Open Thread: Chuno Episodes 23 & 24 [Final]

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Can you believe we’re at the end of this epic journey?!? My goodness, what a journey it has been! Thank you so much for being here, you guys. You have all contributed so much, to making this a delightfully rich and expanded experience for everyone. ❤️

Before we begin, just a few administrative details:

1. If you’d like, you can find my review of Chuno here, which I wrote in 2013, after my second watch.

2. The poll for our next Group Watch is here; please do head on over to cast your vote!

Without further ado, here are my reactions to this pair of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 23

A lot happens this episode, and it definitely feels like pieces are being moved into place for some kind of Big Showdown in our finale.

One of my favorite things this episode – arguably the best thing this hour – is watching Tae Ha and Dae Gil working together side by side, despite their differences. Dae Gil’s street savvy, combined with Tae Ha’s military training and knowledge, makes for a potent combination, and I’m glad that they find a way to make things work, even though they don’t always agree.

I love that when before, Tae Ha had stubbornly refused to take Dae Gil’s ideas seriously (like about heading for Mt. Worak), this time, he gives in when Dae Gil insists that he, being good at trailing, is also good at fleeing. Progress! I also love that Dae Gil knows how to get them shelter, food and a helping hand via Younger Jumo, while Tae Ha has the ability to interpret the rumors that Younger Jumo is able to report back to Dae Gil. Their skills are so complementary!

And through it all, we still get smatterings of philosophical conversations, which are such a nice touch. It really drives home the point that these two are thinking men. What Dae Gil muses, about how it’s not your genealogy, but what you eat and what you wear, that determines who you are; that he’s never seen someone in fancy garments endure adversities, nor anyone in rags leading a happy life, is so full of jaded pathos.

And I also love that bit where Tae Ha sends Dae Gil out as bait, saying that he’ll back him up with arrows from above. When Dae Gil remarks that Tae Ha’s giving up the hound in order to catch the tiger, Tae Ha responds that he wants Dae Gil to be that tiger. That feels like a statement of acknowledgment and respect, and I like it.

It’s fantastic how in sync Tae Ha and Dae Gil are, during the actual fight, with Tae Ha shooting down soldiers, while Dae Gil fights the ones remaining, face to face. The fact that this all happens simultaneously, as if Dae Gil can anticipate which guy he doesn’t need to be bother about because Tae Ha will get him, is quite thrilling.

They trounce Commander Hwang’s men, and Commander Hwang is left fuming at the troops that had defied his orders, and redirected themselves to the Tribute Bureau in response to the attack.

It’s quite dissonant, how, one minute we see Commander Hwang beating up the officer who had dared to defy his orders, and probably nearly killing him, and the next minute, we see him interacting with his sweet, gentle mother, who’s so worried about him, despite her own poor health. Oof. I feel really sorry for his mother, honestly. She loves her son so earnestly and wants only for him to have a family with his wife, and even goes out into the cold winter in order to gather what she believes to be healing evening primroses. She has no idea that her son has cut off his conscience and become a heartless killing machine. I’m sure that it would break her heart if she knew. 💔

In the close-up of Commander Hwang in this scene where he kneels down to speak with his mother, we see that there is a faint glimmer of tears glistening in his eyes. Could Commander Hwang’s conscience have been awoken, after all?

New Guy proves our suspicions right, with his slimy meeting with Left State Councilor. It’s quite startling, really, how disgusted he is by the slaves that he’s been spending time with, and whom he’s been smilingly addressing as “Hyung-nim.” Park Ki Woong is so good at this kind of dark duplicity.

Also, Left State Councilor really is turning out to be extraordinarily manipulative and scheming. It seems that he’s had the rebel slave faction simmering all this time, so that he’d have proof of an insurrection when he wanted it, in order to further his political goals. Dang. That’s evil, but it’s also genius.

Clearly, New Guy’s patience with his rebel slave faction “brothers” has been wearing thin; the way his friendly facade falls away is quite awful to watch. It really feels like his nice facade is so eroded that it’s crumbling with every additional second that he has to spend in the presence of these slaves whom he’s clearly repulsed by.

I feel so sorry for our rebel slaves, who have trusted him so completely, and had dared to hope, because of New Guy’s smiling big talk about revolution, and a new and better world. What an awful sense of betrayal they must feel, to see New Guy now turning on them, and killing their own, without an ounce of hesitation. Ugh.

I feel most sorry for Ggeutbong, whom I’ve grown rather fond of, and whom I feel sorry for, because earlier this episode, he’d said that he didn’t even know if his own children were still alive, because they’d been sold by his master. What a horrible realization, that all his hopes were essentially a lie. 😭

Meanwhile, Eop Bok realizes belatedly that Cho Bok’s been married off by their master, and he goes crazy looking for her. Not only does he kill his master for having the presumption to buy and sell others even though they are all human, he storms the house of Cho Bok’s new master, armed with his rifle.

It’s as if Cho Bok’s been expecting him, though, and she runs out to greet him with widest, biggest, happiest smile. That happiness is short-lived, though, as Eop Bok soon tells her to head to Mt. Worak, while he goes off to fight.

When Cho Bok expresses reluctance to be separated from him, Eop Bok tearfully asks her if she’d like them to run away together and live a new life together, just the two of them. Oof. It moves me so much, that after some thought, Cho Bok shakes her head and tells him no, because if he doesn’t, who would then change the world? She gives him her blessing to go and fight, and Eop Bok thanks her, the tears bright in his eyes.

Augh. This is so painfully bittersweet, because there is so much love in here, and yet at the same time, because of how dangerous the mission is, there’s also only a sliver of hope that Eop Bok will actually be able to survive and come meet her at Mt. Worak. And still, she kisses him and gives him her blessings. Sob. This is really heartbreaking. 💔

On a tangent, this last screenshot is what Beez and I were talking about before. I’d mentioned in my review of Chuno (which you can find here), that there’s a sense of poetry about how, when Eop Bok and Cho Bok kiss like this, their cheek tattoos together read 奴婢 (nobi; slave).

Episode 24

Oof. What. An. Ending. Even though this is my third viewing, this ending still hits me with the same intense feels, and my mind is left whirling while my heart staggers about, trying to steady itself, so that I can write about this.

It strikes me more than ever, how Eop Bok is a man who lives passionately, consistently striving to align his actions with his values, and who loves sincerely, even though he might not be very expressive about it. The way he sobs over Ggeutbong’s body is so heartbreaking. 💔 And then, when the tears stop, there’s a quiet resolve that’s settled over him, as he watches the sun shine over the city, with Ggeutbong’s head nestled in his lap. He tells Ggeutbong that even though he can’t live without Cho Bok, and even though she’s told him that she’ll be waiting for him, he can’t die like a beast.

Augh. In this moment, I realize that Eop Bok’s decided that running away and hiding – and therefore not making a stand for what he believes in – equates living like a beast, and he doesn’t want his life to amount to that. The way that he states resolutely, that showing them that even slaves like him live in this world, is worth dying for, gives me chills.

The way Eop Bok singlehandedly storms the palace gates on his own, with a handful of rifles strapped to his side, is so coolly iconic. He knows that this is a suicide mission, and yet, there’s no sign of nervousness about him; he’s got his wits about him, and is precise and targeted, when it comes to choosing which rifles to keep with him, reloading his rifles, and shooting his targets.

I’m pleased that Scholar Jo gets taken down as collateral damage, mostly because he’s such a traitor, and I got a great deal of satisfaction seeing New Guy literally fly through the air, when he gets shot. Yes, it’s completely unrealistic that Left State Minister basically just stands there and waits to be shot, while Eop Bok reloads his rifle for the last time, but I rationalize that he’s possibly too shocked and therefore is frozen to the spot?

What strikes me about Eop Bok’s Mission Impossible, is that even though it’s short-lived, it leaves a deep impression on his friend, who’s all wide-eyed and scared when he watches Eop Bok begin his mission, but who gets a determination and fire in his eyes, even as he sees Eop Bok captured within the palace grounds. It’s as if he’s gained courage from Eop Bok’s display of boldness, and this makes me feel like Eop Bok’s effort will have a positive ripple effect.

I loved seeing Dae Gil and Tae Ha work together this episode. The mutual respect is clearly growing, and I really like that they are even starting to acknowledge each other’s positive traits. These two have come such a long way since they first met, and it’s so bittersweet, that this pinnacle of their friendship, comes at a time when they’re about to meet their end. That said, it occurs to me that it’s possible that both men have a sense that this might well be the end for one or both of them, and that’s why they are both more gracious towards each other; life-and-death situations do have a way of getting people to rise above their grudges, after all.

I so love this scene of Dae Gil and Tae Ha running together. The looks that they give each other, even as they run, is full of relish and enjoyment. To me, this says that they find this experience of fighting on the same side, while complementing each other in both skill and knowledge, quite exhilarating indeed. And I feel that they’re communicating and acknowledging this, in the looks that they exchange, without the need for words. I love that. 🤩

They still manage to have philosophical lashings of conversation, and the one that I find most important, is when Tae Ha tells Dae Gil that he feels sorry towards him, but that chance is part of destiny as well. My subtitles say, “I feel sorry for you,” but I’m pretty certain this is an unfortunate mistranslation. It’s huge, that Tae Ha would essentially express that he’s sorry for taking Eonnyeon away from Dae Gil, for lack of a better expression. I also really like that Tae Ha asks Dae Gil if they could have been friends, if they’d met under different circumstances.

Dae Gil answers Tae Ha with gruff words, but he does soften, though, when Tae Ha asks if Dae Gil still thinks of him as a slave. The way Dae Gil answers, that anyone who’s bound to the world by something is a slave, basically acknowledges Tae Ha’s standing in his eyes.

While a part of me wishes that Dae Gil never took up Tae Ha’s request to go with them on the last part of their journey – because then Dae Gil would’ve been fine, I say – I appreciate the sentiment. Tae Ha understands that Dae Gil is concerned for Eonnyeon, and he believes that seeing Eonnyeon board the boat safely headed for Qing, would give Dae Gil peace of mind. That’s quite generous and respectful, I think, given that at this point, Tae Ha doesn’t realize that he will need Dae Gil’s help later on.

I also think it’s very gentlemanly of Tae Ha to create an opportunity for Eonnyeon and Dae Gil to have a private conversation by the fire.

