recap: Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love Episode 18

LS finally gets the upper hand on Minister Min. And the drama is finally back on course to a tiny extent to convince us that it really goes by the title Jang Ok Jung – Live in Love.

Here goes:
IH walks out of her quarters ask OJ to hand Yoon over. She affectionately refers to him as “Yoonie”, which spells out how she feels about the baby. OJ refuses, saying she won’t hand him over until LS awakes from his coma. IH agrees not to take away Yoon for the moment, but she will in time.

She again refers to Yoon in an intimate manner “Uri Yoonie” – which can mean “Our Yoonie” or “My Yoonie”. HA. IH is reminding OJ not-so-subtly about Yoon’s unique parentage according to palace protocol. OJ is livid that IH is calling her son as such and frets, desperately willing LS to regain consciousness soon.

We’re in LS’s quarters and the physician is doing a check-up on LS when Minister Min walks in. Minister Min asks when LS will wake up and the physician divulges that he cannot promise LS will regain consciousness. DP drops by, too and trade barbs with Minister Min. Minister Min later meets with CS, who is curious why the older man needs him when LS is already unconscious. They talk politics and CS brings up OJ. Minister Min dismisses her without worry, leaving CS looking a little worried.

IH meets with her father and his right-hand man. The latter announces they have to kill both OJ and Yoon in order to regain power to their faction, but Minister Min surprisingly disagrees with that notion, stating that too much blood will be shed that way. He suggests supporting another prince to be king – DP. DP is at LS’s bedside, giving him a roundup of the day’s events.

IK’s father protests, saying DP belongs to the opposition faction. Minister Min says as long their faction is more powerful, DP will have no choice but to go along with their opinions. IH recalls how soft DP is towards OJ and says that supporting DP will not be a good idea. She says she will handle the matter and her father agrees to do so for the time being. But she has to get Yoon from OJ. IH quizzes whether they really have to kill OJ and her father answers firmly that OJ has to go.

DP meets Minister Min in the great hall and DP offhandedly comments he as always wanted to enter the place. If I’m not wrong about Korean history, princes are not allowed to take up positions in government as not to give them the chance to rally support and power from ministers to vie for the throne. Minister Min asks him which position he prefers: he points to the floor and the throne. DP warns him not to joke about such an issue and the minister says he isn’t.

His faction will support DP’s ascension to the throne if he is willing. DP is furious – this is equivalent to plotting treason. And he further shares the person he is most afraid in the world is LS. He warns Minister Min he doesn’t know how scary LS can be. Minister Min says they have to work fast if they want this plan to work. If DP refuses to go along, his faction would just another way to get around this situation and kill off the other faction in the process.

IH heads towards OJ’s quarters and pauses outside. There is a nondescript palanquin waiting outside. She orders the court ladies to seize Yoon. OJ puts up a fight with them when they try to take Yoon away and IH steps into the room. IH says she has to keep her promise, but OJ argues the king hasn’t awakened yet. She adds fuel to fire by sniping that IH is taking her child away because she can’t one on her own.

IH says she wants to protect Yoon, but her father has other ideas. OJ has to hand over her son to IH if she wants Yoon to live. OJ says she will do as IH says if she lets her see LS. IH refuses her request and OJ says she doesn’t want to live if her son is gone. IH tells her this is her last chance to save Yoon and OJ reasons that she can’t just leave Yoon behind and leave the palace. IH informs her Yoon will have to die if she doesn’t do as she is told. This is the only solution to save both mother and child. IH chides OJ: doesn’t she know what Minister Min is like by now?

IH takes Yoon away and carries him in her arms. She looks at him lovingly and introduces herself as his mother. OJ rushes out to see her son one last time but IH leaves quickly, overjoyed to have Yoon in her arms. OJ has to leave the palace in the shabby palanquin. Meanwhile, DP agrees to go along with Minister Min for the time being. Minister Min will get the royal seal for him – the seal is a symbolic reference to the king. He who holds the seal sits on the throne. Sigh. This brings back fond memories of Faith.

But back to JOJ. DP insists they still protect Yoon, but Minister Min says protecting Yoon will only cause danger to DP. DP says they have to let Yoon see his father before he dies. Minister Min agrees. The royal seal is snatched away and presented to DP. Minister Min is meeting with his lackeys and they pass around a book with their names written inside –all those who are supporting DP.

They decide to kill both OJ and Yoon. Another minister wonders whether the queen will be okay with their decision, but Minister Min states she will ultimately accept it. They note that the king cannot regain consciousness if they are to go ahead with their plan….they will have to get rid of LS, too.

Minister Min informs IH they will have to kill OJ and Yoon. IH cannot believe DP is going along with the plan as he has always been so faithful to LS. IH mentions she promised OJ she will let Yoon live, but Minister Min interrupts her saying their fight for power is more important than that promise. Yoon has to die. IH asks what they are going to do with the king…her father’s expression says all.

