Here we are at the major turning point. Can’t say this was a surprise — the past few episodes have definitely been feeling like something was on the way — so it was more a matter of HOW things would go down. Although the conflict has been set up (and repeated, and repeated) for weeks now, I think the story does a pretty good job of keeping us on our toes. More on that below.
SONG OF THE DAY
Hong Gil Dong OST – “연” (yeon) by Park Wan Kyu, by request. Chang Whe’s theme of doom-’n’-gloom isn’t my favorite track, but I’m happy to be in the minority. [ zShare download ]
The video rip wasn’t so great this week, so some of the shots are kinda meh. Hopefully this is just a temporary thing.
EPISODE 19 RECAP
After the kiss, Enok becomes so flustered that she doesn’t quite know how to react. First she shuts her eyes, too embarrassed to look at Gil Dong, then she rushes out and proceeds to run into a wooden post, trip down the stairs, and fall into a well. There’s first love for ya.
The others assume the worst (although Enok giggles in glee to herself once she’s alone), and Su Geun berates Gil Dong for playing with Enok’s feelings (suggesting he doesn’t return her affection). They warn him to treat “our Enok” well, or else. Bemused, Gil Dong doesn’t even get the chance to defend himself.
Thinking that Enok is feeling down over not having her feelings returned, Gom tells Enok that Gil Dong really did think about her a lot. In fact, he kept her ragged pouch with him all the time and looked at it often. (She asks eagerly, “That pretty pouch with the flower embroidery?” Gom: “Um, I wouldn’t call it pretty…”) Enok is ridiculously pleased to hear it.
When Gil Dong is sleeping, she sneaks in on him and hilariously starts running her hands ALL OVER his body. For real. Up and down his chest, under his shirt, without shame. (I know he can’t see you, but you keep that up and he’s not going to stay asleep for long!)
But it’s not entirely random, because she’s actually looking for the pouch, which she finds, intending to mend it. After she leaves, Gil Dong opens his eyes and mutters that she sure wasn’t shy just now.
Chang Whe struggles with the dilemma of what to do with the knowledge that Enok is the long-lost daughter of the murdered Minister Ryu. Both Lady Noh and Chisu urge him to use it to his political advantage, but Chang Whe is reluctant. On one hand, it’s one way for him to win her to his side, but on the other, he doesn’t want to coerce her if she wouldn’t choose him anyway. He also doesn’t want to do anything to hurt her, which it certainly would.
He instructs Lady Noh to wait until they have proof, and turns his attention to advancing his plan. He wins more noblemen to his cause (they sign an official roster of support) with assistance from Enok’s blood grandfather.
The king reacts to Minister Hong’s suggestion — that the king kill him to bring in Gil Dong — first with confusion, then anger. Hong argues for his sacrifice as the best way to tie up loose ends; he’s more useful dead than alive at this point. The king, on the other hand, sees this as indication that his faithful servant has given up on him — and although Kwang Whe had told Minister Hong he might come to regret his actions, he cannot give up on him! (Regret < abandonment.) He refuses to kill Hong and orders him to stick with him through the end. Well, something tells me the end is well on nigh.
Hong therefore concentrates his efforts on capturing Enok. In a plot move that perplexes me, he begins exhibiting heart pains (the literal kind), clutching his chest and grimacing from time to time. And in a drama, the illnesses of this sort are NEVER introduced without serving some sort of purpose. Deux ex machina alert: threat level orange.
Enok and her grandfather discuss her relationship with Gil Dong — she’s giddy over its recent romantic turn, and he figures, “If he likes you so much that he’d treasure that rag, you’re lucky.” She wonders if she’d look prettier to Gil Dong in feminine clothing, and Grandpa Heo sighs that things worked out well. He seems to have gotten over his aversion to the pairing, saying he was just worried that she was head-over-heels in a one-sided love.
Grandpa offers to buy Enok a pretty hairpin with which he’ll send her along in marriage. (It’s not that they’ve set a date or anything, but they’re talking about the relationship in marriage terms since they’re out of hindrances — for now! — to that eventual state.) They make plans to meet the next day before Enok is found by Yongmun men; Lady Noh has requested to have her brought to them. After Enok leaves, Grandpa Heo is followed by Hong’s lackey as he shops for Enok’s hairpin.
Meeting with Enok’s (other) grandfather, Lady Noh broaches the topic of Enok, asking if there’s a definitive way they can prove her identity. Ryu assures them that he’d know her at a glance because of her strong resemblance to her father; just at that moment, a “guest” is announced. It’s Enok, and this is an opportunity for them to reveal the truth to both Ryus, but at the last moment, Chang Whe changes his mind. He goes outside to meet Enok instead.
