Gu Family Book Episode 4 Recap

This is the end of the line for me on Gu Family Book recaps. Maybe I’ll continue with the baby recaps if the episodes remain as ludicrous as this one, with characters and plot elements written with the subtlety of a sledgehammer pretending to be carving an ice sculpture. There is a certain amusement in pointing out the absurdity, though I also rub folks who love the drama the wrong way with my brand of humor. Despite how truly dreadful Man of Honor was (which was the last drama from the writer of GFB, let’s not forget), my recaps for that drama was so funny towards the end. Not because I’m funny, but because all my bewilderment at how insane everything was and just venting about it brings back the memories of experiencing a freakish trainwreck into a field of hay. No one got hurt except my brain and pride. I can’t stress enough how adorable Lee Seung Gi is here Choi Kang Chi, and Suzy is so pretty I sigh looking at her. But Seung Gi’s acting has regressed since The King 2 Hearts, where even in the first four episodes he was pretty darn impressive already. Don’t even get me started on Suzy, she is so bad she makes Kim Tae Hee in Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love look like a Baeksang worthy performance. She cannot do sageuks, and should never ever attempt one ever again. I’ll still look forward to her future dramas as long as it’s a modern one, because girl is just 18 years old and stranger things have happened in previously bad actresses learning to act in later years (see Hong Soo Hyun). In this episode, magical ninja assassins make an appearance and the villainiest villain in all of Joseon arrives in town and promptly has the hots for wee lass Chung Jo, who apparently reminds him of Seo Hwa. Like, what? Nothing happened other than more random plot devices are set up while the actors run around saying their lines and trying to make things make sense when it might if presented with more intelligence.

Episode 4 recap:

A flashback to Seo Hwa and Wol Ryung’s star-crossed lovers story. Again. Which admittedly should be epic, but instead came across as unconvincing. He falls for her on sight, she reciprocates quickly, and then it all goes to hell with one major fang-out and buckets of mistrust and misunderstandings.

Kang Chi is being chased out of the Inn and is incapacitated by sleeping powder. Lucky for him Yeo Wool is nearby and runs to the rescue. They end up rescuing each other as Kang Chi stabs a guard to protect her and in his delirium thinks she’s Chung Jo and vows to protect her forever before fainting on her shoulder.

Yeo Wool looks startled. Or clueless. I can’t tell with Suzy’s acting. She flashes back to her childhood when a boy protected her from a menacing dog and said the same thing. Sigh. Of course they knew each other as kids.

Kwan Woong has arrived in town and descends on the Inn, demanding his large group be housed and when he hears there isn’t enough available rooms, demands other guests be kicked out. Good lord is he just ridiculous. Tae Soo doesn’t know what to do and asks where Kang Chi is?

Yeo Wool watches Kang Chi sleep and wonders about him. He snores and scratches in his sleep and she’s not keen on such an crass man being her destined soulmate.

Gon reports that the coast is clear and sees Kang Chi still sleeping and no amount of jostling will wake him. Gon pulls his sword and stabs it towards Kang Chi and the real danger causes Kang Chi to awaken and jump up.

Kang Chi is in a foul mood and bickers with an amused Gon, demanding to know who they are. Yeo Wool says they saved his life and he doesn’t believe her. Yeo Wool roundhouse kicks him and asks if he believes them now?

Yeo Wool and Gon have tied up Kang Chi like a puppy on a leash demanding he lead them to the Inn since he claims to be Mu Sol’s son and lives there. Kang Chi can’t exactly go back so Gon thinks he’s either done something bad or has girl issues at the Inn.

Tae Seo’s servant finds Kang Chi and tells him to hurry back to the Inn because there is trouble. Kang Chi hesitates which makes Gon tease that the woman trouble is dire indeed. Kang Chi makes up his mind and begs Yeo Wool to untie him, and his pleading puppy eyes remind her again of someone.

Tae Seo stands his ground and refuses to kick other guests out to make room for Kwan Woong’s entire group. Kwan Woong asks if Tae Seo knows who he is? Tae Seo doesn’t care, all customers are equal here, even if the King arrived he would not get better treatment. Kwan Woong grabs onto that statement and declares Tae Seo a traitor to the country. Good lord, does his villainy only have one method?

Chung Jo and Mom are informed about the situation happening at the Inn. Chung Jo wonders where Kang Chi is and Mom looks away all guilty. Ha, this would be perfect karma if the Mom realized that danger arrived the moment she tried to kick Kang Chi out.

Kwan Woong is ready to ship Tae Seo off when Mom arrives and gets on her knees to beg forgiveness and defuse the situation.

Kwan Woong isn’t interested until he lays eyes on Chung Jo and suddenly looks very interested in her because he mistakes her for Seo Hwa. EW. Seriously, ewwwwwwwwwwww. And also – what the fuck with the convenient history repeating itself lameless.

Kang Chi returns and steps between Kwan Woong’s line of sight at Chung Jo. He claims to be the protector of this Inn and everyone looks relieved that he’s back. Yeo Wool and Gon arrive and sit on the roof to watch the action.

Kwan Woong sends his men to take out Kang Chi but he easily subdues them all. In fighting his bracelet begins to glow faintly. Kwan Woong is bested this time and leaves to go stay at the gisaeng house, but he makes note of Kang Chi.

Mu Sol returns the next morning to hear about the blow up at the Inn. He wonders where the guards were (chasing Kang Chi, obviously), so Kang Chi lies that he caused a problem and the guards came to get him.

Mu Sol can tell there more to the story but Kang Chi doesn’t want to out Mom’s attempt to remove him from the Inn, while Mom looks all nervous.

Mu Sol and Tae Soo go to see Kwan Woong and apologize. Kang Chi asks Mom why she hates him so much and Mom claims he gives her a bad feeling and she doesn’t even know if he’s fully human.

She doesn’t elaborate and Kang Chi is sad and confused, especially when he sees Chung Jo preparing her wedding trousseau.

Yeo Wool finds Kang Chi and reveals she’s staying at the Inn now. She hits him with a stick to see if he can react as fast and he can’t since she’s not really a threat to him. Yeo Wool confirms Kang Chi is the boy from her past when she pretends there is a spider on the ground which freaks Kang Chi out.

