Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you guys are ready to chat about Chuno episodes 13 & 14! 😃 It’s kinda surreal, that we’re already past Show’s halfway point!
Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:
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! ❤️
It’s hard to watch as Dae Gil’s dream disintegrates before his eyes, and as he struggles to come to terms with the dissolution of everything Eonnyeon represented to him.
That moment around the corner, where his gaze shifts from intense and fierce, to shifty and wavering, is so well done. I feel like I can practically see Dae Gil’s resolve leak out of him, leaving him with nothing but uncertainty and confusion. The subsequent street crying scene is as iconic as ever, and I have to hand it to Jang Hyuk for going all in and ugly-bawling like he’s about to gag on his own soul. As Dae Gil beats his chest in the midst of his guttural cries, it feels like pent-up waves of pain are finally finding expression and release. At the same time, I doubt that this actually brings him any lasting catharsis; it feels like this pain is going to continue to haunt him for a long time. 😭
I find it hard to believe that Eonnyeon’s shoes are the same pair that Dae Gil had given her all those years ago, because they look brand new in the close-up shot. I guess the Eonnyeon’s spotless perfection extends to her shoes as well, hur.
I do appreciate the significance of Dae Gil telling General Choi and Wangson that they’re on the wrong trail and Tae Ha’s not in the vicinity. This means that he’s protecting Tae Ha, for Eonnyeon’s sake. No matter how badly he wishes that Eonnyeon hadn’t married Tae Ha, he’s not about to try to take that away from her. That’s his way of loving her, I think. 💔
I do love that General Choi proves once again, that he knows and understands Dae Gil, possibly better than anyone else. While Wangson gets all riled up by Dae Gil’s pronouncement that they should just go back to Hanyang, and kicks up a fuss, General Choi instinctively knows that Dae Gil must have seen Eonnyeon. I really like that conversation that he and Dae Gil have by the riverbank. Even though Dae Gil doesn’t want to admit it, General Choi discerns it anyway, that Dae Gil’s seen Eonnyeon, and that’s why he wants to stop being a slave hunter.
I also love that Dae Gil reveals that he’s bought a piece of land, so that he, General Choi and Wangson can live adjacent to one another, while General Choi farms, and Wangson runs a tavern, just like they said they wanted to. AW. Dae Gil’s been brushing off any reference to the three of them as family, but in his heart, he really does think of them as family. Why else would he buy land where they’d be able to live together? That’s totally the happy ending I want for this band of brothers.
Song Dong Il’s portrayal of Ji Ho’s emotions, as he learns that all of his boys have died as a result of working for Commander Hwang, is so amazingly complex. I don’t think I ever appreciated it properly before. He manages to keep up Ji Ho’s theatrical voice-breaking-every-few-seconds manner of speaking, yet infuse it with barely held in, tamped down emotion, as he thinks about his fallen crew with just a hint of tears glistening in his eyes. I feel like Song Dong Il is keeping a finger on so many different parts of Ji Ho’s body language at the same time, and yet, it comes across as an intricate whole. Fantastic. 🤩
In a dog-eat-dog world, where someone like Constable Oh would easily put away someone like Horse Doctor, while Horse Doctor’s supposed friends, Painter and the Jumos simply cluck in sympathy as they look on (poor Horse Doctor, seriously), Ji Ho’s loyalty to his fallen brothers is extra striking. Clearly, he’s set on taking down Commander Hwang, as vengeance for the wrongful deaths of his brothers, and it feels like he would put his life on the line to do so.
Meanwhile, I have to admit, I was pretty stoked to see that Cho Bok turns out to be a natural sharpshooter, managing to squarely hit the target on her very first try. Attagirl! What a winsome, joyful badass she is. 😍 I’m glad that she doesn’t let the men stop her from learning, even though they are clearly intimidated by her natural flair.
It feels like Dae Gil’s and Eonnyeon’s dumbfounded realizations of each other’s continuing existence serve as bookends to this episode. We begin the episode with Dae Gil’s gut-wrenching grief, and we end the episode with Eonnyeon’s similarly shocked and stupefied response to the fact that Dae Gil is, in fact, alive, and not dead as she’d presumed.
I feel like there must so many thoughts racing through Eonnyeon’s mind in this moment. She’s only just married Tae Ha and consummated the marriage, and she’s also literally just laid to rest her heart for Dae Gil, and here he is, in the flesh before her, and shopping for fabric with another woman, no less.
I can imagine how shocking this must be, for Eonnyeon. I have to wonder if she regrets marrying Tae Ha, in this moment. After all, she’d carried Dae Gil in her heart for years, even when she’d thought he was dead. If she had the chance to do it all over again, would she still have married Tae Ha, I wonder?
