6 Ways Episodes 19-20 Of

After 10 weeks, the longest sageuk that’s aired so far this year has come to a close. “Our Blooming Youth” leaves off with revolution, poison, regret, and reconciliation as some bonds are permanently broken and others begin to bud anew. So does everyone get closure? Is Lee Hwan (Park Hyung Sik) finally free of the curse that haunted him? Will Min Jae Yi (Jeon So Nee) be able to clear her name? Read on to find out!

Warning: spoilers for episodes 19-20 below.

1. The Queen

Last week, we left off with the murder of the Crown Princess, with the Queen (Hong Soo Hyun) ensuring that Jae Yi’s dagger was used for it. When Jae Yi comes on the scene, she knows that someone’s framed her and planning on using her to hurt Hwan. So she does the only thing she can think of to protect him: she admits guilt and reveals her identity. Hwan arrives in time to see her being dragged off for execution in a few days and can barely hold himself together, realizing what she was doing.


Jo Won Bo (Jung Woong In) sees an opening and takes it. He argues that Hwan letting a murderer stay by his side means that his judgement is compromised and therefore makes him unsuitable to be Crown Prince. The scholars of the nation agree. Having foreseen this argument, Hwan plans ahead and petitions the King (Lee Jong Hyuk) that he be deposed as Crown Prince. His goal is to take all those he trusts: Ga Ram (Pyo Ye Jin), Han Sung On (Yoon Jong Seok), Kim Myung Jin (Lee Tae Sun), Tae Gang (Heo Won Seo), and Jae Yi to the temporary village that the people of Byeokcheon have set up and earn their trust so as to mount a rebellion of his own against Jo Won Bo.


The plan works, and, hilariously enough, it’s Tae Gang who frees Jae Yi. The two are back to bickering around and present a united front to the people of Byeokcheon. The group is naturally wary, but agree to share what truly happened on that day 10 years ago when they were framed as rebels by Jo Won Bo and his clan. Before the Queen rose to her position, she was a gisaeng, a courtesan sold into the position. She’d given up on life when she met Song Su Cheon (Yoon Seok Hyun), a blacksmith with a big heart who sold his land to free her. The couple was well loved in the small village, so when the townsfolk wrote a letter to the King detailing their troubles, Su Cheon and the Queen both signed it.

However, Jo Won Oh (Cho Jae Ryeong), a member of the Jo Clan and governor of Byeokcheon at the time, intercepted the letter and took it as a personal affront, jailing everyone who signed their names there. When the people of Byeokcheon attempted to free their fellow townsfolk, Jo Won Oh stabbed himself and pretended that he was a victim of a “coup.” The King fell for it and sent Jo Won Bo and soldiers to quell the “rebellion,” and a massacre occurred that day.

But that wasn’t all. The Queen never forgave and never forgot. Forced to return to work as a courtesan to provide for her unborn son, she caught the eye of Jo Won Bo, who immediately knew that she would also catch the King’s eye. In an almost hilarious twist of fate, he decided to fake that she was part of his family tree so that he could marry her off to the King and gain power. And the Queen’s been hunting for vengeance ever since. Jae Yi’s father ended up stumbling upon her plot, and her family was killed for this reason.

Upon realizing that Hwan has gone to hear out the people of Byeokcheon, she realizes that the game is up. Simultaneously, Jo Won Bo also discovers that the Queen was never a mere gisaeng and vows to destroy her after the King has appointed Prince Myung Ahn (Im Han Bin) as his heir. At the end of the day, Jo Won Bo only really cares about solidifying his power. He leaves to kill off the people of Byeokcheon and Hwan for good this time, and the Queen realizes that there is only one way to save the people she loves: to come clean. So she does, but not face-to-face. For all her brilliance, she can’t bring herself to do that. She leaves Hwan’s sister, Princess Hayeon (Jung Da Eun), to do that, and poisons herself with the same poison she nearly used on Hwan: to drive herself insane. It isn’t a fitting end for someone whose every action was only motivated by vengeance and love for her people, and the show sadly wastes an opportunity to make her a more compelling, nuanced villain. But Hong Soo Hyun does an incredible job showing the depths of the Queen’s despair and just how mad she went after losing everything she loved on a greedy man’s whim.

2. Jo Won Bo

Thankfully, our main baddie gets a delightfully appropriate ending. Initially, Jo Won Bo attempted to have Sung On kill Hwan while accompanying him to his place of banishment. But Sung On cleverly agrees, gets Jo Won Bo to sign a contract outlining their deal, and immediately reneges!

With his tower of lies about to crumble and more and more evidence building against him, Jo Won Bo storms the village where the people of Byeokcheon and Hwan’s crew are hiding. He proudly announces that he’s here to butcher them all, which is when Hwan’s forces, sent by the King and Sung On’s father (just appointed Minister of War), show up and decimate them all. Jo Won Bo is dragged straight off to prison and finally gets a taste of his own medicine.

