Drama Recaps
Hong Gil Dong: Episode 13
by | February 13, 2008 | 31 Comments

Hmm, interesting. Chang Whe — evil or cunning? Good, bad, merely Machiavellian?

The story structure has taken on an interesting pattern, which I think works well for the series — every three or four episodes, each mini-arc comes to a resolution and a new one is launched. It’s not a pattern common to most kdramas, although not completely new — Air City did the same thing not long ago, but poorly. Thankfully, the construct works much (much!) better here — it was horribly disjointed in Air City — and most importantly, although the mini-arcs are somewhat self-contained, the overarching storyline is constantly progressed. Gil Dong’s development, the romance(s), Chang Whe’s slow evolution — all are in a constant state of motion, which is much appreciated.


Mystic Puzzle – “Love Train.” Great debut group that reminds me of House Rulez with their mix of electronic beats, hip-hop, and catchy upbeat melodies. [ zShare download ]

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Enok confronts Gil Dong, and after confirming he really is alive, rushes at him, sobbing in relief. She’s so overcome with her emotions that even after some time she still can’t stop her tears, and keeps one hand clutching his sleeve for fear he’ll disappear on her.

To prove he’s real, Enok even bites his hand. At his yelp, she sniffles, “I’m so glad it’s not a dream. Gil Dong, I’m sorry — so sorry that you were living all this while and I didn’t look for you.” Gil Dong says he pretended to be dead so she wouldn’t look for him, and tries to tell her sternly that they can’t meet anymore, but every time he starts his speech, he’s interrupted — first she’s afflicted with hiccups, then nausea, then has to rush to the bathroom.

My take on why Gil Dong didn’t run from her this time: Aside from the fact that she’d already seen him, it seems like he wanted her to find out he was alive. Intellectually, he knows she’s safer believing him to be dead, but their separation wears on him too, although he tries to accept it as the right thing to do. I think he assumed she’d recover from the loss quickly. Having never known love of any kind — the best he could hope for was the barest hint of approval from his detached father — he’s the guy who craves love but doesn’t believe he deserves it, so he keeps her at a distance thinking he’s the only one who’s suffering. So he’s always surprised when Enok is so free with her affections. Ah, twoo wuv.

Now that Grandpa Heo is convinced that Gil Dong’s father killed Enok’s mother all those years ago, he tries to find out more about Enok’s true identity. He asks Merchant Wang about Minister Hong’s friends and connections, sussing out who Enok’s family could be. Merchant Wang warns Grandpa Heo that Hong’s a dangerous man, citing rumors that Hong was the one who killed the crown prince and queen in the palace fire.

Enok returns from her bathroom break, ready to hear what Gil Dong has to say, but finds he’s gone. Instead, Su Geun is there to give her Gil Dong’s message that he’ll find her later, as she’s too upset to listen clearly right now.

Enok hears from Su Geun that the bandits knew Gil Dong was alive — he’s one of them now — and asks who else knows. Hae Myung, Chang Whe, and even Eun Hye knew. With dismay, she realizes she’s the only one who didn’t know, and Su Geun hastens to reassure her. Unfortunately, in a poor choice of words, he tells her, “People who don’t mean anything don’t know.”

At home, Enok frets — why did Gil Dong allow everyone else to know he was alive but her? She tries to rationalize the situation, imagining Gil Dong’s explanations. Hae Myung is his longtime Buddhist priest, so that’s understandable (Imaginary Gil Dong: “Because he’s important”). He’d worked together with Chang Whe to bring down Choi Chul Joo and free the enslaved girls, so that’s understandable, too (once again, Imaginary Gil Dong tells her: “Because he’s important”). As for Seo Eun Hye… Enok’s imagination conjures up Gil Dong smiling at Eun Hye and saying, “She’s pretty, so she doesn’t need a special reason. Because she’s important.”

Miserably, Enok comes to the conclusion that she, then, was not told because she was NOT important. She must not mean anything to him.

