Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love Episode 3 Recap

Chingus, I think I have found my new k-drama crack. And considering it’s NOT the drama I thought would be my crack, I’m alternating between consternation and bewilderment. How did Gu Family Book, my most anticipated drama of this Spring season, end up being so meh? How did Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love, the drama that was on track to be the biggest trainwreck turn out to not only be good, but so freaking good I’ve watched episode 3 three times now and actually want to watch it one more time after I finish this recap. Am I in an alternate universe where I would pick Kim Tae Hee over Lee Seung Gi? That is blasphemy I say, and yet that has happened. This harkens back to last Spring when Rooftop Prince went head-to-head with The King 2 Hearts. From the casting and promos, I was way more excited about RTP than TK2H and the order of my recaps proved it. Except RTP lost me with a terribly directed first episode and the most cringeworthy villainy since Dr. Evil in Austin Powers. When I checked out episode 1 TK2H for the heck of it, it it was surprisingly decent. As my interest in RTP waned conversely my interest in TK2H grew, until by the end of episode 4 I knew I was a goner for TK2H hook-line-and-sinker. I never looked back and that drama became my favorite K-drama bar none in 2012.

Drama watching is a subjective and fluid experience and I never let expectation dictate whether I eventually love a drama. In three episodes JOJ showed me a truly heady romance that is developing with patience and potential, characters that are complex and layered, and political intrigue that isn’t new but feels compelling. The world of JOJ feels alive and exciting to me, with a sense of dramatic realism that makes me think more about the characters and their story. Yoo Ah In is really shining as Crown Prince Lee Soon and his chemistry with Kim Tae Hee is lovely to behold. Her acting is still heaps below some of her critically acclaimed peers, but she’s trying hard and actually doing a good job. This reminds me of her My Princess performance, the charm of Kim Tae Hee shining through so that even if the acting isn’t qualitatively the best, she’s winning in the role nevertheless. I’m pretty sure tomorrow is judgment day where I’m picking one drama over the other for recap purposes, but if anyone wants a hint right now, check out episode 3 of JOJ and the answer will be pretty clear. The ratings for JOJ remain bottom of the competition but this drama is so exquisitely filmed and scored that it’s such a shame more people aren’t tuning in to be swept away.

Episode 3 recap:

Crown Prince Lee Soon is testing out all the weaponry intended for the army and finds every item lacking in strength, durability, and does not conform to specifications. He learns that the armor is now thinner than it used to be and soldiers are dying in battle because of it. He is predictably pissed.

Lee Soon reviews the books for the procurement of the army goods and is furious but not surprised to learn Minister Min is in charge. This is worse than simple skimming off the top, he’s putting the country’s security at risk and the lives of the soldiers in peril with purchasing the clearly inadequate goods.

Prince Dongpyung arrives with his usual smile and flourish and tries to get his nephew to chillax. He invites Lee Soon to his once-a-year matchmaking party at his estate, the one time a year where all the young and eligible nobleman and ladies in the capital meet and perhaps make future marriage unions. He tells Lee Soon that wanting to solve the Minister Min problem isn’t going to happen in one day so come join the fun. Lee Soon isn’t in the mood for fun so Dongpyung gets serious and reveals that the Queen pretty much threatened to take away his Palace access if he can’t get Lee Soon to that party. The Queen still wants Lee Soon to fall for Lady Min (first name In Hyun) naturally.

Lee Soon is still unmoved so Dongpyung pretends to give up only to switch tacks and reveal that he’s in possession of rare first edition Sung dynasty books on governance and warfare. Lee Soon’s eyes light up and Dongpyung knows he’s roped him in. He tells Lee Soon to come to the party and then head straight to his library to read to his heart’s content.

Ok Jung speaks with her friend Hyang Ah and asks if she has located to jealous girl from years ago who locked her in the storage. Ok Jung believes that girl must’ve seen who set the fire, but she’s nowhere to be found. Jang Hyun goes to pick up Ok Jung to deliver clothes to the family of Prince Dongpyung. Turns out his mother orders clothes from her. Ok Jung reluctantly goes with him.

Prince Dongpyung surveys his estate which is prepped for the party. He’s more excited that Ok Jung is coming. Oh, so he knows her? And obviously is interested. This is going to get goooood.

Ok Jung and Jang Hyun walk into the estate of Prince Dongpyung and the party is in full swing. Damn this drama is utterly breathtaking and the costumes are eye-popping.

