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My Sassy Girl: Episodes 11-12

Our princess is fearless when it comes to smacking around gangsters and eating foods that require an acquired taste, but she’s very much a scaredy cat when she finds herself struggling to express a simple word of sincere gratitude to the man that’s inexplicably saved her from some sticky situations. She may be a princess, but she’s only human, and sometimes there’s nothing more daunting than opening up.

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

Hyemyeong makes a run for it while palace guard Joon-young engages in a heated sword fight with Wol-myung. But Joon-young gets swiped at the waist and starts bleeding, allowing for Wol-myung to slip away and resume his pursuit of the princess.

It starts to pour down rain, and the villagers scramble for cover while Hyemyeong weaves through the crowds to evade capture by Wol-myung. Her pursuer isn’t too far behind, but he’s fortunately inhibited by the rain and frenzy of people.

Suddenly, Hyemyeong gets pulled to the side, and it’s Gyun Woo who shields her with his umbrella and holds her close until he sees Wol-myung run right past them, having lost sight of the princess. He asks if Hyemyeong is all right, but she immediately faints against him.

Back at the palace, the queen is livid when she’s told that the king will no longer be spending the night with her because Joon-young requested a one-on-one meeting with him.

The king is alarmed to hear from Joon-young that Hyemyeong is being targeted and that they must deploy the troops to locate her. Joon-young asks for permission to search the Banchon area, which serves as the perpetrators’ basecamp, and although he’s standing upright, we see that he’s still in pain from his untreated (and still bleeding) wound.

Gyun Woo piggybacks am unconscious Hyemyeong to his home, and when he notices her pink slippers, he’s reminded of when he bought them for her at the lantern festival. He gently sets her down on his bed and feels her forehead.

Hyemyeong dreams about her childhood, her close bond with her mother, and their tragic separation. These memories cause her to shed tears in her sleep and she moans, “Don’t go,” but Gyun Woo’s there to watch over her and wipe away her tears.

Joon-young and a few of his soldiers barge into the Banchon area, where Joon-young recalled seeing Wol-myung exit the other day. The soldiers search the premises while the butcher wonders why they’re here, but they don’t find anything of note.

Drawing his sword at the butcher’s throat, Joon-young threatens to cut off the butcher’s head if he doesn’t reveal where the scar-faced man (Wol-myung) is, but the butcher says he knows nothing before he’s arrested. Seconds later, Joon-young stumbles and grabs at his bleeding wound, but stubbornly refuses treatment until they find Hyemyeong.

Hearing of Joon-young’s search, Minister Jung smacks Wol-myung in the face and orders him to find Hyemyeong before Joon-young does.

Gyun Woo waits outside while the nanny tends to Hyemyeong and asks her to to keep this a secret from his family. When he reenters his room, Hyemyeong’s been put in new (though admittedly plainer) clothes, and he dabs at her feverish face with a wet cloth.

The next morning, while Da-yeon gets her hair plaited, her attendant informs her that she’s exhausted all her options in digging up information on Hyemyeong — all except for one, that is, as she notes that the princess’s real name happens to be Hyemyeong. Da-yeon is surprised to learn that Hyemeyong is not a nobleman’s daughter, but a royal.

Meanwhile, Hyemyeong finally comes to and wakes with a start in Gyun Woo’s unfamiliar room. She finds him dozing in a chair by the bed and is touched that he took care of her through the night. She reaches out to catch his bobbing head, but lets go when he wakes up, causing him to hit his head against the bedpost. She can’t help but laugh.

She notices her different outfit and assumes the worst, but Gyun Woo assures her that he didn’t touch her. Outside, his sister Gyun Hee starts rattling his door, yelling for him to open up. Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong panic and frantically tidy up the room, but where will Hyemyeong hide herself?

Gyun Hee manages to get the door open and enters with her mother, but Hyemyeong has hidden under Gyun Woo’s sheets just in the nick of time. Gyun Woo’s mother is mad at her son after he ditched her and sided with the crazy princess the other day, so she airs her grievances to Gyun Hee even though Gyun Woo’s right there. Gyun Woo apologizes, but his mother doesn’t find him all that repentant because he’s still sitting on his bed.

