Time flies when you’re having fun – and it also flies when you’re diving deep into Chuno! 😅 It’s amazing how it’s already time to dive into episodes 7 & 8!
Just a few things, before we begin:
1. We’ll be having a gap week on 23 December 2020 because it’s Christmas week and I believe that would make it difficult for quite a few in our midst to join the discussion. This means that the Open Thread for episodes 9 and 10 will be on 30 December 2020 instead.
2. 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.
3. 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! ❤️
I have to admit that when the action ramps up, and our music comes on all pumping, I am viscerally drawn to this show. I feel like a moth drawn to a flame; it’s just impossible to look away. At the same time, though, when Show spends any extended amount of time on political machinations, I start to zone out, after a while, and it becomes effortful to try to keep my attention focused on what is happening in our drama world. Eep. I guess I still have more growing up to do. 😝😅
We start our episode with some intense sparring between Tae Ha and Dae Gil, which I find very fitting, because, by the time we round up our episode, I feel like Show is making a deliberate comparison between the two men.
In this first scene, Dae Gil’s fighting Tae Ha because, beyond the agreement that he’s made with Left State Councilor, it seems that Dae Gil feels like he has something to prove, by winning a fight against Tae Ha. I feel like the run-ins that Dae Gil has had with Tae Ha has stirred Dae Gil’s predator instincts – not so much in the sense that he wants to kills Tae Ha, but in the sense that he feels the need to prove who’s the alpha in this equation.
On the other hand, Tae Ha fights Dae Gil only because Dae Gil wants to fight him. Tae Ha’s much more interested in protecting Eonnyeon, and getting himself to Jeju Island to save Prince So Hyeon’s son. Again, blame my Jang Hyuk / Dae Gil blinders, and my urge to just soak in the gloriousness of the fight scenes, but I think this is the first time that I’m actually cognizant of this.
I’m becoming more used to (or resigned to?) Eonnyeon’s ladylike yelping that peppers most of our action scenes. As you guys have been saying in the discussion, Eonnyeon isn’t our usual female lead. I absolutely agree that she functions as more of a catalyst than anything else, in our story. I don’t think I’ve ever regarded her as a fully fledged character, because of this. She’s important to our story, but mostly because of how she affects our key characters.
On a random tangent, I thought it was interesting that Lady Ninja on the rooftop remarks, of Tae Ha, “That’s quite the tiger we have there,” because soon afterwards, Eonnyeon addresses her brother’s guard as Baek Ho, which literally translates to white tiger. And, in the rest of the episode, we have several characters referencing the tiger, in their conversations. I never noticed this before, but perhaps it might be worth looking out for the tiger as a motif, in our story.
I find myself kinda really liking how Commander Hwang won’t let Ji Ho manipulate him into giving them more money. He’s so no-nonsense about it, and exerts his power so efficiently, that I find myself pretty impressed. Looks like I’m appreciating Commander Hwang more this watch – so far.
Ji Ho’s pretty shrewd too, though, in his very correct estimation that Commander Hwang wouldn’t kill them, because he needs them to do the dirty work.
General Choi is so steady and wise. He’s so right, that our eyes are cunning enough to let us see whatever we wish for. He’s such a good sounding board and voice of reason, for Dae Gil. I’m pretty sure that without General Choi around to ground him a little bit, Dae Gil would’ve gotten himself into more trouble than he has.
It strikes me that the scene of Tae Ha taking off Eonnyeon’s jeogori (the jacket-like upper garment) is really quite bold, for kdrama standards. It didn’t occur to me before when I first watched this show, but now, after becoming much more accustomed to Korean standards of modesty, it shocks me somewhat, that we see Eonnyeon’s bare shoulders and décolletage. The implication, that Tae Ha has seen Eonnyeon in a compromised state of undress, hits home a lot stronger this time, because of this. This makes Eonnyeon’s subsequent claim, that she’s engaged in conjugal ties with Tae Ha, feel slightly less of a stretch as well.
I like how Dae Gil is actually annoyed that they’ve lost Seol Hwa. He tells Wangson that it’s because she has their horses, money and supplies, but beyond that, I feel like there’s a real familial affection and connection that’s driving his determination to find her.
Poor Seol Hwa. She really does believe that the boys have abandoned her. The scene where she gets drunk and throws money at the lecherous men who’re trying to seduce her, while tearily singing drunken songs with them, is so full of pathos. Serious kudos to Kim Ha Eun; this scene is beautifully, elegantly, heartbreakingly portrayed. It feels like she’s given up on life, because she’s been abandoned so much.
My heart leapt with hers, when Dae Gil shows up to take her away. The way she clings to him reminds me of how a baby duckling gloms onto the first mama duck he sees.
Tae Ha taking on Baek Ho and his men with just a bamboo reed or two, is pretty darn cool, I have to admit. The fact that he wields the bamboo reeds so efficiently, while incorporating fighting lessons to Baek Ho while they spar, is badass and also rather condescending. I would be annoyed in Baek Ho’s shoes too. When we see that Tae Ha’s reputation precedes him, and that Baek Ho has deep respect for him just based on Tae Ha’s reputation alone, I have to admit I feel a little impressed.
It’s to Tae Ha’s credit that he understands that Baek Ho’s in a difficult position, because he’s been tasked to tail Eonnyeon, and only asks that Baek Ho stop pursuing them for the night. He’s a very reasonable man.
What strikes me about the closing inter-spliced scenes of Tae Ha carrying Eonnyeon on his back, and Dae Gil carrying Seol Hwa on his back, is that each woman drops the item that is most precious to her – Eonnyeon drops the stone which she keeps as a memory of Dae Gil, while Seol Hwa drops her haegeum – but it is only Dae Gil who notices and picks up the precious item for the woman that he carries.
