4 Meditations On Trust In Episodes 5-6 Of

Mystery abounds in this week’s episodes of “Our Blooming Youth” as friendships fray and relationships start to bud in unexpected and disastrous ways. At the heart of this week’s happenings is the hunt for the next potential victim in the rash of murders that have been plaguing the capital. Min Jae Yi (Jeon So Nee) is convinced that the answer lies in a careful autopsy of the previous victims, while Han Sung On (Yoon Jong Seok) is equally set on following his conjecture on where the killer might next appear. But the biggest danger to them both might be a certain fearsome and fearful Crown Prince, whose trust issues are starting to get the better of him.

Warning: spoilers for episodes 5-6 below.

1. Trust and fear are inherently bound together

There’s a saying that you can only be betrayed by those you trust. Lee Hwan (Park Hyung Sik) seems to have taken this quite literally in his interactions with people. On her first out-of-Palace outing with Hwan (who’s in disguise as “Scholar Park”), Jae Yi notes his closed-off reaction when she mentions Sung On. As the mysterious letter to her father held the contents of Hwan’s “ghost-sent” letter, she knows that one of the letter’s prophecies is that Hwan’s best friend will turn on him. She accurately guesses that Hwan fears Sung On might betray him and astutely notes that this seems to be one of the reasons that Hwan has pitted her against Sung On: to test both their loyalties.

She’s lovely enough to try and get the boys to make up. Alas, Sung On decides that this is the night to be honest and tells Hwan about the compass he found and hid, thinking that it belonged to his father, only to be proved wrong. Hwan’s rightfully furious that Sung On lied to him, and Sung On rightfully points out that he thought his father had committed treason. Of course, he wasn’t thinking straight. But Hwan’s fear gets the best of him, and he immediately pushes Sung On away, while Jae Yi sadly watches.

A stricken Sung On is all but ditched as Hwan visibly treats “Soon Dol” with more warmth than him. This goes to the heart of one of Hwan’s biggest issues: he runs hot, then cold. And he’s always afraid of people, waiting for them to mess up so he can say that he’s justified in not trusting them. It’s understandable, but it seems that in trying to avoid being betrayed, Hwan may bring about the very circumstances he so dreads.

2. Trust is instinctive


It often takes our minds some time to catch up to what our bodies inherently know. When Hwan agreed to give Jae Yi a chance, it likely wasn’t out of blind faith. Yet, the more he watches her in action, the more certain (and smitten) he grows, though his thoughts haven’t caught up to what his heart already knows. When Jae Yi solves the murderer’s keys to the next victim, she races to the East Palace in the middle of the night and is shooed out of there because the head maid thinks that nothing and no one (not even an upcoming murder, apparently!) should disturb the prince’s sleep. Left with no choice, Jae Yi runs to Sung On and tells him that the next victim is a pregnant woman. To his credit, he puts aside all rivalry and takes her seriously, assembling teams of his men to protect all pregnant women in the area.

And as luck would have it, the two of them happen upon the would-be-murderer just as they’re about to kill a mother (who just gave birth!) and her child. In an excellently-choreographed fight sequence, Sung On and Jae Yi take on the assailant. Sung On’s the superior swordsman, but Jae Yi does her very best—until the murderer smashes a jar over her head, that is. Sung On captures the murderer, but Jae Yi’s knocked out just as Hwan arrives on the scene (he must have woken up after all!). And the look on his face is so, so revealing.


In that moment, his mind catches up to what his heart already knew. This girl is precious to him. He trusts her. He doesn’t understand why just yet. He hasn’t caught up all the way for that, and he doesn’t know if she’s even alive. But she matters. And to Sung On’s shock, he carries her back to the palace, ordering that no one but him can touch her. And it’s another nail in the coffin for his and Sung On’s friendship.


Tbh, I’m surprised Sung On doesn’t think Hwan is gay. 

3. Reciprocal trust is a flower in full bloom


There’s nothing like having the Crown Prince of a country tend to your wounds night and day. Jae Yi’s surprised to to wake up to Hwan watching over her. Turns out he’s being doing that for a full 24 hours, much to his bodyguard Tae Gang’s (Heo Won Seo’s) bewilderment (and disgruntlement). He’s visibly relieved that she’s conscious and well, but Jae Yi’s focused on a more important matter. She hesitantly asks him if he trusts her now and if she’s finally proven herself to him. He quietly says that he’s trusted her for a while, perhaps since the very beginning. Hearing that, Jae Yi can’t keep from getting teary-eyed.


It’s realistic and yet quite sad that she has worked so hard and gotten herself hurt just to earn his trust. There’s no doubt that Jae Yi solved the case to save a life. Yet, she’s had a knife to her own throat this whole time. Because if she failed, then she had no idea what Hwan was going to do so her. Jae Yi is all too aware of what could happen to her if she loses Hwan’s protection. Joseon is not a woman’s world, and there are too many people against her. Yet despite it all, she trusts Hwan. She’s believed from the beginning that he didn’t murder his brother. He didn’t have to plead his case and didn’t have to provide proof. He said it, and she believed it, even when she could have only pretended to do so.


