Another week, another episode of Mirror of the Witch. Stuff starts happening this week. Big stuff. Bad stuff. Lots of bad stuff. And we’re not just talking two adult men romancing a child. Also. Yoon Shi Yoon gives us all the feelz! All of them. We may still be wiping away the tears.
Stephanie: GAH. Yoon Shi Yoon. Y U Gotta be so good? Last week we got a little reminder as to how good of an actor he was. But that was just a taste. An amuse bouche if you will. This week? Yoon Shi Yoon slayed me with his acting ability. For real, if it weren’t for him, I would not be sticking with this drama.
Jacqueline: Man, I think this drama is gonna be our first major disagreement…at least, in Kchat History, anyway, LOL. Yoon Shi Yoon is DEFINITELY awesome sauce in this show, and he out acts everyone until the cows come home…but I have to say, I did actually really enjoy this last round of episodes, especially Ep 4. I had such a blast watching everything go to hell in a handbasket, what with the 5 Year Old going the way of the curse and all the backstory and exposition and setup FINALLY getting in gear. But while I had fun, I am so nervous for this drama come 10 episodes from now because the writing is definitely NOT the strongest. Like, at all.
Stephanie: Wow. Yeah. I’m officially going to have to re-evaluate this whole friend thing 😉 While there were aspects of the episodes I enjoyed, overall I didn’t really have a good time and while watching I was wondering as to why. Yes. I cringe every single time YSY and the heroine are on screen together. I cringe when pervy-brother makes cow eyes at the heroine. But I think it comes down to why I have a problem with saeguks in general. Power. The having of and abuse of power. The bleakness of the underclass who just have to cruelly take-take-take all the abuse. It’s hard to watch. I know this is how history really was (yes I know this is a very fictional story) but history is built on these exact sort of situations. And for me, the underdogs just having to take the abuse of power is really hard to watch.
Jacqueline: It’s funny how I both agree AND disagree. On the one hand, I am with you on how saeguks are SO hard to emotionally get through, ‘cause it’s exactly as you said; power dynamics. I’m also with you that EVERY time there’s a Rom-tastic moment between YSY and/or her bro and the heroine, I wanna hurl. But, in the moments that’s not happening, I can divorce myself from what I don’t like, and concentrate on what I do. I like that the heroine is a fascinating mix of strong and vulnerable, sassy but also a slave to circumstance. I actually like the evil witch antagonist, for as much as I want her to get hers, watching that actress on screen is SO fun. And, I’m compelled by the magic and mysticism of the world. Sadly, a lot of this can wear thin depending on how the story unfolds so who knows if I’ll end up a turncoat and hate this drama by the end.
Stephanie: With the idea of power and the treatment of the lower class, I really do like the evil shaman. We learned this episode that she is someone who was just like Yoon Shi Yoon’s character, someone who was downtrodden and beaten down, the victim of class. She’s been treated terribly, and she’s doing what she can to make her life better, by getting power. Because in this world those who have the power are pretty much able to do whatever they want. This society is reaping what they sowed. It is a choice to be good or evil, but I’m having trouble just thinking of her as a big bad. Being low class, being a woman, she is playing the hand she’s dealt. I’m interested to see where her story goes from here.
Jacqueline: I see her as both a big bad, and a victim of circumstance, because she’s corrupt and needs to be taken out but she’s also complex enough to make that end be compelling in its own right. I have to say, that surprises me. And dude, speaking of surprising, these makeup effects this time around are blowing my mind! We got some nice spooky and kookey with Big Brother being at Death’s door, and DAYUM SON! The blood and gore paired with him hallucinating the monster? Those were some cool effects! Of course, that hallucination ended up making me feel SO sad when our girl sneaks off to see her brother and he’s all, “BEGONE DEMON”…cue misunderstanding because he don’t know it’s her and not Ghosty McGhost Face, and yeah. My heart had such a sad.
Stephanie: It is an interesting question. Who is that ghost. Is it the manifestation of the curse that is following her? Like another version of the pervy-spirit who keeps wanting to…enter women? Is it her dead mother? I was kind of hoping that the brother would die. Partly because it takes care of the gross future love triangle (come on, we all know it’s coming) and it would have been a more realistic to the curse. Her curse is supposed to kill. Well, I’m still waiting on it. Then if the son died, maybe her fake mother would have been more understandable about her ass-holeyness. I am not a proponent for violence but man, did I want that woman to be slapped when she gave up the girl to the shaman. I completely understood why she did it. Her son’s life lays in the balance–but she didn’t have to be such a smug jerk about it.
