Drama Recaps
Hong Gil Dong: Episode 5
by | January 20, 2008 | 64 Comments

Another good episode! The episode moved fast and solidified the conflicts on all sides. What really works with the story setup is that there aren’t just two sides, good and evil, right and wrong. There are multiple parties all angling for power or status or self-preservation — Gil Dong, his father and brother, Chang Whe and his loyalists, the usurper king, Eun Hye and her power-drunk father, the bandits — and when you have multiple parties overlapping, operating under differing motivations, you get very twisty dynamics. Also, we see the true beginnings of the legend take shape.


Every Single Day – “톰 소여의 일기” (Tom Sawyer’s Diary) [ zShare download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Gil Dong, cornered at the thieves’ headquarters, fights the authorities briefly like a Chosun-style Neo holding off an army of red-bandana’d Agent Smiths. But still, he’s no superhero, and manages to escape through human means, not paranormal — he makes his way to the weapons store and tosses out explosives, which keep the men at enough of a distance that he can slip away.

Back at home, In Hyung is freaking out over the dark turn his simple cheating scheme took. He doesn’t believe Gil Dong is the killer — he saw the injured intruder with his own eyes — but his cold-hearted mother takes advantage of the uproar to steal money. After all, that’s why they staged the entire robbery in the first place.

Worried but unaware of the severity of tonight’s events, Enok chatters on while attending to Chang Whe. Because he’s unforthcoming about his injury, Enok speculates — is he a criminal? a thief? — and Chang Whe takes offense. He draws his sword and snarls, “Keep talking disrespectfully, and I’ll kill you.”

Hurt and insulted, Enok tells Chang Whe to shove it (paraphrasing here) and that she doesn’t have to help him. She turns to leave, and despite my inner chants for her to remember her grrl-self-respect and leave his ungrateful bleeding ass in the barn, she turns back and tends to him. Stupid sympathy.

Gil Dong puts the facts together and comes to the correct conclusion that he was framed — but by whom? For what purpose? He goes out seeking his answers, hiding from the authorities who scour town for him, first heading to Merchant Wang, who asks if he’s guilty. Btw, I hope no Chinese people are offended by Merchant Wang’s faux-Chinese babbling — his careless use of Chinese-sounding words (some real, some probably made up) are part of his character. (In other words, the joke ridicules Wang, rather than being some kind of Rosie O’Donnell-like “ching chang chong” nonsense.)

Gil Dong then heads to the gisaeng house for more info from a gisaeng, who thanks him for ridding them of the troublesome bandits. Gil Dong sighs, “I said I didn’t do it,” but it’s rather futile. Meanwhile, Eun Hye has arrived disguised as a nobleman, hoping to run into him. She spies In Hyung entering with a servant, turns away before he can see her, and hides in an empty room — only to find, moments later, that Gil Dong has also sought out refuge there.

Unfortunately for both of them, In Hyung’s a bundle of nerves and decides he needs privacy for his illicit exchange, and comes to the room with his servant to wait for his contact — he’s come to pay a man to rig the exam results. Not knowing they’re being overheard, In Hyung babbles on about passing the exam.

Behind the screen, Gil Dong and Eun Hye listen silently. Both curious about the other, Gil Dong points to letters in the screen to ask what Eun Hye’s doing here (or rather, “Why… you… hide?”). It’s a sweet and clever bit, both pointing out syllables to form their abbreviated responses. Eun Hye: “Tough spot. You?” Gil Dong: “Ditto.”

And then, to add another layer on top of that, we see little modernized versions of their exchange, written in IM-speak, as their voiceovers fill in the missing bits:

Eun Hye’s note: Glad 2 see u ^^ (Voiceover: “It’s good to see you again.”)
Gil Dong’s note: Total shock –_–;;   Clothes odd — –; (“You really surprised me. What’s with the clothes?”)
Eun Hye’s note: Weird??? (“Why, does it look strange?”)
Gil Dong’s note: Ha… kekeke (“It’s funny.”)

After a fleeting moment of attraction between them (Eun Hye’s had the feeling before, but it’s a first for Gil Dong), things start getting serious on the other side of the screen. In Hyung mentions how he’s lucky that he’s getting off scot-free because everything will fall on Gil Dong, and that since all the thieves were killed, there will be no way to trace it back to In Hyung.

