Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love Episode 11 Recap

I’m feeling a teensy bit of disjointedness for Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love. It mostly comes from the feeling that the delicate details, heady aura, and thoughtful political battle of wits is being pushed aside for more heavy-handed doses of everything. Now that Ok Jung and Lee Soon are romancing out in the open, suddenly everyone around them ratchets up the war of words and back-stabbing tactics. I like Ok Jung and In Hyun quite a lot, but I’m not buying so readily the intense power plays between the elders such as Great Dowager Queen Jo openly rubbing In Hyun’s unconsummated marriage in her face, or Dowager Queen Kim hating on Ok Jung so openly and doing what she did at the end of episode 11. It’s like the makjang has arrived at JOJ land where I was still bathing in the sensation of romance blossoming unexpectedly but with far-reaching consequences. I’m not getting a good sense of the passage of time in this drama, so while months and years could have passed onscreen it feels like crap keeps happening to Ok Jung every day.

Poor girl can’t get a break, though I’m loving the newly emerging bitchy hauteur in her attitude towards In Hyun and everyone in the snotty Palace. What’s even better is that Ok Jung is merely hiding away her kind and sacrificing nature to let her vengeful side out. She’s not bad, she’s merely rising up to meet the challenges of loving a King and fighting for the right to be by his side. Minister Min is proving to be a formidable opponent, what he lacks in subtlety he makes up for in balls to pull off murder and mayhem as necessary to ensure his power is preserved through his daughter. It’s both personal and ideological, and that I can respect. Same with Jang Hyun, he wants power so he cannot be looked down upon and he wants revenge for Hong Joo. I hope Lee Soon wises up quickly that his enemies are both outside and inside the Palace walls, and starts to be even more tactical and proactive when it comes to protecting Ok Jung and shaving power from the Soron faction.

Episode 11 recap:

On the day of the Royal Wedding, In Hyun is dressed as a Queen and being officially brought into the Palace. As her procession nears the Palace gates, she turns and sees Ok Jung standing there.

Ok Jung stares directly at In Hyun without bowing, her eyes filled with challenge and intensity. In Hyun clutches her robe nervously and then tells her attendants lower the curtains to end the stare down. Ok Jung remembers her exchange with Jang Hyun – she will become Lee Soon’s most highly ranked Consort while Jang Hyun gets to be the father-in-law to the King.

Lee Soon and In Hyun hold their wedding ceremony and this time its even more awkward and cold than the one between Lee Soon and In Kyung.

In Hyun smiles believing she has achieved her main goal in life, through there is a price to pay. The voiceover is a reminder that Lee Soon agreed to marry In Hyun because she promised to bring Ok Jung into the Palace once she is Queen and can make all the decisions in the back Palace.

Jang Hyun, Hee Jae, and Ok Jung sit in Jang Hyun’s study to discuss how to get her back into the Palace. Hee Jae wants Ok Jung to enter in style this time. Jang Hyun’s suggestion is to use the reach of the Great Dowager Queen as well as his promise to present his “flower” to Lee Soon. He wants her to work fast before Queen In Hyun gets pregnant otherwise she can’t achieve her goal of becoming the top ranked Consort.

Lee Soon and In Hyun are alone on their wedding night. Lee Soon says In Hyun must be more concerned about the Queen position than of him.

Lee Soon gets up and leaves In Hyun alone for the night, once again not consummating his relationship with his Queen. In Hyun speaks up quietly and asks him to join her to pay their respects to the Dowagers in the morning together and not let them worry. Lee Soon doesn’t answer and leaves.

Lee Soon meets with Hyun Moo to discuss how to find Ok Jung who has gone missing. Prince Dongpyung arrives and tells Lee Soon that the place Ok Jung disappeared from has been located.

Lee Soon, Prince Dongpyung, and Hyun Moo go to the burnt out shed and see no traces of Ok Jung. Lee Soon worries that something terrible has happened to Ok Jung but tries to convince himself she’s fine. Hyun Moo wonders if the Dowager Queen did this but Lee Soon thinks she didn’t.

The Great Dowager Queen Jo summons Minister Jo into the Palace and learns that the King has gone in search of Ok Jung, which makes her exceedingly happy that the Noron faction has a chance to rebuild. Great Dowager Queen Jo is even more thrilled to hear from her court lady that the King did not consummate his relationship with Queen In Hyun on their wedding night.

Lee Soon and Queen In Hyun go to pay their respects to the two Dowager Queens. Dowager Queen Kim is ecstatic her dreams have come true and keeps complimenting the new couple as being so compatible.

Great Dowager Queen Jo instead points out that the newlyweds don’t see happy at all, and goads them on whether the wedding night wasn’t satisfactory or perhaps they didn’t even spend it together. She compliments In Hyun on being a very good wife since she just got married and is already working towards finding a concubine for her husband the King. In Hyun’s hand shakes while Dowager Queen Kim says this is not appropriate conversation.

Queen In Hyun sits in her chambers and she remembers being so nervous that her hands shakes when she picks up her tea cup. She also remembers seeing Ok Jung outside the Palace as she was entering. She summons her Court Lady Joo (the one who used to serve In Kyung and was responsible for abducting Ok Jung) and asks about bringing Ok Jung into the Palace, admitting she saw Ok Jung earlier.

Court Lady Joo, who thinks Ok Jung is dead, grows very nervous and says its not possible, suggesting In Hyun saw wrong. In Hyun knows the King is waiting for Ok Jung and she promised to help find her……Court Lady Joo says this must not happen and that woman will bring trouble for Minister Min. In Hyun realizes that her father may have played a role in the disappearance of Ok Jung.

