Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! It occurs to me that if this had been a 16-episode series, we’d be done by now – but here we are, still going! 😅 I hope you guys are ready to chat about Chuno episodes 17 & 18! These episodes are quite the doozy! 😱
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! ❤️
These Chuno episodes just keep getting harder to watch, don’t they? I found this torture scene one of the more difficult part of this episode, especially the part where Tae Ha gets his flesh burned off. Ack. 🥺
It does strike me, though, that Dae Gil and Tae Ha are very different in how they approach things.
Dae Gil is quick to feign unconsciousness when he can, to minimize the torture and beating, whereas Tae Ha literally invites Commander Hwang to begin the torture, before the iron grows cold.
I think this is because of his strong belief that it would be better to die for his cause than to act dishonorably, but seeing how he suffers, it occurs to me that there is also wisdom in picking your battles, and clearly, Tae Ha doesn’t seem to subscribe to that way of thinking.
The way Commander Hwang thanks Tae Ha, when Tae Ha promises that Commander Hwang will die by his hand, makes me think that Commander Hwang is basically racking up a multitude of sins, for which he plans to pay later; he expects to die a horrible death for what he’s done, and it feels like he plans to be grateful for it, when the time comes.
It all seems very twisted, but I feel like this might be his way of appeasing his conscience.
In a rare spot of happy news this hour, we see that Wangson and General Choi are alive after all – HUZZAH!! I don’t know how realistic it is, that they could have survived, and escaped Commander Hwang’s notice, but I’ll take it.
Maybe Commander Hwang allowed them to live? Maybe he knew they were alive all along, and used them to send a message to his father-in-law, while passing them off as dead?
I’m just happy that they are alive, and have each other for company and support, as they make their way to Mt. Worak to recuperate. It’s just really dreadful that they have no idea what Dae Gil is going through, and even if they did, they’re in no shape to rescue him.
There’s Ji Ho, though, who’s pledging to get Dae Gil out of prison, since he’s the only one left of the boys he’d raised. Will Ji Ho be able to come through for Dae Gil?
While we’re on the topic of Ji Ho, I just want to say, how funny is the way Ji Ho ran off from Commander Hwang, screeching, right after he’d thrown down the gauntlet for a fight?
Ahaha. I bet this is the weirdest non-fight Commander Hwang’s ever faced. 😆
I must say that Eonnyeon’s this episode’s MVP again.
It seems to me that she’s grown in wisdom and wits since we first met her, because where before she’d mostly flailed about very breathily when things went wrong, now, we’re seeing her brave the cold while trudging in the snow for hours, in her effort to get the Little Prince to safety.
Not only that, we also see her gather her wits to get creative, in order to protect the Little Prince.
First, there’s how she talks a random noblelady into providing her and the Little Prince with food and lodging for the night.
And then, there’s how she draws blood from her own finger, to smear on the Little Prince and herself, so that she can pretend that they both suffer from some kind of awful plague, in order to alarm the gatekeeping guards into letting her through.
I was pretty impressed by this, and I hafta say, I much prefer this much stronger, more determined version of Eonnyeon.
On a purely aesthetic note, I think Eonnyeon and her bright purple coat, with all that snowy landscape in the background, makes such a beautiful picture. 🤩
In the meantime, over at our rebel slave faction, New Guy takes the slaves on a rampage of a yangban’s house, and it literally feels to me like he’s forcing them do it against their will.
They mostly look terrified and uncertain, and he’s the one standing tall and brandishing his sword. This doesn’t feel like their uprising; it feels more like he’s bending them to his will.
Given that we have circumstantial evidence that indicates that New Guy is not to be trusted, I can’t help but wonder what the plan is, if this is really all Left State Councilor’s doing.
Why make the slaves feel empowered by thrusting them into a rampage that they didn’t ask to be a part of? My only guess is that Left State Councilor plans to eventually make the rebel slave faction take the fall for something shady, coz he’s just oily like that.
Also, I’m mildly amused that Ggeutbong is now referred to as one of the faction’s two best shooters, alongside Eop Bok.
That’s quite a turnaround, for the guy who was so startled by his own rifle that he’d practically dropped it. 😆
In prison, the conversation between Dae Gil and Tae Ha turns more philosophical. I love the glint of tears in Dae Gil’s eyes, even as he sardonically says to Tae Ha,
“If you do manage to change this world, give it a try. Making a world where no people will be forced by distress to run away, and there will be no need for people like me, spending their lives trailing them.
This world where people cannot even experience that damned love as they wish… Is it not a wretched nuisance?”
This scene is so well done, I feel. With Jang Hyuk’s complex delivery of Dae Gil’s lines, I feel like beneath the jadedness of Dae Gil’s words, there’s also a deep sense of wistfulness, and that tells me that he really does truly wish that such a world could exist.
The next morning, the scene at the execution site is also really hard to watch. It’s hard enough watching Dae Gil and Tae Ha get beaten up before they’re due to be hanged, but really, that scene of Dae Gil hanging from the gallows, is the kind of stuff that makes my stomach clench with foreboding.
Seriously, how does Jang Hyuk manage to pull off a scene like that where he’s literally hanging by the neck (ack, that’s so dangerous!), while he continues to emote in character?!? 🤯
The way Show juxtaposes the scenes of Seol Hwa walking alone in the woods, and singing a plaintive song, with the scenes of Dae Gil hanging from the gallows, is really quite heartbreaking.
I don’t know that I’ve actually paid attention to the song Seol Hwa sings before – I was mostly likely too preoccupied with what was happening with Dae Gil – but this watch, I’m struck by the bittersweet lyrics of her song:
“In death I will be reborn as a flower,
And you will become my butterfly.
We will find a green valley,
and spend an eternity there.
O love, my love, my beloved one.”
To me, in singing this song, Seol Hwa is thinking of Dae Gil, and putting him to rest in her heart, until they can have another chance at happiness in their next lives – even if they are but a flower and a butterfly.
That’s so sad, when I think about it. 💔
On an aesthetic note again, Seol Hwa’s colorful garments make such a beautiful pop of color against the earthiness of the woods. Show sure knows about Pretty. 😍
In the chaos of the execution scene, two things stand out to me. The first thing is, the fact that Tae Ha stops to throw a sword in Dae Gil’s direction, to cut his body down from hanging on its noose.
For all Tae Ha knows, Dae Gil is dead, but he stops to do this anyway, to give Dae Gil a little more dignity in death. That’s kind, considering how their interactions have mostly been tense and antagonistic, with them on opposite sides. I see this as an action that communicates a measure of truce and respect, now that Dae Gil’s “dead.”
The other thing that strikes me in this scene, is how Ji Ho basically unleashes his maximum hyena-crazy, in his (ultimately feeble) attempts to save Dae Gil.
It really seems that Ji Ho can’t think straight, at the prospect of Dae Gil probably being dead.
From the way Ji Ho hems and haws before he actually starts walk away from his pretend guard post, it’s clear that he’s nervous and scared. Otherwise, why would he wait until Dae Gil’s actually hanging by the neck, to do anything?
And from the way Ji Ho frantically tries to undo the rope that’s tying Dae Gil to the gallows, using only his hands and teeth instead of a nearby sword, while hysterically bashing guards and intruders alike with a stick, he’s clearly not thinking straight at all.
For all of Ji Ho’s bravado, he’s too emotionally invested in Dae Gil’s fate to actually be of much use. He does thump on Dae Gil’s chest hard enough to revive him, though, so credit to him for that.
Guh. Ji Ho’s death, which plays out in slow degrees, is so tragic to watch. The physical pain and the emotional tears, tamped down as much as possible by his signature cackle, is an agonizing combination.
We can see from Dae Gil’s gaze that he knows full well that Ji Ho won’t make it, but he continues to haul Ji Ho along, matching him laugh for laugh, as they sardonically talk about the past, and about life.
It’s striking to me, that after all that Dae Gil and Ji Ho have been through, with Ji Ho even setting traps to kill Dae Gil, in this moment, with Ji Ho’s death unmistakably impending, Dae Gil refuses to abandon him.
For all of their fallouts and cutting words, there’s actually a deep loyalty that runs between them, that causes Ji Ho to save Dae Gil at the risk of his own life, and that spurs Dae Gil to stay with Ji Ho in his dying moments, despite having soldiers on his own tail.
The way Dae Gil continues to cry over Ji Ho’s body, and warm Ji Ho’s toes, even after Ji Ho’s breathed his last breath, is gut-wrenching and raw.
In this moment, it really feels like Dae Gil’s all alone in the world, with only sorrow, loss and loneliness as his companions. 😭
Also, poor Ji Ho.. he really did give his life to save Dae Gil, even though he was essentially quite ineffectual at it. 😭
On that note, it’s just really good to see Wangson and General Choi alive and in good enough shape to talk and bargain with Jjakgwi. I really need them to reunite with Dae Gil soon, to not only let Dae Gil know that they’re alive, but also, so that Dae Gil won’t feel as alone as he does now.
