Open Thread: Chuno Episodes 5 & 6

My friends, I just wanted to start this post by saying how happy I am that you guys are enjoying the Open Thread discussions! I haven’t been able to keep up with the plethora of comments, but it’s really exciting to see the breadth and depth you guys are going to, in exploring this show. You guys rock. ❤️

Before we dive into episodes 5 & 6, 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 5

See that smile on Seol Hwa’s face? It’s so full of glee and anticipation; I just love her. 🤩 Once their positions are mutually established – I think that’s what the river-riverbank sparring amounts to – it tickles me that as Tae Ha runs on foot, and as our slave-hunting crew set about tracking him down, that Eonnyeon regularly moans, whimpers and wheezes in the most delicate, breathy, tortured milady fashion, while Seol Hwa is basically grinning widely while grabbing onto Dae Gil for the ride of her life. The contrast speaks volumes, and I have to confess that I prefer Seol Hwa’s lively zest, by far.

You probably already know this, but I still think Dae Gil is fabulously schmexy and badass, and my fangirl heart swoons at his every intent, swaggery move. Part of the appeal is definitely how the swag seems to come so effortlessly and casually to him. I spazz at every opportunity. 😍

It strikes me that both Eonnyeon and Tae Ha are strongly in denial about their slave status, even though it is true that they both have had slave backgrounds, to varying degrees and for different reasons. And Tae Ha would rather lie and tell Eonnyeon that the slave hunters are people on her tail, rather than his. Given that his other actions indicate that he’s very likely fallen in love with Eonnyeon, this feels like quite a callous thing to tell her? Like, sure, let this woman that you think you love, believe that you are both on the run because it’s her fault. 😳

I don’t think Tae Ha means this in a mean-spirited way, but it still sticks out to me like a sore thumb, that his desire to keep his slave identity a secret is so strong that he’d push the blame on her. Also, I feel like both Tae Ha and Eonnyeon come across as quite self-righteous, in this scene. Like, “No, absolutely, certainly not me. I couldn’t possibly.” 🙄 But I’ll rationalize that that’s just how strong the stigma is, around slaves.

As we’d speculated, Left State Councilor really did recruit Commander Hwang as his son-in-law, using his position and power, in order to manipulate him for his own purposes. That scene in the bridal chamber, where Commander Hwang just gazes at his palsy-ridden bride for a long moment, then leaves, is so full of pathos. I feel most sorry for his wife, who can’t help her condition, and is rejected by her new husband, almost on sight. I also feel rather sorry for Commander Hwang, because it appears that he didn’t know about her condition when he agreed to the marriage. Lee Jong Hyuk plays Commander Hwang as pretty impassive, but there seems to be a subtle nuance in his gaze, in this scene. I feel like he’s conflicted, and possibly a mix of disappointed and repulsed.

The scene where we see Commander Hwang’s wife attempt to write a letter to him, to warn him not to go head to head with her father because her father is a scary man, is so painfully poignant. She has so much that she wants to say to her husband – the very husband who distances himself from her – and labors so patiently over the arduous task of writing the letter, even though she makes no headway whatsoever. This speaks volumes about how sincerely she cares for her husband, even though he doesn’t demonstrate the same care for her. I feel for her, so much. 💔

It’s never occurred to me before, but this watch, I wonder at the plausibility of Seol Hwa being able to whip out a haegeum in order to play that beautiful tune for the boys as they rest around the fire. Did she actually have that haegeum hidden in her skirt when she first ran away from the dance troupe? Because she certainly didn’t have it in her hands when she was on the run. And even if she did manage to squirrel one away, why would she take it with her while they were on a slave hunting expedition? 😜 The music is gorgeous, though, so I’m willing to just roll with the logic stretch.

Ah, we get information on how Tae Ha ended up as a slave, from the flashback where we see him being interrogated – well, tortured – over the alleged stealing of military supplies. It’s horrible how they basically torture the officer until he makes a false confession. I know this is something that we see in other period dramas too, but it hits me all over again, how dirty and manipulative the court officials’ supposed “justice” is.

Tae Ha’s strategy of leading the hunters on, and then throwing them off the trail at the last minute, is shrewd. And he would’ve succeeded too, if our smart-as-a-whip Seol Hwa hadn’t alerted Dae Gil to the big clue giving away Tae Ha’s plan: the horses that were still tied to their posts. Wangson may grumble that Seol Hwa’s a bother to have around, but she’s proving to be a lot more observant and helpful than they’d imagined, and I feel vindicated on her behalf. Take that, Orabeoni. 😏

Episode 6

I know I keep mentioning Chuno’s OST in any lists that have to do with best OSTs, but I really am falling for the music all over again, during this watch. The pumping fight anthem, the plaintive sound of the haegeum, the generous soaring strings, the choral voices; I love it all, and the music is doing so much, to elevate my watch. 🥰

I appreciate General Choi and his wisdom. He’s the voice of reason that Dae Gil needs; not that Dae Gil’s actually paying him any heed right now, when General Choi is advising him to get out while there’s still a going to be had, because it’s always a bad idea to get involved if there are court officials in the picture. Wise words, General Choi. But I suppose if Dae Gil had listened, we wouldn’t have much of a story.

I feel like I’ve got a much clearer idea of the details of our story this time around; I don’t know, maybe I’ve gotten better at understanding sageuk worlds, after accumulating many more drama miles under my belt? And maybe I’ve also gained some clarity, now that I have more functioning brain power even when Dae Gil’s burning up my screen? 😜

I don’t know if I was ever clear on it before, but this watch, it finally clicked in my head that Tae Ha was framed by now-Left State Councilor, as part of his plan to unseat the previous Left State Councilor, who had been implicated by the story that they fabricated in order to frame Tae Ha. And the previous Left State Councilor – Tae Ha’s mentor – had taken an early retirement to give his position to now-Left State Councilor, in exchange for Tae Ha’s life.

I know. I can’t believe I’m only realizing this now, 10 years after the drama aired, and 7 whole years after writing a monster review for this show. I plead Dae Gil blinders for my first 2 watches. 😝 Better late than never, I guess? Anyway, I love the detail, that our studious slave hunters find out all this important information, by reading about it. 🤓

I also love the little detail, that Seol Hwa sleeps so deeply that she’s basically dead to the world, but a casual promise of food gets her up and going, right away. Ha. Girl’s got her priorities.

I find that I’m also a lot more proactive about looking for layers in Lee Jong Hyuk’s delivery of Commander Hwang. It doesn’t seem like his heart is really in his turnaround; I feel like he’s agreeing to his father-in-law’s request, because he has no other choice, if he doesn’t want to stay in jail and worry his mother. The way he tells his wife that he can’t understand a word that she’s written, nor a word that she’s said, feels fatalistic and resigned. It’s almost like he can’t muster up frustration, even. (Again, Ha Si Eun communicates her character’s struggle so poignantly. Her subsequent frustration at her father is also very eloquently portrayed.)

What grabs my attention the most this episode, with Commander Hwang, is how his expression shifts, when he goes to look in on his mother, before departing on the mission given by his father-in-law. When he first catches sight of his mother, his expression softens just a little, and it’s possibly the warmest, kindest expression I’ve seen from him yet. And then, it’s as if he remembers his dishonorable mission, and his expression darkens again. I’m impressed because there’s very little movement in terms of his micro-expressions, but the overall impact is very significant.

Ahaha. I can’t help but roll my eyes at Eonnyeon. She’s told Tae Ha so many times that she’ll go her own way and won’t trouble him, but the moment he actually gives her some time on her own, by splitting up with her to avoid suspicion, she blows it by being super conspicuous. And when she’s cornered, she seems to completely forget Tae Ha’ instructions to act insane. Eonnyeon wouldn’t survive a day on her own, for real. It’s probably why writer-nim assigned Tae Ha to accompany her. It’s to keep her alive. Ha.

Also, how about that art class moment, when Lady Ninja splatters blood artistically on Eonnyeon’s hanbok by way of lethal hairpin to her various victims’ main arteries (the geyser-like sprays of blood made me laugh, not gonna lie), and Tae Ha uses charcoal to turn that artfully-splattered blood into a bespoke hanbok with strategically placed blossoms, right there in the back alley. 😃 It’s ridiculous, but again, it’s one of those Eonnyeon things. You just gotta roll with it. She’s art, and therefore, she should also get to wear art, yes?

It sucks for Tae Ha that his mentor gets killed, but I really do love the three-way duel that we get as a result. It’s a glorious dance of a fight, complete with slo-mo bits to highlight the beauty of the movements, peppered with circular panning shots, and scored by our stirring fight anthem which then breaks into soaring strings. Augh. It’s a feast for the senses.

Too bad it’s cut short by Tae Ha running off to Eonnyeon’s rescue, with Dae Gil hot on his heels. I wouldn’t have minded more of this three-way battle, but the three-way chase we get, with Eonnyeon, Tae Ha and Dae Gil, all poised to collide on the small village street, while scored by the same sublime music, is almost as epic, with the camera (or would that be me?) favoring Dae Gil – he looks absolutely magnificent as he races intently in slo-mo. 🤩

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seankfletcher
10 months ago

All I can say kfangurl is you were quite distracted in the past re your previous watching 🤣 And, I continued to enjoy the story through eps 5 & 6. Fabulous comments by all and an appreciation of Chuno that is outstanding. A pleasure to be a part of.

