Wang So (Jang Hyuk) figures out Wang Shik Ryeom’s (Lee Deok Hwa) plan to use the Chunghae Village as he heads back to the capital and find Shin Yool (Oh Yeon Seo), who is in the mountains with Baek Myo (Kim Sun Young). Her illness has gotten worse and the doctor tells Wang Wook (Lim Ju Hwan) that she may die soon. She says that Wang So has to think she’s dead in order to continue down his path.
Not one to be left out on updates. Yeo Won (Lee Honey) finds out from Cheong Ok (Na Hye Jin) about the plan to cause a riot which is set in motion. By planting spies and having word go around about Shin Yool’s death, the villagers begin to panic. Then one of their own is killed by a Red assassin, making their paranoia worse. The villagers decide to fight. Operation Cause A Riot, in full swing.
As he returns, Wang So finds the notice about Shin Yool’s death and breaks into the Chunghae Trading Company and finds everyone talking. He becomes emotional and distraught wanting to know where Shin Yool is, but no one answers him. He finds his way into her empty room and begins calling out for her with tears streaming down his face. As he’s going through his list of regrets like not calling her ‘Yool’, he notices there’s no blood and Baek Myo is missing. He then finds her half of the butterfly pendant and realizes she’s still alive. To confirm it, he tricks Yang Gyu Dal (Heo Jeong Min) into telling him. Wang Wook tells Wang So where to find Shin Yool and warns that she’s very ill and getting worse.
Behind the scenes, Yeo Won is at work getting support for the King (Ryu Seung Soo) and Wang So. A nobleman who once sent in an assassin into her home says he’s on her side as well as Dowager Queen. However, Wang Shik Ryeom and his minions aren’t thrilled about what Yeo Won is doing.
Back in the mountains, the doctor tells Baek Myo that the only way to cure Shin Yool of her coldness is to go into the icy creek. It sounds foolish, but he says that’s their only chance. Wang So arrives and offers to go in with her, but Baek Myo refuses since it can kill him. Wang So goes in with her anyways and miraculously, Shin Yool is getting better. The doctor tells them her circulation has gotten much better.
Rumors have been spreading about Chunghae Village and Wang So gets back to Eun Chun and correctly guesses who is behind it. Wang Shik Ryeom even tells his co-conspirators that he has proof of Wang So and Shin Yool buying slaves to build an army, which Poong is set to suppress. He even plans on becoming king once he defeats Wang So.
Wang So visits the king to inform him of Wang Shik Ryeom’s plan to be the next king, he jokes and says he’s very clueless. After a moment alone, the king speaks with Wang So again. In a moment of selflessness and emotion, King Jeongjong abdicates his throne and gives it to Wang So stating it was their father’s wish and he is incapable of being king. Wang So declines at first, but Jeongjong says it’s a royal order and Wang So is now the King of Goryeo.
Eun Chun and Cheong Ok urge Gang Myeong (Ahn Kil Kang), Gyeong, and Gyu Dal to head to Chunghae Village to help simmer things down and they accept. As they meet with Wang So (Gyu Dal complete with his umbrella), everyone notices how large their once small crowd was. The villagers state that they heard how Wang So and Shin Yool founded the village and they’re here to help.
Wang Shik Ryeom arrives with his Red assassins and slave army and orders them to attack, but Wang So has a different idea. He asks the men why are they fighting against each other? The men behind him also wonder the same and he orders everyone to drop their weapons. The villagers and Black Assassins drop their weapons, leaving Wang Shik Ryeom’s side still holding theirs. Wang So tells the men he can send them home to their families which makes them rethink their position and step aside. Wang Shik Ryeom orders his own assassins to attack and Wang So tells his own to protect his people. Without weapons, the citizens and Black Assasins easily defeat the Red Assassins. Wang Shik Ryeom surrenders to Wang So instead of being killed by the angry villagers.
After the ‘battle’, Wang So visits Shin Yool and we see that Baek Myo has brought her wedding dress along. Wang So finally gets the chance to lift her veil and put a ring on her finger. He tells her he’s become the new king and wants her family to move into the palace, they can come and go as they please, he just wants her beside him.
Later, Shin Yool decides not to move into the palace and to travel to west China. She tells Wang So of her plans saying she can’t give up on her dreams just as he can’t give up his throne. She says they may meet again someday and ask each other how they have been.
Wang Wook is leaving and tells Yeo Won he wants to learn to live for himself, something they never learned. He leaves on the same road as Shin Yool, but goes in the opposite direction.