If only she could see Gil Dong at the moment, because he’s ever so romantically staring, wistful, at the ragged pouch she’d made for him. He tells himself, “Even though I’m alive, we still can’t stay together.” Not only is his life dangerous, his group of bandits — named Hwal Bin Dang, the kind robbers — is becoming more famous, lauded by villagers for stealing from the corrupt to help the poor.

Hwal Bin Dang’s rise in popularity makes the merchant company nervous — on one hand, they can draw the thieves in as allies. On the other hand, the thieves may also implicate the merchants and draw them unwanted attention. Lady Noh is wary, but Chang Whe tells her: “Hong Gil Dong has moved the people. I saw that power for myself.”

Enok’s mopiness continues the next day when she meets Chang Whe, who asks why she’s so down. She tells him about meeting Gil Dong, and assures him that she’s not upset that Chang Whe didn’t tell her, since it wasn’t his secret to tell.

Enok: “I’m so glad that Gil Dong’s alive. I’m happy, but… I’m also really sad. I know he has to live in hiding, and that he couldn’t let me know he hadn’t died… But if the priest knew, and you knew, and that girl too… he might’ve told me too. I must mean far less to Gil Dong than I’d thought.”

Chang Whe hesitates for a moment, not sure which direction to go, but his better side emerges and he tells her, half-reluctantly:

Chang Whe: “You really aren’t perceptive. It’s not that you mean nothing. It’s because the opposite is true. You’re important to him, to the extent that he would force himself to give up his selfish desire to keep you by his side.”

That relieves Enok — “I’d wanted to think that was true, but I had no confidence.” She perks up and thanks Chang Whe for saying so.

Eun Hye prepares to meet Gil Dong for their monthly rendezvous, having spent days making a pouch as a parting gift. She asks her nanny what she supposes Gil Dong would say if she were to cross the line completely, giving up everything to be with him. She intends to ask him tonight, which horrifies her nanny — as well as her father, who overhears from outside her door. He determines that Eun Hye’s scenario will never come to pass, hiring Lady Noh to dispose of Gil Dong for good. It’s a ballsy move for Minister Seo, ordering his colleague’s son killed, even if he’s illegitimate. But on the other hand, if Eun Hye does run away to be with Gil Dong, Hong will be offended anyway because she’ll be jilting his other son. (Because clearly jilting is a greater offense than murder!)

It’s with crushing disappointment that Eun Hye is met with Gom instead of Gil Dong. He brings a message from Gil Dong: “The end.” She asks where he is, and Gom answers that he’s meeting someone very important.

Gom spies the pouch and comments on how pretty it is — much better than the Dummy’s. Eun Hye asks what he means, and Gom cheerfully answers that there’s another rag-like pouch made by some dummy. She guesses that it’s Enok (Gom confirms the name), and when Gom offers to convey Eun Hye’s pouch to Gil Dong, she clutches it and refuses, saying, “No, then this will look even more pathetic.” After Gom leaves, Eun Hye sits alone in the deserted barn, crying. Aw.


Gil Dong arrives at the merchant agency armed with a request — he has no desire to cultivate Hwal Bin Dang’s notoriety, and asks Chang Whe to keep his name quiet. Chang Whe guesses correctly, “You must want to keep your name quiet for your father’s sake. If his son were to come back from the dead as a chivalrous bandit, it would be quite a blow to him.”

Furthermore, he warns Gil Dong (and I’m not sure if he’s being sincere or trying to manipulate him):

“Your father abandoned you, but you can’t do the same. If you don’t cut ties with your father, you’ll spend the rest of your life hiding as a dead man.”

Gil Dong counters: “Aren’t you the same, a dead man in hiding?” Chang Whe says he’d let his brother see that he was alive: “I’m different from you. I may have wandered from my path enough to warrant your warning, but I know where I need to go.”

As Gil Dong leaves, Lady Noh wants to dispose of him now while they can, but Chang Whe stops her: “I want to use him for a bigger purpose.” Dun dun DUN!

