Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! We are officially in Show’s second half, and boy, does a lot go down. I hope you guys are ready to chat about Chuno episodes 15 & 16! 😱
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! ❤️
Ack. This was an episode brimming with bloodshed, and it’s all (well, mostly) because of Commander Hwang. 😭
It was really hard to watch General Choi’s growing desperation as he fought Commander Hwang, and it was just as hard to see Commander Hwang’s increasing advantage over General Choi. Like I mentioned when we talked about the previous episode, part of General Choi’s disadvantage, besides being not as skilled as Commander Hwang, is his emotional investment in Wangson’s fate. That moment, when General Choi cries over Wangson’s motionless body, before Commander Hwang slices him down, is so heartbreaking. 😫
I’m not surprised that Dae Gil takes this all very, very hard, and is essentially one provocation short of actually losing his mind. He may have acted tough and gruff with General Choi and Wangson, but he really does regard them as family, and the thought that he’s lost them forever, is just too much for him to bear. I hate that he was mean to Seol Hwa (poor Seol Hwa), but I can understand that he’s in no frame of mind to take care of someone else, when his own world is falling apart.
Commander Hwang is so sneaky-evil. The way he uses the knowledge that Dae Gil is somehow connected to Tae Ha because Dae Gil calls out Tae Ha’s name, is terrible but clever. Sending Dae Gil a note in Tae Ha’s name – along with personal artefacts belonging to General Choi and Wangson no less – telling Dae Gil not to pursue him, is just the thing to send Dae Gil on Tae Ha’s tail in a big way.
It’s so poignant that Dae Gil now chooses to wear those personal artefacts on himself, to remember General Choi and Wangson. It feels like he’s using those items to signify their presence with him, even if they’re not with him in person. 💔
And just as Dae Gil’s determined to find Tae Ha, who’s supposedly killed General Choi and Wangson, in a similar fashion, Ji Ho is determined to honor his fallen boys, and take revenge for them. The way he goes to great lengths, just to be able to pay his respects to them, with the pouring of the wine, says a lot about his loyalty to them.
I’m a little nervous about Ji Ho being taken away by Constable Oh, though. Ugh. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since we’ve already seen what Constable Oh did to Horse Doctor, but his duplicity still shocks me. He’d been praising Ji Ho not too long ago, promising a long and mutually profitable partnership – and now he’s surrounding Ji Ho with men, to drag him to the capital bureau? Constable Oh deserves to have the same done to him, seriously.
Eonnyeon doesn’t manage to bring herself to tell Tae Ha about her slave background, but Tae Ha is gentle and understanding, assuring her that she doesn’t have to talk about it if she doesn’t want to. Tae Ha does strike me as a gentle and understanding husband, even though he’s coming across as generally very bland, at the moment. I do like his approach, of focusing more on the future than dwelling on the past.
Tae Ha does speak his mind at the meeting with the scholars, and he does embrace the Little Prince when Eonnyeon invites him to – which is a poignant callback to the flashback when he’d declined to embrace his child, and then the child had died – but unfortunately for him, Commander Hwang has no intention of letting them go about their way to accomplish their missions. The way he kills everyone on sight without even showing a shred of remorse or regret, even though some of these men are people whom he knows, is really cold.
It really feels like our key characters have all lost the people who are quasi-family to them. Dae Gil’s lost General Choi and Wangson; Ji Ho has lost his boys; Tae Ha’s lost his brothers in arms. This means that the number of characters in our drama world who are driven by deep loss, is only increasing.
The only group that actually appears to gain a member, potentially, is the rebel slave faction, with the appearance of the new guy, who saves Eop Bok and Ggeutbong after their targets trick them with a couple of decoys. It’s extremely suspicious that right after we see Left State Councilor talk to his lackey about a merchant named Hong who won’t give up his stash of water ox horns, our slave rebels receive instruction to make Merchant Hong their next target. Ugh. How devious, that Left State Councilor is basically using the slaves’ discontent at the social order of the times, for his own evil purposes. I grudgingly concede that Left State Councilor is something of an evil genius.
Eonnyeon and Dae Gil finally come face to face, and the way she clasps her chest, it’s almost as if she feels his presence before she sees him, which makes no sense, but if it’s true, is quite remarkable. Dae Gil’s expression is hollow and jaded, and his words, gruff and cold. Which is why I find Eonnyeon’s question about whether he’s thought of her, even just once, quite inappropriate. But, I rationalize that he was her one great love, and she’d carried him in her heart all these years, until very recently. I suppose she would wonder if he’d reciprocated that longing that she’d had for him.
Our episode ends with Dae Gil putting the head of General Choi’s spear to Eonnyeon’s neck, as Tae Ha holds the blade of his woldo to Dae Gil’s. I know this is supposed to be a dramatic, tension-filled moment, but my mind can’t help but irreverently see this as the Joseon version of the three-way wrist grab, ha. 😆😅
Even though we’ve talked about how Eonnyeon can be a frustrating character to watch sometimes, I do have to hand it to her for putting her own life on the line, to protect Dae Gil and Tae Ha from each other. Seriously, if not for her, one or both of them would have died, in that day-long duel that they engage in. Or, they might’ve never made it to that duel; they might’ve sliced each other down, right there in front of the seowon.
