Written and Video Preview for Episode 15 of Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love

I really went back-and-forth all of last week trying to decide what to do with Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love. Continuing watching and recapping? Just watching and no recapping? Or stopping altogether. Normally when a drama tonally and narrative collapses so thoroughly and takes with it everything great I loved, the easy decision is to bid farewell. Save some time and perhaps retain some of the earlier goodwill. But a few considerations with JOJ make bailing hard – I love Kim Tae Hee here and want to see her through to the end both as a support and to witness if she keeps bringing it, Jae Hee showed up so late and I’m mildly curious how he fares in this sageuk as well as how his character gets integrated (if ever) into the main storyline, and Yoo Ah In has publicly stated that his character’s behavior in being all love-focused and not ruling-driven has made him unable to relate or act him out anymore, and anyone with the cojones to speakth the truth gets kudo points from me. Normally I’d throw in awesome ahjusshi Song Dong Il who plays Jang Hyun, because he was hella awesome in the first part of the drama, when he lost daughter Hong Joo and then slowly plotted his revenge on Minister Min. But his character has been marginalized and from the looks of the preview, his presence will now be plotting openly against Minister Min and Queen In Hyun.

So while JOJ has been quiet with the spoilers and preview all week, my heart and mind waged a chess match that was pretty much decided for me when I watched the just released video preview for episode 15. I think I’m out. For good, watching and recapping. It was a genuine pleasure to fall in love with this unexpected gem that everyone (including myself) thought would be a hot mess. The first 8 episodes was electrifying in its surprising narrative cohesiveness and compelling romantic sageuk storytelling, building a love story step by step within the logical and stake-filled historical confines of the Joseon ruling world of politics and power. It was equal parts juicy love story, equal parts what-if historical flipboard. I loved the acting, story, and directing without reservation. After the drama took an abrupt turn for the makjang starting slowing in episode 9 and ramping up like a runaway train since then, the writing has downward spiraled into a mess of poorly thought out scheming and often inserted interludes of lovey dovey scenes between the OTP that actually worked to turn me off their formerly heady romance. Seeing in the preview for episode 15 that everything will continue down the path of Palace catfight and political cockfights, I’ll watch 15 but all signs point to my calling it a day with this drama. 

Written preview for episode 15:

Dowager Queen Kim calls Ok Jung to see her and tells Palace rules require that if she bears a child it must be raised by the Queen. She asks that Ok Jung hand her child to Queen In Hyun to raise. On the other hand, Ok Jung calls Jang Hyun into the Palace to help her……….

Preview for episode 15:


Written and Video Preview for Episode 15 of Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love — 35 Comments

  1. It couldn’t have been any other way or else the narrative would have to be mangled beyond recognition. That’s why I enjoy Cruel Flowers – they didn’t waste any time pretending that Lady Jo was a helpless victim or that she had a romance for the ages with the King.

    • Well, after watching this latest episode, I can finally say that this show really did jump the shark with episode 9. But rme @ the Soompi fangirls – they seem to be mistaking re-interpretation for re-invention. Re-interpretation reworks facts that already form a basic framework and that cannot be ignored on a whim. Sorry ladies, JOJ was never going to live happily ever after with Sukjong and he was never going to stay ‘faithful’ (LOLing forever at the notion of a king having to be faithful to a concubine) to her.

      • My thoughts exactly, but that doesn’t mean JOJ had to become some crazy woman, or that the plot has to move forward with unrealistic plot devices and idiotic makjang. I thought the whole point of the re-imagination was to give JOJ depth, as she had been turned into a caricature by historians. (History is told through the eyes of the victor could not apply more here.)

      • @ Anonymous, while history is shaped by extrinsic interests, I’m not sure reading victimhood into such caricatures is an appropriate response either. She may have been just as ruthless and cunning as history says – the fundamental problem here is that men are praised for being bold and decisive whereas women who dare to be anything but shrinking wallflowers are quickly cut down to size. I guess what I’m trying to say is that a more fruitful approach would have been to question gendered notions of morality rather than push a fictitious ‘epic’ romance down our throats only for us to get whiplash as it all goes horribly wrong. Chick lit was not the appropriate venue for this kind of story and I hope this drama’s failure teaches producers a lesson that heavy breathing in hanboks ain’t gonna cut it anymore.