Great Dowager Queen Jo has Ok Jung secretly brought into the Palace that night, wanting to strike while the iron is hot. She is happy to hear the King once again did not visit the Queen’s chambers and is alone tonight.

Dowager Queen Kim is still pretty sick but when she hears that the King has left his Queen alone for the night again, she rushes out to get them to spend the night together.

As Dowager Queen Kim walks through the Palace, she runs into a cloaked and covered Ok Jung. She hears that Great Dowager Queen Jo is bringing this girl in and demands to see her face immediately.

Before Ok Jung reveals herself, Queen In Hyun arrives and distracts Dowager Queen Kim. They head to find the King while Ok Jung safely makes her getaway and enters the Palace.

Lee Soon hears from his eunuch that Great Dowager Queen Jo wants to invite him over for tea. He remembers her trick last time to introduce Ok Jung to him and laughs that she’s trying again with another girl. He declines, but then senses something may be up and ends up going.

Lee Soon arrives at Great Dowager Jo’s residence and walks in to the side chamber to find a tea set placed there. Lee Soon turns around when the door opens and Ok Jung walks in and takes off her cloak.

Lee Soon is relieved and ecstatic to see her while Ok Jung cries happy tears to see him. They embrace and Ok Jung assures him that she’s really here, she’s really beside him. To see him again she’s come back. He is angry that she didn’t contact him when she was fine. Ok Jung says from now on she will not covet but will instead fight for what she wants despite what others say.

Lee Soon teases that she’s still so beautiful even when she cries and teases that she’s such a smooth talker.

Dowager Queen Kim and Queen In Hyun arrive at the King’s residence to find him but is told by his eunuch that the King is out for a walk and he doesn’t know where he went. Queen In Hyun is very perceptive and thinks back to the woman who was just brought into the Palace.

Lee Soon and Ok Jung sit facing each other and holding hands, finally reminiscing about their childhood encounters. Ok Jung reveals that she thought the young master purposely missed their date because of her lowly background. That is why she wants to forget that memory. Lee Soon says he wanted to go but couldn’t and it wasn’t because of her lowly birth.

Lee Soon is just so happy to have finally found her, confirming that what he said to her back them was his genuine words. He pulls her in for another hug and is so happy she’s finally returned to him. He wants her to wear the most glorious and shining clothes in the entire world.

Queen In Hyun is called to go meet Lee Soon and she happily thinks that he is finally ready to consummate their marriage. Ok Jung tells Lee Soon that when she was walking on the street she saw the new Queen In Hyun and their eyes met. But In Hyun purposely ignored her and lowered her curtains. Lee Soon looks upset and Ok Jung has successfully revealed that In Hyun has known she was alive but didn’t do anything to bring her to Lee Soon.

In Hyun sits down across from a calm Lee Soon and he begins by asking her to fulfill her promise. She asks which promise and he says “Jang Ok Jung.” He asks whether she knows where Ok Jung is and she says she will bring Ok Jung in if she knew where she was. In Hyun asks if he found Ok Jung and Lee Soon says yes, rather than waiting for In Hyun to find her he has already found her. Lee Soon suddenly calls Ok Jung in as she makes her impactful entrance.

The three of them stare at each other with Ok Jung looking very smug indeed. In Hyun’s hand shakes and she asks where Ok Jung has been lately? Lee Soon says it doesn’t matter, now In Hyun needs to fulfill her promise and convince the ministers and Dowager Queen to agree. Ok Jung humbly asks whether Queen In Hyun has been well since they last met and thanks her for agreeing to allow her to stay. Ok Jung bows very respectfully to In Hyun but her eyes remain full of challenge.

The next day, Queen In Hyun discusses with Court Lady Joo about the arrival of Ok Jung and making her a Court Lady. Court Lady Joo keeps saying it can’t happen but In Hyun says she cannot break a promise. Court Lady Joo quickly sends word to Minister Min.

Minister Min is furious Ok Jung isn’t dead and starts planning his next attempt to get rid of her. Court Lady Joo says they cannot tell In Hyun the truth about trying to off Ok Jung before. Minister Min plans to get Court Lady Joo out of the Palace before she gets into trouble.

Lee Soon knows Ok Jung’s background now because last night she handed him a letter from Jang Hyun which explained that Ok Jung was the “flower” he was preparing. Ok Jung explains how she was planning to go to the Qing dynasty for various reasons but had no choice but to stay and enter the Palace and accept help from her Uncle. He wants her to become the King’s woman. Lee Soon laughs and says she already is his woman.

Lee Soon summons Minister Jo and asks directly whether the Great Dowager Queen Jo, Minister Jo, Jang Hyun, and Ok Jung are all part of the Noron faction. Minister Jo gets nervous but Lee Soon says he was already in love with Ok Jung and the Noron plotting came later. Lee Soon doesn’t want the Soron faction to get stronger but he can’t forgive what the Noron faction tried to do to him. He is willing to use the Noron faction to temper the Soron faction. But first he needs to deal with the problem with the Qing dynasty and when he get a chance he will reward Minister Jo with a suitable position.

All the court ladies and palace maids are discussing that a court lady has received the King’s affection and is about to be officially given a position. Queen In Hyun walks out before all the gathered Palace ladies and announces that there is a new Court Lady who will be serving the King.