I don’t know that I’ve noticed it before, but dang, Jang Hyuk’s delivery of this scene is sublime. The way Dae Gil’s gaze subtly shifts nervously, multiple times, as he searches for the words, is heartbreakingly vulnerable. Augh. This scene just makes my heart go out to him; he’s clearly preparing to officially let Eonnyeon go, with his statement that he’d searched for her not because he’d yearned for her, and it feels like such a sucker-punch to the gut, when Eonnyeon tells him that she knows that. Oof. I felt that, on Dae Gil’s behalf. What a blow, to hear that the woman you love, whom you’ve yearned for, for years, essentially negate the fact that your love existed, all that time. 💔😭

It’s little wonder that Dae Gil leaves the group as soon as he can, saying that he’ll go on ahead, to secure a boat for them. I.. don’t understand how Dae Gil has a pair of pink shoes to look upon in that boat when we see him, and it’s not like he’s got a bag or anything, to carry those shoes around in, so it does seem like these pink shoes just appear out of nowhere. I also don’t get the significance of the shoes; does Dae Gil plan to give them to Eonnyeon as a farewell gift? That seems.. inappropriate?

Anyway, the main point is that when Dae Gil realizes that Tae Ha and Eonnyeon must be in trouble, he wastes no time in getting to them, and jumps right into the thick of the action. Unlike previous fights, though, this one is much harder to watch because it isn’t long before our key characters start to get dangerously injured, and we start to realize that – sob – they’re most likely not going to make it. 💔

When Dae Gil tells Eonnyeon that she must survive, because that’s the only way that he’ll survive, I feel like he’s saying that there’s a piece of him that belongs to her, and if she lives, that that piece of him will live on, too. 💔

As I consider the sequence of events, it occurs to me that if not for Dae Gil, things would have turned out very differently. It’s because Dae Gil is there to fend off Commander Hwang, that Eonnyeon is able to escape with the Little Prince. It’s true that Tae Ha doesn’t make it, but it’s because Dae Gil bought her that time, that she’s able to escape to Qing, and it’s only because she’s able to escape, that the Little Prince eventually receives absolution, after the Crown Prince comes into power.

Also, the way Dae Gil puts his life on the line, for something that’s technically not his battle to fight, essentially gives Commander Hwang pause for thought, and eventually stop his soldiers from going after Tae Ha and Eonnyeon, saying that it’s all over. I feel like Show is saying that it’s Dae Gil’s statement about fighting for a better world, that causes Commander Hwang to change his course of action. Instead of pursuing Tae Ha in order to kill the Little Prince, he tells his men that it’s over. Perhaps what he means as being over, is all the politicking and fighting that involves Left State Councilor. With Left State Councilor dead, perhaps that fight really is over, for Commander Hwang.

I did find the scene of Commander Hwang crying in his wife’s arms very poignant and affecting, even though it’s arguable that his turnaround comes quite suddenly.

The most affecting scene for me this hour, has to be Dae Gil’s death scene, with Seol Hwa. Oof. So painful. 😭

First of all, I’m just so grateful that Seol Hwa follows her instincts and finds her way to Dae Gil. Even General Choi and Wangson don’t pick up on the shades of finality in Dae Gil’s instructions, and innocently believe that Dae Gil will meet them in Yicheon. It’s Seol Hwa who’s observed Dae Gil so closely, and has attuned herself to his ways, to the extent that she can sense when something’s not quite right.

I’m thankful that Seol Hwa finds Dae Gil while he’s still alive, so that he isn’t alone, in his final moments. I just have to say, Jang Hyuk’s delivery of Dae Gil’s last breaths, is so masterful that it’s painful to watch. Guh. 😭 The way he struggles to choke out his words, even as he keeps coughing up blood; the way his eyes can’t seem to focus; the way he lifts his hand towards Seol Hwa, but can’t seem to see her in order to touch her; it’s all so heartbreaking to watch.

It moves me, that with his last dredges of strength, Dae Gil chooses to apologize to Seol Hwa – even addressing her by name, for the first time – saying that he’s sorry that he couldn’t see her heart beating for him, because of the darkness surrounding him. It hits me like a ton of bricks, that even in his dying breath, he’s using the last of his strength to comfort Seol Hwa and distract her, by asking her to sing for him. AUGH. This man. And his scarred, but caring heart. 💔

I am gutted that we lose Dae Gil, even though I knew it was coming. 😭 But it’s a strange, transcendent sort of consolation, that in the end, he did dedicate his life towards the better world that he’d once dared to dream of. Even though he’s taken a long, roundabout, battle-scarred journey to get there, he’s come full circle, to embrace that dream again, to the extent of giving his life for that dream. There’s something meaningful, and even beautiful, in that tragedy, yes?

In a voiceover by Commander Hwang, we are informed of the eventual abolishment of slave hunting, and the Little Prince’s absolution. And it’s then that we see Cho Bok and Eun Sil gazing at the (rising?) sun together, where Cho Bok tells her that the sun belongs to them, because no one has ever been able to posses it. What a profound statement, about belonging vs. possession. It’s food for thought indeed, and it does feel like something that we’ve been wrestling with all story long, given that we’ve been exploring the idea of slaves and their masters.

Thinking about it, Dae Gil’s heart had absolutely belonged to Eonnyeon, and ironically, even though she had once been his slave, we never see him once try to possess her. And she is a big part of the reason that he has the conviction to support the dream of a better world, to the extent of giving up his life.

With the glimpse of the future that we are given, we can conclude that even though change is slow in the coming, the sacrifices that our characters make, do contribute to the making of a better world.

I do love that epilogue shot of Dae Gil pretend-shooting an arrow into the sun – not trying to possess it, but simply enjoying it. I thought this was a fitting tribute to our favorite rogue. ❤️

Also, it’s a sight for sore eyes, to see General Choi and Wangson farming the land that Dae Gil bought for them. How like Dae Gil, to pay for everything in full – except for the land that was meant for himself.

Dae Gil may not have managed to change the entire world with his actions, but he certainly did manage to change the lives of General Choi and Wangson, and that thought gives me a good amount of comfort. I’d like to think that in the afterlife, Dae Gil’s looking down on the both of them with fondness and pride, smirking wryly that he was right after all, to manage the money for them. 😏❤️

PS: I know that not all versions of Chuno have this final scene in it, and I’m sorry to say that I can’t find a clip of it anywhere to share with you guys. I’d once uploaded it to share in my review, but it got flagged for copyright infringement, so I don’t want to try that again. 😬 It’s literally only 10 seconds long, and shows Wangson and General Choi chuckling at each other, as they try to get into the hang of farming. These 3 screenshots capture it all, pretty much. I hope this helps!

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beez
5 months ago

@Everyone – and one more part to the JH interview that I didn’t know I had: https://1drv.ms/v/s!AvE2-hpAQD16oibGXAy-zD42hlWI

beez
5 months ago

@Everyone – just stumbled upon this interview with Jang Hyuk and Lee Dae hae that I didn’t even know that I had saved. It delves into Chuno some but what I found really interesting is the way JH and Lee Dae hae address each other. I think it gives insight into the whole -sshi vs. Oppa usage, especially when the subject of how JH addresses the actress that plays Seol hwa differently than he does Lee Dae Hae.
https://1drv.ms/v/s!AvE2-hpAQD16oicyIrxnprWuebST

Here’s an earlier part of the segment (I haven’t watched it yet but I’m assuming it’s earlier because Lee Dae hae isn’t on stage with him yet) https://1drv.ms/v/s!AvE2-hpAQD16oizq96NIxKlMUZA5

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, thank you! Now I know that JH’s hair in Chuno is his own, not a wig. I wanted to find out if he would pick Eon Nyeon or Seol Hwa, but the annoying hosts never gave him a chance to answer!

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower – I know what you mean because I wanted to hear the answer to “did Song Dong-Il’s feet stink when you put his toes in your mouth?” 😂😂 (I did enjoy JH’s laughter at the question though.)

I don’t know who’s bright idea it was too string all the questions together and run a countdown for which host could read them the fastest. head clunk

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: Regarding Sung Dong Il’s feet – another burning question left unanswered! But at least we got to see young JH dancing and singing…

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
6 months ago
Trent
6 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower A lovely contemplative piece. Thank you for sharing.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Sure

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Alright! Let’s do this!

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Sure. There is no such thing as too much Jang Hyuk. Plus, his role in Money Flower is so different than Daegil from Chuno, it will be fun to compare his performances. I voted for Nirvana in Fire, Money Flower, and Dr. Romantic.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Sounds like a good idea. I voted for NIF and While You were Sleeping. It looks like Dr Romantic will win the poll and I’m not generally a fan of medical shows though I think you said this is a bit different. Money Flower is on my list but I was thinking of giving Jang Hyuk a break for a while, having seen Fated to Love You and Deep Rooted Tree recently and now Chuno but I can take another Jang Hyuk vehicle, he’s that good an actor.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

I forgot to mention My Country so that makes 4 Jang Hyuk vehicles in the last few months! Guess I’m as big a fan as the ladies.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – you’re welcome to “SQUEE” along with us….or not. ☺😆

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: I’ve been at a loss since Chuno ended as to what to watch and today is the perfect day to start a new show, all wintry and snowing outside. Chuno sort of drained me and left me incapable of starting a new show. I’ve been watching a few shows simultaneously with Chuno to keep me from skipping ahead and while I finished one, I have a couple of others stuck between episode 2-4 and not finding the motivation to plunge ahead.

I have a new “bias”, Chae Soo-bin, only saw her in I’m Not A Robot while watching Chuno, and I’m very impressed. The show was quite entertaining and she turns in a very good performance in a dual role. There’s something about her that’s very appealing even though one might say she’s not as classically good looking as SYJ, Jun Ji-hyun and others. So while you “squee” all over Jang Hyuk, I’ll do the same for Chae Soo-bin.

reaper525
reaper525
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@geo chae soo bin is one of the most beautiful women I know imo. And I also really like her acting. You should check out more of her dramas.

Where stars land – nice romance
Piece of your mind – romance and healing… very slow
Strongest delivery man – her acting is great even tho her role is not very likeable and caused numerous discussions and a controversy

I don’t know other shows in which she is the lead but I am sure more will come

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo,

I highly recommend Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People. If you are in a mood for another sageuk with a different feel than Chuno, definitely go for it. The tone is more of a legendary tale, something a grandpa would tell his grandchildren. And Chae Soo Bin is the female lead. There is also a Chuno connection: The actor who played Wangson in Chuno (Kim Ji Suk) gives another memorable performance as mad prince.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@reaper525; @ Snow Flower: Thanks for the recommendations, I was just researching Chae Soo-bin shows and was thinking of Love in The Moonlight or Where Stars Land, seem lighter compared to Rebel? And after Chuno, not sure I want to plunge into another dramatic show right away.

reaper: I see you share my appreciation for Chae Soo-bin, there’s really something about her.

reaper525
reaper525
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Yes there is something about her. I don’t know but her smile just captures you.
Just a side note: she only has a minor role in love in the moonlight. Especially in the beginning she barely shows up.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Rebel does have dramatic moments, but it is not as heavy as Chuno. The music is great and Chae Soo Bin is the female lead.