On a completely shallow tangential fangirl note, Jang Hyuk’s triceps are so defined in this scene, that I find myself quite transfixed. 🤩 Um. Wow. I wish winter would never come, in this drama world. 😅
I’ve mentioned this in my review as well, but it kind of boggles my mind how they managed to make Dae Gil look so different in the flashbacks, compared to the present day timeline. I mean, it’s not just the filter that makes everything look lighter and airbrushed and soft-focused.. doesn’t his face look fuller? When I compare the two screenshots above, it’s quite startling to me that Dae Gil’s jawline looks softer and rounder in the flashback, while his jawline in the present timeline is so sharp, and his cheeks, so lean and hungry. Did they just stuff cotton balls into his cheeks? If you know what kind of movie magic this is, guys, please share in the comments!
It strikes me that when young Dae Gil was describing his plans to Eonnyeon, to get a government job and basically change the world so that they could live together, he’s so full of hopeful optimism. This is such a stark contrast to present day Dae Gil, who is cynical and jaded in comparison. I think this is the first hint that I’m picking up on, that Dae Gil’s journey will have something to do with giving him something to hope for, once again.
The arc that gets my attention most this episode, is of Seol Hwa leaving our little family of shirtless brothers, only to eventually find her way back again. It’s really quite poignant to see how sad Seol Hwa is, to be told to leave, as the price of her (admittedly terrible) mistake with regard to the horses and money. When I think about it, she really hasn’t known these orabeonies for very long at all. And yet, they are the closest thing she has to family in the world. That really tugs at my heartstrings. The other thing that tugged at my heartstrings, is how Seol Hwa talks about being used to getting sold. How awful, that she’d been forced to start prostituting herself at 12 years old.
The other thing that strikes me as she says goodbye, is how, in this short time that she’s spent with them, Seol Hwa already knows each of them so well. The parting words she says to each of the boys is tailored to each of them. It’s quite sweet, even as she tells Wangson to stop “living like that.” Heh.
Commander Hwang really is going about his mission in a heartless manner; if the person he kills was Tae Ha’s former superior, it makes sense that he would’ve also been Commander Hwang’s former superior. And he basically slays him without batting an eye. I do think that Commander Hwang is leaning into the evil image of himself that he’s created against his own will, and it makes me feel like he’s possibly looking at all this as him reaping damnation on himself, and that this is something he deserves. So in a weird sort of way, I feel like it’s almost as if he’s storing up punishment for himself, with each dishonorable murder that he commits.
Ji Ho is a lot more observant and savvy than his theatrical poseur persona might suggest. He’s the only one who spots Tae Ha and Eonnyeon making their getaway in their new disguises, and stops to think that it’s fishy and worth looking into – until Commander Hwang interrupts and gives him new instructions about disposing of the dead body. Commander Hwang himself sees Tae Ha and Eonnyeon too, but takes no notice of them. That definitely says something about Ji Ho.
There are so many people chasing after our various characters, that I sometimes have to actually stop to remember who’s chasing whom. So, we have Dae Gil after Tae Ha, Commander Hwang and Ji Ho’s gang also after Tae Ha, Baek Ho and his men after Eonnyeon, Lady Ninja after Eonnyeon, and now we have Baek Ho and his men also after Dae Gil. Oh what a tangled web we weave! 😅
Dae Gil and his crew swindling money using people’s guilty consciences as their clue and bargaining chip, is not moral, that’s for sure. But that’s part of the reason Dae Gil is an antihero, rather than a hero. He does do things that are shady – but he also shows heart, and that’s why we find him so interesting and intriguing.
I found it interesting that when Dae Gil sees the scene of Seol Hwa being dragged away by the dance troupe, that his thoughts turn to Eonnyeon being dragged away in the past. Actually, before he’d had that flashback, my thoughts had turned to Dae Gil himself in the fire, being left behind, as he’d reached out helplessly for Eonnyeon. Whichever is the trigger, though, it’s clear that Dae Gil can’t shake the image of a helpless Seol Hwa being dragged away, from his mind. It’s kinda sweet, really, that he uses all the money he’d managed to swindle that day, to buy Seol Hwa out. It’s also quite cute how he looks a touch sheepish when Wangson and General Choi protest at Seol Hwa rejoining the crew.
I am also quite amused at the new “family dynamic;” it feels like Dae Gil is Dad, making all the key decisions, while General Choi is Mom, the voice of reason, and Wangson and Seol Hwa are their bickering kids. Tee hee.
I like that Dae Gil’s very sharp and shrewd, in analyzing Tae Ha’s next move. And I like that little detail, that before running off to track down Tae Ha based on the latest intel, Dae Gil stops to tell Seol Hwa that they won’t abandon her, before telling her to take care of the horses. That’s quite thoughtful, yes?
Lady Ninja feels like some kind of wild card; she just pops up anytime and anywhere, to amp up the action and the drama in our story. I’m not complaining, mind you. I just find it quite amusing.
And now, Tae Ha’s slave secret is unveiled (conveniently, by Lady Ninja’s precise slicing skills). He’s going to have a lot to explain to Eonnyeon, who looks daintily horrified.
On a tangent, and as a matter of interest, I find it quite fascinating that the characters nobi (奴婢) are differentiated as no (奴) for male slave and bi (婢) for female slave. The hanja characters, which are basically from Chinese characters, both bear the element “女” (meaning woman or female) on the left. In Chinese, characters containing this element almost always indicate that the subject to which they refer, is female. I find it very interesting that in adapting the words 奴婢 into Korean, that each became a gender differentiating character. Also, as a matter of interest, in Chinese, the phrase 奴婢 is gender-neutral. Just thought you guys might find that little tidbit interesting!