The Blade and Petal pilot episode. It’s very satisfying and worth the wait. A very artistic well polished drama. There’s not much dialogue on the first episode, but the creative direction and cinematography make me really enjoyed this episode. I hate long-staring scene, but it’s done well here. It actually helps to set the right mood. The music score is uniquely fresh, heightening up the mood. Fantastic political conflict set-up.
Uhm Tae Woong and Kim Ok Bin’s chemistry is already palpable. I honestly forget their 13 years difference.
Kim Young Chul and Choi Min Soo; goosebumps. They are two actors that I really respect, so watching both of them together in one drama, in one scene, it’s just a dream come true.
I didn’t plan to write recaps for this drama; but as I was watching the first episode, I started to write something; so here’s a mini recap of Episode 1.
Episode 1 Mini Recap
Princess Moo Young (Kim Ok Bin) narration:
“Goguryeo, which had East Asia under its command in the past. I am a Princess of Goguryeo. My father King Yeong Nyu is a military hero who fought against the 1.1 million soldiers of Sui Dynasty, Go Gun Moo. The new ruler of the continent, Tang Dynasty gradually took steps to take over Goguryeo. King Yeong Nyu wanted to take time to prepare for war, but Yeon Gaesomun argued that we should strike back right away.
And, the only love of my life, Yeon Choong. Son of Yeon Gaesomun. I wonder if our paths should never have crossed.
Zoom out to the deserted Pyongyong (capital city of Goguryeo), she then asks:
Goguryeo, why did Goguryeo fall?”
Several years ago, in the palace, King Yeong Nyu (Kim Young Chul) is addressing his ministers that for Goguryeo to live, they must make peace with neighboring countries, including Tang. They are aware that Tang has already started preparing for war.
King Yeong Nyu believes that if he goes to war, he won’t lose to anyone, including Tang. But the current situation of Goguryeo does not afford going to war.
His ministers advise him that Tang has already destroyed monuments and sent spies.
Do you even know what war is? King Yeong Nyu ask them.
These people who never go to war, and yet are talking about war.
General Yeon Gaesomun (Choi Min Soo) is silent, he’s just observing the heated discussion.
They believe King Yeong Nyu’s peace strategy won’t prevent Tang’s invasion.
So he asks what are their plan?
Yeon Gaesomun advises that they must change the Prime Minister.
In the meanwhile, Princess Moo Young & Crown Prince’s carriage is attacked by unknown people.
Back in the palace, Yeon Gaesomun suggests that the new mighty elected Prime Minister must be able to fight against Tang.
The current Prime Minister Hae Tae Soo is too weak and can’t handle the pressure from Tang.
King Yeong Nyu says to Yeon Gaesomun that in order to keep Goguryeo standing strong and firm, they must stabilize the domestic issues first. Changing Prime Minister won’t solve the problem
Therefore, they must install the Crown Prince (Lee Min Ho) first. But Yeon Gaesomun says that the Crown Prince is too feeble-minded to fight against Tang.
Yeon Gaesomun reminds King Yeong Nyu that he wasn’t the direct heir to the throne. But he was the general who fought off Sui Dynasty and successfully brought victory. *According to wikipedia, King Yeong Nyu was the younger half-brother of the 26th King Yeong Yang, and Son of the 25th King Pyeong Won*
Yeon Gaesomun suggests that the bravest and most virtuous person among the royalty should become the Crown Prince of Goguryeo.
The messenger informs King Yeong Nyu that the Crown Prince and Princess was attacked by none other than Tang soldiers. They’re on the way back from Jolbon. Thankfully both of them are not hurt because a group of unknown people came to their rescue.
That attack heightens up the pressure to start taking action against Tang.
Obviously they can’t make peace with Tang while they contempt Goguryeo.
King Yeong Nyu calmly tells them that the attacker’s leader has been captured alive. So they should be able to dig into Tang’s true intention.
Outside, the ministers are panicking that this person (the leader who’s captured as the hostage) will confess that the attack was their idea. They’ll surely be doomed. But Yeo Gaesomun calmly tell these panicked people to eat grilled pork. So Yeo Gaesomun was the culprit behind this attack. It was not Tang.