Kwan Woong keeps the Park father-son waiting until he finally sees them. He wants to punish Kang Chi with 200 strokes of a beating which Mu Sol says is unduly harsh. Kwan Woong asks what Mu Sol will give him then? His Inn? His daughter? If not, then just give him Kang Chi.

Mu Sol remembers what Pyung Joon told him about Kwan Woong’s acts of villainy, how he makes people into traitors and takes everything they own. Mu Sol offers to take the beating in Kang Chi’s stead. After he leaves, Kwan Woong orders Mu Sol killed and made to look like Kang Chi did it.

Kang Chi follows Yeo Wool and Gon but they easily shake him and head to their meeting with an unnamed Lord who is keeping tabs on all of Kwan Woong’s murders. The mystery man thinks Kwan Woong is has a bigger conspiracy in mind. Kang Chi finds bullies shaking down villagers and he subdues him and returns the money to the villagers and is beloved by all.

Yeo Wool watches Kang Chi play savior to the villagers and spots So Jung in the crowd. She tracks him down and wants to know more about the fate she needs to avoid. What if she can’t avoid it? So Jung says one of them may die but he cannot say anything more.

Kang Chi returns to the Inn and watches from afar as the Park family spend some quality quiet time together. He’s clearly wistful and envious but understands that he is not a part of the family.

Kang Chi sees Yeo Wool practicing her sword in the courtyard and is impressed with her skills. He wonders how she knew about his fear of spiders and even with probing he doesn’t remember meeting her before.

Suddenly Kang Chi and Yeo Wool are attacked by men in black. Ninja assassins? I dunno. Kang Chi calls for guards as more and more assassins material out of thin air right before them until they are completed surrounded.

Mu Sol hears the commotion and suddenly So Jung arrives in his chambers. He thinks So Jung is here because Kang Chi is almost 20 years old. He asks to know who Kang Chi really is, he saw what Kang Chi can do without the bracelet on. So Jung asks for specifics and Mu Sol starts to talk about the self-healing wound when suddenly he stops and realizes the person before him is not So Jung.

Mu Sol calls for guards as fake So Jung turns into a ninja assassin and demands to know more about Kang Chi and the magic bracelet as he holds a knife to Mu Sol’s neck.

Yeo Wool and Kang Chi face off against a band of ninja assassins.

Thoughts of Mine:

I don’t think GFB is that bad of a drama, not by a long shot. I think it won’t even come anywhere close to the abomination that was this writer’s last drama Man of Honor. It’s pretty enough and the fantasy elements have some appeal since very few sageuks tackle that angle, but it really falls short for me to in context of some recent similar dramas. For a drama with a fantasy bent, Arang and the Magistrate really set the bar high. It was eerie, it was pretty, it was interesting, it was compelling. That drama lost me because it really did well on the supernatural and mythical bits but didn’t develop the romance side believably. For a sageuk with stakes, look no further than the currently airing Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love, with well-developed layered villains and conflicts, not to mention costumes and set design that really makes GFB pale in comparison. I plan to keep watching both dramas, but because GFB comes off neither visually or intellectually interesting, it’s a drama best watched as casual entertainment. My recapping would require I discuss it, and boy its not worth discussing other than to snerk about its heaps of coincidences and leaps of pathos. I’m happy GFB is doing well in ratings for Seung Gi’s sake, and maybe this is the drama world making it up to him for TK2H being so underrated IMO. I hope for the sake of fans of this drama that the writer at least maintain this current level of limited standard and not descend into convoluted madness later on. I can’t even say this drama should be better (it can’t even if it tried), only that I wish I could love it more (I can’t even if I tried). I might continue with baby recaps to save up screencaps of Seung Gi, so read only if you enjoy my snark otherwise don’t grouse that I’m writing about it because heck I can write whatever I want to.

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Comments

Gu Family Book Episode 4 Recap — 162 Comments

    • Don’t say that. T___T This is not what he’s capable of! He was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. in The King 2 Hearts. Seriously so so so SO heartbreaking and breathtaking.

      • I understand. I think he needs A LOT of guidance. A good PD and a sunbae co-star brings it out. He was beautifully restrained in the second half of TK2H. Plus his emotions are raw and many actors can’t conjure up believable raw feelings.

      • Totally agree Koala. I think he works best when surrounding himself with his more experienced sunbaes because he feels more pressure to be better and not the weak link. And i also think he learns alot from them. Which is why he was stellar and much improved in K2H.
        TBH, i feel like GFB is a such a downgrade from his previous K2H and he should have chose JOJ if he wanted to make way into saeguk for the first time. Kang Chi is adorable, but I’d rather have the handsome brooding king anyday. He’s pretty much established he can do the adorable, but I’d like to see him continue to take on much more mature roles, like K2H.

      • Then if you don’t like it when we talk about Lee Seung Gi, don’t talk about Suzy like that either. Seriously!nI hate people who won’t give Suzy a chance, annoying. Go ahead and hate me!!!

      • llac – my dear, koala and many people have given Suzy some major chances, but you have to be seriously immature to think she deserves a neverending supply of them after the way she’s proven repeatedly that she really can’t emote. And even Seung-gi at his worst isn’t as bad as her, if anything his flaw was overacting in MGIAG and he needed to rein it in.

      • @pogo : funny, coz I thought kim tae hee is an actress that she proven repeatedly that she really can’t emote except popping her eyes, but she got a neverending supply of chances. And look now.. we love her in My Princess and JOJ. 🙂

    • NOOOO!! My boo’s acting couldn’t have regressed SO much. ughh, this saddens me a LOT. T_T

      I concur with Ms. Koala: Seung-gi was mind blowing in TK2H.

      • Hi Saima. Miss spazzing with you. Btw, have you watched the drama yet? Please do. His acting has not regressed. He’s just playing a different role. If you are looking for Jaeha, of course you’ll be disappointed. Just give the drama a chance and go in with an unprejudiced mind.

      • No, he isn’t regressed at all Saima eonni. That’s what I can say.

        As @crazyajummafan eonni say, it’s different role, different character, moreover GFB writing doesn’t ask him to emote the character much (yet). At the end of 4th epissode in TK2H we met a lonesome and doubtful Jaeha toward his status, in GFB we just know that the real form of Kang Chi will surfaces.