BE
BE
10 months ago

Final comment before weekend 1st watch of next two episodes. The scene in episode 6 of the three men and one woman lead cast riding in on horseback to a homestead out in the wayback really calls to mind, once again, the allusion to American westerns. I must have seen several such scenes back in the fifties, even if I cannot recall them specifically. And this includes the band of protagonists on horseback with one woman among them. Then the use of the scene to tangentially make the comment concerning how easily unsophisticated people are prey to intimidation by agents of the law, while simultaneously having a blind faith in their authority seems both familiar to the American western genre and to a universal cynicism of our contemporary world. God knows given the history of Korea, an attitude that would likely strike an almost universal chord.

reaper525
reaper525
10 months ago

The more I read all these comments (and by doing so getting the gist of the story) the more I am happy that I didn’t join the watch party 😂

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  reaper525

The story is really only the pie plate, the acting, direction, writing, the ensemble interactions, and the cinematography are the real apple a la mode.

agent155
10 months ago

For me, the highlight of episodes 5 and 6 were the action scenes, firstly the three sided duel among Daegil, Hwang and Tae ha. This is a homage to the last of the Sergio Leone westerns with Clint Eastwood, The Good, the Bad and The Ugly where the hero squares off against the villain and the third character, the honest rogue played by Eli Wallach. That scene was iconic and provided the dramatic and suspenseful climax to Leone’s film while Chuno’s three sided duel does not have the same drama and importance, occurring early in the show, but the combat with swords is almost balletic at times, the moves are like a symphony played with precision and perfect timing. I was wondering how it would end and it does with Eon Yeon’s desperate whistle for help and Tae ha, now definitely in love with Eon Yeon, rushing to her aid, leaving the field of combat.

Secondly, the female assassin is possible the baddest character, she dresses flashily, fights with style and lethal ruthlessness and is attractive to boot. Her dispatching of the mountain bandits is swift, cool and inevitable. The female characters in Chuno (the assassin, Seol Hwa, theJumos and the female slave, and even Hwang’s wife) are all resourceful and capable except for Eon Yeon who if I remember correctly, KFG commented the director wanted to portray her as an idealized vision, a work of art. I guess he may have felt this was necessary to justify Daegil’s lasting passion and Tae Ha’s quick developing romantic feelings. And while he does succeed in creating this pristine vision of beauty (she’s jaw-droppingly attractive in her white hanbok with Tae Ha’s design), she’s just not that interesting a character but I guess that’s the way it was meant to be.

A quick comment on the Ji Ho character supporting BE’s comments. Ji Ho is so entertaining, he’s a slave hunter who hasn’t fought (as yet), leaving that to his crew, his personal hygiene habits are gross (maybe standard for the times) but so matter of fact, his discolored teeth a turn-off but his cunning eyes and careful speech suggest a sharp brain and the reason why he’s the boss of his scruffy crew. He’s more of a strategic thinker who is the boss because of his mind. Dae Gil is the man of action but with book and street smarts, the ultimate combination (he figures out how to track Tae Ha) but there’s an air of recklessness about him, which I suspect make him attractive to many members of the audience.

The protagonists in this show do their parts well but the secondary cast of characters elevate the whole experience.

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
10 months ago
Reply to  agent155

Think I’ve logged in 😊 First off, thank you Kfangirl for the genius that is your website and for now devoting whole posts to the exceptional Chuno! God, I only watched this show earlier this year but feel like it’s been in my soul for always. 😍
Second, agree so much with you about Seol-Hwa. She is us in her Daegil infatuation, racing after him – unlike Eonyeon who seems to always keep just out of his reach like a heavenly being rather than Seol-Hwa’s earthy creature. It makes Seol-Hwa that much easier to love and Eonyeon more alienating. On that, I reckon Eonyeon must be iron deficient 😏 Medical fact…
Love Ji Ho (and the actor who plays him).
As for Commander Hwang… I’m glad his subtle shifts in emotion are more evident this watch. His role is really significant and, yes, under played by Lee Jong-hyuk but I didn’t mind that. I think he’s like a blank canvas that has little yet to express, or rather, all his emotions are bound up so tightly, he’s unable to articulate even to himself how he feels about what he’s being made to do and who he’s been told to marry. It’s telling the only clues we get to his humanity are when he’s outside his mother’s watching her. His attachment to her is perhaps the one clear thing he’s sure of. He otherwise appears to lack sentiment to the point of seeming cruel, especially to his wife – herself locked in and unable to express feelings. This is like the total opposite of our love-driven hero, who exudes emotion at every turn. I feel Hwang is that opposing force. What is someone’s life like when fuelled by emotion and an overly romanticized idea of love (Daegil) and what’s it like for someone who rarely reveals any emotion and a more realistic notion of love (Hwang). No spoilers, but it’s worth remembering the ending…
What a long-winded waffle, sorry! I won’t even start on Daegil… 😳

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

I find Hwang to be the most troublesome character to wrap my head around in this story, but he provides such an important foil to the two main characters, embodied by that sword scene in Tae Ha’s mentor’s yard–Dae Gil’s scrappiness and swag; Tae Ha’s sheer physical dominance, and Hwang’s cold and steely passion.

agent155
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE,@Ele Nash: What I find interesting is that the three main male leads are all flawed in some way, like in real life, motivations are complex. Hwang’s flaws are obvious, he’s sold his soul and body to the Left State Councilor for status and wealth in society but how much of this is for his mother, to ensure she has a comfortable life. They are clearly not nobility, she lives in a modest house. His relationship with his wife seems more complex, he married her knowing her condition but the marriage was a prerequisite for his current position and his unwillingness to spend any time with her does not seem to spring from contempt or hate though it’s difficult to read his feelings. I would have thought it would have been easy to express hate or contempt but he does neither. He seems the classic character who ends up doing bad things but is not evil himself, unlike his father in law, the Left State Councilor, who is a caricature of treachery, unscrupulousness, deviousness and power greed. As Lord Acton said, Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Dae-gil is in a hateful profession and he’s very good at it, he has the smarts and skills to apprentice under Ji Ho and then to surpass him. But he has a decent heart hidden beneath the layers of bravado and cynicism. Considering his parents died at the hands of a slave and he lost his house and wealth and position at the same time, it’s not a huge surprise he’s a slave hunter. It’s also a profession that allows him to continue searching for Eun Yeon, his ideal woman. However, as a slave hunter, he has done despicable things, returning slaves who are then branded on their faces. But it’s a living and he needs to earn one, even if it involves cheating his partners along the way.

Tae-ha may turn out to be the most stereotypical of the three. He’s a noble warrior, skilled in the art of war and prepared to die on the field of battle, placing his duty above his family. Is that always a praiseworthy trait? He launches a suicidal attack on the Ming (or is it Qing?) force returning to China with the prince as hostage; that was never going to accomplish anything. He is ill suited to play the political games required to survive and maybe that reflects well on him. However, it doesn’t seem he can really protect the surviving son of the Prince without lots of assistance since that will require much more than fighting skills. Can Tae-ha develop these skills?

These characters are so interesting it’s difficult to wait to see how their development unfolds but I’m being patient. I’m having some uneasy thoughts about Dae-gil’s future with Eon Nyeon, no clues please!.

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
10 months ago
Reply to  agent155

They’re all chasing dreams. I guess the characters that appeal most are the characters whose dreams seem the most clear / identifiable / authentic. Because Daegil’s dream of Eonyeon is crystal clear and true to his character, you can’t help but be on his side. Commander Hwang’s murkier wants are less defined, for sure. As for Tae-ha, his dream to go back to noble roots and forget his wretched time as a slave as if it never happened is understandable but I don’t think it makes him a very sympathetic character. Overall, the characters chasing honest-felt hopes and dreams, are the ones I love the most. 😊

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Tae Ha e has been tasked (letter he recieved) to save the infant prince’s life against would be assassins.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  agent155

, this is so well stated!

I have been paying particular attention to Commander Hwang on this rewatch. A couple of months ago I had an idea about a short story set in the Chuno universe, and I imagined Lady Lee catching a glimpse of Commander Hwang and falling in love with him, long time before their wedding. So I am still not sure if I should write an actual story or compose a piano piece, but I hope that the rewatch will prove inspiring…

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Compose the music. It would be nice if you were familiar with haegeum and geomungo tunings as both instruments might be evocotive of Lady Lee’s passionate but inarticulatatable longings to accompany the piano’s fuller bodied articulation of the beauty in her feeling.

PS I have started watching it is okay to not be okay, which unlike most fantasy shows, I am finding quite interesting and emotionally engaging. When I am done I will go back to your music, looking very much forward to it.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, my reservations about composing Chuno-inspired music stem from the fact that Chuno is a historical drama, and the solo piano sound does not fit readily into the Chuno universe. I have no haegeum or geomungo at my disposal, plus I have no idea how to play them anyway. On the other hand, unrequited love is something that transcends time and place, so I can imagine a versatile and universal instrument like the piano providing the right sound for the emotion. Now I have to come up with a cool title..

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I wish you well. I wish you a piercing title, and to accompahy it as well, someone who could do a brush and ink representation of Lady Lee seated in the rictus of her frustrated expression, also depicting the incredible Ha Chi Eun’s incredible facial beauty thus compromised by it.