Because that’s the sort of person Jae Yi is. She, of all people, has the most reason to distrust the world after what happened to her, yet she doesn’t. In that sense, she’s a stark contrast to Hwan. Jae Yi has experienced the worst and still allows herself to trust — to believe in people — even when doing so has opened her up to betrayal. Hwan hasn’t experienced anything close to the worst but locks himself away out of fear. Nevertheless, it’s beautiful to see these two bond (platonically for now) and put their considerably brilliant minds together to solve the mystery that binds them. Hwan is visibly moved by Jae Yi’s story and she by his, to the point that she vows to protect him. However, Hwan never reciprocates that vow. Perhaps that’s why things come crashing down so quickly.

4. Wanting to trust is not the same as true faith

Trust-averse people can confuse wanting to trust with actually doing so. Hwan has dreamt of someone of his own for a long time. Someone he can trust without reservation or fear. Yet, that’s an inherently selfish form of trust, more focused on what the other perosn can do for him than what he can do for them. The idea of trust is soft, comfortable, and gentle. The reality is significantly more difficult and requires standing firm in even the worst of moments. So it’s no surprise when Hwan mistakes the former for the latter and crumbles at the first sign of trouble. When Hwan asks Jae Yi to relate her version of her story, she reveals that Shim Yeong (Kim Woo Seok), the boy Hwan once saw her rescue from slavery, was never her lover. He was her swordsmaster.

These two really need to do a drama together because the visuals are perfection, and the chemistry is insane!

This explains why Jae Yi was reasonably decent with a sword when fighting her assailant earlier. Hwan gives every indication of believing her, until word arrives from Gaeseong (where Jae Yi and her family lived). Shim Yeong has taken his life in Jae Yi’s family home and left her a letter. Sung On is informed of the same but grows bewildered and furious when he hears that Hwan had Tae Gang take the letter. If anyone has the right to that letter, it’s Sung On as Jae Yi’s former fiancé. So why would Hwan take it? Sung On is further thrown into turmoil when his guard reveals that based on what he heard, there’s no doubt that Shim Yeong was Jae Yi’s lover.

Hwan hears the same and quickly dismissed it — until he reads that letter. He grows visibly angry with the first words: “My love, Jae Yi.” We don’t see what the rest of the letter says, but Hwan’s furious by the end of it and demands that Jae Yi is brought to him. If next week’s preview is any indication, Hwan’s about to cut all ties with his most favored eunuch, and there are far too many people in the palace who have been waiting for this to happen: from other eunuchs to Sung On and the dangerous Right State Councillor Jo Won Bo (Jung Woong In) who has just discovered that “Go Soon Dol” doesn’t exist.

It’s actually devastating, seeing Jae Yi sobbing in the preview because she’s tried so, so hard to do right by everyone. She’s been attempting to right things between Hwan and Sung On and is still mourning the death of her entire family, not to mention the destruction of her reputation at the hands of people she trusted (Shim Yeong and the servants who watched her grow up). She’s lost the fiancé she was looking forward to marry and has been reduced to walking a tightrope, hiding her gender and identity. Yet, she still has the biggest heart and tries to help Hwan in every way she can. She vows to protect him when she sees that he’s fearful and promises to stay by his side when she sees that he’s lonely. And now he’s about to toss her away. It’s classic Hwan and proves just how much further he has to go. This is a 20-episode drama, so there’s space for character development. But here’s hoping that it doesn’t come at a cost to Jae Yi. She deserves so much better.

Sung On is presently coming off as the better man. He had no proof that Jae Yi was innocent but still held onto the hope that she was and searched for her. While he initially did look down on “Soon Dol,” he didn’t take “Soon Dol’s” request for help as a chance to assert his dominance. Instead, Sung On focused on saving lives and continues to deal cordially with Soon Dol afterwards. But like Hwan, he’s low on trust. Hwan pushes people away. Sung On holds his secrets too close. Jae Yi is as open as possible with both of them and gets hurt for the trouble.

It’s worth noting that the women of this show remain wonderful. Jae Yi’s interaction with the Queen (Hong Soo Hyun) was nothing short of lovely as both of them seemed very impressed with each other. Here’s hoping that the Queen keeps her conscience amidst the backstabbing politicking of the palace! Next week promises anguish, betrayal, and the mystery of all that white hair. Why was a shaman from the Office of Taoism behind the murders plaguing the capital? Why did her hair turn white after a visit to a mountain shrine in Gaeseong? Why was Shim Yeong’s hair equally white when he was found dead? And how did someone poison Jae Yi’s family when Jae Yi prepared the food and was alone in the kitchen? The eerie element underpinning the mystery here continues to simmer (in stark contrast to his drama’s cheery posters). Is it ghosts, or is it people behind all this? At this point, which one’s worse? Perhaps next week will tell!

I need to see Hwan apologize this way for treating Jae Yi so awfully. Next week is probably going to be painful for a bit!

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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: Our Blooming Youth,” “Island,” “Call It Love,” “Taxi Driver 2.”
Looking Forward to:The Heavenly Idol,” “Gyeongseong 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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