Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Our Little Prince is such a cutie pie that when he picked up Seol Hwa’s haegeum, I couldn’t resist letting him headline this post. Isn’t he adorable? 🤩
I hope you guys are ready to chat about Chuno episodes 21 & 22! 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! ❤️
Well. It’s been long enough since my last watch, that a lot of events – particularly at this late juncture of our story – feel fresh to my eyes. I’d been expecting Commander Hwang to storm our Mt. Worak community, but instead, Tae Ha and Dae Gil leave separately, only to agree to journey together – thus accidentally luring Commander Hwang and his men away from Mt. Worak.
I’m relieved for our Mt. Worak community, certainly, because they aren’t at all equipped to face-off with a highly skilled killing machine like Commander Hwang or any of his merry men. Also, I’m actually sincerely surprised that Dae Gil essentially volunteers to accompany Tae Ha on his journey. Given that he isn’t that fond of Tae Ha, and especially given that Tae Ha’s now Eonnyeon’s husband, I’d imagined that Dae Gil would have wanted nothing to do with Tae Ha.
Because of this, I’m quite moved, really, by Dae Gil’s reason for choosing to journey with Tae Ha. He says that it’s because he can’t bear to see Tae Ha and Eonnyeon prancing about under his nose anymore, and therefore wants to help them get out of his sight for good, but that’s basically a gruff way of saying that he’s going to help keep Tae Ha safe, because he’s Eonnyeon’s husband, isn’t it?
Given that this is the pained, tearful expression that Dae Gil gives General Choi, as he tells General Choi to take care of himself and Wangson, as a parting shot, I can only imagine the depth and complexity of Dae Gil’s heartache. And yet, in the midst of that acute heartache, where he admits that he can’t bear to look at Eonnyeon everyday now, even though in the past, he couldn’t bear being separated from her, Dae Gil chooses a path that will contribute towards Eonnyeon’s well-being and safety. Guh. That’s selfless and noble of him, I do think. 💔
Speaking of heartache, there sure is a lot of it going around, this episode.
I really felt for Seol Hwa, as she wrestled with the realization that even when she changes her behavior to be more genteel like Eonnyeon, Dae Gil simply won’t look at her. The way her eyes shine with tears, even as she forces a smile on her lips, is heartbreaking.
It moves me too, that part of the reason Seol Hwa cries, is because of Dae Gil’s pain. She sees it, and even asks Eonnyeon why she appeared, only to tear Dae Gil’s heart into pieces. Even though Dae Gil resolutely won’t look at Seol Hwa romantically, it’s clear to see that she would actually make a good match for him, not least because she sees him and understands him, even though he puts up gruff walls all the time.
I do like the budding sisterhood between Eonnyeon and Seol Hwa, though, and I appreciate Eonnyeon for being gentle and gracious with Seol Hwa. I especially like how Eonnyeon tells shows Seol Hwa what her name likely looks like, and explains to her what it likely means, telling her that she’s as beautiful as a snow flower (which she is). It’s no wonder Seol Hwa wants to address Eonnyeon as “Unnie.”
Elsewhere, Cho Bok suddenly finds her world falling apart, as she gets the news that she’s soon to be married, because her master has made a deal to exchange her for a calf and a male varlet. The tearful way she watches Eop Bok from afar, is full of pathos too. It’s too bad that Cho Bok won’t tell Eop Bok what’s bothering her, and Eop Bok is all befuddled at Cho Bok’s foul mood and insistent questions about when they will actually change the world.
New Guy is getting our slave rebel faction ready to attack the Tribute Bureau and the Slave Tribunal, and I’m getting nervous, especially at the part where he takes Eop Bok aside to ask him to personally take down any of their own, if they were to get caught. Gah. I know that this is practical and all, but New Guy’s nice facade is starting to show some cracks, I think.
The arc that I found most affecting this hour, though, has to be the loss of Han Seom. 💔
I think it was Snow Flower who said that Choi Jin Woong just has a way of making you feel, when he’s on your screen, and in Han Seom’s final arc in particular, I have to wholeheartedly agree.
Han Seom doesn’t actually say a great deal, in the grand scheme of things, but the earnestness in his expression, and the way his eyes seem to be so full of shining, sincere tears, just gets me in the heart. I can feel Han Seom’s deep shock at Scholar Jo’s betrayal, like it reaches his very bones, and in the way that he throws himself into fighting the soldiers in the end, it’s clear that he’s prepared to fight to the death, even though he knows that it’s a battle he will not win.
My only consolation is the scene that Show gives us, of Han Seom envisioning being reunited with his Court Lady, in the afterlife. It’s so poignant that even in death, Han Seom seems to be unable to forget his pledge and duty, because he keeps looking over his shoulder. And then it’s bittersweet but liberating, to see Han Seom finally make the decision to leave everything behind, at the gentle urging of his Court Lady. I am gutted that we lose Han Seom, but this silver lining, of him reuniting with his lady love, is the best silver lining I could ask for. 😭💔
Later, when Tae Ha finds Han Seom’s body and weeps at the loss of his dear friend, Dae Gil’s respectful distance, as well as his proactive assistance in fighting off the newly arrived soldiers, in order to give Tae Ha space to grieve, kinda-sorta reminds me of how Eop Bok had spared Dae Gil’s life, when he’d been grieving over Ji Ho. It feels like a code of honor of sorts, to give a man time and space to grieve, regardless of one’s grudge with him.