Although I must say the OST for Chuno provides enough anachronism, and I do think a light and humorous theme for the two jumos would lend itself to piano, the one thing about Lady Lee for me, though goodness knows what she sees in Hwang (from a male perspective, the guy is a sleaze, a coward and a bully, a punk–I knew a bunch of these kinds of guys when I was young–you stayed away from them and held them in disdain), unless it is the pathos of his tragic heart and the foreknowledge that he needs her council articulated, to help set him on a less tragic path, not to mention his need for love to soothe his fevered ambition. But for me this is more than unrequited love; it is the abject horror, frustration, and heart rending impossibility to articulate that in any way either through speech or anything more than the most awkward and embarrassing physical embraces that could only serve to repel rather than serve as a balm she so passionately wishes to deliver.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – you’re evoking more tears 😢

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – well, you have a built in audience right here. 👍

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – ooh oooo. That puts a whole other flavor on Gen. Hwang and his wife. If she spotted him and asked Daddy for him… I can’t explain it because it doesn’t actually make me feel any more sympathy for him but… so much pathos toward their entire home life.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I kind of imagine that she would not ask daddy for anything. Daddy treats her as a bargaining chip, so she probably keeps her distance. Maybe she spotted the Commander years before (without him seeing her, of course), but since he was a nobody at the time and flying low on Daddy’s radar, she just admired him from a distance. Daddy picked the Commander later on, when the latter had proven himself to be ambitious and capable, but lacking social standing and connections.

This is all entirely imagined, so it should not be taken as a canon.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – nope, not taking it as canon. Just trying to add a layer of flavor to enjoyment of the show. 👍

And confusing what you said – I do think you’re right that Gen Hwang’s wife probably would not have “asked Daddy for him” now that I think a bit more about it.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

And yes, they do deserve a theme (she does for sure) 😥 I can hear it now even though I can’t make out the notes😢 😭

agent155
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snowflower: Thanks for the kind words. Either a short story or a piano piece would be very welcome, or…. even both if you are ambitious and have lots of time. I like the idea of Lady Lee seeing Commander Hwang from a distance, telling her Dad she likes him and actually initiating the relationship. It makes the Dad a bit more human, trying to satisfy his daughter’s wishes, and knowing that in his world, the best way is to make Hwang beholden and dependent on him. There’s a whole story to be had here.

Chuno has a great score but a piano piece would be interesting, I think. To capture the essence of Dae-gil’s idealized, 10 year unrequited love would be amazing. Maybe Eon Nyeon deserves her own theme of ethereal beauty?

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  agent155

Whatever inspires you to make music.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  agent155

@Geo – I don’t know if it counts but, for me, I consider the “camp fire song” to be Eunnyeon’s song. Not necessarily her personal song but it creates the feeling of longing that, in Chuno’s quieter moments, sums up Dae gil’s journey of searching and searching – but Eunnyeon’s at the core of that journey.

Not that I wouldn’t welcome any piece that Snow Flower feels inspired to compose though.

Akhmatova
10 months ago
Reply to  agent155

What an excellent analysis!

About Commander Hwang, I somewhat have the feel that he is fueled by self-contempt. That he feels traped in his life, that he hates some choices he made in his life and he hates himself for making them. Like some soldiers in war, that hate the situation they are in, that hate war and what war makes them do; but that self-contempt and desesperation only makes them act even more viciously. I don’t know if I make sense (English is not my first language), but I have the impression that, beyond all that impassivity, there’s a lot of despair inside Commander Hwang.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

Spot on, @Akhmatova!

BE
BE
10 months ago

Okay some thoughts:

To begin, Team Jo Ho: Is there any single short line delivered in the whole to date show equal to, after a whole long set oh exaggerated whine-o-rama, “I am…chon Geeohah, Chon GEEOHAH!” And without giving too much away. Please do wait for it.

Seeing these two episodes in pairs, the way one would have originally, I love how each are structured. Episode five is presented in pairing off scenes–(without regard to order) of course the camping out at night scenes; the slave scene next to slave owners talking about how to keep slaves escaping, in that how we see a little more of both Up Bok and Cho Bok, the latter great non verbal, her taking in what she is hearing while at work, the two connected by Up Bok’s gazing away from his discussion to look at her in the previous scene; the jumos with the dirty old men and the police both nearby but presented in consecutive scenes–and so on. And the sixth episode, following the slower paced fifth which provides a lot of exposition while moving the show forward at a pace somewhat like walking a horse, a series of exciting fight scenes culminating in the very long chase scene, interestingly structurally connected to the previous episode by the assassin lady meeting up with the mountain bandits echoing the previous episode’s meeting of Tae Ha & Eon Nyeon with same bunch of dirty old country gangsters. Besides the actual role in the story the assassin has, she provides a kind of rhythmic structure for the story. If Eon Nyeon is impossibly dainty, she is impossibly bad ass–and sorry Dae Gil squeebies, but that woman has every bit the swag and physical attractiveness as our hero, albeit lacking any of his personality or sweet side. I wonder if some of her stunts were wire aided. In any case, she is flashy, and her scenes add to the visceral, and in the case of her quick kick to Wang Son’s poor karma attracting nether parts, even humorous. I love the rhythm of this show watched as a serial, thus, the humor, adventure, thrill ride, back and forth plot unfolding, and so on, and the time to appreciate it.

A quick team General Choi for my dear squeebies–did all of you take notice of the man’s shoulders and biceps from the side view when he bends down to tie his shoes. Just look at the other fellas by contrast. What we call “cut” in this day and age. And I had not remembered how easily the General puts a kibosh on Commander Hwang, spear across the throat reminding the formidable commander with same ease with which he had earlier to Ji Ho, to please keep his fingers out of their cookie jar. If one loves the hyperbole of other characters in this, the purely understated competence of the General never fails to calm the beating heart.

On the ongoing dialogue between Tae Ha and Eon Nyeon regarding their slave status. First of all, Tae Ha’s situation actually does by a considerable margin transcend his temporary slave status. He is in cahoots with his former mentor and former Left State Minister, not to mention compelled to protect the infant prince. As he notes to Eon Nyeon if she gets caught, she will likely be tortured to find out his whereabouts, and he has witnessed and experienced exactly what that torture entails. He cannot afford to get caught; he has a higher calling. But it is also true as we have seen in his talking with those fellow escapee barn slaves, he is hoi palloi, and slaves to him are basically scum. For Eon Nyeon, while she may be a long way out of slavery, if someone were to capture her and see where her old slave tattoo was burned over, she would fall prey to questions that would be seriously horrific for her to answer. Her whole identity is bound up in denying her slave past, because just as Tae Ha is intimate with torture, she is intimate with the life of a slave. I think there is plenty of reason for both to not speak to it with one another, and their distrust in light of each person’s experience not only reasonable, but likely healthy.

Finally, while probably other stuff will come up in everyone else’s takes, I have a question about usages: “too many cooks spoil the broth”; “wenches”; “jeez”; and just for my edification how exactly is the word in Korean for crazy pronounced?

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – In the “other subs” instead of “too many cooks… Eunnyeon says “Many hands make light work”. To which Tae ha responds “Too many hands will drive this boat right up the mountain”. Now what was actually said in Korean, I don’t know. I’m sure it’s a similar colloquism.

But I do know, I’ve got to go back and check out General Choi tying his straw shoes. 😉😆

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

“Many hands make light work” is something my mom always said. I love that saying.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

Ah, Cheon Ji Ho…the tension of his meeting with Commander Hwang was so palpable. The acting and direction of the scene was great.
The Korean word for crazy is “michin”. I am always happy when I recognize a word or two…

@BE, I had to look up the meaning of hoi polloi. Such a cool expression!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

It always sounds to me a bit like bitch, and often is an exclamation a male will make about a femaile in which the b word is also included in the subs. It certainly is a widespread insult. Thanks.

The Ji Ho/Hwang confrontation right on the heels of the policeman’s gift of the dog (as meet) to Ji Ho, which follows hard after what must be the most ironic scene between Tae Ha and Eon Nyeon, in which Tae Ha first strips the skin off a snake and then sticks a skewer with what looks like the tail end of the snake on it right in Eon Nyeon’s face, at which she balks backward. I do not know if those juxtapositions were meant to be comedic, as out of character if taken thus as one can imagine, but it made me laugh.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

As meat. I really do try to catch these.

Akhmatova
10 months ago

Hi!
First time commenting here. I’m here somewhat invited by Drama fan. It’s my second rewatch of Chuno, and – as I said to her – my goal in this rewatch is to warm to the character of Un-nyun (that I disliked a lot in my first run of the drama). I’m very interested in the way female characters are depicted in fiction, and I found her character deeply problematic. Well, in fact I found the whole way Chuno handled its female characters deeply problematic.

Because the first time I saw Chuno (and now in the rewatch the feeling is the same) I was fascinated by how blatantly it plays with the old archetypical and sexist dichotomy of “the proper lady/the fallen woman”, Joseon style (that is, “the perfect Confucian noblewoman vs the girl of the floating word”). Un-nyun and Seol-Hwa are like the two sides of femininity, and it’s so unsubtle that it even seems like a parody:

Un-nyun is everything a proper woman should be in a Confucian society (and in every existing sexist society): she is pure and pristine; she is beautiful and delicate, so delicate that she is weak, dependent and submissive; because she’s a proper lady, and proper ladies are soft spoken, meek and especially ethereal, more an ideal and a concept than a real woman (God forbid them to be real women, because their “realness” could be a threat to all that fragile masculinity around them!!).

Seol Hwa, instead, is smart, creative, vital and earthy. She likes to eat, she likes to sleep, she likes to feel Daegil’s abs, she wants to enjoy life. She is a disaster as a “proper woman”: she doesn’t know how to cook, she doesn’t know how to sew. She doesn’t obey orders. She’s not a virgin, so she’s impure and tainted by sex (even if it was against her will). But what I love the most about her character is that she is terribly inquisitive, she never stops talking, asking, speaking her mind. Which is another sign of her not being “a proper woman”. Sexist societies want its women silent. In Confucian Joseon, a husband could divorce his wife only because of her “talking too much”. And she is constantly reminded of that by those around them. Daegil is always reprimanding her because of “that tongue of hers”.