Gyun Woo fibs that he has a leg cramp, which causes his mother to worry and instantly forget about being peeved at him. Gyun Hee spots Hyemyeong’s slippers under the bed, and Gyun Woo quickly says they’re for her, but she tries them on and they’re too large. Feeling suspicious, she inches closer to the bed and yanks the blankets off to reveal Hyemyeong underneath.

While Hyemyeong tries and fails to make the situation not look like what it does, Gyun Hee recognizes Hyemyeong as the crazy stalker woman, and her mother is shocked to learn that her precious son spent the night with her. Gyun Woo insists it’s not what it looks like when his father, Minister Gyun, enters and spots Hyemyeong.

While helping his father get dressed later, Gyun Woo asks him to keep this a secret from the king and offers to accompany him.

Meanwhile, Gyun Hee and her mother sit Hyemyeong down for a chat. It’s clear neither are impressed by her, so they ask her some questions to size her up. When asked what her father does for work, Hyemyeong answers that he worries about the country, heh.

But Gyun Hee’s mother scoffs because everyone does that, not realizing that Hyemyeong’s father is the king. She asks specifically about his occupation, and Hyemyeong answers that he doesn’t exactly have a job, and when asked about how many rooms her home has, Hyemyeong struggles to count. Haha.

Based on Hyemyeong’s poor answers, Gyun Hee and her mother assume her father is unemployed and lives in a one room hut, which makes the mother thump her chest in frustration that Gyun Woo was with such a lowly woman.

The queen drags a sleepy prince to see Hyemeyong, using him as an excuse to reveal that the princess has escaped from the palace, which is what Minister Jung instructed her to do. When they enter Hyemyeong’s room, only eunuch Young-shin and bodyguard Byul are there, and the queen is pleased by their inability to give a good answer as to where Hyemyeong is.

The king is having tea with Gyun Woo and his father, who says that he has something to say when the queen barges in without waiting to be announced. She announces that Hyemyeong has disappeared from her chamber, but the king is more annoyed that she went into Hyemyeong’s room against his orders. He corrects her and clarifies that Hyemyeong isn’t missing, but has been moved… to the Gyun residence.

We flashback to moments before the queen barged in, when Gyun Woo and his father informed the king that Hyemyeong was at their home and that she’s being targeted, which is why Minister Gyun advised taking precaution.

And the effect works, since Minister Jung’s cronies are furious that Hyemyeong has been moved to the Gyun residence and wonder how long they’ll continue to fall for the king’s tricks.

We return to Hyemyeong, who’s still with Gyun Hee and her mother. The mother offers Hyemyeong some gold rings, hoping that she’ll stay away from Gyun Woo in exchange. But Hyemyeong scoffs and slides the rings back to her, saying she doesn’t need them, which the Gyun ladies take to mean that Hyemyeong won’t lay off their son.

Hyemyeong carefully says they’re misunderstood and that she and Gyun Woo don’t have a romantic relationship, but they don’t believe her. Mom even begrudgingly offers another gold ring, ha.

A voice from outside calls for them, and we see Byul and Young-shin arrive with royal personnel and a palanquin. Hyemyeong cringes, knowing Gyun Hee and her mother will soon figure out she’s a princess. Next thing you know, Young-shin addresses her as “Princess,” and Gyun Hee and her mother are stunned and speechless by this revelation.

However, even though Minister Gyun instructs his wife to take good care of Hyemyeong while she’s staying with them, she still isn’t sold on Hyemyeong, princess or not. Huff.

After changing back into her royal clothes, Hyemyeong accepts a letter from Gyun Woo on behalf of the king. In it, her father writes that although he hasn’t forgiven her for her mistakes, she should obey Minister Gyun’s words and practice self-discipline while staying with them.

At the teahouse, Gyun Hee tells her girlfriends that she finally found out the identity of the crazy stalker woman who actually turned out to be the princess. No one believes her right away except for Da-yeon, but they grow concerned because they weren’t all that kind to her at the lantern festival.

