kdrama

queen in-hyun’s man

originally written in Nov 2012

this is one brilliant korean drama!!! everything was perfect – from great cast, the story, writing!

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Title: 인현왕후의 남자 / Inhyeon Wanghu-ui Namja / Queen Inhyun’s Man

  • Tagline: Meeting through a gap in time, their one and only love story
  • Genre: Fantasy , Romance
  • Episodes: 16
  • Broadcast network: tvN
  • Broadcast period: 2012-Apr-18 to 2012-Jun-07
  • Air time: Wednesday & Thursday 23:00

Synopsis

Kim Boong Do is a scholar who had supported the reinstatement of Queen In Hyun when Jang heebin’s schemes resulted in her being deposed and replaced as King Sukjong’s queen consort.With the help of a spell when he is in going to be killed in a fight he travels 300 years into the future of modern Seoul and meets Choi Hee Jin, a no-name actress who is expecting a career renaissance through her role as Queen In Hyun in a TV drama.She helps him to know about the history of his time and change some events.After that they start to develop feelings for each other,but is it possible for them to have a successful relationship?

Cast

i’m not going to do a review of the entire series, instead i will just focus on Ji Hyun Woo and Yoo In Na. even before i watched this show, i’ve already read the news that they confirmed that they were dating in real life so all the time i was watching the drama i could really feel that they had such great chemistry together — i dont know if that is the case and that is why they fell in love with each other.. or is it the other way around, that they fell in love with each other in the middle of the filming and that translated well into the scenes.

sharing some of my favorite scenes and quotes in the drama.

a great intro showed us their 2 different worlds and how they magically met in seoul – i thought this would be a real scene in the later episodes but it was not.

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the first time they met was when bongdo was almost killed, he got transported to the now gyeongbokgung palace where hui jin just arrived for the filming of her drama series. it was a cute scene – bongdo was surprisingly calm and taking everything in while hui jin was giggly and sweet.

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the second time they met, hui jin was walking along the park when bongdo appeared from nowhere, shocking hui jin (and fainting)

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first kilig scene – when hui jin told him to get inside the car and she had to put on the seatbelt for him. naughty hui jin and innocent looking bongdo.

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later, hui jin is helping bongdo look at the chronicles of annals to see what happened (or will happen) in his life. another cute scene where you can feel their friendship and interest forming.

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and now we have the first (of the many) kiss scenes between bongdo and huijin. i love that it’s hui jin who initiated the kiss. and smart bongdo may be confused but he’s a man and he seems to be also interested in hui jin.

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Hui-Jin: “What kind of aristocrat has such poor manners? You ought to say goodbye properly before leaving.”
Hui-jin kisses Bong-do
Hui-jin: “Got it? I’ve taught you manners.”
Bong-do “This… is how you say goodbye here?”

Later on, Hui-jin’s manager picked her up and it’s the first time she meets Bong-do. She starts asking questions about him while Hui-jin sits at the back, nervous. When Hui-jin’s manager dropped Bong-do off, she shook hands with Bong-do. Bong-do was confused and asked, so this is how you say goodbye? (and not kissing?). Oh naughty Hui-jin got caught!! and Bong-do had such a cute giggle!

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“Watch your lips. She can get carried away with her passions.”

second kiss scene – Hui-jin met Bong-do inside the library late at night. Bong-do was giving her a goodbye kiss (yep, this scholar maybe from 300 years ago, but he sure catches on fast.. and such a smooth player!)

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Boong-do: “Our meeting must not be a coincidence, but an inevitability. Do you not suppose there must be a reason for it?”
Bong-do kisses Hui-jin
Bong-do: “Did I do it right this time?” “But I’ll trust whatever you teach me.”

back in Joseon era, Bong-do meets a monk and tells him about his time travel experience.

Boong-do: “At first I thought of it as incredible good luck, but now I am filled with so many doubts. Why did the head monk give me this talisman? Is it to console me, to tell me not to die since the thing I wish for will happen? Or does it mean that a good future awaits, so I am to find a way to survive? When I went to that world and met that woman, was that coincidence, or inevitability?”

a few more scenes later and Hui-jin meets him in Jeju. She helps him fly back to Seoul (it would be his first time to fly). On-board was Han Dong Min, Hui-jin’s ex-bf / Hallyu star. there was a huge misunderstanding last time and Dong-Min thought Bong-do was a stalker. so he confronts Bong-do and was about to be arrested when Hui-jin stopped him and had to announce publicly that “He is my boyfriend.”