Enok has finally figured out Chang Whe’s feelings for her, perhaps jarred by her recent revelations about her relationship with Gil Dong.
Enok: “When you first told me not to come by, I’d thought you weren’t comfortable around me after I found out you were such a high-born person. But I think I was wrong about that.”
Chang Whe: “Have you figured it out now?”
Enok: “But… I really, really like Gil Dong a lot.”
Chang Whe: “I know that, since I’m not an unperceptive dummy like you. Enok… You’re a truly special person to me.”
Enok: “I… I know.”
Chang Whe: “No, you’re much more special to me than you know. So much that I forced myself to give up the urge to keep you with me, that I wanted to protect you. That’s how important you are to me.”
Eun Hye flirts with the idea of throwing her support behind Chang Whe. She tests Lady Noh:
Eun Hye: “If he becomes king, can Hong Gil Dong be made a nobleman?”
Lady Noh: “Is that what you hope for?”
Eun Hye: “That way, I could have him. To make that happen, I can sway my father’s power in your direction.”
Lady Noh: “If you do that, we will have to do as you wish, won’t we?”
I’d wondered at the ominous tone of Eun Hye’s previous declaration over winning Gil Dong over, and am both a little relieved and disappointed that her solution was rather decent. I mean, it’s still manipulative, but it’s not like she’s blackmailing him to stay with her or anything of that sort.
Gil Dong buys Enok a new pair of sunglasses — determined to help her get past her “embarrassment” phase so they can move their twoo wuv along — and in rapturous gratitude (it’s the first time Gil Dong’s ever paid for anything), Merchant Wang gives him a tip. He warns Gil Dong that his father’s men have been sniffing around, asking lots of questions. Curiously, most of those questions seem to be about Enok, not Gil Dong. Gil Dong warns Enok to be careful for herself and her grandfather. But she’s confident in her grandfather’s ability to protect himself, and yes, he is awfully spry, especially for one of his years.
But he’s not strong enough alone to fight off all of Minister Hong’s men, who capture him and take him to Hong to undergo questioning about Enok.
Heo begs for mercy for Enok, insisting that Enok knows nothing about her true identity, and pleads for them to leave her alone. Hong wants to find out for himself whether Enok knows, and his men plan to intercept her the next day on a medicine delivery, which throws Heo into a panic: “Leave our Enok alone!”
In ominous contrast, Enok remains blissfully unaware and thrills over her good luck in life. Oh, irony.
As for the coup — the numerous parties have simplified into essentially two sides: the government and the rebels. Gil Dong is no longer just leading a group of merry robbers, but is part of the prince’s rebel force.
To that end, he amasses backup, knowing that their rebel troops need more power. He approaches a separate band of robbers and asks them to join their efforts to replace their rotten, crazy king with the prince. The other robbers like the idea of changing their world and agree to join in the fight.
All parties prepare for battle.
Determined to kill Gil Dong and protect his father, In Hyung directs his troops for a raid on Hwal Bin Dang. He leads his men through the mountains toward Hwal Bin Dang’s base…
… but the rebels are already on alert and awaiting them. They bide their time, then ambush the soldiers, who are caught off-guard. A fight ensues, ending when the soldiers are caught up in Hwal Bin Dang’s traps: Nets fall on some, and ropes sweep others off the ground, leaving them hanging in midair.
Still bound, Grandpa Heo’s main concern is that he prevent Enok from being captured by Hong’s men. With careful maneuvering, he manages to escape from his ropes, then fights off the watchguards long enough to escape. He’s injured, but determined to get to Enok before Hong does.
In that last regard he’s unsuccessful, because Enok arrives at the apothecary as planned, and finds herself swarmed by Hong’s men.
Enok puts up a decent resistance but is outnumbered. Subdued, she looks up at Minister Hong’s approach in surprise as he demands to know, “Are you Ryu Enok? Do you really not know who your father is, who you are?” Puzzled, she answers, “I’m just Heo Enok.”
Minister Hong: “It doesn’t matter if you know nothing. Your life is one that should’ve already ended. For the sake of the king, it cannot continue.”
He orders her to be taken to the palace, just as Grandpa Heo swoops into the fray. Together, they ward off Hong’s men and head for escape — but not before Grandpa suffers one more injury — he’s slashed across the back.
Gil Dong faces an enraged In Hyung, who’s been caught up in his trap. In Hyung demands to know:
In Hyung: “Do you plan to kill Father, too? If you’ve joined forces with the prince, you must know you’ll have to kill Father in the end!”
Gil Dong: “You know that’s not all. He’s not like you — he will not be able to remain safe.”
Gil Dong walks off, leaving In Hyung hanging (pun!), while his brother shouts from the treetops (pun!), “I’ll kill you before that happens!”