So I’m here rooting for Seol-Hwa, my little, wonderful “improper woman”. I only can hope that the narrative treats her well.

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

Welcome, Akhmatova!

In the first installment of this Chuno watch party, we compared it with Game of Thrones on the issue of when is “misogyny that is historically accurate” acceptable in a modern-release drama?

Compared to the things happening to women on GoT, I think we can agree that Chuno is reasonably tame!

Yet without a strong female lead — Seol Hwa would qualify but is not a primary lead — it’s just not something my wife cares to invest in. So I’m watching solo for the community experience.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  merij1

When my daughters were little till they were about 7 or 8, I would read a chapter from some great children’s book or another before they went to bed. My older daughter just loved stories, no matter the gender of the main characters, and every night she would beg for one more chapter. But my younger daughter would often fall asleep and I did not think it fair to her to go on (I had to start the next night with a synopsis). At a certain point in time, my younger daughter demanded books with female heroes. At the time, the eighties, there were fewer great kids’ novels with female heroes than today, but once I made 80% of my book selections with her in mind, lo and behold, she too at the end of each chapter demanded one more. I kept to the program and demurred.

Seol Hwa and Cho Bok, not to mention Lee Sun Young (Commander Hwang’s wife), and the two Jumos are all enacted quite well in this. And for me, at least, while Jang Hyuk is always wonderful to watch, I find the supporting cast in Chuno one of its greatest charms. The leads propel the story, but the support cast provide a great many of the tastiest bits. And when you think about the much more recent My Country by contrast…where women are all but absent, Chuno is hardly bereft of strong women.

I do recommend Nokdu Flower as Han Ye Ri while playing the third lead after Choi Moo Sung and Jo Jung-Suk is quite wonderful and as a historical drama it quite stands up as the antecedent to Mr. Sunshine.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

Nokdu Flower boasts several strong female characters besides the memorable Song Ja In, played by Han Ye Ri. A highly recommended historical drama!

Akhmatova
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE

What a wonderful anecdote about your daughters! You were such a great parent! And I sympathise a lot with your little girl, since I was a teenager in the early nineties too, and although I just loved stories, I loved them even more if their female characters were great; and – as you said- in those years good female characters were very hard to find, especially in fantasy and science-fiction; my favourite genres when I was younger.

I take note of the Nokdu Flower recommendation. Thanks a lot to you and Snow Flower for it!

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  merij1

– I’m so glad you’re continuing on with us!

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I’m behind on my episodes, but will catch up! I rarely watch TV without my gal, so I have to make an effort to carve out the time.

Akhmatova
10 months ago
Reply to  merij1

Thank you for the welcome, really!!

I haven’t read the first installment of your watching, so I will go and read it asap.

But without reading it, I can only say that, in my opinion, ASOIAF (I’m mostly familiarised with the books, I only watched the first season of the TV show, so I can’t speak about it) and Chuno are not in the same league regarding female characters. The ASOIAF books depict a very misogynistic world, but the narrative behind its female characters is not sexist at all, but quite the opposite.

Chuno is a lot more problematic. As you said, the problem with Chuno is not Un-nyun per se (there are a lot of other wonderful female characters in it to counterbalance her), it’s a character like Un-nyun being the MAIN HEROINE of the story, the character you are supposed to root for; the woman who everybody in the show wants to protect, fall in love with, care about. Because, which message are you giving with that narrative, that you need to be such a “proper lady” (in the worse sense of the world) in order to be loved, respected and cared about as a woman? It’s a very dangerous concept, in my opinion, and it taints a lot my enjoyment of the drama.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

@Akhmatova Thanks for the complement about my parenting, but truth was/is no virtue to it at all; I have the most wonderful daughters, and I just love them. Reading to them was my great joy.

Inre the issue of female leads: all I can say is seeing it again, my feeling about Seol Hwa, seemingly universally concurred with, is that while at first watching I was distinctly under the impression she was a secondary character, now my sense is, in many ways she, while not necessarily central to any of three main plots, was in her own way, the lead female character. There is the whole rest of Chuno, and then there is Seol Hwa.

Akhmatova
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE

OMG!!! I cannot express with words how much I love and agree with your comment! It’s going to make my rewatch of Chuno a lot more enjoyable!!

“There is the whole rest of Chuno, and then there is Seol Hwa” is going to become my motto for Chuno forever and ever 😛

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

Excellent point about the difference between what happens TO women in a work of fiction vs. how the women themselves are portrayed.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

@Akhmatova – let me offer my take on Eunnyeon that if you can adopt it, you might be able to tolerate her character better. I think I read that you said that DramaFan already told you that the Director said that Eunnyeon is Dae gil’s ideal and that is why she’s depicted as unrealistically spotlessly clean. Because of that, in my mind, Eunnyeon is not the main female character. She is Dae gil’s motivation, the reason he gets up in the morning but she is not anything to the audience other than that catalyst because her character is not fully developed. I look at her as if we are seeing her based on the pedestal she’s on that is in Dae gil’s mind. Eunnyeon is everything perfection – never dirty, never aging, everything a 15th Century woman is supposed to be. [Ha!]

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

Hi Akhmatova! Im so happy to see you here! Question, how do the characters of Cheobok and random lady assassin fit in this paradigm

Akhmatova
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Hi!! I’m going to blame you a lot for my sleep deprivation, but I’m so glad you lead me here. I really needed to rant about Chuno, and all the comments and posters here are wonderful and really very insightful. Thank you a lot!!

Well, about your question, although I prefer Seol-Hwa for personal reasons, Chobok is the best and most balanced female character of the show IMO. She’s awesome. The Jumos are great as well, because they are like a parody (in the best sense of the word) of the “lecherous woman” trope that is so common in the misogynistic medieval literature. I find them utterly funny and entertaining.

About the female ninja warrior, I like her but I find her character a little cartoonish at the same time. And regarding gender politics, if you look closer at the character, it’s irrelevant she’s a woman, a man, or a golden fish. She’s only there to look bad-ass and fabulous while doing even more bad-ass and fabulous martial arts movements. Not that I have a problem with it, au contraire!! One of the reasons I love Chuno is all that beautiful people in beautiful robes fighting in even more beautiful scenarios, so she’s welcome every time she’s on the screen 😀

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

As I said, up to this point, as she has no character development whatsoever, I regard the female assassin as a rhythmic component in the story telling, and a kind of foil and contrast for the main characters in the plot by which we can see them in relief.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

Welcome, Akhmatova. So glad you’re here. The more the merrier!

j3ffc
10 months ago

Here are a few of my favorite things from these episodes:

Multiple G-men are killed in town and Song Tae Ha and Eun Nyeon are able to stand around having a conversation in town and nobody cares. Must happen all of the time.
What do our favorite slave hunters hate more than fighting, physical harm, and mayhem? Reading, as it turns out! And I loved the doing research in the library vibe in the middle of all of that action (very Buffy of them)
Song Tae Ha’s artistic skills. I mean, that outfit was fantastic looking.
Pretty much everything SeolHwa does instead of watching the horses, which she seems to be asked to do, a lot.
The pathos all the way around on the Commander Hwang/wife story. I appreciate it when the bad guys get to be human, too.
I totally don’t understand what the rogue woman assassin is all about, but she sure has a stylish fighting style.
Watching along with y’all.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

, the library scene is so good! It seems that using fake inspector badges is a tried and true intimidation tactic for DG&Co. I loved how easily Wangson slipped into his role. (Kim Ji Suk is great in this drama!). Wangson drooling and Seol Hwa napping was so funny! I was also impressed by Daegil’s ability to read between the lines of the government archives. The way he figured out what happened to Tae Ha was pretty impressive. No wonder he gets more jobs than Cheon Ji Ho…

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Rogue assassin woman was hired by Eon Nyeon’s humiliated noble husband to be to knock her off. This also why her brother has sent out personal all decked out in white bodyguard flashy sword guy (name?) and his crew to get to Eon Nyeon first and bring her back.
An aside, with bodyguard as with Our Heroine, the real suspension of disbelief, is not only how they look freshly showered and groomed in every occasion, but how they keep their gear so WHITE! Sleeping out, sleeping on floors, in her case, a barn, hightailing it on dusty roads and mountainous terrain, and so on. I mean Tae Ha and our heroes Dae Gil and his merry band look like folks running around as they are, but then again even Seol Hwa never ceases to look fetchingly spiffiy in her silks.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – That’s so true! I never thought about Seol wa looks almost spotless as well because Eunnyeon in that white dress just stands out so much. We know it’s purposeful (not only because the director told us so) but because usually mourning clothes are not that can’t-look-into-the-sun-bright white. They’re usually the color of natural muslin which is almost beige although in saeguk they call that white.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

And yet Cheobok never ever washed her pretty face, I really would love to understand the director’s choices in this case. Are these random decisions (some characters will be always dirty and some will be spotless no matter what) or is there symbolism behind it?

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

I do keep getting the feel in this that there is some throwback to folk or classical theater wherein actors might be wearing masks, although I have no idea if that is so.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@Drama Fan – well, I think, Chebok is a slaves slave (meaning she’s not Dae gil’s ideal plucked from his memory. And while Seol hwa’s plight isn’t much better, there’s a need for her to appear clean and pretty to attract men to the “show” at night.

j3ffc
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Right! And probably to attract men to this “show” twice a week….;-)

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I don’t know, and I can’t speak for my entire gender, but I imagine the action and the swag is what grabs male viewers in general. There are so many male characters with which to identify, especially for younger men. Which guy does not want to be Dae Gil?