The nobles are standing around flirting and chatting, with some discussing how Crown Prince Lee Soon is supposed to show up today. The ladies titter about the chance to become the Crown Princess in an upcoming selection but Lee Soon, incognito, tells them its pointless since the choice has already been pre-determined. He points to Min In Hyun (future Queen In Hyun) and Kim In Kyung (future Queen In Kyung) and says the future Crown Princess can only come from one of the two pillars of Joseon government power, the leader of the Soron faction Minister Min and the leader of the Noron faction Minister Kim.

In Kyung is chatting with In Hyun and we learn the former has asthma, is clumsy and shy, and isn’t interested in being Crown Princess at all since she heard the Crown Prince was an insensitive guy and she dreams of love with a man who will pick up her handkerchief and treat her like a lady.

Lee Soon walks past the two ladies and smirks.

Ok Jung and Jang Hyun meet with Prince Dongpyung and she hands him the clothes for his mother. He wants to spend more time with her so offers her a book on fashion he picked up at the Qing dynasty. Jang Hyun asks to speak with him privately so Ok Jung goes to the library alone to retrieve it. Jang Hyun makes note of Dongpyung’s interest in Ok Jung.

Jang Hyun gives Prince Dongpyung a box of gold as payment for the latest batch of court gossip and going on that was passed to him. Dongpyung says this is too much. Jang Hyun says its invaluable to him as a merchant and is worth the price.

Ok Jung goes to the library and grabs the book and is immediately engrossed in it. Lee Soon is there and notices her, staring because she’s so beautiful and he remembers her from before when she measured him. He wonders again why she looks familiar?

Ok Jung is so into her book on fashions that she doesn’t notice a couple running inside for a secret tryst. Before she can accidentally interrupt Lee Soon grabs her and pulls her into an alcove. He gestures for her to be silent and whispers that one needs to interrupt when there is an argument and stay silent when there is a romance.

Ok Jung and Lee Soon can hear the making out, which turns into a fight when the girl notices a different lipstick stain on the guy’s collar. She cries about how unfaithful he is and she’s even given him kisses and money and gifts. She huffs off and the man follows.

When Ok Jung and Lee Soon are alone, he jokes that the girl can give her kisses but it was stupid of her to waste money on that guy. Lee Soon reveals that he learned this wisdom from someone, and we see Prince Dongpyung scratching his ear wondering who is talking about him.

Ok Jung reveals that a man is like the Spring air when he’s pursuing a woman, and then like the frigid Winter chill after he marries her. That is why a woman should never expect anything from a man. She reveals a friend told her that, and we see Hyang Ah scratching her ear wondering who is talking about her. Cute. Lee Soon remarks that in this they are similar, neither are interested in love.

As Lee Soon and Ok Jung walk through the party, a girl comes running towards Lee Soon and calls him brother. It is Princess Myungan, Lee Soon’s older sister. He hugs her and is totally sweet with her.

Ok Jung watches and walks away, not quite sad but a bit somber. She is immediately accosted by three rude yangban, who ask for her name and introduce themselves first. Ok Jung says she is not the lady of any house and tries to leave but they keep blocking her. They think she is being hoity since she’s pretty so does she only have eyes for landing the Crown Prince? Three rude ladies join the men and also taunt Ok Jung for being a flirt. She loses her temper and chastises them for being rude and having no manners.

One guy raises his hand to slap her which is when Lee Soon arrives and stops him. The guy is belligerent and demands to know who he is? Lee Soon smiles and whispers something in his ear, which causes the guy to prostrate himself and topple over in shock. Lee Soon takes Ok Jung away. The others want to know who that guy was and the shocked guy stammers that it was Crown Prince Lee Soon.

Ok Jung shakes her hand free from Lee Soon and asks why he is also butting into her business and demands to know who he is? Lee Soon lies that he is a Palace guard and the yangban was scared because he is close with the Crown Prince. Ok Jung buys his crock of bull story. Jang Hyun walks by and notices the two of them conversing and stares intently.

Ok Jung tells Lee Soon to spend his time protecting another woman and he realizes she must be jealous and calls her out on it. She claims not to be and he explains that the girl back there was his beloved only sister. Lee Soon is taken aback by himself for even explaining and then asks again if they have never met before? Ok Jung claims they never have, which she told him already in that garden. They stand there staring at each other until Prince Dongpyung calls out to Lee Soon as “hey, Palace guard!” Clearly he heard about what happened with the yangban. Lee Soon turns to talk with Dongpyung and Ok Jung leaves.

