Rage Against the K-Drama Machine –  The Scarlet Heart: Ryeo Edition


So my good friend Raine (from Raine’s Dichotomy) and I spent a good portion of our day today talking about the latest episodes of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo and well, we just couldn’t get all of our feelings out in one conversation. That being the case, we decided to get together and throw ourselves a little rage party. Of course no drama rant would be complete without you, our awesome readers, so we decided to share a bit of our conversation, in the hopes that you might join us as we discuss this most amazing, infuriating, yet completely addictive drama.

Raine: Okay guys, this just needs to happen. This is blog posting therapy. Zombie Mamma and I are traumatized after watching episode 9 of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo

Zombie: Traumatized. Angry. On the verge of exploding from an overload of emotions… Maybe all of the above? Whatever you call it, we need to talk about this week’s episodes before I have a total meltdown.

Raine: Me, too. Although, meltdown happened last night, so this is post-meltdown therapy. I couldn’t even get myself to watch Park Bo-gum. That’s serious, serious trauma.


Zombie: Not gonna lie, I screamed so loudly during that last scene I gave myself a sore throat. It was just so… so… UGH! And I couldn’t watch Moonlight either. Not after the trauma I’d just endured… I needed a day or so to cool down.

Raine: Infuriating?!

Zombie: Yes! Infuriating is a good word for it! Even after a day of mulling over this darn drama, I’m still not satisfied with the way things are going. I can’t understand how a girl as strong as Soo can suddenly turn into a craven coward. WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO HER!?!


Raine: A lobotomy, that’s what! She was this strong, independent woman who knew how to read people, especially the very violent, impulsive, and fragile Prince So and then she smashes him to SMITHEREENS! The Soo I know would think it through!

Zombie: I’m not sure I can ever forgive her for that. She knows how fragile Prince So is. (Raine: Yes!) She knows that he needs love more than anyone else in this world. (Raine: YES!) She knows that she has the power to transform this wounded, rejected, dejected, self-doubting, miserable soul and yet the second she starts having visions of who-knows-what, she decides to throw that knowledge out the window!

Raine: ARGH! Don’t forget what else she forgot. She promised to change him; that she believed he could change because of what she saw in him. She KNOWS what he is like. Everyone does. And it’s possible because it’s already there. It just needs to be pulled out of that poor wounded soul! Caveat: I KNOW that forced kisses are NOT okay. But I think in this case, storywise, it fits his character. It’s something this man, at this point in his rather crippled development, WOULD do. And this woman knows she has influence over him. SHE KNOWS IT. She can help him to learn.


Zombie: I’m with you on this whole kiss thing. I’m not okay with a man forcing himself onto a woman but in his case, it makes sense for him to do so. He’s in a very emotional state at the moment, as he’s just been wounded by the people who ought to love him most in this world. He’s so blinded by hurt he doesn’t know where he is or what he’s doing. All he knows is that his heart feels better when Soo’s around so he goes to look for her and when he finds her, his raging emotions get the better of him and he does the only thing that will help him feel better. He kisses the one girl in the world who has never looked at him with fear in her eyes. At least up until that moment anyway. Oh gosh! My heart hurts so much for Prince So, I feel like I’m gonna start crying!

Raine: I know! WAH! I just hurt so bad for him. I feel this sense of rage towards the writers for this strange jump of character in her. He’s literally just reaching out in desperation. This is the man who wilts every time his mother verbally kicks him to his knees. The very same man who could kill a temple full of men. I think what makes me the most mad is Soo KNOWS this and she made all these promises to herself and broke them. And watched him go through the day being praised by his father, accepted by his brothers, no longer waiting on tenterhooks. I’m not saying this to excuse the “forced” idea in any way, shape, or form. Rather, I’m sympathizing with the hurt behind it and wondering what in the WORLD SOO IS DOING! (No, his behavior isn’t excused, but neither is hers.)


