Scholar Who Walks the Night – Episode 1 Review

Fantastic casting. Great performances in the premiere, especially Lee Jun Ki’s. I never really like historical drama, but I decided to watch it because vampire. 😛 So far, it has a very good start and is really intense in just the first episode. It exceeds my expectation of it, really. Everything kicked in the right time, and I like how it doesn’t drag out the backstory till next episode.

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A voice narrates that there is a horrifying legend passed down generations among the palace ladies. Every night when the full moon rises once the king’s sleeping schedule is decided, ‘that man’ will certainly appear. The mentioned mysterious and evil-looking man, with gleaming red eyes, goes into a room where a concubine is waiting for the King. She takes out the knife to defend herself, however, she is easily overpowered by him as he attacks and drink her blood which is witnessed by the King who just arrived. What? It seems that he expected that.
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However, whatever happened is what Prince Jeonghyeon (played by Lee Hyun Woo) telling to his friend Kim Sung-yeol (played by Lee Jun Ki), but it doesn’t seem like just a story. And Prince Jeonghyeon is the writer but under a pen name.
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Prince Jeonghyeon is called to return to palace as instructed by his father, the King as he has been going out in disguise for past three days.
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Sung-yeol returns home where Myung-hee (played by Kim So Eun) is reprimanded by her adopted parents who are Sung-yeol’s real parents, for marrying her ‘brother’. Well, it would be weird, yeah. And awkward. From a daughter to becoming a daughter-in-law and it is what Sung-yeol’s parents are strongly against. Wow, they really seem more like an affectionate couple than siblings.
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The blood sucker is Gwi (played by Lee Soo Hyuk), and he is damn terrifying. He kills anyone who defy him.
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Sung-yeol realises that the novel Prince Jeonghyeon writes is for real as he saw a corpse woman with bite marks on her neck. He goes and confronts Prince Jeonghyeon, who directs the burning of that corpse in secret, about it, though he makes up different story. Sung-yeol also notices that Jeonghyeon has been looking for vampire books. The prince said he will tell the truth after Sung-yeol’s wedding. I wonder how Jeonghyeon comes to know of the vampires’ existence. His father?
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A man in black, Hae-seo, who is on Jeonghyeong’s side to bring down Gwi, is a different vampire from Gwi. He punishes those who break the rules and explains that Gwi is the one behind the king’s concubines’ death. I wonder how he is able to walk in sunlight, though.
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It turns out that Hae-seo used to be Gwi’s teacher and Gwi thought he had killed him 200 years ago. And, damn, evil Gwi ripped his arm off and stabbed him in the heart with his special dagger which the teacher used to kill numerous vampires.
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While dying, when Sung-yeol arrives at Hae-soo’s, Hae-soo used his cut-off arm to pull Sung-yeol in, and even bite him when he asked him to come closer. While Sung-yeol is shocked from being bitten and in pain, Hae-soo explains that that is the only thing he can do for him. He has transferred his abilities to Sung-yeol so that he can challenge Gwi now. He also critically mentions to never ever take off that black robe which will protect him from the sunlight. Ah, no wonder. That’s really whole new thing for me. I like this idea.
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He is still in transition when he wakes up in the morning and realises what has happened, with Hae-soo already pile of ashes. He runs through the town, stumbling into people and his visions blurry. He realises that it has been already three days. Wow, that long? How did he even survive, to which Gwi wonders too?
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To his horror, he found out that his friend Jeonghyeong and father have been beheaded for being traitors. All must be Gwi’s doing, since he wants to rule the place? And, I wonder if the guards saw Sung-yeol’s fangs or suspect his being when he shoves them aside with superhuman strength.
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Evil Gwi even captured the royal children! Damnnn him. I like Sung-yeol is being brave in front of Gwi and even spits in his face, hah.
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However, not only the children have been captured, Myung-hee is too, and Gwi slashes her arm to force Sung-yeol to drink her blood otherwise he will die. Myung-hee gives herself up and forces herself into the dagger, whatttt. Love. That’s showing her love for him as she urges him to drink her blood.
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They say their final words to each other, sobbing. And, so, Sung-yeol bites into her neck and drinks her blood. Ahhhh, this reminds me of something, I think a a show, but I cannot remember what. What a sad love story.
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120 years later: A young woman disguising as a man skips through the town happily and says hellos to every merchants. Oh, so cute! She is a bookseller, Jo Yang-sun (played by Lee Yu Bi).
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Yang-sun goes to meet the scholar whom she has finally reached communication with. However, she got the wrong room where she sees half-dressed young man and gisaeng. What a shocking scene. Hah.
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There, she is lead to a right room where she meets Sung-yeol, separated by privacy screen, who asks her if she has record books of Prince Jeonghyeong. Just then, the ingured rodent jumps out of Yang-sun’s sleeves and chases it to Sung-yeol’s body. She keeps searching all over his body, ohmygawd. Hah, he just sits there and not moving not saying anything.
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Finally, she catches it and then looks up at Sung-yeol’s face. Astonished, she thinks, “He has more beauty than a woman.” Just then, she got bit by rodent which caused her to bleed. Sung-yeol’s eyes widen, his fangs grow and his eyes become gleaming red. Woah, that’s really superb acting, Lee Jun Ki! And it looks the gisaeng, who is in the same room, knows about his identity.

Though I have never seen in any of his shows, I like how Lee Jun Ki acts and very engage in his role in this drama, especially with his emotional acts. He is able to show the expressions clearly on his face and even makes us feel along with him. The strong ones, too. Such as when he was bitten and transforming/transiting into vampire. It was an intense and a great performance. Lee Soo Hyuk’s acting is also another great one, with his villainous role, as he is able to show the evilness on his face, and I am most curious about his past with the king’s ancestors and why he become this way. Would like to see his backstory! Myung-hee’s sweetness can be seen clearly which is brought out by Kim So Eun, and this is why she is perfect for this role.

I also like how we fast forward 120 years in just first episode and how they managed to put everything in the backstory, ‘past’ timeline, in the right amount that we could get the feel of everything and understand better when it comes to ‘present’ timeline. The pilot is really good and strong. I hope that it will keep this way, keeping us glued to it and on our toes. Besides, it’s da fantasy, with vampires!
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