Da-yeon asks why Hyemyeong is staying at Gyun Hee’s house, and Gyun Hee says it’s because she’s not healthy and has a lot to learn from her brother and father. But it’s clear from her expression that Da-yeon is not happy about this development.

Minister Jung stands outside reflecting on the discontent of his cronies when Da-yeon calls out to him. As “luck” would have it, Da-yeon is his daughter, and when he asks if there’s something she desires, she answers that instead, she’s found something she wishes to destroy. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

 
EPISODE 12 RECAP

Meanwhile, Hyemyeong sincerely thanks Gyun Woo for saving her multiple times, but has difficulty actually saying the “Thank you” part. We see that she wasn’t addressing Gyun Woo at all, but rather practicing on his adorable pup, Teacher Gyun, heh.

When Gyun Woo enters his room, she’s visibly flustered and stammers that she was in his room because she wanted to borrow some books.

Gyun Woo takes a seat at his desk while Hyemyeong pretends to occupy herself with one of his books. She’s startled by Gyun Woo’s gaze, but he inches closer to her merely to flip her book right side up, heh. She’s about to leave with her book when she turns around to say that this book isn’t the right choice for her.

He takes it back and hands her Men Over Flowers, and it looks like she’s just dying to get something off her chest. But when Gyun Woo asks if there’s anything else she needs, her nerves get to her, and she blurts out “Nothing!” before running out, embarrassed by her missed opportunity to say thanks. Gyun Woo’s thrown by her bizarre reaction, but it does make him smile.

Frustrated, Hyemyeong walks in circles while Byul and Young-shin follow closely behind. She stops and sincerely thanks Young-shin and Byul, but they’re unaware that she’s practicing, so they deem themselves unworthy of her grace and encourage her to punish them. Seemingly satisfied by some more practice, Hyemyeong happily returns to Gyun Woo’s room.

But… she gets nervous again and fails to thank him like she practiced, so she leaves again in a huff. She returns to her chamber, but hears Gyun Woo outside asking Young-shin if she’s in if she’d like to drink with him. Young-shin says that she plans on quitting alcohol, but Hyemyeong bursts out and assures them that one drink won’t hurt.

Meanwhile, the queen boils with rage that she seems to be the only one losing the king’s favor, unlike Minister Jung, even though she heeds his orders. She hates that all she’s done is irritate the king while he’s continued to protect Hyemyeong, and she demands to speak with Minister Jung right away.

The king is with the queen dowager, who’s surprised to hear his belief that someone plotted for Hyemyeong to leave the palace so that she could be captured. She wonders who’s behind it and brings up Min Yoo-hwan, since he and Hyemyeong were close, but the king is still uncertain of Hyemyeong’s reasons for leaving. Just then, Minister Jung enters and says that he has something to share with the king.

Over drinks with Gyun Woo, Hyemyeong seems uneasy. She downs a couple shots, and Gyun Woo, sensing her agitation, encourages her to spill if there’s anything she’d like to say. But she only manages to pour herself more shots before muttering a barely perceptible: “Thank you.”

Gyun Woo didn’t quite catch that, but she refuses to repeat herself and runs away, embarrassed. Gyun Woo can’t help but smile, amused by her antics.

When Hyemyeong returns to her room, Byul and Young-shin notice her flushed cheeks and her shortness of breath. They eye her curiously, but she insists that it’s merely the alcohol and plops onto bed, fanning herself.

Gyun Woo continues to drink solo and begins to see Hyemyeong pop up in front of him, sweetly thanking him with a flirty wink, whispering thanks in his ear, and then gratefully leaning on him. She’s not actually there, but imagining her makes him beam.

We return to Minister Jung, who tells the king that Hyemyeong’s issues aren’t just about climbing over a wall — at the lantern festival, she shouted obscenities and fraternized with men in addition to harassing the daughters of noblemen. The flyers going round about her aren’t entirely false, Minister Jung says.