Zombie: Obviously all of this is stemming from her knowledge of actual Korean history and these visions she’s suddenly started having. (Which, why the heck is she just starting to have these now, when she’s been stuck in this world for months, is beyond me.) She knows there’s a prince who will soon become king. She knows this king will murder his family and rule in terror. Anyone who knows Korean history or bothered to look it up will know that Prince So is actually the one who’s supposed to do this. However, this drama begins each episode with a disclaimer stating they’re taking creative liberties with history, which means anything can happen. As such, I’ve been banking on the fact that Soo can change So’s heart, and help him become a kind, wise and all-around great king someday. But that can’t happen if her sudden rejection of him pushes him over the edge of sanity.

Raine: That, and we’re in episode 9 already. We need to have this genuine connection between them in place and ready to go by now. I was totally believing it, getting into the “who do I ship?” mode, and then I was hulk-smashed. How are they going to salvage this if she is genuinely terrified of him? She just becomes one of the many people who he loved and who hurt him. And also, I can’t like her like I did before if she continues this bull!

Zombie: And this is exactly why I’m so upset! Soo CANNOT keep this nonsense up! She has to know that So needs her. Somewhere in her Wook-filled heart she has to know that So is the one who is actually going to make her life worth living. Prince So is the only one strong enough to protect her. He’s the only one who actually needs her in his life. She can’t be so blinded by Wook as to not see this, can she?


Raine: There is this genuine repartee between them each time they’re together. It’s not just mooney eyes with them. It’s genuine talk. A basis in a budding, tentative friendship. Wook and Soo are connected by his late wife. (Not that they’re NOT adorable, cause they are. I’m jus’ sayin’.) ALSO, why did she not just run away before she spewed garbage and go talk first with Ji-mong. Or better yet, why not tell So the truth, the thing he prizes above anything else. Be honest about what you see, kid. She always is with everything else.

Zombie: Yes please! Soo’s never been afraid to tell it like it is before, so why change now? One of the reasons So likes her so much is because she’s not afraid to say what she thinks, whenever she thinks it. It’s what’s made all of the princes like her so much. She’s their breath of fresh air in this stifled life they live. (Raine: EXACTLY!) She just needs to flat-out tell him, “I’m having scary visions and I’m afraid they’re going to come true so please don’t become a psycho murderer.”

Raine: She did tell him not to kill multiple times…and guess what? He listened.

Zombie: So why change now!?! AUGH! I’M JUST SO DANG FRUSTRATED!!!

Raine: I seriously almost threw my phone at the wall!!


Zombie: Okay, so we’re obviously a bit worked up about Soo and So at the moment; so maybe we should talk about something else for a minute. Like perhaps, how the roles of these princes could change over time? With the way things have worked out thus far, there’s a lot of room for possibilities. For instance, we know So is supposed to be the next evil king but the 2nd Prince has certainly filled the role of bad-guy up until now so I’m not ready to rule him out. Also, with Wook mulling over Soo’s warnings about So and his ever-growing love of his wife’s cousin, do you think it might be possible that something could trigger him to become a villain? Say something like a jealous love of Hae Soo?

Raine: Well, he definitely showed a bit of a darker side when talking with his sister, wondering what his role in the future could be. He’s never really had the chance to step up and really do something. Before he married, he was exiled. He spent time caring for his ill, sweet-tempered wife. I feel like Wook has been in a bubble and releasing him from it could yield unpredictable results. So yes, jealous love could spur his grand exit out of his bubble for sure!

Zombie: So I’m not the only one picking up on a darker side to our gentle prince, right? I mean he’s definitely showing signs of darkness here and there. Which makes me think something in him is going to have to give, which will inevitably push Hae Soo towards Prince So.


Raine: He definitely has an edge, which I agree, may push Soo over to So. She loves the sweetness in him and the caring. And the dead sexy Kang Ha-neul playing him. But there’s is some seriously gooey center to So that doesn’t exist in Wook. A tough life can often shape a person to be truly kind. Not that Wook isn’t, he just has a shadow we haven’t yet explored.

Zombie: Honestly, I think Wook is being overly kind to Soo to make some sort of amends for his treatment of his late wife. To me it seems like he’s using her to prove to himself and his dead wife that he can, in fact, love someone and actually show it. As sweet as he is to Soo, I really think he’s using her more to make a point that actually loving her. At least he can’t love her in the way So can. Again, it’s all about Prince So’s desperate desire to be loved. Wook has already been loved in his lifetime, I’m not convinced he deserves a second chance. At least not with Soo.

