I sure hope that your bodies are ready dear Readers, because the battle for best Yun-bok/Jeong-hyang moment is already underway and the scene in this fifth episode of the series is arguably one of the top two best scenes in the whole 20 episodes!
Let’s start with the story so far. As you might remember (I know it’s been long since ep04 but bear with me) last episode was the beginning of the tests for the art students. There were two types of the test; one was to copypasta an already made painting while the other was to paint something an artist formulated from the poem given. Think of it as a practical vs theory exam. Yun-bok chose to do the poem exam and she had left to go find muse, which she had found at the female Paradise Island of sorts. There she ran into Jeong-hyang with whom she had fun on the swing and also got her muse for her exam. She did not get to finish the painting however because the lady that she had stolen her clothes from had turned up forced Yun-bok and Hong-do to flee the scene. Jeong-hyang held onto Yun-bok’s painting for her.
This is where this episode picks up and I tell you now, this episode is where all the seeds get planted as far as romance roots are concerned! All major seeds were planted, be it at home with Yun-bok and Jeong-hyang or in exile with Hyang. Let’s begin with Hong-do, since they went first anyway. Hong-do had been impacted with the female form of Yun-bok at the falls and when they got to change back from their female garb, he couldn’t help but steal looks towards Yun-bok. The poor man probably didn’t even know what to do with himself having these strange feelings towards a make student. But even be that as it may, it was way out of the left field, this relationship. Let me explain myself.
Later on we see Hong-do meeting one of his old friends. We knew Hong-do and a certain man, that I know having seen the series to be Yun-bok’s father – real father, were very good friends. We also know that Yun-bok’s father was killed and that his demise was surrounded by a scandal. Hong-do did not know what happened to his friend’s daughter and had thought her dead all these years. The friend that comes to visit Hong-do lets him know that the little girl was still alive. Hong-do is shocked to learn this and as he wonders where she might be we get a flashback to those days when Yun-bok’s family was still alive. Yun-bok was such a cutie when she was young.
Ahem, anyway, knowing this and seeing Hong-do and Yun-bok being all chummy with one another in the present is kind of hard to swallow. Sure it is one of those most loved forbidden relationships but still! I have had to see many things and accept them but this I just can’t accept. Even as cool as Hong-do was this episode, really, as cool as he is every other episode whenever he rescues Yun-bok like some Prince charming, I just don’t get a feeling close to support of them! It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s more that I feel nothing for the concept of them.
It is strange actually because I don’t remember being that so un-affected by Yun-bok/Hong-do during my earlier watches. Did I just miss that little fact that Hong-do was not only old enough to be Yun-bok’s father but almost her non-blood related Uncle? I doubt it! Butt it happened, they chose it as the main rival ship so we have to learn to live with it and I think I have done a good enough job.
Anyway, Hong-do knows that the little girl is still alive but he hasn’t made the connection yet. Hell, he hasn’t even come to an understanding that Yun-bok is actually a girl. In this way he is in the same boat as Jeong-hyang. They both suspect but their minds just can’t let them put thought to material. Speaking of which, both scored a huuuuuge amount of points with Yun-bok this episode! Hong-do performed a heroic feat this episode that totally gained him cheers from the shippers of him and Yun-bok. He like, literally saved Yun-bok’s life at the most crucial of moments.
You see after she had completed her painting and very sure she would win, Yun-bok gets ambushed and thrown into a well. Not only that but her painting gets taken and burned (by Pil Chul – that bastard). So, she is not only left for the dead, with a badly bruised ankle due to the fall, but she would be failing the exam thus seeing Hong-do exiled back to the mountains and Yun-bok forbidden from ever painting again. This was all that Pil Chul’s plan all along by the way.
Every minute that passed was a moment wasted since it counted to the closure of the exam and Yun-bok was a very long way from where the exam was taking place. If it meant that she had to start all over again, she would need every second of time but she was stuck in a well and it was night outside, no one would be helping her out. She cried out for help of course by the stupid patrol guards thought she was the voice of Sadako or something!
Hong-do seeing that Yun-bok had taken his sweet time getting back, he goes looking for her. He of course goes to the exam place first but Yun-bok is not there. He then goes to Jeong-hyang’s place and starts drilling her for Yun-bok’s location, like she would be hiding him in her closet or something. And I say this again, I really hate the way Hong-do speaks to Jeong-hyang – like she was dirt on his boot or an eyesore. I only hope Yun-bok knew of how he treated Jeong-hyang. She would totally have his ass for dinner! She so would, especially after what we see during the Yun-bok/Jeong-hyang moment.