Speaking of Tae Ha and Dae Gil, it’s actually quite refreshing to see them be on the same side now, instead of constantly fighting each other like they did for a while. I also like the philosophical bent that their conversations sometimes take as well. When Dae Gil talks about not trusting any human being walking the earth, it makes me think of that moment when he’d realized that the very slave to whom he’d called for help, was the one who’d set his family home on fire. I feel like this was likely the moment that caused Dae Gil to lose trust in people. Tae Ha’s response, that if Dae Gil trusts no one, then he can’t trust Dae Gil either, is thought-provoking too. A person who doesn’t trust others, doesn’t invite trust either. Tae Ha and Dae Gil unexpectedly make pretty good philosophers, heh.
It doesn’t look like they will have much time for conversation, though, with Commander Hwang hot on their tail. I’m a little perplexed that Commander Hwang is so good at trailing them, but, I’m also relieved that this means that Commander Hwang isn’t attacking Mt. Worak. It looks like things are going to amp up next episode, so I’m bracing myself for what’s to come.
Looks like Jjakgwi is more than all talk; I’m quite shocked, actually, that he manages to trounce our Qing Ambassador’s capable righthand man in a one-to-one fight. Much more impressive than I expected, certainly. It also tickles me that part of the reason Jjakgwi triumphs, is because he doesn’t play by expected rules, and fills his blows with lots of feints, thus throwing off our much more straitlaced, by-the-book Qing Dude. Credit to Seol Hwa, for being thinking and acting fast to get help from Jjakgwi, the moment she saw the intruders.
Also, shout-out to Eonnyeon for the way she questions Qing Dude; I like that she talks and carries herself with dignity and confidence, and never shows that she’s at all intimidated by his claim, that the Little Prince will not be able to survive in Joseon. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Eonnyeon really has grown into her own since we first met her at the beginning of our story. Before, she’d always been so breathless and flaily, and now, she’s consistently grounded and wise, and speaks with a gravitas that’s very different from her early breathy yelps.
One of the best things about this episode, though, has to be the sight of Dae Gil and Tae Ha not only traveling together, but working together, and sometimes just hanging out and sharing philosophical bits of conversation.
What Dae Gil says in response to Tae Ha’s question about having dreamed of changing the world in the past, is so poignant, “Before I experienced reality, I did.” That tired, jaded look in his eyes speaks volumes about how painful the experience was, of experiencing that reality, and losing his dreams.
It says a lot, I think, that even though Dae Gil is completely cynical about the effectiveness of Tae Ha’s plan to seek out the Crown Prince, he goes along with it anyway, and acts as Tae Ha’s lookout and comrade in arms. This is a huge deal, considering that not that long ago, it had been Dae Gil’s burning desire to take down Tae Ha.
Clearly, Dae Gil’s doing all of this for Eonnyeon’s sake, but along the way, I do think that Dae Gil and Tae Ha grow a grudging measure of respect for each other. It’s like seeing a panther and a tiger suddenly getting along, when before they’d been at each other’s throats; it’s novel, fascinating and quite thrilling.
It does amuse me, at the same time, that Dae Gil isn’t above grumbling at Tae Ha for being suffocating, to the extent that he can’t bear the thought of spending a whole day with Tae Ha while sober. Ha. 😆 He’s so casually sarcastic and derisive, and yet, the way he drawls it all, I don’t actually find him offensive. (This, of course, is quite possibly due to my Jang Hyuk-favoring eyes. 😅)
Elsewhere, our rebel slave faction meets fellow rebel slave factions, and New Guy rallies them to attack the Tribute Bureau.
With all that New Guy has done to train the various groups of rebel slaves and gather them together, it does make a pretty convincing case that he’s truly on their side. But then, the very dark, very sly look on his face, just before he slays Cheater Trader, hints otherwise.
My heart was in my throat, watching our rebel slaves storm the Tribute Bureau; they’re armed and all, but in the grand scheme of things, they are quite a small group and they are vulnerable in the face of the law, so I worry for them. It feels like so much could go wrong at any time. 😝
I feel really bad for Eop Bok, who has to make good on his promise to New Guy, to shoot any of their own that gets captured, so as to protect the group as a whole. Augh. The way Eop Bok struggles to do the deed, and the way he bawls like a baby afterwards, makes it clear how traumatic this is, for him. Poor Eop Bok. And at this point, he doesn’t even know that Cho Bok is about to married off by her master either. 💔
I had to giggle at the stark difference between the way Tae Ha greets the Crown Prince, with a deep bow to the ground, and the way Dae Gil greets him, with a reluctant side nod of his head. It’s almost like it’s so awkward for Dae Gil to let go of his swag, even if it’s to greet royalty. 😆
While the Crown Prince dashes Tae Ha’s hopes of assistance (really, though? Tae Ha was hoping that the Crown Prince would help Tae Ha oust himself? I gotta say, Tae Ha’s very naive, for a general..? 🙄), Dae Gil busies himself being their cynical sentinel, and picks up on Commander Hwang’s presence, with his men.
I do love the visual of Dae Gil and Tae Ha fighting side by side against a common enemy. They are so in sync at it, it feels like they’ve fought alongside each other forever. Also, nice twist there, Show, with presenting our last shot as if Tae Ha and Dae Gil are rushing headlong at each other, ready to direct their blows at each other, but really each aiming for the enemy behind the other. I love the knowing looks they throw at each other, after all the enemy guards have been felled; there’s acknowledgment, respect, and even a bit of grudging partnership in their gazes, and I love it. 🤩