It was a busy week for me so this review is a little late than usual but I’m back! The lives of Jae-yi and the Crown Prince are in constant danger, but things take a more dangerous turn in the two latest episodes of ‘Our Blooming Youth.’ The Crown Prince gets injured after getting shot by an arrow and Jae-yi and Seong-on miraculously survive after jumping off the cliff into deep waters (poor Jae-yi and falling off cliffs! It’s amazing how she’s survived twice!). Our characters are pushed to their limits in the two most recent episodes and their loyalty to each other are also tested in the process. Through their up’s and down’s, through the good and bad and ugly times, Jae-yi and Lee Hwan are always there for each other.
Episodes 13 and 14 felt a little slower and didn’t do too much within the two hour time span. It felt as if the drama was spreading things out to eventually and slowly build up to what will be groundbreaking moves and revelations in the third act of the drama. From the King partnering with the Chief State Councilor and Left State Councilor Han to protect the Crown Prince to the death of the daughter of the Minister of Personnel to Right State Councilor Jo discovering the truth about Jae-yi’s identity, it felt as if episodes 13 and 14 was setting up all the chaos and commotion that will arrive in future episodes. Therefore, it was nice to just sort of take a step back again and slow down a little bit as the drama dedicated its time to other sub-plots or relationships that it might have placed in the back burner.
One of those relationships being the relationship between Jae-yi and Lee Hwan. They are our main characters so it wasn’t that the drama never focused on these two, but it did feel at times as if the drama didn’t focus on them together as much as they could of because they were focused on all the other things happening instead. It was nice that the show reeled their relationship back in by giving us more scenes of the two and their commitment to each other. Due to dangerous circumstances while on their mission, Jae-yi and Seong-on separated from Lee Hwan and they ended up getting wounded in their own ways. While wounded and hurt, Jae-yi and Lee Hwan still could only think about the other and was worried that the other might have died. Even though Lee Hwan had been shot by an arrow, he treaded around in hopes that Jae-yi and Seong-on was still alive. The same could be said about Jae-yi who never gave up on finding Lee Hwan and ran around with a bleeding leg in hopes that he too was still alive.
As we saw at the end of episode 13, the two reunited and crossed paths (like how they were always meant to do) and that’s when Lee Hwan felt relieved enough to use up all his energy and fall unconscious. Jae-yi and Seong-on were both there by his side through the recovery process, but it was in these most fearful and hopeless moments of being afraid to lose each other that Lee Hwan and Jae-yi finally realized and acknowledged how they felt about each other. Jae-yi couldn’t bare the thought of losing Lee Hwan and had something important that she wanted to tell him. Lee Hwan wouldn’t have been able to live with the fact that he was the reason that he lost someone important to him if Jae-yi did die. Reuniting after the dangerous conditions that they encountered and experienced was a relief for the two and it made them only appreciate the other even more than they already did.
Jae-yi took care of Lee Hwan as he was unconscious and recovering. When Jae-yi got a small scar on her face (due to a traditional “loyalty test” she underwent to test her loyalty to Lee Hwan), he treated her scar and took care of her then. Perhaps my favorite scene to have come out of this week’s episodes was the moment when Lee Hwan woke up in his room and found Jae-yi right next to his side. As she stood up to change the bowl of water, he called her by her name “Jae-yi” and not by her eunuch name. I’m not kidding when I say that I paused and gasped at that moment.. because.. HE CALLED HER BY HER NAME [!!]. If I remember correctly, this is also the first time he’s ever called her by her real name so that definitely was a big deal! Lee Hwan also said it at a time that was so emotional and vulnerable and intimate for the both of them. They had initially thought they lost each other and then Jae-yi was concerned for Lee Hwan’s health once they reunited. Then she stayed by his side and took care of him while he was recovering and he knew how important this moment was for the both of them so he vocalized her real name to grab her attention.
