Open Thread: Chuno Episodes 3 & 4

Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone! After a week of pre-emption, it’s time for us to dive into our discussions for episodes 3 & 4!

As before, here are the ground rules:

1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. I repeat: no spoilers for future episodes please! We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.

2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?

Without further ado, here are my reactions to this pair of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 3

The face-off between Dae Gil and Tae Ha is basically art in motion, complete with freeze frames and indulgent panning shots. But it’s also functional; that shot where they leap at each other but bypass each other, isn’t meant for pure artistic effect after all, even though it’s milked for artistic impact. Tae Ha slices Dae Gil’s side as he passes, and this is our first indication that Tae Ha’s a more formidable opponent than Dae Gil imagines.

Their fight comes across as an adrenaline-filled, machismo-fueled dance that’s a feast for the senses; the gorgeous music; the panning shots; the swift exchange of blows; the abundance of glistening muscle. It’s a lot, and it’s great. I’m quite struck by how fluidly both Jang Hyuk and Oh Ji Ho wield their respective weapons. That must’ve taken a lot of training and practice. I’m also struck by how seamlessly the music meshes with this glorious dance of a fight; the music switches from the pumping fight anthem to a much more restrained bubbling, while Tae Ha and Dae Gil exchange words. It’s so perfectly cohesive that this is the first time I’m actually cognizant of it.

This episode, I’m quite amused by how ridiculously lusty Wangson is. The way he bursts into their shared room, sobbing at the rumor that Dae Gil is dead, and then turns around and heads right back out to continue his hot date with one of his ladies in waiting, the minute he realizes that Dae Gil isn’t dying. Pfft.

It’s so great that Wangson meets his match in Seolhwa, who’s clearly wise to his ways, and has no intention of giving him what he wants. I’d forgotten how awesome Seolhwa is, and I’m rather stunned this watch, to realize that she’s only supposed to be 17 years old. That’s really sad, that she’s had such a hard life – and has clearly been forced into prostituting herself – at such a young age.

I’m amused and impressed, though, at how quickly and thoroughly she understands the situation with General Choi and the two jumos, without needing to be told. Girl’s got good nunchi (literally: eye power).

I think I’ve gained enough objectivity – finally, after two whole watches! – to appreciate the way Show shifts gears between different narrative threads so cohesively. Before, I’d been less than absorbed by the story around the slave rebel faction, but this time, it’s landing with more poignance, to my eyes. The gargantuan magnitude of the task that these slaves are pledging to undertake, is impossible and impressive. I mean, I’m kind of shocked, really, that they dare to dream such a big dream, especially if they’ve lived this way all their lives. I’m particularly drawn to Cho Bok. She shines when she smiles, even though there’s dirt on her face and tears in her eyes.

Eonnyeon is so ladylike in her gestures and mannerisms; her disguise as a man is a big fail and I’m surprised she even lasts this long before getting called out. It seems particularly fitting, that this slave, who has the soul of a noblewoman, gets rescued by the slave who has the soul of a nobleman, heh.

I must say, Oh Ji Ho’s crazy eyes at the end of the episode are Quite Something. It’s all very theatrical and exaggerated, but it does help to convey just how he’s physically and mentally at the end of his rope, and just how hard he’s pushed himself to function, up to this point. Also, I feel like it somehow works with this show’s operatic vibe.

Y’know, I have to admit that I previously chafed at Eop Bok for shooting to kill Dae Gil, because, well, I had serious fangirl weak knees for Dae Gil’s languid brand of badassery, but also, because Dae Gil’s our protagonist and I think I’m mostly kind of programmed to root for the protagonist. This time, though, I can very much understand why Eop Bok would think Dae Gil deserves to die for being a slave hunter. Interesting how my perspective is evolving, on this third watch. I must’ve grown up some, in the last 7 years. 😂

Episode 4

Of course Dae Gil doesn’t get shot in the head – otherwise where would that leave our story, right? – but I still held my breath as Eop Bok took aim and the camera followed the path of the bullet in warped slo-mo. I really like these little fancy flourishes that Show whips out; it elevates the watch experience for me, in a similar way that the music elevates the watch experience. It adds a layer of immersion, while making everything feel extra polished.

I also love that Show takes the time to let General Choi and Wangson have their own little snazzy-with-selected-slo-mo action sequence, while they race to track down the shooter. It also occurs to me for the first time – after so long, and on my third watch, d’oh! – that Han Jung Soo and Kim Ji Suk also appear to do their own fighting and stunts. I mean, that blows my mind, a little bit. I’ve long thought of Jang Hyuk as a consummate action star (when the role calls for it), but I’ve honestly never thought of either Han Jung Soo or Kim Ji Suk as such, and this belated realization gives me a whole new appreciation for their dedication to their craft.

(Blame all this belated awareness on my Jang Hyuk blinders; I’d been too busy spazzing at his badassery before, and couldn’t see or think straight, aside from my very Jang Hyuk-focused appreciation.)

Which brings me to Tae Ha. I find that so far, with each watch, my appreciation for Tae Ha as a character increases. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again; this is the best I’ve seen from Oh Ji Ho, ever. That dream flashback, where we see Tae Ha discover the death of his infant son, while he fights for his life, is gut-wrenchingly good. Oh Ji Oh’s expression, which morphs from relief, to realization, to horror, to a guttural grief, is immersive and affecting. And this time around, I’m cognizant of the other part of his flashback, where he remembers declining to hold his child, telling his wife that he doesn’t want to spoil the child. What an awful irony, that the time that he finally holds his son in his embrace, is this moment, when the child literally dies while being carried. Sob. 😭

This entire backstory lends a strong layer of pathos to Tae Ha as a character, and I feel like sometimes, just the knowledge of what he’s been through, helps to smooth the edges (in my eyes) when Oh Ji Ho’s delivery leans a little stiff.

I don’t think it’s occurred to me before, but it strikes me that it’s a real stretch that the dainty Eonnyeon would have been able to move an unconscious Tae Ha all the way to the temple without any kind of help. Again, I’m going to file it away in my head under the collection of things related to Eonnyeon that require me to suspend disbelief. (Also, I’m sorry for the irreverence, but I couldn’t help but be amused at Lee Dae Yeon’s overly smooth, very large bald head, in his appearance as Monk Myeong An. I found it quite distracting, to be honest. 😂)

I’d forgotten much of Commander Hwang’s story, and it strikes me this episode, that he’s actually very reluctant to cooperate with his evil father-in-law. I’d also forgotten that he comes from a humble background, and cares deeply for his mother, who still lives in a modest hut despite him having married the Left State Councilor’s daughter. (Speaking of whom, Ha Si Eun has so little screen time as Commander Hwang’s palsy-ridden wife, but she does such a good job with those few moments that I can’t help but be impressed.) Perhaps I won’t find Commander Hwang so flat as a character, this time around? Maybe all I needed was for my eyes to be more appreciative of nuance?

I got nervous watching Dae Gil bargain with the Left State Councilor. Why is Dae Gil so daring and reckless about this? General Choi’s cautioning, that one should never trust a court official, seems much more prudent and wise. Dae Gil making a deal with the Left State Councilor feels akin to him making a pact with the devil. Eep. 😝

It hadn’t really occurred to me before, but Tae Ha asking Eonnyeon if she’d like to follow him, is a huge risk. He’s already injured, and having her along for the ride means that not only will he have to move slower to accommodate her, he also has to protect her as well, injured as he is. I’m not certain if he’s fallen for her at this point, but I think it’s safe to say that he feels indebted to her for saving his life, and he probably feels like he should help her now that there are people hunting for her.

Heh. Trust Dae Gil to already know Monk Myeong An, and to go so far back with him, that he knows all of Monk Myeong An’s more worldly history. Also, trust Dae Gil to push Monk Myeong An’s buttons until the monk’s ready to leave his monkhood behind, ha. Not gonna lie; I got a kick out of that. 😅

I’d forgotten how amazing the scenery is, in Chuno. The panoramic landscape is captured so beautifully, and on such a grand scale. It truly adds to the sweeping, epic nature of our story. Absolutely breathtaking! 🤩

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seankfletcher
10 months ago

I found Chuno continued to be very watchable during Eps 3 & 4. Some great observations by all here too re these episodes. Who would have thought kfangurl you would pick up on some different perspectives this time round 😂

agent155
10 months ago

Episodes 3 and 4 highlight a few things for me:

Tae-ha is proving to be a character at least equal to Dae-gil, if not more worthy. He’s clearly Dae-gil’s equal, if not superior, in combat. His nobility shines through in asking Lee Da-hae’s character (can’t remember her name, Eon something) if she wants to accompany him, knowing she will be captured otherwise. True, she took care of him but he also intervened to save her when she was attacked earlier.
Dae-gil looks reckless and lacking judgment, it’s like he feels he has nothing left in this life. Why would he take on the Tae-ha assignment from an obviously treacherous government official when the penalty for failure is death? Especially as he knows that Tae-ha is a formidable opponent. Does he have the right to commit his partners to such an assignment without consulting them?

Finding Eon is the only goal in his life, and even he’s starting to have doubts he’ll ever find her. Where does this passion come from? First love? It’s not clear what would have inspired such passion. I guess that appeals to many in the audience, the single-minded passion of one person for another. The Jumos realize Dae-gil’s emptiness and focus on General Choi who also sees Dae-gil’s obsession affecting his judgment. To top it all, Dae-gil is not honest with his partners, not disclosing the actual rewards for their assignments, especially for capturing Tae-ha. I can see him thinking I’m doing this for their good so they don’t spend it all, especially Wang-son, but he could at least share this with General Choi.

