My Sassy Girl: Episodes 25-26
Hyemyeong finally learns the widely accepted truth about her mother, and her reaction shows us just how much she’s grown as a character. Thankfully, now that she has Gyun Woo by her side, she needn’t shoulder her royal troubles alone anymore. The two decide that only Ghost Mask can prove the deposed queen’s innocence, but it seems like Gyun Woo’s lost memories may be the missing piece they needed all along.
EPISODE 25 RECAP
We rewind a bit back to the queen revealing to Hyemyeong the dark truth about her mother and Prince Chuseong. The queen fakes sympathy after Hyemyeong is stunned into silence, but then even with tears in her eyes, Hyemyeong manages to snap at the queen for making up such ridiculous lies.
The queen takes Hyemyeong’s disbelief in stride and warns the princess not to dig further into the matter, because the more she learns, the more “shameful” she will feel. Undeterred, Hyemyeong shoots back that she will be the judge of that after she meets with Prince Chuseong herself.
The queen claims that Prince Chuseong is already dead, but Hyemyeong mentions Ghost Mask and calls him Prince Chuseong’s resentful ghost. She then cautions the queen to be careful, and when the queen asks what she means, Hyemyeong replies cryptically that the queen should know better than anyone else.
After Hyemyeong leaves, the queen panics, fearing what Hyemyeong might have learned about her involvement in the former queen’s deposition. She orders the court lady to find Ghost Mask, and calls him Prince Chuseong before correcting herself, as if she already believes him to be alive.
Meanwhile, out in the night, Gyun Woo comes face-to-face with the mysterious Ghost Mask. Ghost Mask loads an arrow onto his bow, aims directly at Gyun Woo, and fires.
The arrow whizzes right past Gyun Woo’s head and hits one of the masked warriors sneaking up behind him. Ghost Mask makes quick work of the others, then disappears into the night. Gyun Woo chases after the shadowy figure, but all he finds are a few drops of blood on the ground.
Minister Jung and his two minister buddies curse Ghost Mask for defeating their henchmen and for getting away “like a ghost.” Minister Park barks at the Minister of Personnel for his choice of words, trying to swat the notion of Prince Chuseong coming back from the dead out of his mind.
Minister Park reasons that Ghost Mask is merely one of Prince Chuseong’s followers, and Minister Jung backs him up, adding that there was one man who survived the purge: Wol-myung. Dun dun DUN!
The Minister of Personnel adds another troubling bit of news to the table, and tells his cohorts that Gyun Woo was reportedly on-site where Ghost Mask appeared.
The next morning, Gyun Woo sweetly advises Hyemyeong to eat some dried persimmons, since she looks as if she did not get a good night’s sleep. Aw. Gyun Woo asks what troubles her so, and Hyemyeong admits that she now knows the truth he tried to protect her from.
She then tells Gyun Woo the last memory she has of her mother — a woman who, in her last moments as queen, asked Hyemyeong to look after her father and grandmother and thought nothing of herself. Hyemyeong refuses to believe that her mother would commit adultery, and decides to trust the deposed queen.
Gyun Woo pulls Hyemyeong into her arms as she vows to clear her mother’s name and bring justice to those who framed her.
After Hyemyeong suggests they look for Ghost Mask, Gyun Woo fills her in on his run-in with Ghost Mask the night before. He theorizes that Ghost Mask is trying to send a message to Minister Jung and his cronies, and thinks that Ghost Mask may be injured based on the blood he saw on the ground. He asks Hyemyeong to be on the lookout for patients at the medical services bureau who might fit Ghost Mask’s description
Meanwhile, outside her residence, Joon-young waits patiently for Hyemyeong to return so that he can escort her to work. When Hyemyeong and Gyun Woo return, Joon-young watches the happy couple flirt with a sad look in his eyes.
Hyemyeong apologizes to Joon-young for making him wait before saying her goodbye to Gyun Woo, and Joon-young observes their interaction closely, taking note of Gyun Woo in particular.
On his way out, Gyun Woo runs into Minister Jung, who comments on how busy Gyun Woo must be now that he’s hunting down Ghost Mask. He wonders if Gyun Woo is preparing for a career change to become an investigator.