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – 😂😂😂😂 See what happens when I try to be subtle. The “show” I was talking about is the … ahem … the “after show” where Seol hwa and the other female troupers must “perform” on the quilts or in today’s vernacular – between the sheets. So I was referring to the male customers in Chuno being attracted, not the male viewers. 😆

j3ffc
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Just for the record, beez, I knew exactly of what you were speaking and was just riffing on your comment with my own observation 😉

BE – I guess I’m not the stereotypical male viewer in that the action is not so much the draw and, being older, identifying with the young studs is not really in the cards for me. But I suspect you speak truth for much of the male audience.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

: I like both Dae Gil and the General. And I can remember wanting to be like them, and I can remember even on occasion appearing somewhat like them to others, thosugh those occasions were rare. And as you know I get a big kick out of Ji Ho. And pretty he ain’t.
I love Seol Hwa as a character but not for the clothes she wears. And I have a crush on Cho Bok but I am way too old to have a crush on her, so I like rooting for her.
I am an old guy and the really old guys in this get short shrift; Joseon in the Chuno era was no country for old men. But the themes of carrying a torch, idealizing a heart ache in a delusionary and even self destructive way, having a mission in life to in one’s own way keep one’s nation from ruin, liberation from oppression, ah…memories of youth when I had the pep for all those things, and yes having missed out on a couple of Seol Hwa’s because I only had eyes for Eon Nyeon, all to the melody of Seol Hwa’s nostalgic haegum, all those things, but I quite dig Dae Gil and the General, and had a bunch of Wang Son pals I can well remember, guys who could make me laugh even though truth be told they were getting about five times the action I was.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – “Chuno era was no country for old men” – I suspect you’re right as far as slaves and common people go but the old dudes of the nobility were living the life! (Unless, of course, they made a political enemy or got on the king’s bad side for some teeny tiny reason.)

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

@ j3ffc – I knew you caught what I was referring to by your use of the quotation marks too. 😉

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Sorry, I thought you meant Chuno our show. You mean the show within the show.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

😉 and a “nudge-nudge”

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

How to say this…I am going from shreds to threads of dignity by the day. But you do have to admit, most of the time I talk a good line. Nudge-nudge, you whisper while winking, sheesh. The jig is still a dance step I’ll have you know.

j3ffc
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

BE, thanks for the reminders. I’m not all that sharp at keeping things straight in shows, but it’s especially a challenge when things are just getting started and I’m still trying to figure things out. This is also why I’m not a devoted mystery fan!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

& Chuno is a sprawling, labyrinthine epic. I certainly get lost, even in this rewatch wherein I am seeing each episode twice so I can intelligently post stuff.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– in addition, saeguks tend to have a lot Of characters.

j3ffc
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

So I’ve noticed!! Snow Flower’s timeline is perfect for someone like me and I am going to make the most of it….

Trent
10 months ago

Okay, not a long bit of commentary from me on this installment of “This Week in Old Joseon”…I mean, “Chuno,” since the comments already have hit on what I would probably say. Just a couple of things (that yes, others have mentioned):

Eunyeon is…whew. She’s just a bit of a handful, isn’t she? She’s really kind of leaning into that whole damsel in distress archtype. I’ll just say (again) that Lee Da-hae is very very pretty…although I don’t personally find her stunning on the level of say, a Song Hye-kyo or a Jung Ji-hyun, she is very pretty (yes, this is all very eye of the beholder, I know). So I understand her immediate magnetism to the dudes (and ladies who might incline that way, although I assume in old Joseon that was more on the down low?).. but I would like to see more there there, if you know what I mean. I will be watching to see, hopefully, more Eunyeon character development.

Seol-hwa continues to be super fun, and I’ll be honest, at this point in the drama, I’m a lot more invested in she and Dae-gil developing a thing, even though I get that there’s no chance of it happening, given the inexorable logic of the OTP. Yeah, I get there’s an age gap (the actors are about 8 years apart, but the characters probably aren’t much more than that–maybe 10 years or so), but not insurmountable, and I think a romance with her, that was able to grow organically before our eyes while they are together on the screen is a lot more compelling than this tragic lost love that we are given half an episode of flashback at the beginning of the drama to establish the bond between Dae-gil and Eunyeon. That’s where I’m coming from at this point. Change my mind, Show!

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Y’all, we have to remember that Eun nyeon has spent the last 5 years becoming a “proper” young noble agasshi (and that is life or death for her). That means, as it was for most women in ancient times (if they were rich), your heaviest job is to tell servants what to do all day. The second most taxing job is to embroider hankerchiefs. Of course she is winded and unable to walk far. Eun nyeon would have embraced the life of a noble more than any noble in her need to hide the truth.

As for the age difference – I almost don’t want to say it but facts are facts – throughout most ancient cultures (and in American hillbillies up until [don’t know when or if it has stopped] culture) it was common for 30-year old men to marry 13-year old girls. 😟

Anyway, I’m totally okay with Eun nyeon because that’s the role the character (not the actress) must play.

That being said, Seol wa is my girl though! 😄

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Lol! This is a funny but also interesting thought, Daegil the former yangban became the most “savage” of slave hunters, leaving no room for doubt that he is the “baddest badass”. And Unnyun the former slave, became the “ladiest” lady because like you said, she had to really sell it.

lalarocca
lalarocca
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

That was my thought exactly. Interesting juxtaposition.

Trent
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez I actually mostly agree with you, with a couple minor dissents, or at least points for rumination.
I realize that Eunyeon has been cosplaying an apprentice yangban lady for a few years, but it still seems to me like she has still lived the majority of her life as a servant and we might expect a little more resilience and practicality. Although maybe not! Maybe serving as a servant in a gentry household is itself fairly cloistered. Still seems like it might leave her a bit less of a dewy-eyed naif when cast adrift in the world…

And yes, I understand that age differences were and are a fact of life in couple pairings… I’m just giving a nod to the present-day point-of-view, here, which tends to express at least some discomfort with too much age disparity, for what I think are generally reasonable concerns. That said…as I mentioned, my current inclination is all for a torrid Dae-gil/Seol-hwa friends-to-lovers romance, even though I know it won’t happen.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Trent

But do you know what 5 years of sitting and not much else does to a person’s lungs? Not even counting their muscles, but just breathing…

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Unnyun to me is like a Disney “slave” princess. She even looks like one! She is very pretty. And yes, on the SeolHwa – Daegil ship.

Akhmatova
10 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Un-nyun character is problematic in many levels, and its inconsistency is one of them. She’s the perfect embodiment of the ideal Confucian noblewoman, so you never have the feel she was once a slave. Geesh, even in the flashbacks, when she is supposed to be an actual slave, she never felt like one.
My theory is that it symbolises the “nobility of her inner being”, the fact that – even when she was an slave – she had the personality, the qualities and the soul of a noblewoman, that she – quality wise – was always far above her class by birth. That class and nobility is something that goes with your personality, not with your social status. Which is an interesting concept on paper, but it makes her pretty unrealistic and slappable as a character.

But that is the basic problem with Un-nyun, that she is pure concept, so she never feels like a real human being.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

Thank you for this excellent insight, @Akhmatova!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

@Akhmatova–what a wonderful handle. Just saying.

Like everyone here, I find problems in how Eon Nyeon’s character is portrayed, but I have to say in Lee Da Hae’s defense, I found her non verbal acting in concert with Oh Ji Ho’s non verbal acting to be quite good and nuanced. Both seem to lack a lot of verbal verve but the interplay of their physical expressions seems well timed and expressive in ways that their verbal interaction falls flat. Actually, I am finding myself liking both actors more enjoyable to watch this time around than I did first time.

Akhmatova
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

Thank you!

I agree with you. In fact, the only times I like Un-nyun in these first episodes are in those small gestures in which you can see she is slowly opening herself to Song Taeha, that she is starting to warm to him.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

@Akhmatova – I found myself nodding with your thoughtful comment – until you called Eunnyeon “slappable”. Then it became a wide grin. 😄😆

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Akhmatova

I think we could put up with her personality, after all Dae Gil is a kind of odd ball too, even if so in a different way, if she just could show signs of wear and tear in her clothing at least, and on occasion displayed a sense of humor, expanding on the non verbal communication she has with Tae Ha in their mutual circumstance.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – in defense of Eunnyeon – she is on the run so her sense of humor might only be missing while under dire circumstances.

(I didn’t care for Eunneon in my first couple of watches of the show, but I’m going with the “ideal” imagery so I’m sticking up for her… for now and making up things that make the puzzle pieces fit in my mind. 😆)

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I agree, and as I have said I think when expressing the character non verbally, I am liking Lee Da Hae’s enactment. I think there are scenes in which the awkwardness between Tae Ho and her might lead her to express humor from a woman’s perspective. I think this is more a problem in the direction. I, like you, want to like her this time around because she IS the whole story.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – 🤔 I’ll have to give that some thought. I always felt she was the catalyst (for Dae gil) but her character seems lacking in development. (Of course, maybe I’ll change my mind during this watch)

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

To put it this way, Eon Nyeon, from the male point of view identifying with the two male leads, she is THE Object of the story, if not the subject. More than a catalyst, a primary rationale.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Gotcha.

merij1
merij1
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

Catalyst: a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  merij1

– YASS! Great way to describe Eunnyeon.

agent155
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Eun Nyeon seems similar to Helen of Troy who was the “cause” of the Trojan wars but was not really involved in the wars. Helen of Troy was also so beautiful that Homer said was this “the face that launched a thousand ships and topped the topless towers of Illium?”