      • @Rina: Actually, I agree with you, and I had no intention of reading victimhood into JOJ. Chick lit is not what I watch sageuks for, and my frustration with almost every character is that they act in unrealistic ways. JOJ has to survive, and to do that, she has to bring down everyone else. Bringing down everyone else does not require all of the insanity that I’m seeing in the show now. I was kind of hoping for some nuance.

        The re-imaging part is to give viewers some sympathy and understanding for the character that’s traditionally draped under the “all evil” cloak. I wasn’t a fan of the romance in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that it isn’t a reasonable basis for JOJ’s entry in the palace and her catalyst for her actions. No person is entirely bad, and this was a chance for a drama to show history in that kind of light.

        The person that I hate most in this drama is actually Lee Soon, not just because he comes off as a terrible King, he also doesn’t show any spine. If he’s really running the palace the way he is right now just because he loves Ok-jung, that’s pretty pathetic for a King. I would have been more interested he had messed with these girls hearts for political gains, and that the women were strong and smart enough to play at his game too. Now if only I could re-write the script. (Actually, I’d make for a terrible screenwriter, so that’s a bad idea.)

  2. I stopped watching around Ep. 10. *Sigh* I would like to see the original script as that was way more interesting than the makjang.

    • Same here. I stopped watching after ep. 10. Dont know if I’m getting uninterested on the storyline or I was just fully concentrated on the upcoming Shark that I cant see anything else. Heh! And thus Shark proved it’s worth.

  3. I just stopped halfway at episode 1.. LOL.. Yeah I know why stop at episode 1. It is just real life has been taken over my life. By the way, Happy Memorial Day Koala Unni. I hope you have a great day. Just fyi, I read Sukbin aka Dong Yi will appear this week and from now on. Therefore, whoever still watches let me know if she is cunning. In a happy note, today is Shark and Monstar episode 2 in viki has now fully sub. Koala unni, have you watched it. That is my new crack drama so far. I love the main lead actress she is soo good and has lots of hair. 0.0

  4. Thank you Ms. Koala for the recaps and your thoughts about this drama. I know how frustrating it was for you to continue watching and recapping this show despite your heart is no longer with it. I very well know the feeling of how much you’ve come to love a drama so much and at the same time will make you go insane. Truly a deceiving drama.

    But for me, I’m still hoping for a MIRACLE to happen or maybe not? I don’t know but I’ll try my very best to hold on because I love Kim Tae Hee and Yooh Ah In dearly. I love YAI since Sungkyunkwan Scandal and unexpectedly have come to love KTH because of her stellar performance here as JOJ. I think I might get sick when Suk Bin and The King gets all lovey-dovey and will eventually be the fall of Ok Jung. 🙁 Ohh imma punch the screen when that happens I might need to get a new laptop. No offense but I wish they didn’t pick Kara’s Seungyeon as Suk Bin, I don’t know if she can pull it off especially when KTH already set the bar high with her outstanding portrayal as JOJ. This drama needs a lot of prayers to the drama gods in order to redeem itself or maybe it’s already too late for that…..?

  5. I’m you koala…
    I’m out…

    I think the writers really make a different approach to the original novel or their original plan….

  6. I spent two hours reading all your reviews about JOJ, and come to know you won’t be recapping anymore on it. My heart is thoroughly crushed, exsggeration intended, but truly I am. I seriously do enjoy the way you review it, be it negative or positive. Your humour isn’t exaggerated like some reviewers are and the insight you have on it made me rewatch the episodes to see it from your view (no, I’m not an obsessed stalker. Haha).

    Pleaseeee, pretty please continue on reviewing + recapping JOJ. I don’t have any other reviews that I am interested in reading aside than your! ㅠ.ㅠ

  7. Thanks for you recaps and time. I haven’t been watching, but reading recaps. Was going to watch it when it was over. A shame it seems to be taking a turn for the worse. I think I’ll take it off my list.

  8. Thanks koala for always being real to your heart. It is also with a heavy heart for me to say after seeing ep 15 that I will be dropping Joj as well completely. I’m sad cause it was so promising and didn’t deserve the low ratings and the criticism that it got. Well, now I feel like it is just that poor in quality. The poor actors, they certainly all got the shaft. That just sucks. Instead of producing a good drama with low ratings, they now have a crappy drama with low ratings.