Ok Jung proudly walks out and introduces herself as the Special Court Lady Jang Ok Jung. She asks everyone to take care of her and thanks the Queen for her grace.

Ok Jung is taken to her own private residence and she sits down and takes a deep breath. She seems very torn about her future.

Minister Min meets with In Hyun and warns her not to let Jang Ok Jung stay in the Palace. In Hyun says she will handle things her way.

Queen In Hyun goes to see Dowager Queen Kim who also tells her not to let that witch Jang Ok Jung stay in the Palace. Queen In Hyun calmly says as Queen this is her duty to place court ladies to serve the King. It is also her duty to see to the needs of her husband. Dowager Queen Kim thinks Queen In Hyun is bringing trouble upon herself with Ok Jung.

Minister Min is discussing national matters with Lee Soon in court and talk turns to the relations between Joseon and the Qing dynasty. He wants to hand the matter to Minister Jo to deal with the border conflict. Minister Min points out he belongs to the Noron faction but Lee Soon says Minister Jo did not participate in the coup and he can help bring ties closer with the Qing dynasty. Minister Min agrees to do it but looks PISSED.

Ok Jung is summoned to meet with Queen In Hyun, who sighs about why their fates are so deeply intertwined. She tells Ok Jung to let her know if there is any problem she encounters in the Palace. Queen In Hyun brings up Court Lady Joo who has been sent away to recover from an illness. Ok Jung clearly knows now she is the one who abducted her. But Ok Jung keeps this knowledge close to the best and laughs it off, saying that she is the court lady who used to serve Queen In Kyung. Ok Jung says that when Court Lady Joo returns, to send word to her that Ok Jung has a present for her. Ooooooh, scary Ok Jung.

Ok Jung asks Queen In Hyun if she can visit the seamstress wing since she used to work there. Queen In Hyun allows her.

Ok Jung returns to the seamstress wing and immediately hear all the maids and court ladies loudly gossiping about her using her feminine wiles to seduce the King.

Ok Jung runs into Prince Dongpyung and she tells him that she has been made a Court Lady. Prince Dongpyung is worried about her and wonders what happened before? Ok Jung says she was one foot in the grave and now she is even more grateful to be back in the Palace with the King. She will never let herself be powerless or taken away from the King. Ok Jung tears up about how she faces so much opposition in the Palace from all the women and gets Prince Dongpyung’s sympathy. Her job is to amass as many Noron faction members around the King as possible to strength her position. Prince Dongpyung asks if she really wants to walk that road and Ok Jung says she has no choice.

Dowager Queen Kim summons the shaman again to complain that she is getting sicker. The shaman says the spirit protecting Dowager Queen Kim is under attack and is getting stronger. It’s a evil force that cannot co-exist with the Dowager Queen Kim. She asks how to get rid of that witchy woman.

Ok Jung meets with Court Lady Uhm who was nice to her when they worked together. Ok Jung thanks her for her friendship and sticking up for her.

Lee Soon is handling government papers and is totally impatient to get back to Ok Jung. His poor eunuch keeps handing him more papers to approve and Lee Soon finally yells at him to hand it all over at once so he can do it all.

Ok Jung and Court Lady Uhm are in Ok Jung’s quarters and looking at needle work as Ok Jung prepares to make her own clothes. Queen In Hyun arrives and chides Ok Jung for doing needle work since she’s not a serving court lady anymore.

Suddenly Lee Soon calls out through the door for his Ok Jung, loudly saying that he’s come all this way to find her because he misses her so much. He walks in surprised to see In Hyun there. The mood is awkward so In Hyun makes her leave.

As In Hyun walks out, she turns and see Lee Soon grab Ok Jung’s hand and sits her down so he can lay his head on her lap. Ok Jung massages his head and turns to give In Hyun a smug smile.

In Hyun quickly darts out after witnessing Ok Jung and Lee Soon’s open intimacy. She later wonders what he has with Ok Jung that makes Lee Soon smile so openly like that, when he hasn’t even once smiled at her.

Great Dowager Queen Jo and Ok Jung are strolling through the Palace. Great Dowager Queen Jo gives a jade to Ok Jung as she is so pleased Ok Jung has received the King’s affection. It a piece she brought from her family when she married into the Palace and she never had a child to hand it down to. Ok Jung is very touched and accepts it.

They run into Dowager Queen Kim who is out strolling with Queen In Hyun. The two Dowager Queens immediately start sassing each other. Dowager Queen Kim says a lowly person cannot be raised up simply by receiving the King’s affection. Great Dowager Queen mocks Queen In Hyun for sleeping alone every night and points out that Ok Jung has received the King’s affection and might even be carrying the next heir to the throne.

Great Dowager Queen Jo says that if Ok Jung has the King’s child, she’ll get to experience being a grandmother first. Queen In Hyun meets Ok Jung’s eyes and can see the challenge and determination there. Dowager Queen Kim screams that the heir must come from noble blood and she will never allow the lowly bitch to carry the King’s heir.

After the two sides part ways, Great Dowager Queen lets out a sigh of satisfaction since its been so long since she has had the upper hand with Dowager Queen Kim. Ok Jung compliments Great Dowager Queen Jo on being so awesome back there.

Dowager Queen Kim drinks her medicine and complains about Great Dowager Queen Jo. She thought her to be an old useless lady, who knew she was like a thousand year old snake evil spirit laying in wait in the Palace. Minister Min comes to talk with Dowager Queen Kim and brings up Lee Soon showering affection on Jang Ok Jung while refusing to consummate his marriage to In Hyun. They need to worry about Ok Jung bearing the heir to the throne. Dowager Queen Kim refuses to let that happen and they plot to get rid of her.