It’s sweet, in a sad way, that Enok harbors no ill will against Gil Dong for pretending to be dead (blaming herself instead for not having recognized her Moonlight Man). When he arrives at their previous meeting spot, prepared to explain himself, she tells him happily she doesn’t care: “You’re alive, so everything’s okay.”

The light mood turns serious when Gil Dong tells her that they can’t be together or meet anymore. She tries to tell him not to worry about her, but he’s firm. Enok tells him that he’s just come back to life and now he wants to leave — she can’t process it all. He tells her that she’ll understand with time, to take it slow and go at her own pace. Taking this as reassurance, Enok tells him that for the time being, until everything sinks in, she’ll assume everything’s okay.

You know, Minister Seo might be a decent guy if only he had some spine of his own. But he’s so predictably manipulable. Lady Noh, operating under Chang Whe’s orders, cultivates Seo’s fears that Eun Hye will remain devoted to Gil Dong. One way to fix the mess is to tell Minister Hong about Gil Dong and have the father reel in the son. And so, Seo goes to Hong and lets him know of Gil Dong’s non-dead status as a member of the band of robbers. Hong, much shocked by the news, gravely contemplates his options.

Chang Whe looks forward to Gil Dong’s impending predicament, noting that the last time the father was employed to capture the son, the son “died.” He smiles and wonders, “What will happen this time?” Will he die for good, or rise again and oppose his father? (Has Chang Whe turned eeevil? Or is this mere sadism?)

Also addressing the father-son issue:

Hae Myung: “Now it’s time to face things head-on. Stand in front of your father and say, ‘I’m your son. The world that disallows this to be is in the wrong.’ Can you say those words? Gil Dong, as a dead man you cannot take on the world. But, as the world you must face as a living man is your father’s world, you must be afraid to step forward.”

Grandpa Heo isn’t happy to hear that Gil Dong’s alive, but he can’t tell Enok his true reason — that the circumstances of their parents have made them enemies — so he pretends he just hates Gil Dong for hurting her. Enok, still deluded in her happiness to have him back, cheerfully says everything’s okay.

Enok makes a delivery to Eun Hye, oblivious of Eun Hye’s feelings towards her (and Eun Hye’s feelings towards Gil Dong). Eun Hye asks if Enok met Gil Dong the night before, remembering Gom’s comment that Gil Dong had gone to meet somebody very important. To her dismay, Enok answers yes, then happily thanks Eun Hye for protecting Gil Dong’s secret, and assumes Eun Hye’s engagement to Gil Dong’s brother was the reason for her kindness. With her trademark lack of perception, Enok is somewhat bewildered by Eun Hye’s cold dismissal.


Crazy Kwang Whe scene. Kwang Whe notes to Minister Hong the similarity of their circumstances — he with his younger brother, Hong with his son. Hong reminds his king that he’d cut off his links to his friend and his son for the sake of his ruler: “And I would do it again.”

Alone, Kwang Whe rambles on insanely about the similarities between himself and his subject, and wonders how Hong will handle his situation.

The answer? Hong (again) sets out to capture his son.

Hong sets up an elaborate ambush. The bandits plan to hit a new target, but Gil Dong alerts to something suspicious about the setup. Something’s wrong.

Soon the bandits are surrounded by the king’s army and vastly outnumbered. After putting up a brief fight, the thieves flee —

— but in the process, Gom is caught in a trap. Yeon, attempting to free Gom, gets caught as well. Gil Dong watches futilely, wanting to go after them, but is forced to retreat.

Gom, Yeon, and the other captured bandits are paraded through town on their way to jail, and news travels quickly that they’re members of Hwal Bin Dang.

Enok is attempting to pry the whereabouts of Gil Dong’s hideout from Hae Myung when they see the jailed bandits. Hae Myung has been telling Enok that she’s too innocent and knows too little of the world, because she still doesn’t grasp the gravity of Gil Dong’s position.

Enok watches the bandits being transported and wonders why they were caught. Hae Myung asks her:

“They’re thieves. Did you never worry of them being caught?”

