It’s over, it’s over! But don’t tell me how it ended!
So The Princess’s Man aired its final episode last Thursday. Since that night a week ago, I’ve become a fugitive of sorts, lying low and appearing only when the coast is clear. Twitter, Soompi. Even my own post on the historical background of the drama. Any place where people might spill the beans on the ending became a minefield that I had to avoid. Because I have my own plans, you see. My own farewell party. This weekend I will watch Episodes 19-22 again. After that, I will watch, for the first time, Episodes 23-24.
Don’t be misled by the drama’s title. At the crux of The Princess’s Man (2011) is not a princess and her man, it is a king and his brother.
More precisely, a sickly king and his power-mad brother. A brother so ruthless he will kill his own family members if that will pave his way to the throne. Who is this man and is he for real? To uncover the answers, allow me to take you on a quick tour of the history behind this gripping drama (fifteen episodes devoured in four days). The last time I did something similar (the devouring, the researching, the writing) was for last year’s best drama, Jejoongwon. With nine more episodes to watch, I do not know if The Princess’s Man will be my drama of the year this time but a Top 3 placing looks almost certain. Just the political feuding alone has me on the edge of my seat and positively salivating.
Who’s the best person to judge an Lee Min-ho drama giveaway? A dear friend and fellow blogger who breathes the same air as he does and who has seen him up close. (Read all about the LMH encounter and other celebrity sightings here.)
About three weeks ago, I asked interested TP readers to write about Lee Min-ho. My guest judge would then pick two winning entries. Well, Softy has selected the winners!
For various reasons (such as the frenzy surrounding the drama and its cast, one actor in particular), I’ve always thought that Boys Over Flowers was Lee Min-ho‘s first leading role.
This weekend I learned that I’ve been wrong all this time. Two years before his 2009 megahit, he was lead actor in a little-known drama called Mackerel Run.
Writing this recap (after a break of two months) feels like coming home.
Before I started, I randomly picked a few of the previous recaps and read them in their entirety. As I did, all the old feelings came rushing back. Hwan making me giggle, he an open book of conflicting emotions. Jun-se making me swoon, again and again, his eyes these crystalline pools. Sweet and spunky Eun-sung, caught between the two men who loved her (thus turning me green with envy!) and between her own dreams and fears. Grandma — the heart of the drama — confounding me with her abstrusity and, lately, frightening me with her vulnerability. The witch and her witchling, their sheer desperation holding me transfixed.
Each one I have missed. Watching them again in Episode 24, I am reminded afresh of all the reasons why Brilliant Legacy is one of my favorite dramas this year.
The episode opens with a flashback to how Episode 23 ended: It is morning and Hwan and Eun-sung awake next to each other in Grandma’s hospital room, the first thing they see being each other.
In a children’s story beloved for nearly a hundred years, a little railroad engine takes over a task rejected by much larger engines and successfully pulls a long line of freight cars over a hill, puffing as it goes: I think I can, I think I can.
The name of the story? The Little Engine That Could.
More recently, a friend has coined a similar name for Brilliant Legacy: The Little Drama That Could.
I love this pet name and have been using it as a nutshell answer when people ask me what is so special about this drama that I’ve been recapping from the first episode. But why ‘little’ drama?
An old couple, unrelated to any of our characters, appears in this episode for the first time.
She’s ill and craving the Jin Sung beef soup. He, who is tending to her and can’t leave her side, calls to place an order. The manager (and increasingly I believe he was sent to the second branch by a power higher and wiser than Grandma) asks Hwan to deliver the soup. He does it a tad reluctantly at first, because the minimum order for home delivery should be two bowls but this customer orders just one.
Inside the couple’s dim and decrepit room, we see the old lady on the floor, her husband sitting next to her. He is delighted to see the soup. Apologizing to Hwan for his single order, he looks for the money to pay (and we see that he has just small change left after paying). Before Hwan leaves, the old man presses two mint candy into his palm. For all your trouble, he says.