At this, Gil Dong realizes the truth and makes his presence known — and immediately, In Hyung falls to his knees, begging for mercy. Eun Hye watches from the sidelines and In Hyung’s man runs for backup while In Hyung grovels, saying it was all his mother’s doing, and that he didn’t have a hand in the deaths — “I didn’t have anything to do with that! I only hired them to break in!” In Hyung doesn’t know who’s responsible for the killing, but remembers that there was one man who made an escape, who’d been stabbed in the side, who wasn’t one of the thieves. He sputters, “I was sure you had nothing to do with the killing!”

Gil Dong tells In Hyung to clear his name, but In Hyung can’t stomach the idea of facing his father. He begs, “Gil Dong, please save me this once, I beg you! If Father finds out, I’m dead!” (Translation: “Better you than me, sucka!”)

He asks to be spared, and tries to bargain — Gil Dong’s going to China anyway, right? Gil Dong asks why In Hyung had to go to such lengths to frame him when he was going to leave for China anyway — “Do you hate me that much?” (Ouch, doesn’t that just make your heart bleed? Not only that, but while In Hyung speaks in familiar language — banmal — Gil Dong uses honorifics, and that just makes the indignity all the more glaring.)

Gil Dong calmly tells In Hyung to reveal the truth, and a desperate In Hyung tries to stop him — even calling him “aho,” a term used by a man for a close friend, or younger brother. That gives Gil Dong pause — and In Hyung takes advantage to grab a broken shard and stab Gil Dong in the arm. Might as well have been the heart. In Hyung runs off screaming for help, but Gil Dong remains still, in shock — and it’s clear that the betrayal of a brother hurts far worse than the blood gushing from his arm. Oh, Kang Ji Hwan! I’ll comfort you.

Gil Dong grabs Eun Hye (and In Hyung’s abandoned money purse) and rushes out, and asks her to be his witness, as nobody will believe his word. But Eun Hye can’t go with him, even though she feels for him — and she can’t explain why not. But she doesn’t have to, because her father has found her, having dragged the truth out of her nanny. When the nanny calls out to her, calling her, “Lady!,” Gil Dong realizes that she’s not a gisaeng after all. Understanding the realities of their class divide, he faces the authorities alone.

Surrounded, Gil Dong does the only thing he can think of — he grabs a handful of In Hyung’s coins and throws them in the air. The ensuing mad grab for money causes a distraction, enabling Gil Dong to escape.

Meanwhile, Minister Seo steps in to protect his daughter (who’s initially taken for Gil Dong’s accomplice), who returns home to her finery with sympathy for Gil Dong. “He’s very hurt,” she tells her nanny. “In body, in heart. I saw him get hurt. He’s really in an awful situation.” I feel compelled to add that she didn’t help matters, but I can’t hate her since I can understand her position. When push comes to shove (or stab), she’s really just a helpless little rich girl. For now. I’m cutting her a little slack to prove herself eventually. Or die a painful death.

For all their scheming, In Hyung and his mother are found out by Minister Hong after inspection of the dead thieves turns up a map of the Hong estate. Minister Hong realizes that if Gil Dong were involved, he wouldn’t need a map. Faced with the truth, In Hyung confesses and begs for forgiveness, while his mother pleads in In Hyung’s defense, assuming responsibility for the plan.

Minister Hong has only disgust and ire for his son who would completely throw “that innocent boy” to the wolves, who is at the moment freezing and alone, feeling the weight of multiple betrayals. He says dejectedly, “I can’t trust anyone in this world. Well, there’s nobody who’d believe in me either.”

In the morning, Chang Whe looks at a sleeping Enok and decides that she’s seen and heard too much: she must be eliminated. He draws his sword to her throat, but can’t bring himself to kill her, and in the end he compromises — he won’t kill her, but he’d better never see her again.

I’ll just say (for now) that gorgeous lighting and fancy footwork do not bring emotion to bland acting.

A “wanted” sign is posted for Gil Dong, which alerts the bandits to his plight. Remembering that they owe him for his help, they wonder if they ought to lend him a hand now that he’s in a bind. Yeon figures that he’ll seek them out if/when he needs their help, and they focus on their goal to take out Chang Whe’s people to avenge their leader.

And this is where the legend of Hong Gil Dong starts to take root, and I admit it’s pretty cheeky and sly — the villagers hear that Gil Dong had taken money from a corrupt rich man and dispersed it to the poor (setting in motion the Robin Hood-esque lore).

Gil Dong (recovered from his overnight sense of desolation) fixates on the one thing he knows — that the real thief-killer was injured with a stab wound to the abdomen. He seeks out a den of thieves — who happen to be enslaving women as prostitutes — and asks, “What were you doing last night?” The thieves answer, “Ah, so you came knowing what we did!” and challenge him to a fight. Gil Dong wins. Alas nobody has a stab wound; these aren’t the thieves he’s looking for. But since he’s there, he sets the grateful women free.