Raine: I think it started as this sweet puppy love, but it’s definitely tainted by death and guilt. It lacks the purity of So’s love and that’s the heart stuffs of romance.

Zombie: Exactly. Speaking of puppy love… I think we need to talk about our adorable 10th Prince for a minute.

Raine: EEEEE!


Zombie: I know he wasn’t thrilled about his marriage and honestly, I can’t really blame him. His new wife is… Well, she’s just about the most extreme opposite to Prince Eun as you could possible get. I feel bad for the poor guy. He’s stuck in a marriage he didn’t want, to a woman he doesn’t love, and now he gets to look at the girl in his heart every single day and will essentially pine for her for the rest of his life. Because she’s flat-out told him she’s never going to be his second wife.

Raine: Thankfully! I was glad she did that and gave him some finality and really have him the chance to display some maturity, which he lacked. I feel horrible for him. A loveless marriage, no matter how common amongst the upper echelons, is no fun at all. I think with his big ol’ heart he could grow to love Soon-deok. At least I hope, for both of their sakes. Or develop a friendship.

Zombie: I really hope that’s the way things play out for him. Because if they don’t, his disappointment and heartbreak could lead him down very dark paths and that would just be too painful to watch. He’s too pure and sweet and innocent to be tainted by the darkness that comes from living a life of loneliness. He needs to find a way to accept his wife and make the most out of the cards he’s been dealt.

Raine: Agreed. I definitely see in the writing that there is room for darkness everywhere. It hasn’t been afraid to get dreary indeed.


Zombie: I think that’s part of what makes this drama so darn addicting. The possibilities here are pretty much endless. At any given moment, something could happen to tip the scales in one direction or another. Every character is harboring a bit of darkness, every action has the potential to lead to a very dark reaction, every path could end in misery, and yet all of these characters keep moving forward. Wherever their paths might eventually end, they’re all headed somewhere and we’re just sitting here, trying to figure out where the heck they’re all going to end up. Will it be a happy ending or will it break our hearts? Either way, I’m stuck over here, sitting on the edge of my seat, clutching my heart and gasping for breath as I watch this all unfold. I swear, I’ve never been so mentally, physically, and emotionally into a drama in well… Ever.

Raine: I’m super into this dang thing as well. I seriously don’t get it. From a critic’s perspective and I, as someone who writes critical reviews weekly, am a critic, there are so many glaring flaws that this shouldn’t be as awesome as it is. BUT IT IS. I think a lot of it has to do with the incredible chemistry between the cast and the real focus on using So as this catalyst for, well, everything. Whatever he does, good or bad, people have something to do or say about it. Also, Lee Joon-ki inspires everything.

Zombie: He really is the lynch-pin for this entire drama. Everything rides on his shoulders and he carries that weight so incredibly well, both as an actor and as Prince So.

Raine: Agreed. I never got Lee Joon-ki. He’s been exciting for me, but this drama just makes my heart ache for his character. He’s “on fire” as they say in sports.


Zombie: I’ve always been a fan of Lee Joon Ki so I was expecting great things from him in this drama. I just had no idea he would be the great thing in this drama. He is this drama. And bless him! He’s doing such an amazing job! (Pardon me, I think my fangirl is showing…)

Raine: If it didn’t, I’d worry for your mental health! But seriously, this guy is killing it. There’s a lot to say for a man who can make you laugh and cry, all from behind a mask. Or almost hurl your cell phone at the wall.

Zombie: Is this what people mean when they say, “get yourself a man who can do both?”

Raine: I do believe so, yes!

Zombie: Also, I’ve had to stop keeping my cell phone with me as I watch this drama. I’ve darn near broken it and my TV, in my moments of emotional overload… It kinda reminds me of myself at KCON… But that’s a whole other story…

Raine: I was just about to say, you have a tendency to throw expensive rectangular objects when you fangirl! I have a tendency to lose my voice and jump around like a 14-year-old.

Zombie: That was me at the end of episode 9. My throat still hurts! But we digress… Is there anything else we need to rant talk about before we end this?

Raine: Just…we have to wait until Monday. WHY?! Put. Me. Out. Of. My. Misery. Save me Lee Joon-ki!!!