The king demands that Minister Jung cut to the chase, and Minister Jung advises him to bring Hyemyeong back to the palace and quickly marry her off. He claims that that’s the only way the king will be able to protect her, given that the citizens’ disdain for her is high, and soon enough, they’ll eventually start despising the king too.

Minister Jung says he’s reminded of the events of ten years ago (the deposing of the queen) and hopes that the king doesn’t make the same mistake as before. The king stews silently over Minister Jung’s remark, and after the meeting, Minister Jung leaves with a smug grin on his face.

We flashback to another conversation between him and the king. With trembling fingers, the king opened a small box of random objects, and Minister Jung told him that because the queen (Hyemyeong’s mother) was attacked by wild beasts, very little was left behind. After leaving the room, Minister Jung mused that he is the true master of the country, and the king weeped while clutching the torn sleeve of his deceased queen.

Joon-young stands outside Hyemyeong’s room looking unwell, but leaves without seeing her, knowing that she’s safe. He tells Young-shin not to say anything to her about his visit.

We find Hyemyeong lying awake in bed, restless. Meanwhile, Gyun Woo’s also awake, but visibly content.

The next morning, Gyun Woo takes Teacher Gyun out for a walk. When Hyemyeong spots him, she gasps and immediately returns to her room. She only steps out again when she thinks that Gyun Woo’s left and the coast is clear, at least until she spots his dog and realizes too late that Gyun Woo’s taken a seat next to her.

She’s startled to see him, and when asked if she slept well last night, she claims she did, although Gyun Woo admits with a chuckle that he didn’t. She turns her attention to his dog, and Gyun Woo informs her that Teacher Gyun is a precious friend given to him from the king of China, but she refuses to call him “Teacher Gyun” since he’s merely a dog.

Gyun Woo proceeds to explain to her why he’s no ordinary dog, and we get an adorable, animated history of Teacher Gyun, who was cared for by four thousand eunuchs and learned the analects of Confucius.

Hyemyeong fake-apologizes to Teacher Gyun and deems that backstory nonsense. She takes the dog from Gyun Woo and calls him Teacher Dog, suggesting they go on a walk together. Gyun Woo corrects her, but she ignores him and calls Gyun Woo “Young Master Dog” instead, sorry-not-sorry about getting the two confused.

After she leaves, Gyun Woo overhears a commotion outside his home and finds his buddies Se-ho and Kwang-soo failing to convince the guards that they’re Gyun Woo’s friends. Gyun Woo wonders why they’re here, and they say they want to meet the princess. He tries to get them to leave, but they spot Hyemyeong behind him and call out to her.

They ask her why she’s at Gyun Woo’s residence, and then Young-shin addresses her as “Princess,” which clues them in on the fact that Hyemyeong is the princess. They’re stunned, and Hyemyeong cheekily suggests that they just call her by her first name.

Gyun Woo’s mother meets up with other middle-aged women who proudly place their Joseon purses on the table like high-end designer bags. But she subtly disses all their purses for being outdated and ordinary and brags about how her purse is from the Goryeo era and was used by a Goryeo queen (repurposing old things is the new trend, ha), adding that her filial son got her this expensive purse.

The other women quip that that must be why the princess likes him so much, pointing out all the rumors swirling about how he’ll become the king’s son-in-law because she’s staying at his place.

They congratulate her, but Gyun Woo’s mom loses her cool and yells at them to stop spreading nonsensical rumors before storming off in a huff.

Byul eats a sweet potato while Young-shin looks on longingly. She hands him one, but he initially refuses it, fearing that he’ll get fat. But then he figures one bite won’t hurt, so he eagerly places kimchi on top of his sweet potato. (That actually looks really good.)

Just as he’s about to take a bite, Gyun Woo’s mother barges in and hollers at them for ruining her household. She’s not thrilled to hear from them that Hyemyeong is out with her son, so she yells at them to stop stuffing their faces and search for Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong instead.