Minister Jung adds warningly that one who tries to chase two hares will end up empty-handed. He advises Gyun Woo to focus on his duties as royal tutor since he only recently got that job back. Gyun Woo replies calmly, “Noble men should not tolerate injustice,” before adding that he’ll take care of his own business, thank you very much.
Gyun Woo then asks about Ghost Mask visiting Minister Jung’s home the other day, and the minister’s face falls. He plays it off as a rumor, and so Gyun Woo warns Minister Jung to beware, since Ghost Mask seems to be targeting the homes of ministers — and he may be next.
Afterward, Minister Jung heads immediately home to tell his head servant that there is a rat in his house leaking out their secrets. He orders the head servant to crack down on those with loose lips, because should someone blab again about the affairs of his household, then he’ll personally pay for it.
He then finally visits Da-yeon, who continues with her hunger strike. She stubbornly refuses to yield, but when her father begins to leave, she cries out to him. She says simply, “I trust you, Father,” and at that, Minister Jung seems to waver in his stance before storming out.
Gyun Woo busies himself at the market, asking a medicinal herb seller if they’ve sold certain ingredients that stop bleeding. The seller can’t recall exactly, but after Gyun Woo specifically asks for someone with an arrow wound, the seller says he’s certain he hasn’t seen anyone like that.
Hyemyeong conducts her own investigation by keeping her eyes peeled for wounded patients and asking the other healers for more information. She’s deep in thought when Joon-young suddenly approaches and points out a pot of tonic that’s boiling over. She rushes over to take it off the heat, but Joon-young pulls her out of the way and takes over so that she doesn’t burn herself. Okay, this exchange is pretty awkward.
Hyemyeong later thanks Joon-young for his help, but he states that it is merely his duty to protect her. Hyemyeong scolds him for being too stiff, leading them both to smile.
One of Joon-young’s subordinates runs over to tell Joon-young some urgent news, and we cut to Joon-young outside of the Minister of Personnel’s house. He tells the guards outside to let him in, but they’re under strict orders not to let anyone inside.
Joon-young narrows his eyes at the statement and orders them aside unless they want to be charged with obstruction of justice. When one turns around, Joon-young makes note of the fact that the men are armed with daggers.
Inside, the Minister of Personnel denies the report that Ghost Mask appeared at his residence. Joon-young tries to press for some information on what motivated the visit, but the Minister of Personnel just brushes him off.
Joon-young encourages the minister to contact him if he should ever need the bureau of investigation’s protection, but as he leaves, he spies a tiny dot on a wooden pillar nearby which could have been made by an arrow.
He immediately reports the new development to the king, and so the king commands Joon-young to capture Ghost Mask alive, giving him full authority over the investigation. He adds that Joon-young must find Ghost Mask before Minister Jung does.
Soon after, Gyun Woo sees a wanted poster for Ghost Mask, and is alarmed when a very similar looking mask appears right next to him. It’s Choon Poong, who gleefully unmasks himself and takes pleasure in Gyun Woo’s look of surprise. Apparently, Ghost Mask masks have illegally hit the market, and a salesman extols the legend of Ghost Mask as a righteous vigilante determined to expose corrupt officials.
It isn’t long until Chang-hui and his friends crack down on illegal Ghost Mask masks. Choon Poong freaks out and forces the mask into Gyun Woo’s hand before scampering off.
Thus, Chang-hui catches Gyun Woo red-handed with the contraband, and relishes the opportunity to cut the Great Gyun Woo down a peg. His moment is ruined by his friends when Gyun Woo points out how they’re trying to extort hush money from the salesmen. So much for that.
Mal-geum and Se-ho make moony eyes at each other over tea and flirt up the wazoo, all while holding hands. At that moment, Da-yeon’s friends enter the teahouse and spot the new couple, expressing their disdain at the scandalous scene.
They waste no time telling Da-yeon what they saw, and Da-yeon gets this rage-y look in her eyes, which has me worried.
Mal-geum returns home aflutter, but Da-yeon is right there waiting to rain on her parade. Without warning, she strikes Mal-geum hard across the face, and implies that her punishment isn’t over.