        If I want to compare, I’d like to compare Kang Chi with Dae Woong in MGIG. While looking at this, I can understand that he work hard, and keep progressing 🙂 Tbh, I’m not that interested in first two episodes, not because there is no seung gi, I swear! (I’m also liking CJH ever since pasta) but I can’t relate to them. And… It’s so different with Ms. Koala, thus I respect her, my interest pick up after the Park household introduced.

        Well, let’s back to square one. Different person, different preference. 😉

  1. What? KTH and Suzy acting are so alike. I don’t understand how you can say KTH is so much better. Maybe because she always pick the ”innocent” roles for her and does well on this? Suzy needs an innocent role and bam! She is good enough for these kind of roles.

    • You’re kidding? I’m not even a KTH’s fan, but she definitely has more range than Suzy. KTH does evil well. Suzy’s acting has always been a bored to me. She’s so bland, not saying she’s completely terrible, just boring.

    • Noooooo. It’s the opposite – Suzy’s acting is blank, robotic, bland, while Kim Tae Hee has a tendency to over-act and over-emote (see her crazy wide-eyes acting in Stairway to Heaven) to over-compensate and avoid being blank or boring. Both are bad but in completely different ways.

      Suzy is more like Han Ga In.

      Anyways, KTH is restrained in JOJ which makes her doing better than Suzy who is even more blank and clueless than usual in GFB. Neither will win any awards but in a head-to-head KTH shows her edge. It’s not much but at least she’s not dragging JOJ down which is what I thought she would do.

      • I seriously can’t wait until the current child actresses grow up and push some of these talentless hacks out to pasture… Kim Tae Hee at least looks like she’s trying no matter what she does. I have no words for Han Ga In.

      • I’m honestly ready for the next crop of promising child actors/actresses that have the potential to be wow factors.

      • Wow, I just came and read all the comments but damn, @Llac, you have got to be the most annoying person here. Even more annoying than the people who are critizing the cast’s acting…

      • Back then when the teaser images released, everyone just ‘ooooh he’s so cute!’, and now everyone suddenly don’t like EVERYTHING in GFB. Haha.
        Just idiots who take all these comments esp Koala’s seriously. You can’t judge a drama by only reading recaps or read comments about it. YOU HAVE TO WATCH IT BY YOURSELF. Then you can judge it fairly.
        Now if Koala says GFB is bad, but Dramabeans has good review about it, which one will you believe?
        Lasy year I watched Nice Guy, that Dramabeans made bad review, I don’t care and kept watching, and I love it till the end.
        Don’t let just Koala’s review or anybody’s affect your view. Just watch those dramas and enjoy them.
        I will follow both GFB and JOJ, since both are beautiful for me. But maybe I can’t stand watching if later JOJ make In Hyun and Dong Yi evil, haha

      • Han Ga In…she couldn’t even make a light thing like Witch Amusement float. Gah! Was turned off the moment she stared blankly at the girlfriend of the male protagonist (played by Jae Hee) when the girl asked her to stop getting close to him. Her other roles have been unmemorable.

        Suzy looks way too modern for this show, though she is beautiful, as you’ve pointed out.

        Seunggi ah…I’ve seen him emote better.

        Looking at the numerous replies, people really do love their idols and take it personally when their acting is critiqued but YMMV.

        Thank you again, for daring to say something negative about what seems to be a top show. Nothing wrong with loving it but not everyone has to.

        (Still bleah-ing at SH – could she not have stabbed GW instead of going for his face?! Dolt.)

      • Han Ga In was decent in Bad Guy, or at least not as blank as she was in everything else. Shame she regressed after that though.

        And Llac, go make your own blog to sing Suzy’s praises/do some virtual stamping of your feet about people who don’t give your bias a ‘chance’ if you don’t like what people say about her here.

      • One way we can avoid all this “This blogger doesn’t agree with me! Waeeee!” thing is to just read the blogs of the people whose tastes you trust. I feel that Koala’s taste coincides with mine, so I’ll continue to read her blog and respect her views. Perhaps we can all consider doing the same, and not getting uptight when views differ.

    • lol wtf, how are they alike. suzy is more like han ga in than kim tae hee. kim tae hee is slightly better than the both of them.

    • Are you kidding me. KTH at leaset has years of experience and has been in many different roles before come into saeguk while Suzy with just limited experience in drama just jump into saeguk just like that. Not hating or not that we didnt give any chance, but one have to know their ability and their skills before make a decision. That what we called an intelligent decision

  2. I agree.. “Breath taking” in KTH, what happenned to this Lee Seung gi? Where is he now? I just can’t. It hurts so bad lol seriously i won’t watch the show. Bye Bye GFB

  3. I’m loving all these difference in opinions of GU Family Book. It’s not the drama that everyone agrees on. I’m getting more and more neutral. I will watch a couple more episodes. 4 episodes are not enough (for me) to judge the drama, but so far I’m not getting as hyped.

  4. I do agree that KTH is better than Suzy. However, isn’t it expeted? KTH has been acting for 10 years now, so how to compare her to a rookie that just started acting?

    I think it is unfair to compare Suzy with KTH, better compare her with another rookie actress. Right?

    KTH was really bad when she started too – and after 10 years she just improved a bit. Of course she knows at least what she is comfortable and able to do now, since she already tried 10 years to improve. I prefer actors that don’t overact, at least they don’t distract me.

    It is her first Sageuk, same for LSG, so I’m waiting before judging them more, lets see if they get better at the end of the drama.

    • Better to compare Suzy with Kim Tae Hee she will come out less damaged! If we compare her to other rookie actresses like Eunji or Sulli she will look even worse!

    • Well okay not KTH then compare her to idol actors like Jung Eun Ji then she’s pretty bad or if you’re looking for a sageuk comparison Eunjung in Queen Insoo.
      Suzy is bubbly and pretty but you cannot deny her acting is bad. I’m sure she will improve in the future though.

    • omg you are SO CORRECT.
      this is SUZY’s FIRST sageuk and she has poor acting BUT WHY is she the FEMALE LEAD? i don’t get it. since her acting is worse than kim tae hee she should do some more modern dramas before diving into sageuks which are so much harder.

