4 Moments In Episodes 9-10 Of

Our Blooming Youth” picks right back up on the heels of a political scandal that threatens to topple the royal family. When the murderer behind the deaths plaguing the capital dies of seemingly supernatural causes after cursing the King, the court and the country plunge into speculation. Was the death really the work of someone beyond the grave? And if not, then just where is the physical threat coming from? As Crown Prince Lee Hwan (Park Hyung Sik) and Min Jae Yi (Jeon So Nee) race to delve into a political battle that began long before they were on the scene, they’re forced to determine where their friends and foes lie. And quickly too, because this is a scheme 10 years in the making, and their enemies have had a long time to hide.

Warning: spoilers for episodes 9-10 below.

1. Sung On: the most loyal of friends

The fallout from the King’s (Lee Jong Hyuk) ill-timed interrogation of the now-dead shaman is huge. Not only did she successfully curse the royal family and leave the world her way, but she somehow managed to create an omen of sorts. A plum tree on the palace grounds is seemingly struck by lightning and burns for an eerily long time. Naturally, the people believe that the royal family truly has been cursed.


Jae Yi knows better. She suspects that something could have been smeared on the tree to make it flare up so fast and burn so long. A quick visit to Kim Myung Jin (Lee Tae Sun) confirms her theory. It’s nice to see that our detective-on-the-run doesn’t have all the answers and has to work with people to get them. Myung Jin suspects that a mixture of niter (for ignition), sulfur (for flammability), and beeswax (for duration) was used to coat the tree, so Jae Yi visits all the merchants in the area to determine who could have bought all three.

To her dismay, there’s only one person who fits the bill and purchased all thee ingredients in very large quantities: Left State Councillor Han Joong On (Jo Sung Ha), Han Sung On’s (Yoon Jong Seok) father. Worse, her search hasn’t gone unnoticed. Right State Councillor and all-around bad guy Jo Won Bo (Jung Woong In) already knows that “Go Sun Dol” isn’t who he says he is and has been having someone follow “Sun Dol” around. His henchmen swap the ledgers Jae Yi was taking to Hwan as proof and use the information within as reason to storm Joong On’s house to arrest him. The ledgers are damning, and if convicted, Sung On’s entire family would be demoted as slaves for treason. Hwan is placed in a dangerous position that affects lives beyond his own and on really short notice. He has no reason to trust Joong On, and given Sung On no reason to trust him. Joong On’s shed could hold the answer to what he was doing with niter, sulfur, and beeswax. Or it could hold proof that Joong On was part of the group working against the King. Can a man with trust issues as bad as Hwan’s give Joong On and Sung On his trust without knowing what lies within the shed?


It turns out that Hwan can. After having made the colossal mistake of distrusting Jae Yi, he’s ready to give people a chance and to stop hiding on his own. He blocks the arrest and opens Joong On’s shed to reveal that all three ingredients were meant for benign purposes: niter as a wedding present to Jae Yi’s father for architectural purposes, sulfur for fireworks, and beeswax for candles. Sung On is overcome with tears at Hwan standing up for him and saving his family from ruin. He’s utterly devastated when Hwan asks him when they can be friends again.


This man is such an adorable marshmallow! He needs to be protected at all costs!

The best part is Jae Yi watching these two bond again, and Sung On looking at her gratefully, knowing that she’s a huge part of the reason Hwan’s starting to open up again. He certainly sees it, and Hwan has started to understand it. But for how long can Jae Yi remain oblivious?

2. Jae Yi: the most intelligent of…companions?


Hwan’s on a real roll with asking people for friendship because when he and Jae Yi return the palace, he wastes no time in asking her if they can be friends. The word he uses is more similar to “trusted confidant” than it is friend, but Jae Yi’s still miffed about being kicked out of the Eastern Palace and demands an apology. Hwan silently thinks that he’s missed her this past while, that he’s sorry for doubting her, and a host of rather fond thoughts that he would prefer she doesn’t know. Jae Yi remains utterly oblivious, even though Hwan’s arranged for a fancy dinner to be left in her quarters, aka. his secret bedroom that is now hers.


How this girl doesn’t get that he’s interested is beyond me. 

She invites him to enjoy the dinner with her, and as alcohol starts flowing, Jae Yi ends up having a very revealing and refreshing conversation with Hwan. He wants to tell Sung On of Jae Yi’s identity. He’s fully activated best-friend mode and doesn’t want to hide things anymore from him. But surprisingly enough, Jae Yi is content to keep it a secret. It isn’t because she wants to face him with her name fully cleared, but because she likes things the way they are now. Hwan looks bewildered, but her explanation makes perfect sense.