All the bluster from Jjakgwi is meant for comedy, and I’m mildly amused by the flashback story told from Jjakgwi’s point of view, of his big fight with Dae Gil, complete with Dae Gil sporting a jaunty ponytail and poufy side-swept bangs.
Ha. I guess the way Jjakgwi sees it, Dae Gil was quite the hair fashionista back in the day..? 😆
Elsewhere, I’m pretty impressed with Eonnyeon’s progress, as she goes on the run with the Little Prince on her back.
I especially liked the scene where she warms a small stone by the fire, and gives it to him to hold, just like Dae Gil had done for her, back when he’d been her Young Master.
That little detail feels very bittersweet to me. I also like the detail, that when Eonnyeon feels threatened, she instinctively reaches for the Little Prince’s hand, to give him a sense of assurance.
That’s a very motherly thing to do, and in times like this, I appreciate that Eonnyeon’s truly risen to the occasion and stepped out of her comfort zone, to be wiser and braver than I’d thought it possible for her to be.
I know I just talked about the respectful truce between Tae Ha and Dae Gil, but it looks like that was only valid while Dae Gil was dead.
Now that Dae Gil’s alive and kicking and back on his feet, Tae Ha’s determined that Dae Gil mind his own business and stay out of things. I find this last fight scene gratuitous, and I find myself feeling rather annoyed at both men, because they are both wasting time while fighting each other, all for the sake of their egos.
Dae Gil’s seen Eonnyeon being taken away with the Little Prince on her back, so he knows that she’s in danger. Tae Ha knows that Eonnyeon’s on her own, with the entire country looking for her. And yet, they’re wasting time waving their egos at each other? 🙄
Facepalm. This is one time that our rousing fight anthem doesn’t work to distract me and throw me into fangirl spazz mode.
I need these two men to stop being idiotic, and get over circling each other, so that they can save Eonnyeon and the Little Prince.
Another two draining episodes, torture followed by near hanging followed by Ji Ho’s death, a scene that’s as hard to take as any. This show must have taken a huge emotional toll on Jang hyuk, the pain and sadness he had to display through a series of tragic events and to show the torture of conflicting emotions, cynicism of any grand change in society while reflecting on the emptiness of his life and wanting something else. At his core Daegil is compassionate and we learn how he regards his profession, as he says why can’t society not have those who have and those who haven’t, then you wouldn’t need people like me. In a sense, he regards himself as a creation of a corrupt system, but he hates what society has forced him to become.
This seems like a common theme as the slaves, especially Eop Bok starts to question the path they have embarked on, are they not acting as vandals, raiding the yangbang houses and is it right to kill them? Society is forcing them to do things that are almost against their inherent nature. I don’t understand why the new guy isn’t regarded with more suspicion by the slaves, he’s clean cut, neatly dressed and an excellent fighter. Plus he seems to be able to come and go as he pleases, he’s nothing like any of the other slaves.
Hwang is like Daegil in that he is also a creation of the system and if he wants to survive/look after his mother, he’s being forced along an evil path and I think he’s glad to hear Tae-ha say he won’t give him any consideration in the future. There’s a lot of self-hate here, he wants the world to regard him as an evil monster, wants Tae-ha to hate him so he can feel better about what he plans to do to Tae-ha. I think he’s clearly unbalanced in that he’s now targeting his father in law, I think Hwang sub-consciously blames his father in law for the monster he has become and, irrationally, is seeking to destroy him even though his father in law is now fully supportive and seeking to have Hwang exceed his achievements.
Tae-ha is also a product of the system as Daegil mockingly tells him in jail. Tae-ha is bound by the codes and customs of society and its expectations of a noble warrior. He’s trapped in that role, he refuses to acknowledge Eon Nyeon or him were slaves. As a warrior, he’d rather die than show cowardice or dishonour, won’t try anything to stay alive even though he has so much to do whereas Daegil refuses to believe he will die the next day and is constantly searching for a way out.
Seolhwa and Eon Nyeon are standouts in these episodes, Seolhwa singing and dancing in the woods and on the snow covered beach with mountains in the background are such beautifully composed scenes and Eon Nyeon in her hanbok is so striking against the snow covered background. Eon Nyeon continues to show her resourcefulness and courage as she cares for the little Prince and she still remains this vision of idealized beauty through these struggles.
Best news ever, General Choi and Wangson are alive but barely. It’s not clear why Hwang didn’t kill them but I don’t think it’s something he overlooked, he’s too good a fighter. I think he deliberately left them alive but badly wounded, to send them in an act of defiance to the Left State Councillor but if he sent corpses, they would deteriorate on the journey. He has no real issue with them and he doesn’t regard them as threats, they’re just slave hunters, not fellow conspirators of Tae-ha and they’re no match for him in combat. Plus he expects the Left State Councillor to dispose of them as he did Ji Ho’s men whom Hwang had sent previously. In any event, I’m happy to see the guys alive but now under the questionable hospitality of the very unstable Jjakgwi.
Like you, KFG, I don’t understand why Tae-ha and Daegil would fight each other at the end of episode 18 when Eon Nyeon and the little prince are in real danger. I don’t think this is a realistic scenario, Daegil and Tae-ha have bonded in a way through their torture and imprisonment, they have a common goal to rescue Eon Nyeon and the little prince and they now know Hwang is responsible for killing their friends.
The show is waxing very philosophically about Joseon’s rigid societal structure and the roles individuals are slotted into and the actions they are forced to take that are at odds with basic human nature.
I found this super long article, trying to find if slave hunters were in the Cheonmin cateogory but I still can’t find it. Still, its interesting for when you get a chance to check it out. All these people were in that category (below Yangban and below Commoners/Working class) Other people in this category include:
Chong, naein – servants
iii. Yijok – govt service such as messengers, cleaners, keepers
Yokchol – caretakers of travel stations and public restrooms
So the second subcategory of occupational cheonmin are the private category. These include:
Sungyo – buddhist monks and nuns
Ryongin – private messengers
iii. Hechang – shoemakers
Kosa – criminal executioners
Mutang – shaman ritual performers
Sadang – graveyard and ancestral mountain keepers
vii. Jaein, kwangdae – traveling entertainers
Link to the article http://www.thehistoryofkorea.com/ce-1100-the-baekjeong-medieval-outcasts
Wow! Simply Wow! Bookmarked page and site. Thanks so much.
Isn’t it fascinating! I have fallen into a rabbit hole once again. Here is another interesting one https://thetalkingcupboard.com/2012/09/03/social-strata-joseon-dynasty/
This is one of my favorite sites!
And old article: Fact Vs Fiction in The Slave Hunters https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=62058
The need for government sanction to hunt runaway slaves explains the why of Policeman Oh as a necessary middle man in the exchange of captured runaway slaves between the chuno and the nobles, and perhaps provided the stated grounds being used for the hanging of Dae Gil.
According to this then,It was probably a largely underground profession, more lucrative than common theft, and probably as guys like Dae Gil were necessary to both low grade officials making a dime more than their meager salaries provided and to the nobles themselves, probably tolerated by and large in ways that common thievery was not.
This is something extra for ep 17, but I find this is a good one to ponder about and I actually have a couple of questions as I’m not sure wether Im reading it correctly.
Daegil and Taeha are taken to get hanged. Taeha is stoic and dignified as usual, but Daegil is full of anger and fear. He scans the crowd (is he hoping to see Jiho?). He really wants to live.
Executioner: The criminals identity will be confirmed. Your name is Lee Daegil?
Daegil breathes heavily and looks around, looks at the hanging rope and doesn’t answer, so he gets beaten
Taeha offers to confirm his identity first. Then he gets beat up. Stupid Official Oh looks mortified (whatever)
Daegil: What crime did I commit? I haven’t commited any crimes. So for what reason are you going to put me to death?
Executioner: Listen, as a chuno, during the course of capturing and returning slaves, countless death have occurred.
Daegil: Isn’t a runaway slave the same as a dog biting his master? Therefore…if anyone died, how is that a crime? In the past, when I returned a runaway slave to you, you flogged him until he died! (Did Daegil really believe he was justified in chasing slaves, did he really justify his occupation or was he pointing out the hypocrisy of the executioner and these yangban and supposedly righteous ” law and order” people?)
Executioner: You jerk! (They hit him again). “And in addition, he had many problems with the other group of slave hunters. In the end he killed the chief of the other group, a Chun, something or other”. (In the Dark Site he is accused of killing Jiho’s men, not Jiho himself) “So, he is guilty of more than twenty crimes. Today, we are going to show the importance of law, by this immediate execution. Do you have any last word?”
Daegil: The crime were committed by a goblin and doesn’t lighting hit the old tree? Heeeyaaa (he screams with tears in his eyes) Dark Site – So the goblin commits the crime, but lighting strikes upon the old tree. (Does anybody understand, what exactly Daegil meant here? Is it something like “the righteous pay for the sinners?)
Executioner: This bastard. Talking back til the end. Carry out the sentence.
Daegil’s tearful and fearful eyes turn crazier and he pushes the executioners screaming “Let go! I’m not dying” This is when Taeha jumps to protect him (Awww Taeha! He is such a good man!) I’ll continue with Ep 18 tomorrow.
