Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Doesn’t this screenshot remind you of the scene in episode 2, when Dae Gil goes in search of Eonnyeon? What a meaningful and poignant callback this was, I thought. 🤩
I hope you guys are ready to chat about Chuno episodes 19 & 20! 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! ❤️
Finally, Tae Ha and Dae Gil get over fighting each other long enough to go to Eonnyeon’s rescue, and not a moment too soon, since the officials have found out Eonnyeon’s identity, and are highly suspicious of the fact that she’s traveling with a young child.
In this scene, I’m struck by Dae Gil’s drawl, compared to how everyone else in the scene speaks in clean, clipped tones. In contrast, Dae Gil lazily slurs his words, and it makes him sound like he’s too cool for school. I love it. 😆
It’s good to see Tae Ha and Dae Gil fighting on the same side, after all the fighting that they’ve done, with each other. They’d probably never admit it, but they seem to make a pretty good team, and they trounce all the soldiers present, in pretty much no time at all.
I’m intrigued by the moment when we see Dae Gil tumble until he’s right up in Eonnyeon’s face, mid-fight. She looks startled, and starts to look away, and that’s when he reaches out and lifts her chin, so that she’s no longer avoiding his face – and then he bounds away to keep fighting. I can’t help wondering what that’s supposed to mean. It doesn’t seem likely to me that he’d need to establish his identity, so I’m taking it to mean that he’s silently telling her that she doesn’t need to avert her eyes; that she can square her shoulders and lift her chin; that essentially, she has nothing that she needs to hide.
I find it awkward but interesting to watch Tae Ha, Eonnyeon and Dae Gil go on the run together. All three of them seem so different from one another, when they’re thrown together like this. Tae Ha and Eonnyeon have a lot of unresolved tension because of the reveal that Eonnyeon was once a slave, and while they attempt to kinda-sorta talk things out, Dae Gil’s always just kind of awkwardly there, somewhere in the background (like in this screenshot above).
It’s notable to me, that it takes a fair while for Tae Ha and Eonnyeon to come to some sort of conclusion about their relationship. When Eonnyeon tries to tell Tae Ha her name, Tae Ha only responds – as he’d done earlier with Dae Gil – that he knows no one by that name. In contrast, one of the first things Dae Gil does when he hears Eonnyeon’s new name, is to go outside and write it in the sand, so that he can see it and consider it. Tae Ha can be really bull-headed. When Eonnyeon informs him that she’s concluded that she does not deserve to stay by his side, his reaction is so delayed that by the time he decides that he should stop her, she’s already left the Little Prince with him and exited the building.
To Tae Ha’s credit, though, he does seem to be doing some serious self-reflection. I like that he admits that even though he’d lived as a slave and had seen first-hand how slaves suffer, he’d never thought to imagine a world without slavery. I also like that he essentially asks Eonnyeon to wait for him, as he works on achieving a new way of thinking about the world.
Like I mentioned earlier, though, Tae Ha can be really bull-headed, and refuses to take Dae Gil’s suggestion seriously, of Mt. Worak as a safe haven. I’m quite amused that in order to force Tae Ha’s hand, Dae Gil basically grabs the Little Prince and takes off running, giving Tae Ha no choice but to follow in pursuit. Ha. That’s just the kind of street-savvy thing that Dae Gil would do. Also, I love the dissonant visual of tough, world-weary Dae Gil, holding the innocent cherub of a Little Prince.
On a random tangent, I am quite amused that our Little Prince, who’s heretofore been completely serene, even in the midst of a scary sword fight, would bawl in Dae Gil’s arms. Pfft. What is Show trying to say, that Dae Gil’s scarier than big, sharp swords? 😆
In other news, we see that even though he staunchly resists at first, Scholar Jo eventually gives in to Left State Councilor and his helper gisaeng’s persuasive talk about power, and betrays his comrades with a complete list of names. I can’t say I’m all that surprised, since the way Show’s played it, Scholar Jo’s always seemed like a rather manipulative, potentially shady sort, who would use the people around him, while justifying it all as a means to an end. Ugh. I wonder if it’s even safe for him to trust Left State Councilor, though. I mean, what’s preventing Left State Councilor from turning on him, and destroying him too?
In the meantime, our rebel slave faction gets ready for an uprising, instigated, of course, by New Guy. I’m still very suspicious of New Guy, so everything that he says, about other slaves rising in revolt once they burn down the Slave Tribunal, sounds potentially dubious, to me. Can these slaves really trust his words?
Eop Bok has a deeply caring heart, I must say. In the midst of all this talk of an uprising, he asks if they can rescue Banjjak, the girl who’d been sold in exchange for a cow. And when New Guy smilingly declines, citing that they have bigger things to accomplish, Eop Bok goes and shoots Banjjak’s oppressor, all on his own. That’s pretty darn badass.
On a completely different note, I think it’s cute that Eop Bok and Cho Bok are saving fish treats for each other, in the course of doing their slave duties. Aw. They make a cute pair, and Cho Bok’s pleased smile is worth a million dollars. 🤩
As Tae Ha, Eonnyeon and Dae Gil arrive at Mt. Worak, everyone else (that matters) seems to be heading there too. Seol Hwa’s on her way (yay, reunion!), but so is Commander Hwang (yikes).. This feels like a potential big showdown on the horizon.
