the art + act of tacit, absolute understanding

If Hong Jong Hyun ever needed a breakthrough role, Wang Rin is it. I swear I nearly cried today because of the way he quietly portrayed Wang Rin’s hidden tender feelings for Eun San, and his staunch loyalty and understanding of Wang Won. And paired with the blistering Im Si Wan who is plain crazy good in every scene, sparking with emotion with subtle clarity, whether he is a furious, vengeful prince or just a boy in love with bright puppy eyes, this bromance is topping my list of all bromances. And not forgetting royal bodyguards, Jang Eui and Jin Gwan, who are awesome when they are at work. With friends and bodyguards like that to watch your back… does our Crown Prince really need just that one girl??? I mean Hong Jong Hyun and Im Si Wan have insane chemistry and my heart shatters a little more for Wang Won and Wang Rin as they both cling on fiercely to their bromance.

I’m getting so much of  Faith feels that I’m getting goosebumps. I can’t really pinpoint the similarities but they are there. The baddies have half a brain and the conversations all around are downright interesting – I loved the fiery showdown between Wang Won and his mother. She is as tough as nails and well, she reared a son who is showing he can be tougher than her. In short, Eun San walks into a trap set up by the baddies and is arrested, and both Wang Rin and Wang Won get their royal robes twisted in a bid to rescue her. Wang Rin tries to get to Wang Won, but the latter is being stalled by the queen.

She screeches for her guards to stop Wang Won from leaving her quarters in order not to walk into the trap laid by the baddies – even blithely informing her henchmen it doesn’t matter if the crown prince gets wounded in the process.

Wang Won bellows for his faithful guards, Jang Eui and Jin Gwan, who awesomely flip and fly into the room out of nowhere, knocking away a couple of guards away immediately, with Jang Eui answering icily while glowering at the queen’s guards, “Did you call us?” HOT DAMN. Can I have them after Wang Won is done? I mean he has Wang Rin with his double daggers and Eun San with her gilded, pricey dagger.

The queen is furious that her son’s guards are not following her orders and Wang Won retorts scathingly that they only take orders from him in this nation, and as blithely as his mother had been before, informs them he is totally fine if they unsheath their swords, too. HOT DAMN again. If his mother wants a blood bath, he ain’t stopping her.

They obey and I totally dig how they shout out their replies in that to-hell-with-whoever-is-not-Wang Won tone. Wang Won orders them to cut a path through for him since he needs to get out of the room. They do so with bad-ass cool while Wang Won waits patiently. I’m thrilled with the musical score here. Jang Eui and Jin Gwan hold off the queen’s main guard and Wang Won does his own flip over them and saunters out without another word. I’m stoked that Jang Eui and Jin Gwan are way more skilled than the queen’s guards, but there is still Moo Suk, our tatoooed assassin whom I’m sure they will encounter more down the road. Wang Rin is presumedly a better fighter than Jin Gwan and Jang Eui, and from the teaser for tomorrow’s episodes, an equal match to Moo Suk.

Wang Won sees how Eun San is being interrogated by Wang Jeon – Wang Rin’s dumb ass of a brother – and can barely hold back his rage. He is hidden from view – together with the king – by a curtain so Eun San can’t see him. Wang Won confesses his feelings for Eun San. Eun San does a credible job of hanging in there defiantly as Wang Jeon hits and threatens her. Wang Rin heads over to Eun San and bumps into the queen on the way. She instructs him slyly to take the rap and walk into the trap for Wang Won if he calls himself her son’s friend. Wang Rin doesn’t reply.

Wang Rin barges in and his brother is flabbergasted that Wang Rin just thwarted his plans again. Wang Jeon demands to know why Wang Rin is butting in and the latter declares Eun San is his woman. Which man would just stand by and do nothing when he sees his woman captured and dragged away, and bleeding? He gently reaches out to wipe the blood on her lips. AHHHHHHH… the look in Wang Rin’s eyes… he means every word. Aww… He has this electric moment with Eun San as they stare at each other. Eun San is unnerved even as she somewhat gets it that Wang Rin is doing it to save her. The background music is lovely here. Wang Won is stunned.