I think Dae Gil was pointing out the yangban hypocricy when he mentioned about a slave captured by him being flogged to death by the yangban owner.
The goblin saying sounds like a proverb to me. You are right about the meaning. I got the same understanding of it: “The righteous pay for the sinners.”
I think the Dark Side has a better translation. Daegil could not have been accused of murdering Cheon Ji Ho, because the latter is still alive ( in disguise) when the charges against Dae Gil are read. More likely the officials pinned the death of Ji Ho’s underlings on Dae Gil.
One more thing: Jang Hyuk’s feet deserve their own acting award for that hanging scene.
1.One can only infer from Dae Gil’s previous commentary that while he has mixed feelings about his work as chuno, at times feeling guilty (at times we find later also having compassion on many he had captured, helping them escape and sending them to Jjang Gwi), but also upon other occasions feeling quite justified, not to mention well within Joseon’s legal code, indeed feeling as since slavery was an actual pillar of Joseon civilization, that he (as Ji Ho later also points out) and chunos in general are actual pillars of civilization, and goes on then to point out the actual hypocrisy contained therein in the charge against him, since in fact, whereas he generally just returns the slaves, officials and nobles are in fact the ones who divy out the beatings and killing.
2. Watching on Viki, I was under the impression he was being charged/framed for the killing of Ji Ho’s men, not Ji Ho himself. And it makes much more sense that way.
3. The goblin strikes: no one knows who or why, a mystery, a goblin did this. And lightning strikes: justice having no more reason than lightning but equivalent force hits an innocent old tree (just because it is there). Ah, Dae Gil, master of the absurd life!
Like I did last week, here are Daegil and Taeha “philosophical” dialogues from ep 17, for us to ponder about (I will post ep 18 dialogues later) Ill transcribe Viki subs and complement with Dark Site’s subs.
• Well, before I get to that, I must say, Daegil in the torture chamber, I wanted to be Commander Hwang’s hand sliding through his abs :p except then he started hitting him and I snapped out of it
• How beautiful my Daegil asking: Where is my family?
• Unnyun walking in the snow with the cute prince looks like she is a princess of a fairy tale. She is extraordinarily beautiful in these scenes.
Ok now, dialogue, Daegil wakes up in his cell and moves his head in circles to relax his neck I guess, lol
Taeha: You were alright?
Daegil: Did you want me to die?
Taeha: I thought after all the blows to your vital points, you’ve lost all your energy
Daegil: There was no point in getting beaten to death like you, idiot
Taeha: Don’t you know the battle between two honours? – Dark Site: Do you know what fighting for a just cause means?
Daegil: I don’t care about that but tell me what’s going on?
Taeha: What do you mean?
Daegil: I heard what you too were talking about. Are you saying Unnyun is with WonSan or the King’s grandson or something?
Taeha: I don’t know any woman named Unnyun. My wife’s last name is Kim and her name is Hye Won
Daegil: You two went to Jeju Island together? You took her into that dangerous place?
Taeha: Love bear suffering together.
Daegil laughs but his eyes look angry, he tries to punch Taeha, “Hey look here. Those guys are all looking for Won Son. That means everyone is on their way to Unnyun
Taeha: It’s none of your business
Daegil: What’s so important about building a brand new world? You can’t even protect your own woman and worry about the world? He grabs Taeha “You didn’t have the confidence to protect her so
WHY? (he screams) Why didn’t you kill me? WHY??? Taeha just glares at him.
Taeha: It’s all in the past. Wether it’s compassion or something else, just let it go. This is not your business but mine.— Dark Site – Be it compassion or remorse, just shake it off.
Daegil: I’m going to live no matter what. I have to live so I can avenge the guy who killed my family. We may not pay back kindness but we always pay back revenge, that’s our way of life. (famous Ji Ho words)
Taeha: If you live violently, and die a celebrated death; that’s all it is – Dark Site – Living with passion and dying with honor is all that matters.
Daegil turns around and glares at him (love his glare, so intense even if we can only see one eye lol) Enough of the donkey’s fart blabbing. Just worry about surviving and getting out of here. Live so you can protect someone you need to and rescue the one you want to. If your plans don’t work out, go live somewhere far away in deep hiding.
Daegil is getting a neck massage by a cellmate 😀
Daegil: How was it? Living as a slave? – Dark Site – So tell me, have you enjoyed your life as a slave? (some extra sarcasm here)
Taeha: I was never a slave
Daegil laughs, “Even with a mark in your forehead, you are still a noble” – Dark Site “ You still flaunt your nobility”
Taeha: I spoke as a slave, I behaved like a slave, but I never let my mind accept it. Dark Site “But my sould never knelt before anyone”
Daegil: That’s what they mean by your inside doesn’t make the outside. Hey, if you get a chance to change the world, try doing that (I think Daegil was sincere here). A world where nobody is running away because it’s too dangerous, nor a person like to capture them…a world like that. The world is the pits, don’t you agree? – Dark Site – “And there will be no need for people like me, spending their lives trailing them. This world where people cannot even experience that damned love as they wish…is it not a wretched nuisance?
Taeha: We’ll probably die tomorrow.
Daegil: Die? Me die? I’m not going to die (he talks in such a Jiho tone)
Taeha: The world does not change based solely on determination, it’s not so simple.
Daegil: It there was no such thing, I would have given up a long time ago. (for what is worth, Daegil’s survival
instinct is strong, that “will” that drives him, be it love/obsession/grudge/revenge, makes him extra stronger than if he was just relying on pure physical strength and skills)
Taeha: Everyone dies, so there’s no reason to feel cheated about that. But, because you can’t choose the time of death, it’s a shame.
Daegil: Stop inviting bad omens…Even if we wanted to die, everyone has a reason not to die. (I wanna be the cell mate who is giving him a massage)
Thank you, Drama Fan! Do you have any info about the preview scene ( for Ep. 18) of Evil Minister and his daughter? Viki does not have preview subtitles, and the scene never appeared in Episode 18.
I checked the Dark Site just in case but nothing, it seems that scene was cut 🙁 It looked intense and Left Minister showed some humanity there. Hopefully we’ll find someone to translate it one day (I’m slowly taking korean lessons with the Pimsleur method. I’ll give it a try in 10 years lol)
Ladies! I have the subs for the preview (subs by the WITHS2 team, when it was still active). Here’s the translation for the entire preview:
Left State Councilor to his daughter:
“How could you not eat for days? Are you trying to take your own life? You wretched fool… Not being able to die is even more miserable than not being able to live.”
(silently, in voiceover) But know what is an even more afflicting misery? That of a father wishing for that to happen.
“By entrusting you to your spouse, I tried to turn him into a trusted follower of mine!”
To Commander Hwang:
“Your obstinacy has surpassed every limit.”
“Is that not what you were looking for?”
“It is not going as you thought.”
Thank you Kfangurl! Wow! The scene is more painful than I thought 🥺
Yes, it definitely adds layers to Left State Councilor.. If Chuno had aired now instead of back then, we would’ve probably just had a really long episode, with those scenes intact. That would’ve been one time I wouldn’t have minded a long episode! 😝
Aw, thank you so much, @kfangurl! This is a good scene that should have been included in the episode. It shows Lady Lee’s desperation and adds a humanizing touch to Councilor Lee. I think that scene must have occurred after Cheon Ji Ho visits Lady Lee and tells her that her husband is a murderer. She was distressed and tried to kill herself with the silver knife. It looks like she had another suicide attempt, this time through starvation.
The preview scene could not have happened after Commander Hwang tells Lady Lee that she was correct about her father. He spoke to her and understood what she had to say. I imagine that just this short interaction gave her hope and stopped her from another suicide attempt.
Ah, yes, that scene is significant. Thank you for sharing it, kfangirl. It looks like Left State Councillor is concerned for his daughter but, no, or not how she sees it. She believes he wishes she could just take her own life. 😭 Poor her.
I hope Commander Hwang is truly changing and can somehow – despite a seeming death wish of his own – find a way to at least first show something like care to his lady. Hello, maybe even love. Yes, yes. I am a hopeless romantic. As Daegil says to Taehae – and, god, I love Daegil’s animalistic fight to keep on living:
“Enough with that miserable nonsense. For, even when you wish for your demise, everyone can always find a good reason not to.”
Oh, Daegil. 😍
Lady Lee isn’t wrong.. since in the voiceover Left State Councilor admits that he secretly wishes for his daughter to die.. 😭 Granted, it’s not because he doesn’t care for her, it’s more likely because of the kind of life that she has to live.
Oh yes then I suppose that’s not quite such an evil thought from Lefty. Still, she does seem very very afraid of what he’s capable of so would assume she’s frequently witnessed first-hand how he only thinks in terms of self-interest. I think maybe she reads him as wishing she were dead more for his own sake rather than for hers.
I agree, @Ele Nash!