Zombie: I’ve just started singing BTS…

Raine: Was singing it as I typed it and doing that shoulder dance move thingy. *dance dance*

Zombie: Hahaha! Okay, we need Monday to be here STAT! We also need Hae Soo to stop being a weak chicken and get back to her normal, awesome self. We need Wook to get out of the way so So can have Soo’s heart and then life will be good. Right?

Raine: Hear, hear! Good lives for everyone…once Monday comes!

Zombie: Here’s hoping! *crosses all fingers, toes and eyes*

Raine: Save Me!


Phew! I (Raine) think we may have partially ranted ourselves out! I say partially because writers are never done with the written word. (Zombie: Never ever!) Thank you so much for joining us! (Zombie: Yes! Thank you!)

What did you guys think of this week’s episodes of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo? Did you have the same reaction as us or was it totally different? What do you think of the drama thus far? We’d love to hear your thoughts, even if you don’t agree with us. But we will fight for our ULTIMATE PAIRING: SO/SOO! Do you wish you wage battle? Tee-hee.

Anywho, thanks for joining us for our “Rage Against the K-drama Machine – The Scarlet Heart: Ryeo Edition.” Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below and don’t forget to follow us on social media and on our blogs.

Raine: Raine’s Dichotomy, Twitter, Instagram

Zombie: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram



7 thoughts on “Rage Against the K-Drama Machine –  The Scarlet Heart: Ryeo Edition

  1. This drama needs to stop spinning its wheels and gain some serious traction in a direction…right now I’d take ANY direction. They’ve spent 9 episodes and we still haven’t gone anywhere!! (Except maybe a little bit backwards.) Our spunky girl is an anxious mess, our attentive but cool husband is now a widow sneaking hugs with his niece, our face-hiding Prince has uncovered his face but hasn’t won any respect, creepy eyeliner Prince is being sent out on a death mission, the cranky princess has been told she’s going to her married but we don’t know to whom, poor baby Baekhyun Prince who loves to play with toys was married off to a manly warrior, the Crown Prince has eczema and that’s about as exciting as it gets for him, and some weird group of rebels are floating around in the background. Where the heck are we going??!!!

    So’s assault on Soo was way out of line. I can’t forgive that. I’ve seen that in a few recent dramas where they try to pass off behavior like that as passionate – it’s not. It’s called sexual assault. I really liked that Prince but now I have some serious misgivings. I thought he could keep her safe, but how can he do that when she’s not even safe from him? As much as the other Prince is a bit wishy washy, he always treats her gently and cares about her happiness. So was only thinking about himself and his frustrations.

    Regardless, I can’t wait for the next episode.

    1. My totally unproven and completely biased opinion is that too many people were cheering for Prince Wook so they decided to make him a more prominent player. Of course this opinion was formed before I watched the un-edited version of episode 8. After seeing what changed in that makeup applying scene… I’m even more convinced that Prince So is the one Soo is supposed to be with and I’m mad that leaving that scene out has such an effect on the kiss scene we got in episode 9. It still doesn’t excuse So’s behavior, but it does paint it in a much better light. Having almost kissed her before, it makes sense for him to actually go for it at that moment. Of course I realize my utter bias towards Prince So is completely skewing my perspective so take what I say as you will.

      I do have to agree with you on the whole wheel spinning thing. This far into a drama, we should have some forward progress but really, we haven’t made any. From a critic’s perspective, we really need to be making some serious story-line developments in these next couple of episodes or this drama may end up being about as plot-less as Descendants of the Sun. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that drama very much and I’ve already shared how I feel about this one, so I’m not saying this to be mean. I would just really like there to be some point to all of this emotional investment. I need something to happen, be it good or bad, and it needs to start happening ASAP. There has to be more of a point to this drama than simply giving us a glimpse into the lives of these 18 million princes. Call me crazy and demanding but I need more depth than that. Okay, I’d like to have more depth than that. I really could survive on all this fluff if I had to but I’d probably end up with a terrible stomachache by the end.