      • shut up and stop talking about Suzy’s acting. It seriously makes me annoyed and i know y’all going to say “If you dont like it read it” but hey i dont like suzy as a fan but i freaking hate it when these people typing on their computers hate people who have such a better life than them

      • LOL girl, shut up. if you don’t want to see people telling the truth about suzy’s atrocious acting then go back to dramabeans, i know you love that site more. why stick around here?

      • Suzy got the lead not because she is a good actress – she is epically horrible – but because she is an idol with a bankable name and plenty of people will tune in just to look at her cute face. I am not saying this because I hate Suzy – I could care less about her, really, except that she is a part of this continuing, annoying trend to use idols instead of actors because of their popularity. And I am not saying this because I envy her – I shudder at the thought of being 18 again, even if I were prettier, more well off, and famous. I am saying it because I believe we should be honest about acting as a profession versus “acting” as a commercial grab for ratings and money. An 18-year-old, in her first sageuk, with very little acting experience and even less talent is given the lead in a big-budget, major production…c’mon, we need to get real and admit that talent has nothing to do with it.

        And I dare someone to defend her by saying she is “improving.” The idols are always “improving” but very rarely do they actually reach the level of “good.”

      • I agree.

        She should know better not to take a role as main lead not to add in a saeguk. She can do better if given chances in in side roles or modern drama to improve her skills. But she just jump in saeguk make her limited skills and bad acting really shown.

      • fateme – not even dramabeans believes Suzy is actually good here, the comments have more than a few people who are critical of her acting (and I admit I am one of them)

  5. I think LSG can act better if he’s with actors who are really good like Ha Ji Won. However, when he’s paired with newbies like Suzy, it’s probably hard to find the inspiration to go deeper. He probably just wants to stick to his gayo roots.

    • I dunno abaout the gayo roots, but please don’t say so 🙁 I think He isn’t capable show off his capability in this drama yet…

    • I actually don’t have a problem with LSG’s acting, but have to agree this role (not his acting) is disappointing because he really shined in K2H. I think he plays KC fine, but it’s really similar to MGIG style. It would have been nice to see him take a role outside of the comfort zone.

      As for Suzy, to me, she’s kinda like a “place holder” – every drama needs a main actress, so she’s there to fill that role. However, she doesn’t OWN her role and I could probably picture several other actresses/idols that could’ve played that same part. I don’t feel any empathy or emotional connection when watching her character. And for those who argue, she’s still young or new… not really. There are many child actors (Moon Embracing the Sun comes to mind) that are alot younger and proved much more talented in minor, supporting roles, whereas Suzy has had two big roles already. If she really wants to improve, then she should probably focus on acting and not just do it in between albums.

      • I do agree it’s heartbreaking considering what could have been, if another actress had taken the role instead. She was billed as “much improved” in Dream High, but I’d say a large part was the rewriting of her character to fit her acting style (or lack thereof), not the other way around. Koala is extremely kind on Suzy. I still can’t work up the sufficient energy to like her, and her acting (especially in a sageuk) just rubs me up the wrong way.

  6. I find it weird that your recaps is so contrary with any other blogs about GFB.I’m really not against it since I also like Seung Gi like you Koala and it’s totally fine to write your own opinion since it depends on your preference of course. But as much as I read many blogs, I think I seldom find you have different opinion with the other bloggers. Anyway, I watched 2 episodes of GFB,and I like it. Maybe I need to watch JOJ also since you said it’s good and God of the Workplace as well.

  7. Drat. I actually loved the first episode… but the second one was a trainwreck. Such a pity! What a waste of Seung Gi! 🙁
    I actually had low expectations for this drama from the get go. Just knowing who was behind this drama and then seeing Suzy cast as a lead… uh-oh! The odds of this being any good were slim.

    At least there are some good Jdramas this season. “Last Cinderella”, “Itazura na Kiss”, “Take Five” and others…

  8. Highly disagree about Seung Gi’s acting. He’s only been in two episodes, not four. So far, Kang Chi still hasn’t seen enough drama and tension to actually be the staple Kang Chi of this drama, just as Jae Ha in the first 2 eps isn’t the Jae Ha for the entirety of King 2 Hearts.

    I really fail to see how Arang has set the bar high. It was way too cartoony, more fusion than sageuk.

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. GFB isn’t supposed to have a plot like Game of Thrones. With its target demographic plus the writer plus its planned syndication to Asian countries, you should haven’t even expected it to become like JOJ in terms of plot devices. Is that so hard to understand? Yes, it isn’t as dumb as Boys Over Flowers, but obviously it isn’t going to be a convoluted political drama like The Sopranos.

    It’s like watching Mad Men and complaining why Star Trek isn’t as compelling plot-wise. Comparing Jang Ok Jung to Gu Family Book directly on the sole basis that they’re sageuks is just powerfully ridiculous.

    Jang Ok Jung should be compared to similar dramas like Tree With Deep Roots, and Gu Family to Iljimae or Arang. A direct comparison of that kind is better served than GFB vs JOJ (all because they’re in competing timeslots. You and most people here don’t really have to choose one over the other since we aren’t constrained by broadcast schedules).

    I agree on Suzy, though.

    • @foulou

      You undermine your somewhat valid point by completely flawed examples. It is not powerfully ridiculous to compare GFB and JOJ. They are both sageuks. One has fantasy elements, the other doesn’t. So I strip those out in the comparison and merely look at the historical pathos and intrigue. That is a valid criticism.

      Who in the hell would compare Mad Men to Star Trek? o__O JOJ to GFB comparison is more apt like Star Trek to Battlestar Galactica.

      And no, GFB does not need to have a published novel-rich plot, but its purely stupid plot renders it like a story written by a junior high kid in his journal.

      One can syndicate K-dramas to Asian countries without insulting the intelligence of the viewers. Dae Jang Geum was a monster hit and it was quite intelligent albeit on the simplistic side. Once again, I am not holding GFB up to the most compelling sageuks in history like 8 Days, Conspiracy in the Court, Shin Don – I am holding up GFB to merely serviceable sageuks like Dong Yi, Queen Seondeok, Arang, Seodongyeo, and it’s so beyond lacking even in that comparison.