Jae Yi learned early that her gender meant that she would never be able to have the life she wanted. Her brother would have to take credit for her work because having a woman running around solving cases would go against Confucian norms and threaten weaselly men in power. She knew that marriage would be the pinnacle of her existence. It wasn’t that she was excited to marry Sung On out of love for him, but rather because she believed he would be a good man. At least that would make the demise of her dreams a little less painful. But her family’s murders changed everything. She’s technically a wanted criminal now. Yet, somehow she has more power and ability than she did before.

Hwan grows increasingly moved as she explains that he was the first person to tell her that she could do anything. And by his side she has saved lives and done more for the world than she thought possible. She has been able to speak her mind without having someone else take the credit. Granted, it’s under an assumed identity and gender, but she’s finally free. So, she doesn’t want Sung On. She doesn’t want marriage or to return to her old life. Even if her name is cleared, she’d rather stay by Hwan’s side as Head Eunuch!


Hwan nearly bursts a kidney in shock, but she’s all drunk and sweetly demonstrating who she would announce his visitors once he is King and she is Head Eunuch, and he can’t refuse her. Heck, he even plays along, and it’s hilarious. He keeps asking her pointed questions on whether she would care if Sung On fell for another woman and looks pretty pleased when she cares only about becoming Head Eunuch. It’s clear that Hwan feels something and is growing increasingly aware of it, even if he isn’t sure whether it’s romantic or not. On the other hand, Jae Yi seems to feel absolutely nothing, which is hilarious and a little concerning. We only have 10 episodes left for them to fall in love!


But even this cute moment is interrupted with a hint of danger because someone’s been watching them the whole conversation, and it’s no longer clear if he’s on Hwan’s side.

3. Tae Gang: the most sketchy of bodyguards

The sageuk bodyguard role is one that generally elevates the actor to new heights. (Kwak Dong Yeon remains the absolute best example of this). So it’s a nice touch to have Hwan’s loyal bodyguard reveal a rather sketchy side. Tae Gang (Heo Won Seo) has never been a fan of Jae Yi from the start. He thinks she’s far too mouthy and doesn’t accord Hwan proper respect. He doesn’t understand why Hwan even keeps her around.

It’s also quite telling that Hwan hasn’t trusted even him with the details of the ghost-sent letter. We know that there is a debt of sorts between the two, with Hwan having apparently rescued Tae Gang when he was young. Yet, the decidedly dark look that Tae Gang shoots in Hwan’s direction after spying on him and Jae Yi indicates a darker purpose to their initial meeting. The question is, just how much does Tae Gang know? That Jae Yi is a girl? That she’s the same woman accused of killing her family and on the run? And just who does he work for? Because a surprising number of players are rearing their head, and one of them has had us all fooled.

4. The Queen: the most surprising character yet

The Queen (Hong Soo Hyun) has been a largely sympathetic and likable character. She refuses to take part in her uncle, Jo Won Bo’s, scheming, and seems generally out to keep her children safe while being a pretty decent person. So it’s all the more shocking when we get a declaration of her motives.

Jo Won Bo cemented his position as a solid aide to the King when he quelled a rebel uprising 10 years ago, and he was granted the position of the Minister of War in order to seek out and kill the leader of the rebels, Song (Yoon Seok Hyun). And Jo Won Bo made it as gruesome a death as possible. But something seems to have gone wrong back then because he and his cronies are determined to stop everyone from digging into the case, as it gains more attention in the wake of the shaman’s death. And while he plots to get the King fully under his thumb, the Queen vows that his plans will never come to fruition because she’ll be sitting at the top, and she has every intention of killing her uncle for what he did to Song.

She seems to know Song quite well and even assures her son that he isn’t a bad person, which raises the question of Hwan’s half-siblings’ parentage. Could the Queen be behind all the strange happenings at the Palace? The mystery only grows!

Next week promises another plethora of questions. With Hwan, Jae Yi, and Sung On now on the same side, it seems to be time to tackle the central mystery head on. Thus far, we’ve had a lot of time to dance around the issue of the ghost-sent letter, but it would be good to start delving into how a failed rebel uprising from 10 years ago could result in an eerie series of events around a Crown Prince with no knowledge of any of it.

There’s also the question of just what Ga Ram (Pyo Ye Jin) and Myung Jin are doing in this show because it increasingly feels like they’re in a comedy of their own. It is nice in the sense that Hwan and Jae Yi can breathe easy around them, but their scenes occasionally interrupt the flow of the show. This show suffers at times from tone and pacing, and it seems to be torn between being a fun sageuk and a weighty one, but perhaps with the second half of the show beginning, we’ll start to see some more momentum on all frontiers!

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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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