Lee Soon and Ok Jung are taking a stroll through the Palace holding hands.

They run into Minister Min, which causes Ok Jung’s face to darken and she releases Lee Soon’s hand. Ok Jung and Minister Min act like they don’t know each other but shoot daggers at each other as she remembers how he tried to burn her alive.

Court Lady Uhm is now serving Ok Jung and has helped prepare her for bed. Suddenly a bunch of court ladies storm into her quarters and drag Ok Jung away while locking Court Lady Uhm up.

Ok Jung is barefoot and blind folded and dragged to a secret location. Court Lady Uhm escapes and rushes to see Great Dowager Queen Jo and finds her head Court Lady to inform them that Ok Jung has been abducted by Dowager Queen Kim’s court ladies.

Lee Soon is finishing up for the night and stares at the moon, wondering if he should go to Queen In Hyun’s chambers or Ok Jung’s.

Lee Soon decides to go to Ok Jung’s chambers and heads over there only to discover the door ajar, the chamber in a mess and no Ok Jung anywhere.

Ok Jung is brought before Dowager Queen Kim who smugly announces that no low born witch is going to bear her son’s child. If Ok Jung wants to live in this Palace, she needs to drink medicine that will ensure she can never bear a child.

Ok Jung screams that her body is to serve the King and this cannot be allowed. She has a bowl of medicine brought over and Ok Jung restrained and the medicine forcefully poured down her throat.

Lee Soon runs around looking for Ok Jung, who is screaming for him.

Thoughts of Mine:

This felt like a transition episode so I don’t have a lot to say, what’s good is still good but I’m not seeing this drama get better with each episode the way it did earlier. It feels like its treading water, with the same old conflicts but played out in different ways. Dowager Queen Kim hates Ok Jung and schemes to get rid of the threat she poses, In Hyun is caught between duty to position and her father, Ok Jung fights for her right to be with Lee Soon, Great Dowager Queen Jo bickers with her nemesis Dowager Queen Kim, Minister Min looks constipated that his grand plans for Joseon domination through In Hyun isn’t going swimmingly. You get the drift. It’s been a grand ride for the first 10 episodes but now I need the drama to pick itself up from taking a break and start running again. I think its ridiculous second male lead Hyun Chi Soo still hasn’t shown up (man, just end Jae Hee‘s misery and write him off the show completely) but the romance between Lee Soon and Ok Jung hasn’t grown any deeper than he loves spending time with her. Ok Jung has realized there is more at stake than just living a happy life with Lee Soon in the Palace, but he still seems like a kid discovering the first blush of youthful love without a understanding of the price to pay. Lee Soon needs to step back and take control of the Palace, then move on towards his enemies on the outsidel. Kim Tae Hee is rocking my socks off still with her evolving Jang Ok Jung, the looks of smugness she shoots towards In Hyun might be premature and inappropriate, but it still makes me want to give her a high five. I still love JOJ but a drama can’t aspire to be great unless it keeps delivering the goods by building the story layer after layer.


Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love Episode 11 Recap — 57 Comments

  1. Lee Soon is doing pretty poor job with In Hyun. It’s understandable given his age & his love for Ok Jung but it’s frustrating nonetheless. If he consummated his marriage and treated In Hyun with respect she deserves as a queen, she would be his ally. Now his actions are turning her into his enemy.

    • I didn’t want to suggest it, but yes, Lee Soon needs to sleep with In Hyun and make her his wife and Queen so that he has the strongest ally who will support him over her father when push comes to shove. He’s being a child and all Ok Jung Forever when he ought to be a calculating King who gets his cake and eats it too. Ok Jung isn’t going to mind, and if she did then she doesn’t have a rat’s chance of succeeding in the Palace and might as well pack her bags and go to the Qing dynasty. Everyone needs to put on their Big Boy Pants now, starting with Lee Soon.

      • This was one of the issues i thought JOJ would eventually have to deal with down the road.
        Lee soon ignoring all around him while giving/displaying his love only to to ok jang is sweet, but not realistic. Or mature. Kings during that time had many wives/concubines so they all had to share their love. As much as i love ok jang + lee soon, i feel like they’re not going all the way with this show as a sageuk. I love ok jang & lee soon’s OTP goodness, but i sort of winced as they openly displayed it in front of In Hyun. I thought lee soon would respect his queen? Honestly, i think Lee soon needs to up his act as king… 10 episodes in I knew that i’d have issues with this writer in the sageuk depeartment and i guess the romance was SO good that i forgot that now everythings out it’s time for everyone to up the stakes without losing steam, or viewers…

      • @ilikemango:
        Strange enough, the rating is picking up in South Korea…do they really want to see Evil Jang Ok Jung so much? Sad for me though…

      • Exactly my thoughts. As someone who is supposed to be politically savvy too, he should know all this.

    • umm….some what true. I think from Lee Soon’s perspective he see’s In Hyun as Minister Min’s daughter. Honestly God knows what he will do to Ok jung when In Hyun has a child in her. So I do understand the hesitation and honestly he doesn’t even know In Hyun that well, how can he trust her not to off Ok jung? Besides, does In Hyun really expect to win his affection when she basically forced herself into his life??!!! I mean it was all a lie to start out with so why not continue it? SHe should cover his ass when asked if they consummated that way he wont get in trouble and she wont look bad.