He then barges in on a different group of crooks — who are torturing men — and fights them (“What were you doing last-last night?” “Ah, so you came knowing what we did!” The next group: “What were you doing last-last-last night?” “Ah, so you know what we did!”) But again, no stab wounds. And again, he sets the captives free as a kind of afterthought.

Gil Dong couldn’t care less about any acts of benevolence — he only wants to clear his name — but news of each bandit raid and “rescue” operation reaches the villagers. They know Gil Dong too well to believe the stories at first, but eventually become more receptive to Gil Dong’s amazing change of heart with each new story. And a legend is born!

Enok hears belatedly of Gil Dong’s troubles from Merchant Wang and can’t believe he’d turn away a friend in need. Furious, she retaliates in the best way ever — she shouts to the villagers, “Merchant Wang’s not even Chinese! He’s from Jeolla province!”

She decides to post a notice so that Gil Dong might see it and meet her somewhere — but she doesn’t want to endanger him, and so she writes it in semi-code: “Meet at emergency CPR location. From: Dummy”

It’s kind of really adorable.

Gil Dong sees the notice and appears, even complimenting her for once for being clever. Her immediate concern is over his injury, to which he asks, guarded, “Aren’t you going to ask if I’m a murderer and a robber?” Enok tells him without missing a beat, “But you’re innocent, aren’t you?”

That takes him aback (so touchingly sad!) because nobody’s shown a care for him thus far. Gil Dong confirms he’s innocent, she accepts it without question, and he allows her to fuss over him. When she rushes back to grab food and medicine, he thinks (and this is becoming a pattern with Enok): “Well, there’s one person who believes in me.”

Actually, there are two — Gil Dong’s father also believes in his son’s innocence. However, there’s a key difference — he’s still willing to give up his bastard son to save his legitimate one. He tells a grateful In Hyung that he’ll cover up his mess this time — and as for Gil Dong, well, his fate can’t be helped. (Nooo!)

Chang Whe’s faction readies their plan to infiltrate the palace on the day of the civil service exam. In preparation, Chang Whe and Chisu scout the palace grounds while posing as construction workers, and come across Kwang Whe in the courtyard. The king senses something familiar about Chang Whe, although he can’t put his finger on it, and wonders where he’s seen him before. Could it be from all the CRAZY?

Without knowing exactly who or what Gil Dong is on a mission to find, Enok volunteers her aid. He’s just telling her not to get involved when she sees Chang Whe and mentions his side stab wound.

Instantly alert, Gil Dong asks about the injury. Realizing Chang Whe is the man he’s looking for, he takes off after him, following him to a large (textile? cloth?) warehouse.

Chang Whe asks, “Why are you following me?”

Gil Dong: “What were you up to five nights ago? Ah. I see you have no answer.”

And then, in a sudden clash, they fight.

Additional thoughts:

I have said this before and I will probably say it many times again, but Hong Gil Dong is damn lucky to have scored Kang Ji Hwan. All fangirly adulation aside, he is not only perfect for the role, he elevates what could have been standard and rote slapstick-comedy material into something watchable, perhaps even good.

Jang Geun Seok, unfortunately, is not improving. Worse yet, he’s been reminding me in demeanor, character, and even facial characteristics of Kim Jung Hoon in Witch Amusement — and any comparison to that series in terms of acting, or story, or writing, is NOT a happy one. He’s so stiff and unable to EMOTE. Both he and Kim Jung Hoon strike me as attempting to branch out their acting skills by taking on a harder, colder character to balance out their previously softer images — but have come up short. Lemme tell ya, it’s almost unfair to have constructed the Enok love triangle in such imbalance — Kang Ji Hwan can dance circles around Jang Geun Seok like it ain’t no thang.

I can forgive the silliness — sometimes even corniness — of the series when it’s counterbalanced with emotional depth; Kang Ji Hwan provides that in spades. He brings earnestness and pain to the happy-go-lucky Gil Dong and grounds the drama. Sung Yuri’s not brilliant, but she’s decent, perhaps not in small part because acting with Kang Ji Hwan elevates her by proxy. Or osmosis. But Jang Geun Seok, who I swear I can practically hear counting the beats in between lines, growls, and sneers, is only cast into greater relief by coming up against Kang Ji Hwan, not alongside. In contrast, despite the fact that In Hyung is a much more craven, dislikable character than Chang Whe, I like him so much better — because the actor is so wholehearted in his sniveling. He shifts between In Hyung’s cowardice, bravado, and shallow superiority easily and instantly, and I find the character complex and interesting.