Wang So is enthroned and we are shown a list of his real life accomplishments from his reign as king. Years later, he is older and looking at Shin Yool’s wedding dress and reminisces. After he leaves, his children sneak inside. As in episode 1, Ji Mong tells the young royals they are destined to be with the one you are meant to be with – even if you try not to be together. He says it’s destiny from heaven.
In what appears to be a picturesque clearing in a wood, a younger Wang So finds Shin Yool sitting on a rock. He apologizes for taking so long, asks how she’s been and says it’s nice to see her. She says the same and they hug.
akinahana89: Well. If I’m being honest, “Shine or Go Crazy” had a rather lackluster ending. I’m not quite sure if I should be booking the next ticket to Korea with my secret supply of pitchforks… or if I should just let it go and consider the scene of So So and Shin Yool’s consummated wedding night as the end. The last few minutes just didn’t make much sense to me, so I’m left feeling rather puzzled and unsatisfied. What did you think?
LavelyShai: I am quite the opposite and I liked the ending *ducks*. After reading the comments and hesitating, I saw the ending and I thought it was beautiful. So So and Shin Yool met in the afterlife, I assume she died before he did since he said he was sorry for taking so long. Ji Mong told the little princes and princess that you’re suppose to be with the person you’re destined to be with even if you try not to. It’s destined to happen. He never said it would happen in this life, but you’ll come together again. Shin Yool’s prophecy stated she’d be the light for another nation – and she was, but nothing said she was supposed to spend her life with anyone in particular. Their love transcends time and space, it goes beyond just our reality. Their love was so strong, they met in the afterlife and would therefore spend eternity together. At least, that’s how I depicted it.
akinahana89: I like your interpretation. I really do, because it sounds much happier than what I found the ending to be. Again, I didn’t hate it, but it just didn’t hit the right notes for me. It’s probably my fault though, since I’ve been holding out for a straightforward happily ever after for So and Shin Yool since the beginning. No, wait. It’s the drama’s fault! For being so awesome week after week that I naively began raising my expectations for it with each episode. lol. I just really dislike the thought of Wang So living all those years as King, but feeling the loss of love because Shin Yool wasn’t by his side. His blank face during his ceremony already tugged on my heart, but the older, “present day” So, holding the jade butterfly pendant with a wet gleam in his eyes, was the punch in the gut for me. Missing her all those years and, I suppose, dying with the same pain in his heart must be a terrible thing to suffer through, but does meeting her in the afterlife make up for all of that? I guess that’s where everyone’s opinions will differ.
LavelyShai: Yes the enthronement scene was a little hard to watch since he did look so out of it, the Dowager Queen even looked a bit sad. It does make us sad to know that he lives for over 20 years without her by his side, but he was destined to be king and her destiny was just to help him get there. He offered Shin Yool a place within the palace, but it’s not in her personality to sit around in one place so I can see why she declined that. Then he would have never given up the throne, that’s what he was meant to do. I can kind of relate it to real life, some of us have that first or long lost love that wasn’t meant to be at that time and our hearts can ache thinking of them, but deep down we know separation was the right choice.
akinahana89: Yes, I can see the correlation. After everything they’ve been through though, I was surprised by how easy the decision seemed to be for Shin Yool. Although she was sad, I don’t think she was heartbroken by the thought of parting ways with So. On the other hand, So seemed to feel the pain much more immensely, even if he didn’t show it outwardly. I’m also in agreement that it’s not in Shin Yool’s personality to sit around, but I don’t think So intended for her to do that either. Still, as I’m continuing to think about it now, I, too, can understand why she would want to travel the world. Those hard days where she wasn’t even sure if she could live to see tomorrow was a burden and being told that her illness has progressed enough to reach a last resort for treatment is downright terrifying. Now that she had a second (or is it third?) chance to live, she wants to live to the fullest – even if it means not staying by Wang So’s side.
LavelyShai: I agree. I believe being near death again, but being old enough to actually know you may die probably put things into perspective for her. She’s always loved different cultures and traveling so having the chance to do so again made her happy. I feel like she was satisfied with how things turned out for everyone – even her. It may have been hard for So to let her go, but I think he knew it was best. As the saying goes “It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”
akinahana89: *Sigh* Well, if Shin Yool is satisfied with how things turned out for everyone, then who am I to complain about the dissatisfaction I’m feeling? lol. In a roundabout way, they still got a happy ending. Right? Right? But putting that aside for now, I really, really thought the final “showdown” with Wang Shik Ryeom was so… anti-climatic. I honestly thought to myself, “This is the guy that took everyone so long to take down?” It was the first time I thought that of Wang Shik Ryeom. Of course, I’m glad no one was injured or killed, but we had 23 episodes of tension and conflicts and scheming which built up so much anticipation for… that?