After he is satisfied that Yun-bok was not with Jeong-hyang, Hong-do goes on a search for Yun-bok and he soon finds her in the well. The pure relief and happiness of Yun-bok’s face upon seeing Hong-do in that moment…Don’t wanna admit it but damn it, Hong-do gets the best heroic moments every damn time! Too bad that also means he is a ‘Big Damn Hero’ and Jeong-hyang always wins any way even as she does something small like…No! I have to hold on!
If there was a cool factor meter on the screen it would have been at MAX during this whole scene when Hong-do finds Yun-bok. Not only did he climb out of the empty well with Yun-bok on his back, but he ran all the way back to the exam place, a journey that took them the rest of the night as they got there when the sun was already up. And even before then he had helped Yun-bok get out of her shocked state and helped her realize that she could still draw the painting again with some tricks. Basically it was going back to what he already said in the earlier episode about the picture already being there and waiting for the artists to put it on paper and all that.
Yeah, this episode was like heaven for the Hong-do and Yun-bok shippers. I still find it strange how these two get to have all the moe moments that you would expect from Yun-bok and Jeong-hyang meanwhile the two’s interactions are not what you would expect from yuri couple. Why is that? Were these writers that good at writing off Yun-bok and Jeong-hyang as a straight couple? I mean Jeong-hyang thought Yun-bok was a guy but that didn’t mean he actually was a guy. Yun-bok is a girl so their interactions should still have a resemblance of a yuri couple.
Moving on, we take a trip to the place that Hyang was banished to. As romance blooms and rivals grow back home, over there Hyang’s life is taking an interesting turn. After having broken a plate, that broke right at the same moment that Yun-bok fell into the well, totally showing how so obvious this show uses symbolism, the girl I mention before shows up. She has had an eye out for Hyang for a while and when she sees the chance, she takes it when she black-mails Hyang, some what into kissing her. Well, it was more like she surprised him by jumping his bones.
Interestingly Hyang not only was he not happy about being kissed (by a very good-looking girl) but he did not seem affected by the kiss. Well, saying he wasn’t affected would be a lie because he was, only it was a negative effect. He seemed angry. I of course can only think of one reason that he would be other than him being a virgin and thus not knowing the pleasures of affection. That reason being that he was saving himself for someone else. But I am willing to give Hyang the benefit of a doubt and say that he doesn’t think of Yun-bok like that.
Even though it wasn’t concrete that they would end up together or anything like that, the flags were raised and if there were any bro shippers out there, they must have been enraged by this episode. However way you look at it they were setting these two up for something in the future. Now, I just need to learn the girl’s name and we are good. Since Hyang doesn’t know it yet either, I will wait until she officially introduces herself. All we know for now is that her grand father is one important dude and that makes her superior to Hyang (and everyone else there).
But that wasn’t the only other romance seed that got planted this episode. Yun-bok and Jeong-hyang get another enemy in the form of Cho Pal – the merchant! While Hong-do is Jeong-hyang’s rival for Yun-bok’s heart, Cho Pal is Yun-bok’s rival for Jeong-hyang’s heart. Actually hold that thought. Those two are rivals but in the totally different light. Hong-do is a rival because Yun-bok had, or might have had feelings for him. Where as Cho Pal is a rival not because Jeong-hyang had feelings for him (she did not have even an ounce of feelings for the guy) but because he owned her!
Further still to distinguish between the two, Jeong-hyang never felt anything like rivalry towards Hong-do. In fact he would be the one who might have had hard feelings for Jeong-hyang, the way he always treated her when they met. Meanwhile Yun-bok totally saw Cho Pal as a rival for Jeong-hyang and in fact it got to the point where they even had a fight over her, well, Yun-bok started a fight over Jeong-hyang. But once again I am getting into spoiler territory here so let’s calm down and get back to the moment at hand.
Cho Pal first lays eyes upon Jeong-hyang this episode and it is love at first sight. This was even before he had seen her face! All he had view of was her half-naked back and he was already awe-struck. He was a man of art and had eyes that saw things differently so it wasn’t cheesy to think that he would have fallen for Jeong-hyang just from seeing her back. I mean come on, we already know Jeong-hyang is the hottest girl in town and anyone would want to have her. Too bad for them her heart is already taken, especially after this episode…and there I go again!