Jacqueline: I TOO wished brother would just go night-night, because as much as I’m sad about a character dying, it’s far less hard on me emotionally than having to watch a character suffer. I am so intrigued by that monster-ghost thingy, too, because the camera definitely gives more attention to it than any spectral entity we’ve seen as of yet. Based on that cue, it’s likely going to play a part in the story. My best guess is that it’s not actually evil. The actor emits a benevolent energy anytime it’s been on camera, so I’m betting it’s the reason our sick brother hasn’t died yet; it’s protecting him. And oooooh MAN that mom. I swear I wanna beat her with a chicken. I get her motivations, but what makes it so hard is that she was the only parent to demonstrate love on screen to the heroine. That birthday gown gift? The kindness in her voice, fleeting though it was? And then she goes bitch-face? Sure she’s got motivations but hot diggity, DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE TOO, WOMAN.
Stephanie: Uhhhh….were we watching the same second episode? Yeah, she never liked that girl. And she was not nice in giving her that outfit. I’m guessing the husband ordered her to buy a present for her. You could just tell she resented her. Makes me guess it was probably an arranged marriage as I can not see the white witch willingly choose her. No-siry-bob. Can we talk about the brother again? Taking her to the town? Why did they never talk to him? He was at an age to be able to know exactly what was going on. Especially since the parents knew he had more feelings for her. Maybe he didn’t need to know the whole truth, but he should have been aware just what was at stake (like her life) if she came out. It just seemed like an easy plot device. Made me roll my eyes a bit. I did like when her eyes changed though, when her eyes changed and she turned–possibly evil? That might be a nice twist.
Jacqueline: Uhhh….yeah, pretty sure we were, LOL. IF memory serves me correctly, when first meeting Mom Face at the very end of that interaction she places her hand on the girl’s arm very briefly and there’s a small moment of awkward between them that reads, at least to me, brief kindness. Yeah, see, that’s exactly my point about how this drama has moments of seriously weak writing, because realistically speaking there was no reason for Bro not to know why his sis was on Banishment Watch. I think the deal will be that she’s going to either be evil, or incapable of feeling. My best guess is since neither have fully happened, the curse isn’t strong enough…hence brother not being dead yet, and her still having feels. Of course, this all culminates in my prayer that I’ll tune in these next episodes and WHAMO. There’s a time jump and low and behold we got a new actress. Wouldn’t THAT be magical?! If only. Sigh.
Stephanie: YES!!! I think this is the first time in all of my kdrama watching I’m literally praying for a time jump. This would make the drama so much better! Although, I guess it can’t really happen, what with the crowned prince all incapacitated. The people in charge just wouldn’t stand for that. Did you wonder too though, why didn’t the shaman kill her? She was right there. But she walks off and orders her peeps to do it? You don’t hand down work that’s that important–especially since you officially failed in having her murdered once already.
Jacqueline: Well, technically it might be able to happen because Crown Prince is all comatose right now, so MAYBEEEE…but I know my luck, so probably not. As for the shamen not killing her, I can KIND of understand because she actually said she didn’t want her killed, but to be captured alive and taken back to the palace so they could do the transfer curse thingy and save ole Prince Face. Which makes the whole thing even MORE dumb for her turning her back and not making sure her peeps DIDN’T KILL HER FIRST. If she wanted her dead, hell, she could have done that when she hugged the kid right in front of the house. But nope, gotta play with her food first I guess.
Stephanie: Okay, so that I missed. (Or maybe mine was just subbed differently.) Although. Wait. Why, if she wants her to go back to the palace, why was she trying to convince her to kill herself? That was definitely a thing. Unless the shaman still CAN’T kill her. The first murder attempt she said the white witch had to do it. Maybe it’s the same now? Maybe it has something to do with the spell she cast to essentially create the babies? Or maybe it’s just a giant plot hole I’m sinking in. Either way, I’m rooting for time jump and a new heroine. This would give Yoon Shi Yoon time to heal from his wounds, the fake brother to die, the crown prince to, I don’t know, vegetate? And Yoon Shi Yoon’s mom time to…I am not sure why I see her dying, but I do? Something needs to precipitate his character’s motivation from desperation to anger. I want him to be able to get his in the end. To dole out the vengeance that I need to make me happy with the story… Heh. Come on. Who doesn’t want to see YSY burst in with a sword and a plan to extract his revenge. Although, I guess I don’t need to be so bloodthirsty. Perhaps a more just revenge would be for him to do something to switch the power back from his half brother and his mother back to him. Let her feel what it’s like to be so powerless, to be at the whims of others to survive. Now that would be justice.