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, I liked her subtle smile when he got lost but was trying to avoid admitting it…

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Yeah, and I would like more of that. Lee Dae Ha’s facial expressions are her best asset in this, except when they default to timorous damsel in distress mode.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I feel like answering you but but but, spoilers. I’ll wait until later eps. But, what is not a spoiler is that, during these eps, the drama devoted many scenes to the STH-Unnyun relationship so maybe that’s where they wanted the attention to shift (?) And I want to say more but seriously, everything is a potential spoiler so I’ll just shove some boiled eggs in my mouth and shut up

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent, in one of my comments I tried to guess how old the characters in the drama were. Daegil is 29 and Seol Hwa 17. Daegil treats her like an annoying little sister, but she does not seem to be bothered by the age difference. Plus, he is still 17 emotionally…

Trent
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower Yes, I was actually harking back to that comment you made, although I guess I misremembered by a bit your estimate of Daegil’s age (I was thinking around 27). I do recall Seol-hwa telling the guys when she took up with them that she was 17, but this being Seol-hwa, I was also taking that with a bit of a grain of salt. She could be telling the truth, I suppose…

She definitely presents as more mature than her years, and for sure more mature than, say, Wangson at the least (and as you note, probably Daegil).

They do start out with that annoying kid sister vibe, but what I’m saying is they’re not locked into it. I personally think they could pull off a friends-to-lovers romance without too much sweat, and I’d be here for it…

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Oh, I am totally rooting for Seol Hwa and Daegil (theoretically, at least…)

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

This evokes the question, does the Korean word use actually equate to “Shorty.” I will leave all the metaconnotations vis a vis previous discussions unstated.

And don’t we get just a touch of Dae Gil’s humanity when he asks about her mother to strangers.

And one of the reasons, imo, Kim Ha Eun is such a scene stealer is her wonderful repertoire of facial expressions, I particularly loved when she stuck her dainty little tongue, how she sneers, expresses joy, disatisfaction, and so on. As with Dong Sung Il”s simply terrific exaggerated use of vocal tone and full body gestures (grabbing himself after being let down by one of his lieutenants after spying over the stone wall), Kim Ha Eun has a charm for every moment she is on screen, lying down on her back asleep hands on tummy or making the sound of a cow in heat when approached by a bull on her Haegum.

Like everyone here, not nearly for the last time: Team Seol Hwa!

Akhmatova
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

Team Seol-Hwa forever and ever!!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

Sung Dong Il. This aging process is horrible.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – this is one of those where you lost me. Am I being too literal in on thinking somebody used the slang “shorty” to refer to a female? I did get the gist of what you were saying though.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

The subs in the Viki has Dae Gil calling Seol Hwa as “Shorty,” a kind of brotherly affection, several times. I wonder if the Korean word he uses actually means “shorty” or…what?

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Ha! The subbers on Kocowa, similar to the DramaFever subbers will omit/substitute what they perceive as swear/offensive words. But in the subs I’m watching, he calls her “wench”. 😆 Which isn’t as bad as it sounds today. She refers to herself constantly as “this wench”.

I’ve seen other subbers for Chuno substitute “b*tch” for wench. I felt that was too modern day a usage because the “B word”, up until fairly recently (now it’s used in place of “she” or “her”), was a much harsher insult than wench (not saying “wench” isn’t demeaning but…)

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Shorty does sound more affectionate to my ears than wench. Maybe that is why the Viki subbers made that choice.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – you know the “Vicki subbers” are Kocowa subbers for shows that are leased from and bear the Kocowa logo, right? I’m saying that because the “regular” Vicki subbers for non-Kocowa shows are everyday people who speak both English and whatever language of the show they’re subbing on a volunteer basis. Sometimes the subs are late if those teams of regular people get busy in real life and that can be frustrating, but imo, they’re better subs with more literal translations.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Their story is such a wisdom morality tale for young men.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

Sorry, the story of Dae Gil and Seol Hwa and Dae Gil and Eon Nyeon is what I am referring to as a morality tale for young men.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – how so?

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Too much spoiler to explain at this point. I will repeat it if I remember after the finale. But the biggest hint I can give is it has to do with male tunnel vision. We can say Goo Dong Mae in Mr. Sunshine was prey to a similar experience.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – kinda gotcha? lol I’ll wait and see if you expound more later.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, I think I know what you mean. Agree about Gu Dong Mae.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

Ahhh @BE – you must’ve added the part about Goo Dong mae after I’d already responded. Now you know I’m really interested!

Akhmatova
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, I think I know what you mean and I cannot agree more with you.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – Seol hwa seeming more mature for her age or compared to Wang son – I believe she said she’d lost her mother at age 5 (or maybe my brain just supplied that age because she didn’t remember her mother well?). In any event, for a young girl to survive, most likely bouncing around from brothel to brothel and finally to the traveling entertainment troupe where we see she was still being prostituted – she would have no choice but to mature fast and be street smart. As she said herself – she considers herself to be more wiley about street smarts than any of the three men despite two of them being much older than she.

If I compare her to Wang son, while we have no background about him, it’s different for boys (in general back then). I’m not saying that homosexuality didn’t exist back then but there were less chances of him being caught in that situation of being used and abused, sexually, simply by the fact of homosexuality being hidden back then. Wang son may have had to beg or do odd jobs, maybe even steal but that’s different from being in sexual slavery. In Seol hwa’s situation, prostitution wasn’t even illegal and so who could she even appeal to or beg for help? No one would think she needs or should be rescued. I give kudos for our heros for even acknowledging that here’s a person (a woman no less) who doesn’t want to stay where people are forcing her to stay despite that was women’s plight on life – go where men tell you to go. Stay and do what men – even if that man was your father or husband – said for you to do. Choice? Ha!

So our three amigos are pretty forward thinking in not forcing Seol hwa to stay with the troupe, not forcing her to sleep with them, and not even making her cook! For the time they live in that’s pretty darn heroic! 👍

Drama Fan
10 months ago

Hi everyone, here are my notes for these episodes (and some in response to Kfangurl’s notes)

First, let’s get the ranting out of the way. I will pretend that Unnyun has developed some sort of illness that makes her lose her breadth easily. Although I’m not saying I can claim to be in any better physical condition 😀 Who am I to judge? But, I really the writer/director did not feel the need to turn her into such a damsel in distress, especially in these early episodes. I choose to ignore Unnyun for a bit until she gets with the program lol

Now on to the sfuff I love:

SeolHwa is us (crazy Daegil fans) and we are SeolHwa, am I right???
I’m also definitely seeing Commander Hwang’s nuanced performances, much more this time. I honestly did not pay attention before.

The scene where SeolHwa plays music for the boys is love! And I loved seeing Daegil smile sincerely (not sarcastically) The actress who plays SeolHwa, expresses so much with her eyes. I love her dynamic with Wangson too.

And I LOVE every scene where SeolHwa asks for food. I can so relate with her constant hunger! 😀

Thank youuuu for explaining Left Side Minister’s plots (literal plots and complots) This is one character I have a hard time concentrating on. So much scheming going on! Thank you, thank you!

I was so glad to see Cho Jing Woong as Han Seom again. I like this actor so much, he is so expressive and its so easy to “feel” his character. Another scene stealer imo.

I will not wax poetic about Daegil yet because I feel I will have more chances in future episodes, so I’ll spare you for now dear friends 😀 All I will say is, Daegil and SeolHwa bickering gives me life (and also SeolHwa and the boys bickering) Daegil asking people for SeolHwa’s mother (in adittion to asking for Unnyun) Daegil asking the “kiddo” to sing a song in exchange for food, once they were on the road. I just love those little details.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@Drama Fan – I’m so glad you mentioned Cho Jing Woong as Han Seom. The dialogue between he and the court lady-nursemaid is so naughty on his part in the Site That Shall Not Be Named subs. It’s no wonder she rebuffed his advances. 😆

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Yay for Han Seom – Court Lady banter!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Could you please quote such subs. Repartee is such a wonderful element of this show, especially, along with the insults, the bawdy business.

Also, we are only first meeting Han Seom, and NO SPOILERS, while we have seen him earlier in a battle scene with Tae Ha, what we know of him so far is that he broke under torture and ratted out Tae Ha and the rest in order to be released, and that now we see him hale and hearty on the plague island near the prince, chatting up the prince’s nursemaid. From the perspective of this episode and those before, one well might ask, “what is Han Seom up to?”

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – immmm. Let’s see if I can remember now – there was an invitation to “get busy” [paraphrase] but I don’t recall the exact verbiage. I do recall him commenting as the court lady walked off “that’s a big butt” in an admiring way. The “big butt” is a direct quote. 😆

But some of the things that the horse vet and the painter say to the jumos is so embarrassing to write out. But if you watched with these subs, I think you’d notice that as they say things, they do things like horse vet grabbing the jumo’s hand and placing it on his privates. (He says “it still gets stiff” in response to a comment about his age) and that’s when he puts the older jumo’s hand between his legs. But as your attention is on reading the Kocowa subs, your eye may not notice what he’s doing but with the more literal subs it would call you’re attention to it. That incident was either ep 1 or 2. And the police officer who sends the bounty hunters out talks similarly when he’s around the 4 locals (jumos and the two guys).