I am adding I Am Not A Robot to my watch list.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower: I enjoyed I’m Not A Robot even though the premise was not something I’m normally interested in but I read KFG’s brief opening comments and saw her rating so decided to try it and was very surprised at how much I liked it. Without KFG’s comments, I would never have watched this show and discovered Chae Soo-bin.

This blog is really valuable in bringing shows like this to my attention, so many thanks to KFG and everyone else who posts here.

Trent
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo Yes, I definitely second the motion about how valuable KFG’s reviews and various comments on this site have been in pointing towards worthwhile shows to check out.

I would have probably never seen Chuno, for instance, and Healer was one of my favorite watches from last year and I might never have gotten to that either, without the comments here. Ditto Some Day or One Day. Also, several promising shows on my list to watch that are only there because of the love they’ve received here: Coffee Prince, Secret Love Affair, The Princess’s Man, Deep Rooted Tree, et al.

Trent
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Jumping in to say I support the Chae Soo-bin love!

I’ve only seen her in Love in the Moonlight, where I really liked her and thought she was sadly underused in the part of the aspiring crown princess candidate who doesn’t get the guy.

Her appearance as a lead in Strongest Delivery Man actually has me considering watching it one day, when it doesn’t otherwise look like the sort of show I would normally be too interested in (of course, it doesn’t hurt that the other lead is Ko Kyung-pyo, who I really liked in Reply 1988).

Did anyone see A Piece of Your Mind from last year? It apparently got cut down to 12 episodes due to poor ratings, but it looks like it had a pretty good cast, including Chae Soo-bin and Jung Hae-in as the male lead (who I quite liked in Prison Playbook).

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I saw A Piece of Your Mind and liked it. It is slow paced and a little confusing in the beginning. The show has this nice cozy feel, like a winter afternoon spent by the fireplace.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent: Jump right on to the Chae Soo-bin wagon, the more the merrier. The premise of Strongest Delivery man doesn’t really appeal to me either and I’m a little disappointed that she is under-utilized in Love In The Moonlight. Piece of Your mind looks promising but more melodramatic than rom-com so I don’t know at this time for me.

Oh well, maybe I’ll have to watch the first episode of a couple of shows before deciding.

Trent
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Yeah, let me follow up to say that she was good in Love in the Moonlight, she just got stuck as the second female lead and didn’t have a lot to do. And because she was good, and (I agree) is very pretty, I was left wanting to see more of her!

Just to expand on Love in the Moonlight, I did enjoy it. It’s a saeguk romance on the lighter side, and I really enjoyed the comedy especially in the earlier episodes when Kim Yoo-jung is “undercover” as a novice eunuch in the palace. Overall, it’s basically a teen romance in Joseon dynasty trappings, take that for what it’s worth.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent;@reaper525: Thanks for the insight into Love in the Moonlight. I may still watch this show even though Chae Soo-bin is the second FL. I think seeing her in I’m not A Robot followed by other shows where she is the lead will pose problems for me watching shows where she is not the lead. Maybe better to start with one where she has a secondary role or I’d never get to it after watching her play the lead in more shows.

reaper525
reaper525
7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Piece of your mind is very slow but definitely worth the watch

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – you know i don’t take this recommendation thing lightly because I’m conscious of the precious hours of commitment that goes into watching a series and recommending anything less than stellar means I’m wasting a person’s time when they could’ve been watching something else. That being said – I know you watched Six Flying Dragons but did you watch Tree with Deep Roots?

My other recommendations are Mr. Queen – a thousand thumbs up (as a comedy) and Chicago Typewriter, an oddity (it’s a bit of everything) that I can’t explain but I loved it enough to buy the dvd set.

Trent
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

I second the Mr. Queen rec, I enjoyed it more than I was expecting to. Shin Hye-sun (female lead) is absolutely stellar. She owns that role and runs away with the show, in my opinion.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – I’ve been giving her the highest possible praise in my book as being equal to Yoo Ah in and Jang Hyuk.

I mean most of the actresses are good and can portray teary-eyed emotion but in Episode 19 (I think it was) she gives it all in a variety of emotions that ooze intensity. Not to mention her embodiment of a dude, a playa, transported back in time.

Plus she has the likeability factor. In She Was Pretty she had a supporting role as a dingbat conniving golddigging secretary but instead of disliking her, she made you laugh even though there was no written material in the script that really called for anything more than a chuckle. In Legend of the Deep Blue Sea, she plays that rival who wants to come between the OTP yet you could never hate her the way that character is usually hated.

Trent
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez Yeah, there’s just something about how she manages to convey the swagger of a 21st century playboy dude transported into a 19th century Joseon queen’s body. It’s both impressive and delightful to watch. And then she gets opportunities to show her range in other ways, too.

She’s an actress I haven’t seen in anything else before, but she’s definitely on the radar now.

reaper525
reaper525
7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

If you like shin hye sun than I recommend Still 17 is it quite funny and she is amazing in it

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I started watching Mr Queen and while I was having trouble getting into the drama itself I have to 100% agree that she is impressive in the role. I don’t doubt for one second that she is the guy.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – Shin Hye sun’s projects where she’s been the lead (up until Mr. Queen) haven’t been shows that suit my taste but her portrayal in them has been stellar. I was very impressed with her portrayals of a violinist and a ballerina, where you could see she obviously studied the fingering and the forms, respectively. She’s quite tall (5’8″) so to play a ballerina…

I became her fan in Five Enough (aka Five Children) but it’s very long for a slice of life show (54 episodes) so I don’t get to recommend it as often as I would.

j3ffc
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

I had to squint to avoid spoilers on Mr. Queen, which is on my must-list, but many months in the future due to other commitments 😉 But I will totally second Shin Hye-sun as a wonderful actress. I found her completely appealing in “Legend of the DBS” and “Still Seventeen” (or “Thirty But Seventeen”) was a great lead role for her. And for something completely and totally different, utterly heartbreaking in “Hymn of Death”.

And while I’m admitting my k-drama crushes, happy to get on the Chae Soo bin bandwagon as well. “Robot” was breezy and fun and I look forward to other dramas with her in them as well.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: I did watch Tree with Deeper Roots, as I mentioned above, I looked at 4 Jang Hyuk shows over the past 3 months or so. I’ll put Mr Queen on my list after such a strong recommendation from you and Trent.

I started Love in the Moonlight and the first episode is going well. It’s light and I think I need that after Chuno.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Love in the Moonlight is very cute and gave me an appeciation for Park Bo gum that I didn’t have before. (I saw Reply 1988 after Moonlight.)

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – ohhhhh. Chae Soo bin. I didn’t realize who she was. Yes. I enjoyed her in Star Foxbride Airport Stars or something like that. She was good.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Chae Soo Bin was absolutely delightful in Im not a robot. I loved her so much in that. I second the recommendation for Rebel for when you are again the mood for a sageuk.

Trent
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Just a quick drive-by to say thank you to everyone who recommended I’m Not a Robot. I checked it out on impulse, and I’m like five episodes (or ten, since they break the normal eps in half) into it already. It’s total fizzy, cracky fun so far, and Chae Soo-bin is daebak!

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I’m in! Buuuut if you’d consider Beautiful Mind, that’s a shorter commitment. But I’m in! Whichever Jang Hyuk series it is 🙂

j3ffc
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I look at these group watches as master classes in K-drama and will participate as much as I can. If Dr. Romantic wins the poll, then I’ll slide that into the slot I had intended for Hospital Playlist to make it work.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

, I’m game. (It’s Jang Hyuk!) Although I would’ve preferred Beautiful Mind but as I said… Jang Hyuk so…

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

– Especially for those of us (me) who don’t want to attempt While You Were Sleeping again, then having another simultaneously ongoing open thread would be great!

reaper525
reaper525
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Looks like a busy schedule for you guys 😂
But your admiration for one man is impressive.

reaper525
reaper525
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

That is the spirit!
Well I don’t know him so I am just going to agree with you 😂

reaper525
reaper525
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

That might be the reason why I haven’t seen him. So I am just going to take your word for it ^^

reaper525
reaper525
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Thanks for the recommendation. I will consider it

seankfletcher
7 months ago

I finally caught up! Overall, I found Chuno to be a microcosm of today’s world i.e. despite your lot in life, the sun will always come up tomorrow 🌞

One aspect I liked very much is how that time or the setting is portrayed i.e. the amenity and the existence of the people within it. Recent shows have very polished surroundings, perhaps as part of that high production value they always strive to achieve. The only show that does it better is Kingdom (1&2) which oozes realism.

For my mind, the best episodes were 7-9. I thought the story at this point was excellent. Then it meandered off into, well, a meander. Was this Daegil’s story, was it Eop Bok’s story, was it Song Tae Ha’s story? Mind you ep 14 was excellent. Chuno then became very good again in the final arc, or Eps 18 – 24.

Although I found the slave revolt interesting, I did have my doubts from the get go re the “leader,” when he appeared in the latter episodes. This certainly turned out to be the case as he almost seemed too good to be true. I think we saw Eop Bok realise this and his final scene with him was awesome 😎

In terms of the subs, they were interesting at times. There was a use of language that would be interesting to see how it would translate in 2021. We get to see in Run On how interpretation can change in a short span of years.

What a cast overall 🤩 In the final episodes, we see Song Tae Ha come to the fore. In fact, his character eclipsed Daegil’s at times. The interesting thing re Oh Ji Ho, is even back then he was lumbered with “the kid” as has happened to him in many shows. In his most recent outing: Never Twice (which I enjoyed) we get to see some ensemble characters who are now quite prevalent in a number of shows of late.

My favourite character throughout the whole show was Cho Bok Yi. She was forthright and really shone on her own. Her relationship with Eop Bok, was the most enjoyable for me. I also liked Eop Bok’s character very much. Although at times he was at a loss to what was going on – he was very thoughtful. His final scenes were excellent.

A special shout out is saved for Sul Hwa. I think if Chuno was made now, her character would be even more outstanding. As for Lee Da Hae, I thought her role was a little underdone in terms of how it was written, as her performance was fine.

As for his “Highness,” I know he was only 4, but he did remind me all too much of Baby “Yoda” (The Mandalorian).

Chuno’s wrap up was, perhaps, one of the most enjoyable. By that I mean, the ending did not go out with a whimper the way many kdramas do! Most who deserved their comeuppance, received it.