Seol-hwa is a refreshing character, as you point out KFG. She is in a difficult position but she’s shrewd and street smart and has pegged each of the three amigos perfectly. She especially has Wang-son’s number. In contrast, Eon is more and more the damsel in distress, she’s very pretty…even when she is disguised as a man (in fact, I didn’t even realize at first that she was trying to look like a guy). She accepts Tae-ha’s offer to accompany him and even when speed is of the essence, she is in this elaborate dress (in which she looks great, btw) that hinders fast movement. Why didn’t she go back to her disguise clothes?
This is proving to be a good watch, it’s paced very well. the cinematography is outstanding, the characters are all developing nicely (despite my reservations about Dae-gil), there are some really beautiful shots and the dynamic tension is being set up nicely among the many different protagonists in this drama.

It’s taken a good deal of willpower not to jump ahead but watching Prosecutor Princess has helped.

Beez, I have a new category for Kdrama actresses:

Best legs: Kim So-yeon (so many short skirts in PP)

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  agent155

@Geo – Okay, I must admit that Tae ha is – begruddddgingly – getting my attention (besides his beauty).

btw: As to “Kim So-yeon (so many short skirts in PP)” – what pray tell is “PP”?

agent155
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez: PP = Prosecutor Princess with Kim So-yeon; light rom-com that kinda grew on me. Sorry, I was a bit obscure. In the show, Kim So-yeon has the shortest skirts and very fashionable clothes plus a shoe collection that has to be seen to be believed. I think the audition must have been based on how the actress looked in these clothes and heels.

On Chuno, I think the Tae-ha character is starting strong but if he just remains the stolid, noble soul, that would be a little disappointing. On this score, I think Dae-gil has more growth potential with his riches and rags past, his morally ambiguous occupation and the current reckless emptiness in his life without Eon.

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  agent155

Kim So-yeon, the beautiful daughter from Mother of Mine! She is definitely my type, with or without the short skirts.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  agent155

@Geo. Yeah, I’ve noticed a lot of you guys, the newerbies, abbreviate shows a lot but nobody knows what shows you’re talking about. When you see shows abbreviated, they’re “biggies” that everybody watched or even if they didn’t watch it, it’s so popular that it’s on everybody’s radar because it’s talked about everywhere.

So, I haven’t seen PP 😆 I have heard the title though. I’ll check out the summary to see if it’s something I might want to watch. I gotta see whose abs I’d be sending time with. 😉

As to Chuno, I’m keeping mum about what’s to come.

agent155
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez: I tend to use acronyms after I’ve mentioned the full name of the show except where it’s an acronym that even I recognize, eg CLOY, then I use it even though I haven’t mentioned the show’s name in the subject comment.

In Prosecutor Princess (PP), the actor who plays General Choi in Chuno is one of the two male leads; maybe that’ll give you some incentive to watch PP, lol. However, no abs on display that I remember but if you like Kim So-yeon….the show is really a vehicle to showcase her.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  agent155

@Geo – General Choi! I’m in! It’s going on my “too watch soon” watch list.

I’m not a huge fan of Kim So-yeon. It’s just that I have eyes and when you listed categories for actresses physical attributes – she was just an objective observation.🕵 🤓 But I’m down to watch more Gen. Choi. I’ve only seen him in two other shows besides Chuno and they are merely supportive roles not even as big a role as he has in Chuno.

agent155
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez: Han Jung-soo, who plays General Choi in Chuno, plays a similar type character in Prosecutor Princess (PP), a stolid, sensible prosecutor, capable of action, almost like a modern day General Choi. I ended up liking the show as it kept me distracted from jumping ahead on Chuno. Kim So-yeon (KSY) was so different a character from Iris that I had difficulty accepting her in this role but once I let my preconceptions go, she was okay but I still think not perfect for this role. I think Kim Tae-hee (KTH) would gave been a better fit in terms of physical appearance (cuter) though I don’t know KTH’s comedic skills.

: If you’re a big fan of KSY, I think you should take a look at PP, it’s light and would appeal to both you and your gal. KSY is a rich, fashionable, ditzy valley girl type who wears outfits and shoes that show off possibly her best attribute, her legs.

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  agent155

Thanks, I’ll check it out!

BE
BE
10 months ago

Not to open a whole nother backstory can of worms, but does anyone else wonder how Eon Nyeon got from point A to point B, escape from slavery to nobility skipping out on her betrothed the day of her wedding, in what seems the most unlikely and outlandish backstory in the whole business? Or should we just wrack it up to another wtf, well she IS Eon Nyeon, fairy tale heroine extraordinaire. I mean her brother does tell us things, but the how of that amazing upwardly mobile jet flight (remember she has a fashion plate, equally perfectly coifed body guard looking for her once she runs) in such a rigidly stratified society is utterly left out.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, I do have some theories on this topic. My guess is that the brother and EN took advantage of the unstable situation in both Joseon and China. It is possible that they had some skills that allowed them to make a lot of money? Or they saved a grateful yangban who let them use his family name? Or maybe the brother distinguished himself in the war between Qing and Ming and got rewarded by a Manchu warlord?

My question is how did they learn to read and write? It is possible that they had already learned the basics while still living as slaves of Daegil’s family. I have seen in other dramas slaves accompanying the master’s son to the Confucian school and using the opportunity to learn a lot themselves. So EN and her brother must be pretty impressive actually.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – I can’t speak to all of those things but Eunnyeon’s brother said in episode 2 that he paid a down on his luck noble to buy his family registry, hence their new names.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Right, @beez! Yay for group watch to help me remember all the details!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I was speaking of Su Go.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@ SF & b…this is so nice, a group appreciation project; sets the mind abuzz.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower. I just rewatched The Royal Tailor, such a moving film. As he is forty one, he’d probably be too old for young Tae Ha, but while it was an entirely different kind of role, he seems like he could have been a Tae Ha with a little more brilliance, but that is me. Checking out his other roles, I see he was in Fortress with Lee Byung Hun. It takes place in 1636. Have you seen it, and if so what did you think?

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, I have seen The Royal Taylor but not The Fortress. The Royal Taylor is set in the early 18th century. The King is not named, but it is implied to be Yeongjo. Go Su is indeed excellent in it, as is the other actor who plays the older taylor.
War of the Arrows is another movie set in 1636.
Go Su has a very natural down-to-earth presense, and I imagine Song Tae Ha as more aloof and reserved, even at a younger age. But a skilled actor can project the right image of a character. Go Su can probably do a convincing younger Cheon Ji Ho though.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@ Snow Flower. Thanks. If I see Fortess, I will somehow let you know what I thought of it.
It was wonderful to see Go Su together with Han Seok Kyu (the older master tailor, King Sejong in Tree with Deep Roots–Han Seok Kyu is one of my 3 favorite Korean actors, Choi Min Sik and Jang Hyuk, whom I would rate third among these 3, the other two. Han Seok Kyu takes the somewhat over the top medical melodrama, Dr. Romantic, and is utterly unstoppable in it). I think The Royal Tailor is the sageuk for folks who want serious characters and drama, but without it being about swords and left state ministers.

Yes Song Tae Ha is more reserved than one might imagine with Go Su from The Royal Trailer, but he has Oh Ji Ho’s extraordinary handsomeness and I hanker for even a little brighter characterization, though I wonder after we talk the whole thing out if I might change my mind.

BE
BE
10 months ago

Up Bok’s attempted shooting of Dae Gil was lifted, stolen, or alluded to depending on your outlook by the show writers of Mr. Sunshine, who used this same slice of life as a cliff hanger device when SPOILER a member of the Righteous Army shot Goo Dong Mae, the drama’s second lead and resident antihero. It took place much further along in that drama and led to a much more serious physical trauma. I’d bet over time Chuno will continue to get little such tributes from historical dramas.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago

Notes on the political background in Chuno:

The elites of Imperial Ming and its tributary state, the Kingdom of Joseon, shared the same worldview: the Ming Empire was the center of the world and the source of civilization. Joseon was a friendly and grateful vassal kingdom basking in the glory of Ming’s sun. Anything and anyone who did not fit in that picture was considered barbaric and uncivilized. So, Manchu tribes, Dutch merchants, Portuguese missionaries, and Japanese samurai all fell into the uncivilized category.

In my historical notes for Episodes 1-2 thread I mentioned that Korea (and also Ming China) faced some serious threats from the so-called barbarians. Because of that, some astute politicians and scholars started questioning the prevailing worldview. I already mentioned how Gwanghae, the King of Joseon before Injo, tried to establish friendly ties with the Manchu, much to the displeasure of Ming and his own court. Gwanghae was dethroned and exiled, and his successor Injo reverted back to the traditional foreign policy of Joseon (pro-Ming and anti-barbarian), which was totally out of touch with the new political reality at that time.

Someone like Crown Prince Sohyeon was probably seen as a threat to the established order. The prince was not afraid to learn new ideas while living as a hostage of the Qing. His father, King Injo, and the other hardliners among the Joseon political elite were afraid of the potential changes the prince could institute. So there is no surprise that the prince died mysteriously shortly after he returned to Joseon, and his sons were stripped from their claim to the throne and exiled to Jeju Island.

I see the fictional character of Minister Lee as a representative of the old pro-Ming political elite. Anyone close to the late Crown prince has to be dealt with.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

So good!