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I get the banter between artist. horsekeeper and the jumos, but not so much Han Seom and prince’s nursemaid, which I supposed more teasingly romantic than salacious.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – it’s both teasing and salacious. There’s no romantic quality to it since the nursemaid is pretty grossed out by him (or at least by the way he’s talking).

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I do not want to go further on this for fear of spoiler.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

The hunger bit already becoming a comedic payoff when asleep on the library floor, to get her to get up and leave with the rest the shout of food is necessary to arouse her.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago

Here is my attempt to organize all the flashbacks so far in a coherent timeline. Please feel free to correct me and to add more details.

December 1636
The Manchu (Qing) attack Joseon.
Tae Ha tells Prince Sohyeon that he’d rather die than be captured.
Fall of Seoul (December 14, 1636)
Tae Ha saves Daegil, Eon Nyeon, and Commander Hwang. Daegil’s family and estate survive the attack.
Tae Ha’s wife and baby are killed in the attack.

January 1637
January 28, 1637 – King Injo surrenders and accepts the Qing peace terms, including sending his own sons as hostages.

January-February 1637
Song Tae Ha and his men attempt to save Prince Sohyeon while the latter is escorted on his way to Qing. The prince explains to Tae Ha that he is going voluntarily. Tae Ha and his men join the Prince and spend the next 8 years as hostages to Qing.
Commander Hwang remains in Joseon.

Winter-Spring 1637?
Eon Nyeon’s brother burns Daegil’s family estate and escapes with Eon Nyeon. Daegil is left for dead.

1637-1644
Daegil joins Cheon Ji Ho’s gang
Tae Ha and the prince are exposed to new ideas while being held as hostages.
Fall of Ming Dynasty in China (1644). The Manchu Qing become the new ruling dynasty there.

1645
Prince Sohyeon returns to Joseon (maybe early 1645)
Tae Ha and his men return to Joseon and start working as instructors at the military training facility.
Minister Lee Kyeong Shik marries off his daughter to Commander Hwang and promises him Song Tae Ha’s post.
Crown Prince Sohyeon dies (May 21, 1645). His last letter does not reach Tae Ha until 1648.
Song Tae Ha and his men refuse to stop wearing mourning clothes and are arrested. They are falsely accused of stealing military provisions.
Left State Councilor Lee Myeong Ho intervenes on Song Tae Ha’s behalf. Song Tae Ha and his men become slaves and Left State Councilor Lee Myeong Ho retires. Minister Lee Kyeong Shik becomes Left State Councilor.
Daegil breaks away from Cheon Ji Ho’s gang and starts hunting slaves on his own with the help of General Choi and Wangson.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – This is excellent. The only thing I think might be reversed is:

“Crown Prince Sohyeon dies (May 21, 1645). His last letter does not reach Tae Ha until 1648.
Song Tae Ha and his men refuse to stop wearing mourning clothes and are arrested. They are falsely accused of stealing military provisions.”

Tae ha was already a slave when he received the letter. Isn’t receipt of the letter the catalyst that made him take down his sword to fulfill the spoken-yet-unspoken request of the Crown Prince to rescue his family?(Although the Crown Prince didn’t know his wife would be dead too by the time Tae ha received the letter.)

As I read your timeline, it’s shocking to me how long it took for Tae ha to get the letter. Even though I know letters could take years to get to the intended recipient. Maybe it shocked me because time is passing slowly in the episodes we’re watching. Tae ha received the letter on Episode 1, but it was toward three and of Episode 2 (I think) before he had a chance to read it.
Assuming that was the same day, so much happened between the time that Dae gil followed Tae ha because he suspected something wasn’t right about his limp, to Tae ha deciding it was time to act so that so much time elapsed before the letter to get to him just seems… wow.

But your time line is really helpful in following what’s happening.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, I think the letter may have been given to Left State Councilor Lee Myeong Ho to deliver to Tae Ha (Tae Ha was not working at the palace, and probably had no way to be in close contact with the prince). Councilor Lee probably figured that it would be too risky to try to deliver the letter to Tae Ha while Tae Ha was imprisoned and tortured. Plus, Tae Ha could not have acted on the prince’s request anyway. He was (temporarily) crippled, and probably under constant surveillance. It is possible that when TH was working as a slave at the military training facility, he was probably not allowed outside during the early days of his enslavement. He kept a low profile, was obeying orders, and did not let anyone know that his leg had healed. Once he convinced everyone at the training facility that he was not a threat, he was just waiting for the opportune moment. It is very likely that retired State Councilor Lee Myeong Ho kept an eye on Tae Ha, and then send his disciple to deliver the letter once it was safe to do so.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Gosh you are a wonder, Snow Flower. I was really having problems with Commander Hwang’s timeline.

So working from your timeline. Minister Lee Kyeong Shik notes among the trainers, yon Commander Hwang has a lean and hungry look, and makes a deal with Hwang he can’t refuse. But on wedding night, the Left State Minister sees Hwang has snuck off away from his daughter, meaning he has not sealed the marriage with the appropriate amount of kissing, etc., and to boot, Hwang will not call him “father.” And for this reason, Hwang’s refusal to answer “who is his daddy, now?” he puts him in the cellar cell among the other prisoners, and gets Hwang’s mom to travel the distance to see him in the cell, or actually to remind Hwang about his mother. In other words, Lee Kyeong Shik, forget about who is Hwang’s daddy, is training Hwang to heel.

Adds even more poignance to the idea that his wife is trying to get across: her father is a dangerous man (and indeed, he seems to want to use Hwang like a dog, with the milk bone of inheritance, prestige, and position on one hand, and the whip hand that tells him I can stick you in the hole whenever I want. I am not all that sympathetic to Hwang; I don’t like his treating his wife like a dog, and his role in the story up to now, a coward in battle, a traitor to his former brother in arms, a cold blooded murderer, whatever his motivations–lack of wherewithal to protect his mother, his ambition, whatever, but I do see, at least intellectually, he is just the instrument of a far greater villain…who one also assumes is of the faction intent on getting rid of the final living royal child.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, I think Commander Hwang got married in 1645, right before Song Tae Ha was arrested and enslaved. Left State Councilor did not throw him (Commander Hwang) in jail until 1648, using Song Tae Ha’s escape as an excuse. Two things stood out to me:
1. Commander Hwang had been neglecting his wife for 3 years, yet his father-in-law did not seem too distressed over the fact. He never tried to console his own daughter. Poor Lady Lee is just a pawn in her father’s schemes and she knows it. She is genuinely concerned about her husband because she knows how unscrupulous her father is and what he is capable of.
2. Commander Hwang did not seem to oppose his father-in-law’s plan to get rid of the baby (well, toddler) prince and former State Councilor Lee. He just did not want to do it himself. He did change his mind after his stint in prison, and especially after Councilor Lee adressed him as his son. I suspect that was the first time Councilor Lee referred to Commander Hwang as his son, even though the latter had been his son-in-law for 3 years.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I am not against this perspective, but a couple things still confuse me. Right after the marriage, Left State asks that Hwang call him father at which Hwang balks. And then when his mother comes to visit Hwang in the cell, Left State remarks she has come from a long distance, when earlier it seemed she lived near him. And when was there a discussion of the prince between Hwang and Left State? I do not remember.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, Commander Hwang is shown returning home after work (this is the main timeline, 1648). He proceeds to ignore his wife, and then goes outside and is approached by Councilor Lee. This is the first time we find out that Hwang is Lee’s son in law. We see a flashback when Commander Hwang was first approached by Councilor Lee in 1645 with the offer of his daughter’s hand in marriage and the post of Song Tae Ha. We also see the wedding ceremony and Commander Hwang’s first reaction to his wife’s disability. Then we are back in the main timeline. Councilor Lee offers Commander Hwang a drink. Councilor Lee mentions that he wants to get rid of the baby prince and former Councilor Lee. Commander Hwang offers to send someone to do the job, but Councilor Lee insists that Commander Hwang do it himself. Commander Hwang declines and pays a visit to his mother. She has her own house, in a poor neighborhood. She mentioned something about Commander Hwang living with his father in law and how inappropriate that was. Commander Hwang promises to buy her a new house and live with her in the new house. He is arrested the next day and thrown in prison, where his mother comes to visit him. After he spends a couple of days in prison, he has a drink with his father in law again, who advises the Commander to do the mission himself, but hire some nobodies for the dirty work along the way. And thus enter Cheon Ji Ho.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

You know I tried to figure all that out the second time through these episodes, and it left me bamboozled. Thanks, you are the champ!

Akhmatova
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@ Snow Flower: Thank you for the timeline, it’s really handy and makes the political context a lot simpler

beez
10 months ago

Random thoughts while watching:

I ❤ that Dae gil treated Seol wa as a child. (He conks her lightly on the head just as he would Monkey Boy.) She’s become part of the family. ❤

I watched heavy dialogue bits on That Which Shall Not Be Named because the subs are just so RICH. I would watch the entire series there but the image is so poor and the streaming at That Which Shall Not Be Named lags so much…

The talk between the old dudes and the jumos is exactly how I would imagine people of their time and status would speak anywhere in the world. Very “earthy”.

“Isn’t that just superstition?” says the slave owner who’s using what amounts to “old wives’ tales” to keep their slaves from running away. smh

Dae gil and the unorthodox way he carries his sword behind his head while riding. I’ve never heard of any stance like that with a sword or weapon while standing on the ground so there’s only one reason for doing it – The Swag! 😆

You guys, I may be wrong, but the librarian in episode 6 looks like the same actor playing the boatman in Episode 5! I’m be checking the cast to see if such small roles are listed.