LavelyShai: Yeah it wasn’t at all what I expected, but being the optimistic one I can see why it was like that or at least I have come to an understanding of why it was rather..lackluster. Wang Shik Ryeom pretty much proved the coward that he really was by surrendering, we did see him look rather mad so that was kind of satisfying. Dying was the easy way out for him, now he’ll have to live with his failure – which is worse.
akinahana89: Very true, but again, I just expected more. lol. I think I’ve learned a serious lesson through this drama. I’ve always told myself not to set too high of an expectation for dramas because I never know when the writers or directors will suddenly lose their mind and start tossing things together or upsetting their viewers. With “Shine or Go Crazy,” I completely forgot to keep myself in check. It’s not to say that the last two episodes didn’t have its good moments, because it did. How hard did you laugh when Yang Gyu Dal was prepared to head into war with an umbrella as his weapon? LOL
LavelyShai: That’s probably why I am satisfied, I tend to keep my expectations low even if I am in love with the drama. Not to say this ending was bad, but I try not to get my hopes up for an excellent ending. Only a few dramas on my list have had really great endings that left me with no complaints. Ah Gyu Dal is our comic relief, but also someone who has a really good heart. I knew he wanted to go even if he tried to act as though he didn’t want to. Looking at that scene, it was nice to have so many people ready to help Wang So. That’s what being with Shin Yool did for him, he gained respect from the citizens.
akinahana89: Ah, I just think I’ve been spoiled recently with dramas that had really satisfactory endings in my opinion, like my new favorite drama, “Healer” and Jang Hyuk’s previous drama, “Fated to Love You.” They’re still fresh on my mind, so I strayed away from my usually low expectations. I’ll have to remind myself next time, no matter what! Yes, I also thought it was incredible the amount of support Wang So had. I was worried for a second when I saw the fire torches and the crowd of people gathered behind So, especially since the last we had seen of Chunghae Village, they were ready to start that riot and thought the King was behind the killing of their people. You can’t imagine how relieved I was that the two escaped men made it there before So did and convinced a whole village of people of So’s pure heart and intentions. It was all rather touching and one of my favorite scenes this week.
LavelyShai: That scene was so powerful to me that I had to rewatch it. Wang So commanded everyone’s attention and managed to solve a political issue with little to no bloodshed. The slaves thought for themselves and chose not to fight, showing preference for Wang So’s method of winning. Of course it helped that no one actually wanted to except for Wang Shik Ryeom. The fact that he surrendered versus being killed by angry villagers showed he still feared death even if he tried to hide it.
akinahana89: Further proven because Wang Shik Ryeom had even said he would choose death before he chose to lay down his sword. I really loved the message portrayed in that scene, despite the somewhat dull conclusion. I’ve never seen a sageuk drama where a final, epic battle didn’t actually happen, but it was fitting in this particular one. What still saddens me in the end was that Se Won’s death last week really was for nothing. It truly served no purpose and Wang Wook really took the secret of his true identity to the grave, emphasized by the fact that he and Shin Yool, at the same day and time, walked the same path… but in completely opposite directions.
LavelyShai: The entire message behind that non-battle is why I can forgive them for it being somewhat dull, they showed how great of a leader one can be without the bloodshed. Wang So moved them with words and not a sword. Even when they were actually fighting, the Black Assassins didn’t have swords, but used their skill alone. It emphasized how much Wang Shik Ryeom was hiding behind. Ooh, I did notice that ending with Wang Wook leaving down the same path as Shin Yool, but in the opposite direction. He looked at peace and ready to begin his new life. I actually liked his line to Yeo Won before he left, he said he’s going to “learn how to live for myself”. That was powerful and showed the major differences between the siblings. She felt it was far too late to live for herself since she was getting what she was striving for, but Wang Wook was unsure of his life and now set out to find out what he wants. Two people who started out on a similar path, but now see their roads much differently.
akinahana89: Isn’t that actually beautifully ironic? A prince born with a prophecy to bring bloodshed and yet, under his command, not a single drop of blood was shed because of him in that powerful scene. Content, unburdened, and peaceful Wang Wook was really likeable. During the siblings last encounter, I honestly wished that the two of them would find happiness. Yeo Won finally achieved her goal of becoming Queen, but even she acknowledged that it felt kind of empty without family or someone she can speak her mind to. Her new ambition was still for the sake of the nation and not for herself. It makes me wonder how it would feel to not know how to live for yourself… and to not realize that anything is missing because of it.