OJ is on her way back to her mother’s place when she is attacked and kidnapped. JH finds out and HJ says he will search for OJ. The abductor is CS and when OJ comes to, she is shocked to see him. I’m sad to say that Jae Hee and KTH have barely a drop of chemistry – I don’t blame them, but the writer and PD. OJ asks why he has appeared only now. He had suddenly left for China one day to find his adoptive mother’s brother and there have been no news since.

CS informs her it was JH who caused his adoptive mother’s death and she insists on asking her uncle upfront on this matter. CS pleads for her to run away with him and leave this mess, but she says she will not. She is no longer the OJ he knows before. CS warns her they might end up on opposing ends, and OJ is visibly upset. She hopes that such a day will not come.

HJ appears with his men so conveniently…and this is an illogical scene again. HJ actually politely greets CS, recognising him from the time at the pier. I mean isn’t it obvious that CS was the one who kidnapped her, so shouldn’t he trying to capture CS? Plus, he doesn’t question why OJ is familiar with CS. Another scene to be scrubbed from memory.

IH is cuddling Yoon and is reluctant to hand him over to the nanny. The court lady reminds her it is part of palace protocol and IH sighs it is working against her this time. The court lady promises to bring Yoon over in the morning the next day. As the court lady leaves the room, IH recalls her father’s determination to kill Yoon and decides to go after them. Fortunately she does and intervenes just in time before an assasin strikes. This must be the worst assassin I have ever encountered in a sageuk. Urgh. HM is watching everything from afar.

IH says she wants to have Yoon a little longer and says she will follow the court lady to get the nanny. Another assassin enters the king’s quarters. OJ dreams about Yoon and wakes up in a fright. Her mother comforts her, and says she will do anything to help OJ. The ministers are gathered in the great hall to wait for the new king they have chosen. DP is seen walking and holding the royal seal. The king’s arrival is announced and lo and behold, LS walks in.

Minister Min knows he has been duped when he sees DP and the physician trailing behind.LS inquires on their strange expressions and we see flashbacks of LS and DP planning and scheming to bring Minister Min and his faction down. DP is seen reporting to LS on the happenings. LS mistakes IH’s intention in taking away Yoon away from OJ – he thinks it is part of a plan to get rid of Yoon. Not that I blame him as it’s really the most plausible reason out there. But I feel sorry for IH for being misunderstood here when she obviously loves Yoon.

Back to the present. LS reveals their traitorous acts, all recorded in that blue book and of course, he heard it from the horse’s mouth via DP. I’m ignoring the fact that a man as crafty as Minister Min would be tricked so easily by DP. I’ll forgive the writer and just convince myself he was driven by desperation and that clouded his judgment. LS meets Minister Min privately and accuses him of trying to assassinate the king and the crown prince. HM drags in all the guilty parties and Minister Min is caught in a fix.

OJ is on her way back to the palace, with HJ protecting her. They are stopped at the palace gates. IH is busy with Yoon when HM barges in with his guards. He informs her that the king has ordered her to turn over Yoon to him. IH says she can’t let a bunch of men handle the Wonja and says she will carry him to the king herself. OJ suddenly appears and announces she is Yoon’s mother and she will carry her son to the king. IH is shocked to see her – OJ says she whether she lives or dies, she would do it in the palace. She is not leaving the palace so easily.

IH is more sad at the notion of having to give up Yoon than anything else. OJ sees how attached she is to Yoon and snatches him back. She orders HM to escort her to the king. LS is ecstatic to see them and apologises to OJ for causing her worry. It is the only way to ensure Yoon can succeed him in all perfection. IH is wondering about her fate back in her room.

The next morning meeting sees only Minister Jo and his fellow members. The opposing faction is left with two members. LS promotes everyone on Minister Jo’s faction. He then announces he wants to dispose IH as queen.

Some thoughts:
To my disappointment, CS had no grand plan. The scene with OJ was just shot to fulfil the assumption that they had to meet somehow. The whole kidnap saga was a farce. But I’m still hoping that CS does have something kick-ass up his sleeve to bring down JH. LS’s scheme is a little weak, too but in the light of this drama, I guess it suffices. Could have been worse.

Well, the delectable fight between OJ and IH didn’t last long, but I guess we should be happy they had at least one good sparring session. DY didn’t appear in this episode, so I’m not sure what the writer has planned for her. With just 6 episodes left, I can’t see a genuine love story developing between LS and her.

And it’s pretty obvious that the writer and PD have chosen again to re-focus on the love between LS and OJ. I guess they are trying their damnest to remain true to the title of the drama and the original plot now.

For the viewers’ sake and for all JOJ fans who have chosen to stick to the drama despite its inconsistency and THAT episode, I hope they can do a worthy job. I’m not asking for fantastic – just a fair, classy ending that gives due to its initial awesome run.