You know, the scenery is breathtaking but I have to say… my son recently talked me into one of those super high def screens. I haven’t wanted one because the tv he has is so high def that everything looks fake and every flaw can be seen in b the actors’ faces. On older series, you can spot the make up for fake scars & bruises, etc. My tv is not as high res as his (thank goodness) but it is very high resolution, but these Tae ha and Eunnyeon actually look even more beautiful!

So explain to me how, after all that commotion, Eunnyeon can just walk through town all blaisè and nobody’s chasing her? No local cops? Did Tae ha dispatch all the soldiers? Every singled one of ’em? Was no “deputy” stayng behind watching the “sheriff’s office”? Even I can’t make one up for that one.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Dae Gil’s sword at back of the neck while riding…so theatrical. Part of the extreme viewer jolly watching this. In reality, even someone as cool as Dae Gil would be likely to behead himself.
Leading me to the ubiquitous riding at a fast gallop in this and other sageuks. And the horses all look so healthy. There is excitement, but here too, sometimes, unless I view the whole from the perspective of theatrical hyperbole, I am given pause.
Which leads me to the OST. When I saw it the first time, unlike everyone here, I thought it was over the top and so anachronistic, I found it to be more a distraction. But this time, seeing the whole production as some sort of epic theater, I like everyone else am enjoying the heck of the pulse raising, hair raising drive it employs in the action scenes.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – 😂😂😂 at the image of Dae gil being so cool and beheading himself.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Always happy to evoke a chuckle with you.

beez
10 months ago

“And maybe I’ve also gained some clarity, now that I have more functioning brain power even when Dae Gil’s burning up my screen?” quoting KFG

I know. Me too. I’m still a little blinded. I think since the abs are out of view that I’m doing a little better now.😋

And, I don’t know if it will mean anything later or if it’s just there for artistic effect but – the blank sheets of paper blowing off the desk of Tae ha’s mentor as the three men duel… that paper features in almost every promo and we saw the mentor give a stack of blank paper to one of his men along with an unknown mission. I truly don’t remember the paper from past episodes but I’m excited as I wait to see will someone hold it to flame or vinegar and reveal hidden writings? We’ll see.

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

Ohhh those papers will be back, I cheated and watched some more episodes, and yeah, they will be back 😀

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

One thing I did not remember was how thoroughly at this point yet, how, when they are fighting, Tae Ha is kicking Dae Gil’s behind. Dae Gil has the spunk, never give up, bounce back up everytime, and complete confidence in himself spirit going for him, but Tae Ha can not only easily evade the worst Dae Gil is giving out, but just knock him to the ground at will. Dae Gil may think Tae Ha is running away from him, but in fact, Tae Ha is going full tilt to rescue Eon Nyeon, thinking Dae Gil is not much more than annoyance while doing so.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Agreed – (Although I can’t help but grumble at the true statement that Tae ha is easily handling Dae gil). And I disagree that Tae ha is headed to rescue Eunnueon. She’s just lucky that she happened to be going his way. That, and now he’s attracted but he was headed full tilt toward his mentor.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

I was speaking of the chase following the fight in his mentor’s compound, wherein the General stops Hwang, and Dae Gil is chasing after Tae Ha, who has just heard Eon Nyeon’s whistle. Tae Ha is not bothered in the least with dealing with Dae Gil who chases after him, but is running back to town to save Eon Nyeon.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Ohhhhh. True dat, true dat.

BE
BE
10 months ago

I am going to hang back a while, except to say this…don’t peek. Think of the first viewers being left in the wind like this and the cannot wait till next week. Especially given the previews: “Eon Nyeon!” Savor the suspense.

beez
10 months ago

Awesome, Snow Flower! So observant. And you didn’t have to make up some nonsense like I did. 😆

beez
10 months ago

“Did she actually have that haegeum hidden in her skirt when she first ran away from the dance troupe? Because she certainly didn’t have it in her hands when she was on the run…” quoting Kfangurl

Well, the instrument doesn’t look very complicated for people back then who had to know how to make camp fires and all sorts of things. She could’ve asked Gen. Choi to whittle her a haegeum. And Gen Choi would’ve demanded Monkey Boy to pluck a few hairs out of the horses’ tails. Voila. I could make these up all day to justify our stories more outlandish parts 😂 (You notice I rule out Mr. Grumpy Pants helping. Although, witnessing Dae gil almost drop his cool facade at the early part of Seol hwa’s performance was so worth it! 😆)

Keep spotting the unfeasible, KFG, and I’ll keep trying to squeeze some far-fetched logic from somewhere. 😄

EDITED TO ADD: The real infeasible issue is where’d Tae ha and Eunnyeon magically get horses from? That shanty of an inn certainly didn’t even look like it had a stable much less horses to rent. If they’d been able to acquire a spent donkey, I’d have been surprised, much less those gorgeous horses. And where’d they get money from to rent/buy horses? Eunnywon might’ve has a stash, but it’s for certain Tae ha didn’t have any as an escaped slave.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, Tae Ha used the horses at the inn only to deceive DG&Co. TH sent the horse running in order to distract DG, while he and Eon Nyeon were hiding under the porch. Once they were clear of danger, Tae Ha and Eon Nyeon continued on foot. I assume the horse can find his way back to the inn…
Tae Ha’s use of military and survival tactics is impressive. But, why did not he insist that she change her clothes? Mourning clothes immediately draw attention to the one who wears them. A reasonable explanation is that TH is acting like the Confucian gentleman he is, again. He would not dare to ask a lady in mourning to stop mourning. Remember, he himself chose not to change into regular clothes because he wanted to honor the memory of his friend Prince Sohyeon.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Ahhhhh. That makes more sense. 👍

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago

Thank you, !

Seol Hwa carries the haegeum in a small greyish-blue bag on her back. The bag is visible during her first encounter with DG&Co. after her escape from the dance troupe.

The haegeum scene is one of my favorite scenes in any kdrama. Seol Hwa really knows how to entertain. The way she changes her music from humorous to dreamily romantic without missing a beat makes this scene so memorable. Also, she really begins to fall for DG earlier in the same scene, when Wangson tells her the backstory of DG and his desperate search for Eon Nyeon. She had been flirting with him since day one (she figured out quickly that neither General Choi nor Wangson were worth the effort), but now her fascination with him is growing.

I visited New York City a couple of years ago, and remember hearing the sound of the haegeum in the crowded subway. I could not see the musician, but the amplified sound of the instrument was soaring above the noise of the trains. The melody was not the one Seol Hwa played for the boys, but I still felt transported to a different time and place.

lalarocca
lalarocca
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I first laughed out loud during the haegeum scene – “the sound of a cow in heat” which has the guys smirking and chuckling (hard) – then did an aural double take as the music segued to romantic and poignant. A wonderfully executed scene. Haegeums should be conjurable anywhere. 😉

Drama Fan
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Awww Snow Flower, I love your story of the haegeum in New York City. How beautiful!

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Kfangurl,

The haegeum is probably Seol Hwa’s most prized possession and the source of her livelihood. She never parts with it and carries it around everywhere she goes.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@ Snow Flower: Totally tangential, but speaking of the haegeum, a link to the phenomenally inventive Kim Chang Wan and his electric rock band for this (and if you know the name of the horn or zither being played, that would be cool):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUJWNQTOc4o

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, the zither-like instrument is called Geomungo. I recognized it immediately. It is prominently featured in the drama Hwang Jin Yi, which can also be called The Life Of An Artist.
I don’t know the name of the wind instrument. Looked like it was a reed instrument rather than a flute, but I am not sure.
And of course, the haegeum! This is the coolest video of the day. Thank you for sharing!

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Reed instrument right–folks here will I hope continue to be tolerant of my cross wiring. It reminds me a bit in sound like the Indian shehnai. I believe there is at least one more vid available with Kim Chang Wan’s band in which traditional instruments are featured. He is a special talent, whose lyrics almost always bend toward very poetic romanticism and his band prone to idiosyncratic song structures, simple, brash, and psychedelic instrumentation.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I didn’t recognize the musician’s name but when I watched the video, I thought that looks like that actor… And it’s him! Does he count as an “idol actor” now? I’m joking but I’m wondering if he’s had this band a long time and was famous for it first and acting was offered later in the same way that it is opened up for popular musicians today?

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  beez

The father of Korean Rock and Roll. Kim Chang Wan was a music star from the 70s, and he is still considered a great from the older generation. Before he was a character actor, big music star. Go to my posts again on Reply 1988. The lyric I posted at the end of my post was from a song he wrote. It was a song that appeared in scenes from that show. Even IU has recorded his song with him.
In the post preceding that I linked to a vid of a tv performance of that song from 1984.

Something more recent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZbjZPeeQoQ

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@BE – that video is really cool! I didn’t see the link in the email notification of your post but when Snow Flower responded, then in the notice of her post, the link within your comment appeared. 🤔 Anyway, very cool mix of modern and old.

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

– when I think about how precious personal instruments are to musicians even today, I’d imagine something as precious as her haegeum , something the average person doesn’t possess, would be taken everywhere especially with Seol hwa’s vagabond existence (the bouncing around trying to find her place in the world) and her comments that she makes money with it – I’d imagine that she probably never goes anywhere without it.

BE
BE
10 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

And it also shows off Seol Hwa’s way beyond her years understanding of men, from what will make them laugh to what will move them deep inside, coarse on the outside, but bottom line melted by nostalgic remembrances of erotic romance.