In the meantime, though, I’m so impatient for Dae Gil to be reunited with Wangson and General Choi; he really – like, reallyreally! – needs to know that his boys are alive and well.
At first, I’d wondered why Dae Gil would’ve fallen so easily to Jjakgwi’s blows, without even reacting to the attack except to fall flat on his back, but it isn’t long before it becomes clear, from the side smirk that Dae Gil lets slip, while lying on the ground, that this was Dae Gil’s sly way of getting Tae Ha to do the work of fighting Jjakgwi, so that he could step in and be the peacemaker. Sneaky, but smart. 😏
The way that Dae Gil and Jjakgwi talk to each other, complete with OTT guffaws punctuating their every exchange, it really does feel like – narratively, at least – Show’s giving us a replacement of sorts, for Ji Ho (RIP). Besides the puffed up personalities, big talk and tall stories, both Ji Ho and Jjakgwi claim to have taught Dae Gil everything he knows. I do think, though, that between the two, Ji Ho’s far more iconic, while Jjakgwi feels like a pure comedic side character. So far, anyway.
How awkward, though, that one of the first things Jjakgwi asks Dae Gil, right in front of Eonnyeon and Tae Ha, is whether he’s still searching for the girl named Eonnyeon, after all this time. That’s.. gotta be uncomfortable, especially since Jjakgwi goes on to tell Dae Gil that he should just give it up, because Eonnyeon would’ve settled down with some other man by now. I feel like you could’ve cut the discomfort with a knife. 😬
We get the reunion between Dae Gil and his boys that I’ve been waiting for, and it’s just so gratifying to see them group hug, despite Dae Gil’s protests. My favorite moment has to be how General Choi cuts through Dae Gil’s tough facade, by straight-up telling him that he’s missed him. Aw. Nothing’s going to stop General Choi and Wangson from hugging it out with Dae Gil, and it’s so gratifying to see Dae Gil cry relieved tears. 😭 You’re not alone anymore, Dae Gil. 🥲
It’s also touching to see how grateful the community on the mountain is, towards Dae Gil, for rescuing them and sending them to Mt. Worak to live new lives. Dae Gil gruffly pooh-poohs everything, but it’s clear that it doesn’t actually mean nothing to him.
In their own quarters, Tae Ha and Eonnyeon have several important exchanges, and the most important one, I feel, is the one where Tae Ha tells Eonnyeon that it doesn’t matter what her name is; to him, she is simply his wife. Finally. I’m sure this is something that Eonnyeon’s been waiting to hear for a long time. On top of that, Tae Ha also tells Eonnyeon that one day, if they have a son of their own, they can name him Tae Won, the name that Eonnyeon’s temporarily given the Little Prince. I guess Tae Ha’s been doing some thinking and reflection, and has achieved some progress.
Seol Hwa arrives at Mt. Worak, and greets Dae Gil with a running hug – which Dae Gil accepts, but only so that Eonnyeon can see for herself, that he’s moved on and is not still hung up on her.
I feel bad for Seol Hwa, because in this scene, it’s clear that Dae Gil’s using her to make a statement to Eonnyeon, and his heart’s not in the hug. At the same time, given the awkward embarrassment of Jjakgwi basically announcing to Eonnyeon that he’s been searching for her for years, I can understand why Dae Gil would feel like he’s needs to cut that off, the first chance that he gets. Still. Poor Seol Hwa! 💔
It’s pretty great to see Seol Hwa reunited with the boys, but the thing that strikes me most about Seol Hwa this hour, is how intimidated she is, by Eonnyeon. Just like the rest of us, she’s amazed that a slave could be this elegant (hur), and she basically can’t stop staring at Eonnyeon. What I find very poignant, though, is the way Seol Hwa does her best to mimic Eonnyeon’s genteel ways. It’s clear that Seol Hwa’s doing this, in the hopes of being more attractive to Dae Gil, and I find it sad, that Seol Hwa feels that being herself, is not enough.
This episode has felt like a respite of sorts, for our main crew, with all of them gathered at Mt. Worak, and enjoying happy and relieved reunions.
However, trouble isn’t far away, with Commander Hwang hot on their tail, and this time, with similarly garbed ninja assassins at his disposal.
This doesn’t bode well, especially since Tae Ha’s already making plans to leave Mt. Worak, under the belief that Eonnyeon and the Little Prince would be safe there. Yikes. I feel a sense of foreboding for everyone on Mt. Worak, because if Commander Hwang and his men attack, a lot of them are going to die. That would be awful, since this episode, we’ve just acknowledged their gladness at being able to live here. 😭
The Qing Ambassador’s men are on the way, though. Even though that definitely complicates matters, they want the Little Prince alive, while Commander Hwang wants him dead, so hopefully they will manage to protect him..? I feel like we need to brace ourselves, for the next episode, coz it feels like a lot is going to go down. 😬