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Bong-do: “A master I know of once told me that nothing is incidental. The last time we met was probably because of fate. But this time, it was because I wanted to see you that I contacted you. And you also came here because you wanted to see me. So clearly it is not karma. Because of the talisman that I have with me, I met you. That’s why you came all the way here. This fate, what incidents it will cause, and what effect comes of it… aren’t you curious?”
Hee-jin: “Us becoming lovers… What will be the outcome of it?”

and here starts the romance of Bong-do and Hui-jin.. i would totally have a huge smile on my face if i were sitting beside Bong-do!

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there was a huge scandal / news about the love triangle and so the trio (bong-do, hui-jin and dong-min) met at a restaurant. there was a sweet scene where the couple hid behind the huge menu, much to dong-min’s disgust.

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Bong-do: “I do not quite know how, but I will give my best effort to acting your boyfriend.”

Bong-do went back to Joseon to fix some problems but there were some complications and when Hui-jin hasn’t heard from him for days, she got nervous and thought something has happened to him so she was very relieved when she got a call from Bong-do and they met up. Bong-do gave Hui-jin a car as thank you for helping him and as she was test-riding the car by going around in circles, Hui-jin starts to realize that she is falling in love with Bong-do. this was such a beautiful scene.

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back in the car, Hui-jin again initiated the third kiss of the show (i love how she is so straight forward with him unlike other kdrama heroines- she is not afraid to show how she feels).

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Hee-jin shows Bong-do another use of a car (aside from driving) hehe!

Hee-jin pulls back, they look at each other and this time Bong-do kisses her. Again i love how the kisses look natural, both sides are kissing each other and  not just the guy kissing and the girl staying put as if shocked (note: Gong Hyo Jin in Best Love – i mean you’re being kissed by Cha Seung Won girl!!)

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Hee-jin: “Do you have any reason to come here anymore?”
Boong-do: “My lover is here. Isn’t that a reason? Didn’t I say that I would try my best to be your lover?”

Bong-do had to go back to Joseon and he was ambushed by assassins. His talisman got torn by the sword and picked up by Jasu(the assassin). The torn talisman had an impact to both leads because Bong-do couldn’t remember about the talisman and Hee-jin while Hee-jin can remember everything but no one in the current world remembers Bong-do. Eventually, Bong-do was able to gain his memory and while under attack, he was able to grab hold of the talisman and time travel to current day Seoul. Hee-jin thought she was going crazy but she knows that Bong-do is real and when he showed up during the awards festival Hee-jin saw him! another great scene and great acting by Yoo In Na. you can clearly see every expression on her face -shock, happiness, love..

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later that night, they agreed to meet up at the park

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Hee-jin: “I’m always left waiting for someone when I don’t even know when they’ll come.”

Back in Hee-jin’s home, they finally had a heart to heart talk about where their relationship is going.

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Bong-do: “If I take responsibility for you, will that take care of it?”
Hee-jin: “How will you do that?”
Bong-do: “I will think it over, and return. Considering what I risked to come here and see Queen In-hyun’s face again [Hee-jin’s], what couldn’t I do?”
Hee-jin: “You practiced that, didn’t you?” “I’ll be the one taking responsibility.”

Hee-jin helped Bong-do rent a place to stay for the night. The deadpan scholar is a natural player – haha. He’s so cute and smooth and hot all at the same time! 5th kiss – probably the most romantic and best kiss of the series.. they call it “tip toe kiss” – i have a feeling that when they were shooting this scene, the couple were already in love in real life!! (or at least have feelings for each other / dating). It was also a pretty long kissing scene. I did find Yoo In Na’s yellow toes a bit weird, the ends were sticking up/out!

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Bong-do: “Are you telling me to sleep here alone?” “But I don’t think I will be able to sleep. How am I supposed to spend this long, long night?” “I am being left alone in a strange place, and my talisman has been taken away. Surely you aren’t really leaving?”
Bong-do kisses Hee-jin.
Hee-jin: “You said my passionate nature was a big problem,”
Bong-do: “Ah, but I didn’t tell you the other part—how appealing that is.”
Hee-jin: “Player.”
Bong-do: “I did not know it, but I think I am indeed a player. Agreed.”
And they kiss some more!