      1. I’m not a huge fan of Wook – he’s kind of a boiler plate K-drama nice guy. I was also feeling that Soo and So are much better fit, but the writers jeopardized all that this episode by turning Soo into a basket case and So into the kind of man to force himself on a girl. Both were acting out of character, which is why that scene was so frustrating for me. It made me question everything I’d felt up to this point.

        1. I really think we have the editors to blame for this one. I think they’re doing a crap job of bringing this story together, especially for us international viewers. If we were just given the scenes as they were originally intended, instead of edited to death, I think we’d be a lot more satisfied with things than we are.

    2. Dear Jesus it’s like you ladies filmed T and I’s conversation! WTH happened!? We did find out from some others that they’ve been editing and cutting out scenes in the DramaFever versions. I did see a couple deleted scenes where there is at least a LITTLE bit more backstory on why and when she gets so freaked out. And then all of a sudden her and Wook are in love and planning on being together forever with no other conversation?
      We totally think he’s got a dark side coming. When she said “I can’t be here anymore” and he answers “I can do that” I was like “well there’s the end of #8. And HOW could she do that to #4?! Poor So!
      Ok so our theory is that she already diverted history, #3 was clearly supposed to get into that palanquin and be Gwuangdong however she derailed it when she helped #4 with his face. And now she’s just gonna make everything worse! Gah!!!

      1. I totally agree with your theory about her already changing history. Her very presence has messed with the timeline and everything she’s done since arriving has had an equally profound impact. It doesn’t matter if she’s trying to “stay out of things” as Ji Mong advised her to because just by being there, she’s changing the way history unfolds. As is Ji Mong, I might add. If he’s really another time-traveler stuck in Goreyo, he’s been messing with the timeline since his arrival as well. I think both of them need to stop worrying so much about “not getting involved” and focus more on living the lives they’ve been given. I mean if they’re going to be dragged back in time, there has to be a reason for it so they might as well live as well as they can and stop letting fear control them. Especially Soo. She has brought so much change already, it would be a shame for all of that great work to go to waste.

    3. First things first, Lee Jun-ki elevated this “odd” project to one epic story. He’s able to do that in each and every sageuk he had been in since his “Clown” days. Hat off!!
      Moon Lovers is a drama with too many liberties to begin with. The C-novel as well as the original BBJX have nothing to do with this story. Is Goreyo more interesting than Kang-Xi’s Later Qin? It is, for me. Less tea-time, more anger. Goreyo provides us with raw emotions and surely, more action. I like it better since too repressed feelings make me, as a person, more anxious.
      Is So the killing machine, according to History? Yes and no. There is one more king right after the Crown Prince’s death and that’s our ambitious No.3. And they both had too much blood on their hands, because theu both exterminated their relatives. ( Big detour: In Nif, the King’s brother said the best line: “Is there anywhere any prince who doesn’t think of the throne at any given time?” So the King asked him if that was the case for him as well since he himself was a prince. The brother realised what he had just uttered and quickly relied: “I’m only your kid brother, Your Majesty”! Hahaha…The kings used to get rid of their kindred for obvious reasons).
      So, what’s the meaning behind the premonitions of So’s reign and why now? Like you guys, I have endless conversations with my BFF every week on Moon Lovers.We concluded that the PD either left out previous scenes that would have smoothly brought us to these week’s visions or he needed the impact from Soo’s reactions: she’s terrified by him the moment everyone else in the palace is srtarting to embrace his exictance as a human being. The 4th becomes a monster after displaying his scar-free face.
      The forced kiss? There is one in the original; however, it’s in a completely different situation. Ruoxi’s reaction? Pushing away one of the most prominent cadidates for the throne and the most ruthless of them all. Similarities? Ruoxi knows very well who is the 4th Prince (even though it’s from the very beginning of her time-travel) exactly like Soo. But Soo couldn’t remember the actual History from episode one (perhaps lack of education? In her world, she was just a working girl after all) and that’s why the writer chose a supernatural element as a plot device.
      The pre-produced dramas give us lots to talk about, right? My main focus -aside Jun-ki, naturally- is the PD’s and the writer’s perpective to their work. I find it refreshing without the live-shoot system and the last-minute absurd changes (but I equally hate their overtime in the editing room. The material is this one, you can’t have more and you will never ever please every single viewer out there. Production team, you should be aware of that by now!).

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