64 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Veronica

    mmm i love hong gil dong. but i love your summaries more!i’ve been waiting for you since freakin’ coffee prince hahaha. i really liked this episode because it’s starting to show this love square? haha the story itself is really coming together. i thought that you would maybe do bad love, but i’ve been watching, and im SOOO glad you’re not doing it. it’s quite terrible i must say. and i hate the main girl i think i would like it more if she was like really gorgeous. the main actress is a homely pretty. nevertheless, im in LOVE with hong gil dong, and robbers! it’s really good have you been watching?!

  2. Bobbie

    I love Kang Ji Hwan too, he makes Gil Dong’s character so much more interesting to watch, he conveys so much emotion in just a look.

  3. hjk

    “For now. I’m cutting her a little slack to prove herself eventually. Or die a painful death” LOL!! Eun Hye’s character is interesting, but I love Gil Dong & Enok’s relationship far better.

    “Oh, Kang Ji Hwan! I’ll comfort you.” *raises hand to be another volunteer – me, me, oh me!!!*
    Kang Ji Hwan brings such depth to this character. HGD would be nothing without his fine acting.

    I can’t help but laugh whenever I hear Wang’s faux Chinese. I don’t know Chinese, so I was wondering if he’s actually saying real words and whether his accent is decent. Loved the “Gil Dong’s up there ^^” dance.

  4. snoopy

    Thanks for another great summary! As Veronica, reading your comments is more entertaining than the show itself. 😀

  5. teokong

    Thank you for your summary. Had a good laugh over your summary as well as the drama. Interesting comedical.

  6. ziggy

    thank you so much for the summary. i enjoyed it soo much. your side comments are really funny. i have been an avid fan of your blog ever since coffee prince.
    i feel so bad for HGD’s plight but the hero will prevail! HGD and Enok is so cute together.

  7. La Plume

    What a fast paced episode! Can’t wait to see it with subs ^^

    As for JGS… Ah… Yeah it’s becoming sad watching him… What a miscast! Honestly speaking if KJH wasn’t the talented actor he is, I probably would have given up the show. I mean it’s entertaining and beautifully done, but you can’t save anything if the acting sucks. I hope Korean fans have mentioned it also so that he tries to turn less colder because he’s sooooooooo plain.

  8. moetan

    Hi Javabeans, I always read silently your blog and I really like it. I’m so waiting for a LJ RSS feed now, so I can know instantly when you upload ^^ but well.
    I’ve been wanting to ask you if you knew where to get Hong Kil Dong series in 1,4giga version -encoded by SHiNWHA-. They used to be available on wangja’s clubbox but I don’t know how to access the files with his new system… can you help me please ? Thanks ^^

  9. estelle

    Thank you sooo much for your summary, Javabeans. You never fail to brighten up my day. =) It’s 1.38am here right now so i guess i better catch some sleep… 😉

  10. 10 Jane

    Heyy,, i always enjoy reading your recaps. However, I think you should cut Jang Geun Seok some slack though. His character is extremely wooden and hard to develop, I would presume except for the whole brooding thing, which fit guys with tortured souls always seem to do…

  11. 11 tealeaf

    “Sung Yuri’s not brilliant, but she’s decent, perhaps not in small part because acting with Kang Ji Hwan elevates her by proxy. Or osmosis.”
    Classic! Ha. It didn’t quite work with JGS though. Chang Whe would probably take off in the hands of a more capable actor. Ah, the wasted potential. I guess the last minute casting changes worked in favor for HGD with Kang Ji Hwan, but not so much with JGS. His acting is so campy. And CW’s so dull.

    The actress who plays Eun Hye (sorry-don’t know her name) is actually natural and poised in all her scenes. Her acting moments with KJH were good. As the intended baddie love rival, she’s injecting more complexity, depth and life into a seemingly straight-forward character than i’ve expected. She’s fun to watch.

    Thank you for the summary javabeans. That IM-texting scene is cute. Lots of clever moments in this episode. HGD is quite addicting now.

  12. 12 Jimkzzmec

    Javabeans, thank you for the recap…im thoroughly enjoying this drama…love KJH’s portrayal of HGD…he’s doing an exceptional job…I agree with you on JGS…i find his acting totally bland …looking forward to more episodes.

  13. 13 Susie Q

    Thanks for the recap Javabeans! I’m definitely enjoying how the story is progressing. I completely agree with you that KJH is doing an amazing job as HGD. I was a bit surprised to discover that the role was initially supposed to be played by JJH of “Goong” fame . . . yeah, I’m definitely glad that didn’t work out.