So clearly, as you can see, this scene was the highlight out of episodes 13 and 14 for me and I loved everything about it. Later on in the same scene, the two returned to their natural environment where they (once again) indirectly confessed to each other about how well they knew each other and how they were meant to be by each other’s side. I love that it’s becoming a pretty common thing (per episode) for Jae-yi and Lee Hwan to express their loyalty, gratitude, and support for each other. It never gets old even as frequent as they do it and it signifies the unconditional love that they harbor for each other. Through thin and thick, even if they have no one else, they know that they will always have each other.
So episodes 13 and 14 did a tremendous job in reminding viewers about Jae-yi and Lee Hwan’s relationship and providing us with plenty of development on that aspect. We also learned more about the people of Byeokcheon and how those affiliated with the village are still disrespected and looked down upon. Those who worked at the Royal Palace were dismissed and fired from their jobs but they continued to face discrimination even while in the village. It’s become such a risk to even mention the name of the village that our village couple, Man-deok and Bok-soon, also know to stay quiet or else they could experience discrimination given that they’re also affiliated with Byeokcheon.
The part that I’m the most worried about is what Right State Councilor Jo plans to do now that he’s aware of both Jae-yi’s identity as a pretend eunuch and the whereabouts of Ga-ram. We’ve seen his guys go around killing people who are threats to him and his plans so he could do the same again. Additionally, I knew this moment was eventually going to arrive where Right State Councilor Jo was going to find out about Jae-yi and Ga-ram. Now that it’s finally here, it’s still scary because we know what he’s capable of and how manipulative and meticulous he is. Let’s hope Jae-yi and Ga-ram can stay safe because that dinner scene towards the end of episode 14 gave me ominous vibes and I did not feel good about it. It was heartwarming watching the two little villager kids eat and spend time with our group of friends, but the slow motion of their smiles and their singing and them feeling like a family? It felt as if the the drama was foreshadowing something dark that will happen to this group that will break them up and it made me want to cry (in both a good and way). Please tell me I’m just overthinking things and everyone will come out of this alive and well T_T
Another part that I was intrigued by was Jae-yi’s memories of Tae-gang and the suspicions that the two harbored towards each other. Tae-gang was with the Crown Prince so Jae-yi’s recollections of him delivering the wedding gifts and secret letter or attacking her as a bandit wasn’t true. So if that was the case, then who was the guy who Jae-yi saw? Is it a matter of her memories playing tricks with her? Or is it possible that Tae-gang has a twin? What is Tae-gang’s role in all of this? Is he just simply Lee Hwan’s bodyguard and that’s all there is to it? Or is he a undercover secret agent on another mission? Whatever it is, I’m just glad that Jae-yi and Lee Hwan actually talked things out and that Lee Hwan actually had legitimate reasons to account for why Tae-gang could not have been the one who attacked Jae-yi (again, I was getting major ‘Crash Course in Romance’ vibes with this whole Tae-gang vs. Jae-yi thing so I was afraid this drama was going to do the same thing again, haha).
Episodes 13 and 14 slowed down on other parts to focus on Jae-yi and Lee Hwan’s relationship which was a nice decision. The development made sense and was nicely paced: the two have feelings for each other but they’re also reminded of the doubts they have in staying together. Lee Hwan doesn’t want Jae-yi’s life to be in constant danger because of him but Jae-yi is committed to being with Lee Hwan to protect him and because she likes him. I loved seeing the two together whether it was when Lee Hwan got jealous when Jae-yi mentioned that she had feelings for somebody (PSTTTT Lee Hwan, the person is a lot closer than you think! Dare I say, he’s actually someone you know). Or when Lee Hwan shared a story about his brother to Jae-yi and talked about the version of Joseon that he wanted to see his brother create. It’s as if the two know they should “break up”, but there’s a yearning they have for each other that won’t allow them to. Jae-yi and Lee Hwan won’t give up on each other and their loyalty and trust in each other is unparalleled. Though it’s true that their lives are in greater danger the more they are together, it’s also evident that they give each other more reasons to stay alive by staying by each other’s side.