      • From LS’s perspective too, there’s no way he would want to consummate the marriage with IH. The marriage itself is a disaster to begin with. LS was in coma when IH was brought to his side and pushed herself to become queen. She made deal with LS that he can keep OJ as long as she’s the queen. She got what she wanted, so I don’t think she should expect any skinship or even sexual intercourse (without feeling which is yucks). LS just used IH to get OJ. He doesn’t need IH for political purpose. So in the end all the benefits goes for LS.

    • History shows that Queen InHyun was childless, maybe it’s true that Lee Soon never consummate his marriage with her, maybe due to the bitter roots he had with her father.

  2. thnk u so much for the fast recap!! LS’s mom def has balls to be doing that to OJ in the palace!! my gosh lady, that’s ur grand kid that could be in there!!! ughhh!!! I think this ep will def solidify OJ’s determination to get revenge. JOJ FIGHTING!!!

  3. Am I the only one who doesn’t feel all that satisfactions when okjung give inhuyn the smirk? It is inappropriate and uncalled for. Inhuyn has been an upright lady all this time. I would like lee soon to give inhyun some respect, he is acting like a child here.

  4. Whoa. That ending was harsh and uncalled for. Why can’t Lee Soon just sleep with In Hyun and get it over with? He needs an heir and it’ll be better if it’s In Hyun who’s doing the child-bearing. The more he and Ok Jung keep up their bubble of love is the more endangered that very bubble will become. I’m not saying he has to love In Hyun though it’d be nice if he didn’t despise her, considering that she didn’t have to allow him to take Ok Jung as a concubine. She’s being a mature adult here. Honestly, Ok Jung and Lee Soon both got what they wanted – to be together. Now can they build a bridge and get over it so the rest of their lives can go on? Lee Soon was such a good king when he was being calculating and looking out for the nation. Now that he’s fallen in love, that seems to have taken a backseat and he’s become a child obsessed with his new toy. What happens when the novelty wears off?
    I’m not saying the drama’s not great and I love it still. But it’s beginning to go somewhat downhill.
    Can I also mention Ok Jung playing on Dongpyung’s sympathies? That’s not fair to him considering that he loves her and she doesn’t love him but the king instead.
    Ah, this drama. Hopefully tomorrow brings better news than today.
    And Jae Hee. I can’t help but keep noticing his absence. Will the halfway point, Episode 12, finally mark his appearance?

    • But doesn’t the story said JOJ gave him a son first? I think that’s maybe why they have them together Sooo much

      • History said Queen InHyun was childless. The next king was the son of JOJ. If this story is based on history, then this is what’s gonna happen.

      • @iceprincess: According to history, Queen In Hyun was childless, JOJ’s king was made the Crown Prince for a while but the next king was Dong Yi’s son, not JOJ’s son.

      • *typo mistake: I mean “JOJ’s son was made Crown Prince for a while” 🙂

    • Sorry, I checked on the history page again. The next king (King Gyeongjong) was indeed JOJ’s son but he died very young and only ruled from 1720 to 1724. After this, Dong Yi’s son became the king and ruled for 52 years (longest ruling period of al Joseon kings).

      • for those History fanatics out there, it also stated that King Gyeongjong might be Yi Gak which was Rooftop Prince played by my idol Park Yoochun. King Gyeongjong died at a young age from food poisoning (crab sauce) possibly planted by his half brother which became king after his death !!

  5. Also, THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this recap so quickly! I don’t get subs ’til around Thursday, Friday so I’m really grateful! I’ve come to love this site so much 😀 (as you can see by my constant comments :3)

  6. I felt a bit disconnected from this episode, and i think it’s mainly the makjang/childish/inappropriate bits that sort of got to me.
    Sorry to say this but Ok jang + Lee soon’s love is going to be his downfall as king(as much as i love this OTP). I was hoping they’d be smarter/cautious with their love. It was romantic and epic behind closed doors, but you have to adjust that, esp. now that Ok jang’s entered the palace and you’ve got prying eyes from all directions.
    Ok Jang needs to tell lee soon he needs to hold off on the pda until they’re alone, and not rub it in In Hyun’s face just out of respect for her. Maybe it’s the directors fault, but Ok Jang is just shooting off evil glares everywhere she goes and it’s not good for her. (although i’ve got to say KTH is killing it I got goosebumps). Maybe everything’s just happening too fast for me. Ok Jang’s arrival at the palace, her sudden drive for revenge, etc.etc. I think i wouldn’t have minded if all of this was given to us in smaller dosages.
    I think i’ll have heaps of respect for Ok Jang as a character if she’d just tell lee soon that it’s okay if he consummated his love with the queen or shared his love with another woman. Cause that’s how it was in Joseon and that’s what mature adults do. Especially if they don’t want political strife. Also, Great Queen Dowager rubbing it in In Hyuns face was really uncalled for and a bit childish, as much as I adore her.
    Sigh, please don’t start going downhill, show! You’ve done so well the first half.. I think the decision to through her into the palace this early on is not good. Now the battle between the noron/soron faction has come into full play, but this is not the writer’s stronger points. I personally think the show would have benefited had they kept ok jang outside the palace for some more episodes, and introduce chi soo orabeoni..

