5 Emotionally Fraught Moments In Episodes 3-4 Of

Our Blooming Youth” picks up steam this week as our Crown Prince and the woman he has reluctantly begun to trust grow further embroiled in a scheme that could upend the nation. This show’s pacing has been incredible thus far. Information is doled out at a measured pace that allows us to get a better feel for each character, for how they’re starting to change, and where that places them in the complex web that is life in the palace. Lee Hwan (Park Hyung Sik) and Min Jae Yi (Jeon So Nee) remain at loggerheads as they try to figure out whether to trust or betray the other. The answer comes to each of them surprisingly quickly, and that’s probably for the best because there are wolves amassing outside the palace to ruin Hwan. He’s going to need all the help that he can get.

Warning: spoilers for episodes 3-4 below.

1. Jae Yi passes Hwan’s Test

Despite Hwan’s initial distrust and dislike of Jae Yi, he’s still intrigued. She’s intelligent, bold, unafraid of insulting him to his face, and clearly has a rock solid moral core. Rather than punish her for yelling his secret out where anyone could hear it (thankfully no one did), Hwan can’t help but believe her. But in true Hwan form, he has to make it a test of her resourcefulness. If she, a wanted criminal, can find a way into the East Palace that he inhabits, then he’ll hear her out.

This scene is so amazing because of what Hwan says to her. She just spent a good 10 minutes showing him the reality of being a woman in Joseon: of being told that she can’t, that she shouldn’t. Yet, he looks her in the eye and tells her that she can and she should. What’s more, as she wishes, he’ll make her his first citizen. This is such a romantic way of saying that someone belongs to him. Jae Yi is blown away to hear the words she’s wanted to hear her whole life and vows to pass his test. She immediately wrangles herself a position as his eunuch. It’s surprisingly easy. Firstly, it’s because Hwan has a habit of firing eunuchs who only hang around him for gossip, so no one really wants the job. And second, Jae Yi has already been seen with the prince so everyone easily believes that he requested her as his new eunuch.

Hwan doesn’t know of this plan and is amused to spot her showing up to his room to dress him. This is going to be such an easy romance to ship because he clearly enjoys teasing her and watching her squirm. For example, when she struggles to come up with a name on the spot, he lets her sweat before mentally flipping through all the books he’s memorized and picking out the name of a missing man. He’s hard and stern, but he isn’t so cruel as to leave her hanging. He comes through for her, such as showing her how to dress him, and the manner legs are everything.


Something about the way he bows his head here is so hot.

The other eunuchs and palace staff are bewildered that he’s keeping “Go Soon Dol” (Jae Yi’s eunuch name) on but it isn’t too hard to see why. For someone who has spent the past few years watching over his shoulder, being able to breathe without worrying about her betraying him is a huge relief. He seems utterly delighted that she remembers meeting him as a child as well. While the romance hasn’t begun just yet, he’s definitely affected by her, while she’s still hung up on Hwan’s closest friend and the fiancé she barely knows, Han Sung Oh (Yoon Jong Seok). This sounds like the makings of a disastrous love triangle. But perhaps it won’t be because Sung Oh and Hwan are already on the outs even without Jae Yi. They just don’t know it yet.

2. Sung Oh and Hwan’s potentially doomed friendship

The opening episodes built Hwan and Sung Oh’s realization as largely one-sided, where Sung Oh trusted him and Hwan didn’t. Yet, this week demonstrates that Sung Oh has equally little faith in Hwan. Sung Oh investigates the Office of Taoism to determine who could have added alum to the water and bryophytes on the brush that Hwan used, thus creating the illusion of blood at the hunting ceremony. He’s disturbed to find that the man in charge has fled the city and sold his valuables ahead of time. Sung Oh examines these valuables and is horrified to find a wooden sculpture of a turtle, identical to one owned by his father, the Left State Councillor, Han Joong Eon (Jo Sung Ha). Sung Oh hides the truth from Hwan, who gets visibly grim-faced at the lack of any evidence.

Though Sung Oh believes that he’s lying to the prince to protect his father, it is evident that he doesn’t trust Hwan or he would have been honest with him. When Sung Oh finally confronts his father, even Joong Eon sees through his excuses. Sung Oh wasn’t protecting his family, he was afraid that he had no power to change Hwan’s mind if the prince decided to go after Joong Eon. Hwan has all the power while Sung Oh has none. Can it even be called a friendship with such an imbalance? Joong Eon clearly doesn’t think so. And thus, the seeds of discord slowly settle between Sung Oh and Hwan, especially given Sung Oh’s evident obsession with tracking Jae Yi down and the muted envy he’s hiding from Hwan. Meanwhile, Hwan’s busy hiding that Jae Yi is his newest eunuch. But “Our Blooming Youth” beautifully juxtaposes Hwan and Sung Oh’s friendship with Jae Yi and Ga Ram’s (Pyo Ye Jin) friendship to show that it really doesn’t have to be this way.

3. Jae Yi and Ga Ram reunite

While Jae Yi gets herself a eunuch position, Ga Ram and Kim Myung Jin (Lee Tae Sun) are literally the most chaotic duo. She’s trying to investigate the deaths of Jae Yi’s family by becoming Myung Jin’s apprentice. As a coroner and herbalist, surely he’ll know something about what could have killed them. The only issue is that Myung Jin is comically in love with Jae Yi, despite not even knowing her, and he’s a bit of an idiot.