Rainy day. Yeon Choong (Uhm Tae Woong) is walking pass the Princess’ carriage and Princess Moo Young is looking at him cautiously. She can’t see his face because it’s covered by the big hat he’s wearing.
From a mysterious place, Yeon Choong takes off his hat and points his arrow to the prisoner / hostage trapped inside the cage. He shoots his arrow and bulls eyes! The arrow hits the prisoner’s back, pierces through his heart and he’s killed.
Chaos everywhere and Princess Moo Young catch a glimpse of Yeon Chung who’s getting ready to shoot, on the roof. She grabs a sword and is chasing Yeon Choong.
Yeon Choong runs & jumps from one roof to the next. It looks like he’s done this so many times already, he escapes really fast.
Yeon Choong grabs a scarf, to hide his neck and mouth and fights the soldiers who’re on his way.
Outside, Princess Mu Yeong is waiting for the culprit to show up. And as soon as she sees Yeon Choong, she points her sword to him.
Jang (Oh Joo Wan) notices the Princess is in danger. He fights against Yeon Choong. He’s able to slash his arm. While Jang is asking if the Princess is unhurt, Yeon Choong escapes.
But he’s not running too far away, he’s somewhere close. Showing off his excellent archery skill to the town people; he’s successfully shoots the apple while his eyes are covered. And cue to his arm, blood is dripping from his left arm. Jang is inside this inn, and is looking at him very closely. Yeon Choong realizes that Jang is here. Both Jang and Yeon Choong silently grab their swords.
But someone takes Yeon Choong away from the crowd.
Jang leaves. Shi Woo (Lee Jung Shin) is looking at this scene very cautiously.
The reason Yeon Choong is in Pyongyang and doing all these dangerous performances, is because he wanted to meet someone. It’s his own father, Yeon Gaesomun.
A group of people is offering him a job, that should be extremely easy for Yeon Choong. They tell him that this job is for someone who’s really important.
Yeon Choong asks if he will be able to see this very important person if he takes the job.
In his room, Yeon Choong is looking at his pendant.
Flashback to his conversation with his mom, he asked why they didn’t live together with dad and where he was. He holds grudge to his dad who he believed threw his mother away because she’s a mere slave. Mom told him that his dad is a good person. She gave that necklace and pendant to him.
The doctor tells Princess Moo Young that the hostage (that was killed) smelled aroma of almond, this is a fruit grown in western area and a fruit that can kill someone. It’s very rare and very hard to get it.
King Yeong Nyu is furious that their hostage died and the culprit who killed him escaped. He blames Jang who’s not able to do his job properly and he won’t be regretful if Jang’s life disappear at this moment.
King Yeong Nyu wants to investigate this incident up to its root.
Princess Moo Young tells her father that a group of people saved them while they’re attacked. She asks if they’re his people; if he sent them.
Princess Moo Young comforts Jang who’s really down and she tells him not to worry about her father’s anger. As he’s probably more upset that Jang is braver than his own son, Crown Prince. King Yeong Nyu always compares his son with courageous Jang.
Fate is so ironic. Crown Prince (Princess Mu Young’s brother) is born to be King, but he doesn’t want to be King. On the other hand, Jang who is very capable and deserved to be King, cannot ascend to the throne because he’s not King’s direct descendant.
In which Jang tells her that fate is something that can be changed anytime.
He’s confident that the Crown Prince will overcome all obstacles.
Princess Moo Young is investigating the hostage incident too. She comes to the butcher shop and the owner tells her that many Goguryeo noblemen bought almonds. And that’s the same with the leather bag.
Shi Woo gives another insight and that she can’t conclude that Yeon family is the only who use the leather bags and almonds.
In the market, Princess Mu Yeong is looking for hair ornaments. And here comes the hero, Yeon Choong. Their “official” first meeting.
They touch the same ornaments, and the rock BGM start. I really love this BGM, it truly sets the mood. Nervous, curious, embarrassed, all in one. Princess Moo Young keeps staring at him and smiles.
But no response from Yeon Choong.
Suddenly, Yeon Choong disappears. And the Princess is looking for him.
When she finally finds him, she follows him from far away. Until sadly she loses him again.
She doesn’t realize that he stands behind her. And when she turns back, their eyes meet. She smiles.