As Ok Jung walks out, she runs into In Hyun who asks why she is here? Ok Jung reveals she makes clothes for the lady of the house and was making a delivery. Suddenly the light show and fireworks start and both ladies turn to look.

Lee Soon and Dongpyung also stand and admire the thousand of fireflies released into the air, followed up bursts of fireworks. Seriously, this drama is gorgeous.

In Hyun sees the fireworks and her reaction is one of melancholy since its so fleeting. Ok Jung feels differently, she would rather be a firework since a person only has one lifetime to live and she would rather be eye-catching even if it means flaming out quickly. Oh god, such thick foreshadowing. I can’t even.

The Queen talks with Princess Myungan and both are anxious about the upcoming Crown Princess selection. The Princess tells the Queen to call the front runner ladies to the Palace under the guise of keeping her company so they can run into Lee Soon.

Thugs come to Ok Jung’s studio and ransack it, claiming they are owed money. Hyang Ah reveals she borrowed money from loan sharks to put on the fashion show, which was ruined by that mean witch. The thugs threaten to burn down the place which triggers Ok Jung’s greatest fear so she gives them the deed to the studio and all the goods inside to pay off the debt.

Lee Soon is daydreaming in a meeting with the ministers about selecting Palace guards, since that reminds him of the lie he told Ok Jung. He’s called out for not paying attention and he ends the meeting claiming he didn’t have a good night sleep.

He stops Minister Min and shows him stacks of complaint letters about him. Minister Min claims those are all spurious allegations intended to blacken his reputation. Lee Soon cuts to the chase and says Minister Min is as corrupt as they come, and they both know it. But he doesn’t care about the past or digging into it, he cares about the future. Lee Soon wants to start with the army procurement – he’s going to open up the bid for the supply contract. Minister Min accepts the decision.

Minister Min brings a box of gold and jewels to the Queen, clearly making his usual offering bribe. He reveals the Crown Prince is taking over army procurement and learning more governance. As the Queen admires the jewels, Minister Min cuts to the chase and reminds the Queen they are on the same boat. Its fine to open up the bid as long as they win it again.

Ok Jung and Hyang Ah walk through town and notice the announcement for an open bid to design uniforms for the soldiers. Ok Jung decides to go for it because they have nothing left to lose.

Ok Jung goes to her uncle to ask for a loan and he wonders why he should help her? She says they can share the profits – she designs the soldier uniforms and he bids, if his merchant group wins the bid, her profit can be used to pay back the loan. Jang Hyun thinks that is too troublesome and asks what Ok Jung will do if they don’t win the bid. Ok Jung agrees to do as her uncle wants and take the hand of the powerful person her uncle wants to make an alliance with. No, don’t do it!

Jang Hyun has Ok Jung brought to meet with Prince Boksun at a gisaeng house. Prince Boksun stares at Ok Jung and candidly admits that Jang Hyun was right, she is a beauty to topple an empire. He reminds Ok Jung that if she is willing to do what Jang Hyun wants, that means she needs to align with him. Ok Jung says if her heart isn’t in it, then she won’t do it. Prince Boksun says the heart and fate sometimes makes things happen and she’s here right now.

Ok Jung says that will never happen and turns to leave. Prince Boksun tells her that when a person turns the back to another, that person will end up coming back. Ok Jung walks out regardless and Jang Hyun emerges from another room. Prince Boksun asks what Jang Hyun wants – revenge or become the father-in-law to the Crown Prince.

Jang Hyun says father-in-law, of course. Once he becomes that, then he will have his revenge. In a country like Joseon where anything other than a noble is considered as lowly as a dog and cat, that is the only way.

Ok Jung chats with Hyang Ah and designing soldiers uniforms and she wants to see soldiers in action to understand how they move and their needs. She wonders if there is a military training facility nearby.

Prince Dongpyung is bringing back a load of weapons to his estate and knows he is being followed. The weapons are intended for the royal family’s personal guards so they have the power to battle the Soron faction.

Ok Jung goes to Prince Dongpyung and asks for a favor, she wants to visit a military training facility. Dongpyung teases that a girl needn’t see that but when she begs because he’s the only connection she has, he’s clearly putty in her hands. He reveals that they are like god brother-sister anyways, and he got a lot of help when he was in the Qing dynasty last time. Oh, don’t tell me Dongpyung knows Chi Soo? And where is Chi Soo, by the way?

Dongpyung offers to take her personally but they need to leave in 3 days time. A servant announces an important person is here so Ok Jung takes her leave. As Ok Jung walks out, we see Lee Soon walk in.