@ Drama Fan: Tae Ha lives by noble principles. Dae Gil is skeptical of everyone’s principles but his own, albeit admiring the “if only” in such thinking. And yet no matter how much Tae Ha sounds admirable, and a handful of his aphorisms distinctly have the signpost for living vibe to them, Dae Gil is far more concerned with how reality provides visceral antidotes for the tunnel vision of living idealistically in a real world, Tae Ha’s tunnel vision, in part resulting from his status as a noble, in part resulting from his absolute mastery of all martial arts, meaning in one deadly situation after another, he has continuously been untouchable, leading to vast gaps in the here/now of his current circumstance.
Tae Ha, however, as we are gradually learning, while being a bit slow on the uptake, has as part of his nobility a willingness to go beyond his limits and even as he responds in the moment somewhat rigidly, in part his ego need to be THE champion, THE General at the table, is constantly observing others closely and ruminating upon what they say later, sifting out what is useful and correct by his noble way of looking at the world. Dae Gil, the master improvisationist, the rogue, coyote, is much more often in the moment, for good and ill.
Yes! Tae Ha is learning from his mistakes. He is capable of seeing the bigger picture and his own place within. For Dae Gil, there is no tomorrow, or rather tomorrow is just another day of misery…
I love how Taeha always observes Daegil and seems to be reflecting on what he says (even in the most dangerous moments Taeha is calm and reflective) Daegil also learns from Taeha. These eps where they started to interact are my favorite for this reason. Both characters influenced each other and grew through their encounter and will continue to do so.
I will quickly slough aside my petty probs with–Wang Son and the General being alive–like anyone else has escaped the fat lady singing when Hwang has em down, or how they managed to not go the bathroom for days, or live without water and so on, plot device to get them to Jjak Gwi for a seemingly probable reunion, or the just plain fuggetabout how much time it takes our characters to cover how much ground, or how Tae Ha seemingly slipped past the guys sent out to spy on the envoy, or how Dae Gil managed to find a rope for scaling that wall, how Dae Gil got the money to Ji Ho for the fancy guard get up…and googling it finding that Dae Gil could have actually survived that amount of time hanging as he was…all those things, and cut to the heart of the matter in these two episodes: Team Cheon Ji Ho, makkeoli to the rocks piled up over his grave.
First of all, totally agree with Snow Flower’s observation about how Dea Gil poses before Hwang de Sade in the torture room. Whether this was Jang Hyuk’s tribute to Sung Dong Il or Dae Gil reflecting his early lessons from Ji Ho on how to behave around dangerous and powerful people–when Jang Hyuk is in character…I know folks may still be divided between Tae Ha and Dae Gil, but really Jang Hyuk is so thoroughly great, even if one thinks of Tae Ha as more “noble,” a phenomenon that it strikes me is beginning to diminish…when Jang Hyuk is in character, he is just completely and utterly compelling and convincing. It was watching that scene unfold that also led me to believe that it must have been Ji Ho who taught Dae Gil how to laugh, especially at his own misery, not to mention as with the presence of mind to feign being knocked out, how discretion at times is, in fact, the better part of valor.
In line with this, Ji Ho’s failed ambush. It does not take rocket science to point out at this moment in the drama, what kind of cojones it actually took to try to take Inspector Hwang down. Remembering how he survived an attack upon his life by an entire troop of trained armed men, even Ji Ho’s archery skills were bound to be found lacking. And then JI Ho’s straight ahead go with his sword. Yes, he kept on running, better part of valor, the first order of things for Ji Ho or Dae Gil, survival, but just the risk he was taking to get his shot at Hwang was impressive. And when Hwang told him that he would sometime show him how scary death could be, I could not help but think for the first time how empty Hwang’s threats rang. Ji Ho already knows how scary death is; as he points out later, time was he could catch a bunch of arrows and survive. Despite all his posturing, Ji Ho is no fool about death having spent a lot of his life in its presence, the man laughing as he runs full tilt right on by the exceedingly sinister Commander Hwang.
And I am grateful to the show writers that Ji Ho did not fall at Hwang’s hands, but rather an arrow shot by some random archer and eventually in the company of the one remaining man on earth who knew his actual timber. The two of them laughing together! In a lot of these sageuks this laughter pose is ubiquitous, usually in the form it takes with the Left State Minister, often in the mouths of royalty as well. But for Ji Ho and Dae Gil, it appears to be something more than a mere phony pose. Laughing at danger, laughing at death, laughing at one’s own suffering, laughing as prelude to combat, laughing at their deepest fears–what seriously tough guys, even though they come by it by necessity, given their otherwise meager tools to combat all that, to use laughter as armor thus. And to do so with one another in the face of Ji Ho’s dying and death! Master class acting again between Jang Hyuk and Sung Dong Il. For me, anyway, Chuno has diminished for the lack of being able to see Sung Dong Il do his thing alone or with Jang Hyuk from here on out. TEAM EFFING CHEON JI HO!
And the way Dae Gil loved his old mentor at the very end. The scratching between his toes (and an aside on that, for me it was the first time I really realize that for however much disgust all Ji Ho’s foot knife work, the guy was really trying all that time to be, for lack of a better word, hygienic, and it reminds me of an earlier discussion we had about the footwear of the time, how poor Ji Ho, no matter what he could do to avert it, was plagued with some sort of fungus he had no antidote for), the breathing on his cold toes. Say what one will about the lives they were living, Dae Gil, the hero of Chuno–can anyone still doubt this–lovingly, is there any other word for it, in the most humane way one can imagine comforts Ji Ho as he goes.
K, I think you are correct here in pointing out just how alone Dae Gil must have felt in that moment, unleashing a torrent of tears in the forest solitude, held at bay by the laughter during Ji Ho’s dying. And this leads me to team Eop Bok, witnessing Dae Gil’s grief and refraining from shooting him down as he did so. With each passing episode, I find Eop Bok’s humanity growing. One does not kill a weeping tiger!
My other comment would be to echo K’s comments on Seol Hwa and Eon Nyeon. Seol Hwa is such a comforting character, that young, young woman, so slender and alone in the huge and dangerous world with nothing more than a small fire in the wilderness and a branch to hold off a wolf pack, who can dance and sing a forlorn tune as she makes her way through snow bound woods. And Eon Nyeon is such a courageous character, meaning able while frightened to death to act and act wisely. The good sense of the show runners, writer, editor, to repeatedly pair their scenes as counterpoints to the ongoing and violent disasters befalling their men. And as K also points out the color schemes of their scenes also provide a visual kind of calming effect for the audience in the midst of all hell breaking loose either in the torture chamber or near the gallows…for all the unbelievable goings on in this, touches such as that are so wonderful and what makes Chuno a cut above.
A quick thought–we can see the power relationship between Hwang and Lefty Father in Law turning, can we not?
Another…when it comes to the actual political power struggle, so who really is right? who wrong? It seems like the child prince would likely be a pawn for China against Joseon, even if the current King has a corrupt court and less than salutary motives himself. No wonder Tae Ha is beginning to waver between the idea that the prince is his son with Eon Nyeon and heir to the Joseon throne, and Dae Gil tells Tae Ha to take the fam and just run away and live somewhere in peace. No matter how idealistic Tae Ha may now be, it is hard for a viewer to really see what he might actually be fighting for.
Note too, Wang Son and the General do not remember the girl whom Dae Gil rescued early on, who sent her and her mother to Jjak Gwi (also the mountain guy Dae Gil drunkenly brags of having beaten to Seol Hwa).
Finally @Snow Flower… when I first saw Jjak Gwi, I thought that guy was really familiar, but when I looked his character up I found he was being played by Ahn Kil Kang who just one year previously played that bad, bad, badass man, Chil Seok, in Queen Seon Deok and the heroic fighting monk in Nokdu Flower. That fellow, besides being a wonderful physical actor, has range…(I have no idea the correct orthography, but krowchee! Krowchee! Krowchee!) another now favorite character actor in the KDrama world for me.
@BE, I knew you would recognize Ahn Kil Kang from QSD and Nokdu Flower!
They took our Jiho and gave us Jjak Gwi (Mr Slanted Ear) Ahhh imagine those two interacting! (We need that prequel fan fiction pronto) PS I think Daegil may have had some money hidden somewhere and told Jiho where to find it? Also, what the heck was Jiho’s actual rescue plan? 🤣 that was a comical unnerving disaster, him trying to bite the rope off with his teeth! Thank goodness for Taeha
It appears that Jjak Gwi at least knew of Ji Ho, but likely did not think much of him as a fighter. Albeit, if one is to believe Jjak Gwi’s version of the fight story, and actually it sounds as reasonable to me as Dae Gil’s, one can at least see how Ji Ho’s kind of cunning employed by his acolyte might be a better strategy than pure might. Ahn Kil Kang played a seriously nasty sword master in Queen Seon Deok and his character is a bit less shrewd, considerably less bitter, not to mention a bit stupider and more jolly, at least so far, in this, but it is clear Jjak Gwi, while lacking the je ne sais quois of Ji Ho’s personality, has a better idea about how to survive as an outlaw than Ji Ho could have imagined–his “soldiers” train, while obsequious, do not seem as out to lunch as Ji Ho’s crew, and he does not mind providing a haven for runaway slaves. It does also appear that Dae Gil left Ji Ho for Jjak Gwi at one point to pick up more fighting skills, before returning to Ji Ho’s territory. Dae Gil does not try to compete with Jjak Gwi, largely, one supposes, because he does not seem comfortable in any organized kind of situation. And perhaps because mano a mano, it might be seriously foolhardy to take that on.