  7. The thing is I wonder if I’d take it better if LS had decided to use IH for political purpose. Like with IK he couldn’t when OJ wasn’t with him yet; now with OJ by his side, it’s understandable his mind is clouded a bit. I also think how his mother and other faction keep opposing his relationship with OJ makes him want to resist even more. That’s why he thinks IH is on same boat as them, as she clearly proposed him the deal in order to sit on the queen position aka she doesn’t care about him having someone else as long as she’s the queen. It’s a give and take, he doesn’t think about making her an ally cause by accepting her would only empower her faction with minister min behind. though I feel LS is making mistake by provoking IH jealousy, intentional or not, like with IK, even without having to consummate the marriage, he could still give her respect as his queen. but i guess it’s hard when his true love is right by his side, who can blame him. but no doubt he’ll regret it later. I have sympathy for IH that’s why I don’t want to see LS uses her, or any woman for that matter. but i know it’s inevitable.. *sigh* how i miss when the otp is still out of the palace..

    • I couldn’t agree more. LS and IH made “the best” marriage deal. She got the queen position, he got OJ by his side. What’s weird to me is why IH gets so bothered and worked up (if not jealous? or envy?) every time LS shows off his affection to OJ, while she should have known the consequence of the deal that she offered in the first place. Woman, what do you expect when you allow your hubby keeps the woman he loves in the same house. Anyway, I don’t think LS intentionally shows off his affection to OJ in front of IH, though. IMO, he just doesn’t care about IH at all, let alone giving respect. IH is just a wallpaper or a wind to him.

  8. I agree with all of you guys. The sudden rush seems like the moment when you reach to the very top of the roller coaster and you’re about to fall down. This sudden rush shows that an episode could have been inserted between episode 10 and episode 11.
    Lee Soon and Ok Jung’s love for each other touched me, but what bothered me was they openly showed their love right in front of Queen In Hyun.
    Now, Lee Soon has shun Queen In Hyun several times, but that was just awful. At the very same time, I feel like he’s using Ok Jung to tell In Hyun to back off…telling In Hyun that she is an enemy. Does he truly love Ok Jung? I am a little bit wary with the love between Ok Jung and Lee Soon. I feel like he was infatuated… He said women “must be of use” (quote from your episode 10 recap) and it makes me wonder how well he will treat Ok Jung and shun In Hyun away.
    I know I am contradicting myself, but this episode slightly disappointed me.

  9. With ratings picking up, I think we have to prepare for makjangs element in the upcoming episodes with all KTH’s smug smirks and grandmoms getting hysterical. Anyways, watching ep.12 preview, I think LS is gonna use his power to save OJ, which causes political turbulence, which historically fact is true.

    • While I watched this episode, I wondered if the upping of the Makjang element was due to low ratings.. Now that there’s an increase in ratings I hope this doesn’t encourage them to continue with that. I’m still hopeful that this episode was sort of just a rushed transition but I can’t help but wonder how they’ll deal with the love triangle portrayal.. Or the noron/soron factions

      • I’m keeping my fingers crossed too. This episode felt like the second part of a makjang drama, with the good girl going bitchy. It would be a pity if a good drama was sacrificed at the altar of ratings!

      • I’m pretty sure that the upping of Makjang element was due to low ratings. As someone said before, the ones who control the remote are ahjummas. Therefore, Makjang.

  10. Thank you for the recap!!

    I think Lee Soon is being very selfish. He’s not acting like a king but rather a love-sick child. It’s great that his love for Ok Jung is so great but he should have learned by now that nothing comes for free. In Hyun and Ok Jung are both making their won sacrifices while he is acting blissfully ignorant.
    Where is the boy from the beginning who proclaimed that the monarchy is the source of power? He’s losing his power to the women at his side and unfortunately for him, he won’t realize it until he is forced to take either In Hyun’s side or Ok Jung’s side.

    All that said, my sympathies really go to In Hyun. Lee Soon should’ve learned from his marriage to In Kyung that he should give his queen some respect and dignity. Instead, he’s flaunting his relationship with Ok Jung around and completely disregarding In Hyun’s feelings.
    I truly believe that while a Queen can rule on her own successfully, a King is nothing without his Queen.

  11. Everyone stop judgeing lee soon. Yeah it would be nice if the heir comes from the queen. How about the queen understands that king and ok Jung are in love and leave them alone. I wish no matter the cost ok Jung gets saved, because she deserves the kings affection,she has earned it . And no one should take that way from them,or add a third wheeler. Hope for the best for our couple and he queen. The queen is cool,but I wish she and ok Jung were friends .hope

  12. LS and IH made “the best” marriage deal. She got the queen position, he got OJ by his side. What’s weird to me is why IH gets so bothered and worked up (if not jealous? or envy?) every time LS shows off his affection to OJ, while she should have known the consequence of the deal that she offered in the first place. Woman, what do you expect when you allow your hubby keeps the woman he loves in the same house. Anyway, I don’t think LS intentionally shows off his affection to OJ in front of IH, though. IMO, he just doesn’t care about IH at all, let alone giving respect. IH is just a wallpaper or a wind to him. If I have to give sympathy, neither 3 of them get mine for this episode.

  13. Oh god, same. We’re almost at the half way mark and where the hell is JAE HEE??! IDK how the audience is going to connect with him with so little time left. I hope he makes the craziest entrance ever or what’s the point of him now?

  14. IH made a deal that LS can keep OJ in palace. She DIDN’T make a deal where LS humiliates her in front of the palace staff and both queens, doesn’t treat her as a queen should be treated which btw includes SLEEPING with the queen. IH can very well stay childless even if marriage is consummated – she can be barren or her pregnancies can all lead to miscarriage or whatever. Many women ended up childless in marriages even though they had sex.