Over at the library, the kooky bookseller organizes his books and fines Da-yeon’s attendant for returning her book late. She asks if the handsome writer is inside, and the bookseller is incredulous that the “handsome writer” she’s talking about Se-ho. Just then, Se-ho, Kwang-soo, Gyun Woo, and Hyemyeong arrive so that Se-ho and Kwang-soo can give Hyemyeong a tour of their workplace.

The attendant is surprised to see Hyemyeong there, and Se-ho catches himself before he can introduce Hyemyeong to the bookseller as the princess. He smacks the attendant aside to enter the back room with his company.

Da-yeon is shocked to hear from her attendant that Gyun Woo was with the princess, and that she isn’t ill. She looks down at the ornament affixed to her top that Gyun Woo had once gifted to her as a token of his affection and angrily yanks it off. The attendant tells her to forget him, but Da-yeon ominously says that there’s never been a time when she didn’t get what she wanted.

Hyemyeong looks around the guys’ work space as Se-ho quickly pulls down the salacious drawings of women. She’s impressed by their vast repertoire, and Se-ho tells her that because he’s inspired by beautiful women, he’ll be able to write up a storm tonight thanks to her. She notices the book The Princess’s Private Life, but the guys don’t let her read it despite her protestations that she’s not such a prude.

To her disappointment, Gyun Woo takes it away from her, and his buddies beg her not to read it, declaring it to be garbage unworthy of being called fiction, heh. Gyun Woo drags her out, and she’s still mad about the book, since she says her curiosity will keep her up at night. But he says that she may have more trouble sleeping if she reads it.

Hyemyeong assumes he’s read it since he’s so against her looking at it and pokes fun at him, but he’s adamant that he doesn’t read that kind of stuff. As they’re walking, Hyemyeong suddenly stops in her tracks. Gyun Woo follows her somber gaze, and not too far away from them is Min Yoo-hwan, standing in the flesh and looking at Hyemyeong.

Hyemyeong grows emotional and tries to walk toward him, but Gyun Woo stops her and tells her that she can’t.

 
COMMENTS

Min Yoo-hwan is back! But what does that mean for Hyemyeong? Is her mother still alive?

This episode was mostly light and fluffy, with a big chunk of the story being Hyemyeong’s inability to express herself to Gyun Woo. I think this is the first time we’ve seen her be so cagey around him, and it was fun to see her all hot and bothered because of a crush she’s not even aware of yet. Ah, the first stirrings of a crush — I think it’s safe to say that Gyun Woo is officially smitten. I lost count of all the times he smiled and flashed his dimples, but he’s clearly no longer uncomfortable with Hyemyeong randomly popping up in front of him. She’s gone from an annoyance to a source of amusement and cause for endearment.

I still love all the scenes with deadpan Byul and over-the-top Young-shin, but this episode was particularly great because of Gyun Woo’s mother. She’s such a hoot, and actress Jang Young-nam is always a scene-stealer in every project she’s in. I love how she basically perceives Gyun Woo as God’s gift to the world and derives so much pleasure from bragging about how great her son is, so great that even a princess is unworthy of his love, although I do think she sees Hyemyeong as an obsessive wacko first, princess second. Oh, and who could forget the furry scene-stealer, Teacher Gyun?

Despite all the screentime Minister Jung had in this episode, actual danger for Hyemyeong doesn’t seem all that imminent — at least, it certainly felt that way, what with Wol-myung’s repeated and failed attempts. I think Minister Jung is trying to plant seeds in the king’s mind with unsolicited advice and flyers before carrying out any drastic and risky measures. So far, the king doesn’t seem easily swayed by Minister Jung and is always receptive to Minister Gyun’s wisdom, but Minister Jung may have gotten to him this time by reminding him of the late queen. Oh, and of course, Da-yeon is his daughter. No surprise there, since they’re cut from the same malicious cloth.

My interest in the show hasn’t exactly grown, but it’s stabilized now that I’ve gotten used to the tone and know what to expect. The twist with the jade ring and Hyemyeong’s mother was a pleasant surprise, and while I know better than to expect jaw dropping twists, I’m all for more moments of unexpected tenderness. And dimples. Dimples of the Joo-won variety, which I’m sure none of us can resist.

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