The power dynamic between Councilor Lee and Commander Hwang has definitely shifted. I think the turning point for Hwang was the way his father in law treated him after he returned from Jeju Island. He vowed to destroy Councilor Lee in front of his wife, and it was probably the longest time he had ever spoken to poor Lady Lee.
In this week’s episodes, Hwang spoke to his wife again, and this time his tone of voice was rather matter-of-fact, and not angry. The wife noticed that too, and was happy that he actually addressed her and agreed with her. I think Commander Hwang did linger for a couple of extra seconds before leaving his wife’s room, as if he forgot to say something.
He is no longer following Councilor Lee’s orders, and is not afraid to disagree with him in front of other people.
it is also quite interesting to watch Kim Eung Soo who up to these episodes has portrayed LSM Lee almost in caricature begin so subtly to lose some of his confidence.
Aw, I love these episode reviews, Kfangirl, and everyone’s comments here.
Jiho dying and Daegil warming his horrible feet is another standout scene to me. Great anecdote from Drama Fan that he put the coins in his own mouth. I tend to think oftentimes Jang Hyuk acting crying is Jang Hyuk actually crying 😭
Yes, yes, yes Trent! Hwang is Darth Vader! His expressionless face is his mask. When he appeared behind Wangson a couple of episodes ago, it really struck me how menacing they’ve made him in solid dark purple and that hat. But inside? He definitely could have killed both Wangson and Choi but why should he? He’s fuming at Lefty not them. He has enough slays on his conscience and I’m of the view he knew they were alive. He chose not to corpse them. Incapacitating them was enough. I agree that he practically seems to be looking forward to Taehae finishing him off. His life is torture even though he’s doing the torturing.
My very favourite thing, I’ve noticed, about roguish antiheroes is the sarcastic vibe. Daegil and Jiho perfect it and I love the comparison to Dong Mae in Mr Sunshine – who was the reason I enjoyed that show. As we’re on Star Wars, Han Solo too. They’re all excellent at the mocking sneer 😍
It is refreshing how Eunnyeon is now a capable person, quick-thinking and physically able. Why is that? No Daegil or Taehae or any protectors at all. She’s the protector of toddler-actor-of-the-century and it seems being the one doing the saving is what she was born to do. Hooray!! She’s far from bad-ass and still manages to somehow look impeccable but she has such great purpose now. She’s not the passive object, she’s the active subject and Chuno is all the better for it.
It’s good to get to Mount Worak and see the girl and mum slave Daegil saved in episode one. It’s a kind of slave utopia, isn’t it? Ah, freedom.
Now that you mentioned it, I think it very likely that Commander Hwang could have easily killed off both Gen. Choi and Wangson, but chose not to. That way, he could inflict psychological torture on poor Dae Gil without doing much. Also, by sending the injured General and Wangson to his father in law, he was saying to the latter how feeble and ineffective his own measures had been. “See, Father in Law? The people you selected for your secret mission are so weak, it was not even worth killing them!”
Snow Flower, yes I agree sending Wangson and Choi back to the Left State Councillor was like sticking up two fingers!
I think I could write a whole essay on the motivations of Commander Hwang – which is rather sad of me, especially when I’d rather spend that time thinking about how to comfort poor Daegil 😁 The scene between Hwang and his wife showed, I felt, a significant change. He made it clear he understood what she was telling him (when before he’d told her he didn’t understand her) and also, as he made to leave, he hesitated. Not because he questioned himself and how he was going to proceed, I don’t think, but because she was visibly worried. I wonder, did he clench his jaw because he wanted to offer her some small token of reassurance? I’d like to think so.
But maybe I read too much into him. Or maybe, just maybe, if he’s behaved increasingly like Darth Vader up until now, there’s the chance he might have once been Annakin Skywalker and may yet come good…
When did Hwang ever choose not to kill? I do not buy this.
We need a serious talk with Chuno’s PD 🤨
I left out the part about how Hwang managed to drag the boys, not to mention their blood trails while doing so, out of Dae Gil’s sight as he looks for them all night long on the mountain. I guess it is true Hwang could have done it with his flying spin moves. Ah well, better not bother asking how exactly this sausage was made. Yuk.
But BE, isn’t it far less likely Hwang, skilled swordsman and legally committed to his mission that he is, would not only have failed in killing both Wangson and Chou, but also not even stabbed them that badly because they seem to really quite easily survive the wounds? He has intention when he fights. Nothing is accidental. I don’t see how else they survived other than Hwang intended them to.
I do agree with you though that it’s ridiculous Daegil didn’t see any trail of blood but maybe he was crying too much to see properly and it was night…
@ Ele Nash: The coming back to life trope is such a ridiculous and cliched plot device. Let’s go over this again. Hwang, who is acting solo, slashed the heck out our boys, a la the way he had just done in all of Tae Ha’s even more serious fighters, without killing them, unh huh, hid the guys, whisked them off that hillside by himself without being noticed by Dae Gil, the both of them, put them on a wagon where they without soiling themselves or having a drop of water to drink, or say, moaning in misery from their wounds, were wheeled all the way to the LSM without showing a sign of life, managed to hold their breaths the whole time LSM was checking them out, and only when being carted off to a mass burial decided to hot foot it, and somehow managed on that cart to get all the way to the Orak mountain and Jjang Gwi’s hideaway. You have better ability to suspend disbelief than I do.
I think credulity gets stretched (though I still argue my point about Hwang) but i always err on the side of the drama when the characters are as well portrayed as they are in Chuno. I can overlook a plot contrivance if a drama makes me feel and watching Chuno i get all the feels. I just prefer to love a show and celebrate it when it’s this good and make any plot holes smaller by reasoning them out. Yes, sometimes a plot contrivance is so galling, it colours the whole show. But I don’t think Choi and Wangson surviving is shady enough for it to ruin my viewing pleasure. I’m not blind to Chuno’s flaws, I just love way, way more than I can quibble about. 😁
Eonnyeon is a total badass, exemplifying courage, cunning, and caring. Faking tuberculosis (I am guessing that’s what she was going for) was brilliant and she is showing incredible devotion to Little Prince (not even her child) in the face of mounting adversity. I know that she has her detractors (and do not have the benefit of knowing what’s yet to come), but I think she’s tremendous.
Sad to see Ji Ho go, but he went out in style (I thought his “strategic retreat” from Commander Hwang was hilarious). His final scene with Dae Hil was beautifully done – bravo. I will certainly miss their laughing contests ;-). And though I am glad to see Wangston and General Choi back (although certainly not “better than ever”), I am always a little put off by the fake out (pretty much my beef with the entire superhero genre). It’s not like Hwang to not finish out a perfectly good murder. On other notes, I totally didn’t recall Jjakgwi from before and regard New Guy with equal measures of suspicion and dread.
I watch the shows a half at a time, so I’ve begun to notice an interesting structural element to the show. It seems to feature a major, lengthy scene in the middle of an episode that everything is built around. The pacing has been excellent, especially for a relatively long series, so things are working very well indeed for the producers.
Dae Gil mentioned Jjakgwi from Mt. Worak in Episode 1, when he instructed the mother and daughter to go there insted of trying to cross the border. It looks like they followed his advice and arrived safely at Jjakgwi’s hideout, because we just saw the same girl looking for Dae Gil. She thought he was with Gen. Choi and Wangson.
What a perfect scoundrel’s send off for Ji Ho. He’d have preferred to live (I wish he had), but it was a good death for him. Plotting with a comrade to beat The System, playing the hero in Dae Gil’s escape, and then – until the end – being profane, vulgar, humorous, sarcastic, and profoundly human with someone who treated him with (a scoundrel’s) respect and irreverent compassion. 😭
@Leslie–In a nutshell!
I’d devote myself to that little kid. He is too cute! The baby Yoda of Joseon 😋
Beyond how otherworldly placid the kid is, he always seems to have the correct expression on his face in response to the scene he is in. Amazing!
Kim Jin Woo, a.k.a. Prince Seok Gyeon, still very cute. https://mydramalist.com/people/6501-kim-jin-woo
Rest in peace, Cheon Ji Ho! Go find your boys in the afterlife and have a drink together!
Dae Gil was totally channeling Ji Ho in the torture chamber. He pretty much talked himself out of torture, and, pretending to be unconscious, overheard important information. I think Tae Ha was secretly impressed.
Is there anything scarier than our resident Purple Assassin wielding a sword? It turns out, there is, seeing the said Assassin chilling smile.
General Choi and Wangson are alive! It seems a long time since they “died” 2 episodes ago, but there have been so many other things happening. It is possible that they stayed unconscious for 2-3 days due to their injuries. Jjakgwi Eonni (Slanted Ear) is another amusing secondary character whose backstory is worth exploring.