Yeon Chung run to save Princess from out-of-control horse. Then, my most favorite scene on this episode, Princess is floating in the air like spiderman, while Yun Chung is tightly holding her hand. 360degree angle. Soo beautiful. It’s not cheesy because their chemistry is so palpable. We can all see that they both fall in love with each other at this very moment.
Back in the palace, the elders are happy that the sole survivor has been eliminated, so they’re safe. Nobody will think that they’re the culprit behind this. That attack will be considered the attack from Tang to the royal family of Goguryeo.
General Yeon is calmly picking up herbs.
But they must stop the Prime Minister’s order to send General Yeon to oversee the construction of the wall on the border, because the moment he goes there, both his life and their lives are over.
General Yeon tells them that they need to keep in mind that their lives and most importantly, the fate of Goguryeo will depend on the election of the new Prime Minister.
One of the elder is curious about that sharpshooter who hit the heart of the captured soldier.
At General Yeon home, Yeon Chung is kneeling, waiting for him.
He steps into his house, walks pass his own son without saying anything.
Yeon Choong tells him that he really wants to see his dad, even if it’s for one short time. He explains that his mom couldn’t come with him because she has left this world.
General Yeon’s blank expression. It’s their first meeting, but he doesn’t say anything to his son. It seems like he didn’t miss his family.
Yeon Chung mentions that he’s been here before but nobody let him in. So he took the job to kill that captured hostage, it’s the first time he killed someone. He did it just to get a chance to meet his own father.
But General Yeon coldly tells him that there’s no place for him in this house.
He can’t say anything when Yeon Choong asks what does he and his mom mean to him.
So Yeon Chung leaves.
In the palace, King Yeong Nyu is practicing sword with his daughter, Princess Moo Young. She asks about General Yeon’s political tactic that he wanted to stop Crown Prince’s installation and that he wants to elect new PM. King knew that he did that because he doesn’t want to be sent to oversee the construction.
King tells his daughter that General Yeon is not an easy opponent. If they’re not careful, the nobles may rise up in revolt.
However, if he doesn’t come to the palace tonight, General Yeon won’t survive.
Princess Moo Young gives a reassuring look to her father before he goes to have a private meeting with General Yeon.
General Yeon comes to the palace with his faithful followers. He steps down from his horse and the guard let him in.
He enters the room with confident steps. Face-to-face meeting with King Yeong Nyu.
King opens the conversation by asking if General Yeon still drinks a lot. He nods. And then he goes to the point. He’s well aware that the peace treaty with Tang won’t last forever. Tang will definitely grow stronger and they eventually want to take over Goguryeo.
That’s why we must be ready for Tang’s invasion, says General Yeon.
Both General Yeon and King knew very well that Tang will invade Goguryeo but they have different ideas of how to prepare for the attack.
King tells him that they can’t be divided over those differences.
General Yeon’s tactic (of feigning the attack from Tang) is not practical, says King Yeong Nyu.
If they’re divided, Goguryeo will fall.
King Yeong Nyu agrees to elect new PM. In return, he asks for Crown Prince’s installation.
General nods and tells that if that what it takes to save Goguryeo, he can do even worse thing than this.
King expects to hear his answer soon.
Yeon Choong plans to leave Pyongyang. Jin Goo wonders if his meeting with his dad didn’t go well.
At the market, Princess Moo Young remembers her first meeting with Yeon Choong.
And she finds a martial art performance flyer. Picture of Yeon Choong – eyes covered. She looks around for the inn that’s in that picture and finds it. But unfortunately, the inn is empty.
Disappointed, but she’s still holding the hope that she’ll see him again. So she waits in front of the inn for hours.
Her perseverance pays off. Someone is looking at her from the upper floor. It’s Yeon Choong.
Yeon Choong changed his mind and decides to stay in Pyongyang.
Today’s performance is at the town square. When asked if he wants to collect all the money in the whole capital city of Pyongyang, he says that he’ll do something else. A proper job where no one can mess with him. That’s what he needs.
Jin Goo gathers everyone around the town square.
Yeon Choong successfully & precisely hit all the apples in one-go – his eyes are covered.
Now they are looking for a brave volunteer.
Princess Mu Yeong hesitates, but Yeon Choong is looking at her and he is walking towards her.
He asks if she trusts him.
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