Jak Kwi gets a special mention here. He almost stole the show for me!!!

At the end of the day, I was glad to finally watch Chuno. I doubt I would have done so if it wasn’t for the group watch 😊 Although it was a struggle to keep up with the roll out of the watch, I have enjoyed such a wealth of input immensely along the way.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Haha yes! I also thought of the little prince as the Baby Yoda of Joseon, so adorable but so calm, seemed wise beyond his years. Maybe he was also really 55 😁 And of course we had our Darth Vader in Hwang.

phl1rxd
7 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Ah Sean – Ahn Kil Kang always steals the show for me. Every time, every drama. Truly enjoyed your reference to Baby Yoda.

seankfletcher
7 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Hello, phl. Ahn Kil Kang is so diverse regarding what he can do. One of my favourite roles of his is that of Bok Joo’s father in Weightlifting Fairy Book Joo. May the force be with you 😊

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Now I will have to watch Weightlifting Fairy!

j3ffc
7 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

You could do much, much worse if you are in the mood for a sincere young love drama. I thought it was a lovely show.

princess jasmine
7 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

The comments above by SeanKFletcher echoes my view completely; If not for the group watch I am very sure I would have never seen this drama and would have definitely missed out on an amazing story and Jang Hyuk;

The only thing that I would differ is that I didn’t really like Song Tae Ha as a character as well as the artist who performed. It was a bit underwhelming as a performance given his titular role. It is weird because I started out liking him in the first few episodes until Daegil took over from episode 5 onwards. Also for me the female leads were a bit under utilised except for Cho Bok.

And the most satisfying scene was of course Eop Bok going all out into the Palace. It was really cathartic to seem him do that and get all the 3 main villains killed within a span of say 2/3 minutes. I really didn’t see that coming because by then Daegil /Tae Ha were already fleeing to Qing Palace;

All in all a great watch and I really enjoyed the discussions on most of the episodes even though I wasn’t an active contributor. Thanks to all of you. And this drama has now set the pace for me for Empress Ki which I started last week.

Thanks KFV for coordinating this.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sean, have you seen Queen Seon Deok? Seriously good, and the actor who plays Jjak Gwi in Chuno, Ahn Kil Kang, has a meaty, major support role in it as one mean and menacing bad ass, euphemistically speaking, with just enough complexity, a single strange soft spot, to go beyond mere villain, no matter how terrible his wrath and believe me, it is terrible.

beez
7 months ago

@BE @Geo and at Drama Fan – I just watched the Vicky/Kocowa and the WITHS2 versions of the ending and I see why there’s disagreement. The subs differ in the two versions. In the WITHS2, Tae ha definitely told Eunnyeon “I cannot leave with you to Qing.” Then he insists he shall recover in no time although I’m not sure if that is true or if he’s doing the same thing Dae gil did to get her to comply with going to Qing alone.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

What does the Viki/Kocowa sub say for the same conversation?

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Vicky/Kocowa
TH: Dear
EY: Don’t try to talk.
TH: Can you do as I say?
EY: yes
TH: I won’t go to Qing. I have too much debt to this land. I don’t think I can leave this country.
EY: Thank you for saying that.
TH: Thank you for saying that too.
I’ll get better soon. And when I do, I have to make a better world.
Hyewon… Eonnyeon… where you don’t need two names

WITHS2:
TH: Dear
EY: Don’t speak if it’s too hard
TH: My Dear. Will you follow my wishes?
EY: Yes
TH: I shall not leave with you for Qing territory.
EY: As you wish.
TH: I am too indebted to this land of mine so I don’t believe I could ever leave it.
EY: I’m grateful to hear you say that.
TH: Thank you, my dear. For saying that.
I shall recover in no time. Once I have recovered, we must make a better world.
Hyewon. Eonnyeon! I shall make sure you will never have to use two names…

The more I watch it, the more I’m convinced Tae ha didn’t survive. I believe that Tae ha, as a man of his word, would not have left Eunyeon to go alone to Qing unless he had no choice. The “thank you for saying that” sounds odd unless it is thanking each other for allowing the pretense of encouragement in a doomed situation. Her thanking him for trying to comfort her with a false reason for not going with her (“I can’t leave my country”) and him thanking her for not arguing the point but accepting what is inevitable based on his condition. 😢

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Neither dialogue convinces me, and there is plenty of evidence and context that would lead one to believe Tae Ha survived. His survival makes much more emotional sense to me in terms of the whole show arc. The prince was pardoned…so without Tae Ha as his gaurdian, how to they find the boy? He goes to Qing and becomes a tool/pawn of Qing against Joseon, and taken from Eon Nyeon, who really is a no one, and there she is alone in Qing?
What was the point of Jjak Gwi in their farewell telling Tae Ha how he should speak with people of Joseon without demanding honorifics accorded to nobles? Wang Son was slashed all over and then dragged unconconscious on the ground all the way into the mountains and he survived according to the script. Why would the script writer kill off Tae Ha?
Again I get why people think he dies; after first viewing that was my take, but I still see the balance of the evidence, the man walking not the least of it, in favor of Tae Ha’s survival.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Thanks, Beez. I understand now why there might be different views but I still believe Tae Ha didn’t make it, no way he would stay in Joseon and not accompany the little Prince to the Qing. I was also thinking the writers may have wanted it this way so as not to upset the Daegil fans who would have wanted Daegil to end up with Eon Nyeon; this way neither ends up with her but the sacrifices all work out in saving the little Prince and forging change in society.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Thanks for checking the original Korean dialogue, I was thinking how one could do that.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

But, I just asked Gumi and she interprets Taeha’s words as “determination to stay in Chosun”, not a goodbye. She also thinks Taeha lives (but agrees that the ending is purposely open to interpretation)

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Oh sorry for those who don’t know Gumi (probably most of you) she is my friend, co blogger at blog dedicated to JH and she is also korean.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Yay! Another member of Tae Ha Lives! team.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

So even the actual dialogue isn’t crystal clear, lol. I don’t think it matters, all logic says Tae Ha certainly knows/thinks he’s not going to make it. The only time in the show he brings up he can’t leave this land is when he’s staggering under severe wounds, really? Sounds like a cover for his situation. Anyway, I think we’ve exhausted this topic at length. Shows how much one can get invested in this show and its characters.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

@Kfangirl – Well, you’re in good company, kfangurl because the team at WITH2 also thought Tae ha said he couldn’t go with Eunnyeon to Qing. I really love and rely on their translations because at one point (when I used to get frustrated with the sometimes undecipherable subs), I contacted them and asked why they stopped providing subs. The answer was that because they take such time with the subs, checking, proofing and rechecking but other subbers were subbing shows so fast that WITH2 could not compete with the haphazard speed so it became pointless.

I think I’ll keep ALL the different translations and just consider it open to(my) interpretation.☺

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – ya know, after my first watch of Chuno, expecting it to be like almost every other Kdrama – romance with a happy ending, I couldn’t handle that Daegil didn’t get the girl and – gasp! – he died! But after my second watch, his death just felt right. Like there was no other way that could’ve ended, not and be as epic as it was. Over the years, I’ve started rewatching it but never got past the first few episodes. Not that it wasn’t just as awe inspiring to me – just something would always interrupt me completing the entire series again and so, although I couldn’t find time to stick with the blog every week, I’m glad for this group rewatch because it motivated me to watch the episodes almost every week. And it made me push to catch up before everyone had finished talking. 😉

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez: i was expecting Daegil and Eon Nyeon to get together at the end as well but I started getting some uneasy feelings about their future after episode 6 or so, which started me thinking about Daegil’s future as well.

Given how the storyline unfolded, I agree the ending and ultimate outcomes for all the main characters make sense.

j3ffc
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

At the risk of beating a (possibly) dead horse, it occurs to me that uncertainty about Tae Ha’s fate and mission reflects a reality about all social movements: at the time that they are occurring, no one knows if they will succeed/live on or die. It is only in retrospect that certainty is granted.

beez
7 months ago

@jiyuu – I know I responded before to your number 11 question regarding how Commander Hwang could handle both Tae ha and Dae gil, but since I’m rewatching the last 15 minutes of episode 24, I see that besides Tae ha being injured, they were actually fighting Hwang and at least 3 of his men. Which, yes it is ridiculous because at times Dae gil and Tae ha have swords locked with Hwang and the other 3 men are not attacking. As the battle goes on, we see one of them attack Eu yeon but Tae ha manages to block the strike. Then the 3 guys are not shown but must be standing there waiting for Dae gil and Tae ha to speak their respective pieces to Hwang. At the point where Daegil tells Eunnyeon to leave, the camera pulls bank and the 3 guys are nowhere to be seen – not standing around, not lying dead – just poof! (Also all the dead soldiers that were lying there at 41:29 have vanished as well so…) ☺

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Yes exactly! We’re just nitpicking unnecessarily, I know, but the fight choreography before (earlier episodes) were really excellent that’s why I got distracted during their grand showdown.

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
7 months ago

Thank you so much kfangurl and everyone for your brilliant enlightening intelligent thoughts on these last two episodes and all the episodes before. It’s been a great experience watching “together” and seeing how scenes and characters might be interpreted in ways I hadn’t thought of. Chuno is, without doubt, the best Korean historical drama I’ve seen and Daegil one of the best characters ever anywhere. I adored it the first watch and now this time I am blown away. I still can’t believe Jang Hyuk didn’t win the highest honour of a Baeksang. But he undoubtedly deserves every accolade going so it’s so gratifying eleven years on we’re singing his praises. Anyho, looking forward to the next group watch 😘

beez
7 months ago

@Snow Flower @DramaFan – so tell me, if you know – Was Chuno a fluke on the part of the producers? I’ve watched other shows of theirs and they were pretty much a mess. There’s Plan B, which I excuse them on because I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be a mess. (By the way, Plan B features almost all of the actors from Chuno excel Jang Hyuk and Lee Dae hae. Oh Ji ho makes a cameo appearance. I can’t remember if Cho bok is in it.)

I watched Basketball. Such potential for a good story, but – nope.

The K2 – I’m on the fence because I really enjoyed some parts and other parts had me wanting to bang my head against the wall to get rid of the torture I felt from some of the show.

Are there any other shows produced by this team that I’m not aware of?