Eon Nyeon continues to demonstrate resolve and resoursefulness, while the little prince continues to be the best behaved toddler in the history of mankind.
I agree with Kfangurl about the slaves being reluctant participants in the yangban residence robbery. They even helped the yangban to his feet! This is clearly New Guy’s operation.
I really liked how Eop Bok did not shoot Dae Gil while the latter was mourning Cheon Ji Ho. There is a wholesome thoughtfulness and dignity about Eop Bok, that I kind of took for granted on my previous watches.
In the preview for Episode 18 there was a scene with Councilor Lee and his daughter, but the scene was not included in Episode 18. The preview did not have subtitles, but Councilor Lee appeared to be angry at his daughter. Has anyone seen this scene with subtitles? I am wondering what was going on. Please share on the thread if you have info. Thank you!
I loved Daegil in the torture chamber, all the range of emotions. I love it when he acts sarcastic and mockingly fakes submission towards authority (which they don’t buy for a second) he is so insolent and I love that lol His “Naaaari” makes me think of Dongmae in Mr Sunshine and viceversa. And yes to him being “Jiho’s son” definitely! They use the same negotiation tactics, both funny and sarcastic and savage and scary too (and kinda gross) but loyal, thats probably the one defining trait they both have. I think we mentioned that Jang Hyuk mentioned that he acted Daegil with animalistic traits. I think Jiho reminds me of a wild beast too. Sometimes I see them as felines, or wolves and sometimes hyenas. When Jiho visited Daegil in jail, that scene was so good! Overflowing charisma from both actors. Jiho’s eyes, so penetrating. And I had to laugh at Daegil getting a massage lol
Oh, Dong Mae elevated the sarcastic “Nauri” to a whole new level! It made me think about acid dripping from a silver spoon. But he must have learned the sarcasm from Dae Gil and Cheon Ji Ho!😃
Yeah he made it more of a thing. It was sexy lol but Daegil is deliciously sarcastic too. I listen to his “Nobi Yang Ban” on repeat. Its my vitamin lol
Big difference between Dong Mae and Dae Gil aside from their eras is that Dong Mae has a much more real axe to grind. He is the son of a butcher, an untouchable, and even in Mr. Sunshine, slave hunters had a considerably higher status in the world of Joseon, the approximate equal of slaves in the universal disdain heaped upon butchers. While it is true Dae Gil lived the life of a common rogue as a grown man, he grew up highly educated, and was living in his own country all his life. Dae Gil to escape his status had to escape Joseon for Japan, and rather than actually matriculating from gang life like Dae Gil, nobility among chuno when one thinks about it, serves as a local boss for a much bigger, international, criminal organization. And as such, while Dae Gil leads a couple of others on his ventures, Dong Mae is seriously responsible for not only many others but must as well actually run a large criminal enterprise, a dojo training center, and a legitimate front business for that enterprise. Dong Mae hates how society has pigeon holed him, but Dae Gil is okay just to play the system. Dong Mae never gets over his inferiority complex and carries it like a chip on his shoulder at all times, and while he carries an unrequited torch, it is for a woman by whom he never stops feeling outclassed in every way. Dae Gil’s relationship with Eon Nyeon is quite different; he is shocked to the point of an almost desperate self destruction by the idea that she would not ten years later still remain faithful to him and him alone.
Well said, @BE! But EN did love Dae Gil and was faithful to him, even when she thought he was dead. She had to let go of Dae Gil’s memory only when Tae Ha showed up in her life, ready to protect her and possibly change the world for her sake.
All the main characters in Chuno have experienced the loss of a loved one, but while Tae Ha and Eon Nyeon were able to move on, Dae Gil is still trapped in his past.
Yes, EN not only had remained faithful but continued to feel loving affection, perhaps even longing, for Dae Gil after hooking up with Tae Ha, and Ae Shin never loved Dong Mae, pitied him, held him in disdain, before finally almost grudgingly acknowledging him after he rescues her,
Dong Mae is a secondary character, as compelling as he was, in Mr. Sunshine; Eugene Choi, Mr. Sunshine, lives and dies on Ae Shin’s behalf, although as upright and confident as Tae Ha, a former slave, a former slave who overcomes his resentments to give his whole life to the adventure of serving his supremely badass paramour.
Eon Nyeon while quite heroic and growing moreso as the show goes on is not at all a legendary kind of national Joan of Arc, let alone skilled warrior, like Ae shin, and Dae Gil, not Eon Nyeon or even Tae Ha, is Chuno.
I don’t see him as shocked that she is not faithful to him. He is just hurt, he is so obsessed that he figured why isn’t she too? That is completely different. But he LET HER GO! And why aren’t we giving him any credit for that? Daegil was completely ready to let go of her thinking that she was better off with Taeha. If it wasn’t for the trick fate/Hwang pulled, Daegil would’ve moved on. Isn’t that significant for someone who spent 10 years searching for her? And like you said, Daegil is not wrong, Unnyun was thinking of him too. Their love was that important for both. We are making it seem like Daegil’s love for Unnyun was unilateral, possesive and selfish and yet he did the most selfless thing as soon as he found her and “thought” she was happy. He let her go. And it was not unilateral, she did love him too so he was not wrong in having expectations. Why not? If he loved her to the point of not looking at other women? Why wouldn’t he expect her to feel the same? This is why Im glad he got to hear from her own lips, that he was not alone, feeling that deep love. That she did think of him but thought he was dead.
You are absolutely right, @Drama Fan! Dae Gil let Eon Nyeon go. He made the decision while he was praying in the temple. It was Commander Hwang’s deception that made Dae Gil show himself in front of Eon Nyeon after 10 years. He is conflicted, because he vowed to stop chasing Tae Ha for Eon Nyeon’s sake, only to discover that Tae Ha has murdered his friends.
Even the concept of “letting her go” demonstrates the contrast between Dong Mae and Dae Gil. When was Ae Shin ever Dong Mae’s to let go? And really if you think Dae Gil actually did let go, you have missed the bitter resentment and cruelty he inflicted upon Eon Nyeon upon that confrontation, not to mention the way he looks at her, even in his final moments in the noose.
Dong Mae endlessly fantasized about Ae Shin, and did all sorts of things to keep her in his life, but he never, not one time, thought of her as someone whom he might “let go” because he never thought of her as his possession to begin with.
Because Ae Shin always looked at DongMae like a creep (sorry) That was a unilateral love. She never corresponded. He had no right to have any expectation. I love DongMae but his obsession for Ae Shin was based on nothing. Daegil and Unnyun did love each other. But saying that Daegil sees Unnyun as a possession honestly, taints their love. If there is anything pure and wholesome left in Daegil is that he sincerely loves Unnyun.
He does love Eon Nyeon, but he never, never forgets that she was a slave in his family’s compound. He always thinks of her at least till he sees her with Tae Ha as fated to be his.
I am not so much denying what you have to say as trying to see the two characters in their separate dramas in contrast to throw a light on both.
I guess Daegil does have a sense of entitlement in general while Dong Mae always saw himself as totally unworthy (ok now I cry for Dong Mae 😢)
@BE Well my comparison with Dong Mae was merely in the way sarcasm was expressed by both characters but I beg to differ about other points you make here. Again, my read of Daegil is very different. He is not ok with the system, his place in society and he does not love his life. He also did not have a choice! The only other choice for someone with no material posessions or status was to become a slave/servant himself. I think this is emphasized and expressed in so many ways. The slave hunter life does not look easy or comfortable. They are one step away from being slaves themselves (this is based on the drama and articles, even wikipedia where you will see that sometimes slaves were sent out to chase other slaves) We have not seen all the hardships that Daegil must’ve gone through in his life but I can imagine it and infer it from the way he is in the present, a haunted person with a great deal of pain. Regarding the position of slave hunters in society I also beg to differ. In Chuno itself there is a scene where a butcher tells Wangson “Why do you talk disrespectfully to me, we are the same” From my understanding slave hunters were in the same level of butchers, gisaengs and shamans, only one inch above slaves (and there were levels among slaves too)
Like the General, Dae Gil was a scholar. There was less money in passing an exam than there was in being a slave hunter.
And slave hunters were not subject to being beaten and mistreated the way butchers were. They were considered ruffians and thugs perhaps, gangsters, but butchers were not accorded any such respect or fear.
Why would Daegil, who didn’t even know how to fight choose to be a slave hunter? It was because he had nothing, and was prepared for nothing. He starter from zero. The Daegil we see today is Jiho’s creation, basically. Not a choice.
Why did Dae Gil choose to follow Cheon Ji Ho, and not to make a new life for himself in Jjakgwi’s outlaw colony? I think because Cheon Ji Ho was a slave hunter, so Dae Gil probably thought that he would be able to find Eon Nyeon that way. Jjakgwi seems more of a guy who values social order (on his own terms, of course!), while Cheon Ji Ho (and Dae Gil) are more like nomads, with no family or attachments.