    I also agree with the sentiment that SY is not quite on par with KJH, but I think she’s doing her best, and her character is just too endearing. She plays off the spunkiness well, without being too saccharine. As for JGS, well, he apparently wasn’t the first choice either to play to CW, but given his age and the material, I’m willing to cut him some slack. That and the fact that he’s pretty cute . . . wow, that was totally superficial.

    Thank you again for the recap!

  14. 14 Kris S

    JGS is more new to the acting game. He fits adorable or sweet characters more rather than pained, dark, and more silent characters. People should cut him some slack. Of course his acting skills are overshadowed by KJH’s. It’s difficult to not be stiff and wooden when your character is like Chang Whe. When people have the roles of a silent, cold prince/male character, it’s difficult not to be a bit dull and boring.

    I think Sung Yuri is perfect for her role. Her character is lovable and sympathetic. Slightly boyish, but not tough. She’s not stiff at all and I think it comes naturally to her. Maybe her real personality is like her character’s.

    I heard Joo Ji Hoon and some other actor were offered the role of Hong Gil Dong, but I’m glad KJH took the role since he makes the perfect Gil Dong. He’s equal parts solemnity and relaxed playfulness.

  15. 15 ripgal

    I feel so bad for Jang Geun Seuk..but his acting deserves all the criticisms. His dead portrayal of Chang Hwe isn’t going anywhere, and isn’t doing anything for me. Aiks..

    Again, I agree wholeheartedly with what you said about Kang Ji Hwan. He’s actually the main reason why I’m starting to like this drama. Totally the perfect Hong Gil Dong.. he executes all kinds of expressions flawlessly. And I really mean it.. he doesn’t seem to have problems playing out any kind of emotion (really reminds me of Jae Hee in Delightful Girl Chun Hyang).. I particularly love it when he’s doing really sad and emotional scenes. His eye expressions really get to me, and make my heart ache for him. Esp during the scene where his brother In Hyung begged for GD’s forgiveness, I so wanted to huggggg GD there and then…. T.T

    Sung Yu Ri’s doing pretty well…I wouldn’t say she’s great, but she’s definitely nice to watch as YN.

    And I also like the girl playing Eun Hye..she’s interesting! And what more, has great chemistry with Kang Ji Hwan, despite being the second lead..

    But again, Kang Ji Hwan can have chemistry with anybody, and any THING! hahaha..

    “Kang Ji Hwan can dance circles around Jang Geun Seok like it ain’t no thang.”


  16. 16 crazygrl

    gosh im soo pissed with all the negativity u all give to JGS goodness give him some slack its like you all watch the drama to either criticize and add ur own bias. As for me i watch the drama as a story if it has a decent storyline and casting ill watch it
    JGS is young, and if he can’t improve in this one, he’ll improve in some other. besides the casting director prob. cast him for a reason n i totally respect that
    n how else would you portray a cold and stiff character w/o being cold and stiff..
    im not a obsessed fan or nething but i think he’s a good actor, ive seen him do other acting n all.
    srrry but im probably the only one with a rant but as much as i enjoy reading ur reviews, i really don’t appreciate all the negative implications about some actors n crap soo plz keep it down to a minimum.

  17. 17 sureyya

    ee this episode was good!! I personally like JGS :p There are worse actors than him, but I think he does the role of Chang Whe well. I read yesterday that Joo Ji hoon, was going to be HGD, but KJW is a fantastical HOng Gil Dong!! The fight scene between HGD and Chang Whe is very cool 😀 Thank you for your awesome summaries!! I watch raw, read your summaries and watch subbed 😀 (though i should be doing school work!!) Sureyya xoxox

  18. 18 kiwee

    i love kang ji hwan, too, but there’s something naturally awkward with him. i think it’s the way he turns his head or when he talks “seriously”, his eyes get bigger or something… you know what i mean?

  19. 19 javabeans

    You can absolutely portray a cold-hearted character well. (Kim Myung Min in White Tower anyone?) You do not have to be dead in your portrayal to portray reticence, and coldness does not equate to a lack of emotion.

    I’m being absolutely fair to Jang Geun Seok. If I’m going to praise someone for good work, I’m definitely going to point out the subpar too. I’m also entirely willing to change my mind when they show signs of improvement, or give them props when they’re due. So far they’re not due. That may change.