So, how did Cho Pal fall upon a half-naked Jeong-hyang anyway? Well, as usual, he was holding a business meeting which took place at the Gisaeng House this time around. I believe I mentioned it before but Gisaeng though considered as the lower class, played a major part in the early days of politics. Sure what they did was entertain the guests and be showed off like attractions but even then, they were productive to the good outcome of the meetings. And so it would make sense for a merchant like Cho Pal who dealt with foreign businessmen to hold meetings in a Gisaeng House. He actually put on a great show during said meeting which earned him interest from the Boss of the Gisaeng Business. This will be crucial in the future.
Actually the boss had wanted Jeong-hyang to come and play or the guests they had being as important as they were but Mak-nyun told her that Jeong-hyang had an important guest over. We all know who the important guest was so I was glad we dodged the drama that would have come with Boss Lady going over to visit Jeong-hyang and find out who this important guest was. Someone of course did give Jeong-hyang a visit, well, more like he took a sneak peek into Jeong-hyang’s room and that is of course Cho Pal I am talking about. He probably didn’t even notice Yun-bok, with all his attention on the beauty that was Jeong-hyang. Boss Lady does find him like that as he sneaks looks. She knew he was smitten with Jeong-hyang and drops hints of how Cho Pal could have Jeong-hyang for himself. She tells him that having Jeong-hyang would be having the greatest Gisaeng in the whole country and she was right.
Yun-bok you lucky bastard!
And so that leaves us with the one and only ship that matters! Sure there were seeds planted that would be problematic to Jeong-hyang and Yun-bok’s relationship later on but for now their connection is growing. I can tell you now that this episode Jeong-hyang fell in love with Yun-bok completely. Actually forget falling in love, she totally confessed this episode. There is no way that wasn’t a confession. I mean even Yun-bok’s reaction said it all!
This happened when Yun-bok went to finish his painting for the exam. Remember, he had not added Jeong-hyang to it yet as the lady of the swing because she did not get the Lady’s thoughts and feelings. Also remember that Jeong-hyang was holding onto Yun-bok’s painting for her so either way Yun-bok would have gone to visit Jeong-hyang. Then the most intense scene in the show so far was upon us! I am telling you, even if you have watch this show already, you need to go and watch this scene again! I am going to go off on a tangent here and say that this was the scene that won these girls the best actress awards in their respective categories!
You will never find a scene that shows emotions with just looks like this scene does! Not in any other medium and not in this show itself either! My God, I still get Goosebumps just thinking about it! From the very beginning until the very end, this whole scene was pure perfection! From the moment that Yun-bok asks Jeong-hyang to get into her painting to the end when Jeong-hyang asks Yun-bok if it will mean that she will stay in Yun-bok’s heart forever! Pure, perfection!
It begins when Jeong-hyang asks Yun-bok how she would go about entering into her painting and Yun-bok answering that she needs to see Jeong-hyang, to see her whole, to see what secrets lie under those clothes she wears. She says she needs to know all there is about Jeong-hyang. And right there in that moment as you look at Jeong-hyang’s face…my heart was almost forced into cardiac arrest. What was going on through her mind in that moment?! Can you imagine what you would be thinking in her place if Yun-bok asked you to undress? If this were any other series, it doesn’t matter if they were dating, Yun-bok would have earned himself a slap for that! But then that is it! I have never seen someone react to search words like Jeong-hyang did which confused me and put more weight in the scene! The battle that must have been going on in Jeong-hyang’s mind! Oh man, why wasn’t this a comedy?
After what had to be the longest wait for an answer ever, Jeong-hyang stood up and went about putting out the candles around the room. And it wasn’t just her. There was something about the way Yun-bok’s eyes as they followed Jeong-hyang’s around the room. It was as if she had realized the implications of her words a little too late and couldn’t take them back. She most definitely didn’t look innocent at the implications. She must have thought of it too – the meaning behind Jeong-hyang’s agreeing to do this! She must have felt that they had gone past a certain point that would not reversible.
Once the candles are out Jeong-hyang then starts to undress. She does this in such a slow way as if every inch of bare skin exposed meant the world to both of them. The atmosphere of this whole scene I tell you dear Readers!! I know I am not shutting up about this but the reaction is very warranted I can assure you! I am keen to put this point across because I didn’t remember how intense it was from my earlier viewings. It is only in the latest re-watch that the execution of the scene totally got to me.