Its also possible Jjakghwi’s colony didn’t exist yet, at the time. Jjagkwi’s life does not look easy or comfortable either. And Daegil wanted to find Unnyun so following Jiho suited his goal better, but I just suppose that in order for him to get to that point of being a slave hunters, he must’ve first lost everything and likely not on one single fire (like I mentioned before, there were serious talks of a prequel and some backstory floated around, where Daegil’s uncle took away whatever was not already lost in the fire. Something about him losing his property papers and asking Jiho for help, etc) By the looks of it Daegil was already jaded and had learned to fight by the time he met Wangson and General Choi, but I suppose those first four years were an intense bootcamp training in slave hunting and the thug life with Jiho. Again, he was a weak boy when he was stripped off everything, and came out a savage little monster. That transformation must’ve been hard and traumatic for him. And in my opinion it did not happen overnight, he must’ve experienced, besides physical pain, a lot of humiliation, betrayal, etc from various street thugs to harden up that way.
Yes, I can totally see how the street thugs would be delighted to beat up a weak and powerless yangban like young Dae Gil…
Vis a vis Ji Ho and Jjang Gwi in re Dae Gil, I can only say wait for it. Coming soon to a screen near you.
I thought it was touching (and telling) that as Jiho was dying, he twice says to Daegil that he’d said he’d “find Eunnyeon” as though it was a promise made to Daegil early on in their meeting that became a kind of mantra-like bribe for Daegil to stay with him. Probably, Daegil left Jiho because he wasn’t finding Eunnyeon and by then Daegil had learned all he could from Jiho and so went his own way.
It always struck me that, near the beginning when Jiho relates to his boys the story of the slaves betrayal of Daegil, that he implies Daegil is seeking Eunnyeon for revenge. I wonder if this is how Daegil initially presented it to the world or it was how the world took it or how Jiho told him to present it. Daegil must have seemed quite green and naive and I’m guessing no one, let alone the hounds on the street, would counter that a yangban could ever love a slave. Am guessing Daegil would have been ridiculed into an early grave.
Jiho’s hug just before he dies shows though how well he really knew Daegil, how much they’d shared and relied on each other, despite the bravado and cackling. That death scene really was so moving and sad. 😢
@Ele Nash, I was thinking the same thing!
Even though Dae Gil lost his parents and estate, technically he was still a yangban. He still could have taken the exam and obtained a government post. But what point would there be in changing the world if Eon Nyeon was not by his side? That’s why slave hunting became the only option for him. But he had to act the part too, being ruthless and tough, and using revenge as his mask.
Really, as a mask? He hated Eon Nyeon’s brother with a vengeance. His slave hunting had as much to do with his family being destroyed, home burnt to the ground, and himself marked for life by a slash across his eye and nearly killed as a result of his family’s slaves going in revolt as it did in his hunt for Eon Nyeon. I see no reason to reduce Dae Gil thus–it was all for Eon Nyeon. There is an element of cruelty to Dae Gil that betrays that notion for me.
Yeah I agree there. We must accept that both love and hate, a grudge co existed in him. Chuno and I believe the character of Daegil in particular, are often cited as a perfect example of this unique korean collective sentiment known as “han”. A sense of grudge and sadness that is both destructive but also a drive, a source of energy. So we can’t deny that dark aspect of Daegil or we are negating a vital aspect of his character. He is that complex.
A Yangban with no money or property could offer himself as a slave in order to eat. A Yangban with no money (like General Choi?) Did not have that many choices (this, I take from the articles Ive found here and there) The way I see it, Daegil chose to hunt and not be the hunted. He didn’t choose the thug life, the thug life chose him 😝
And to add, when Dae Gil contracts out to Minister Lee to capture Tae Ha, Dae Gil does not think beyond how to capture him. He does not consider that simply working for Lefty might put him on a suicidal mission.
Dong Mae always takes everything into consideration in making his moves, and when insulted takes his business elsewhere. Dae Gil could not care less about being insulted.
Dae Gil never hid in opium dens and the homes of shamans to escape being hunted down; the people he hung with, he hung with to learn how to get to the top of his heap. Dong Mae always knew he was never going to be at the top of anyone’s heap.
Dong Mae did not see as part of his revenge to take things out on butchers, but Dae Gil most certainly saw as part of his revenge taking things out on slaves.
Dae Gil has for a long time been planning to sock away enough dough to retire to the good life.
Dong Mae knows good and well once he becomes a part of the Japanese gang his life will one day forfeit to violent death.
We have this thing, you and I, Drama Fan. I love Dae Gil, but I tend to romanticize him a bit less. Dae Gil is a haunted fellow, but whatever you say he grew up as part of an extremely small privileged class; Dong Mae grew up seeing his parents perpetually stepped on, and when stepped treated like excrement under the shoes of their whole society.
Like I said, my comparison with Dong Mae was not meant to be deep though. It was merely in the pronunciation of the word “Nauuri” and the sarcasm. Also in the fact they are both sexy 🤷🏻♀️ I love both characters for different reasons. And I insist, we don’t really know what Daegil went through those first 10 years, being completely unprepared for that life. Precisely because he was sheltered and privileged, he was much vulnerable. He had to start from scratch and that includes being practically reborn. You assume he had so many advantages and was always the guy we see today with the swagger and the cynicism. You say it was ALL his choice/fault and therefore has no right to complain or feel angry. Like he casually decided “You know what? Let me chase slaves, looks like a fulfilling endeavor”. Im remembering how he used to be, he seemed like a generally good guy, and based on that I suppose his life must’ve been hard all these years, especially those first years, for him to become so cynical and bitter. But we don’t know, the drama never showed it so its just our speculation. Dongmae’s past was fully shown. No speculation to be had there.
I understand that your comment comparing the sarcasm of each was not meant to go farther than that. Sorry if I did not make that clear. And they are both tortured and yet super compelling antiheroes of the first order, in one case portrayed by one of the finest actors of his time and place, and in the other by a good actor hitting every note in the role of his career so far.
But for me they are such different characters with such different motives, it is hard for me to see their sarcasm in the same light. Dae Gil is sarcastic from a position of confidence about his place in the world born of the yangban class and having seen all levels of society in his life. No one is better than Dae Gil, but for Dong Mae, just about everyone ranks higher than him on the ladder of society, and his sarcasm is born of resentment.
I find Dae Gil far more compelling, but Dong Mae far more touching. The former, for me, is far more the author of his own fate, the latter far more the victim of a fate he is always struggling against. Thus Dae Gil for me is more tragic, Dong Mae more sympathetic.
I understand. I mean, Dong Mae was handed much worse cards from the get go. From the moment he was born, his life was wretched. Our poor Dong Mae. Daegil is more “anti hero” in that his suffering has a lot to do with his own choices, even that cynical worldview of his can be considered a choice to a certain extent and why its so fun to see him in contrast with Taeha whose life has not been easy in the least either but still has chosen “the light” for the most part. I get it! My point regarding Daegil’s privilege is that in the thug world, that privileged upbringing was likely a hindrance (whereas our poor Dong Mae was already primed and literally born in it, poor baby) but yes, I can also see that Daegil’s privileged upbringing already gave him a different approach to life (sort of what he accuses Taeha of doing, when Taeha refuses to “accept” his slave status. That sarcastic “Nobi Yangban” may apply to Daegil himself. We know how much he loves to project)
The one thing I mentioned before about Tae Ha, he is the guy who really is so badass, he does not have to go around advertising it. Like great artists who say technical skills are secondary aprioris, who could impress Tae Ha with fighting skills?
Dae Gil lives in a world where being tougher than Ji Ho is all that really matters, and bravado works as a mechanism of intimidation for the sake of profit. I mean Dae Gil so intimidates the General when they first met, that the General relinquished half of everything he had in the world to the guy without a real fight.
For Tae Ha more elevated principles are what matters as up to this point he is never intimidated and thus has no reason to intimidate anyone else. I think the conundrum Tae Ha is finding himself in shows the limits, however, of his perspective. He is vulnerable because he has lost almost his entire following, because he is giving up some of his individual sensibilities and concerns for the love of Eon Nyeon and her sensibilities and concerns, and because the whole mission of his life–saving the Prince in order to establish a better world–is being called into question upon scrutinizing the behavior of the scholars with which his mission was allied.
Dae Gil has already had his world turned upside down. Tae Ha is beginning to find himself in that reality. I think that is why, no matter how high minded Tae Ha sounds to us, he appears so foolish side by side with Dae Gil.
Beautifully stated BE. I know I sometimes act like quite the stubborn Daegil’s lawyer but despite my passionate defense (lol) you do make me reconsider my interpretation of things quite often. I appreciate that very much. Taeha’s growth in these episodes, is one of my favorite things.
And yes, Eopbok is such a good character.
Thoughts on these episodes:
Well, things continue to be tense and exciting, for the most part. My topline reaction is probably…OMG, my boys are alive!! Wangson and the General. I was not really expecting the show to go this direction, I expected it to continue along in the “life sucks, everybody dies” path. Of course, this means that they’ve been spared just to have an even more cruel fate in the end, I’m sure, but I will enjoy their reprieve while it lasts. I can sort of buy that their wounds weren’t fatal, since we didn’t linger on how badly they were struck down by Commander Hwang, but I do find it a kind of unrealistic that they were dragged around insensate on a sledge for at least a day with nobody bothering to check whether they were really dead, and then they just managed to bounce up and escape the two guards like it was just another day at the office. I do like how the General was so very much back in character in stolidly refusing to truckle to Jjak-gwi until he reluctantly is forced to call him Unnie. You go, General. I’m still holding out hope for you and junior Jumo!