Wang Rin doesn’t know Wang Won is there throughout. The king is bemused at the declarations of both boys and barks for Wang Rin and Eun San to be taken away and locked up. Wang Won sees Eun San being dragged away roughly. He goes to the prison after having another heated session with his father. He is enraged when he chances upon the guard that had dragged Eun San away and just stops short of beating him to death. Wow… an unhinged Wang Won is a dangerous one.

He visits Wang Rin who informs him about Eun San’s injuries – Wang Won replies curtly that he saw everything and knows Wang Jeon is the culprit. He warns Wang Rin that he may punish his brother severely to which Wang Rin replies in an agreeable tone that he doesn’t care what Wang Won does to his brother. Wang Won divulges the king has only allowed him to release one person – either Wang Rin or Eun San. Wang Won admits candidly that Wang Rin has to stay imprisoned since he is going to choose to release Eun San since he can’t bear to see her further mistreated.

Wang Rin wryly states out loud that Wang Won once claimed he was the only friend he had and only trusted him, but the prince is going to choose a woman over him this time. Wang Rin snickers and lets out a genuine laugh, and Wang Won after some embarrassment and guilt, joins him and they both howl in laughter at the absolute ridicule of their situation.

GAAAAAAAH. So much poignancy in the exchange – both boys understood each other despite Wang Won abandoning Wang Rin for Eun San. The wealth of tacit understanding and unsaid emotion in just that scene alone is astounding. I mean they are both aware that Wang Rin would find a way to get out anyway. But still… the fact that both understood the other implicitly to even have a laugh over it… my heart aches. The way Rin stares at Won, and vice versa, both assured yet a little unsettled at how well they get each other. There is an wary edginess to Wang Won though – as if he is wondering just how longer they can be so trustful of each other. And the music is superb again.

So Eun San is released and Wang Won hugs her in relief. But Eun San can’t stop worrying over how to get Wang Rin released and is frustrated that Wang Won doesn’t seem the least anxious about his friend. Wang Won assures her Wang Rin will be fine since he has friends in high places. Sure enough, Wang Won sends pillows and blankets to Wang Rin’s cell, while Wang Dan sends food.

Eun San writes a letter to her father to ask for help but her letter is intercepted by Moo Suk. Our resident villain suspects Eun San is the real daughter of the Joseon chaebol. His suspicions are proven true when he finds out that the maid posing as Eun San can’t read, while Eun San writes elegantly.

When Eun San doesn’t stop fretting over Wang Rin, and when they go to the tavern where he once saved her and reminisce their time together, Wang Won is struck that she can think of another man while he is in front of her. On the other hand, he can’t think of anyone else while she is in front of him. He confronts her boldly and they stare at each other…askance.

I see why Eun San is torn between the two men. Wang Won drives her nuts but is disarming and entertaining, while Wang Rin is the silent protector that no gal can resist. Plus, he just saved her life and got burnt in the process. Her heart flutters at the thought of Wang Won hugging her yet her heart wanders towards the quiet, gentle Rin. It’s a fabulous toss-up between the two since I sincerely believe both men genuinely are growing to love her in their own special way.

BUT the Rin-Won bromance is just pure pleasure to watch even if it does look as if the strong foundation is getting a little shaky. They are trading turns to take the rap for each other, as I suspected. Wang Won saved Wang Rin during the arrow incident, and now Rin returns the favour though his decision was fuelled that bit more in a bid to save Eun San. But underlining their relationship, action and decisions, there is always the unspoken deference between lord and subject. Wang Rin knows that; Wang Won knows that, and both accept that fact.

Song Ji Na is tugging at my heartstrings again with her brand of nuanced writing, and excellent depth with her characters. She is totally blowing my mind with the way she deftly weaves emotion and intellect with Wang Won and Wang Rin.

Just so bloody good.