Lee Soon and Dongpyung inspect the weapons which are all quality product. The issue now is how to get it to the royal army? The first Crown Princess selection is in 2 days and he needs to be there. He suggests claiming he needs to go hunting the day after to clear his head. When he asks Dongpyung to travel with him, Dongpyung says they should split up to confuse the people following them. Plus he has to do a favor for someone. They agree this is the best approach.

In Hyun and In Kyung are in the Palace to meet with the Queen and Princess Myungan. In Kyung is so nervous she keeps drinking tea, which causes her to have to go pee when the royals arrive. The Queen lets her go but looks peeved, and the smiles at the well mannered In Hyun.

As In Kyung walks back through the Palace, she drops her handkerchief and Lee Soon picks it up. She learns that he is the Crown Prince and unlike the rumors, Lee Soon is very polite and gentleman-like with her.

In Kyung goes to find Ok Jung and begs her to be her handmaiden at the first Crown Princess selection. She heard Ok Jung works wonders and turned the ugliest woman into a raving beauty. Initially she didn’t want to win, but she’s fallen in love with the Crown Prince so she wants to try her best. Ok Jung smiles and agrees to do it, encouraging In Kyung as having a good shot since her heart is true.

Hyang Ah worries about Ok Jung going to the Palace but she’s assures her its all for fashion research since the best dressed are either in the Palace or a gisaeng house.

The day of the first Crown Princess selection arrives and the ladies and their maids pull up to the Palace gates. In Hyun is surprised to see Ok Jung here, and even more surprised to learn she’s the maid for In Kyung. The ladies walk over a symbolic stump and enter the Palace. Ok Jung follows In Kyung into the Palace and sketches clothing of the serving ladies, the guards, and even the little kids. When she sees the Queen, she notices every detail on her outfit and hair.

Lee Soon is walking through the Palace when his father King Hyeonjung approaches. Father and son walk hand-in-hand and talk (OMG, this is like the sweetest thing EVER), with the King concerned about his son’s future happiness. Lee Soon laughs about his father being the only Joseon King without a harem and King Hyeonjung sighs that its his little secret why and looks wistful.

Lee Soon reveals that he’s planning to take a hunting trip tomorrow to clear his mind and the King agrees its a good idea. His servants immediately perk up to eavesdrop, and both the King and Lee Soon know this conversation will be told to the ministers. The King uses code to tell Lee Soon to visit a master fisherman who lives out there and we see its a hidden leader of the Noron faction.

All the ladies are getting fixed up and Ok Jung assures In Kyung that she looks beautiful and even her freckles are beautiful and shouldn’t be covered up with too much power. Ok Jung remembers the Queen wearing a very elaborate hair ornament so she selects a bright one for In Kyung.

As the Queen gets ready to greet the ladies, sudden the Dowager Queen arrives. She clearly has seniority but she talks frankly with the Queen about how she has no power and really this thing is all rigged anyways since the Queen is here to ensure the Soron faction stays in the Queen spot. The Queen claims nothing is decided and this will be a fair selection. The Dowager Queen smiles and says if this is fair, then the Queen has created a new definition for the word. Ha, I think I love her.

The ladies are tested on dining etiquette and as a tray of food is placed before In Kyung, the serving lady purposely spills it all over her skirt. In Hyun realizes in dismay that this woman is acting on orders of her dad since the woman turns to give In Hyun a smile. When Ok Jung asks for time to get In Kyung a new skirt, In Hyun stands up and voices her support. Awww, she’s not all bad and clearly doesn’t like playing unfairly.

Ok Jung rushes off to find cloth and asks her friend in the Palace where to go. The friend suggests the laundry building and as Ok Jung runs towards that direction, she bumps into Lee Soon. Or rather, Lee Soon spots her and pulls her over.

Lee Soon is amused to see her here and asks if she’s here for Crown Princess selection. Ha, you wish! Ok Jung reveals she is the maid to one of the ladies and needs to find cloth to make a new skirt. She asks Lee Soon to lead her to the laundry building since he is a Palace guard and Lee Soon has to quickly ask his eunuch for help on directions.

They arrive at the laundry building and Ok Jung asks for permission to use a cloth to make a skirt. Lee Soon says go ahead and as she goes to select the right color red cloth, Lee Soon follows behind her and admires her profile in the billowing clothes. Ok Jung notices him staring and they lock eyes for a moment before she finds the right red cloth.

As Ok Jung gets to work sewing a skirt, she tells Lee Soon to hurry along because she needs to get down to business. Lee Soon is all like “are you asking me to leave?” but then realizes Ok Jung is engrossed in her sewing already so he quietly slips out.