    LS is treating his queen very poorly at the moment. A wife can accept that her hubby has lovers but she usually WON’T accept public humiliation. Hubby who want’s to have a happy wife as an ally is discreet in his love affairs and publicly treats his wife with respect and caring (even if he doesn’t feel them). LS is anything but, as said, and by constantly humiliating IH he will turn her into his enemy. This could be a very well working trio as IH is clearly a rather nice person and would be ready to turn blind eye to her hubby’s adventures but not at the expense of her royal position. Nobody wants to be a laughing stock of the palace and discarded queen who hasn’t even slept once with the king IS laughable.

  15. Just a thought to ponder, would you guys ever root wholeheartedly for a hero who sleeps with two girls? Personally, I don’t think I can if it’s only to convince me how strong and firm his character is.

    I guess it’s true that we can’t always have the best of both worlds and neither Lee Soon. One way or another, he has to let go of something in order to gain another thing. He may be an “all-Ok-Jung-man” for now but who knows he might sacrifice her in the end (which is so likely to happen). This is definitely one of those cases where in I want the guy to stick with his girl. I’m pretty sure it won’t last but right now I’m going to savor every bits of their sugary moments together and just be happy for all good stuff.

    Oh, let me remind you guys that LEE SOON IS A KING AND NOT A FREAKING ROBOT who is programmed to always follow his purpose. Don’t you guys ever fall for someone to the point that you transform into a lovesick puppy that wags your tail at your lover’s mere presence? Lee Soon is no exception! Come on! He’s a healthy man with overflowing emotions and burning passion. Hihi.. ^^ I believe that at least once in a person’s life, a point will come that we will throw the towel together with ourselves and accept full surrender to love. We can become total fools, ignore other people’s opposition and just follow our heart at all cost, Critics be damned!!!

    Just give him a break! I don’t think In Hyun deserves the humiliation but the poor girl soaked her hand to the muddy water herself. In the first place, she made a deal with him knowing all the consequences envelope in it. She got her share in the trade so now, it’s his turn to get his.

    • In historicals – yes, yes I would. And I have. Personally, I find it much harder to invest into stories that seem to “modern” for their time period in their moral aspect and this is one. Total monogamy for males is a rather modern invention and when a historical novel/drama goes into this direction, I’m not happy. Not at all. It’s not impossible, of course, to have monogamous relationship in historical setting but it depends in circumstances and here it makes things frustrating and implausible. Nobody expects LS to be a robot (why would sleeping with his queen even make him one is beyond me), but it’s frustrating to watch how he makes enemies left and right by being soooo in luuuv.

      • ^^ I agree. I think in modern dramas we no longer consider it morally acceptable for a leading man to sleep with two women at the same time, but they had a different moral code back in the day. Lee Soon is not doing himself any favours by estranging his queen who has his interests at heart.

        I think its entirely possible for Lee Soon to sleep with his queen and still be in love with Ok-Jung, so leaving a royal marriage unconsummated given the context seems ridiculous to me.

    • Purplee –

      I can’t agree with your comment more! Everything you said above is literally exactly what I wanted to say. I truly don’t understand why Lee Soon is getting bashed so much. Honestly, his dislike for In Hyun is practically a whole separate matter from his love for Ok Jung. While of course a part of his dislike is due to the fact that all he wants is to be with Ok Jung without any outside interference/presence, the main reasons are a) HER FATHER IS MINISTER MIN, ONLY HIS BIGGEST ENEMY EVER, b) Minister Min and his own mother have been plotting and arranging their marriage and even trying to pass them off as “fated to be,” and c) HER DANG FATHER IS MINISTER MIN. Honestly, if I were him, I wouldn’t be able to bear even looking at In Hyun, much less marrying her.

      I do also agree that In Hyun doesn’t deserve the humiliation she’s been receiving, but come ON. Does anyone honestly think that she’s filled with happiness and rainbows? I don’t get why some people think she’s being nice and simply following her father’s wishes. She’s had some kind moments and always phrases her words so they sound nice, but it always seems to me that she’s always had either disagreement or contempt brewing underneath the surface. Beyond her personality, it’s clear as crystal that she viewed the queen’s position as hers, and hers only. She’s also had her fair share of dishing out her own side comments, such as in earlier episodes when she brings up Ok Jung’s low status and warns her from reaching too high, as well as when she said that once she enters the palace as Queen, Ok Jung would be serving her. I understand why others may feel bad for her, but I can’t bring myself to truly sympathize with her when she did make those promises to him.

      On the romance front, Lee Soon and Ok Jung are still giving me heart palpitations, and I’m still rooting for them one hundred percent. Let’s face the facts – if this drama were real life and completely accurate to history, LS and OJ most likely wouldn’t have even met in the first place, what with all of the coincidences that have surrounded the two of them. Besides, to Arawn, LS technically isn’t making enemies left and right because of his love for Ok Jung. His enemies have always been his enemies, the only thing that him being in love has done is raise the stakes. I don’t view a monogamous relationship in this particular situation as far-fetched at all, at least not at this stage in time. LS doesn’t love IH and he absolutely despises her father. Can anyone blame the guy if he doesn’t want to consummate their forced marriage?