Things escalate to dangerous levels once Jeong-hyang is done taking off her outer clothes. She was of course not going to go full nude but that wasn’t necessary! The implications were there. Be it half or full nude she was nude. Anyway it was enough for Yun-bok for what she needed and so she got to work!
I don’t even know how to express my feelings about what happens next! For you see in order to get a real sense of Jeong-hyang’s build to be able to perfectly transfer her to paper, Yun-bok began touch Jeong-hyang so she could feel the real curves and build of Jeong-hyang’s body.
Okay, first of all remember that to Jeong-hyang Yun-bok is a guy. She is in a dark room half-naked and is being felt up by a Guy! Take that fact and then think of what Jeong-hyang must have been going through in that moment! Now, it has been argued that girls are less sensitive to touches than guys so maybe she wasn’t as affected as I think she was but come on! It doesn’t matter how insensitive one is, the way Yun-bok so softly, carefully, tantalizingly felt all over Jeong-hyang’s body with her finger tips had to do things to anybody! Let’s not forget that Jeong-hyang was already kind of interested in this young Artist.
Now the way that the scene was put together might be interpreted in different ways. For example it could be that these touches were only projections of Yun-bok’s mind and that she actually didn’t make any physical contact with Jeong-hyang’s skin at all! But then again maybe they cut it that way to tell us that the touches happened in a given time-frame which already happened and this was a way to cut two scene at the same time to same runtime. Either way I will take the latter because the way that Jeong-hyang was reacting to Yun-bok’s touches couldn’t have been in Yun-bok’s imagination! There is just no way!
And speaking of reactions, the way that Jeong-hyang was looking at Yun-bok during those moments as Yun-bok traced her body’s contours…Someone please slap me! I am so going to watch this episode again before I go onto to the sixth one because this scene should start another award section of Best Scene at the Academy’s! There were moments where I thought that Jeong-hyang would lean over and kiss Yun-bok! Yeah, I have already seen the series and know that she did not do such a thing but that is how good this scene was! The emotions in this scene would cure entropy!
Yun-bok starts drawing as Jeong-hyang sits there half-naked and the atmosphere…Jesus! All shippers I’m sure declared their victory just from this scene alone! I am trying to find a word much more than romantic to describe it but I can’t find it. If anyone knows of one, please do let me know! When she is done, the two sit there for a while just staring at one another. After some time it is then that Jeong-hyang drops the bomb when she asks if this means that she is now planted into Yun-bok’s heart forever.
Maybe I don’t remember but Yun-bok’s surprise at Jeong-hyang’s words and their implications caught me off guard. ‘My heart?’ – She had asked again as if she wasn’t sure she had heard Jeong-hyang correctly. They sat there momentarily as the words hang in the air and feelings dominated. Yun-bok then moved closer to Jeong-hyang and helped, nay not helped, dressed Jeong-hyang. And as she did she was saying this lovely words to Jeong-hyang that I doubt Yun-bok knew exactly how effective they were especially on Jeong-hyang at the moment.
“What man would be stupid enough to refuse you?”
“What man would be foolish enough to treat you unfairly?”
As Yun-bok said this she was like mere centimeters away from Jeong-hyang. At one point they were so close that when Yun-bok moved her head their faces almost touched. And all through these moments my eyes were glued to Jeong-hyang’s face as I studied her reactions! I don’t blame her at all how she felt at that moment! Any girl would have been as equally affected had they found themselves in the same situation. To her it had to be the most torturous teasing ever with all these sensuous touches from Yun-bok, the lovely words and the words she spoke to Jeong-hyang and the fact that she had probably sown more of herself to Yun-bok than she had ever anyone else before!
No, I don’t blame Jeong-hyang for looking at Yun-bok like she held her very soul in the palm of her hand! Jeong-hyang was so gone in that moment and so in love with Yun-bok that no one seeing that scene would think otherwise! And then when Yun-bok is done tying the ribbon on Jeong-hyang’s little blouse, with only about 10cm between them, they look into each other’s eyes and both of them have so much feelings in those eyes that I felt myself getting drowned within them, and I am just a spectator across both time and dimension.