Ok Jung finishes the skirt and arrives in time to put on on In Kyung before her one-on-one meeting with the Queens. Both In Hyun and In Kyung manage to make good impressions. The Queen likes In Kyung’s hair accessory and asks for one for Princess Myungan.

Lee Soon leaves the Palace the next day for his “hunting trip” and Ministers Min and Kim stand on the Palace walls and watch his departure. Minister Min suggests the Prince ought to go find women rather than go hunting. Minister Kim chides Minister Min for saying this as a prospective father-in-law. They discuss how Prince Dongpyung meets often with Lee Soon and Minister Min says he has been keeping tabs on them both.

Ok Jung is dressed in male attire and rides beside Prince Dongpyung as they head towards the military training ground.

Suddenly they are attacked by masked men and most of the guards are taken down by arrows. Dongpyung fights off the attackers and tells Ok Jung to run away to safely.

Two attackers chase Ok Jung to the edge of a cliff but Dongpyung arrives into to fight with them. Ok Jung sees one attacker about to strike Dongpyung and she grabs his sword arm. In the tussle Ok Jung loses her footing and falls over the cliff into the water below.

Prince Dongpyung kills the last attacker and leans over the cliff screaming for Ok Jung, who we see is sinking underwater.

Thoughts of Mine:

I never would have imagined that a re-imaging of the tale of King Sukjong and his two wives Queen In Hyun and Jang Heebin would be so fun to watch. The ratings for this drama have been low and its the last of the Mon-Tues dramas, and I’m not sure if the reason is that Korean ahjummas (who control remotes) are not eager to try out a different version of a historical record. Imagine asking the French to watch a new version of Joan of Arc where she is actually an alien in the employ of France and England burned her because she was in fact evil. Not sure that would have any appeal even if the audience knows its just taking dramatic license. People sometimes love clinging onto history because it provides a sense of security. I remember scoffing that Bu Bu Jing Xin could ever succeed in painting Emperor Yongzheng as anything other than his historical reputation, and boy was I was wrong then and am I wrong here. Jang Ok Jung has cemented herself as the heroine of this story without any caveats. I adore her, her levelheadedness, her pride and resilient nature, and above all else I love how she’s totally not interested in love and wants to be a career woman. The fashion designer bit takes a stretch of the imagination but it quickly settles on her and actually plays an integral part of the story. Her teenage and now adult interactions with Crown Prince Lee Soon are beyond perfect, there is this unspoken attraction they both can sense but neither is obsessed with it nor does it dictate their decisions. This is a romance that I can see develop into something truly epic, and I appreciate the drama doesn’t foist it on us.

Will I be chastised for saying that I actually like all the villains of this story? I feel like no one has an upperhand and this will become truly a chess match for the ages, between the royal family trying to regain its power, the Sorons and the Norons battling each other but uniting to keep the royal family from getting stronger, with Jang Hyun and Prince Boksun off to the side and gaining traction – there are so many layers at work and my intelligence is not insulted by a single cackling villain or one sole conflict. The side characters are also wonderfully fleshed out in limited screentime, from the friendship of Lee Soon-Prince Dongpyung to the sisterhood of Ok Jung-Hyang Ah. I can also see Ok Jung getting close with In Kyung and perhaps being instrumental in In Kyung becoming Lee Soon’s first wife. I initially worried that Lee Soon having so many women in his life would make it hard to buy his love story with Jang Ok Jung in this version, but that isn’t the case. The drama creates so many political pressures that I can see how Lee Soon would be marrying for political reasons while his true love is Ok Jung, and how they will have to truly walk new paths for her to enter the Palace as his concubine. I’m pretty much sold on this OTP, the pairing of a smart and sensible Prince with a sassy and stunning woman who captures his heart and mind.


Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love Episode 3 Recap — 55 Comments

  1. OMG!! Thank you thank you thank you so much for recapping this drama! I was so worried that you’ll drop this show! Thanks again! Pls keep recapping this show. XD

  2. I think the main reason that people do not like Jang Ok Jung is because of the tremendous liberties it takes with history… Not just with Jang Heebin being portrayed sympathetically, but because of the whole implementation of her being a fashion designer… I know a lot of ajummas were appalled by the idea of the fashion show being run by a low caste woman, because it wouldn’t have happened.

