Totally awesome. We have an established backstory in one episode, and the second kicks things into action. Not a second felt rushed nor wasted, and one can actually tell that our Scholar who walks the night, Lee Joon Gi (OPPA~~~~~~~) is enjoying himself as the titular character, Kim Sung Yeol.
The story begins 120 years before the current timeline in Episode 2, where Crown Prince Jeong Hyun (cameo by Lee Hyun Woo) writes vampire stories under a pen name “Promiscuous Scholar”. His purpose was to let the darkest secret of the Joseon monarchy be known to all: a vampire is actually the one calling shots in the palace. The vampire in name, Gwi (Lee Soo Hyuk. Gawd, which vampire actually shows his six-packs?!) claims that the first king of Joseon came to him to beg for help in establishing the country, and thus in exchange, Gwi gets to name the successor. All kings have to do to his bidding, failing which consorts will die of mysterious circumstances (being killed by Gwi in front of the king, actually). In extreme circumstances, which was what happened to Prince Jeong Hyun eventually, whoever opposes Gwi will end up being accused of treason and killed.
Sung Yeol is the Prince’s best friend, and he is let into the secret, for Jeong Hyun wanted to get rid of Gwi before it is too late. Alas, it is not meant to be, and Jeong Hyun was executed by his own father (I assume. Or maybe not), under the order of Gwi. And all this while, Sung Yeol was lying unconscious, because he went to look for the other vampire, Hae Seo (cameo by Yang Ik Joon), who previously Gwi called him Teacher. Jeong Hyun told Sung Yeol that Hae Seo knows how to get rid of Gwi, but Sung Yeol was a step too late as Gwi found Hae Seo first and severely injured him. Hae Seo bites Sung Yeol and transfer his vampiric power to him, being dying. Hae Seo is a different kind of vampire, as Show tells us, that he doesn’t need to feed as often as Gwi does, and his purpose of existence is a vampire who slays other vampires.
A transformed Sung Yeol ends up being captured by Gwi, who taunts him to take the blood of his beloved, Myeong Hee (Kim So Eun). She hears enough to know that Sung Yeol had no choice but to become a vampire, and understands that he has a mission to complete, thus killing herself instead and urges Sung Yeol to drink her blood. And so, Sung Yeol becomes the broody scholar who re-emerges 120 years later in Hanyang.
Sung Yeol wishes to track down the person who has been selling stories penned by Prince Jeong Hyun, when all of the Prince’s writings were burnt after his death. He thinks the person has Jeong Hyun’s notes of getting rid of Gwi, and his search led him to Jo Yang-sun (Lee Yoo Bi), who is a bubbly book seller and a girl in a guy’s disguise. She has some means of getting her hands on many rare and often banned books, which we have no idea how she is able to. There is something about her which attracts Sung Yeol, and it is making him perplexed.
Not only Sung Yeol, the Crown Prince of this timeline, Lee Yoon (Changmin) thinks Yang-sun looks like his childhood friend, who vanished 10 years ago. I’m not sure where the loveline will swing, especially when Kim So Eun’s other character, Hye Ryung, will appear in Episode 3. She’s supposed to be the Crown Princess, but I have a nagging feeling that she’s Myeong Hee who never actually died. If so, does that mean she shares the same vampiric power as Sung Yeol?
Whatever it is, I hope Show remains solid for the rest of its run, and this will likely be my drama drug for the next nine weeks to come!