks hurt my brain A LOT. i had no clue what happened in ep1 when i watched this earlier. characters where introduced faster than what i can register and i did not realize that a flashback had occurred until the final scene where the uncle called the girl “jang-ok”. i plan to read every single recap. lol!

  34. omg please continue to recap JOJ! I couldn’t even finish one episode of GFB. JOJ is so interesting and realistic, but also kind of complex and confusing at times, which is why I need recap help ^^

  35. I love Yoo Ah In in sageuks, if you have watched till Ep4, the way his delivered his sageuks lines are just mesmerising…

    I watched Gu Family Book first and thought the first 2 episodes were so good that they can be watched alone and then JOJ caught my attention and won my heart…hehehe…can’t wait for Jung-Soon CP loveline to develop

    • Pls recap JOJ….I have a feeling that the storyline unfold to us for GFB will become slow and less interesting than JOJ…thx~

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