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Now that I am seeing enough K Dramas to have a feeling for it, I must say that there are a lot of one shot wonders out there. Chuno is such a masterpiece, few even have one in such a category. And there had to have been some serendipity in the casting. Like I have complained elsewhere, I long for Jang Hyuk to have another cast like this one.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

I don’t think it was a fluke. It was a magical occurrence where good writers, director and actors who were inspired and in synch met. Conspiracy in the Court is by the same director. It stars the actress who played Seol Hwa. Its very depressing, more so than Chuno but its only 8 eps and I found it to be pretty solid.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Ah, Conspiracy in the Court…Drama stars, please align soon, so that this masterpiece is legally available…

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@DF _ I keep meaning to watch Conspiracy in the Court. But I forget about it every time in looking for something to watch. I’ll add it to my daily activities list so that it’s in front of my face next time I’m wondering what to watch.

beez
7 months ago

@Snow Flower – Just because I irrationally like to pair everyone off – I ship Wang son and Seol hwa. She has real world experience so she’ll know how to tame Monkey Boy. With someone like him who has a roving eye, he’ll also be the jealous type. So Seol hwa will know that keeping him worried that “I might have a replacement for you by the time you come back from womanizing” will curb his need to go out tom-catting. Wang son would make an innocent typical homebody agasshi miserable. But Seol hwa can handle him and will keep him on his toes.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, I agree that Seol Hwa would be able to handle Wangson. Question is, would he be capable of loving her and taking care of her? Now that his leg is injured, would he rethink his life?

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Seol Hwa on Team General for both their sakes. Really. Wang Son? Young Jumo, his speed. Seol Hwa would ten years into it with Wang Son be ready to find someone else, and Wang Son would really be sick and tired of hearing how bad his life is, and on the other hand Wang Son and Young Jumo would have a lot of fun together. Speaking as a dad of daughters here, Seol Hwa and General Choi.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

Yeah Im buying this BE. WangSon and SeolHwa to me are like siblings, can’t no longer picture them as a couple but Choi is so manly and reliable, more SeolHwa’s type for sure.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

And think how she might also make him comfortable in intimate situations, both younger than him in so many ways, but certainly much more savvy in the bedroom. The one place where the general is nervous, she could calm him down, not to mention make him happy. Whereas all her life she could comfortably lean her head against his chest, luxuriating in her mind going empty of fears and cares. A match made in Chuno heaven.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

SOLD! I love this! ❤️

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Oh, Beez yes! I can totally see Wangson reassessing himself and falling for Seolhwa. They’d be that couple who constantly bicker but who wholeheartedly have each other’s back.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

I’m on the Wangson/Seolhwa wagon, the philanderer meeting his match in a worldly wise woman. While they do bicker like siblings, I see her as the one to whip him into shape. I envision Seolhwa joining them and living with them on a temporary basis which morphs into a long term relationship with Wangson as she keeps him out of trouble. Which leaves the General Choi/Young Jumo pairing; she is young and in love, will never have eyes for Wangson and General Choi will find her less tiring than Seolhwa who can be high maintenance.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

The second young Jumo gets in bed with Wang Son, that will be the last second she thinks about the General. Those two would have fun with one another. And they would be so cute together. So silly. I guess we have entirely different takes on it all. Wang Son putting up with forever being whipped into shape by Seol Hwa? He’d have 25 women on the side if he had to continuously listen to Seol Hwa giving him what for.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago

I haven’t read most of the comments so I apologize for any repetition. This Group Watch has been much more than I expected and I think in part it’s because of the show which has many layers of complexity so one can learn different perspectives from other viewers. Brief comments as follows:

Chuno is a truly exceptional show, the different types of human relationships are extremely well drawn, the cast is so good and the cinematography, action scenes, sound track are all excellent.

I see Daegil as offering himself up as a sacrifice to save Eon Nyeon and even Tae-ha. At the end, his words help stir Hwang’s conscience, coming after Tae-ha’s question to Hwang, when did you change? Daegil didn’t finish paying for his land because he knew he wouldn’t be there to enjoy it. I think he gave up on the night of Eon Nyeon’s and Tae Ha’s marriage when he turned her shoes around.

A common theme in Asian historical dramas is the notion of sacrifice to achieve higher goals, the individual is not more important than the society/family etc but rather the individual’s sacrifice for a greater good is the ultimate one can do. I fully expected Daegil to be that sacrifice but did not expect Eop Bok and especially Tae Ha to join him. The heroes/good guys are gone but their sacrifice was worth it. Eon Nyeon and the little Prince make it to Qing territory, he is eventually absolved and assumes the throne, and the vision of Cho Bok and Eunsil looking up the sun at the end holds promise of a better world.

Like you, KFG, I don’t buy Eop Bok being able to attack the palace, kill several palace guards, fake slave guy, left state councilor and the turncoat official before being captured himself. But I understand the heroism and sacrifice of Eop Bok after seeing his friends all killed in such a treacherous way. In a way, this was the only way to end it once Tae Ha’s goal became escape to the Qing territory and safety for the little Prince, thus eliminating any opportunity for contact/conflict between Daegil and Tae Ha on the one hand and the Left State Councilor and other court figures on the other.

Jang Hyuk’s performance is a tour de force. He captures the physicality of a man of violence,the cynicism of one who’s seen the worst of human nature in a society with slaves and yangbans and very little in between and the empty soul of one who’s lost all his youthful, idealistic attachments to society and who, in the end, seeks his redemption in giving himself up for his youthful ideal, Eon Nyeon. Despite everything he says to her at the campfire, she is fully aware of his true feelings.

I didn’t see the last scenes of Wangson and General Choi farming the land so thank you for that. I suspect Seolhwa joins them after burying Daegil.

This show runs the whole gamut of human emotions, but it is so emotionally draining at times, Daegil’s death scene with Seolhwa is very difficult to take and an appropriate way to end the journey.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

I know the first time I watched this I thought that Tae Ha (and Eon Nyeon) died at the end, and actually was quite irate with the show writers on this account. If they did not live, than wtf for Dae Gil? Don’t tell me at the end of this thing it was all for nothing at all. But I do not believe either of them died. If the Prince Seok Gyun lived to be pardoned, then who took care of him there in the middle of nowhere in the snow if not Tae Ha and Eon Nyeon? And the last we see of Tae Ha in the story is not him giving in to collapse, but rather getting up and trudging on. And this takes me back to Tae Ha telling the Crown Prince when arguing on Seok Gyun’s behalf that he would by the dint of his own example as a simple citizen lay out a path for a better world. And connecting to that, Tae Ha in the final conversation we see with Eon Nyeon tells her he has (rather than escape to China, and one can infer from that, continue to take part in what is really just another power play) to remain in Joseon, he has something to do in Joseon, to which she agrees. So I do not believe Tae Ha sacrificed in the same way either Eop Bok or Dae Gil sacrificed themselves as his survival, like Cho Bok’s survival, vindicates Eop Bok and Dae Gil’s willingness to sacrifice themselves.

Insofar as Eop Bok’s raid goes, I admit the business about Wang Son and the General surviving the Commander Hwang’s attack, so much of how they disappear, and were carted, and so on, especially given the thorough job Hwang does on everyone else, just seemed preposterous, but on the other hand given the flying around during combat, the number of shashes and punches against overwhelming odds, the surviving of a hanging, new shoes appearing on a dock, and so on, I had no problem with Eop Bok’s attack. The pure shock of such a thing worked to his advantage and similarly the froze in place LSM Lee made sense to me in the telling, so that the sense conveyed by the emotional rhyme in the attack, who Eop Bok killed to me was not overthrown by the audacity of its actual possibility. Eop Bok was a tiger hunter, visible to us, but hunting a tiger in its mountain home might be more difficult than hunting down completely unsuspecting and privileged men in plain sight.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

I think Tae Ha died but not Eon Nyeon, the wound she suffered was not fatal and she took the little Prince to The Qing boat and presumably returned with him after he was absolved. Daegil’s final words to her was she had to survive so he could go on living. Tae Ha doesn’t make it if you interpret his last words to Eon Nyeon where he says he can’t leave Joseon, his home (notwithstanding the fact he left before for 8 years with the exiled prince) but clearly his wounds didn’t permit him to go on and he’s just saying this in an indirect way (just like Daegil telling Eon Nyeon at the campfire he was just looking for a runaway slave and not because he loved her). As a warrior, Tae Ha surely knows how serious his wounds are. The director is not being explicit about the various endings but surely if Tae Ha survived, his last scene would not be him telling Eon Nyeon to go on and he will stay in Joseon while he lies gravely wounded on the ground, unable to walk.

When you think of the sacrifices made throughout the show, it seems unfair Hwang survives. Daegil, Tae Ha, Eop Bok, all of Tae Ha’s fellow officers, especially Hanseom, the slaves, the yangban who are part of the plan, Chun Ji Ho and his crew, the Qing soldiers and Seolhwa’s, Eon Nyeon’s and Cho Bok’s potential opportunities for happiness with their loved ones are all lost, I guess the writer is saying it takes that much to change the world for the better.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

When does Tae Ha tell Eon Nyeon to go on without him? He simply tells her he has to stay in Joseon, to which she agrees. Tae Ha gets up and keeps walking. And walking in front.
I certainly thought both of them died the first time I saw the show, but that line with the Crown Prince about how he would change the world for the better not by some coup or being part of some political faction but by his example put his comment about staying in Joseon with Eon Nyeon in a much different light for me.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

He does tell Eon Nyeon that he cannot go to Qing territory with her.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Yes, and she tells him, who she has told to never leave her again, that she is happy he is telling her that. Of course, unless Chung Sung Il can tell us exactly what he had in mind writing that scene we do not know, and the fact that there is ambiguity enough for an individual such as myself to understand the ending in one way one time and another a second time only adds to the story’s greatness. I do not believe the writer could have flat out killed off Tae Ha and not gotten universal approbrium for doing so. What did Dae Gil sacrifice himself for? Not just Eon Nyeon’s life, but her happiness. I get why folks think that is a last words kind of scene, but there Tae Ha is, up on his feet, leading the three of them. That is the last I see of him, and there is enough peripheral context to suggest to me he keeps on walking.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

The director and/or writer left Taeha’s ending open to interpretation. If they wanted us to have a certainty he died, they would’ve shown him dead or at least laying in the ground. But they show him getting up and continue walking which obviously gives us hope of his survival. My reason for believing he lived is the conservations he and Daegil had about a purpose in life and death. To me Daegil learned from Taeha that “there are things important enough in life to give your life for” and Taeha learned from Daegil that “there are things important enough in life to survive for, at all costs” in this case, his woman and his child. This is why I think it fits the story and message better if Taeha lives to protect Unnyun and to raise the child.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Plus, Daegil tells Eon Nyeon to live with her man, so she has to do it for Daegil’s sake. I know she never heard his farewell address, but there is some poetic justice to the ending if Tae Ha survived. He can also continue to live so that Daegil can live.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Also, if General Choi and Wangson met Commander Hwang in combat and lived to tell the tale, Tae Ha can survive too!