      And if we strip aside subject and plot, JOJ executes everything better regardless of what its dealing with. GFB is clumsy and awkward. Perhaps that explains it better for you. But it doesn’t diminish that plenty of viewers might love GFB and should go right ahead and do so. But a critique of the two is not invalid on its face.

      • Of course it is. Sageuk is only the setting, no more and no less. Just because a drama is a period piece does not necessarily mean it could not have slapstick comedy or any other plot instruments that could be easily used in any other setting, like modern-day.

        I do, because Jang Ok jung and Gu Family Book serve different audiences. Battlestar Galactica obviously share more with Star Trek than just a sci-fi setting, but Gu Family doesn’t share a lot with Jang Ok Jung apart from their sageuk setting just as Sungkyunkwan doesn’t with Tree With Deep Roots. Those two sageuks cater to different audiences and different tastes, Star Trek and Battlestar cater to the same taste. Big difference. Did you really think people tune in to Gu Family Book because they want to watch a period piece that has terribly serious undertones and the grandest reversals-of-betrayals? From the previews alone, it has been pretty clear that Gu Family and Jang Ok Jung will be DIFFERENT dramas, irrespective of the environment or timeline they’re on. You’re stripping out the fantasy element (and the lack thereof) when it fact these are major differentiating factors of the dramas.

        I am saying that GFB is the more accessible, more straightforward drama out of the two. Yes, Dae Jang Geum had compelling storyline, but let’s face it. Majority of syndicated K-dramas aren’t Dae Jang Geums.

        I, too, am overly cautious with GFB because Baker King was so utterly makjang in its ridiculousness. But so far, GFB is pretty much what I expected GFB to be and JOJ is pretty much what I expected JOJ to be as well. There is a reason why not every drama is a JOJ or a GFB.

      • Because i cannot reply to @foulou (no more reply button eh), i’ll be replying here. I totally agree to what foulou said. He has a point. So yeah thats all 🙂

  9. All I can say is everything depends on personal preference. What GFB has that captures more audiences’ hearts is the HUMANITY.

    I’m glad you decided to stop recapping GFB because your love for JOJ will one way or the other influence your perception of GFB as well as your readers’.

    For those of you love JOJ, this is your place to go instead of other blog recapping GFB 🙂
    Others like me can go to other blog to read GFB recaps from now on and have healthy discussion of the storyline that captures us.

    • Ps: I guess we really have different taste then because I love Queen Seonduk and totally not into flopped Lie to me. I got it now.

    • I agree with you. That’s what I really like anout GFB. The importance of being a Human. The difference between a half-beast but has that affection or emotions like of a human. And a man with a personality of a beast. 😉

  10. I do have to agree with you and your opinion about Suzi. She still has a long way to go, but hey! Whatever she’s still very young and I’m sure that with time she’ll learn and do better. BTW, I always visit your blog despite me not always agreeing with “somethings” you say for ex: That winter, the wind blows :”P but I love you! I really REALLY enjoy your posts :3

    • It’s not horrible. Just don’t go in expecting much. It’s what you’d expect of a drama that casts a newbie idol actress as a lead. And try to ignore as much as possible that it’s supposed to be a sageuk. Because it’s really not one 😛 that’s what bothers me the most about the acting at least. Otherwise it’s entertaining enough.
      The characters aren’t deep but their not so shallow it’s boring and annoying. The plotline isn’t falling apart at the seams but it’s not very interesting either. Fairly predictable actually. I won’t be running to catch new episodes but if I have nothing to do I’ll watch and read recaps for episodes. I personally think anyone who’s on the fence should give it a shot. It’s not rage inducing by any means and you might actually like it.

    • Oh just give it a shot. She’s not saying it’s shit, it’s just not recap worthy because there’s not discussion to be had. Don’t base your opinion off other people’s. Unless you always agree with Koala in which case you might not want to waste your time, but I doubt that’s true.

      • Hi @bakachild! Au contraire, I really don’t have an opinion about the drama. because I haven’t watched it 🙂 I’ve read both good and bad reviews/ recaps and simply decided to skip it at this time. But I do appreciate and enjoy reading Koalas and other bloggers’ take on dramas, whether I agree with them or not 😉

  11. I was going to watch all four episodes together today so I haven’t been reading the recaps in great detail but the Suzy being bad thing is already bothering me because I’m allergic to her and her flat performances can be a major put off….hmmm decisions

      • Sorry but I can;t help you there and its not like I haven’t given the girl a chance like you suppose in your comments below….I have seen all of Dream High, Big and even Architecture 101 but I have only found her lackluster in all of her performances

    • She’s not any better here. If her performances completely ruin dramas for you, like the sight of her bad acting makes you cringe, then don’t bother watching this. Spare yourself the pain. Everyone else is acting well enough so if you think you can ignore her then go for it and test an episode out.

  12. I don’t think her acting is too bad. why do people hate her acting so much. I’m not a big fan of hers but i seriously it when people don’t give actors/actress a chance. To be honest, i ‘m dissapointed with this recap KoalasPlayground. Hate me, or comment a smart remark but people have no reason to hate Suzy

    • Why do we have to give her a chance when there are so many rookie/supporting actresses out there who can do a better job and yet aren’t offered a lead actress role whereas Suzy gets it despite having lack of experience and ability?

    • You don’t seem to understand the distinction. No one hates Suzy. They’re just critiquing her acting and her saeguk speech. I would agree that Koala can be a harsh critic, but I don’t see her hating on Suzy or the drama in any way.

    • I don’t understand why you feel so down because of other people’s thoughts on her acting. If they were outright insulting or disrepectful in any way, I’d be with you 100%, but I’ve only seen disappointment and/or valid remarks on her flat delivery.

      Please, if you enjoy the drama, like her acting and can’t wait for more, I’m really, really happy for you, free world and all that. However, your constant need to derail every thread looking for Suzy non-believers is grating and counter-productive.

    • Well then the dramabeans you are talking of is not the same as the dramabeans I have come to know for the last four years. JB and GF have recieved more than their share of hate for having opinions on idol-actors this includes Suzy. But that’s why these blogs are interesting and fun, cuz they share opinions and discuss different points of view.