In the crowd, as Enok spies Gil Dong watching the procession grimly, Hae Myung continues:

“Enok. This is the road Gil Dong stands upon. Did you decide to join him? If so, you may be caught anytime, just like them. Or you can become like him, watching along from the side. Gil Dong stands over there. Can you stand by his side? What will you say if you go to him now? Would you tell him to abandon them and run away? Or would you tell him to die in saving them?”

Back at headquarters, Su Geun seethes, itching to rush into rescue mode. Gil Dong, equally angry but calmer, holds him back and tells him they must find a way to save their men and survive. It’s no use if they all die in the process.

Meanwhile, Minister Hong bides his time, sure that Gil Dong will come to him.

Lady Noh is of the same opinion, and beseeches Chang Whe to kill the captives to silence them before the merchants are endangered by association. Chang Whe intends to use them, however, for his own purpose…

Minister Seo tells Eun Hye about Gil Dong’s fate, attempting to put an end to her infatuation by informing her that Gil Dong will die. Stricken with fear, Eun Hye begs her father to save him, but he refuses to help.

Reacting similarly is Enok — because the truth that had eluded her has finally sunk in. Now she realizes that her happy mantra — “Everything’s okay!” — is far from true.

Gil Dong approaches Chang Whe, spurred by desperation and the misguided notion that Chang Whe is an ally.

Gil Dong, however, is unaware of all the other motives brewing under the surface, focusing on recovering his men. Hwal Bin Dang can execute the rescue if Chang Whe will help them. Chang Whe asks:

“Do you know who they’ve captured? Rather, I mean there’s someone who’s using them to capture you.”

Those ominous words stop Gil Dong short, and Chang Whe clarifies:

“It’s your father. I can help you — if you will fight him.”

(Clever clever, in a diabolical sort of way! Chang Whe sure has no qualms about using people as though they were his chess pieces — pawns to be sacrificed at a whim — all expressly made to serve him, as though people have no purpose in life but to fight his battles. And perhaps that’s what he does believe.)


31 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. jinkzzmec

    thanks for the recap Javabeans…good episode…so happy that GD and YN finally reunited but sad for the capture of GD’s friends…wondering if CH and EH will turn evil now…hmmm…looking forward to tomorrow’s episode.

  2. Berz

    oh snap ………. WOAH no way Chang Whe becoming……. eeeevil? Actually I find it kinda interesting about the last part.. I wonder what Chang Whe’s plot is for Gil Dong. Gil Dong vs. His Father
    Yet I’ve said this many times in my other posts…. Enok!!!!!!! T____T I feel for you!!! How many times must Gil Dong avoid her until they show the part on the beginning of the first ep…. Goodness this is taking awhile lol…. Can’t wait for next episode~~~! Thanks again!

  3. jennyo

    I love this drama

  4. tanyathao

    I swear reading your comment is as good as watching the movie itself. I tried to have control and not read it.. but I’m so impatiently waiting for subs.. and my Hong Gil Dong addiction is getting worse. Thank you so much!

  5. alynizzle



    I love that Gil Dong and Enok’s meeting wasn’t as bitter as I first thought – but the angst is totally killing me! And Chang Whe!? Why are you being a #@$#@%?!

  6. jeijei

    JGS, what happened to your cute face?

  7. yeli

    oh no! are they turning Chang Whe EEEEEEVIL? aaw! i was hoping they wouldn’t do that…he is slowly turning into his crazy brother…

    and it seems as though they are now going to focus on Enok’s transformation as she joins the thieves…it’s getting even better!

    Thanks javabeans! i saw a few caps of the preview for the next episode and it seems Enok is going to doll up to enter the palace and retrieve the sword (there’s a pic of her sitting right across from the crazy king)

  8. godzillaicecream

    Man, what is going on inside Chang Whe’s head?!? One episode he shows that he does have compassion and a conscience, but in this episode he’s completely manipulative and mysterious! Yah, Hong sisters! He’s interesting!