Now that Dae Gil and Eonnyeon are finally face to face, what will they say to each other? I feel like there’s probably too much to say, so much so that they’re more likely not to say anything at all. 💔
As it turns out, I was wrong about Dae Gil and Eonnyeon being face to face, but it’s true that Eonnyeon chooses not to say anything to Dae Gil at all. In fact, she hides from Dae Gil, as she desperately tries to hold back the sobs that seem to be on the verge of involuntarily bursting forth from her.
Eonnyeon is clearly haunted by her memories of the past – she so often thinks of Dae Gil in his Young Master noble robes – and she’s also visibly haunted by the specter of his death, which has clearly been hanging over her all this time. Combined, this makes for a very complicated amalgamation of emotions for her, in this moment.
On the one hand, there must be a great sense of relief and release, to know that he’s alive, and we see that in the way she thanks him in voiceover, for being alive. At the same time, there are likely many questions in her mind, and a lot of emotion just from seeing him look so different than what she remembered of him. Where before he’d been earnest, hopeful and happy, there’s now a distinct jaded worldliness about him. Eonnyeon thanks him in voiceover, for looking as happy as he does, but clearly, she is only seeing the smile on his lips, and not perceiving the weariness in his eyes.
Additionally, I’m sure there’s confusion in her heart, about how to feel about Dae Gil, now that he’s alive and not dead. She’d just put down the memory of him, promising to be devoted to Tae Ha only, and now, Dae Gil’s back from the supposed dead; I’m sure her heart is thrown for a loop. And I’m also sure that this also has implications on how she views her relationship with Tae Ha. Before, it had probably seemed acceptable not to tell Tae Ha about a dead man whom she’d loved, but what of it now that he’s not dead after all?
It’s no wonder she’s lost in a daze even after getting back to her quarters. And, it looks like she’s finally screwing up the courage to tell Tae Ha her story. I wonder if Tae Ha’s already guessed, and is just waiting for her to tell him?
On this note, I wanted to say that Tae Ha really does seem to vibe differently now that he’s not in his runaway slave rags and channeling his fight mode. His gaze seems unusually clear and innocent, sometimes even like that of a small child, and I find this quite odd, because as a general, I’d have expected him to cut a more commanding figure.
I remember some of you commenting, when we first started our watch, on Tae Ha’s dark eyes when he’s in fight mode. Well, I suddenly realized that those dark eyes seem to have left the room, at least for now. 😅
Over at our rebel slave faction, the latest hit turns out to be the Qing Ambassador’s men in disguise. Hm.. very suspicious indeed, that the secret informant who’s instructing our rebel slaves on which nobles to shoot, is telling them to assassinate the Qing Ambassador’s men who are on their way to Jeju Island to look for our Little Prince. Who’s behind the informant, then? The Left State Councilor?
Also, Cho Bok turns out to be our MVP again, with her timely appearance – with a sprained ankle, no less – and her quick thinking, to hide Eop Bok in the brush pile, while the other slaves basically piss their pants as they frantically abandon their mission because they’re too scared. Eop Bok would’ve probably been a dead man, without her.
Not only that, Cho Bok then goes back up the mountain, with that sprained ankle, and retrieves the rifles that the other slaves had left behind in their panic. Her exasperated side-eye at the men, who are mostly all talk, is completely warranted, and she absolutely deserves that piggyback ride that Eop Bok offers her.
The arc that I found hardest to watch this episode, is that of Commander Hwang hunting down Wangson, fighting him and felling him, then luring General Choi to do the same. 😣
I have to admit that on my earlier watches, I wasn’t fully cognizant of how scrappy our slave hunting crew is, in terms of their fight skills. Because of the flair with which they’re filmed, and the pumping fight anthem that scores their exploits, I’d had it in my head that they were stronger fighters than they actually are. When faced with opponents like Commander Hwang or Tae Ha, who are highly skilled and formally trained, they really do struggle to hold their own.
And unfortunately for Wangson, Commander Hwang was not in the frame of mind to be patient or merciful. It was really hard to see Wangson’s blood get spilled. 😣😭
While I so appreciate the fierce loyalty and kinship that drives General Choi and Dae Gil to search so doggedly for Wangson, it makes me nervous to see them face off with Commander Hwang, especially with so much emotion about Wangson’s fate clouding their ability to think rationally. I have no doubt that both Dae Gil and General Choi would put their lives on the line for Wangson and for each other, but.. in this moment, I kinda wish Show didn’t feel the need to test their loyalty like this. 😭