    • Really? I am the same nasty person on both sites. Just read what I have to say about Park Shin Hye and Jung Yong Hwa (another idol who can’t act to save his life). If you want soft and fluffy fangirling, go to soompi.

    • Dramabeans, what?! You got to be kidding me?!
      Btw, if you don’t like it here…then what are you here?!
      Ms. Koala has the right to write whatever she likes, it’s her blog after all! =_= Don’t you think?

    • lol clearly you haven’t really been on Dramabeans. Or you’re extremely new to the site. Girlfriday and JavaBeans have gotten plenty hate for their criticism of idol actors and dramas. They don’t hold back on those. The site has been around for a long time and has many bloggers and more recaps, which is why they have a bigger viewership. And it’s not so much more enormous than this site either.

    • Huh? What blog are you talking about. Its obvious you haven’t followed DB for long.
      Like others have said, GF and JB have received their own share of hate from people who think they have biased opinions. With every blog you’re bound for some of that and people who disagree.
      If you want to go to a site where it’s mostly denials and fan girls with “oppa so hot! luv this show!!”, go to soompi, like someone above said.

      • Ha Ha! Thanks for the warning mangoes! I was just thinking of going to Soompi. Now I won’t!

    • Haha.. are you serious? Javabeans and Girlfriday are wickedly funny and can be delightfully snarky! That’s what these websites are for. Giving praise where it is deserved and criticising the shortcomings when they are present.

  13. I really love your recap, your mind. If i’m fan seunggi , i’m stronge mind protect all project. Dear koala , you can only recap joj if you love it. It ‘s okay if i’m ship with gfb . This Happened similar the king 2 heart. I’m so hurt, And happy. But when saw you recap gfb then fan joj alway bad critizen to it. I’m really sad. Because you love drama so you no choice deep bad drama another. if drama only kidding but i’m also relax with it for spring. I also interest joj and no idea about story or act. because it’s different drama. I hope we join our favorited full happy.

    • LOL! Distracting nostrils! I never noticed with him, but I have the same problem with Kim Sun Ah – gorgeous lady, fabulous actress…strange nostrils.

    • Almost everyone is commenting on either how JOJ is better than GFB (or vice versa), how LSG regress to his acting from K2H (which i thought is not), and Suzy’s blank face. But okaya, hate me or what but i dont see the point in commenting on people’s nostrils. Just saying

      • I actually haven’t seen many comments mentioning the show and the one’s that do aren’t saying it’s better. Other two comments are definitely here though.

      • @karrot i dont say that all facial features are irrelevant when watching. Im just saying that is it really that distracting. Okay. Hm,. And when watching, i just look in the eyes of the actor and do not mind the nose/nostrils. Just saying., :/

      • I totallt agree with you…so hilarously offended….with picture some more!

    • lol I love LSG and think he’s adorable but yes his nostrils can be distracting. I’m so used to them at this point though. Just have to get acclimated to it, I suppose.

    • That’s why I love him! He’s not perfect, feature wise; but I’m glad he stuck with his nostrils and didn’t go under the knife, unlike other celebs who do so that ppl like you will not find their nostrils distracting!

    • It may go up in the future who knows. Queen of ambition started off with single digit ratings too and soon it went its way up to 20+ ratings. But if the ratings don’t go up I think it’s because they don’t like evil Dong yi or evil Queen in Hyun.

      • Yeah, but JOJ’s ratings are on a downward trend. I wouldn’t be surprised if it dips into the 5% range and they cut down the number of episodes. Maybe it’ll take Kim Tae Hee’s career with it.

      • Don’t say Inhyun is evil or dong yi is evil. They are the good person in history. Especially inhyun she is so poor. The only wife( which I know) left with king is dong yi. If they make dong yi evil, this will be so depressing. Just make politicians evil.

    • A lot of good dramas get low ratings and lot of dramas that cater to specific fanbases but aren’t very good get high ratings. That’s the way the industry works.
      I can’t speak for what the Koreans feel about JOJ. Maybe the changing of that piece of history that they all know so well is offputting. I only know about this story from other K-dramas but this is a big part of history that many Koreans know. The revisionist stuff might not be doing it for them.

    • Ratings does not indicate quality. Often times it’s the really good shows that are underrated imo and become mania dramas — establishing a pretty good fanbase but not doing so good popularity wise.
      A show can be high in ratings but lackluster in storytelling/quality ie. Boys before Flowers, Secret Garden, Moon that Embraces Sun.

    • the drama makes jang ok jung, the most infamous female fatale in korean history, looks symphatathic and kind-hearted. how could koreans root for a heroine that is being potrayed in dramas and movies many times before as the most evil concubine in history??

  14. ooh, so much bashing here. Maybe that’s why there are more malicious attacks on Ms Koala’s website today. As Ms K said, this is her blog and she can write whatever she wants. i think we should respect that since we visit her blog.

  15. I do think that the reason why JOJ received that lower rating despite as some of you said had a good quality drama, is because of how it twisted the history which almost all Koreans know. It’s pretty hard to take in that kind of change especially when Jang hee bin is played many times as the evil one.

  16. Huuuuu…… Do I remember correctly, some one once said that previews didn’t mean anything!? Because from the previews GFB was going to hit it off the park!!
    And I have to admit I NEVER was curious enough to to watch it, even with the PREVIEWS recaps. But I did start to watch JOJ because of what Miss Koala wrote about it last and I liked it 🙂
    Thank you

  17. lol at people ”why people giving idols main roles”

    I ask the same, ”why people are giving singers main roles”

    LSG is a singer, and could also be called a singer-idol, but why you are not against him getting main roles?? Because he is a guy and has a **** ?

    Pleeease.

  18. i also don’t think that suzy did terrible in GFB,many others did worst than her to the point that i feel annoyed whenever she is on screen.and this is the first time i watch her on drama though,i find her quite cute and loveable:)at least many people still enjoy and find GFB entertaining.tats why the rating keeps on increasing. i admit JOJ did better in term of quality and performence however this drama seems to be darker and deeper thus i prefer GFB.

  19. I don’t really like tragic love stories which is why I haven’t picked up this drama yet. I do love reading about it though. Arang and the Magistrate was a gorgeous drama but the baddie storylines threw me off. I think the only sageuks (legit or fusion) I’ve ever finished were Hwang Jin Yi and Hong Gil Dong. With sageuks, there’s always evil powerful noblemen and torture scenes. Which I can’t stand so I end up dropping them like a hot potato.

