Lee Gyeom has been searching for clues on how to bring down Min Chi Hyung and those clues have revealed the reason he lost Saimdang twenty years ago. But his search has not gone unnoticed and Min Chi Hyung knows that his secrets are going to be revealed if he doesn’t do something soon. Will the King allow Lee Gyeom to finish what he’s started or will the circling vultures cause the King to kill everyone to save his own head like he did 20 years ago? Will Lee Gyeom’s recklessness bring freedom or death to those he loves? Join Kate and me, Wendilynn as we discuss this week’s developments on Saimdang : Lights Diary.
Kate: There were a lot of chess pieces moving into place this week. Yes, there was drama as Saimdang risked her family’s future over bailing the wanderers out of jail, and the sword fight between Lee Gyeom and Min Chi Hyung, and the King’s fits of temper, but overall I think this week was preparing us for much bigger developments, drama, and setbacks to come.
Wendilynn: Agreed. It was as if they needed to confirm that the main players all knew who was who this week. The veneer of civility is clearly off between Gyeom and Chi Hyung. They both know the other is their enemy now. I admit, I smugly smiled when he insulted Whieumdang as he left the fight. While we’ve seen more of her story now, she’s just loathsome.
Kate: Hurt can help account for a lot of character flaws, and she went through both physical and emotional pain during her youth when she also witnessed the massacre, was injured and rejected by Lee Gyeom. But that doesn’t account for the level of villainy we’re witnessing. Still, I feel just a tiny bit sorry for her deep down. Being married to Chi Hyung seems like a very dangerous position to be in, and she’s had to balance that carefully for a long time.
Wendilynn: Considering how she became his wife by killing his first wife on his orders, that’s going to make for a nervous marriage situation. But, she takes great enjoyment in being evil herself. If she had just made hard decisions to survive, I would be more understanding. However, she is out for blood herself and has no problem destroying others for her benefit. So, really, those two are a match. Which is probably why she’s lived so long as his wife.
Kate: At this point, she’s had some decent experience at these machinations, but as a young girl entering this situation, he had the upper hand for at least a while. This is why I still have that little bit of sympathy. Don’t a lot of teenage girls sometimes make bad decisions on behalf of getting the guy? But yes, this was a whole other level of dastardly deeds. No wonder the music she plays is bitter. She may have had the opportunity to develop her painting and music, but at the expense of her soul.
Wendilynn: There’s blindly following a guy and then there’s purposely aligning yourself up with a mass murderer. She approached him knowing full well who and what he was. I have to wonder if he knows she was a witness who in turn gave him the book and sash of Saimdang? So, no, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for that woman, especially as she’s going to get really nasty from now on. All bets are off now that Lee Gyeom has declared himself. I have to keep telling myself that Saimdang and her children die of natural causes later in life so they’ll be just fine because this situation keeps making me more nervous.
Kate: This week’s building tension sent me to her biography this week, and yes, she does die of natural causes. However, her second son is only fifteen when she does. How old do you guess he is right now? Twelve, maybe? Depending on how quickly or slowly the pace of the show keeps going in the past timeline (or how many time jumps we may witness) her death could very well be what sends Gyeom to Italy. At the very least, there’s going to be some big developments soon, but we’re not quite half way through the series.
Wendilynn: yeah, I figure the same thing for Gyeom as well. I found it interesting that the King’s guard went and found Gyeom. Their conversation was rather interesting. As well as the conversation he had with his Aunt. Everyone trying to tell Gyeom not to rock the boat. I don’t think he’s capable of doing that. Not while Saimdang suffers.
Kate: I’m hoping that at the very least, Gyeom can make more informed decisions about how his actions may affect others, his relationship with the King more specifically. He and the King have had an interesting relationship, and until this week it seemed that we the audience had a fuller picture than Gyeom of how unstable that relationship was and dangerous for Gyeom even if he played his cards right. The King is fickle, jealous, and quick to think badly of people. Sure, he wants Gyeom to act as an informant to help him spy on factions in the government, but it wouldn’t take much to convince the King Gyeom has turned to plot against him. Sure, the King proclaims great affection for Gyeom, but it wouldn’t take much to get him to proclaim death for Gyeom. Add his recent knowledge of the massacre to that, and this is a powder keg with Gyeom walking around holding a fistful of lit matches. After that conversation with the guard and some other events of this week, at least Gyeom may be aware that is what he is doing.
Wendilynn: I sure hope so. Especially as he seems intent on courting Saimdang again. Which makes me nervous because one, she’s married. And two, I think Chi Hyung will be watching for any opportunity to cry adultery against them. It’s probably the easiest way to make the King abandon him.
Kate: Courting her is incredibly reckless. Even some of the behind the scenes assistance he was giving her–such as helping support her son’s entry into the school–were a bit dangerous because of the way that Whieumdang and Chi Hyung were willing to read those actions to use them against Saimdang. But the King’s hissy fit at Legendary Bird makes me worried there are a lot of ways that could fracture that will hurt them all. Saimdang needs the government to be fair when dealing with the debts she has to pay on behalf of the wanderers, and the deck is already stacked since Chi Hyung has bribed the lower level officials. She may need to appeal to higher authorities, and having the King mad at Gyeom won’t do her any favors.
Wendilynn: With the merchant/paper monopolies, it’s going to be a trick to even sell her paper once she figures out how to make the higher quality paper. That reminds me. That ambassador from Ming. I was shocked to find out he’s working with Gyeom. I thought for sure he was in the pocket of Chi Hyung.
Kate: Speaking of selling paper, I thought it was wonderful how Gyeom helped her to sell her colored paper. It was inventive and kind, though not unexpected. The drawings and poems on the brightly colored paper all over Legendary Bird helped her to sell her stock and repay her promise to the wanderers. It was also so satisfying to see them all happy as they took their pay. They were all so proud of having earned money until they were taken away and jailed. From what I’ve read of Korean history, it wasn’t strange for people who owed heavy taxes to take to the mountains to avoid paying them. Yangban wasn’t expected to pay taxes, it was one of their privileges, which meant often that average people had a very heavy tax burden
Wendilynn: Makes you wonder how anyone made it out of that time period alive, doesn’t it?
Kate: It wasn’t Disney World, that’s for sure. It was also supremely in character for Saimdang to take care of the wanderers’ children. What did you think of the bombshell that the massacre was not a result of the drawing and poem? Sure, the fact that Saimdang witnessed the massacre still leaves her in grave danger, but that the massacre was already arranged really changes the understanding of the events, I think.
Wendilynn: I already knew he was going to wipe them out so he could have control of the paper industry. Her little picture setting off crazy boy was just the excuse he needed to justify it. It absolved him of ownership of the killing. In his mind, at least. He went from having a greedy reason to do it, to having a “justifiable” reason.
Kate: But it helps to release Saimdang from the huge guilt she was carrying with her for twenty years. Now she knows her art didn’t cause destruction. Now she can paint again with a lighter conscience. I’m sure she’ll still do her best to help the wanderers and continue that obligation, but I think Saimdang’s art may just be heading for a renaissance.
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