I gotta give props to the cameramen who filmed this scene too, nay, the whole series and the directors really. They knew where to point that camera, at what angel and for how long. They zoomed in on the two’s faces so we could see clearly the emotions they were trying convey to one another. They also paid a bit of attention on Yun-bok’s fingers as the knotted those threads and I was wondering if there was some kind of symbolism there. Like maybe Yun-bok was trying to tell Jeong-hyang that she is now hers and bound to her. Or maybe she was accepting Jeong-hyang’s feelings but sealing this away as their little secret!
Yeah sure it is hard to take Yun-bok’s words as evidence since she talks in vague language by referring to no man being able to resist Jeong-hyang. Sure Jeong-hyang thinks that Yun-bok is a guy and takes this the way we want to take it but Yun-book is a girl when all is said and done and even if she had feelings for Jeong-hyang, things are already way complicated for her. First of all as far as she knows Jeong-hyang thinks of her as a guy. So to Yun-bok even if she loved Jeong-hyang, this was already an impossible romance. On the other hand she might not have any romantic feelings at all for Jeong-hyang. I hate to make the comparison but maybe she is in the same situation with Hong-do where he struggles with these conflicting feelings for someone of the same sex and thus not being able to comprehend them yet.
But if she already does have feelings for Jeong-hyang, which would explain the sadness with which she said those two lines as a reply to Jeong-hyang’s confession (I think of it as such). It might not have been because she did not feel the same way but rather because she did but thought there was no way it would happen, if Jeong-hyang were to find out that Yun-bok was actually a girl.
Oh man, this show! I just got reminded, truly, of the reason why this is not only my favorite Korean Drama but my all time favorite TV drama! ‘Last Friends’? Pfft! ‘Hormones’? Maybe if the third season gives us a twist and we get a Dao/Khwan ending! No English show should be even remotely near .The Painter of the Wind’!
They are not even a couple, nowhere close, in this episode but believe me, anyone who watches this will nod their heads because they will see why the two Moons won best couple of the year! They are so good at making their characters convey their feelings to the other. Be it verbally, with actions or simply just staring at one another in silence.
I love this episode!
As for the plot, sorry I got distracted, There is a secret hidden within the politics and Hong-do was involved in this mess that happened ten years ago which saw the death of his friend and Yun-bok’s father dead. Not only that but this episode we also got a bit of the King’s past. His father too dies and I am willing to bet it was ten years ago too.
Hong-d got a visit from his long lost friends who delivered some unexpected news to him of his friend’s daughter he believed to be dead, to still be alive! This is going to motivate Hong-do on more in his quest to find out what went on those years ago. The deeper he digs of the course, the more Cho Pal and his croons’ jimmies get rustled meaning that they are still trying to find ways to get rid of Hong-do before he dug up the past. Trying to force Yun-bok to fail the exam was Cho Pal’s plan and another way to do just that but of course it backfires on them.
Even as Yun-bok comes back and manages to complete the painting in time, Cho Pal tries to disqualify him because he was apparently drawing obscene pictures (of the ladies relaxing at the falls, some naked). He was calling Yun-bok rebellious just like her brother who got banished for the exact same reasons. Knight Hong-do was around though and he saved the day once again.
Obviously Cho Pal didn’t give up on trying to fail Yun-bok as he trashed her painting during the gathering as the ministers took a look over the students’ arts. Guess who was there to once again defend Yun-bok? Hong-do of course. Though I have to confess right now that every time that scene came up I scrubbed through it because I couldn’t stand Hong-do’s behavior. I understand that he was angry with the guy but he acted really immature there. I couldn’t look at him nor listen to his raised voice so I just skipped forward to the announcements of the results.
Hyo-won of course got first place but just as he was celebrating thinking that he had beat Yun-bok, they announce a special award which went to Yun-bok. The judges all cried out in outrage and you could tell that they had all failed Yun-bok. They demand to know who this 1th judge was that had that much power as to grant such an award. It turns out that the King himself was the one. So yeah, we were saved more drama before the episode ended. Throwing Yun-bok into the well was enough drama for one episode. I don’t think I could have handled anymore. The episode ended on that happy note, well, for the characters that we cared about anyway.
And I think that I best leave it here. I don’t know if anyone has noticed but I have been trying to keep all my posts at around 3k words. As you can tell this post is over 4k words. It is okay though for this episode might be some people’s best episode. That Yun-bok/Jeong-hyang scene was just that good! And so until next episode…