    On the other hand, I have lots of love for SUNG JOON aka Gon. He looks like a slimmer (and better actor) version of Taecyeon! Too bad he’s second fiddle…again. Suzy is so adorbs that even if she comes off as wooden, she sort of gets away with it. Lee Seung Gi is usually a hit or miss with me. I’ve never found him attractive but he does have a lot of charm!

    Ratings aren’t everything.

    • Comparing Sung Joon to Taecyeon?… Sung Joon is ten times the actor that …well, Im not going to call Taecyeon an actor because he isnt. He also cant sing or dance, but that is beside the point. Suffice to say that I dont even think the two are in the same league in terms of talent. Taecyeon has abs and good marketing, and without that hes just another band nerd from Boston.

    • I think koala is still recapping GFB as baby recap. Just like I Miss You. Both of these drama will attract so many comments and traffic. LOL.

      Oh, by the way, yes Ms. Koala can talk drama as she wants to. But as a reader, I can give comments as I want to. If Ms Koala doesn’t like it, she can delete my comment. 🙂

  20. I’m enjoying this drama and find it fun since I’m not in mood for a political heavy JOJ or the totally over-the-top All Abt Romance and whatever else is on atm.

    I think as it goes on, maybe LSG will get to do more intense stuff.. amd Suzy (I love her variety personality) but her acting ca be.. blank at times

  21. lee seung gi is doing a great job on his role,remember this is the first part of the story -the struggle and the challenges of kang chi is just beginning, the ep 3-4 is only the introduction of characters of lee seung gi and suzy.. this is why the acting here is very light :). we should expect as the episode goes on,, we will see how lee seungi transform himself to a better actor right now, and i believe it will be tested when kang chi is going to fight his struggles as a half human/gumiho 🙂

    • @danna
      What you wrote is mean and spiteful. It’s one thing to critique a drama, it’s another to bash it. Same rules should apply to actor and actresses. But whay you wrote is even far worse than drama/actor bashing. Now you’re even bashing those who have different views from you.
      That’s rude and ungracious. And illogical. Just because JOJ, in some opinions, appear to be a more thoughtful drama, doesn’t mean that those who watch it are more intelligent than those who don’t. In fact your comment proves otherwise.

    • What the hell? Basing from your comment, one can discern the level of YOUR intelligence. Think before commenting.

  22. the funny is some people think it’s not okay for the viewers to criticize the drama that they watch. How about when they praise it? Is okay if they praise it? If they’re not allowed to criticize so they shouldn’t be allowed to praise, that’s logic.

  23. I think everyone just has their differences on Suzy and Lee Seung Gi. TBH, i like this drama so far. Its interesting. I like Suzy and Lee Seung Gi so i don’t understand why people are disliking their acting. It’s not like its horrible. No need to compare them to others (Kim Tae hee -_- )

  24. Hey peep koala’s recap for JOJ is already posted… So do ur praising over there or its more fun for all of u to keep on lashing GFB and its lead star…. Peace!!!!

  25. The comments are hilarious. It’s ridiculous how some people just can’t accept that people have different opinions and get so worked up when others have different preferences in dramas, actors, etc.:D

    Isn’t the point of reading a blog in the first place to see what kind of opinions the writer has and either agree and disagree without getting all upset?

  26. What I don’t understand is all this comparing. Although they are both sageuks, their stories, objectives and genres are so different. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Both are fruits, but can’t be compared, like for like.
    As for the costumes – JOJ is a drama about a king and his wives and concubines. There are court scenes and Jang Hee Bin is supposed to be a designer of hanboks. Of course, the costumes are beautiful. They have to be! So to compare it with GFB is unfair and inappropriate.

  27. All these love-hate comments reminded me of the I Miss You period where the comments here are just as polarised.

    I enjoyed GFB so far, even the 2nd episode, the enjoyment is nowhere near the love and obsession I had for TK2H but GFB is engaging enough.

    I reserve judgement on LSG’s acting because he had only appeared in only 2 episodes of GFB so far and the plot and writing in these 2 episodes doesn’t require him to stretched his acting much. I don’t see LSG. I see Choi Kang Chi, so that’s enough for now until the story requires his character to express far more nuanced emotions

  28. All these love-hate comments reminded me of the I Miss You period where the comments here are just as polarised. Some comments here from either camps are just downright rude though. While I may not agree with Koala’s view sometimes, I always enjoy her recaps. But it’s probably just as well that she drops the recaps for GFB, time is probably more well spent recapping a drsma that she likes much better.

    I enjoyed GFB so far, even the 2nd episode, the enjoyment is nowhere near the love and obsession I had for TK2H but GFB is engaging enough.

    I reserve judgement on LSG’s acting because he had only appeared in only 2 episodes of GFB so far and the plot and writing in these 2 episodes doesn’t require him to stretch his acting much. I don’t see LSG. I see Choi Kang Chi and that’s enough for now until the story requires his character to express far more nuanced emotions.

    On Suzy, my only hope is that she has chemistry with LSG but so far still short of it. But we’ll see. Hopefully the chemistry can be feveloped as the story progresses.

    • Same goes to me too, I think it’s already hard enough for Ms. Koala to juggling two dramas at one time, so I respect her decision, and I think others actually do the same…well, maybe other’s comments about face or..nostril makes me wanna go everywhere with mask. Other than that, I enjoy the comments able to digest them well

  29. The only thing I’m confused on is how does the ninja assassin know to disguise himself as SoJung???…he just arrived in town and plus how did he even know the encounter between SoJung and the inn owner????

    • it could be because he saw Kang Chi’s bracelet from their first encounter, and because he has that power, and maybe knew who SoJung is, so he disguise. (And this is only a theory :))

  30. Jeez, I am just so amused by some people’s comments. I respect Ms Koala’s decision to stop recapping GFS, it’s not the end of the world. Guess it just means I won’t be coming to her blog as frequently. I am not a fan of JOJ and though I think KTH is so pretty, I never understood the appeal of YAI. And, you guessed it, I love LSG, nostrils and all.