However, because she throws herself in front of first Dae Gil, and then Tae Ha, the signal she sends is clear: they are both important to her, and she doesn’t want either of them to die. And so, even as Tae Ha and Dae Gil battle it out, they both hold themselves back from actually killing each other, even though they both have the opportunity to deal the death blow.
On that note, I have to say, I found the fight between Dae Gil and Tae Ha quite funny, though I’m sure it was not intended to be funny. First of all, the way Dae Gil unleashes Tae Ha’s mane of glory is quite the stretch. I’m sure the slicing off of a top knot would not result in the wavy, billowy ‘do that Tae Ha gets. 😆 Also, as the two men tire, it’s sad-funny how they are literally so tired that they’re both struggling to keep standing, but neither of them will concede defeat. Their blows have gone from intense and powerful, to halfhearted and lame.
It’s telling, though, that Tae Ha cannot accept the truth of Dae Gil’s words, that Eonnyeon used to be a slave. The indignation with which he receives that information, which then drives the desperately aggrieved manner in which he attacks Dae Gil, essentially insisting that Dae Gil take back his words, practically blinds him. He literally can’t think straight, at the idea. I guess this explains why Eonnyeon was so hesitant to tell Tae Ha the truth; she was afraid he would react in exactly this way.
Aside from keeping both Dae Gil and Tae Ha alive, the other important thing Eonnyeon does this episode, is save the Little Prince. If she hadn’t gone after the scholars who’d abducted him, he would’ve died at Commander Hwang’s hands for sure. I have to give credit where it’s due; Eonnyeon kinda turns out to be at least one of this episode’s MVPs.
Another MVP, I feel, is Ji Ho. I kinda love how he basically wriggles his way out of the trap that Constable Oh set for him, in capturing him and taking him back to the capital bureau. The way he screams exaggeratedly, then twists around in his seat, and starts warming his hands over the hot coals, while still tied to his seat, is just iconic. 😆 And, he manages to talk Constable Oh into letting him go, too, by threatening to put the blame on Constable Oh, when a superior comes to question him. Then, he softens the blow, saying they should leave on friendly terms since they have a long journey to walk together. Smart move, Ji Ho. Very smart move.
If I weren’t already highly suspicious of the source of the hit instructions that our rebel slave faction has been receiving, I’d probably be more accepting of the New Guy, who claims to have been the one sending those missives. But, given that I already feel that it’s Left State Councilor who’s been behind everything, I feel like New Guy can only be an undercover agent also sent by Left State Councilor. Also, he’s too well-spoken and clean-faced to be a real slave, no?
The conversation between Eop Bok and Cho Bok is very thought-provoking, I must say. Eop Bok’s question, that in creating a new world, wouldn’t it better to not have yangban and slaves, but to have everyone as equals, makes so much sense. What a mature, objective line of thought, after he’s considered all the “change the world” talk that the rebel faction’s been engaging in.
However, it’s Cho Bok’s response that really gets to the heart of the issue, I feel. With all that she and her family’s suffered at the hands of the yangban, there’s too much unfairness and grievance in her, to not want the yangban to pay for what they’ve done. That’s so true. So many slaves have suffered so extensively at the hands of their masters, that it would be impossible to expect them to suspend their need for justice. I guess that’s exactly what they mean when they say, “An eye for an eye, and the world goes blind.”
Dae Gil’s egg-eating scene is as iconic as ever, even on my third viewing. That flashback that he has, of General Choi and Wangson bantering over the egg that’s always hidden in General Choi’s rice, is so deeply poignant, now that he’s sitting there alone, with only their personal artefacts keeping him company. With each bite of the egg that Dae Gil takes, his grief becomes more and more apparent, and his heaving sobs are so hard to watch. He looks so.. broken, even as he cries, while holding that remnant of egg. Sob. 😭💔
I seriously hate that in this most vulnerable of moments, Dae Gil gets captured like an animal, with a rope around his neck, and is hauled in for torture and questioning at the capital bureau, alongside Tae Ha. Talk about hitting someone when he’s down. This was definitely a hit below the belt, to my eyes – but I guess Constable Oh and his ilk haven’t ever shown themselves to be truly interested in fairness and justice.
When the interrogating officer demands to know if Dae Gil’s seen the Little Prince, it’s not all that surprising to me, that Dae Gil refuses to cooperate with a straight answer. For all of his dark talk about being the worst man in Joseon, he has a good heart, and it just feels in character for him to protect a child, even though it means that he will be beaten and tortured for it. Of course, it might also have something to do with the fact that Eonnyeon’s connected to the child, though I’d like to think that Dae Gil would have protected the Little Prince, even without Eonnyeon in the picture.
Also, Tae Ha’s dark eyes are back. It seems like he’s fiercest when Eonnyeon’s not around? Hur. I confess that in this moment, I thought Tae Ha looked pretty intense – until we see Dae Gil in a similar position. Now he looks positively ferocious. 🤩😅 How will Dae Gil and Tae Ha get out of this dicey situation, especially with Commander Hwang right there, ready and waiting to torture them to death? 😬