Lamenteuse
10 months ago

I’m a little late to the Chuno open threads because I thought I could watch Healer as my “other” show… LOL! What was I thinking?? But now that I’ve finished it and made it back to Chuno, I have to say, the first couple of episodes were hard for me – I had a lot of trouble following what was going on, in large part due to less than ideal subtitles/subtitle technical issues (thanks, Viki) and also a near complete lack of knowledge of Korean history (thanks, Eurocentric American curricula, but serious thanks to @SnowFlower for explaining things below!!). I was also struggling to connect with the characters, particularly when it comes to Dae Gil and Eonnyeon’s relationship, because we don’t see anything that shows a deep emotional connection beyond physical attraction. Actually, I am still having a hard time caring about Eonnyeon. Obviously, she is stunningly gorgeous, but so far she doesn’t have much of a personality beyond her looks. Although she has taken some personal risks, which admittedly show some initiative (ex. abandoning her would-be husband, although he was old and gross), she generally seems to fill the “beautiful damsel in distress” role, which is too retrograde for my taste. To see her so poorly disguise herself as a man when she was on the run, and then to slow down Tae Ha as she kept getting tangled and winded because of her pristine white hanbok – it made me think she is someone who is generally naïve and bland because other people (ie. men) tend to do things for her because she is pretty. Luckily, the show gave us Seol Hwa, who is clever and sassy and can more than keep up with the boys (poor outwitted Wangson!). I finally started to feel interested in the show once she appeared. I’m also excited to see Chobok bravely stand up for slave’s rights, and also that slick lady assassin kick some butt. 🙂

beez
10 months ago

Looks like this is going to be a totally different experience this time around. 🤔

beez
10 months ago

Ha! I just rewatched the square off between Dae gil and Tae ha at the end of Ep2. Why am I having so much enjoyment at seeing Tae ha easily unseat Dae gil from his horse after all that dramatic flair and yelling that Dae gil was doing as he attacked? Yaaaaah! Ahhhhhhh! Yaaaaah! kerplunk. On his azz. I don’t get it cause y’all know I seriously ❤ me some Dae gil. But it’s cracking me up! 😆

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez–you are seeing Dae Gil from a different light, a typical reaction for going back to a loved work of art over time, probably in this sequence as, rather than the static, omg squee hero, but as a man of a certain age, who behaves in ways that are both cool and well, not all that mature. His swag is attention getting, but if that were all there were to Dae Gil, who cares, right? It is his tender and vulnerable passion in the glove of his swag that makes him special. Getting his comeuppance in the third episode when you know he is a, if not the, central character of the whole, meaning what’s a pratfall in the sweep of things, might even add to your appreciation of his performance. As I have said elsewhere, Jang Hyuk has stated that he views action scenes as vehicles for expressing character.

BE
BE
10 months ago

@KFG rereading your commentary now for the third time, just wonderful. I think that is what such a rewatch for, and with the assistance of your lovely aethetics, appreciation, such a good eye and vocabulary for the kinetic aspect of the drama, especially.
I love, among the many things I love about her, just so how observant and insightful Seol Hwa is, in some ways how much steel inside her, all wrapped up in that just too delicious for words dumpling face–she doesn’t look like a dumpling; she looks like how a really good dumpling tastes. Like a cute very small child, you want to tell her how you just want to eat her up. Wang Son: too bad son, you may not realize it yet, but…from what is revealed already just stick up your ears: Seol Hwa does not address even General Choi as orabeoni and she had your number from the time she bit the coin right out of your mouth without so much as even brushing your lips.Seol Hwa is almost the definition of cool, with the added weight of the pathos of her young life.
It is easy at this point in the story to overlook Commander Hwang, and does anyone really like him so far, even with his mother and his wife? Our first impression after all is him is sneaking away from the battle where Tae Ha was captured, stepping on Tae Ha’s back when we know Tae Ha in mortal combat had his, and his brutal treatment of the slaves. Gee that branding iron stuff to the eyeball at his command.
And thanks for catching Ha Si Eun as Commander Hwang’s wife in our first hit of her in what absolutely has to be a thankless role, but just doing it, Chuno style, with verve and emotion.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Ditto! And yasssss! For the comments regarding Seol wa (and kfangurl).

As to Ha Si Eun – I think she won an award for her role? I’m not sure, but I think I remember hearing or reading that somewhere.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Folks who do not know anything about Ha Si Eun might google her web images.

phl1rxd
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Hi Beez – she was nominated for Best New Actress 2010 KBS Drama Awards. However, she did not win. The drama was nominated for 29 awards and won 19, including 2 Daesangs wins – one for the drama itself from the 37th Korea Broadcasting Awards and one for Jang Hyuk for Best Actor from the KBS Drama Awards. I would list these awards but the list is way! too long to do so.

The average rating for this drama was 31.7 nationwide. People know a good thing when they see it!

What I love (among many other things) is the earthiness of the people and the street talk. It made it real to life.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Team Ji Ho; and Sung Dong Il won KBS supporting actor, drama!

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– Yet AsianWiki’s page for Chuno nor for Jang Hyuk mention the Daesung awards.😠

I’ve been watching the more colorful subs this time around. It’s amazing the more realistic feeling you get of the show with the feel of these being less civilized times (compared to the Kocowa subs, which are also the Viki subs) and it also has a more literary… flair.

phl1rxd
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

LOL on AW. I always use two points of reference when researching a cast. I use MDL but I really need AW because the one good thing AW does is use still character shots from the drama which helps me tremendously to identify each actor. I struggle with the names as always.

Hmmm, I do not know why AW does not have it listed. A Daesung is a big award and needs to be on there. BTW Beez – my source for above is Wikipedia. I may look into the AW resources. It may be user generated information.

Your statement on the subs is very interesting. I am watching on Viki and they block out the bad words but I get the picture 😉

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – As to Gen. Hwang – I feel little empathy for him BUT… when his mom said “I hear she can still bear children”. I did feel for him ever so slightly because that seems like it would be [hmmm. I want to say it without being offensive. The show put it here for a reason so anyone who has experience with cerebral palsy feel free to correct me or put me on my place] the idea of sex with his wife seemed like it might be… difficult for him mentally. Again, I do not want to hurt anyone by saying it. I’m just observing what’s playing out on the screen. 🙏

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Or maybe he is, on this account, despite having obviously married her to accrue power through his father in law, compassionate enough towards his wife to think having sex might be both mentally and physically difficult for her. This is the seventeenth C Joseon and MS, if that is what she is suffering from, was not a defined disease until late 19th C England. Who knows how the culture at large might have regarded a woman displaying such symptoms..

ngobee
ngobee
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

Hi BE,

looks like cerebral palsy to me, which is most often caused by the child not getting enough oxygen during birth. It is still common in developing countries and the leading cause of childhood disability today. Nowadays people with CP talk quite openly about their sex life and needs.

But I have no idea how such disability was handled during Chuno’s times. I know that in some countries old superstitions about children born with disability exist, even today. The condition can be seen as a punishment from the gods or God for a family member’s wrongdoing. Sometimes the child is thought to be possessed by evil spirits. Such children are often killed or permanently hidden somewhere in the house. I suspect that it won’t have been much different during the Joseon era.

I’m asking myself what the father’s marrying off his obviously “imperfect” daughter says about him. Does he care for his daughter, wanting her to have a husband? Or is he just using her as a means to control a capable, but poor son-in-law who was ambitious enough to take any wife at all, provided she was related to power?

I found the moment quite heartbreaking, when the wife attempted to start a conversation about his coming home earlier and her husband just ignored her. It was really excellently played.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  ngobee

Thanks. Such a wonderfully, evocative show. I really enjoy the group for comments just like this.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  ngobee

, I ‘ll go with your second theory. The minister seems to use his daughter to control his son- in-law. The daughter is surrounded by servants and her physical needs seem to be well taken care of, but both her father and especially her husband treat her with cold indifference. I can totally imagine her as a scholar and a poet.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – that is not M.S. nor Parkinsons. Most likely it’s something along the lines of cerebral palsey.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Right, sorry. You already mentioned that in another post. Embarassing to become someone whose wires are crossed like that. Slap to my metaphorical temple. Sorry.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Nope. Wasn’t me. I read that @ngobee’s comment after I’d already written my response.

ngobee
ngobee
10 months ago

Really not much to add here for my first viewing. I’ve watched many kdramas up to now and they are all atmospheric. But Chuno is so vivid and kinetic that I can totally understand everybody’s fascination with it. It was really hard to stop watching yesterday to wait for next week.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago

The meeting between Dae Gil and State Councilor Lee is one of the pivotal scenes in the drama. It is really what sets the story in motion. Watching it again felt like observing an electric storm, two worlds colliding.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

First timers: you heard it here from Snow Flower!

BE
BE
10 months ago

Questions:
Language–the usage of “unni” in this, which I thought was reserved for women with women. also Orabunni, is that an archaic usage for sageuks?

@Snow Flower–do you understand what it means to be a “left” state minister? In many sageuks, this position seems to be the actual political power rather than the King. I know for many the political machinations of sageuks are their least attractive elements, but they are so essential to understand what the heck is going on. I do not have a real grasp of how governance went on in the Joseon Empire beyond understanding that scholars had a quasi significant role, ministers were always jockeying for power and had at times varying degrees of it, and that KIngs ran the gambit from absolute dictators to feckless weaklings. And we aren’t even talking about Queens or Dowagers. To analogize, I understand how in the US a cunning and powerful Senate Majority Leader can actually have more impact on governance than even a more authoritarian President, or how a timorous congress can cede its powers in relation to war making to a President; or how an effective Speaker of the House differs from less effective ones, controlling a caucus rather than being controlled by one, all because I am steeped in American political culture, but I only glimpse through the window all the machinations that go on in Joseon era sageuks. Tae Ha’s story is the driving force in this, and I am not always clear about the fundamental whys built into the historical political realities.

Comment: the lady assassin: Chuno! Entertainment quotient 10! even for this small role, could there be a better definition of “femme fatale” as she puts hair pins back in?

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, I just consulted one of my books on Korean history. It looks like the power was distributed between the King, the State Council (3 members), and the 6 ministers (of personnel, taxation, rites, military affairs, punishment, and public works). I am not sure if Minister Lee is one of the State Councilors or the Minister of Punishment. I don’t know why the councilors were called Left or Right. There was a lot of factional struggle in Joseon, but the factions were named Westerners, Southerners, etc. In other dramas I have seen Left and Right Police Bureaus. My guess is that they were called like that based on their location, so maybe Left and Right Councilor has something to do with where they stood in relation to the king during council meetings. I will continue looking.