    Personally, I dropped Jang Ok Jung because of how bad an actress Kim Tae Hee is. It seems like she’s still acting in a modern drama while everyone around her is in a sageuk… I’d much rather read your recaps, which are entertaining and save me the pain of having to hear Kim Tae Hee speak in stilted tones.

    • Lol, kind of like the same situation Suzy is in, she’s in a sageuk yet she feels so modern and out of place in her current drama.

      I admit, Kim Tae Hee is pretty mediocre but she’s better than Han Ga In and Suzy so she’s watchable for me.

      • Totally agree with you “LOL” KTH is not the best but much better than Suzy & Han Ga In.

        Thanks for your good work and PLEASE keep recapping JOJ^^;

  3. Thank you Ms Koala for recapping, can’t tell you how glad I am that you like this drama, most people prefer Gu Family. Love The chemistry between the OTP, YAI looks handsome and KTH just so pretty.

  4. Ahh, it’s happen again, same like last year. Isnt it ms koala? 😉 while I keep GFB as my favorite, I’d like tosay thanks a lot for covering it until this time*bow* and please don’t hate me to comment here since you say those things in intro.*checkin the recaps*

  5. Thank you for the recap, Ms. Koala. I can’t wait to watch episode 3 (urgh, the dl is so slow), so I’m gonna read your recap first. I love the childhood scenes. The child actors were pretty good in the second episode.~I am supporting you all the way through, including GFB. ^^ Hwaiting!

  6. Yay!! Thanks for recapping!! This is it… The Icing on the cake where the drama goes have aligned the stars and we are loving the same drama. I actually have been way too obsessed over this drama. I have watched scenes between the OTP (child and adult) numerous times since it aired last week. All the actor are great and I thought kth was the weakest link but I think she’s doing a decent job here. I think Yai and kth have this undeniable magnetism and that has totally drawn me into them even though their chemistry may not be smoking hot. I could seriously watch these two all day.

    Eek… Gotta go for now… Get one kiddo to preschool.

  7. It’s adorable how you question in your GFB and/or JOJ posts HOW could a KTH/YAI drama edge out a LSG drama for yourself. It’s been a long time that I’ve continued watching a drama for an actor I’ve liked. I enjoyed GFB E1 immensely but then E2 happened and I couldn’t just ‘understand’ SH and my interest for the drama precipitated just like that. Despite LSG appearing in E3 I just can’t get behind Suzy and have yet to watch it… wuttttt?!!

    Am not watching this show but am glad that you’ve found your drama crack. 🙂

  8. Thank you! I really like this drama. I don’t get the whole fuss about Gu Family Book, no i do get it lol Lee seung gi & Suzy Pairing

    Hmmm GFB, while watching, i wasn’t able to take any of them seriously(Suzy, Lee Seung gi)… even tough, i adoOore Lee Seung-Gi. Really..

    Anyway, my choice is Jang Ok Jung. I’m so in ! I like the story, the idea of her being a fashion designer, why not? I like the main character, she knows what she wants being a fashion designer, she does not long for an idealistic love story. She does not idealize men. To sum up, i like her! Fighting Jank Ok Jung

  9. Thanks for the recap. Episode 3 was yet another great episode. The banquet scene was a beauty to behold and the soundtrack is used to great effect. Yoo Ah-in is bringing it on in his role as Lee Soon. I love the way he interacts and looks at Ok-Jung. The scene where she runs into him is probably my favourite one. You see the delight that spreads across his face at seeing Ok-Jung again.

    While Kim Tae Hee certainly pales in comparison next to Yoo Ah-in (In acting ability and saeguk speech, not in looks), but I think so far she is holding it together admirably.

    I wasn’t expecting to pick this drama over GFB because I have serious love for LSG, but this drama really sucks me in. I love the world they created and the attraction of the OTP is such a wonderful thing to behold. I initially rolled my eyes when I heard about Ok-Jung as a fashion designer, but it works and I like the role it plays in the story.

  10. I yet to watch either show (I know, what’s wrong with me?) I’ve just been following your recaps. It seems that JOJ has what GFB is lacking; developed characters, nuances, and better writing. I think I’m going to check this one out. Thanks for yhr recap and sharing your thoughts.

  11. I was thinking just how long it would take one of them to figure out that they met each other as kids. I felt like LS was really close, close as in sticking to his instinct that he has definitely met her before. I keep thinking how could he not figure it out. Ok Jung as a kid and as an adult, looks at him pretty much the exact same way. She always gives him these stares and sometimes a glare in there. When and if he finally figures it out, I think he’s in for a shock. I don’t think he expected to see her again, and probably forgot about the promise he made to her, since they were just kids at the time.