Enok assists her mortally wounded grandfather into hiding, where he tells her she’s a good, kind girl: “You’ll have to be kind and forgive everything… I was worried you’d be angry…”
But he won’t have his chance to tell her the truth now, because he dies.
Some time later, Chang Whe hears of Enok’s attack and escape. When his men find her, she’s worn out from her grief, sitting numbly by the dead body. She starts to cry, and passes out.
Back at Hwal Bin Dang’s base, the bandits also get word of the incident in the morning, and just as Gil Dong starts to race out, he’s met with Yongmun messengers, who confirm that Enok is safe and resting at Yongmun.
After a brief panic, Gil Dong is reassured, although he doesn’t know the full story or about Grandpa Heo’s death. He sets out to retrieve Enok from Yongmun headquarters in cheery spirits.
After spending the night alternately crying and sitting in blaming herself for putting her grandfather in danger, Enok is apprised of her true identity by Chang Whe, who’s figured it’s time to let her know. He outlines the details surrounding her family’s death, as well as the fact that she was captured because, as a surviving Ryu, she’s a liability to the king. Driving the point home, he confirms the identity of the one responsible:
Chang Whe: “The one who killed your parents, who killed your grandfather, and who tried to kill you is Minister Hong Seo Hyun, Gil Dong’s father.”
That triggers a tide of wildly fluctuating emotions — disbelief, grief, despair, frustration — before landing on one that gives her a rush of strength: anger. Enok: “He killed my grandfather. He killed them all.”
The anger takes over; she grabs Chang Whe’s sword and strides purposefully outside Yongmun’s headquarters toward her target. I’ll give you one guess who.
When Gil Dong comes to pick up Enok, eager to see her again, Chang Whe intercepts his arrival and informs him of the recent events — that Enok’s grandfather was killed, and that his father was behind it.
Shocked, Gil Dong’s first instinct is to go to Enok, but Chang Whe stops him: “Go back. You’ll only torment her more.” And just then, they’re alerted to the fact that Enok has disappeared.
They find her room empty — and Chang Whe’s sword gone.
Enok, meanwhile, is storming her way through town with her Terminator-esque walk of destruction, fixated completely upon one goal only, and fueled by wrath. She arrives at her quarry: Minister Hong.
(Hong is, by the way, currently taking his heart meds as Enok arrives — and how much would it suck, for everyone involved, if he were to drop dead of a heart attack rather than being killed by the numerous people with claims on vengeance? Worst revenge ever.)
In any case, Enok tells him, “I’m going to kill you,” then slashes her sword across his face. It’s not a deathblow (she’s cut his face), and she moves in for the kill —
— but her sword’s arc is intercepted. Gil Dong rushes in and deflects her blade. They engage in a short standoff while Minster Hong creeps outside, injured, with the help of a servant.
Enok throws Gil Dong aside and follows her prey outside, undeterred, intent on finishing the job she started.
Gil Dong once again intercedes, racing ahead of her to try to get her to stop. “I can’t let you kill my father,” he tells her, but Enok is too caught up in her rage and doesn’t really register the words, or care.
She kicks him out of her way, spies an opening, grabs her sword and plunges it down at Minister Hong —
— but Gil Dong steps in front of him, and receives the brunt of her blow.
Seeing the sword slice Gil Dong’s side, Enok seems to recover some of her senses…
I think we all saw this confrontation coming, given how it was pounded into our heads repeatedly that Gil Dong and Enok! Are! Enemies! The fact that Minister Hong was at the crux of their conflict is also no shocker, so the real question was the matter of HOW they would handle the development. I think they did a pretty good job, because while I could have predicted Gil Dong making a case for sparing his father, I didn’t expect him to actually put himself in front of him to receive his injury instead. And really, how better to doom a relationship than when one lover accidentally tries to kill the other?
Speaking of Gil Dong’s interference — I’m really kinda hoping that his reason for trying to stop Enok from killing his father has more to do with preserving HER spirit and integrity than with defending the man’s actions. Like one of those Yoda-esque “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffferinggggg” exhortations. Because really — not that I condone vigilantism, or murder, or revenge IN THE REAL WORLD — in drama-land, I have to say the guy really had it coming. So I hold out hope that Gil Dong is motivated more out of concern (and wuv!) for Enok than filial duty. Because once your father tries to kill you (or twice, in Gil Dong’s case), I think you’ve made a fair case of breaking that whole paternal-devotion thing.
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 18
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 17
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 16
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 15
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 14
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 13
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 12
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 11
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 10
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 9
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 8
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 7
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 6
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 5
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 4
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 3
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 2
- Hong Gil Dong: Episode 1