  9. elisa

    no! chang hwe is better than that! hopefully?
    agh, i can’t wait til the next episode then

  10. 10 bethany

    oh wtf. why is there … oh man, too much politics in this.

    i wonder who will become the “villain” or if everyone will have their goods & bads, which is generally true.

  11. 11 teokong

    Thank you very much for your recap of ep 13. Yes, it is getting better and interesting as each episode roll by. Now to face the daddy O and see which light Chang Whe is beaming, light, dim or dark….

  12. 12 marshall

    thanks so much for the recap, been waiting for these..
    gosh, i’m dying to know who will enok end up with?? we’ll i kindda like Enok-CW pairing, but i also get a strong vibe that this drama is leaning towards Enok-GD.
    Enok could hate CW for what he’s trying to do to GD.. pgfuuuuufff *deep breath*

  13. 13 Jessica

    Thanks for the recap!

    You know, Sung Yu Ri looked so old in Snow Queen but here she looks like a teen 🙂

  14. 14 YM

    i THINK CH trying to used Gil Dong in order to get what he wants instead of being evil…Also i feel that GD is being nice by not telling EN who CH actually is..Actually it’s not the young man and he’s a man with a mission and will killed anyone that in his way.

  15. 15 Bajing

    Omooooooooo…..Chang Wee has crossed to the dark side…….I think now he has become the true pupil of lady Noh. He has shown he’s as scheming as Lady Noh …poor GD, he asked wrong person to help…But as he become more wicked, I find his character to become more interesting. At least I prefer this than the previous blank cold character…so go evil Chang Wee!!!! Hahaha

  16. 16 eevee

    i actaully really like the fact that CH is showing a darker side. im waiting for his acting to improve and see how he turns out, actor-wise, and character-wise. BUT I CANT WAIT when Enok joins the HGD gang. man, i dont like when the guy says they cant be together just to protect her. its so lame. gosh, if he loves her, he should use his efforts to keep her safe WHILE with her instead of kicking her away.

  17. 17 bellamuerte

    Yay!! Chang Wee finally has ‘some’ character!! & brain!! All this while he seemed like the puppet of Lady Noh. & looked like she did ALL the thinking. Now he shows how he does have the smarts. I mean if he is gonna be king somehow, he has to have the control. Altho i hope they dont make him completely bad. That would be sad.. But i’m sure it’ll still be better than the current evil king. & i wish Enok & Gildong will just be together.

  18. 18 tooizzy

    WOW! I think he will turn evil because he is in love with Enok. And wasn’t she supposed to be his future bride anyway?

  19. 19 Anonymous

    For the most part, yes it’s bad that Change Whe is being manipulative for his own needs. But couldn’t you say that there is a possibility for Chang Whe also wants to convince Gil Dong of his father’s true nature? That his father is indeed a power hungry, status driven man that has killed many people around him in order see the new king in power? He may know that Gil Dong has already realized that his father isn’t the nicest guy around town. But I feel like CW is saying, “This is what your father did to my family and to others. Now what are you going to do about it?” Yes, I repeat, Chang Whe’s ways are indeed wrong. It takes a certain kind of guy that will drive family members apart for his own use.

    Maybe I’m just being delusional. I don’t really care for Chang Whe as a character. Jang Geun Suk sucks in acting like the victimized, brooding type. But interesting new twist to Hong Gil Dong. And I’m still squealing for Kang Ji Hwan. Yay.

  20. 20 Laora

    Oooh, I DO hate Fate. Is Yi Nok really going to end up with him?

  21. 21 jubies

    i’m totally loving this drama!!!

  22. 22 bamidele

    So now I really detest Chang Whe for what he is doing. People are not puppets to be manipulated.

  23. 23 giddygirl108

    Oooo these episodes are getting better and better ^^

  24. 24 tealeaf

    At this point, the lunatic Kwang Whe’s wickedness pales in comparison to his brother, Chang Whe. In one simple plan, he’s able to inflict revenge on Minister Hong AND eliminate his love rival, Gil Dong. All accomplished while standing at the sidelines. The guy may not have figured out why he desperately wants to be king, but he’s definitely on his way there. We just hope that he’ll still be able to recognize himself once he gets to that lonely place at the top.