As for the use of “eonni” and “orabeoni”, I remember the Dramafever subtitles had translations not only of the dialogue, but also of the explanatory footnotes which often appear in sageuks (and also in medical dramas). If I remember correctly, “eonni” is an archaic form of “hyung”, and “orabeoni” is an archaic form of “oppa.” As to when they were replaced by the current usage, I have no idea. I learned the word “orabeoni” from Chuno. I could not forget the way Seol Hwa said it it when addressing Dae Gil.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

You are the champ!

And the little things, like how Seol Hwa addresses Dae Gil. One of the pleasures of this rewatch is now that I know and generally remember the whole story, I am not as caught up in an anxiety created by plot complications, and savor the little things in the drama. Taking a closer look at Seol Hwa for example to really see what Kim Ha Eun was doing in her role that endeared me so much without thinking about it the first time I saw it.

It is interesting what catches folks’ attention about the show, from new watchers to folks such as yourself who have seen this several times.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

Well, I do not call myself Snow Flower for nothing!

Seol Hwa is my favorite kdrama character.

And why is Kim Ha Eun not famous? She was great in Conspiracy in the Court too.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Yes. My first KDrama was Mr. Sunshine, and I would not call Kudo HIna (Kim Min-Jung) at the very top of my list, but both Kudo Hina and Seol Hwa would suggest that more K Drama should feature second lead women with juicy parts. Chuno is so big, and yet one of its charms for me is that from that sweeping epic size and cast, Seol Hwa is your “favorite kdrama character.” What a statement.

Trent
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE I definitely think Kim Min-jung as Kudo Hina in Mr Sunshine was a standout element of that show. Swanning about in fantastic Victorian costumes, melting scenery right and left with her sultry femme fatale gaze. She was the FL in Man to Man, and she was fine in that, but definitely much better in Mr Sunshine (mostly because it was just a better, meatier role).

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

I know, right? Seol Hwa is not brilliant or strong. She can be quite annoying, in a silly little sister kind of way. And yet the show would not be the same without her.

I am a big fan of Hina too. Her sighs spoke volumes.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

There are other women in this, but Seol Hwa is the one that really balances all that testosterone of Dae Gil, Wang Son, and General Choi, which at times is a bit much. Besides all that, Kim Ha Eun is such a complete charmer, Chuno’s magical charm, well known for her big butt (yuk) in the market place. We well may have mixed feelings about even our favorites among the leads; we just love Seol Hwa and root for her.

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

In the show SungKyunKwan Scandal, the ML’s father — played by Kim Kap-soo — was presented as one of the most powerful government officials other than the king. I think my English subtitles described him as the Left State Minister. If so, “Minister” was probably an error in the translation and should have been “Councillor.” There was a position called Left State Minister, but it was further down the ladder. Minister of Defense was lower still, although still quite powerful.

The Left State Councillor (aka Second State Councillor aka Jwauijeong) was one of three senior Councillor positions and was subordinate to only one of the others — the Chief State Councillor (or Yeonguijeong). So Left SC was #2 in power on the State Council, below the Chief SC and above the Right SC. On paper, at least.

As best I can tell, the twelve-member State Council initially presented a check on the king’s power, rather than being mere advisors under his command. However, the relative balance between the King and the Council shifted throughout the Joseon era, based on the strength of their respective personalities and their base of power. Over the centuries, the king’s power grew.

The key point, drama-wise, is that no one held absolute power. So there was cause for even greater political intrigue than in a Western monarchy.

Per Wikipedia:

“The State Council was the highest deliberative body of the Joseon Dynasty although it faded in importance after first centuries of rule. It was composed of twelve officials. The Chief State Councillor, Left State Councillor, and Right State Councillor were the highest-ranking officials in the government (senior first rank). They were assisted by Left Minister and Right Minister, both of junior first rank, and seven lower ranking officials. The power of State Council was inversely proportional to the king’s power. Sometimes it directly controlled Six Ministries, the chief executive body of Joseon government, but primarily served in advisory role under stronger kings. State councillors served in several other positions including a tutor to the crown prince.”

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  merij1

I was puzzled that Councillor was spelled that way, instead of Counselor! It literally means “member of the State Council.”

For both shows, I do wonder if these character are meant to be the Left State Councillor (#2 top dog) vs. Left State Minister (a big dog, but several rungs down).

Also, my comment about the power of the King vs. the State Council was my sense of the realpolitiks of the situation, rather than the official word. Under Confucian philosophy, the king held total authority.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  merij1

@everyone @ Snow Flower – so has show shown us yet what Left State Councilor’s agenda is? Does he have his own Royal that he’s backing to be heir to the throne? Or is it all simply about blocking the deceased Crown Prince’s adopting western ideology?

Does the King even have any other sons?

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I don’t think there is another prince. So I do wonder whom the conservative faction is thinking to put on the throne at the end of the day. The king apparently is aligned with that faction.

Usually these high level power-players have two agendas that merge into one:

– a public policy agenda (e.g., change vs. tradition, or “the nation should play-it-safe on X” vs. “we should seize the opportunity and manage the risks,” or specific options for either)

– a private agenda (power and money for me and my clan and revenge served cold on my enemies!)

Besides the personal agenda of power/money/revenge, I suspect the public policy split here concerns how to deal with the threat of China.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  merij1

– I get that. I’m just glad that, judging by your response, I have missed 😴 anything yet. 👍

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

If there is no other prince, I’m surprised they didn’t see those three young kids as malleable pawns to be raised as proxies. That’s the normal play.

And with three, you don’t have to decide right away which one to go with. As they reach adolescence you choose the one most open to your influence and kill off the other two.

heh heh

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Ha. I realize that my political comment was boorish. I was thinking out loud. But I should do that on my own and only share anything actually worth sharing when I’m done!

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  merij1

– Nope. I’m sorry for being prickly as if you were insinuating I didn’t get it. I should know better.

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I didn’t think that at all. I just reread my own comment and realized it was a bore! Much too far out on the mansplaining spectrum.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  merij1

– as long as you know, you’ll never be a threat.💚😝

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

The Left State Councilor’s agenda will be revealed gradually, so I am not saying anything yet.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – I wasn’t trying to make more work for you. 😆 I appreciate all you do. i don’t really care about the details of who his other son is. I just wanted to know if he had any so I can try to understand this agenda of the King allegedly having a hand in killing his own son and grandchildren.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, you are not making more work for me. I was researching the historical background of Chuno on my own, for fun. Yes, the king has another son who became the king afterwards. But this son (Prince SoHyeon’s brother) also spent 8 years as a Qing hostage, and yet the king does not seem to regard him as a threat. Maybe because he was not groomed as a Crown prince, everybody thinks that he is a pushover.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – verrry interesting. So the other Prince probably didn’t fall for the western rhetoric. It still seems like overkill (no pun intended) for the King to deal with Prince SoHyeon’s “rebellious” ways by killing him and his entire line. It seems like he could’ve just de-heired him. Either Prince So Hyeon had an incredible influence on the people to be perceived as such a threat or there’s something else that’s forever hidden in history. 😥

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  merij1

This is very helpful. Thank you, !

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  merij1

– Thanks for the info on political titles and their power. It seems to me that with most saeguks, similar to modern day dramas, the subtitles don’t take the time to check which title corresponds to English usage. For instance, CEO = President = Director = Chairman. I’ve seen the same person referred to as each of those in separate episodes of the same show. And then when his heir shows up on the same episode, the previous CEO begins to be called “Chairman” because “CEO” has now been assigned to the son.

BE
BE
10 months ago

Hat of the week. What again is the Left State Minister’s big hat called? Is there a reason that hat is worn by every evil sageuk character known to man? (Not to mention the moustache and pointy little beard). I even find the winged caps more fetching (especially as they at least always accompany those beautifully decorated ministers’ get ups–gosh now I will have to resee the Royal Tailor again).

BE
BE
10 months ago

Team Ji Ho. Let me say it one more time Sung Dong Il is a MONSTER! A BEAST! The whole ensemble is off to a good start, but Sung Dong Il is running away with the show early on. That OG rapper/method actor business on the street stage, folk all gathered round to catch him, laying out the beats of his exploits, taking Dae Gil and Tae Ha and sticking them in the little bitty corner of his great big performance–tell me again big fella, and flash those teeth, how was it that the arrow flew from your bow? Everyone else is milktoast by contrast on the personality quotient. And you want menace, how about a chunk of dirty ashed foot pad up your nose, punk? Hey lady, while I have you in sniffing distance, I will insult your sexuality and fling a knife long distance to take you down as you try to get away, no sweat, letting you just think you can get out of my dirty mitts and sleaze bag ways. Sung Dong Il can make one cheek on his face tic involuntarily just to watch you tremble. And getting back to his stage performance, there must be something in this that either derives from folk or classical theatre performance. I love the guy in this, a villain, a farce, a madman, Ji Ho, no one else like him.

It may well be there are bigger hot dogs in this drama, but Ji Ho is the relish.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Same same same, his bad teeth turned me off before so I didn’t pay the attention he deserved lol

Trent
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE Okay, but here’s the thing, all you Ji Ho stans. I just finished Reply 1988 like three days ago, so I’m having to do a serious mental adjustment from “quasi-alcoholic beat-down suburban salary man” to “bad-ass gang leader,” and I’m just not quite there yet… 😉

Trent
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Fair enough…I also have to integrate the “starving priest” from the beginning of Hospital Playlist in there too (which is the first place I recall seeing him). A versatile man, is our Sung Dong-il!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I recently saw him in that too. Just a terrific actor.