Gyun Woo goes to the bookshop and hears from the bookseller that Ghost Mask did indeed appear at the Minister of Personnel’s home the night before and left an arrow with a letter attached to it. The contents are the same from Minister Jung’s letter about justice prevailing and reaping what you sow.
Fresh out of leads, Gyun Woo checks in on Hyemyeong to see if she’s had any luck finding Ghost Mask. Gyun Woo shares what he knows about the letter from Ghost Mask, and she reflects over the words intently.
Despite her promise to secrecy, Gyun Hee blabs to Mom about how Da-yeon said that Hyemyeong threatened Da-yeon to stay away from Gyun Woo, and then announced that she would be marrying him.
Mom seethes, grumbling about Hyemyeong, but Gyun Woo points out that they should be more worried about that fact that Gyun Woo seems to reciprocate Hyemyeong’s feelings. Mom can’t bring herself to disagree with Gyun Hee’s evidence, and she becomes troubled by the revelation.
That evening, Minister Gyun informs Gyun Woo about his plan for both their resignations. Gyun Woo is blinded by the news, but Minister Gyun won’t be swayed. Minister Gyun asserts that he warned Gyun Woo to stay away from Hyemyeong, but since Gyun Woo won’t listen, he has no choice.
Likewise, Gyun Woo feels pressed into a corner and confesses that he loves Hyemyeong, prompting Mom and Gyun Hee to storm into the room after eavesdropping from outside. While his family blows a gasket, Gyun Woo announces resolutely that he and Hyemyeong intend to marry.
Mom tries to reason with Gyun Woo, reminding him what the life of a royal son-in-law means for his future, but Gyun Woo doesn’t care about any of that.
Meanwhile, in her room, Hyemyeong tries to solve the riddle Ghost Mask has presented them with, but the truth remains just beyond her grasp.
EPISODE 26 RECAP
Late at night, Ghost Mask is hard at work distributing more flyers by using his cool party lanterns. Joon-young mobilizes his team immediately, but he’s a moment too late and misses his quarry.
The next morning, the climate is strained in the Gyun family, as everyone gives Gyun Woo the cold shoulder.
Choon Poong obtains the newest flyer, which reads: “The adultery scandal that broke ten years ago is a total lie. All the evidence was fabricated and the witnesses were bribed to give false testimonies. You might be able to cover up the sky with your palm, but not the truth.” And throughout the palace, the flyer spreads.
After reading the flyer, Hyemyeong bursts into her younger brother’s room looking distressed, but relief floods her after she sees that he does not have a flyer. The king erupts after reading his flyer, and orders that all the flyers be collected so that his children can not read them. Too late.
The queen becomes frightened after reading the flyer and begins to wonder if Prince Chuseong really has come back from the dead, but her tizzy is interrupted by the arrival of the queen dowager.
The queen dowager tells the queen about how Minister Jung came to her ten years ago with that court lady and showed her a love letter between Prince Chuseong and Hyemyeong’s mother, but now the flyer says that letter was forged. The queen dowager isn’t sure what to think and asks the queen for her advice. The queen calls the claims in the flyer absurd and urges the queen dowager not to be bothered by them.
In the garden, Hyemyeong expresses her fears that her brother may read the flyer, and Gyun Woo states that they should prove her mother’s innocence first so that the prince isn’t confused by what to believe. Gyun Woo promises to investigate the case even if it might be difficult given the gag order.
At the teahouse, Se-ho becomes worried when Mal-geum doesn’t show up for their date. He goes to her house to check on her, but Chang-hui and his friends find him there first. They ask what business he has at Minister Jung’s, and when Se-ho stammers to provide an answer, one of them accuses Se-ho of being Ghost Mask.
The others aren’t convinced given Se-ho’s stature and build, and Se-ho doesn’t even entertain the conversation. He tries to leave, but Chang-hui won’t let him go without an explanation. He finally screams at them that he’s there to see Mal-geum, then stomps off.
Feeling anxious that the truth is closing in on her, the queen pays the young prince a visit and uses her authority to dismiss Gyun Woo for the day, so that she can spend time with her son.
Meanwhile, the queen dowager and the king discuss the flyers. They mainly worry about how Hyemyeong and the prince might feel if they learn the reasons for their mother’s expulsion. The queen dowager then wonders if Ghost Mask may have evidence to prove that the love letter was forged somehow.