  20. 20 crazygrl

    well thanks for being such a generous critic but i beg to disagree. that is ur personal opinion of JGS, not everyone may think JGS is a bland actor and im pretty sure its hard to act cold-hearted. ur rite, coldness does not equate to a lack of emotion, but body language or the intensity behind the eyes may be a indication of emotion which i saw in JGS’s acting.
    all im saying is don’t be so mean about JGS not meeting expectations bc everyone’s idea of expectations are different. Not that it matters, but its bound to offend someone, someone like me.

  21. 21 hjk

    What would Javabeans’ blog be without a little (or a lot of) snark? 😉
    There are still 19 episodes to go. Maybe things will change.

  22. 22 ripgal

    ^ hahahaha.. right on!
    I thought Hong Gil Dong was supposed to be 20 episodes?
    Do we have 19 more eps to go? 25 eps as a whole? OMO, more Kang Ji Hwan!!!

  23. 23 sureyya

    :S i think, Crazygrl, you shouldn’t be offended by other people’s opinions, we can just love JGS togeveer!! Hong Gil Dong is so much better than I expected, I watched it, thinking Robbers will be much more addictive. (have you stopped with the robber’s summaries? 🙁 ) Though I occasionally have to deal with my sister’s remarks that the modernity in it is stupid >_>
    By the way Javabeans, i cannot seem to make this zshare downloading thing work for me, maybe it’s just my mac. But i really like the song with HGD 5, and i want it ; – ;
    Take care!!!

  24. 24 all4movies

    You’re so hilarious you should be a comedian. Anyways, thanks for the laughs.

  25. 25 ^^

    does anyone know where i can watch this w/ subs?

  26. 26 Sevenses

    Yay! Episode five! My favourite bit was when the troop ran around trying to catch HGD, and they were so out of breath at the end of the day. JGS, I’ve given up on. I thought he just needed to warm up, but he’s fallen squarely into the ‘wooden dummy’ trap. Though he’s still cute.

    Wang’s Chinese is accurate, most of the time. His act in this episode had me in stitches – I’m impressed with his fast transition from language to language. Also, I think HGD throws alcohol on fires to escape the police. The containers had ‘spirits’ written on them.

    I really can’t wait to see how all these separate allegiances are going to play out.

  27. 27 Skangrrl

    Oh please. Stop using age as an excuse. Look at the little girl who acts as Sujin in Legend and as Hwang Jini? She’s younger than JGD but she acted very well. Or Lee Wan in Tree of Heaven, which was an absolutely crap drama, and Lee Wan’s character hardly spoke 10 words in the early episodes, yet you felt his intensity, angst and anger.

    Actually, I think Chang We’s character is not dull at all. His is a character written to juxtapose against HGD’s – complex, interesting with such hidden pain, emotional burdens and legacy issues. Only in the hands of the inadequate did this character come out looking one-dimensional and dull as dishwater.

    Let’s imagine if the tables were turned and Kang Ji Hwan acted as Chang We? You see? It would have been amazing!

    Why is thinking JGS is inadequate as an actor offensive? It’s our personal opinion. What if we turn it around and say it is offensive to us to insist the bloke can act – as if our common sense, taste and better judgement are impaired? We can agree to disagree but to accuse us of being offensive is rather double standard.

    Anyway, Javabeans, I loved what you said about Eun Hye … “she’s really just a helpless little rich girl. For now. I’m cutting her a little slack to prove herself eventually. Or die a painful death.” I just can’t warm to her and I wanted to kick her butt for not trying to defend HGD here.

    And Enok is “homely pretty”? Really? I think she is absolutely gorgeous! Wow, I am constantly puzzled by the different perception of beauty in the Korean context. Since I am not Korean, I seem to find a lot of girls really beautiful that Koreans find plain. And the ones they think are stunners I think are unattractive. Oh well. Still learning …

  28. 28 simi

    “Sung Yuri’s not brilliant, but she’s decent, in small part because acting with Kang Ji Hwan elevates her by proxy. or osmosis”….now that JGS is starting to share scenes with KJH, maybe he’ll get better? I never liked Sung Yuri but she’s actually likable here. Yun Eun Hye once said her Eun Chan character would only be half of what it was is not for Gong Yoo (miss him!! 2 years is toooo long!). Hopefully KJH can do the same for JGS. Kang Ji Hwan! Aja!

  29. 29 Baobao

    Thanks for the awesome summary =D i look forward to it everytime!!! I love reading your comments along with the summary cause it makes it 10x more hilarious and interesting!! Thanks Javabeans!

  30. 30 randomkoko

    Yah! I can’t wait for the next episode summary! Everything is finally setting in place! Thanks for your summaries!