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@BE;@Dramafan;@Snowflower: I hear your comments and rewatched the last scene of Tae Ha and Eon Nyeon and I must say I missed Tae Ha stumbling along after telling Eon Nyeon to respect his wishes, to which she agrees, and then he says he will not be accompanying her to Qing territory which she acknowledges. While the ending is somewhat ambiguous, maybe deliberately so, I still believe Tae Ha dies either before or after seeing Eon Nyeon off on the Qing boat, reasoning as follows:

1) Only the last view of Tae Ha stumbling supports the view that he survives but he’s clearly badly hurt. The director not showing his body is not 100% conclusive, we don’t see Eop Bok’s final demise though I recognize that’s a somewhat different situation

2) Tae Ha is perpetuating the noble idiot trope by not saying the real reason he can’t go. He’s helping Eon Nyeon, the woman he loves, move on without him just as Daegil did in the campfire scene. He tells Eon Nyeon that he cannot go to Qing territory with her and she tearfully nods in acknowledgment.

3) Tae Ha says he can’t leave this land of mine, yet he did so for 8 years when he accompanied the little Prince’s father into exile; clearly this is a fabricated reason. Duty overrides all.

4) I can’t see Tae Ha telling the woman he loves to go on without him unless he knows his wounds are fatal. Why bring that up if he plans to go to Qing territory with her?

5) Why would Tae Ha stay in Joseon where for all he knows, Hwang and his enemies are still dominant and all his allies are dead or imprisoned

6) Tae Ha’s overriding goal is to protect the little Prince and fulfill his duty so I just can’t see him even talking of not going with him to the Qing. Why bring it up at all? If he is determined to go and doesn’t make it, that’s fate but no reason to say at this stage that he isn’t going.

7) Tae Ha is a great warrior, the best in the land, but in the final battle, he’s facing not only Hwang but another five handpicked fighters. Daegil saves him from dying on the field of battle but Tae Ha knows, from his experience on the field of battle, his wounds are just too severe to survive, otherwise I just can’t see him bringing up he can’t go to Qing lands when there are powerful reasons (love, duty) to go and none to stay.

8) While it is true Daegil tells Eon Nyeon to live comfortably with her husband, Daegil has no idea how serious Tae Ha’s wounds are and is just expressing his hope

9) I think one can argue that Tae Ha is just preparing Eon Nyeon for the possibility that he succumbs to his wounds and this is probably the best interpretation of his “farewell” comments to Eon Nyeon if you think he survives.

Personally, I wanted Tae Ha to survive to justify Daegil’s sacrifice but I just don’t think he makes it. However, this kind of debate is great for the show.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – I kind of think Tae ha died as well but I’ll be watching that last scene again tonight to see if I see what others see.

As to Tae ha employing the “noble idiocy” trope, I disagree. But only as to the way you’re using the term. I believe that term is meant more for stupid, frivolous non-communication/lies when it’s totally unnecessary just to keep rom-com angst going (to fill up episodes 9-14 😆). I wouldn’t call Tae ha trying to encourage Eunnyeon to survive and keep going, even if it is all lies, “noble idiocy”.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez: Agree about the misuse of the noble idiot term but I couldn’t think of another way to describe it succintly so I think this came closest.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Again the two reasons not to go to China.
First, he is a man of Joseon, only went to China the first time at his prince’s request, and has become quite aware that his ultimate goal of a better world is not being part of simply one faction, simply a military tool of one faction (a faction whose scholar leadership lead to the death of his closest companion), and as such his idea of how to make a better world or so he told the Crown Prince when begging for a pardon of Seok Gyun, is by setting a good example as a common citizen…of Joseon, not someone living in exile. That conversation and the upshot of events from the time his band dispersed after his wedding are all the reasons not to go to Qing.
We are looking at Tae Ha from different lenses, and I believe I am looking at a Tae Ha quite different at the end than he was when he first set off on his mission, with quite different motives and goals. And once again he never tells Eon Nyeon to go on without him, just that he cannot go to Qing, to which she responds with affirmation.

I get your point of view, and if I saw Tae Ha the way you do, perhaps I would agree, but I see something else in the script. And I understand the purpose in the script for every single death that precedes Dae Gil’s, but none whatsoever in Tae Ha dying. Indeed, if that is what the writer was trying to get across, I think it was a gargantuan misstep; Dae Gil is who is important at the end of things in this telling, not Tae Ha. For me anyway.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

You make good points, but I cover my ears and sing la la la because I like my ending better 😀 It works better with what I understood the drama to be about.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

I didn’t interpret Taeha saying he was going to stay in Joseon while she went to Qing together. I thought he meant they’d all stay in Joseon and hide for a while and educate the child and then try to make a better world (in Joseon)

Trent
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@DramaFan For what it’s worth, that was my immediate interpretation, too. Subsequent conversation here has left me less than 100% confident that that’s the right interpretation, but on balance it’s still the one I prefer, so I’m sticking with it.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Same.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@Dramafan: I don’t know if it’s the difference in subtitles but Tae Ha clearly says in the version I watched that he can’t accompany Eon Nyeon to the Qing, and this after he asks her to honour his wishes. She acknowledges both with tears streaming down her face.

I expected Daegil to sacrifice himself for the happiness of his first love which meant also saving Tae Ha so I was shocked by this development. I was not expecting both Tae Ha and Daegil to be gone from Eon Nyeon’s life, I really wanted her to get a chance at happiness with Tae Ha but in retrospect, the best moments of her life were with Young Master and maybe that’s the way it should be. I think she loves Daegil and still does at the very end but felt comfortable and secure with Tae Ha and once married, there was no going back.

I never thought there was any option for Tae Ha but to escort the little Prince to safety in the Qing lands, given his unbending loyalty to duty, so once he said he couldn’t accompany Eon Nyeon to the Qing, I just assumed he knew he wasn’t going to make it but I would be glad to be wrong.

I think the healthy way out is to hold on to what you think happened because there’s no certainty as to what was intended, possibly except ambiguity. I actually wish I could think like you about Tae Ha’s fate. The fates of the Daegil, Tae Ha and Eon Nyeon’s characters are very important to the show since they have taken the viewers on this long and enthralling journey and who are now deeply invested in their storyline and fate.

Ultimately, I think the writer/director are saying great change requires great sacrifice and in Chuno, the sacrifices are almost unbearable. It’s as if this generation has to give up their chance at happiness for the sake of future generations. There are only small wins for the current generation.

Has the Director or writer ever clarified Tae Ha’s fate in subsequent discussions?

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

I don’t think the writer or director ever clarified it but a) We need to find them and ask them! b) Ill ask my korean friend about this. Maybe she has some insight and can confirm just how ambiguous that ending actually was

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – As to Wang son and Gen Choi’s survival of Hwang’s attack – I made up my own answer that MIGHT make sense –
First, I have to say that Gen. Choi grieving over Wang son is more ridiculous than their survival because Gen Choi is no inexperienced youth to stop and turn his back on a ruthless predator like that and during mid-fight!

But my excuse for their survival is that – I think Hwang knew they were hired by Second Lefty as soon after he subdued them, he’s shown asking Second Lefty “if you sent me on a job, why did you send others?” Something to that effect. So maybe he didn’t feel compelled to end their lives because he believed they were Second Lefty’s minions. Is that too weak????? lol

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez: I had the same reasoning as to why Hwang didn’t kill Wangson and General Choi. Hwang is such a good fighter, his sparing them is no mistake. I also think he thought it was easier to transport live but gravely wounded bodies and let Lefty deal with them rather than corpses.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

I went over earlier why I did not buy into it, and basically saw it as more a plot device to get them all to JJak Gwi’s, while Dae Gil is having one bad thing after another hit him, and there was the lovely payoff that almost scrubbed it clean of the reunion. But there were just too many things–like when did the boys go to bathroom while on that cart from the mountain to lefty’s house and ummn what about signs of life, like breathing. There were about three things that took me out of the reality of the action, and that was the largest, but after all the business with Eon Nyeon’s brother, getting tortured, and then almost getting hanged, Ji Ho dying with his foot in Dae Gil’s mouth, who could begrudge him or show for the relief of their reunion.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – It’s my plan to go back to ep17? 18? to see if you guys were talking about Jang Hyuk and the Big Toe. I’d love to know if that was scripted or just Jang Hyuk being over committed. 😂😂😂

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

ROTFL! I really want to know too! I need behind the scenes of that scene! The “makeup” on those feet looked too realistic I could even smell them 👃🤨🤢

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

rotflmao!🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Knowing he got his start in improvisational comedy, I could as easily imagine Sung Dong Il making the suggestion, or the two of them deciding together, yeah, let’s go for it.
Also it does strike me that there is a real tenderness accorded to feet in Korean drama that one does not see in American or European drama.

j3ffc
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

I really appreciate this discussion because I had assumed it was only me that was confused about this particular point. I will admit that I wanted Tae Ha so much to survive but am reluctantly convinced by Geo’s post that ’twas not to be after all. As to the fairness of Hwang surviving in the face of so much loss…well, if there is a message to be had anywhere, it is that life isn’t always fair.

If we take that Tae Ha didn’t make it but that Eon Nyeon did get Little Prince to Qing, then I have to double down on Eon Nyeon being more impressive than nearly any of us thought at the beginning. Even if the Evil Empire was no longer hunting them down, it is an amazing accomplishment. And when you add in the grace she showed to Dae Gil, Seol Hwa, Tae Ha, and others, she is as close to perfection as anyone in this drama. Dae Gil was right to idealize her.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

: Eon Nyeon’s transformation is one of the highlights of the second half of the show. She remains the idealized vision of beauty but she displays courage, resourcefulness and empathy in dealing with others. Her navigation of the Tae Ha/Daegil triangle is exemplary.

I remember in my very first corporate job, my boss (two levels up) in a conversation with me saying, “just remember, life isn’t always fair (given corporate politics) and s**t always rolls downhill.” Truer words were never spoken, lol.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

All this pain just to say “life is not fair”? So Daegil was right all the times he said “Hey Buddha, life sucks”? So his regaining hope for a better world meant nothing? No, sorry, that’s unacceptable to me 🙁

j3ffc
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

What I meant was that Hwang’s survival is a manifestation of the fact that life isn’t always fair (maybe I’m not totally sold on his conscience budding to life). I thought that an overarching theme of “Chuno” was the tension between fatalism and reaching for that better world, despite the odds and the long nature of the struggle. So while Dae Gil’s evolution means much, to many people, and is an inspiring theme of the show, evil doesn’t just lay down by itself.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

“The tension between fatalism and reaching for that better world, despite the odds and the long nature of the struggle”. This reminds me that Chuno is regarded as a perfect example of the korean concept of “han”.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Hwang is a complex character, I identified him early on as not a bad man but a man who does bad things, there is a subtle difference. I saw the way he cares for his mother, I thought I saw some understanding and empathy about his wife and he refuses at first to do Lefty’s bidding, ending up in jail.