LavelyShai: I think out of everyone, I feel the most sorry for Yeo Won. She has never truly experienced what it’s like to live burden free and to be happy. Even when given the chance, she doesn’t take it since it’s an unknown path to her and against everything she’s worked for. We may have felt bad for Wang So, but Yeo Won was the most pathetic out of everyone.
akinahana89: You’re right. Her only moments of happiness, however short and infrequent they were, came from Se Won and even he had been taken from her. She mourned for such a short time and never mentioned him again. That’s not normal. When she became Queen, there would only be more burdens and issues for her to handle and no outlet. Although her relationship with So had improved at that point, it’s still not what she needs. In fact, she probably doesn’t even know what it is she needs. That really is quite sad and unfortunate.
LavelyShai: Yeo Won was never allowed to think for herself and to be happy. Even without Se Won being killed, she could never be with him (although I heard historically the queen had her own lover) because she was living for others. Nothing she did was for her own sake, but for others. She lived as an empty shell and taking on the role of queen probably keeps her that way. She doesn’t want to feel because then she’d show her true self and it wouldn’t be for the sake of the nation nor for her husband. Not feeling means never having to deal with it and I’m guessing that’s how she ended up years later.
akinahana89: I think it’s safe to assume that Yeo Won never learned to live for herself in the way that we are to assume that Wang Wook did. But she, at least, would have felt satisfaction at how well So was ruling Goryeo. His lists of accomplishments were really something, although I’m not surprised since he’s always been about the people. He had the brains to do it too, just like how he so quickly figured out Shin Yool hadn’t been assassinated. He even thought of such a clever way to get Gyu Dal to spill the truth. lol
LavelyShai: Very true. She may not live for herself, but she wanted more for her nation and feels satisfaction in knowing he became a great king. While many things in this drama were fiction, I loved how they added his real life accomplishments. It showed that yes this was a fictional drama, but he was a real person who did a lot for Goryeo during his reign.
akinahana89: Overall, “Shine or Go Crazy,” while not a perfect 10, was a great drama with a healthy blend of fiction and reality. For me, despite the ending, I still thoroughly enjoyed the journey and thought the entire cast gave a stellar performance. Jang Hyuk continues to solidify himself as an amazing actor, in my mind, who can flawlessly pull off the most emotional of scenes and Oh Yeon Seo has won me over with her portrayal of Shin Yool and Gaebong to the point where I’ll be waiting for news of her next drama project. It has been a thought provoking, powerful, and entertaining ride. I’m glad I had the opportunity to, not only experience this drama, but to share the experience with you, Lavely, and our ever faithful readers. “Shine or Go Crazy” definitely shone bright and was completely worth the watch.
LavelyShai: While the drama wasn’t perfect and there were times I wanted to flip tables, I think it was thoroughly entertaining and it kept me on my toes. I agree about the cast, everyone did a wonderful job portraying their characters until the end. Jang Hyuk and Oh Yeon Seo’s chemistry made rooting for Wang So and Shin Yool easy and Lee Ha Nui’s portrayal of Hwang Bo Yeo Won really surprised me that I’d feel anything for that character. Even if the ending felt a tad anticlimactic, I can understand why they didn’t go out with a bang as I had hoped before. They tied up all the loose ends and that’s the most I can ask of a drama. Great job to the cast and crew for working hard to make a fun drama.
akinahana89: I had never seen a Lee Ha Nui or Lim Ju Hwan drama before, but I thought they did an excellent job as well. Everyone, even all of the supporting cast, was completely believable and truly made “Shine or Go Crazy” what it was. I can’t wait for a drama that will reunite any of these casts and recreate the chemistry we saw here.
LavelyShai: I’m new to Lim Ju Hwan and I enjoyed him in this drama, if anyone can recommend another drama he’s in, I’ll gladly take a look. I’m familiar with Lee Ha Nui (or Honey Lee) and I think she did really well here. I’ll also take any of the cast and have them in another drama or movie. Here’s hoping Jang Hyuk and Oh Yeon Seo can reunite.
Now that it’s all over *sobs*, what did you all think of the ending and drama overall?
For all “Shine or Go Crazy” recaps, click here.