The book seller tells the boys about a famous calligrapher who could perfectly copy handwriting. He adds that the supposed love letter between Prince Chuseong and the deposed queen could have been falsified by that same calligrapher.
Despite being exactly on the mark, Se-ho and Kwang-soo call the theory hogwash. Thankfully, Gyun Woo isn’t taking any chances and asks to know where that calligrapher is nowadays. Unfortunately, he hears that the calligrapher died after his house was set on fire.
The book seller also informs the boys that they knew the calligrapher when he was alive, since they often went to his brush store. Kwang-soo argues that only Gyun Woo went to that brush store, but Gyun Woo doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Kwang-soo is surprised and finds it strange, but they drop the topic. (Oooh finally, it’s memory time!)
Meanwhile, Hyemyeong gets another piece of the puzzle from Young-shin, who tells her that the court lady that gave the queen dowager the love letters apparently killed herself out of guilt a few days later, but people suspect she was murdered instead.
Minister Jung confirms with Wol-myung that all the witnesses and evidence of the matter of the deposed queen were previously dealt with, which means they pulled off the perfect crime. But then, Minister Jung comments that if Wol-myung truly did his job well, then the only person capable of being Ghost Mask, is him.
We flashback ten years ago: Minister Jung ordered Wol-myung kill the court lady who delivered the letters. He entered her house as she tended to her ailing mother with a rope in hand. We don’t see what exactly happened, but we’re supposed to assume that he fabricated her suicide after killing her.
The next stop was the brush shop to kill the calligrapher. This time, we actually see the man die, but then from the adjacent room we hear a baby cry, which presumably is right before the house was set ablaze. In the present, Wol-myung defends himself and says that he destroyed all the evidence and any person who could reveal Minister Jung’s deception.
That isn’t enough for Minister Jung to be totally convinced, so he tells Wol-myung to capture Ghost Mask and unmask him. Then, as Minister Jung leaves Wol-myung’s hideout, we see Ghost Mask appear from the shadows and watch the minister go.
At home, Gyun Woo tries to solve the mystery of his missing memory of the brush store by looking at his old brushes, but it isn’t so easy to unlock.
Gyun Woo heads back to the palace at night, and sees a poster on an announcement board with the text: “The blind mother ruins everything.” The text suddenly vanishes from the paper and he staggers backward in shock, looking around fearfully.
Of course, it’s all another dream, and Gyun Woo opens his eyes the next morning, repeating the phrase he saw in his dream.
With the palace in constant uproar, the queen dowager recommends Hyemyeong take a break from her duties at the medical services bureau. Hyemyeong promises that she’s fine, and the queen dowager is shocked to learn that Hyemyeong already knows the truth. She apologizes to her granddaughter tearfully, and Hyemyeong replies that she knows it wasn’t her fault.
Gyun Woo recalls his dream from the night before, but just as he does, a mysterious pain lances through his head and he stumbles to regain his balance. Later, he overhears Chang-hui’s buddies talking about how Ghost Mask uses flying lanterns, which he files away for later use.
Minister Gyun informs the king of his and his son’s resignation, which naturally takes the king by surprise. The king tries to get Minister Gyun to change his mind, but Minister Gyun is adamant and bows to express that his mind is made up.
Gyun Woo goes to the medical services bureau, and he happens to hear some men talking about the phrase he read from his dream. They discuss how a handwritten poster was posted on the announcement board (like from his dream), and flyers were distributed about the queen’s supposed affair. Then, right afterward, she was deposed.
Gyun Woo tries to approach the men to ask for more details, only to be stopped by his mysterious head pain again. Hyemyeong spots him, and immediately realizing something is wrong, she rushes over.
It appears that Gyun Woo passed out, because the next thing we see is Gyun Woo waking up inside the medical services bureau with Hyemyeong at his bedside. She gives him some medicine to drink, and he says that she looks like a real nurse as she does it. But he does as he’s told, and she watches him with a worried expression.
It’s late, so Gyun Woo insists on escorting her (and Byul and Young-shin) back to the palace, despite her protests that he’s ill. On their way, Young-shin spots Ghost Mask’s flying lanterns and sprints toward them without explaining to Hyemyeong what they mean.