Prashil Prakash
Prashil Prakash
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

I see appreciation for Sung Dong il. I’m Happy.

He’s unironically almost always finds way into my favourite shows(and movies)

And he’s Literally my compass to decide if a movie/series is going to be worth watching.

Man!He’s a veteran. I love him.

Ps. I’m still waiting for the Subs of his recent film ‘Pawn’. It’s gonna be great.

BE
BE
10 months ago

Yes, I am beginning to pursue his resume myself.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, I will remember the last sentence of your comment and think about it every time Cheon Ji Ho appears!
So well said!

BE
BE
10 months ago

Okay, I thought we were going to start tomorrow, so while I have notes for 3, I will rewatch 4 and chime in on that more closely tomorrow.

Let’s start with all the cool figurative language, even in translation, and the swag therein. The great one liners.
Dae Gil to Tae Ha: “Even an anchovy has intestines, but you seemed to stand out as a slave.”

Ji Ho (more on team Ji Ho later) to the General, “Do you want to become a porcupine?” General’s snappy comeback,”I can turn you into a kebab just as easily.:

In a more serious tone, General, source of wisdom council, to Ji Ho, appealing to the principle of honor among thieves, “We don’t get along, but one shouldn’t break the other’s begging bowl,” causing Ji Ho to retreat and because he is shamed thus into doing so, warns the General about walking at night alone, with the further aftermacho about hating him.

Police guy to Dae Gil about stiffing him despite them catching the runaways, but not Tae Ha, “you caught the one who farted…”

Sulwha to Wangson after one of his many cheap propositions, in which she says “I am well known for my big butt in the marketplace…(more on Sulwha later, but doncha just love her? well known for her big butt or in other words Wangson, kiss my ashes)

But my favorite among the delicious repartee between the jumos, when the older jumo tries to sidle the younger one away from the General in their conversation, and tries to fob attention off onto the artist (and what a wonderfully hyperbolic performance as a mediocre sleaze bag he puts on), and the younger one, all that naive and silly innocent young thing retorts, “you mean that old geezer with the cow tit face?!!!!”

A lot of the language is elevated theater language in this, but nothing more so than the insults and the way they are delivered in character and with impeccable timing from Ji Ho to the younger jumo, the general to Sulwha. Of course repartee is part of a lot of K Drama, but this is master class writing, direction, and acting. Chuno among many other things is really entertaining, and meant to be so.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

– please-pretty-please – how did you get those? Do you mean you have the subs with the video or you have the old way that fans used to have to download the subs and attach them themselves?

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

_ oool! oo! yes, please send them to me. Yay! You’re the best, Kfangurl!

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

– You are wonderful! (You’ve also opened a can of worms because if I can’t find those old web sites that explain how to add the subtitles to the video, I’ll be pestering you.) But meanwhile, thank you, thank you, thank you! XXXXXOOOOOOO!

(Oh! That’s kind of old. It means hugs and kisses for anyone who’s too young to have ever seen that before.)
💜💙❤💚😘😍

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

x and o meant kiss and hug before even word processors were a thing. On presents to my daughters when they were little I changed the x’s to stars and the o’s hearts. I like the sunface smooch emoji, but it strikes me that hearts in emoji talk do not seem to equal hugs as hearts seem synonymous with love in general. Ah, an opportunity for someone invent a hug emoji; God knows in the year of the plague, everyone needs one.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Yes those are even better, and probably more accurate to time and place. Entrails so much more understated. One can only imagine understanding the Korean. It must be sensational.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I only caught half of those! Bravo! BE, which streaming network/site are you using? If it’s illegit, give me a clue instead of spelling it out. I want to see if it’s better subs or else, when did abs start blinding my reading capabilities?

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Viki, but they probably aren’t the best. I watched it for yesterday, and some of that had caught my attention, so when I rewatched today, I wrote them down. I figure a lot of the main stuff other people will hit on, and so my next post will be team Ji Ho, since Tae Ha and Dae Gil will be everyone’s cud to chew on.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Thanks. That confirms that I just missed some of those because Viki, and Amazon Prime have the same subs as Kocowa.

Drama Fan
10 months ago

I wanted to ask, so you think all the actors may be doing their own stunts? I get the feeling Kim Ji Suk is (for some reason) but I would have to pay more attention to see how much of their faces are being shown. The elegant sword battles of Commander Hwang and Song TaeHa are like beautiful dances and it would be cool to think it is the actors doing all of that. But, I do recall the director praising JH particularly for doing his own stunts because according to the director, this presents an opportunity to show medium shots and full shots while showing the character’s emotions etc. Of course this doesn’t mean JH was the only one doing it but I do wonder why the PD made a distinction or to which particular scenes he may be referring to.

beez
10 months ago

My thoughts as I noted while watching the episodes, much of which Kfangurl already noted so I was able to abridge them. (No really, this is the short version.)

But seeing our uber-confident Dae gil surprised that he didn’t have an easy win when fighting Tae ha cracks me up and endears him to me all the more. 💘 His insecurity as he keeps telling General Choi that he would’ve won if not for Ji ho’s gang’s interference just shows a bit of vulnerability as he tries to convince himself that he’s still the baddest namja in Joseon. Why do I think that’s sexy? I don’t know but it is. Maybe because if I were a 16th century Joseon woman, it would say “he needs me”. sigh (Just call me “jumo” from here on out.) 😆

Tae ha standing his ground, using his massive sword *(I swear, I’m really talking about that huge oddly shaped metal weapon (I swear! I’m still talking about the literal weapon!)) knocking aside the arrows while Dae gil dodged them in the tall grass (still to be admired). But although impressive, Tae ha received a shoulder wound for all that bad assery while Dae gil was unscathed (by the arrows anyway). It did make me think Tae ha is on another level though.

And General Choi’s no slouch, winnowing sheaves with one hand in one swoop while on the run and then using it as a weapon.

I love the earthiness of this world that still manages to not appear quite as gritty, nasty and filthy as it must have really been. For example, I had to shake my head at the younger jumo remarking upon how she hates the Horse Dung Doctor staring at her. This said while her leg and skirt are hiked up and she fans between her legs. 🥴

Oh wait, I need to acknowledge Jang Hyuk’s acting here as he had the wind/consciousness knocked out of him but that gasp, and suddenly alert and giving instructions – I rewound and watched it a few times and the first two times despite knowing it was coming, I gasped with him.

In my nod to KFG’s comments about things unrealistic – after Dae gil was shot, the two sidekicks go running off acrobatically and after all that running, Cho Bok yi (Pretty Slave Girl) who was standing near Dae gil signalling to Eop Bok (the shooter), she just steps right into Gen. Choi’s path. As if she’s Bugs Bunny and magically beat him there. 😂

But I must say, that even though I’m a descendant of slaves (third generation out of slavery) and although I’m usually completely invested in the study and history of all slaves no matter what nations/peoples, it’s kind of hard not to root for the chunos when they take off to that rousing music. But in my defense, the show is geared that way – I mean, after all it is called “Slave Hunters” not “Slaves”. _(ツ)_/¯ 

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Ha! I find myself rooting for both the slaves and the slave hunters (I know it makes no sense) I was also amused when Daegil didn’t want to accept that Song Tae Ha is a great fighter and could’ve beaten him. Its the vulnerability and humanity that makes him more interesting as a character. I think, since Daegil was such a sheltered young master, he is still insecure and has to exaggerate his bravado and machismo to feel strong and protect himself. Like I said before, it is my impression that in comparison to Song Tae Ha whose background is spelled out and shown to us via flashbacks, we haven’t gotten to “see” Daegil’s journey and transformation (sort of degradation) into what he is today, so much of who he was seems lost and gone forever (at this stage) and Im sure this didn’t happen overnight. It might’ve started on that fateful night but a soft hearted idealist boy does not turn into this wild beast overnight. Everything about Daegil we have to infer and it does help that JH is a very expressive actor who likes to think beyond what is written, but I want to “see” more.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@DF – Dang! Your comment about Dae gil’s journey/transformation has me with tears in my eyes. (Excuse me while I talk to myself it’s not that deep, girl. It’s just a tv show 😥)

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Dae Gil has to be macho. He lives in a tough world, makes a living doing a tough, often violent job, in which his competition is literally cut throat, in which swag means he and the two guys he leads, a very small gang if you think of it, can survive, and maybe make a living; thus, he gets called by people who pay to get the contract, and by reputation puts the fear of God into those he is chasing. There may be personal reasons he behaves thus, but the facts of his life demand it. If he is not the baddest man around, he could find himself dead in the street. Here is a case of taking a character on his own terms without having to read too much into it.

Yes there is a backstory, but it has been spelled out: his family estate had been attacked by the Chinese invaders and only saved by the Korean resistance to the invasion. He had been in love with a slave whom his father had punished for that reason, and whose brother cut his face, burned down his family compound, and escaped with his sister, Dae Gil’s paramour in tow. Dae Gil lost everything for her, and the slave hunting gig allows him to both work out his family past and keeps him on the look out for his cosmic lover who in old Joseon romance style he continues to carry a torch for, struck by lightning and so on. Ji Ho tells the story early on, and what more is there to tell? How did the coward who hid under the house when the Chinese attacked become a legendary bad ass? Ji Ho, who adopted him and brought him up in the business, is a bad bad man. no other gangster on the street in his category.

