Sungkyunkwan Scandal Episode 4: Thoughts and Analysis

I’m liking this drama even more. First, Micky Yoochun and his character, Sun-joon, are growing on me. At first I was unsure what to expect about his acting, but his character is so idealistic and earnest and sincere that you can’t help but like him. Plus–and we’re heading into fangirl territory here–I even am starting to like Yoochun’s looks (considering how I originally thought his looks were not that great, sorry Cassie fans) and even started looking up TVXQ (anyone listen to Yunho’s and Changmin’s solo songs that were released a few days ago??) and JYJ. Man, is this drama full of pretty boys. Even In-soo, one of the antagonists at the school (though he always has the Stare-of-Death) is pretty hawt. But anyway, Yoochun manages to convey a lot of emotion even through the stiffness of his character. And we really get to see Sun-joon’s and Yoon-hee’s relationship blossom as they build trust and start supporting one another.

What I noticed and liked particularly from this episode is how alliances and teams are beginning to form as the story gets meatier. We have our Joseon F4 starting to come together, with our roomies Yoon-hee, Sun-joon, and Jae-shin getting to know each other well (real well, I might add *not referencing any clothing mishaps or anything*). There’s also Yong-ha, who appears to be warming up to Yoon-hee (as the only scholar who currently suspects Yoon-hee as being female). I can’t wait to see how this all plays out. I like how the three guys weren’t friends to begin with (well, Yong-ha/Jae-shin appear to be friends already, but I’m regarding the relationships with Sun-joon), such as Sun-joon and Jae-shin being from opposite parties. Each character stands on his own without having to resort to the typical tropes of the harem genre: the jerk-with-heart-of-gold main lead, the nice-guys-finish-last second lead, the comic relief third/fourth guy. Thank goodness for that. Can’t wait for all the bromances to commence.

Then we have the divisions between the political parties: Noron, Soron, and Namin. This is what I’m getting really interested in. I’m not too sure on Namin’s role so far, but it’s clear that Noron’s side includes Left Prime Minister Lee (Sun-joon’s dad) and Minister Ha (In-soo’s dad). According to the drama, it is implied that the Noron faction conspired to frame Crown Prince Sado for a series of murder and rape cases, which caused his father to lock him in a rice box where he died eight days later. Now, in history, it’s more controversial about Sado, with historians claiming that Sado was mentally ill, while others say he was conspired against. But it’s apparent that the drama is going to take the latter route as it seems the Noron faction is hiding some big secrets. The important document, Geumdeungjisa, that is missing supposedly details Sado’s father’s writings on how Sado was conspired against. This is the document that Minister Lee asks Minister Ha whether Ha had taken care of the document, and we see from Ha’s reaction that no, apparently it was not “taken care of.”

We also have Soron faction, which is where Jae-shin is from (it also seems that we will have more on Jae-shin’s family background, regarding his dead brother and his attorney general father). And I suppose we can add “Red Messenger” on their side too, since he’s sending all those red letters. Then we have King Jeong-jo, who initiated the archery competition at SKK again in a seemingly direct attack against the Noron faction (according to history, he spends his life wanting to clear his father Sado’s name), and our awesome professor Jeong Yak-yong (who discovers that Yoon-hee’s father left a coded will about the mysterious whereabouts of the Geumdeungjisa). So it’ll be fun to see how all of these sides clash and who ends up teaming up with who. I’m especially excited to see how the kids will get involved, especially with Sun-joon and Jae-shin, given how their parents are on opposing political factions. Please don’t fail me, drama!

Now Yong-ha, I still find curious. He seems to be friends (besties?) with everyone, and not just on an acquaintance level. Sure, with his easygoing and “softhearted” (according to Cho-sun) personality, he probably literally attracts people to him, but I still find it interesting. I originally thought he belonged to In-soo’s clique, because he was seen in earlier episodes conspiring and hanging out with them. However, this episode shows Yong-ha helping Yoon-hee and Sun-joon get in after curfew. When Yoon-hee asks why he helped, he gives a reply she doesn’t get, but we know that it’s to fix the conflict that he made when he gave Yoon-hee the task of getting Cho-sun’s underwear, causing In-soo’s jealousy and revenge of preventing Yoon-hee and Sun-joon from entering the school after curfew. It’s implied that he feels guilty about the whole she-bang which is why he helped Yoon-hee. We also see him with Jae-shin, implying they have a closer relationship than what I first thought (even referring to him as “chingoo” and telling Jae-shin to go to classes or else he’ll be kicked out). I really want to know how they became such friends (Jae-shin doesn’t just tolerate anyone, both have like opposite personalities, and Yong-ha isn’t part of the Soron faction, I think). Then we have the scene with Cho-sun, where he tells Cho-sun to stop resisting In-soo or else she’ll get hurt since In-soo is from a powerful household, and Cho-sun tells him that love can’t be bought. There has to be something there for him to be in her room in the first place (casually, I might add), and for Cho-sun to spill all those beans (but maybe she just wants Yong-ha to get the message to let In-soo get the message). Maybe I’m reading too much into things (I am Joong-ki biased, after all), but Yong-ha just seems to have connections all over the place, which makes me wonder what there is to him and his past.

I also like the huge cast. It leaves room for plenty of interaction among various characters. Coming from Innocent Man, which mostly involved the same few characters, it’s refreshing to see characters other than the main leads doing their own thing and having their own confrontations against the antagonists or working out minor things to help out the major plot. There are all sorts of sides in this story: the school (Joseon F4 and In-soo’s clique), the parents and political factions, the gisaeng people, etc. Needless to say, IT’S INTENSE. I feel like this is how Heirs could have turned out if it had lived to its potential.

Finally, YAY! Yak-yong “Professor Jung” (given the role of “doctor” for the archery competition) discovers that Yoon-hee is a female! Even better, now that he’s found out that Yoon-hee’s father knows where Geumdeungjisa is, he can’t kick her out. This really reminded me a lot of Hana Kimi (To the Beautiful You).

Overall, I’m anticipating where the drama is going to lead from here on out. Hopefully I’m not overanalyzing or overthinking anything, har har. We’ve got plenty of history, allies, and enemies to go around, and now it’s just waiting for the trigger that will unleash the battle of conflict. But we’ve probably got a ways to go—I mean, this is a 20 episode drama and I’m only on episode 4.


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