3. The people of Byeokcheon

With Jo Won Bo imprisoned, the people of Byeokcheon are finally able to clear their name as rebels and rebuild their town with aid from the King. Hwan vows to ensure that they face no discrimination going forward and to fix what his King unwittingly allowed Jo Won Bo to break. The King was so weak and so afraid of losing his power that he agreed to everything Jo Won Bo wanted, and by the time he realized that this also made him complicit in Jo Won Bo’s crimes, it was too late.

The people are overjoyed to finally return home, and a 10 year grudge is on the road to healing.

4. Sung On

Ah, Sung On. What wasted potential in a character. Sung On could have been so much more than what the show allowed him to be. We saw glimpses of that greatness in the earlier episodes where he had a rivalry of sorts with Jae Yi for Hwan’s trust. There was a fascinating dynamic and tension there that just failed to carry through as the show continuously focused more on Myung Jin and Ga Ram’s comedic moments instead of giving Sung On a proper character arc. Given the length of this drama, it isn’t like they didn’t have the space, so it’s a bit disappointing that the viewers, like Sung On, were left with little.

Sung On risks everything for Hwan and Jae Yi in the final episodes, but his initial emotions seem to have just vanished. He suddenly recognizes Hwan and Jae Yi’s feelings for each other and prepares to just step away and let them be. Shows like “The Forbidden Marriage” have explored the lovelorn second male lead to excellent effect. The role is usually anchored by a strong performance, and Yoon Jong Seok gave it his all here. But the material simply didn’t allow for him to show more. And so we close off on Sung On living as the governor of Byeokcheon, caring for a group of people who’ll hopefully appreciate how awesome he is.


5. Jae Yi

For the central character of this show, Jae Yi really didn’t get too much to do after the first eight episodes. She barely even had a character arc beyond learning to forgive the Queen for murdering her family, because holding onto resentment was what brought about this entire plot to begin with.

It’s a real shame because Jae Yi was on fire in the beginning, solving crimes and seeing through people with the blink of an eye. However, during the latter half of the show, it was almost as though her powers of deduction had been curiously muted. The Jae Yi didn’t notice when the monk was lying about the peony petals or of how suspiciously the Queen was behaving? Or that there were two Tae Gangs? But she immediately figured out what was causing the fake blood at the hunting ceremony and solved the shaman’s murders in the initial episodes. (The show also never explained why the Queen ordered four innocent people to be murdered so she could distribute leaflets throughout the capital warning of a revolution.) It felt as though her brilliance was being dumbed down, which is sad for a character that shone so brightly at the start. And that’s to say nothing of the romance.


6. Hwan

This has without a doubt been a rather underwhelming romance. The chemistry is there and the actors are talented, but the script simply refuses to let them shine. This show had a wealth of predecessors from which to mine material, seeing as Jae Yi was a eunuch hiding her identity as a woman. “Sungkyunkwan Scandal,” “Love in the Moonlight,” and even “The Scholar Who Walks the Night” make great use of having only the male lead know the female lead’s gender. So it’s a real missed opportunity that the romance remained lukewarm to the end. Even Jae Yi’s confession to Hwan while she was in prison had Hwan not responding until a year later.

And as for why, well, it’s because Hwan’s been busy putting things to rights across the kingdom and cleaning up after his father’s messes. He’s finally king now, while Jae Yi runs her school, empowering impoverished children by giving them a free education. But he hasn’t been eating or sleeping well for the whole year, and when the royal physician finally stumbles upon an answer, the entire court nearly dies of laughter.

(It’s lovesickness, Your Highness)

Even Sung On tells him to hurry up and get with Jae Yi (after sadly burning his marriage consent letter on his own). And so Hwan finally gets to it. He’s gone from prickly prince to wise king by Jae Yi’s side (and seems to be the only one who got a real character arc!). He goes to see Jae Yi, bringing a palaquin meant for a bride. And she’s been waiting. So we finally see his response to her confession.


And they lived happily ever after (with Myung Jin and Ga Ram, who’ve also gotten together).

“Our Blooming Youth” was an interesting show in the sense that it promised everything: murder, mystery, girl power, and a lot of blooming youth. It was the latter two that really suffered with very little of the vibrant fun that youth sageuks are known for. It also felt like Jae Yi and Hwan were always several steps behind. But there’s no denying that the actors gave it their all, and there was several stand-out moments in the show like the public debate between Jae Yi and Sung On. And perhaps that’s what youth is all about: enjoying what you have to the hilt without looking too closely for imperfection.

Check out the drama below!

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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,” “Call It Love, “Taxi Driver 2.
Looking Forward to: “Tale of the Nine Tailed 1938,” “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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