Tae Ha’s story drives the plot in the epic sense, and so we need a whole bunch of info to understand what it is about, but Dae Gil’s longing for Eun Nyon, pretty simple, drives it on a personal level. Struck by lightning, burning up the Analects page by page to heat stones for the slave girl he cannot forget.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

That’s just it, to me Daegil is much more than an obsessed lovestruck dude (or maybe Im just imagining because JH’s eyes suggest a more complex character) He suffered a transformation in personality over the 10 years (which I don’t see or “believe” in Unnyun or TaeHa) Aha his backstory or at least the first chapter of his descent into “that hellish world” as he often called it, has been “told” mostly, but it doesn’t explain (to me) how he went from A to B. I assume he went through great hardships while learning to survive with Ji Ho but we have not seen that. What Im saying is that, per what the drama writers or director chose to write and show, TaeHa is easier to “understand” and relate to (during these first episodes) Daegil is cynical, despondent, shows humanity sporadically but we don’t “know” him as well as TaeHa (yet) Well, that was my take when I first watched and now Im going through a similar impression as I rewatch without skipping.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Well for me it simply boils down to going from nobility to street thug to survive, what an eye opener, which explains for me the contradictions in his soul, and cherchez la femme that dynamizes everything. I can remember carrying a torch. And also, Dae Gil (and Jang Hyuk) is just born with an emotional capacity.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

I just would’ve liked to know or see in a flashback at least one scene of the educated and not so “macho” young master dealing with Ji Ho, etc. The “making” of slave hunter Daegil btw was an idea that floated around when this series ended. There was talk of a prequel but it never materialized. So I suppose there was curiosity about it. I personally am still curious about all of that. Who saved him from the fire? Did anybody ever try to help him in general? He lost his house, was that the one thing his parents possessed? Was there no other family? What was his actual relationship with his parents? Were they always aweful with Unnyun and the brother? We see him interacting with his father (in a negative way only) never with the mother. The only glimpse of Daegil’s past worldview (which apparently radically changed) is through those flashbacks with Unnyun and that is an incomplete picture. I’m not sure if Im explaining myself but what Im trying to say is that yes, we all know what happened to him but we don’t really know how, if and when exactly he turned into a younger version of Ji Ho. Now, this is not what Chuno is about (which is why I find it interesting when people assume this drama is the story of Daegil. I beg to differ. His personal journey is not the center of this drama and it wasn’t even as fleshed out as other character’s ) All Im saying is that I am curious about it.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Yes, there could have been a whole episode of when Dae Gil met Ji Ho, a missed opportunity for a special right after Chuno was originally aired. Both actors are bit too old for it now unfortunately, and let’s face it, both are irreplaceable. It would have been neat too, for the two actors to talk about how they went about their interaction in the telling. I, for one, at least, would not like to see anyone else play either of their parts.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

I can think of younger actors playing them and I’d still love to see it because I like the characters a lot. Jang Hyuk and Sung Dong Il could do Voice Overs and narrate parts of it and still be present. But I guess the best I can hope for is a good fan fiction.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@Drama Fan – who would you cast?

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

You got me there! I have no idea lol

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, I just had this crazy idea that Jang Hyuk himself would make a great Cheon Ji Ho! As for young Daegil, I am not so sure. Woo Do Hwan is not very tall, and can give pretty convincing murderous stares, so maybe? He is a great Chuno fan, by the way.
This is strictly fantasy casting territory.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – hmmmmm. The more I think about your fantasy cast, the more I like it. Jang Hyuk as Ji ho – excellent! Do Hwan. I really like him, and I can’t think of anyone better who could play young Jang Hyuk/Dae gil yet it still doesn’t feel quite right. And that made me stop and realize that nobody resembles Jang Hyuk physically nor presence-wise. As much as I hated Greasy Melo/Wok of Love, I really enjoyed Jang Hyuk personifying a young Al Pacino. Of course, Pacino doesn’t have that “thing” (whatever it is that Hyuky has) but it just felt right.

Although I do think Do Hwan has almost enough intensity and acting chops to bring to Dae gil. Just thinking about how much I’ve grown to like Do Hwan is making me think that I might like that Tempter show better now. Maybe I’ll take another look at a few of those episodes again.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Song Joong Ki–he has the swag, the good humor, the physical ability, and it would be good for him to take on dialing up his range to include JH’s moody intensity.
This might surprise some, but Byun Yo Han might be the very best at going from noble wuss to bad ass as among those I am mentioning he has a great quality for growth in character, and he has proven in Six Flying Dragons he can fight.
He might be a bit old, but Jo Jun Suk, who while he might be light on humor, can generate both the menace and intensity (see Nokdu Flower).
And finally, if one wanted to recast Dae Gil as a bit more cerebral and internally complicated, Yoo Ah In. He certainly could bring the moody to the table along with probably doing a bang up job conveying how Dae Gil split from Ji Ho.
I think Jang Hyuk’s Dae Gil is irreplaceable, and I am not so sure even Jang Hyuk has the chops for Ji Ho’s pathetic side, so if it were done, it would have to be done willing to allow the actors to bring what they bring. The ones I have mentioned are all good enough actors and handsome enough to take on Dae Gil, just not Jang Hyuk’s Dae Gil, which I think would be silly to attempt.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – your last sentence is dead on the money! But if we had to choose of the actors you’ve listed – I would be okay with all of them except Song Joong ki. And I ❤ him, and he did carry that charismatic swagger in DOTS, but he’s no Dae gil. Using his character in DOTS as a reference since that’s the most macho we’ve ever seen him – even his humor is a different kind of humor. SJK’s DOTS’ toughness represents civilization in that the military is about protecting its citizens. In contrast, Dae gil is an animal. rawrrrrrr

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I get what you mean about Song Joon Ki, but among the actors I mentioned, he has the physical beauty, the confidence, the physicality, and while it is true his humor is a bit more cheeky, a real sense of humor. I do not think anyone has given him a role to try on that would require that darkness within, and so it would be a stretch, and remember this would be the young Dae Gil, so the fact that he is lighter weight might suit the role.
I just do not think there is anyone there that can be Jang Hyuk and it would be a bit foolish to try to replicate everything. So I was thinking of actors who each had some qualities enabling them to play young Dae Gil as he goes from orphaned noble to serious trouble.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – SJK is probably heavier than Jang Hyuk physically. 😆 Whenever I use the term “weighty”, I mean in terms of bringing gravitas to a role.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@ beez: just struck me, and I have a feeling you will like this–young Dae Gil played by Yoo Yeon Seok! Do I even have to elaborate why?

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Bad Boys Forever! ❤
😆

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I wished to reply directly to Snow Flower suggestion but, I suppose there is a limit on WordPress, and this topic already has too many replies (it seems). Anyway I actually was entertaining the idea of Jang Hyuk as Cheon Ji Ho. Not only do I think he has the chops to pull a younger version of the character but I also see a similarity between Slave Hunter Daegil and Cheon Ji Ho. Its obvious Ji Ho was his mentor and Daegil learn his “scary tactics” from Ji Ho. They both are cunning, have a weird sarcastic laugh, like (and need) to present themselves as scary, they are both kind of gross lol. I don’t know if it was done on purpose but both being such good meticulous actors I get the feeling it was done deliberately. So, Jang Hyuk as Ji Ho is actually more than perfect (imo). It would also be a good move, marketing wise to sort of have the blessing of a former cast member. Now, the idea of Woo Do Hwan as young Daegil would be lovely! It is true that he was a fan of Chuno and of Jang Hyuk in particular, and became an actor inspired by that show. He has the intensity required (I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think of him, he is my favorite among the younger actors) Song Joon Ki may be an interesting choice, but I kinda was thinking of a much younger version of Daegil. Yoo Yeon Seok would be my second choice (I did love his Dong Mae but I see a similarity that can get confusing in my head) and Byun Yo Han, certainly an excellent choice too. All of these actors have the necessary chops. Yoo Ah Inn is the only one I don’t see in the role, he is always too “Yoo Ah Inn” for me. However, more importantly than “chops” in this case, I would like someone who already loves the character and contrary to BE’s opinion, I would want someone to try to channel JHs interpretation of Daegil, because it would be like honoring the character who I love. So in my head, I will imagine Woo Do Hwan. As a fan of the drama, he would give it his 300%.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

At Drama Fan – even if a thread has seemed to run out, you can always reply to someone through the email notification (assuming you’ve selected that setting)

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I have no idea what Im doing Beez. When Im in the wordpress app I can see all these replies and answer but on desktop I kinda just hit reply where it lets me (still trying to figure it out)

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@DramaFan – I know nothing about WP either except this – if you’re not logged in, a box will appear underneath your comment and your email address that says “receive an email notification to replies” or you can go to your settings and select to be notified of any new comments from any of kfangurl’s “threads” that you’ve commented in.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I did not care for Woo Do Wan in My Country and the thought of him playing opposite Jang Hyuk as Ji Ho provides me very little confidence especially in the repartee department. Maybe it exists elsewhere but I cannot imagine him having any sense of humor.
Now a somewhat unconventional choice if we are thinking of someone younger, perhaps Jang Ki Yong, who played the young loan shark who bullied Lee Ji An in My Mister, and is currently going to lead in a rom com in which he plays a character named…wait for it…Jang Hyuk.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE -I’m a little confused by your answers. One comment says you’d love Dae gil to be played by Woo Dowan, the other says no way. Which is it Drama Fan? You got me reelin’ 😝 (Maybe you typed the wrong name in one of the posts? Or maybe I misunderstood?)

As to Jang Ki Yong… I don’t know. I’ve only seen him in Kill It and that show where he fell in love with the daughter of one of his psycho father’s victim. Oh, and in My Mister. I don’t feel “warrior” from him. That’s the thing I feel from Jang Hyuk whether he’s wearing tatters in the streets or a three-piece suit in the boardroom.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Replying to @BE Awwww no Woo Do Hwan for you? But but but, I thought he was great in My Country and loved his scenes with Lee Bang Won, so much intensity! I haven’t seen him in anything else tbh but just knowing he loved Chuno makes me root for him somehow (as a fellow fan I guess?) Also I heard he did a good “dual” role in The King Eternal Monarch BUT, ok, let’s consider Jang Ki Young, you know what? not bad! I can get on board with that. I have only seen him in My Mister but I can see it yeah. I’ll let him audtion for the part (look at us talking like we are the actual casting managers LOL) Gosh, all this talk has actually make me really WANT a Chuno prequel. Maybe even in the form of a movie!