  16. A friend of mine asked, “what is it like to watch JANG OK JUNG when you’ve already seen DONG YI?” .. Hmm.. I answered, “it’s like watching VOLDEMORT being the hero instead of Harry!” Haha ;)))

  17. This is an adaptation from a chick lit, so it is not surprising that Lee Soon is pulling this one true love stunt, when in fact the reality is that Kings sleeps with lots of consorts, with no guilt.

  18. For me, the most difficult thing to watch this episode was Lee Soon’s unkindness towards In Hyun. She is a lovely woman and I think she makes a great queen, so it’s kind of disappointing to see the way he treats her. I thought he would have learnt his lesson given his regret at the way he treated In Kyung, but apparently not.

    Lee Soon’s behaviour this episode is uncharacteristic, given the fact that we’ve seen how focused he was on his royal duties right from the beginning. I do hope that in the future episodes he will continue to keep that focus, and also to carry out a normal marriage with In Hyun. It is incredibly bizarre that both marriages have been unconsummated. Monogamy was never the norm for dynastic marriages of that period and it would be anachronistic to impose monogamy on a king with wives and concubines as I feel the writers seem to be doing here.

    Nevertheless, history does have Lee Soon’s character as a capable king, so I do hope that we see more of the old Lee Soon in the future episodes./ Lovesickness is for teenage boys, not grown up kings!

  19. seems that PD-nim success to make viewers commiserate to In Hyun character. It have to, based on history, In Hyun is one of the best known Queens of the Joseon Dynasty. Even I put a big sympathy for her.
    I hate how Sukjong treat her as his Queen. But I just remember ep.1, I think Sukjong already knew about IH’s father, which is really hate by him. Talking about Sukjong perspective, I don’t think he wants Minister Min
    descent continue his throne. That’s why IH childless.
    I hate Ok Jung changes being the evil one. But I understand its not because she want it, it because she have to. How could you do nothing if everybody wants eliminate you?

  20. I don’t blame LS for ignoring QIH given the past history both of their fathers have with each other and also with LS when he was a prince and also king. LS ignoring QIH was not intentional on his part as JOJ is his choice for being his Queen of Hearts. QIH, QIK never stood a chance at all. This is a young man in love, despite him being a king and all and while I find it sad that QIH had to see our OTP together in her presence, these are two people who are in love. Passionately in love.QIH will have to take this in her stride despite how lonely and sad a figure she has to cut.

    Eventually, when the passion simmers down between LS and JOJ just as history seems to suggest, LS will be able to see things more clearly and hopefully see that QIH isn’t all that bad. I can see that she is willing to go against her own father for the sake of her promise to LS so kudos to her. In history, she was always the noble one yet I’m glad that this drama does not paint her as as saint or an angel or even the devil because she too has her flaws.

    As for JOJ, she is not evil YET in this episode, rather she’s rubbing it in everyone’s faces, the people who brought her down time and time again. You can see the sweet JOJ when she is with LS and also her former seamstress maid. I hope the next episode tapers down the catfight between the two grand ladies because seriously this is a power fight between two proxies, Western faction and the Southern faction and I think JOJ and QIH are just victims of this power struggle.

  21. I just wish the drama not always inside palace. For once I really want ok jung live outside palace for awhile before actually come back and return to the palace…. I just rewath the sequence from epi 1…. And it seems she live outside palace? I miss lee soon and ok jung love story before ok jung enter the palace.

  22. I Don’t think SJ wants minister min bloodline in the royal family, and I understand him here. Somehow minister min won the first battle by becoming SJ father in law :p

  23. I haven’t drop this drama yet because I haven’t seen Jae Hee yet and he was one of the reason I wanted to watch this.

  24. I think: There is no one either good or bad, but circumstances make them so. The writer reminds us that moral character is fragile much more often than it is robust. Most people have no robust character at all. And there’re always going to be two possible answers. Almost every perpetrator of an atrocity is assigned the role of either a monster who was bound to do great evil eventually, or an ordinary person who inexplicably flipped.

  25. Thank You Ms Koala for the recap
    it’s getting heavy, deep, twisted, more likes historical drama than fantasy-romance of Jang Ok Jung. And after watched ep12 (raw) I’m dying to know, a lot of yelling, shouting. Sweet JOJ’s gone from now(?). Can’t wait for your ep12 recap.

  26. Inhyun is not an honest woman too. She saw Okjung but she didn’t tell the King or make effort to bring Okjung to the palace as she has promised before. I’m not pity on her.

  27. Just finished watching this episode with English sub. And surprisingly I like this episode better than I’ve expected. Sure the makjang elements start to crawl but I still enjoy the dynamic exchange between LS and IH, IH and OJ, LS and his ministers.

    LS makes sure that IH won’t break her promise and not just does the talk. I didn’t find LS was too busy with his new toy or “uncharacteristic” as I first thought either. I like that LS knows the collaboration of his step grandmother, OJ’s uncle and the Southern Party. Instead of mad, he makes a deal with minister Jo to keep things in check. Now he put the Southern party, that his uncle Heo Jeok was once a member, in a court full of Western Party, I’m eager to see what kind of result this “collaboration” will get and how it will affect the power balance in the court.

    As for the transformation of OJ, maybe it’s a little abrupt (her sly smirk is just not her character) but as she told Dongpyeong, after the nearly dead experience she would need a power to stay beside the King. I don’t mind with scheming OJ but the thing is I wish she plays it smoothly. Someone can be evil in mind but still looks innocent and grace outside.
    I wish the writer can take example of Shakespeare’s Iago. I’ll give her a big applause for that.

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