  31. 31 Rong

    i really really enjoyed watching HGD. The storyline is there and the small turns in the plot just throws me off and had me laughing like mad, esp. the CPR at the lake. by Dummy. esp. when they depict HGD as such a vulnerable person who craves attention in esp 6. the contrast is there and had me craving for more!!! how??? i’ve finished esp 6 and wished i can finish all 24 eps at one go!

  32. 32 Berz

    omg This is sooooooooo exciting!!!! I can’t wait for the translations for ep.6 dang before Kang Ji Hwan looked really weird with curly hair but now…. He’s HAWT with long straight hair and curly hair! Sung Yuri is as cute as ever! Thanks a bunch Javabeans!

  33. 33 ocean

    @ crazygrl,
    haha… if you can’t take javabeans’ fair comment about Jang Geun Seok, i think u’re better off not reading her blog….
    It’s her blog anyways, so she can write whatever she wants. If you don’t like it, then stop reading it ^_^

    That said, I just wanna say that you rock, javabeans! ^_^
    Thanks for all the wonderful summaries you’ve always given us!

    I myself am a big fan of Jang Geun Seok since NonStop and Hwang Jini. Not because he’s a good actor, but more because he stood out from the rest of the cast because of his adorable and boyish look. He has potential, but he still has a lot to learn. I just think that if he really wants to learn to be a good actor, then he’s probably better off dropping the notion of himself being an idol star, and work on his acting instead.
    I’m rather disappointed on his portrayal of Chang We, coz really, after so many acting projects in his pocket, he ought to have learnt ‘something’. (I mean, I can understand the stiffness of Kim Jung Hoon in Goong, coz the man wasn’t an actor in the first place).
    But he’s looking good in Hong Gil Dong (although a little too Legolas-y for my liking). And Kang Ji Hwan’s making me wanna watch this series more…. haha (gosh I so miss him after Capital Scandal). So, I’m sure gonna continue watching this ^_^

  34. 34 Jules

    I totally love Sung Yuri and Kang Ji Hwan in this drama! They’re both great actors and make this series so much fun to watch! Thanks for the episode summaries! I watch Hong Gil Dong, but since I’m not korean I don’t understand a word. At least with the summaries I have an idea of what’s going on. Can’t wait for the next episode!!!

  35. 35 Iya

    I love Sung Yuri! She is awesome and I love this drama!!!

  36. 36 Marzy

    im loving Hong Gil Dong even more if that’s possible. Hahhaha im enjoying it even more now. what makes this for me is KJH, his portrayal of HGD is one that will keep you hanging on and despite being a KJH fan i really think this role was for him.

    sad to say i agree with the JGS thing. he could be better. he was better. KMM in his portrayal in WT was so full of emotions despite the cold and dark character. which sad to say, JGS cant make you feel. its much like the KJH turning baddie like you said… sigh.. JGS fans, look at this objectively its others opinion of the acting. not against the person per se.

  37. 37 nomad

    lol! javabeans, you never cease to amaze. Hong Gil Dong is fun to watch but your summaries and side comments make it more entertaining. KJH is such a good actor, a perfect fit as Hong Gil Dong.

  38. 38 kiwee

    i think jgs is a good actor… but i think he might be taking this role too seriously. like you said, he seems to count his syllables and each breaths in between; i thought he’d be good here ’cause he’s done sageuk before, so i guess i’m just a tad bit disappointed. it’s either trying too hard or misunderstanding the character (but i think he’s decent, i HATE overacting so i dislike sung yuri more, but it is cute. Sometimes.)

  39. 39 Cat

    Hong Gil Dong didn’t throw explosives at the beginning. He threw wine/alcohol into fire, and we all know what happens when you add alcohol and fire together.

  40. 40 nancy

    I would have to disagree with you, Kiwee. I would much rather watch an overreacting character vs. a stiff/boring/emotion-less char anyday! I mean, at least they have a bunch of different sides to them and theyre much more interesting to watch as a whole. I love watching Sung Yuri on Hong Gil Dong b/c I feel like she’s trying to break out of her roles and try something completely different and i totally respects her for it.

  41. 41 ic3cream

    I really like Yu ri in this movie, like parts when she act stupid, or talking to herself , or even eating, it’s making me loving her character more and more. As for CW i have to agree that his acting is just okay, ya the cold face anyone can do that, i don’t see any special talent from him yet ( anyone care to point out ) . AS for KJW there’s no need to say anything he’s just perfect for this role. I really love the part when he looked at yi nok or when he heard in hyung called him “brother” or something like that. I saw something in his eyes that make me sympathize for his character.
    The only thing i don’t like about hong gil dong drama so far is most of the flying scenes i know it’s verry hard but it just look very akward.