Jacqueline: Yeah, the witch isn’t able to kill her on her own merit because of the spell, which is probably why she wanted her to agree to kill herself. My best guess is she was about to go kidnap her back to her dungeon of perpetual cobwebs, and then lo and behold she got interrupted by daddy. Above all, though, I WANT YSY to be able to come out of his lot in life. I feel like mom is going to get shipped off on the boat outta town, and will either be out of the picture and/or will die in transit. Obviously our boy is going to miss the boat, and how cool would it be if we fast forward in time, and suddenly NEW actress but also Yoon Shi Yoon gets to be Mr. Badass? I want to see him out of his hell hole and on his two feet without being tortured by his asshole…stepmom? I NEED him to get his revenge, and yes I’m bloodthirsty enough to want the whole shebang, LOL.
Stephanie: Yes, thanks for that handy-dandy foreshadowing, we know he’s not going to get on that boat. He’s going to have to make the choice between saving the girl and saving his mom. Unless of course, mom bites it sooner than later. I’m wondering if there isn’t more to her and their story though. Why are the two who own her so worried about him trying to buy her freedom? I can understand if the mother wants to keep her as a punishment for daring to birth her husband’s baby, but why go to such lengths? Something hinky going on there I think.
Jacqueline: Oh, absolutely! I’m guessing that Yoon Shi Yoon’s parentage, or maybe even momma’s parentage, might just be a bit more complicated than we assume…perchance, even, royal? Shhhh. It’s a secret, though. Either way, that plot point hopefully goes somewhere than just beating a dead pig. Poor piggy.
Stephanie: Yeah, because if she was going to go through all that, wouldn’t she have just killed him? Seems easier. Oh, wait! I forgot one more thing. You know who else should have been filled in? The girl. Even at the end, when the white witch is sending her off to the temple to break the curse, he doesn’t tell her everything. Doesn’t explain why she needs to live and break the curse rather than die. That’s just dumb and such a kdrama shorthand. If she knows that all she needs to do is to break the curse to save everyone, and that her death will also bring down Joseon? Well there is some motivation for her. Right, now, the only one giving her information are people who are looking for her to off herself. They keep treating her like a child. Oh…wait. Right. She is. But still. Give her the information she needs to help herself! You’re right, she’s smart and spunky. Right now she needs something to live for and they aren’t giving it to her.
Jacqueline: I agree! I’m seeing a lot of contrived info-holding because, well, obviously the writer wants more episodes…I guess? But you can HAVE more episodes without the need to turn your lead into a giant stupid face all because she doesn’t have all the puzzle pieces. This is a writing handicap I see in SO many dramas, saeguk and otherwise, and it drives me bonkers. But more so does the add-on of stakes. Look, the stakes are ALREADY HIGH ENOUGH DRAMA. I remember having to ask you, “Wait, what haven’t they told her yet?” and you reminded me with the above…and that right there is proof this is a flimsy ante up. They haven’t even mentioned the doom-gloom-and-nuclear-fallout since the babies popped out the vag, and so it just feels like another reason to make the drama more dramatic. Sigh. Still, as much as I’ve got shade to throw at Mirror, I have to say it’s kept my interest. I’ve only scrolled through Tumblr a few times while watching. Good on you, Mirror. Please, just give me a new heroine and we can be friends.
Stephanie: Now that I can agree with.
Ladies, this one is on hold for me. Just too, too much darkness for how stressed I am right now. However, your discussion is really interesting as a former history major.
Don’t forget this Joseon era setting is pretty much like the early medieval period in Western European history. There have been lots of shows about the middle ages that make it seem fun to live in the past (heck, Ren Faire, anyone?) but in actually it was painful, brutal and unfair to all classes. Also, there is that Korean cultural idea of “han” – I’ve read that it is pretty much in every part of Korean culture. Han is like resentment, low-grade continual suffering and passive resistance – oh, and worse. The first time I read about it, it was in a review of Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy” where the author wrote “Koreans are good at revenge.”
Honestly, if it weren’t for the drama chat, I don’t think I’d finish it either. All the beatings and helplessness just stress me the fudge out. And when I’m not stressed I get YSY romancing a baby? Yeah, that doesn’t bring the warm fuzzies either. It reminds me of what I think when people are like, oh, I think I was born in the wrong century, or wish to visit the past. I’m all…no, no you don’t. The past was pretty horrible no matter what culture you’re in. Especially if you’re a woman. And poor. As I am both? Yeah. I’ll stick here thanks.