    At heart, I’m a true romantic. I almost always fall for those male leads who characters love only one woman and one woman only (cough TMETS cough). So I know it’s going to be a struggle here for me. LS has a lot of women and for different reasons being that he is the King and has a lot of responsibilities. I foresee a lot of heartbreak and crying etc for everyone up ahead. I do like the political intrigue here (I love that part of Yi San) but I hope it can be cleverly done so that it blends with the love story part (if there is even a love story here).

    It is a little disappointing that the ratings are so low. I think the morale on set much be difficult to keep up. As a fan, I know that ratings don’t really reflect everything. However, I still feel like they, the actors, production etc etc feel the ratings pressure. So I hope it can increase.

    • I feel the same way. Somehow I seem to really enjoy the dramas which end up pretty low on the ratings chart (King 2 Hearts, Arang and now JOJ). I know ratings has nilch to do with the quality and enjoyment factor of dramas, but I also know they are a huge source of encouragement to the cast and crew, which is why I always hope that dramas I like get the ratings I think they deserve.

    • I’m actually looking forward more to how JoJ will react when she finds out he is the boy who gave her all the hopes in the world to be her magical dress that will transform her life, and then disappeared; and similarly in Ep 4. spoiler ahead [when she heard him say that he will definitely pick a girl of highest class status to marry and not a nobody like her, which totally broke her hearth cos before that he invited her to watch the sunrise with him and i can see that she was moved by him]. Imagine the whiplash…

  12. I am on the same ship as you!! However subtitles for GFB comes out much faster than JOJ. So while I wait for JOJ I watch GFB first.

    So glad u r doing the recap! Thank you do much.

  13. I finally found my Kdrama for this season!
    This drama is so pretty and the story’s quite good. I still have some problems with KTH’s acting but it’s not that much of a distraction so I’m fine with it. I love her chemistry with YAI. New OTP to root for! I’ll probably shed buckets of tears for these two when this drama ends.

    I hope the dismal ratings in SK won’t do much damage on this show. It would suck if they end up cutting episodes and doing unnecessary changes to the show.

    May this drama continue to be good and engaging. ^^

  14. Awesome!! Thanks so much for the recap. I was waiting on pins and needles for this. I guess the titular reason for me tuning into to this and being more excited compared to GFB are the leads. I’ve always had a soft spot for KTH despite her limitations just cause girl puts visible effort in all her dramas.

    I like how the story is shaping bout the power-play. And i am absolutely sold on a story that gives us a heroine that is not only spunky, but dignified. And none of that starry-eyed baloney and losing their marbles over love. I really detest it when writers portray women as green-eyed witches who turns into scheming, cackling monsters when other women are at play in the same love-game.

    You know…I have a feeling that in this drama, Ok Jung would become the scapegoat and end up being the martyr for Lee Soon to secure power.

  15. I love how this drama is developing but I can’t bring myself to watch it. I’m a huge fan of Dong Yi and Hong Soo-Hyun and I know they are going to be the “villians” in this drama.

    Thanks for the recap Koala.
    Much love <3

    • Give it a try 🙂 This coming from a huge Dong Yi fan myself. Dong Yi is my favorite kdrama sageuk ever. I have seen many of them to know. I too was afraid that I just wouldn’t be able to accept it. But it came as no trouble at all. I’m fine that DY isn’t the sweet girl that she is in Dong Yi. In both dramas, I still view her as the winner in the tussle between Sukjong’s many women. After all, it is DY’s son YN that become the long reigning King Yeongjo. I may change my mind about this series in the middle, but for now, I think it’s great and it hasn’t detracted from my love of Dong Yi at all.

      • this is what make me nervous, i wish dong yi isn’t too bad, her son would be great king, and its painful to watch that his mother is evil, i just hope even dong yi is evil, she only evil toward inhyun, while on ok jung side, isn’t she said she want to grow up like ok jung?

  16. I love every bit of scenes in this episode. The banquet scene, library scene, and the laundry building scene~ I just love the interaction between YAI and KTH. And most of all~ just like you Ms. K, I’m so loving father and son walk hand-in-hand and talk! YAI and his charisma as the future king and at the same time a prince in love totally owned the character~ from his speech, voice, gestures and gaze. And Lee Sang Yeob is such a cutie and gives his character charming vibe too. This episode is so fun to watch and I’m looking forward to episode 4.