  42. 42 Miki

    Ah…so many comments!!!

    First off, JGS is not improving, and I do agree that his character could’ve been REALLY good if in capable hands. But sometimes even capable actors can become rather wooden when faced with cold characters like this. My personal opinion is that cold characters are harder to play, because they’re more complex and shows several feelings. I think I’ve only seen ONE expression from JGS. But I’m still praying, as previews of ep 6 shows that there’s going to be LOTS of interaction between JGS and KJH. If JGS don’t improve, that’ll be a major minus for the story because the tension won’t be there.

    I’m pretty sure Javabeans isn’t Korean…? (Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I read somewhere you learned Korean so I assume you’re not Korean.)

    My opinion of Sung Yuri is this: She is not gorgeous. She has a proportionate face, with pretty eyes, nose and lips, but none of them overly so. She’s pretty, but not outstanding…? I’m not sure how to describe it, but if you just take her face, she wouldn’t be spectacular.

    But I by no means think she’s homely…She has such a bright face and a bright smile. ^^ What makes her really really stand out is her charm…? It’s just something that makes you like looking at her. Charm is the best word I can use to describe it. She’s memorable, interesting, bright and youthful. But if you just look at her when she’s blandly looking back, some of her beauty would be taken away…. She has such CHARM! (man, how I wish I was her!)

    Perception of beauty in different countries no doubt changes though. It’s rather funny when you think about it. Classic example: Europeans and Americans like tan skin, as they have white skin and it’s more unusual. They think it makes them look healthy and athletic. Asians like paler skin, NOT tan, as their skin already as golden tones and pale skin is more unusual. They think being tan shows you work. I think it’s a case of “what’s more rare” and the culture…

  43. 43 Suzy

    Omo, the very last scene of this episode – the very last bit of dialogue when Chang Whe asks, “who are you?”, the way KJH answers, “Hong Gil Dong ee da” totally cracks me up no matter how many times I watch it!! I found myself randomly blurting out “Hong Gil Dong ee da!!” all weekend. Kang Ji Hwan can take such a simple line and make pure magic.

  44. 44 yaoyao

    Yay! thanks for the summary javabeans, been waiting for it. HGD is slowly getting you addicted. I watch this for KJH, and absolutely agree that HGD will be much less interesting if it’s not for him. Looking forward for your next summary, HGD and Javabeans AJA!

  45. 45 eogpioo

    I looove your summaries Javabeans! As I don’t know Korean, I must say you have the most elaborated source for KDrama episode review.

  46. 46 Skangrrl

    Miki – Sarah is not Korean? Really? Oh, OK. But actually my comment was directed at the first poster on the comment board, Veronica. Who I do not know is Korean or not but she was the one who called Enok “homely pretty”. Still, I totally agree with you that she is very charming and cute. I still think she is gorgeous but I guess that may be my half-Asian perspective which obviously defers from the fully Asian perception. And I so hear you on the pale skin thing. Almost everything has whitening this & that in Asia! It drives me crazy trying to find normal, non-whitening products!

    Cannot wait for Eng subs for Ep 5. Couldn’t take it anymore and watched it with Chinese subs. Understood like 60% of it if not for Javabeans’ summary. Cheers!

  47. 47 AR

    i think the director has to take at least a bit of responsibility for JGS’s less-than-great acting. You’d have thought director would tell JGS “hey JGS, cut that out! stop counting the beats between the lines!”. and JGS isn’t too bad. they could have cast a newbie actor from super junior for all we know. And miscasting will always happen in dramas. And not-so-great actors will always get top roles on the basis of everything else first (looks, popularity….in order to bring up the ratings) and acting ability, last. Sometimes when I read through dramawiki entries about actors/actresses- you have newbies having the starring role (and then bring out a mediocre performance….or my big pet peeve—they can’t speak the language..so their voices are dubbed over.) and great actors/actresses who have been in the business for years having the small roles..it’s pretty darn sad….Sorry for the tangent.

  48. 48 javabeans

    I’m Korean.

  49. 49 Miki

    To Javabeans:
    Oh, you are…My mistake then, Skangrrl, and sorry. I just thought you weren’t for some reason….But it’s sorta hard to get such a high level of expertise on a language if it’s your second or third, and you have such a high level of understanding for Korean, I guess I should’ve seen that…Sorry, Skangrrl and Javabeans. 😛

  50. 50 javabeans

    No worries, Miki, just clarifying.

Add a Comment

Stay civil, don't spoil, and don't feed the trolls! Read the commenting policy here.

 characters available. Comments will be truncated at the word limit.