    Even so, I still hope that the ratings go up for them so the cast and the crew don’t have to suffer and feel bad.

  9. Thank you, koala, for all you have been doing so far! I’ve been devotedly reading your recaps starting episode 1, at that time when I could not wait until each new episode of JOJ. I personally watched episodes 1-10 and since then I have just been reading your recaps because the show started boring me to death. I posted comments previously on how awesome 1-8 was and how much I hated the last few episodes. If someone else picks up the recaps, I will red them, but I will not watch this show unless someone actually tells me that it gained back its lost shine. Then I would check myself, maybe after the show got completely aired.

    Anyways, because I pretty much abandoned this show, I started reading recaps for episodes 8-12 of GU family book (I quit it around episode 8 because I was getting irritated at an actress’ inability to act…) and I watched episodes 13 and 14. They were better than the episodes before and much more entertaining. If you’re done with JOJ for good, GU might be finally worth the time. Hard to say yet. Nothing actually happened as far as I can tell in the last few episodes, except the return of characters from earliest episodes and a lot of building tension. If nothing happens in episodes 15 and 16, I will probably quit it again….

  10. yeah, the drama is shifting towards something predictable….i will continue to watch this drama and hopefully it’ll pick back up since choi sook bin is gonna come very soon.
    but the main thing is that i totally agree with yoo ah in, i don’t see that king sukjong should be this irrational since he wasn’t at first, i’m a bit disappointed with his storyline so far, but i will continue to watch it with a warm heart 🙂

  11. Not even for Kim Tae Hee-shi?

    Please do.

    I like reading different thoughts on the show despite the downward spiralling of the script.

  12. Thank you so much Ms Koala for yr hard work n really really…appreciate for yr recaps in JOJ.:)) Words just cannot express how thankful I m to u n I hope is not too much to ask from u…Please!!!!! do not abandon me here coz u hv bn soooo wonderful to me n by just reading yr recaps my heart just flutter^_^:))!! And thank you again for making my Mon Tue so interesting! ! I’ll stil wait for you faithfully (just as u bn faithfully doing JOJ recaps all this time for us)!

    Jang OKAY Jung ..who lives in this moment of Love n oh!!! this drama is still
    Awesome to me!!! I N how funny n amazing tat a lowly ststus girl can threatened the Lordship or the Evil Prime Minister! JOJ Congrats!!! JOJ and her dream
    came through! Me too I Love Kim Tae Hee n Yoo Ah In dearly^_*:) I love KTH
    ..wow she’s is so pretty ^-^ and very elegant ^-*:) N I also love all the pretty n
    colorful hanboks in this drama, This Sageuk drama is pretty, colourful and
    generally “easy and pleasing” to the eyes! But I ‘m now going to enjoy the sweet
    romance between King Sukjong n Ok Jung while I can …b4 Choi Suk Bin here..
    5ting Ms Koala n You are the Bestest!!! Love Love You^-*:))

  13. Thanks Koala for recapping JOJ. I totally feel the same way as you do about the show. It lost its thunder and it has become boring. Kim Tae Hee is the only reason why I was watching but now even she can keep it afloat for me.I do hope you will reconsider but I totally understand. Mahalo again.

  14. It’s sad that you’re most probably gonna drop the recapping. Even though, I don’t comment(this is my first, an it’s on your last review

  15. It’s sad that you’re most probably gonna drop the recapping. Even though, I don’t comment(this is my first, an it’s on your last review), I’ve always had fun reading others’ view on dramas I watch.

    While like most of you, I can’t help but raise my eyebrows and get irritated whenever Dowager Queen Kim appears on screen (and that’s not because she’s an effective antagonist, she should just have stayed with the goody roles), hates that Dong Pyung Gun already faded into the background, and doesn’t find Chi Soo’s character significant at all, it’s not gonna make me stop watching the drama. Not when I still find the lead characters’ actions SOMEHOW justifiable.