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@DF – I’m sorry. I see that I got one of your posts about Woo Do wan mixed up with BE’s. Sorry!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Drama fan–well different strokes as they used to say back in my day.
I did not believe in the leads’ story whatsoever in My Country, just could not buy into it, and thus it bored me. I was there to watch Jang Hyuk flip open his fan,and shoot his arrows. And the back and forth between Jang Hyuk’s character Bang Won and his father Seong Gyi, where the conflict made real sense to me.
But I like stuff other people do not, so I do not want to rain on your parade. It is just this, I have seen Jang Hyuk and Woo Do Wan side by side, and while the former was unforgettable the latter could have been almost any young good looking lead sageuk villain or semi lead that I have seen. But above all I just found Woo Do Wan humorless and Dae Gil knows how to be really funny and everything from dry to menacing while doing so.
In a remake of Chuno, I could see Woo Do Wan cast as Commander Hwang.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, I knew what you meant by weight and agree with you. SDK plays two characters in Arthdal Chronicles, one is good guy, heroic, the other slimeball schemer. As the hero, he is very athletic, and a solitary hero,but his personality more of a chaste Wang Son. Still, I believe he can be an excellent actor; it is that no one will cast him, maybe because of his baby face, as someone darker and weightier. Rooting for him,I would hope someone would cast him as such, though he may have to wait till he is in his forties to get such roles.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Yes. Although Arthdal was jussssst starting to let us see that dark side of SJK’s “civilized” twin. The untimely inappropriate smirks. He was just starting to be interesting towards the end.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@BE Oh my! you are too good at the imaginary casting thing! Now I can’t unsee Woo Do Hwan as Commander Hwang! And it would be so interesting to see that “friendship” gone sour between Song Taeha and Commander Hwang. And now we need to cast Song Taeha (who I wasn’t even thinking about for this prequel lol) And btw, I totally agree about My Country, I got bored with the leads but I attributed to the writing mostly, OTOH, everything about the “historical background” with Lee Bang Won and Yi Seung Gye was AMAZING, still, I felt the “kid” Woo Do Hwan had potential but , now, I do see him more as a Commander Hwang than a Daegil.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

For young Tae Ha, the first person who comes to mind, though he might not be large enough, and in Tae Ha’s case size really does matter, would be Joo Ji Joon, who plays the lead in Kingdom. Good looking, virtuous, not a whole lot of personality, but admirable nonetheless, and high battle skill potential.
But like you, I am open to suggestions from anyone else.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Well, I have been really taken with Lee Jae Wook recently, and can’t help but imagine him as a long haired tragic swordsman in a sageuk. Now that the topic of fantasy Chuno prequel has come up, Lee Jae Wook must be a part of it! Maybe young Tae Ha? He is too tall for young Daegil, although he is quite good at projecting vulnerability. But he can be menacing too, just watch his scenes in Memories of the Alhambra.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

See and this is just one more reason show runners ought to be hip to Kfangirl! I have a whole movie I pitched her in an email with Han Seok Kyu and Kim Hee Ae, a natural and a winner. Give her a big finder’s fee.

Just sayin’!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I always come back to this being theatrical with many realistic touches that allow for suspension of disbelief. I wonder if the young woman playing the younger jumo has played in other dramas and comedies. I find her whole naive, ditzy and obtuse routine just terrific, a classic comedic performance, the hiked up skirt, the fanning, a wonderfully and intelligently portrayed minor character.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

Oh, the dynamic between the jumos is priceless! The actresses are so good in portraying their characters’ distinct personalities. The younger one is definitely not the brightest bulb on the chandelier, but her earnestness is touching and funny. The older one is constantly trying to sabotage the younger one, but her tricks do not work!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@ beez Oh I could see you slipping hard boiled eggs into Dae Gil’s congee, and batting your eyelids as he discovers it.

The chuno are not slave masters. But poor street ronin, so to speak, who are of the outlawed lower class. While they are mercenaries, and certainly in westerns, bounty hunters are never depicted as anything other than villains, K drama tends to view their role in the slave reality from the perspective that they are part of the exploited system, a step up from slavery, but totally doomed to live a life of violence and danger. One of the things I love about K drama is, while Machavellian ministers are generally depicted as pure evil, there is a tendency to view characters such as Dae Gil as a mixed bag. He is our hero, and the group is thrilling to watch in action, but we are also not spared from seeing the horrific upshot of the captured slaves. The slave story is actually a much slower burn, but it will expand and really is the main tertiary subplot after Tae Ha’s odyssey and Dae Gil’s romance.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Not at all. I’d go for the tsundre tactic. Dae gil wouldn’t fall for ye olde boiled egg trick. We saw how he repaid the kindness of the Horse Vet who wrapped his poor hard head after being shot. Which was really foolish in my opinion. You and your friends are is a dangerous profession where you’re constantly getting stabbed and/or injured but you stiff the “doctor” on his bill? tsk tsk

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Like the first woman of my youth who had a dog named, “Hey You” who was madly in love with her. She would shout, “Hey You!” and the dog would turn to face her; then she’d say,”come here, come here, come here.” The dog, I swear would get a big grin on its face, and would run full tilt toward her. And just as the dog to jump on her, the young woman would yell, “Go away, go away, go away.” The dog would stop in its tracks and run off in the other direction, until…”Come here, come here, come here.” They could really run out the string on it. As I understand it, tsudere, makes use of a similar strategy, but rather starts off with the go away part. Have I got it right, you sneaky beez? Maybe surprise him with your Tae Kwon Do, trick him to get physical with you and then turn on him with your eyes, eh? Mere mortal, what chance could he possibly have?

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – not quite right. With a guy that women are falling all over themselves, in his face, trying to get his attention – the trick is to not act interested at all. At. all. You might ask “but what if he never hits on you?” Then he just wouldn’t be the one for me but that has never happened where he didn’t.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Ah, the oldest story, when it gets down to it, among civilized people, in the end it is the woman who makes it happen if it is to happen, often by getting the man to think he is the one pursuing so that he won’t feel frightened off or suffocated. Excellent strategy.

I am, after several disappointments in my youth, not such a believer in fate, but timing, serendipity, in the beginning. Fate–the one for you or me, well after decades then we can speak of fate, not as something preordained but something earned.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – The reason that’s my chosen method also had to do with my old-fashioned attitudes as well. I would never, ever pursue a guy.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez your discussion of Dae Gil’s combo of over confidence and macho brings to mind that the first scene in which we see Dae Gil and Tae Ha together, Dae Gil has been hiding under a house, and Tae Ha saves both Dae Gil and Eon Nyeon from the Qing invaders with a quick super bit of nonchalant swashbuckle. Dae Gil was a coward to begin with, and insecurity is essential for having a chip on one’s shoulder.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I don’t see him as a coward at all! Not At ‘tall! Dae gil was anywhere from 14-17 (I think) and marauders – seasoned warriors/soldiers are raiding, raping and pillaging (I assume). Yes, he fearfully hid under the house – prudently. Had he come out at that moment to run to Eunnyeon when she called out to him, he would’ve most assuredly been killed and Eunnyeon would’ve still faced whatever the maurauders had planned for her. Instead, just as we were discussing about Dong hoon in My Mister,
and what constitutes true courage – despite his fear – when Dae gil thought he saw an opportune moment, he tried to rescue Eunnyeon. Had Tae ha not intervened, he’d be dead.

But I’m surprised that Dae gil has not recognized Tae ha as their rescuer.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, Daegil and Eon Nyeon were probably too scared and overwhelmed to remember their rescuer. And Tae Ha himself did not linger. He was probably making his way to his own house to check on his family.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I don’t know something propelled Dae Gil to follow Tae Ha the first time he saw him. I do not know if he remembers him, but he did look straight at Tae Ha when Tae Ha rescued the two them.

@beez I am not judging Dae Gil, but he was terrified of the Qing, and he was a kind of pretty boy noble. Once the family compound was burned to the ground, he had to get over that initial cowardice, but a man like Dae Gil would certainly be haunted by the memory of having been afraid, that grain of remembrance. He has a chip on his shoulder: he has to be badder than everyone. The kid in his family’s compound, Jang Hyuk did a very good job–physical acting–of showing his fear in those scenes. There has to be a reason, imo, he did so. Of course, we are quibbling over how you would like to think he is being directed and I from a different perspective. That’s cool. That’s the fun of talking about this stuff.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Yes, except, I never said he wasn’t terrified.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, maybe I am wrong, but being terrified when one was young in a testosterone driven world can be haunting for a man. So much of cultural markers for masculinity, especially as a youth about Dae Gil’s age, has to do with courage in danger.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Yes, exactly. Being scared does not mean the same as being a coward, imo. He was young and not a soldier. And he did overcome his fear to try to rescue her. However, I do think Daegil has regrets about how he was in the past, he probably equates being a nice guy, a “dreamer” and having vulnerability as being “weak”. I imagine that having to learn to survive on the streets came with a degree of pain and trauma. And deep down he is still insecure, so part of his exaggerated bravado is rooted on that (it always is)

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@Dramafan @BE – I agree with DramaFan except I don’t necessarily think Dae gil is all that insecure. If he’s insecure at all, it might be in the fact that he thinks Eunnyeon betrayed him but other than that – the man is pure hubris! His self doubt about whether he can beat Tae ha or not in a fight just makes sense because Tae ha is a formidable opponent. I don’t consider that insecure. A fighter can’t ever assume they’ll easily win a fight and after Dae gil got a “taste” of Tae ha, he’d be a fool not to be calculating, evaluating and planning.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