Jae Yi and Ga Ram’s reunion happens faster than expected when Hwan assigns her to investigate a rash of murders that have occurred in the city. Hwan may believe Jae Yi’s claims but he’s intelligent enough to want proof that she’s the sleuth she claims to be and tells her to solve the murders before they can get started on the mystery of the ghostly letter. Accompanied by Tae Gang (Heo Won Seo), Hwan’s very reluctant bodyguard (who doesn’t know Jae Yi’s gender), Jae Yi ends up at Myung Jin’s for an autopsy of the latest victim and shares a beautiful, tearful reunion with Ga Ram. These women are incredible in the way they’re ready to do anything to protect each other. By all rights, Ga Ram should resent Jae Yi, given the power imbalance in their relationship. Ga Ram was her maid, after all. Yet, Jae Yi never treated her like one, and it’s evident that the two are as close as sisters, unlike Hwan and Sung Oh.


4. Sung Oh and Jae Yi’s public debate

Myung Jin informs Jae Yi that the rash of murders taking place around the capital involve a common element: the poison of a venomous pit viper. It’s the same poison on the arrow that nearly paralyzed Hwan’s arm. Both Jae Yi and Hwan are troubled at the link between the seemingly unrelated murders and whoever is determined to make it appear that Hwan is cursed.

As a head investigator, Sung Oh plans on holding a conference before Hwan and all the court officials to demonstrate his theory of the case. Jae Yi still has feelings for Sung Oh, albeit those of a girl who didn’t really know her fiance but was in love with the idea of him. Hwan knows this and shows genuine concern on whether she’ll be alright with facing him at the lecture. Jae Yi has seen Sung Oh’s face but he never saw hers, so she quietly says that she’ll be fine. She seems quite certain that Sung Oh would share her values based on his expensive gifts to her before their marriage.


But at the debate, Sung Oh comes off as stubborn and inflexible when placing his theory of the case forward, and he’s furious when Hwan asks for the opinion of Jae Yi, a lowly eunuch. Jae Yi articulately presents her theory of the case which requires further investigation, whereas Sung Oh wants immediate action. It’s easy to see both sides here. We empathize with Jae Yi because, as the heroine, she has to be right. But in reality, both points of view are equally valid, hence why Hwan shows great wisdom in choosing. But Sung Oh is narrow-minded enough to take this badly. Moreover, the fact that all the ministers present do the same and use it as excuse for condescension and belittlement speaks to Hwan being unintentionally callous here in not realizing how this could make Sung Oh appear and not warning Sung Oh that he was going to be debating Jae Yi.

And yet, it is the nobles’ own sense of elitism that results in Sung Oh feeling bitter. He genuinely views Jae Yi as inferior, being a “eunuch,” so he resents being placed on the same level as her. For once, Jae Yi seems to have been wrong in her assessment of his character. Sung Oh seems to be a man who adheres too much to hierarchy, structure, and his own conclusions. He would likely be horrified to find Jae Yi dressing as a man and demand that she stop. And trying to stifle an intelligent, capable woman is a one-way road to relationship-death. On the other hand, the debate demonstrated just how well Jae Yi and Hwan work together, each capable of reading exactly where the others’ thought process was headed. So, it’s no wonder that feelings are starting to stir. Jae Yi sees this as general happiness at the recognition of her talent, and Hwan sees it as the first honest friendship he’s had in years. But it’s going to be much more.

5. That apple!

It’s getting evident that Hwan is starting to fall first. From his annoyance when Jae Yi insisted that Sung Oh was more handsome than him, to the fond way he recalls their first meeting and how she showed her strength of character even back then, the two have an incredibly open and honest line of communication thus far, and I really hope it doesn’t change. He’s arrogant, stern, and can be ice-cold at times, but he doesn’t hesitate to give praise where praise is due. After Jae Yi successfully holds her own against Sung Oh at the presentation, he calls her to the library and asks her to find an obscure book. She grumbles as she searches among the shelves, only to pause at finding a rare breed of apple and a letter from him, praising her work.

It’s so adorable how excited she is at the praise and the apple and how delighted he is to give it to her. And the way they keep smiling at each other is far too adorable and ends this week’s episodes on a lovely note!

Next week promises answers on the mysterious deaths plaguing the capital. But is Jae Yi right or is Sung Oh? And just how far will the latter go to prove that he’s right? Moving onto the past, young Jae Yi risked getting into serious trouble by selling her father’s belongings and fleecing young Sung Oh and Hwan just to save Shim Yeong’s life. Little Shim Yeong seemed beside himself with gratitude for what Jae Yi did. So why would he lie to the world and destroy her reputation by alleging that he was her secret lover? It’s yet another mystery.

Hwan’s enemies in the palace are also starting to dig into Go Soon Dol’s identity. Here’s hoping that this lovely investigative duo is able to avoid all the arrows being slung their way because it looks like far too many people are readying their bows!

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What did you think of this week’s episodes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Shalini_A is a long time Asian-drama addict. When not watching dramas, she works as a lawyer, fangirls over Ji Sung, and attempts to write the greatest fantasy romance of all time. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and feel free to ask her anything!

Currently Watching:  “Island,” “The Interest of Love,” “Agency,” “Payback.”
Looking Forward to: “The Heavenly Idol,” “Gyeonseong Creature,” “Ask The Stars,” “The Girl Downstairs,” The Worst Evil,” “Black Knight,” “Queen of Tears,” “Vigilante,” “Demon,” “Dr. Romantic 3,” “Daily Dose of Sunshine,” and Ji Sung’s next drama.

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