    – Like what you said in a comment in your previous recap, Ok Jung plots and schemes to survive. She doesn’t do it for greed, YET. But with the entrance of Dong Yi (this week or the next?), OJs character might enter another transition. Her first transition to tough OJ wasn’t a sudden jump for me like it was for some because it was established in the first 10 episodes that she was a kind, pure, and innocent girl, but not dumb. Of course the wheels in her head would get rolling when she’s pushed to a corner.
    – Sukjong isn’t dumb. Every action OJ takes he knows there’s a hidden agenda. Like when he told Jo Sa Suk that he knows the reason why JSS and Grand Dowager Queen Jo is rooting for OJ and the King, is to bring back the Soron faction to power. This in’t something he’s against to because he knows too much power in he Noron faction is dangerous too. He also knew that OJ purposely seduced him that hapbang night with QIH. It was never OJ who told him to appoint JSS as envoy to China and being in charge with the fortress’s construction. So far, i don’t see him on any woman’s palm, even his mom.
    – About Sukjong shoving what he wants to his council members, wasn’t it just on his personal matters? When it comes to state matters, he has to go in a roundabout way to get what he wants like when he wanted to cut the Noron faction’s funding. His being pushy about his love life was part of history too, wasn’t it? He even had members of Noron faction killed because they refused to consent the king’s action to make jang hee bin queen. And personally, since i just finished watch “The Princess’s Man” where i was just tired of watching Hong Soo Hyun’s character’s father being politically not to mention physically weak too, i welcome Lee Soon’s strong character.
    – Queen Dowager Kim’so irritating. Shouting isn’t the only way to intimidate people. And there’s something with her harpy looks and smirks. Lol!Just have to say that one.

    Sorry for the long comment, it’s my first and last. i hope you’d still see the drama through though. Who knows, maybe it’ll start to get on your good side again.

  16. I was checking the JOJ page on Facebook and read that Lee Soon turned his back on Ok Jung when she told him she was pregnant again. At that moment, my hope that this drama could have regained its charm and innocence that it started with was thrown out of the window and I decided I’d drop JOJ. Then I come here to see if there was a recap of Episode 15 to see what madness could have happened to make Lee Soon behave like such an (bad word) to see that you’ve decided to drop it as well. I completely agree with you. I thought it was worth seeing what would happen now that Jae Hee’s finally appeared but with Yoo Ah In being forced into such a degrading character? I cannot bear to watch this drama any longer. I was so happy to find Jang Ok Jung because it was a story of a strong independent woman who gradually falls in love with a worthy man even if he’s a king. Then around Episode 9, it started to decline. Now it’s fallen off a cliff and I just can’t watch it anymore. I thought I could watch it with bated breath as the drama ended like the novel that you posted earlier and then cry my eyes out when such a great sageuk ended. So much for that.
    With that said, I’ll continue to visit this site for other dramas and posts because really, I do love everything on here. Thank you so much for all you’ve done for this drama and even though it’s come to such an end, I’m glad you did. I was happy for a chance to fangirl over JOJ and I thank you for giving me that chance, koala. Thanks again.

  17. Although im sad that youre not recapping this drama anymore as i would really like to read about hoe it turns out, i understand your choice. Because it must not be easy recapping. Looks quite difficult actually and time consuming. But i have to say, i watched the music videos again and i feel nostalgic. And feels like this drama couldve been so much more. I havent watched since ep 11 and have only read since then but your reactions get through to me. I am sad though :'(

  18. you said it right, it was so right then but now my heart is so heavy of what was going to happen…i cannot feel them nowm really sad because i love tae hee and ha in too.

  19. hi
    i have been a fan of the lead characters for a long year now. as i’ve review all the comments plus searching other info on the net i come to a point that its a little off way from the real story (history) however i do respect how this storyline prepared,delivered and brought to life.it isn’t easy yet they did their best.few may not want it already but there are some who would like to watch JOJ still.That’s why m’ koala don’t stop recapping.thanks again.

  20. honestly … i always open your koala website every tuesday morning, wednesday to see what’s happening with JOJ, and i’ve been stop doing so as i lost interest watch joj since last fortnight and busy watching other series. today somehow i’m so curious what’s koala up to and want to know … and wondering..where’s JOJ recap.. as today is wed..5jun,…and..woala.. you also gave up recapping.. .. not sure why.. but yes.. im totally have lost interest with this drama… shark is really more future promising drama together with lee sun shin .. .. i will always love koala.. :).. no matter what your decision is…maybe i will more curious to see joj last eps..

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