There are still 10 more episodes of Saimdang, so whatever goes here is not final.
Let me give few spoilers to those who have not seen the drama: Feminists might throw their shoes onto the screen, romantics might be happy and sad at the same time, and artists will rejoice.
Saimdang has two timelines: One in the present time and the other in Joseon era.
An art professor Seo Ji Yoon got tricked by her senior and director into losing her job after she noticed a recently discovered artwork could be fake. In Italy, she was tricked into missing a conference and got kicked out of her hotel room.
Sad and desperate, she found a book that could hold information regarding the fake artwork she was doomed for. The book led her to a mansion in Tuscany, where in one of the rooms she found a painting of Saimdang, who looked just like her.
The owner of the mansion decided to give everything in that room to Ji Yoon because he believed it was fate. And now Ji Yoon got a lot to work on to figure out whether the artwork she got fired for was truly fake or not.
Apparently, Ji Yoon started having visions of herself being Saimdang herself, and reliving the untold tale of the famous artist.
Now, we go back in time.
Young Saimdang was kind, adventurous, and more than anything else, a very talented artist. She met her match in Lee Gyum, a rather eccentric, free spirited aristocrat who loved to paint and write just as much as she did.
They fell deeply in love and Lee Gyum asked for Saimdang’s hand in marriage. They were very happy together, until a political mess made Saimdang marry someone else to save Lee Gyum’s life.
20 years later, Lee Gyum was told to marry a girl because he’d been living a messy life with no direction, and he went through it in the worst manner possible. So Lee Gyum ended up going to the king to annul his marriage. The king then asked Lee Gyum to stay by his side in exchange.
So Lee Gyum served as the king’s spy and had to keep an eye on an evil man. This mission ended up in him running into Saimdang, and him slowly discovering the real reason Saimdang left him decades ago.
Of course, with these two meeting up again, their passion for art surfaced, and we got to witness some incredible art in the making.
Most of the time (like 90% of screen time) we got Saimdang instead of Ji Yoon. So the drama really tricked you into watching history by dropping present time scenes every here and there.
The love between Lee Gyum and Saimdang is ridiculous. It’s intense, and a forever kind of deal. Lee Gyum started functioning as Saimdang’s guardian angel, secretly helping her whenever he got the chance. Seriously, romantics, get ready to have your hearts smashed into pieces. You will wish you have someone who loves you the way Lee Gyum loved Saimdang. Also his art, damn. His art.
As an artist, I love this show. It shows the world how an artist in love functions. The kind of love an artist endures when he’s found his muse, and the kind of sacrifices he’s willing to make for the woman he loves and admires.
As a feminist, wow. I just want to murder someone while watching this show. Of course I have to read up on the history and learn how the laws worked back in those days to control my temper. To understand that the women had no choice or say in whatever.
Saimdang, for instance, married a loser who cheated on her and stole all her paintings for his side chick. However, she begged him to not divorce her, because a divorced woman would suffer a lot and lose too much. Especially for someone like Saimdang and her children.
At the same time, I cheered for Saimdang. When her husband ran away after selling their house, she figured out a way to get shelter for her and her children. Then she worked to make money so that she could support her family because her husband was useless and never took responsibility over the family. She gave jobs to homeless people and gave them shelter, while educating them too. And in the end, she succeeded in having her own business and giving the life that she wanted her children to have.
She was so independent that it must have burned a lot of people who watched her grow. This woman was incredible. Radiant, brilliant, and unbreakable. She excelled in everything she did, and she did everything with grace. Her alone presence was powerful, and considering the laws and ridiculous rules she had to live under due to being born in that time period as a woman, damn, what an intimidating woman.
Still ten more episodes to go, which I can’t wait to see because… I want to see how it ends for Seo Ji Yoon. Yes, I did not forget about her.
Saimdang is a good drama if you have the time to watch it. And if you like cheesy drama, then go for it. I watch it for, I don’t know actually, why do I watch this show?
It’s entertaining though, and there’s always a lesson in each episode, which makes it pretty cool.