  31. We have different taste likely — which is ok but also sad since it means less post from you about the drama I like XD

    I watch first 3 episodes of both dramas and I like what I’ve seen, hope they continue to get better… Liking GFB better so far just solely because I’m in the mood of simple and cute storyline (discounts the betrayal bits). I was in a melodrama craze before which is probably why I need a break.

  32. Ms. Koala, thanks for at least attempting to recap this show. On hindsight, the odds is against you to like this drama. it seems that you do not like some of the past works of the writer (Man of Honor) and PD (Secret Garden). Can’t recall whether you like Baker King or A Gentlemen Dignity. On Suzy, you like her looks, but not her acting work. The only thing that make you interested in the show is LSG and primarily from his TK2H role….That’s 3 against 1. I hope this show does not diminish your love for LSG though.

    For these 2 episodes, I don’t think LSG acting regressed though. As some pointed out, it’s a different character and this role is more comparable to his role in MGIG. If compare with MGIG, then I think LSG is a lot more restrained here and possibly applying what he learned from TK2H. In general, LSG is also much better in the quiet-emotional scenes. Some of the scenes are also meant for comedy which tends to have more exaggerated expression, even by some veteran actors. I think it is also depends on the PD’s style. I understand that PD plays a part in the actor’s expression. Maybe this PD has different style than TK2H PD.

    I am glad the ratings increased and hope it stays that way. It would be nice for LSG to have a high rating drama before his enlistment.

    Anyway, Thanks and enjoy JOJ. I may give it a try when I have more time to watch. For now, I’ll stay with GFB.

    @ilikemangoes, I am not sure whether LSG has the offer to act in JOJ. So, he may not even be able to choose even if he wants to. Perhaps he is also more interested in GFB, because it has the action element…so typical boys… 😉 I hope you continue with GFB 🙂

  33. After i watched Dong Yi, there she was king’s favourite queen. That is why i cant watch JOJ. I feel like Suk Jong is love for Ok Jung cant be real and pure.

  34. The thing is, when people say, “it’s to early to judge, it’s only 2/4 eps out,” etc, how many eps would you consider passable before saying that a drama is bellow par? IMHO, a drama should have a compelling ep from the get go, that’s a good way to engaged the viewers. If you jump with the mind set, it’ll get better next ep, then got disappointed again, won’t it be tiring? It’s different when a drama has a strong first let’s say 10 eps, then sinks the last 6, people probably will still think it’s a good drama, because viewers were already enthralled by the first 10 and felt bound to the characters. So to me, good 1-10ep is a must to keep viewers engaged.

  35. I’m not surprised you don’t like this in the end. I’m glad you tried and hope you enjoy JOJ. That being said, I can’t get behind the Seunggi is degrading part. Kangchi isn’t a hard character for him to play in the first place. His whole character is so Seunggi like I’m not sure I like KC or it’s just my Seunggi love reflecting on the character. This isn’t really much of a challenge for him so far. It is slightly degrading considering he played the King of SK last drama and is playing a teenager this drama.. but, that doesn’t bother me.

    I do find it funny while TK2H was loved else the ratings ended up falling downward while this continues to grow in the ratings but has very mixed reactions but doesn’t particularly a huge devoted fanbase. Anyway, I’m still enjoying it so far.

    And honestly some bringing up and comparing Suzy and KTH does KTH NO favors what so ever. The fact that you can compare a teenage rookie idol actress to one of the most famous actors in Korea says a lot about KTH’s level of skill.

    I’m not watching JOJ and I see no need to compare the dramas.

  36. Nice to see such healthy comments!

    I agree that suzy is brining seungi’s acting down. I know everyone is referencing KTH and MGIAG but honestly someone just watch a brilliant legacy MV!
    Sung joon too. . .Even though he was cast as second i was lookin forward to his performance because of his awesome acting.
    Lol at the Suzy Sulli comparison – sulli wins!!!
    Idols should think for one second how would they feel if someone came and butted in and stole their work (not to mention because of their esp loose morals). . .While people like Kim So Eun who could have aced this role get kicked out of main roles all the time. . .

  37. -I’m sad to see that yet another drama that I like, you don’t. I’m starting to get depressed cause I really love your recaps, but if it’s not to be, it’s not to be. Guess I’ll see whatever drama you recap next after JOJ finishes.
    -I do like GFB, I feel as if I’m watching a comic book come to life, Kang Chi is filled with so much heart and valor, a hero in the making where his struggles haven’t even started yet.
    Yeo Wool a character and heroine still finding her way, a bit dull but still hopeful of the future she wants for herself
    Gwan Woong a villain as evil as his twisted mind, not every villain needs a reason to become evil, (look at Sinestro from The Green Lantern comic books) some antagonists just have a lust for power and control with no further elaboration than that.
    I read a lot of comic books, and I tend to over romanticize, the drama isn’t groundbreaking but it works.

    • Good to have a balanced viewpoint. As long as there’s some entertainment value, hey, go for it. It’s not War and Peace and I’ve been entertained by some really forthy stuff – but it’s all good fun and escapism.

  38. Wowww… The comments section holds its own drama… Lol..

    Chill out people.. Just because one good blogger stop recapping your favorite drama doesn’t mean the drama is going to be a flop or the end of the world. Just because some people say bad reviews about your favorite actors/actresses doesn’t mean your idols are completely bad. It just means that you have different opinion.

    I watch both drama, GFB and JOJ.. And I’m planning to watch both until the end. Right now, JOJ wins for me.. In theory, for me, it supposed to be GFB as the winner, but in reality, the opposite happens. I can’t explain why, im not so not good with words… It’s not merely because Suzy’s acting. TBH, I can tolerate her..

  39. Thanks god you stop recapping this drama. Its.really a torture to read for those who love it, its always better to watch 1st then read recap if you dont want to be under influence of someone else’s opinion while actually watching the drama.

  40. Hi…I am new here and actually a silent reader… >
    However, I always read The King 2 Hearts recap from Ms. Koala…. I like it a lot. LSG was superb in it. I am her new fan from TK2H. about GFB, It was aired in Indonesia last year and… I did not watch till finish. Hmmmm… It’s not my cup of tea.

    Thanks for recapping, Ms.

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