At night,while Hee-jin was sleeping, Bong-do went back to Joseon to speak to the monk. He is having a difficult time to decide on his actions.

Boong-do: “This place has become the past to me. Will I be able to continue living here?”

Boong-do: I’m afraid to put words to lips, the things that I know will come to pass. And now I must live every day as it is already written. Is that a humane way to live? Can someone who knows fate live a happy life?

Bong-do: “Strangely enough, the future has become the present to me. So I have come to question whether the time I should be walking in is in that place.”

The monk asks if he can really live in a place where no one will remember him. Will he be happy in solitude?

Bong-do: “Yes, but if by chance, there were one person who remembered me, then wouldn’t life be a little different?”

Bong-do went back to Seoul to spend the day with Hee-jin.  i think this is the first time they spent the whole day together. Normally, they meet for a couple of minutes or hours then Bong-do goes back to Joseon era. i love this part because it shows us how they are like as a real couple.

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again reality comes crashing in and they have to think about how it would work – he’s from Joseon era, she is from modern day Seoul. can he stay in Seoul and leave his old life? does he want to?

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Boong-do: I said that I’d take responsibility for you. But it occurred to me that to take responsibility for inserting myself into your life and throwing it into chaos… being your boyfriend for a short while, or buying you an expensive car, or spraying water on that man… isn’t enough. Truly taking responsibility… is being near you at all times. What do you think? That’s the only conclusion I could come to.
Hee-jin: “It is a very admirable conclusion.”
Boong-do: “Is that so?”
Hee-jin:“I do have a good eye for people.”

Hee-jin: It was an encounter that started by chance. A strange encounter that started by chance, in a rift in time. The end of that chance encounter’s inevitable cause and effect… was coming near.

Uh-oh. I have a feeling something wrong is going to happen soon!

And i was right! when Bong-do went back to Joseon, he was trapped by Min-am in public and almost died by the 3 arrows. Good thing his loyal servant was able to transport him to where the modern day hospital is located, give him the talisman and he was transported to modern day Seoul. at the same time this was happening, Hee-jin had a breakdown (it seems like if something bad or death-related is happening to Bong-do she feels it too even though she doesn’t know what it is). This is a very sad scene with Hee-jin crying, oblivious that Bong-do survived and was actually rushed to the hospital at the same time.

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they didn’t see each other for a month, that is how long Bong-do had to settle his own life and when he comes back to Seoul, they meet up again. This time Bong-do is not leaving.

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Boong-do: “There are many words that I do not understand, and words that I am hearing for the first time. But there is one thing that has not changed.”
Hee-jin: “What?”
Boong-do: “I love you.”

and here comes another round of sweet scenes between the couple.. Hee-jin teaches him the use of a tie (haha! everything she teaches him has something to do with kissing)

it is only episode 14 so i’m sure there were more tragedies to come.. and sure enough, while they were at the park, Bong-do suddenly vanished and came back to Joseon era! OMG!!! they were both shocked at what happened! Bong-do saw the talisman slowly turning black. Turns out, Yoon Wol, the servant lady who gave him the talisman was murdered by Jasu. and i guess if the giver died then the talisman will no longer work? or because the original purpose of the talisman is to keep him safe and happy and since he has both then the talisman has no effect so he went back to Joseon? (sorry these are just my thoughts). and so Bong-do avenged for the murder of Yoon Wol by killing Jasu and he looked for the monk who originally wrote the talisman but unfortunately, he died one month ago. Hopeless, he tried one last time if the talisman will work – we find out that he was slashing his neck everytime he time travels and good thing it worked (well, for a little bit). He was able to speak with Hee-jin one brief time before he vanished again! Grabe!!! i was crying the whole time!

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The talisman is now really useless and powerless so Bong-do has no way of meeting Hee-jin again. He has another hard decision to make. Is it better to burn the talisman so that Hee-jin will lose all her memories and he keep the talisman so that Hee-jin will at least remember him even if they never meet again? He decided to write a letter i ncase they both forget their memories and then he burned the talisman.