At the end, he realizes Tae Ha still cares for him as a brother when Tae Ha asks, when did you change? He also cannot understand Daegil’s actions, why are you doing this? With that, he lets the little Prince and Tae Ha go, he also probably remembers Tae Ha saved him once in battle and spared his life when they fought earlier on Jeju island.

Is this enough to redeem him, the cold, killing machine with more victims than anyone else? I think not, too much blood has been spilled.

I think one of the themes of the show is that no matter how desperate, you have to try to achieve change (eg. the poor slaves), you need to make the attempt for higher goals and future generations without expecting any immediate self benefit.

It’s interesting Hwang (at least I think it’s him) narrates the epilogue at the end, you would have thought Tae Ha the more logical choice to do the narration because his primary goal regarding the little Prince is achieved. Another clue that Hwang is the only surviving main character?

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – I’d like to think that I don’t only see the world in black and white but also can be tolerant enough to see a bit of gray but I guess I don’t get the shading of Hwang or even the distinction of “not a bad man but a man who does bad things”. I think I can see that with other characters – say Dae gil maybe but not Hwang. As to his wife, I saw him look at her with nothing but disgust (until the end), not even a bit of compassion behind his eyes for her. As for how he cares for his mother – EVERYBODY is good to their own mothers (except a few that are completely deranged, narcissistic, or strung out on drugs. Even drug dealers are very, very good to their mothers.

“…and he refuses at first to do Lefty’s bidding, ending up in jail.”

I can’t remember exactly why Second Lefty put Hwang in jail, so I’ll give you that one cause I do remember thinking that was a stank deal from a stank father-in-law (even without remembering the details of it).

Because of the comments here, I rewatched and rewatched the scene where Dae gil changes Hwang. I still don’t see anything that would’ve really struck home to cause such a huge turnaround in Hwang, but… ok.

So I totally agree with your assessment… “too much blood has been spilled”.

Now, I think had Hwang been aware of Dae gil’s story, then maybe (but I doubt it) he might’ve looked at it and said “if this poor miserable soul found it in himself to sacrifice his woman/goal/obsession (Eunyeon) and life for this country (the little prince)” then at least I’ve have something to hang my hat on. (And yes, I know Dae gil’s sacrifice was not about the little prince per se, but mostly about Eunyeon’s life and a bit of the ideal of a better country but even that thought is because of his and Eunyeon’s ill-fated statuses. But if Hwang would have heard of Dae gil’s story – I’ll say that if he had some idea of what Dae gil was about, then maybe, maaaaaybe, small, tiny, possibility, his change would make more sense.

Geo
Geo
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez: To explain the differentiation I tried to make about Hwang, let me use a sports analogy. Recently, in a basketball game, LeBron James (probably the best player today) was called for a flagrant foul, in essence a dirty play. However, as an analyst said, he is not a dirty player (based on his history and style of play) but that was a dirty play. For whatever reason, he committed a bad foul at that time, under those particular circumstances.

Similarly for Hwang, Lefty stripped him of his position and threw him in jail because he refused to do his bidding and follow and eliminate Tae Ha, the little Prince and Tae Ha’s allies. To make the situation worse for Hwang, he’s the only support for his mother. He was not a willing ally of Lefty, an evil person would not have needed such forceful persuasion. So a combination of circumstances explains his choice but they don’t justify it.

After Hwang is injured in the first duel with Tae Ha and Lefty shows little concern, Hwang swears to take Lefty down after he has completed his assignment. He realizes that he is not on the right side of history in this conflict but he has no choice but to pursue it to the end because of the path he is already on.

I think at the beginning, Hwang looked at his wife with pity and “I just don’t know what to do with you” look, I didn’t see hate or contempt in his look but I recognize this is subjective.

I’m not entirely convinced either that Tae Ha’s and Daegil’s words would have been enough to stir Hwang’s conscience but that’s all I could attribute it to; to see Tae Ha still thinking of him as a comrade and Daegil intervening in a fight with nothing to gain personally, as far as Hwang knows. I think Hwang not knowing why Daegil would intervene in someone else’s fight, with nothing to gain and likely to lose his life, actually makes a bigger impression on him. Whereas Hwang has chosen his path for its worldly rewards, whether it’s for his mother or not doesn’t change the nature of his choice.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Food for thought, Geo.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – I forgot to add – I thought Tae ha was dong the narration because he’s standing on the cliff in the opening scene during the narration but after reading you guys comments, at least at the end it does sound like Hwang’s voice. I haven’t gone back to the beginning to see if I can recognize that as Hwang too although logically, it probably is.

P.S. The WITHS2 for the ending narration doesn’t say “slave hunting was banned”. It says “slave hunting was discontinued”. While it is the same thing, the word “banned” makes it sound like a royal decree in which case we’d know it absolutely was illegal. But to say “discontinued” may mean something a bit different. Maybe it was frowned upon but was still done? I don’t know, but there could be a difference when you’re dealing with laws and politics.

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
7 months ago

(15) On an unimportant note, I have been doing some math and I’m glad Dae Gil was wily enough to secure an initial 5,000 nyang from the Left Minister. At the start of the series, they got paid around 50 nyang only for their efforts in rounding up Eop Bok and the other slaves. And they’d still have to deduct their daily expenses from this small amount. Assuming they’re saving 10+ nyang per job (as insisted on by Dae Gil), they’d be dead long before they manage to save up for even one house and inn (700 nyang).

(16) Oh and I just remembered, I want to blame all of Dae Gil and Un Nyun’s ill-fated love to that monk who knew he was alive and knew too that he was looking for her but kept it from both of them. But then again, if they ended up together, Tae Ha wouldn’t have a reason to aim higher (a world where Un Nyun doesn’t need two names) and Dae Gil wouldn’t see a need to help/get involved with Tae Ha’s affairs.

(17) I can totally understand the loathing some people have for Chuno (or Chuno’s last episode) especially if they approached it as a romance. Like Dae Gil whose whole world revolved on Un Nyun, our viewing experience revolved around them too.

I felt early on that the rebellion was doomed. I knew Dae Gil’s life (and love) was doomed. All their wretched lives felt doomed. No amount of cinematic grandeur and fantastic acting made me look forward to reaching the end of their journey.

Thus, the first half of the series was such a struggle for me. When Dae Gil finally lets go of Un Nyun (I believe he let go of her completely when he came back on their wedding night and turned her shoes to face outwards) I sighed, what next? Luckily, I stumbled upon a minor spoiler about the reluctant bromance between Dae Gil and Tae Ha (and could sense brewing Ji Ho’s upcoming alliance with Dae Gil) that I started looking forward to the remaining half of the show.

And so I repeat my earlier words of how satisfying the end was. Maybe because I was expecting it as a senseless tragedy and it turned out it wasn’t. Their lives mattered and were spent well. Redemption indeed.

BE
BE
7 months ago

Hey thanks to everyone. This has been so much fun.

BE
BE
7 months ago

One thing I love about a lot of Korean drama, how tragedy is not something to be shied away from or tied up simply in a neat bow, but also how tragedy is not as it is in Greek and European story telling simply a dead end either. Chuno is Dae Gil’s story, others have their significance, but from a viewer’s perspective, it is his character arc that carries the day, justifies the whole bloody, hellish story. And that to me is because in the end Dae Gil redeems himself. That is the real destiny in seeking out Eon Nyeon. In the end, Dae Gil, whose long apprenticeship among scoundrels and thieves who know how to both laugh at and when called upon traffic in the most extreme violence, in his apprenticeship in the most sorrowful absurdity and hellish torments of human existence, hitting the rock bottom, in the darkness so deep he cannot even see the heart of Seol Hwa who wears her heart so openly on her sleeves, in becoming a man with the courage to live up to his finest impulses toward a better world on behalf of Eon Nyeon, a man who can look at life and death with the same hard and realistic eye, does what he could not do as a youth; protect what he loves, who he loves. And in this when he tells Eon Nyeon, she must live because only if she lives will he, the very meaning of his being, be able to live, we can realize that he himself sees redemption just around the bend.

I must admit watching this, having already watched it, when we got to Dae Gil on the dock holding on to those shoes–surrealism? symbolism? certainly not realism in that moment cause where did he pick up those shoes? but rather cherishing the gift, the ability to give Eon Nyeon beautiful shoes to walk through her life; right then, I had the strongest feeling of “oh no.” I wanted to dive into the drama itself, somehow have it turn out differently, “no, no, no.” And yet of course the writer knew better. Dae Gil must give up his life to save Eon Nyeon, not just stop Hwang and run, but run wounded and gashed, at first barely able to stand let alone hold swords in hand, into that whole troop of warriors to hold them off just a little longer, to save the woman for whom the dream of a better life for all women and men springs forth from the three men in her little life and quiet, heart felt, Buddha like compassion (remembering her brother too willing to live and die so that Eon Nyeon could live and Tae Ha rather than desiring to escape to China, decides to become as he had told the Crown Prince a man whose example in his own small life might shine a light on a better way of life).

Two other thoughts–the lyric from Seol Hwa’s song over Dae Gil, his bloody, dead face in her lap, “look at me as if seeing the flowers of May.” Is there anyone who doesn’t wish their beloved would thus gaze upon them, that unthinking, becalmed, awed look of naked admiration? Such a touching and at the same time insightful line.

And if Dae Gil had simply told Hwang the why was to save a woman he loved, or even that the man had not so much promised to make the world a better place, but could provide a better place for the woman he loved, Hwang would have not taken Dae Gil’s reason as such a spear point to his gut. This goes back to my original point in this: Dae Gil, with his unbelievable intelligence, Eon Nyeon made into a world shaking idea, the embodiment of that idea, tells him he fights, punching lights out way beyond his weight against Cheol Woong because Tae Ha had promised him a better world, the concept of such felt because Dae Gil has made him feel it in the flesh, undoes all the smoke and mirrors of Hwang’s purple garb of nihilism to which he must for the truth of it, lift his hat. As do we all, don’t we? Don’t we all, heart of hearts, subscribe to the idea that life is about not settling for evil, for making the world a better place, even those among us who cannot nor will not ever be the agency for such.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

I want to add to this, because I much more believe in Tae Ha and Eon Nyeon than Dae Gil and Eon Nyeon as a romantic couple, I believe the destiny Dae Gil was truly seeking searching for Eon Nyeon was redemption for his failure when they were young, rather than just carrying a torch for her. The guilt and shame of it were the edge of the blade of his obsession. But that is my interpretation.