    • Hahaha! you said it all nothing left for me… just giggling about Crown Prince’s day dream scene, happy Yoo and happy Me 🙂
      THANK YOU for the recap,,,,, will be back for ep.4 ❤❤❤

  17. Still waiting on subs.

    So does the writer for this drama read a lot of Regency romance? Cos that’s how this is playing out.

  18. In my opinion, i think it is much better for koala not to do any recapping on GFB as there will be a tendency of being subjective or let say.. being bias as she is more on JOJ ashe’s getting critical over the other…

    • she was always going to be critical of GFB but now it’ll be more so because there are two subversions and not just one going on here. A drama she thought she’d love didn’t do it for her and the drama she thought would be a mess is doing it for her. She isn’t recapping it in full anymore. She might be doing baby recaps, which I’ll enjoy.

  19. I bet after todays episode 4 of Gu… you will choose Ok-Jung, Koala. 🙂 Gu is beyond boring I’d never thought it would be that way.

    Even though the ratings are saying otherwise, Ok-Jung is shining!

  20. Based on your recaps alone, this totally wins on the political intrigues. Hope you will continue to recap this drama. =)

  21. Shocked that I love this one SO much more than Gu Family. *scratches head* Not sure how that happened. Thanks for the great recap, I hope you choose to stick with this one too. 🙂

  22. Love this drama, and despite the awkward transitions between scenes at times, they definitely pack a whole lot in every episode.

    And has anyone else noticed that Hong Soo-hyun got some sort of jaw reduction surgery (or lost a whole lot of weight) sometime in recent years? She looks so noticeably skinny in this drama that she seems almost sickly to me.

  23. I think that’s why this show has such low ratings — people don’t like the idea of queen in hyun and dong yi being the evil ones.
    I for one didn’t watch any movies/shows depicting the story of king sukjong&inhyun/heebin– i just know the background. Which is why i’m able to watch this fine. I think it’s alot better coming in without expectations which is why JOJ pleasantly surprised me.

  24. Dear Koala,

    Thank you so much for all of the recaps. I especially love your thoughts on JOJ. Have been on your website for more than a year now on a daily basis, but never left a comment. This show just made me say thank you for all your hard work and insights into different dramas. It makes me appreciate them even more.

    Hope you gonna continue with JOJ. It’s really a very beautiful drama.

  25. Ms Koala, thank you! Like you and a few others here, I couldn’t imagine myself choosing JoJ over GFB so clearly at the beginning but I sure am glad I did. Instead of thinking I chose KTH over LSG, i choose to think that I picked YAI over LSG cos YAI really shines here. His little actions and subtle emotions speak so much without the overacting. The colors here are amazing as well. So beautiful, like KTH. Like Ms Koala I watched Ep 3 a few times. I was enthralled by the interactions of KTH and YAI.
    The only sad thing is the ratings. I heard ep 4 was like 7%!! Why, Korea???

  26. Actually I don’t care and expect much about high viewer rating, BUT only 7% !!!!!!! OMGGGG I can’t understand Korean viewers at all. For sure, this drama doesn’t deserve such low rating. Hope this low rating not discourage all casts and crew. Hope the team keep their good work till the end. I’ll keep watching this.

  27. Ms Koala thx you so much for the review, I do really love how this drama developing the story. I don’t really care about the ratting, as long as the script writers do not make changes to increase ratings by adding non sense storyline. But its still makes me nervous, ratting always make a huge pressure for the production team.

    I’m looking forward for the next episode

  28. thank you Ms. Koala for the recap and your insight.
    i really wish you could continue this recap, not because i m not planing to watch but its the otherwise, i don’t want to watch alone and painfully wait for sub (also wait for recap). please continue spread the love.

  29. thanks for the great recaps koala sis! love it. i can’t believe it at first but then here i am hooked with JoJ. i am smiling when Ah In is smiling day dreaming. i just find i really really cute. love the colors of this drama.

  30. The drama is really fresh
    If you don’t thinking about the real historical
    It’s hard to convince ahjumma viewers .
    but I think young viewers maybe love it!

    I love YAI sageuk voice , so sexy

  31. I love this drama. I hope the rating increased so that the production wont think of decresed the episodes or the quality of the storytelling. Plus, its a motivation for the production as well.

  32. watching Jang Ok Jung didn’t really enter my mind back then, but then since i got bored yesterday, i tried to watch the first episode and got hooked immediately.

  33. To me episode 3 is the best. The chemistry between the leads is just about right. And there we also witnessed the different view of life between JOJ and IH. JOJ is actually an ambitious woman with high confident while IH is submissive and care a lot about image.

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