Speaking of which, my disgruntlement with the whole elder Jumo/randy artist sitch continues, not quite at the fever pitch of our last couple episodes, but it doesn’t sit quite right that now they’ve gotten drunk together, she’s succumbed to his charms, such as they are, and apparently learned that he’s a tiger in the sheets or something? I dunno, I feel like tonally the show is playing this off as a bit of humor, a comic interlude among all the heaviness, and I’m all for that, and certainly all for healthy physical expression of desire, both male and female…I just don’t quite like the starting point of this one.
I think that Daegil and Tae Ha’s relationship continues to complexify, as Tae Ha not only throws the sword to cut him down, but I noticed that when Daegil is getting in the executioner’s face and getting beaten for his trouble, Tae Ha actually kind of throws himself over to protect him, and ends up getting beaten as well. And yes, the fight after they’re released is stupid on one level, but it’s also a burst of what these days we’d probably call “toxic masculinity” that I’m afraid I don’t find too surprising.
Eunyeon: yes, she continues to rise in my estimation. She’s acting both smart and brave, for the most part. Also, I feel like I could make this observation every time, but I’ll finally make it here: they somehow found the most tractable 4-5 year old child actor to play the young prince. Nothing fazes that kid! He always looks like he’s just patiently waiting for his next lolipop treat, no matter what’s happening in a scene!
Seol-hwa: aw, little one. I don’t know what’s going to happen to you, but I almost don’t dare to have hope.
And finally, I finally figured it out. Commander Hwang is the Joseon dynasty’s Darth Vader. Tell me I’m wrong…
Yes to Darth Vader analogy! I think I mentioned the same thing on KFG’s Instagram a couple of weeks ago. Also, Cheon Ji Ho-Dae Gil dynamic made me think about Yondu-Star Lord relationship in Guardians of the Galaxy, parts I and II.
I liked how Tae Ha shielded Dae Gil from the executioner’s beating.
And I am also rooting for Junior Jumo and General Choi.
Now that I’ve recently learned that Darth Vader was actually not the emperor (pardon my ignorance) but more of an enforcer, the analogy works really well.
As soon as my mind made that Darth Vader connection, I couldn’t un-see it. No mask, but he’s got the flowing robes, the same deadly, implacable gliding step, the ruthless indifference to killing whatever’s in his way…
And the voice too!
And he has a specific suspenseful and tense/frightening OST that I associate with him just like Darth Vader with his dun dun dun dun da ran dun da ran
I think the show runners were trying to adjust to two elements from immediately previous episodes in this. The first was they tried to accommodate the whole bs of the fight scene between Tae Ha and Dae Gil by having Dae Gil ask Tae Ha why he did not kill him, why he did not protect Eon Nyeon, to which Tae Ha says “compassion” and something else he does not spell out. Remained unconvincing to me, even when he bragged on Eon Nyeon’s competence to the envoy, but at least I thought the writer knew enough to let the audience know that scene did not really seem realistic in context of what the show had presented about the characters to that point.
The second was how they tried to address bad joke about the jumo and the artist by making it turn out that this weasely and sniveling bit of flotsam, albeit somewhat talented, was such a stud that elder jumo’s take on the guy was turned 360 degrees by his profligate stamina (that appears out of nowhere cause certainly if he were that good his reputation would have preceeded him), to which his ability to get Officer Oh off the jumo’s backs only added an unforeseen virtue. Here again they did not quite succeed because the root was such a blatant misstep, albeit the idea of Artist-nim being spectacular in the sack is pretty funny given every cliche about male sexuality, even those raised in Chuno…what, no six pack?…one can imagine.
@BE I think that’s right that they were kind of trying to dig out of the initial jumo-artist hole by falling back on the old all’s well that ends well trope: “see, they actually are compatible! It’s actually to jumo’s benefit that she could have been (mistakenly) sexually assaulted!” Which, no. Still fruit from the poisoned tree.
I do find Ahn Suk-hwan, the actor playing the artist, amusing. I’d only seen him in this and then playing a kind of degenerate local yangban in 100 Days My Prince and both characters were kind of similar–not in social-economic class, but in that they’re both kind of a louche, randy, small-fry secondary or tertiary kinda-sorta adversarial character. Then I watched him in the just completed Uncanny Counter, where I was pleasantly surprised to see him playing a sort of jaunty sugar-daddy good guy who’s on the side of the protagonists (but still has some similarities with these earlier characters when you drill down).
He’s a pretty good character actor, is what I’m saying; something I’m finding over and over again in my K-drama journey. There’s a vast stable of secondary character actors that cycle through these dramas and pop up again and again. It’s kind of a fun game at this point: “hey, now where did I see that face before, what were they in that I’ve seen?” (and then see if I can remember without first looking at the Wikipedia or Asianwiki filmography for the actor)..
@BE I transcribed that bit of dialogue between Daegil and Taeha, I watched on both Viky and the “Dark Site” (the ilegal site we all know about) and in neither did I see and answer from Taeha to Daegil’s “If you didn’t you have the courage to protect her, why didn’t you kill me, WHYYY ? (I’m more confused about Daegil’s question here, than with what Taeha says later. Is Daegil saying that he’d rather be dead than witness Unnyun get killed due to Taeha’s lack of courage to protect her? or what is he saying? ” Taeha glares at him and doesn’t answer
Then they cut to another scene and when they come back, Daegil has calmed down, and Taeha’s comment does not seem to be a direct answer to this question. How I interpreted it is, Taeha was telling Daegil to let go of following or meddling or interfering in helping Unnyun, that “wether it is compassion or remorse what motivates you to continue caring, let it go, it’s no longer your business” And he actually repeated the same thing in various ways.
This is how the Dark Site translated that bit:
Daegil: “All arrows will be pointing at Unnyun
Taeha: It has nothing to do with you
Daegil: Revolution, a new world, what would all that matter anyhow? Can someone who could not even protect a single woman…deliberate upon the creation of a new world? You don’t even have the courage to protect her…you don’t even have a shred of that, so why? Why didn’t you slay me? Why? (Im not 100% what Daegil means, I interpret it as I’d rather be dead than witness this, but it might be a total stretch cause I admit, Daegil often confuses me :p)
Cut to scene of Unnyun asking a lady for refuge
Back to Daegil and Taeha, Daegil is now more calm
Taeha: It is all in the past. Be it compassion or remorse, shake it all off. For this has nothing to do with you, but only myself.
And this is when Daegil says he will not die, etc
My take is while the question Dae Gil asks of Tae Ha here is the correct question, because losing to Dae Gil in the fight and being blandly led along by the rope back to HanYang and arrest makes, as I have repeatedly pointed out, no sense at all. Tae Ha could not possibly be that much of a lunkhead, nothing not even his rigid code prepares the audience for such a stupid move, let alone a move that would leave both Eon Nyeon and the young prince so vulnerable. It was simply a mechanism by which the plot could be moved forward. The show runners have painted themselves in a corner and they are in these back and forths between Dae Gil and Tae Ha trying to find a way out of it. And also, the dialog thus lends sympathy to Dae Gil vis a vis Eon Nyeon. If they traded places, we know good and well Dae Gil would have opted to protect her.
You are absolutely right about Taeha’s decision to just go along with Daegil being very ilogical. I wonder if the fail was more on the writing or execution. It wouldn’t have been too hard to find a way to justify him getting caught by Daegil like say, have Daegil strike a lucky blow to Taeha’s head and knock him out or have some indication that Taeha was coming down with the flu, therefore he was weak 😋 I dunno! Something more convincing than “he was out of it because Unnyun was a slave” I mean what was Taeha thinking all that time that he was getting dragged? He didn’t even try to escape. Its too puzzling and now Im upset at this plothole lolll Ugh
As plot holes go, I found the survival of Wang Son and General Choi even more confounding. Almost out of your every day soap opera. Like KFG, of course, I am happy to have them back, but really….all one can ultimately say about that is that it went with the territory, like how many miles anyone on foot can cover in minutes while it takes others whole days to traverse them. At least, they try to sneak Tae Ha’s capture by their audience by covering it up with these dialogues.
Jiho was a riot these episodes! And he will surely be missed. I have many thoughts about these eps but I haven’t caught up yet so I’ll come back later. Just one anecdote I remembered told by Song Dong Il about his finals scene. He told that he improvised that moment where he put coins on his own mouth, he and the director agreed without telling Jang Hyuk. So he said, that Jang Hyuk was surprised and moved when he saw that and started crying for real ❤️
Do you have a link for that interview? I have no doubt that Jang Hyuk found Sung Dong Il a wonderful colleague (and vice versa). Their chemistry on screen was beyond phenomenal.
No, but it was relatively recent, I believe last year. I will ask around.