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“When I first came into possession of this talisman, I wanted to know what its cause and effect were. At first, I thought it was the realization of my frustrated dream. Then, I thought that its effect may have been meeting you. After that, I thought that effect could be to start anew in a different world. But now, belatedly I realize that its cause and effect is that for saving my life, I would lose everything. My future, my name, my values, my people. And you too. To gain life, one must pay a price and lose something else—that is obvious logic. That I believed I could keep one of those things was my own foolishness. How much more will I have to lose to satisfy that price? Not being able to meet you again—that such a thing is a luxury is something I have now realized.”
“Memories. Our memories… Losing them is the final price. I do not know what happens now. Will we forget each other? Or will we live unable to forget, forever tormented?”
“If I have a last wish, I want to remember you. In an aimless life, to not even have those memories would be hell. And you… and you… if you should happen to read this letter far into the future, I pray you will not realize for whom this letter is meant.”

One year later, we find out Hee-jin indeed lost her memories but Bong-do didn’t. Bong-do spent the whole year on the countryside wandering aimlessly. Hee-jin became successful and was invited to do a voice over for a documentary called Queen Inhyun’s Man – it is about a rumor of an affair between Queen Inhyun and Kim Bong Do. Hee-jin doesn’t remember Kim Bong-do but she was fascinated by his story. When Hee-jin was filming the documentary in Gyeongbukgong Palace, at the same time, 300 years ago, Kim Bong-do was caught by the police and charged with the murder of Jasu. the scene was wonderfully shot – they were standing with their backs to each other and for some reason, Hee-jin could feel his presence and started crying (she didn’tknow why, she just felt sad).

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At night, while Hee-jin was driving the car, we also see Bong-do locked up in a cell. He sees his bag contains the tie that Hee-jin bought him and his phone.  He decided to use the tie to hang himself. Back to Hee-jin, she suddenly started crying for no reason but strangely, she started having visions of her having 2 phones, “Player” calling “The Most Beautiful Girl i nthe World”. She suddenly remembers the phone number of “Player” but she doesn’t know who it was. So she dialed the number and remarkably, the phone started to ring!! Bong-do, who was already choking was shocked when he saw the phone ring and eventually managed to take off the noose and answer the phone. The minute he answered the phone, he suddenlyvanished and … reappeared in modern day Seoul!!!

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Okay – this is the part where i was a bit skeptic – how did the phone work? there were no cellsites and the first time he vanished and the talisman became black, they both tried to call up each other but there was nothing. so how did the phone suddenly work? and after 1 year the phone still had battery? i think if we base it on logic, the phone bringing Bong-do back to modern day Seoul sans talisman does not make sense. However, since this is a fantasy show and i can’t think of other ways for Bong-do to come back other than “fate” or “God” taking pity on him and bringing him back to Hee-jin but that would be a worse outcome. so thinking about it and which Hee-jin will later explain in her voice over, the phone became the “new” talisman since it came from Hee-jin’s love and sincerity. (did that make sense? haha!)

so back to the finale, Hee-jin went back to the studio and re-watch the letter part and all her memories fully came back, with her realizing that the letter was written for her! Bong-do found Hee-jin and they meet up, much to Hee-jin’s shock!!!

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Bong-do: “Why didn’t you answer the phone after calling me?”
Boong-do: “I had to search for you for so long. Didn’t you call me? One hour ago.”
Hee-jin was too shocked to answer him.
Bong-do: “Hello? Hello? Are you listening? Hello? Answer me please, ‘Most Beautiful Woman Ever’.”

Yihee!!! I’m so happy they are together at last !!!

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Hee-jin: “What did you do with the talisman?”
Boong-do: “I burned it.”
Hee-jin: “Then how did you come here?”
Boong-do: “I came back because you called me.”
Hee-jin: “Me?”
Boong-do: “You.”

Hee-jin: [in voiceover] “A chance encounter that started with a gap in time… that meeting already ended a year ago. Our reunion now is not because of a mysterious talisman written by a monk, but because of a string of memories that belongs only to us both. Now begins our second encounter. Now, I am his lifesaver. The price to pay? All he has to do is stay forever by my side.”

The End. Fantastic Story with an amazing soundtrack. The song from Deok Hwan called I’m Coming to See You” is giving me the goosebumps every time I listen to it.

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