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

Thanks for this! I never stopped to compare the difference between how Greek/European tragedies played out versus k-dramas/Asian dramas and have given me something extra to chew on.

Kurochee kurochee kurochee~

BE
BE
7 months ago

With everyone here on Eop Bok love, Cho Bok love, and Eop Bok/Cho Bok love. And to be honest, I wanted in the night forest scene for Cho Bok to say, “yes, that is what I want–a small portion of earth, you hunt, I farm, kids, a happy life; yes I want that.” But that would not be Cho Bok (albeit her leaving him not exactly Cho Bok either) or Eop Bok, nor the story Chuno. He had to kill the traitor Scholar Jo, the man who betrayed his friends to their deaths, Fake Slave Boy, and in his case spectacularly so just as the fellow was doing his height of ambition palace guard act, and Left State Minister Lee fresh from the culmination of his political chicanery, the slave repatriation that would lead to an even more severe kind of enslavement, where even the light of day would be forbidden to those in the mines. It was not some virtuous Confucian guy who did this, nor the derring do of our heroes, general, yangban, or scholar, but the slave Eop Bok who was also a hunter of tigers. And it would in fact be likely that the story of Eop Bok’s one person slave revolt would be much more likely the folk tale or ballad handed down over time. In the US and the Caribbean, such slave-hero stories are ubiquitous.

BE
BE
7 months ago

Short comment: although I hated Commander Hwang’s character throughout, I was flat out blown away by Lee Jong Hyuk’s performance. And, just in a much earlier scene when he shared the screen with Sung Dong Il, I really felt Lee Jong Hyuk’s appreciation for sharing the screen with veteran actor Kim Young Ok, who portrayed Hwang’s mother. Yes the scene and role called for tenderness, just as the earlier scene with Ji Ho called for some amusement, but I could not help in each but feel something more in the chemistry between the actors than simple role playing. There was just something in that scene that spoke to me as Lee seeming to say, “how wonderful…how wonderful to share this scene with you, my respected elder fellow actor.” I do not know if anyone else got that, and maybe it was simply just Hwang’s affection for his mother, but, and yet…

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – Was that Kim Young Ok? I don’t think it was, although I could be wrong. I’d have to go back and watch the scenes again. If that was her, I certainly didn’t recognize her. And I don’t see Chuno listed in her credits.

BTW – I remember you guys discussing a prequel and who should play the younger characters. I remember that Woo Do-Hwan was mentioned but I don’t recall who you guys thought he should play. But watching Gen. Hwang be miserable throughout this series and I couldn’t stop picturing Woo Do-hwan as a younger version. My thoughts are probably influenced by his role in My Country:The New Age.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Yes Kim Young Ok played Hwang’s mother.
And I thought that if there were a role for Woo Do Hwan, whom I thought was rather pretty face ho hum in My Country, it would have been Hwang, but after re-seeing this, I simply think Lee Jong Hyuk is irreplaceable.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

But its a younger version of Hwang and I can see WDH playing it. For Daegil I think someone (maybe Snow?) proposed Kim Jung Hyun and I’ve been imagining him in the role ever since and I think it would be a fun choice. But I know I know sometimes it feels like blasphemy to play these games lol

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

I can sort of see WDH as young Commander Hwang, except that he is not very tall. Kim Jung Hyun does have a range, but he may be a little too old for Young Daegil.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Actual age has never been an obstable in sageuk though. JH wasn’t 27 and I think that’s more or less adult’s Daegil’s age (?) We could say Daegil was one of those people who always looked older than his real age :p I did not realize WDH is short! Im really bad at this lol

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

You are right! JH was 32-33 years old during the filming of Chuno, and he played both adult and teen Daegil (estimated ages 29 and 17).
Kim Jung Hyun is 30, and Woo Do Hwan is 28.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Considering how short Jang Hyuk is and yet it never made a difference as he’s on screen with Oh Ji ho and others much taller. Although granted, must of the time they were filmed in such a way as not to bring focus on JH”s height. It was most noticeable when he reunited and hugged Gen. Choi and Wang son.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Jang Hyuk is 174.5. He is not that short (taller than me, thats enough, we can dance) He is average height in Korea. The other actors are too tall 😀 but anyway, considering what? what are we talking about now? Lol

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@DF – we were talking about Woo Do hwan playing young Commander Hwang on a prequel and someone said he’s too short. I don’t think it would matter since he would never be side by side with Lee Jong-Hyeok.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@Drama Fan – I don’t feel as if Kim Jung Hyun has enough charisma. I’d rather see Lee Yi-Kyung play Dae gil before Kim Jing hyun (although then it would be Chuno-lite/comedy) 😆

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – but we’re talking a very young Gen. Hwang so he wouldn’t be as formidable. In fact, we know he was very insecure, which was part of his hidden resentment toward Tae ha when they were brothers at arms.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

He generally plays solid, good guys, but he can project moodiness, has a similar look, and imo a much better actor: Ryu Joon Yeol.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

Now that’s a thought.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I could see him in that role. But since I’ve only seen Ryu Joon Yeol in one role, I can’t speak to who’s the better actor. I will say that Woo Do hwan impressed me with his comedic turn in King Eternal Monarch which brings to mind a bit of trivia – I recently read on Wikipedia that the king responsible for the alternate universe in Monarch was our little prince from Chuno, having survived and changed things so that the Republic of Korea (alternate universe) could exist. (Or maybe it was his father, the deceased Crown Prince. I forget which one it was after reading about write a few of the Korean kings/princess but I do know it said “depicted in Chuno”.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

I found it. It was the deceased Crown Prince
Wikipedia “Mentioned in the SBS TV series The King: Eternal Monarch. Crown Prince Sohyeon, in a parallel universe, lived on to become king. His reign would cause a chain reaction that culminated in a modern constitutional monarchy.”

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Interesting. I do think of all the magical elements of Chuno, how they got that little boy to always not only be amazingly easy going but with his facial expressions and glances completely spot on in his reactions to the other actors was in some ways the most mind blowing. How did the director do that?

Besides Reply 1988, in which he stood out to me among the young ensemble, I have seen Ryu Joon Yeol in two films: Little Forest, that sweetheart of a movie starring Kim Te Ri, and Taxi Driver, about the martial law riots in the 1980s, starring the ubiquitous and great Song Kang Ho. In both he played solid, sweetheart kinds of roles, neither given to any sort of martial arts skills, so a young Hwang might be out of his skill set, but he does have a wonderful ability convey interiors while almost having an expressionless face, and that like Hwang on occasion with the briefest tenderness in his eyes or the briefest of smiles can convey something more there as well. I did not see that skill set for nuance at all in My Country from WDH.

BE
BE
7 months ago

So much to unpack, so I will follow Drama Fan’s lead with a number of posts to break my reflections up, especially insofar as time provides.

First I want to start with the politics, in order to get it out of the way, because the politics of Chuno and the world of Chuno is such a tragic indictment.

Starting with Fake Slave Boy, a particular kind of young man villain, familiar enough in reality, the one-two of his disgusting class prejudice and petty ambition–to become a palace guard–all that betrayal and slaughter, such scoundrelry–to get promoted to palace guard! I did not know whether or not Lefty was playing Fake Slave Boy when he commended him for his so called high ambition while laughing at his nasal sensitivities or actually thinking that his ambitions were worthy ones, this guy a tool, unlike Commander Hwang who really does have big ambitions, he can easily control.
Then, the largest political twist revealed in this, the whole slave rebellion machination, to get repatriation of slaves from private ownership, so they could convict them all and get them to become government slaves in the mines for war production. The whole thing a “shock doctrine” government war profiteering scam, first buffalo horns, then mined metals. Left State Minister Lee, what a sick, conniving SOB–the whole evil of the whole series issuing from his hands.
The Emperor to the Crown Prince–the whole nine yards of chasing around this four year old to assassinate him, his own family, such a little and from our perspective, extraordinarily well tempered and seemingly intelligent and understanding kid–if he is that way at 4, consider what he might become if allowed to live–rationalized by nothing more than to kill the kid was a part of his legacy and history.
And finally, with regard to Commander Hwang: the absolute nihilism and evil of his personal ambition which as a result of Dae Gil bringing to mind, especially after he has witnessed the immediate aftermath of Eop Bok’s assassination of Lefty, he is finally forced to confront, his conscience, perhaps no longer able to compartmentalize his feeling for his mother, and as his final scene on screen presents, no longer able to simply ignore his profoundly deep human need for his wife’s comfort to assuage all that he has done–(to quote Horatio at the end of Hamlet): “Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts/ of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,/ of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause…”
The pettiness of it all, the frivolousness of it all, the vanity of it all, the just plain inability to in actual Confucian terms, simply follow the Golden Rule, and not just for personal gain, but for personal gain all out of proportion with simple human necessity: what sort of a world is it in which Eop Bok and Cho Bok are forever sundered and a weasely, manipulative, political mucky muck is continuously attended by not one but two beautiful women each more than half his age attending to his every whim?
Team Jjak Gwi on this–let’s find a place way back in and live a happy life with people who are content to eat and celebrate and stay out of everyone’s radar, where two former slaves, a woman and a girl once subject to nightly rape, let alone enslavement, can look at the sunrise, which is everyone’s and finally be able to call it their own.

Drama Fan
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

And I’m crying again after reading this.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Me too…

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE, I speculate that New Guy (Fake Slave Boy) is an illegitimate son of Councilor Lee. Lefty would not entrust such an important mission to just anyone, just like he sent Commander Hwang on Tae Ha’s trail. The gisaengs discussed New Guy and I suspect that the older one either knew or correctly guessed who he was.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I like it.

Ele Nash
Ele Nash
7 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Oh, Snow Flower, that makes sense, yes! Good thinking.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – You’re gluing to make us cry multiple times with the rest of your posts, aren’t you? 😢

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Yes I tend to be gluish in my thinking. Especially as I age and everything seems to be falling apart.

beez
7 months ago

@Jiyuu – As to your observation that General Hwang was suddenly such a formidable fighter that he can now handle Tae ha and Daegil – I know Tae ha was injured. I can’t remember if Dae gil was injured but he certainly wasn’t “fresh” meaning he and Tae ha had been fighting for a while whereas Gen. Hwang was fresh.

beez
7 months ago