In the woods, Ghost Mask launches arrows at the lanterns and distributes a new set of flyers. Wol-myung watches from nearby and throws a dagger right at Ghost Mask, but thankfully, Gyun Woo tackles Ghost Mask out of harm’s way just in time.
They tumble down a low hill, but Gyun Woo (who’s still not well from his earlier fainting episode) struggles to recover from the fall. Upon closer examination, we see that he’s also bleeding from an injury on his head.
Ghost Mask makes a run for it when Hyemyeong appears around the corner, and Gyun Woo slowly registers her running toward him, but the image of her keeps flickering to the younger version of herself.
We see a memory where a young Gyun Woo ran out into the night and found the deposed queen’s palanquin, but then lifted the cover to find it empty and covered in blood stains. Next, we see a young Hyemyeong and Gyun Woo as they run through the forest in search of someone.
We see glimpses of how they bonded and shared what appears to be warm memories, but the moments are only flashes, and we go from seeing Gyun Woo as he carried Hyemyeong on his back, to him suddenly rolling down a hill in the forest.
Back in reality, Hyemyeong reaches a fading Gyun Woo and cries out to him, begging him to hang on. Wol-myung watches them from behind tree cover, and when he reaches for his sword, Joon-young and his men already have him surrounded.
Hyemyeong cradles Gyun Woo’s head in her hand, and he struggles to focus his vision on her… and then, he closes his eyes.
I’m intrigued by how strongly Gyun Woo’s parents are reacting to their son’s relationship with Hyemyeong and, perhaps more importantly, his nightmares. Hopefully the reveal is nice and dramatic and shakes the foundation of our character’s lives, but even if it is anti-climatic, I think I’ll keep from being too disappointed because I’m pleased with the way Gyun Woo’s missing memory situation was handled and woven slowly into the story. I find this plot line to be genuinely mysterious, and even though I have some theories about what may have happened in the past, I’m still not completely certain I sussed out all the secrets.
One thing I’m not totally sure about is: If Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong met as children, and Gyun Woo has all these forgotten memories with her, then why doesn’t Hyemyeong remember anything? Maybe she does have these memories, but doesn’t realize Gyun Woo is the same boy? I feel like I’m missing something crucial here, but hopefully that gets sorted out soon.
On the topic of secrets, I liked how Minister Jung suspected Wol-myung to be Ghost Mask — in fact, he had me convinced by his reasonings. Even though the show revealed pretty quickly that Wol-myung wasn’t living a double life, I liked thinking for a little while that there might be more to his character beyond that somewhat odd backstory with the queen. I’m torn between wishing the queen and Wol-myung were actually secret lovers, and glad they aren’t.
If this were another drama, and these characters were better developed, then I would love to see a backstory where the queen left Wol-myung but then fell in love with Wol-myung again against her better judgment. This would lead the queen to eventually be taken down for the very same crime she framed Hyemyeong’s mother for, and I live for those kind of ironic reversals. Then again, if this kind of storyline is poorly handled, it could feel forced and make the queen just seem a bit dumb instead of flawed, complex, and starved for attention, since she is largely ignored by the king. So I guess it’s better as it is, but I found the queen’s whole thing about assuming Wol-myung was still her person (after ditching him and making him into a fugitive) was silly and made little sense.
Joon-young finally got a lot more screen time in this episode, but his interactions with Hyemyeong felt unnatural and a little cringe-y to me. Their scenes hinted at some one-sided feelings on Joon-young’s end, which confused me. What is the point of bringing him into the romance race if the race is completely over with? It kind of feels like he marked the wrong date on his calendar and showed up the next day. It really doesn’t bother me that much as long as there is an actual point to developing this love line, which I think there might be.
I’m still not totally sure how Joon-young fits into the main plot, other than being a low-rent Sherlock, so for most of the episode, I was dreaming of an alternate world where he was actually Ghost Mask. That tense moment outside of the Minister of Personnel’s house showed us a side of Joon-young we had never seen before, and it made hopeful that there’s more to Joon-young than meets the eyes. But I’ve been wrong before.