    I love Hae Myung conversation with Enok. Yay. Finally. Someone’s starting to treat Enok like an adult. I like that he stops protecting Enok: that he did not sugar-coat Gil Dong’s situation. Enok was never the most perceptive person: partly due to her personality though in large part because she always have been sheltered emotionally. It’s great that Hae Myung forces Enok to face the unpleasant reality. And to make conscious decisions about her life. It’s long overdue, i’d say.

  25. 25 gail

    great ep. i heart the hong sisters.

    thanks, javabeans.

  26. 26 Marzy

    ive always had bad feelings about CH. no matter if JGS is cute, YN and CH interaction and the like. there’s just too many bad vibes for me. i sense he is just playing with people. i would even want him as king. eekkk.. or anywhere near the thrown. i feel he needs some growin up too. while EH.. i now not everyone concurs, but in the early meetings with HGD she was ok but as time went on she got be annoying to me despite the character. yes, helpless rich girl. but with tons of power and jealousy in her.

  27. 27 nk

    Oooh, impatiently waiting for withs2 to upload ep. 14. i don’t see it up on clubbox yet. sigh…. But I’m hoping that we get to see the backstory behind Gom now. Great recap.

  28. 28 Hermes173

    I think the reason why Gil Dong revealed himself to Enok is because from her prior conversation with Guen, he realises that he may lose her soon to Chang Whe. She still grieves over him but she is recovering. Time can really heals all wounds. I bet his decision to show let her know that he is still alive is spurred by the fear that given time, she will allow Chang Whe into her heart.

  29. 29 asikg

    Ok, so here we are. Or here I am, I guess, as always late – but I’m trying hard to catch up with episodes and I’m even trying harder not to read your screencaps in advance, javabeans. They’re great but I’m just dying to know what’s going to happen next and I shouldn’t do that, nay!
    But coming back to Gil Dong; I have to write it here as no one around knows about this entertaining series; I’m really curious what Enok is capable of. I mean.. ok, we all know she’s in love with our hero, but for a long time now I couldn’t feel the ‘we can’t be together now’ atmosphere in the dramas I’ve watched. Now I do. I get it; Hong Gil Dong’s changed, the city has changed, everything is in motion and Enok’s love as innocent and sweet and cute as it was is simply not enough to make it all right. She either has to leave him, or stay, but not in a way she thought she would be able to; it’s time to grow up girl, keep loving him, but I guess kicking some a$$ is necessary. And Gil Dong.. I have no idea how righteous you are. Will you reach your limits..? The series is just killing me, but I’ll miss it when it’s over (please, don’t !:-) )
    Oh, so I don’t forget – I truly hate Chang Whe today. I don’t care if he’s cute when he smiles, no positive vibes for me. No, no, no, I say. But he’s getting closer to his powerful position, and let’s just hope that when he gets to be king, he won’t be a total bad guy.
    Sorry for length, ’till next ep 🙂

  30. 30 shazou

    Hi !
    I just watched this episode. Hmmm i think Chang Hui may not become evil but less passive as he really has a goal now (besides becoming the king), jealousy his ennemy ! ^^ Now you know the end ne ? lool.. ahhh.. i’m hoping for something great, i’ve read about lots of disappointing reviews about the finale…

  31. 31 A-M

    Hmm…well, I don’t think CW is becoming evil. I think for one he is out masterminding Lady Noh, which is pretty neat to see. I’m wondering if he is starting to not tell her everything now?

    I think in trying to elevate Hong Gil Dong from a hidden thief to what seems to be a charismatic face to freedom fighters he is being both strategic and more humane. If he can get Gil Dong to his side he can 1) save Gil Dong et co 2) have the masses on his side, which will more than likely save more of them from heedless deaths.

    I also like that both men seem to be learning from each other.

    I kinda wanted to smack Eunok in the first scene tho… I would have just held in the bodily functions and listened to him, possibly nailed him to the floor.

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