All hubris? Hmmm I beg to differ. But we will surely have more examples to discuss later. To me he is “mostly talk” when he claims he can easily win over Taeha. He sounds like a child or teenager unwilling to admit weakness. But that’s what the slave hunting, MMA fighting and gangsta rapping business is all about right? Showing off and talking smack lol Daegil is certainly not dumb but he does talk a lot of sh$&t and here I draw again a paralell with Ji Ho (again, more examples to come in future eps. Its the little moments. Watch out for them)

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@Drama Fan – it’s not “mostly talk” or “talking smack” (even though, yes, that is what he’s doing😄) if you can back it up.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE- Although I think we both know you’re just trying to poke the bear with calling Dae gil a coward 😉 😉 😉

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

No, not really. That scene in the compound…I hadn’t noticed it the first time, but I was taken by it, and the connection to Dae Gil’s defensiveness at the point in the drama where we are now, the seed of insecurity–which I think is the kind of germ in what we call macho involving a chip on the shoulder–and denial might have arisen from that connection. That scene really impressed me. I am so used to seeing Jang Hyuk project such mastery, but that was so well nuanced, so well played, he put some effort into it. Of course, like I say we are all thinking of how we understand his character, thinking of the directorial cues and acting choices he is making. Fun.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

I actually had not payed attention to how he was shaking and almost crying on previous watches. Rewatching a drama like this is so rewarding and I am so happy for this idea that Kfangurl had to follow a realistic “on air” schedule that allows us time to really process the episodes. Sharing the experience with you all, its a dream come true for me.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago

Since one of the main themes of the show is the class and status difference in Joseon, It is fitting to include this excellent overview:

https://thetalkingcupboard.com/2012/09/03/social-strata-joseon-dynasty/

And speaking of class, I want to highlight two characters, Seol Hwa and Commander Hwang.

Seol Hwa claims to be 17, and I assume this is in Korean age. This probably means that she is 16 in Western age, likely born in 1632. But it is also likely that she does not know herself (being illiterate), so it is possible that she is indeed 17 (born in 1631). Either way, her life has not been easy, and I think that it is the cynical attitude towards love and attachment that helps her deal with her harsh reality. She must have felt really lucky to tag along with the slave hunters. Their life is harsh too, but they do treat her better than the dance troupe leaders.

As for Commander Hwang, I often wondered about his background. The show does not give us much. His mother lives in a very modest house and does not dress in fancy clothes. His father is out of the picture. I assume that the father probably died young, and the mother had to raise Cheol Woong all by herself. I think that Commander Hwang does not belong to the nobility, and probably was mistreated as a child and young man because of that.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – thanks for the helpful link. 👍

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

, if Commander Hwang had been a yangban, there would have been no shortage of yangban maidens willing to marry him. It is still possible that he was born into nobility, but somehow his family fell on hard times and lost their status and fortune. Also, in other dramas I have seen that orphans are not very desirable as in-laws.
And the poor wife. Because of her disability nobody wanted to marry her…😪

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Yes, a noble father marrying a non-noble wife is a possibility too. Sons of concubines or commoners were not allowed to take the civil service exam and obtain a government post, but I think that career in the military or the police was still possible.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

To paraphrase Shakespeare, young Commander Hwang has a lean and hungry look. No spoilers!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I think one element of his background that determines what he becomes is when he witnesses the massacre and capture of Tae Ha, whose ideals lead him into captivity, while Commander Hwang stays literally above the fray and escapes. That whole encounter, which is highlighted from the very beginning, seems to leave a lasting impression on politics and how soldiers if too idealistic become exploited.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, I often wandered why Commander Hwang did not join Song Tae Ha in his suicidal attempt to rescue the Crown Prince. My guess is that he was thinking about his mother. He was aware that the mission would result with him either dying or getting captured, and then his mother would be left with no means of support.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

wondered, not wandered!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I do not know, but I do know we get a glimpse then of his potential for deep scheming in his own self interest.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I wish I knew the correct spellings. Seol Hwa looks so good. Like others, and I do not know if this will be a spoiler for those watching it for the first time, I just think she is the best. I find her so much more endearing than Eun Nyon. A great deal of the cast is very good, and for Jang Hyuk who is so often so much better than the rest of his ensembles that really helps him as an actor. The actors playing General Choi, so stable, so completely composed on screen, and by contrast Wang Son, half as beez says horn toad, but other half big puppy, both so physically adept, Ji Ho, the jumos, all these actors stand up next to Jang Hyuk and help him perform, but none more so than Kim Ha Eun, who threatens but not quite too often upstage Jang Hyuk. Maybe not for the wome viewers, I don’t know, but for me, the “kid” has it. She is my number one rooting interest in the show, the most sympathetic character. From the get go, out chomping the coin from Wang Son’s mouth, I am on her side.

And as an aside. I think the issue of Dae Gil v Tae Ha comes down to this. Oh Ji Ho is a fine physical actor and where he gets to be one his character and his story stands up to Dae Gil and Jang Hyuk. But unfortunately, and we now begin to see that, when Oh Ji Ho/Tae Ha has to talk, well, all of a sudden this long tall drink of water, this athletic phenomenon, becomes tentative and a little awkward. One reason I already appreciated Jang Hyuk more the first time I saw this is because by this point in the story already, Jang Hyuk was able to put in a more complete enactment of his character. But that is me.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Even his physical demeanor all of a sudden becomes somewhat wooden. Think of him swinging that big honking sword, so graceful and masculine. He just shrinks when he has to do the talking part unfortunately. Unfortunately because he is so physically perfect for the role.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

I agree that this drama has a number of scene stealers. SeolHwa is also one of my favorites, along with Chobok, Eopbok, WangSong, General Choi, Ji Ho, etc and more will come who will have their moment to shine in future episodes. I’m team Daegil/Jang Hyuk forever but as he has said more than once, a good actor shines when he gets to perform with other good actors. This cast is a blessing (with very few exceptions for me)

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

It seems to me that Tae Ha as a character felt more like himself on the battlefield or when wielding a weapon. I have no doubt that he loved his wife and child, but probably felt awkward expressing his feelings. He is from a noble family, and could have easily pursued a career in politics, but he chose the military instead, because it suited him better. Asking Eon Nyeon to join him required more bravery than trying to save the Crown Prince from the Qing, and I am not being sarcastic!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Well, considering she dragged the fellow up the mountain to the monastery and still managed to look like that, it is a wonder that he thought she was an actual human being. Even if he weren’t an aw shucks kinda guy, Eon Nyeon might well be Tara come down to earth. I mean if you are in for a dime, you’re in for a dollar.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

A PS Tara is the mother of Buddha, a sky goddess, someone you summon for healing.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – that makes so much sense. It actually made me speculate on if Tae ha is a noble by way of being “half bone” or something based on his way of thinking [spoilers so I can’t say but you know] 😉

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, it is established in the first 2 episodes that Tae Ha was a friend of the Crown Prince, so that definitely means that he is of noble birth.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

But does being a friend necessitate noble birth? I mean it may be designed that way by social mores, but couldn’t they have become friends by nature of their joint experiences – of Tae ha being his Royal Guard (I’m assuming royal guard) and probably in his presence daily, probably rescuing him a few times, and if not, then definitely after being in captivity together they could’ve becomes friends even if Tae ha was not of noble birth at all, don’t you think? (I mean, we know Tae ha is not a slave, I’m just speaking hypothetically.) Even the King, himself, in Tree With Deep Roots was definitely friends with his guard Moo Hyul although they would not have been listed as friends in any annals of history or considered friends by other nobles. Of course all my knowledge comes from tv shows 😄 so feel free to correct me if you have knowledge of how it actually was in that time and culture.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, my impression is that Tae Ha was not the prince’s bodyguard. In a later episode he mentioned that he served as a military commander somewhere else (not at the palace) and was summoned to the Northern border when Joseon was attacked. He must have known the prince from before, maybe from childhood. I will add more of my theories as the next episodes are up for discussion.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – which just goes to show how little I paid attention to Tae ha in the past. I never gave a thought to his life other than that sadly horribly tragic yet beautifully shot scene of how he lost his family. I’m really trying to pay attention to the story and the other characters this time.😊

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

As we are speculating, that is thinking of what the actor should be using as back story and motivation, there is also this: while Eon Nyeon is exceedingly attractive, and probably even more so for a fella in Tae Ha’s lonely circumstance; she is also someone who in his mind has saved his life in the field. He does have a mission, and the most direct way to get there is alone, but understanding her peril, after all he first met her while she is being set upon by two men, has to weigh expedience against a soldier’s loyalty. He may well be already infatuated with her, the naked vulnerability to a healing hand being as compelling as attractiveness, but I do not think it is too far a stretch that he also feels a soldier’s loyalty (along with his own chivalrous code) for her saving him.

@beez: to me, Tae Ha sure seems completely upright in that boat hiding Eon Nyeon from the sight of men he regards as ruffians, a soldier among soldiers probably well versed in the worst that men think of women and behave toward them. I do not know whether one might consider his nobility the issue, cause the nobles we have seen are quite often scum in this regard, IMO Tae Ha is simply personally virtuous; the man has a code driving his behavior. He is not standing up in that boat sword in hand, the least afraid on his own behalf–a bad, bad man in that regard, but he is concerned for her, his mission in the moment to protect her.

This is all about acting and directorial choices. @Snow Flower I find it touching that you sympathize with Tae Ha and the heart it required for him to take Eon Nyeon on, inferring it from Oh Ji Ho’s body and facial language and how he appears in the context of the story. And I think it interesting in responding to it beyond whether we like one character or another, what we each think about the how’s and the why’s.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago