Drama Recaps
Hong Gil Dong: Episode 22
by | March 19, 2008 | 32 Comments

I wonder if the production team cares at all about the rhythm of the episodes being thrown off due to last week’s postponement — today’s episode was supposed to be the big week cliffhanger, but instead we get episode 23 following immediately. No matter; in just a week it’ll all be over!

So we’ve had our big Enok episode, and one can argue that practically every episode otherwise has been a Gil Dong episode. Now we head into our (final?) arc — Chang Whe. And poor guy, he’s the one whose happy ending is least certain (I mean, we all know Gil Dong and Enok are still alive and well, per Episode 1’s look into the future; it’s Chang Whe who remains a mystery).


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Enok shouts out to Gil Dong as she’s being dragged away, and he registers the familiar voice, although he doesn’t see her. He goes off searching for her, and Enok fights her captors off and manages to slip away.

She’s hiding among the oil-drenched buildings when Gil Dong finds her. She hurriedly tells him the king has figured out the rebels’ plan and has prepared some kind of counterattack. Gil Dong takes in the oil dripping from the walls and realizes the crazy king is intending to burn the palace down. He and Enok split up — he to intercept the king, and she to warn the rebels not to ignite the explosives they’re preparing to use.

The rest of Hwal Bin Dang, unaware of the development, are carrying on with their plan. The king slips away from the revelry to escape the palace, as do his loyalists. Outside, In Hyung waits for Kwang Whe to emerge safely so he can give the order to set the palace on fire.

Gil Dong races to prevent the king from leaving, but finds Kwang Whe already on his way out; he intercepts him just as he’s in sight of the palace gate. The two glare at each other in a standoff that must last so long the scene goes from bright daytime right into nightfall. (Seriously, one moment: bright sunshine. Next moment: completely dark.)

Gil Dong tells the king it’s all over:

Gil Dong: “Go ahead and flee outside your palace. That world is no longer yours.”

Infuriated, Kwang Whe shouts the order to set the fire and kill Gil Dong…

…but it’s too late, because the rebels have arrived. Chang Whe leads his soldiers, the peasants join in, and Grandfather Ryu’s noblemen supporters gather. They all converge on the king and surround him.

The king’s soldiers and ministers are also captured and taken under arrest.

Finally, Chang Whe makes his appearance and walks to the now-empty throne; Hwal Bin Dang watches with satisfaction. Standing in the king’s place, Grandfather Ryu reads the inscription on the sword, then hands it to Chang Whe. At that, everyone present kneels before him, calling him “Highness.”

All but Gil Dong, who good-naturedly promises Chang Whe later, when they’re alone, to kneel his allegiance when Chang Whe has proven himself a wise and good king. Chang Whe vehemently swears he will do just that.

Unlike Lady Noh, who doesn’t want to discuss Enok’s cooperation in today’s coup, Chang Whe is thankful and proud of Enok’s actions. She tells him she’d forgotten how good it felt to be useful:

Enok: “When I fight with Gil Dong, I can even catch tigers with my luck and ability. I’d forgotten that. Now, no matter what happens, I won’t forget.”
Chang Whe: “Do you think being with me would make you forget that? If I keep you with me, I’d thought I’d have good luck and become a great person, but does that only make you forget?”
Enok: “To be truthful, when I do these things that don’t suit dumb me, I become scared that I’ll become an unlucky and useless person.”

Almost immediately, Chang Whe encounters a bit of friction with his new supporters. Chang Whe is determined to create a new world of meritocracy, an idea that clashes with the old guard, which is led by Ryu. (While Chang Whe really does believe in the ideals of the coup, many of the noblemen who supported the cause are more interested in the politics, ousting the crazy king and installing a new one who grants them power.)

Chang Whe tells Ryu that he’ll only be bringing in people who are competent for the positions. Ryu isn’t pleased.

To that end, Chang Whe once again asks if Gil Dong really isn’t interested in a government position (he wants to give Gil Dong his father’s position). After all, Gil Dong being given a government post would be proof that the world has truly changed. Gil Dong answers: “The world doesn’t only change once. No matter how it changes, at the bottom there will always be weak and wronged people.” Gil Dong will continue fighting alongside them.

Chang Whe also guesses that Gil Dong won’t be around to see his coronation — Gil Dong explains that his presence might create tension with Chang Whe’s new followers, although both know that’s an excuse; the real reason is because Enok will be at Chang Whe’s side as his chosen queen.

Chang Whe asks if Gil Dong has any more advice or favors to ask him. Gil Dong does have one request — spare his brother. Chang Whe agrees that since In Hyung isn’t so dangerous that he must be executed, he’ll just have him exiled. He asks if Gil Dong’s going to ask about someone else, meaning Enok, but Gil Dong answers:

“That person isn’t someone for whom I can ask a favor from you. As the most respectable, strongest person to me, I will trust that [she] will always be safe.”

In the aftermath of all their victory, Su Geun and Mal Nyeo finally consummate their flirtation (he’d suggested it just before the palace fight erupted; she’d replied that she would think about it; now he’s anxious to find out if she meant it or not). Amusingly, the Casanova-esque Su Geun is reduced to a nervous babbling idiot, and it’s Mal Nyeo who takes the initiative. And in the morning, everyone knows and teases Half Geun about it.

Gom suggests that Gil Dong take Enok away to China and live with her happily, which the others agree is a fine idea. Perhaps after they’ve had three kids, they can come back to Korea. Gil Dong warms to the idea, seriously considers it for a split second, but ultimately rejects it as impossible.

Ryu seems to be intent on stirring up trouble, irritated at Chang Whe’s newfound sense of egalitarianism. Chang Whe wants his coronation open to the public, because he is the people’s king now, despite protests from his high-born ministers. Ryu warns Chang Whe that if he opens the palace to all his subjects, they will come to see Hong Gil Dong, not him — they will see Chang Whe as a mere “puppet” they’ve installed on the throne. Ryu’s insolence at daring such words angers Chang Whe — perhaps he feels the pinch of truth in them.

In Hyung is surprised to get a visit from Eun Hye while he’s in the palace jail. She has heard that he rushed to save her father, and he tells her it was for her. With tears in her eyes, Eun Hye thanks In Hyung and apologizes — he foolishly did all that for her even though his affections went unreturned.

Perhaps her empathy for In Hyung’s unrequited love is reinforced by the fact that she’s felt the same rejection — she then goes to confirm, once and for all, her status with Gil Dong. She holds out her hand and asks him one last time to take hold of her. She’s never been unsuccessful in getting what she wants; before she does something stupid in response to rejection, she wants him to hold onto her.

Gil Dong asks, “Remember what I said when we first met? That I felt sorry for you?” (The sentiment is more specifically like a “Sorry, sucks to be you” feeling.) He doesn’t take her hand, and says as he leaves, “I feel worse for you now.” As we might have predicted, Eun Hye does not take rejection well. At all. In fact, she swings from one extreme to another, going from “I love you!” to “If I can’t have him, no one can!” She tells her father grimly to ensure that Gil Dong is killed. (You know what they say about women spurned…)

Her father, meanwhile, is doing his best to regain his foothold in the political landscape, groping for purchase in tricky territory. Chang Whe’s already caught on to his quickly changing loyalties (as in, he knows Seo isn’t loyal to anyone but himself) and Seo goes supplicating to Kwang Whe, who’s now imprisoned in the palace.

Kwang Whe tells Minister Seo of his trump card, which he’s been keeping on the downlow for the right moment. The card? His blacksmith witness who made the forged Sa Yin sword.

Kwang Whe requests a meeting with Chang Whe to drop the bomb, and tells his dear little brother the truth. With a mixture of amusement and pathos, Kwang Whe explains that they’d both placed too much weight on the belief that their father had engraved his decree on the sword.

Kwang Whe: “I’ve come to talk about your mother, who would do everything to secure the crown for her son. The biggest cause of your mother’s death is that sword — the fake that the Queen had made.”
Chang Whe: “What are you saying?”
Kwang Whe: “The real sword that Father had made had no orders written on it. Everything was fixed — and based on the queen’s lies, I’ve ruined myself like this, and you lived your entire life believing Father had designated you for the throne. The one who spent his life believing in a false promise of power wasn’t me — it was you.”
Chang Whe: “Do you think I’d believe that?!”
Kwang Whe: “Who was the first to tell you of the decree? It wasn’t Father, was it? I bet it was after he’d died. After that fake was made!”

Chang Whe flashes back to his youth, thinking of incidents that confirm Kwang Whe’s claim — how he was presented with the sword after his father died, how his power-crazed mother was insistent, even in her last moments, that he remember his “legitimate” claim to the throne.

Kwang Whe laughs to see Chang Whe’s devastated reaction:

Chang Whe: “No! There’s no way my mother would do that!”
Kwang Whe: “She was a queen who would do anything to make her son king.”
Chang Whe: “For… me?”
Kwang Whe: “Chang Whe, you were just a plaything in a fight for power. The queen who made the false decree insisted that it was the king’s order. To do that, she would have had to have done away with Father. For your sake, the queen killed Father.”
Chang Whe: “My mother… for me… Father…”
Kwang Whe: “She killed him!”

Chang Whe goes to Ryu with the false sword to confirm the story, and sees the real sword. Ryu reminds Chang Whe that this was all done for him, and that his mother and Ryu himself both risked their lives on his behalf.

Chang Whe’s reaction is blank shock — his world has just come crashing down around him.

Not realizing that Chang Whe already knows the truth, Gil Dong and Lady Noh discuss what’s to be done with the swords. Do they destroy them? Hide them? Whatever happens, they must keep it from Chang Whe, whose confidence in assuming the throne would surely be rocked if he found out the truth. Well, they’re right about that. Gil Dong believes in this course of action because “He is the king we chose. I will protect him.”

On his way out, he runs into Enok again. She tells him she’s going to try hard at her new life, “Because I have to stay here. Because I’m Ryu Enok.”

Enok: “But if… if I try to hold back and it doesn’t work… then, can I go to you?”
Gil Dong: “No. Keep holding back.”
Enok: “Dummy.”
Gil Dong: “If you come to me, I won’t be able to send you back. So until you feel like you’ll die from holding back, you can’t come to me. If you can stand it, like now… As long as you can stand it, you can’t do that.”

Bereft of energy, Chang Whe staggers back to Yongmun, just in time to witness Enok and Gil Dong talking to each other. He watches for a moment, then just turns around and bleakly walks away.

Gil Dong walks away from Enok, thinking to himself, “I can stand it.”

Enok stays behind, thinking to herself, “I can stand it. So now is not the time.”

Of course, it’ll never be the right time for Eun Hye, who furiously tries to think of the best way to get Gil Dong killed. Man, she ain’t kidding around.

“I have to think carefully. I have to figure out the best way to get the prince to kill Gil Dong. If he finishes it for me, I’ll feel better, won’t I?”

Oh, Eun Hye. And you had such potential.

In a trademark bit of the Hong Sisters’ Hit-You-Over-the-Head-With-the-Obvious Scene Juxtaposition, Gil Dong gives a rousing speech to his followers imparting optimism and hope for their newly appointed leader, while Chang Whe looks into the doom and gloom with pessimism.

Gil Dong: “With our newly chosen king, we’re no longer rebels! … We’re in this together with the king!”

Chang Whe envisions his brother sitting next to him, laughing maniacally and telling him (and beckoning him to madness??), “Brother. I welcome you to this place.” At the same time:

Gil Dong: “I welcome you all to our new world!”

Meanwhile, now it’s Chang Whe’s turn to be alone on his lofty throne:

Chang Whe: “Is this my end?”

Gil Dong: “This isn’t the end. This is the beginning. The king we made will start it all.”


Two things: First, I think the writers misused Eun Hye’s character horribly. It’s like they forgot all about her for the middle stretch, then brought her back and crammed her full of jealousy and craziness. What happened to mature Eun Hye? I actually wished they’d given her this new Fatal Attraction-esque descent into jealous frenzy much earlier, and then ended with some kind of earning of bittersweet maturity. But right now she feels kind of schizo — one moment she’s showing In Hyung a quiet, honest side of gratitude and compassion, and the next she’s spewing murderous intent.

Secondly: Wow, sucks to be Chang Whe, eh? Although it looks like his character is headed for some dire times, in terms of the plot, I really welcome this turn. About time something SERIOUS happened to threaten our main characters.

Two more episodes!


32 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. alynizzle

    LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS ALL DAY! You’re awesome javabeans. Love the commentary – very insightful and appreciated.

  2. giddygirl108

    Love your summaries ^^ I’m actually starting to watch Dal Ja’s Spring because of them!

  3. canyayasis

    Thank you.

  4. Liz

    Aw..sucks being CH. That poor guy. He’s a victim of a power obsessed mother. I felt sorry for that guy. I wonder if Hong sisters are gonna turn him into a crazy character like his brother.

    I wonder if we’re gonna have a runaway queen in upcoming episode, heheh. I miss Gil-Nok together

  5. hjk

    Hit-You-Over-the-Head-With-the-Obvious Scene Juxtaposition
    “Wow, sucks to be Chang Whe, eh?”
    HAHA! LOL!

    Sarah, is CH’s coronation also going to be CH & YN’s wedding, or is that supposed to be later? I couldn’t quite catch it for sure. Yeon said that GD wouldn’t be able to watch the coronation because that’s also going to be YN’s “holaeshik” (that’s wedding, right?)

  6. thdkdi

    Thanks for the summary! After reading this, the only way i can think for YN and GD to be together is to make YN a fugitive or not. Who knows? Can’t wait for the next two episodes!

  7. nixxochick

    “If you come to me, I won’t be able to send you back. So until you feel like you’ll die from holding back, you can’t come to me. If you can stand it, like now… As long as you can stand it, you can’t do that.”


    i just love KJH

    but thank you soo much for this recap, cant wait to see what happens tomorrow!

  8. namaste

    thank you for the recap.
    while i know this drama is about hong gil dong, i really hope that the writers will not mess up chang whe’s character any longer than they’ve been doing in the past episodes. i want a good ending for him. please please!

  9. jinkzzmec

    thanks for the recap…2 more episodes

  10. 10 yeli

    Poor Chang Whe!!! sucks to be him…everything he believed..everything he had lived for..was all a LIE…sad!

    i hope he has a happy ending..poor guy

  11. 11 YM

    I think it’s going to be a good ending for everybody…Mostly Chang hui will let Enok go to Gil Dong and he will marry a good person later on??
    Thanks javabeans for the summary…

  12. 12 Dave

    Wow ! I will not watch eps 22-24 until they are all out. Can’t wait to find out what happens in the end ! Will our hero die ????

  13. 13 Sophia

    Thanks for this detailed summary, I’m looking forward to watch the upcoming two last episodes.
    I wish an happy ending with GD and YN

  14. 14 Auntie Mame

    My message to CH:

    It’s not how you got there or even why. What counts is what you do once you’ve arrived there.

    As always, thanks for the wonderful recaps.

  15. 15 sea&sun

    I’m optimistic about the end. I do believe that Gil Dong and Enok will end up together at least. Does anybody remember the very first episode, the opening scene? It’s Enok and the robbers infiltrating some corrupt nobleman’s party and Gil Dong making his grand entrance before the story going back to what is being shown now. So, I’m not worried about Gil Dong and Enok.

  16. 16 teokong

    Thank you for your summary. Loved it.

  17. 17 teokong


  18. 18 annie

    I’ve been checking your blog for more than maybe 15 times a day. ^_^
    thankk’s for the summary, Now I’m heading to watch the whole episode….
    Poor Chang he. I wish that he’ll get over the fact from the past and rule as a good king. and hgl better not die. I hate sad ending. HATE… so please be a happy ending…

    and I’m looking foward for your next recap ^_^

  19. 19 Iranian Espresso

    Thank you dear Javabeans.
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I want to say ” Happy the first day of spring, Happy NOWROOZ = NEW DAY
    ( Nourooz, Norooz) and Happy new Persian year ( year 1387) ” to all of YOU.
    Today is NOWROOZ ( NEW DAY), the first day of spring and the first and the best day in Persian culture and calendar.


  20. 20 Angela

    Honestly, I think you’ve always given Eun Hye more credit then she deserves. From that very first scene we’re shown of her, it’s obvious the girl isn’t exactly sane. (Heck, even her NANNY though she’d do it). Now, looking back, I think it makes even more sense that she’d want revenge against something that has gone way past “idle amusement” to “rejected, broken heart” territory. She’s already proven that she’s selfish, manipulative, and childish in her desires… in the end, she really is just a spoiled rich girl who was pretending to be grown up… I’ve been expecting this from the beginning.

  21. 21 bethany

    i feel what i felt with coffee prince… great anticipation and great sadness that it is ending so soon!

  22. 22 Anonymous

    I really hope to see Happy Chang Whe in the end, because he must have atleast half a normal life. Poor Guy.

    IMO, Eun Hye was a useless character to begin with. She just disappears in the middle of the drama, to return as schizo… and add some extra oil to the story, although she did seem to be a bit mentally disturbed in the first episode with that bird cage…

  23. 23 tealeaf

    I’m with you … disappointed at Eun Hye’s character . She had potential. Couldn’t they see a better use for her character? Oh well. It’s all in pacing and transition. And both seem to be slightly off at this point. Are we racing to finish the series just for the sake of finishing off the 24 episodes? Some scenes have lost their sparkles.

    I’ve always been a GD-CH shipper. Not a Chang Whe-Enok shipper. Not a Chang Whe-Chisu shipper. But a Gil Dong-Chang Whe’s avid fan. It’s pretty much clear from the get-go that Gil Dong’s the hero journey is set. I can see his end. What drew me back to this series week after week is Chang Whe’s fate. I love how the writers have handled their relationship. It’s mature. It’s hopeful. It’s very different and unexpected. I agree. It’s about time that we see some actions. Now we can truly see the kind of man Chang Whe is. A hero’s quest to greatness is often fraught with obstacles and heartaches. So is a hero’s journey away from darkness. It is as difficult. If not even more.

    Thank you for the summary.

  24. 24 Miki

    Javabeans, I have a question. Has Chang Whe’s acting increased at all? The screenshots shows bright red eyes, and they’re done rather realistically (through the shots, obviously. I haven’t watched it yet). Is he still as wooden as before?

    God, I’m fascinated with Chang Whe. HGD is a great hero, and always will be. He has the talent. But Chang Whe depended upon the “Mandate of Heaven” (in a sense.) He might have some talent, but his willpower to become king was based on the belief that he was born to be king. Now that it crashed down upon him….He would technically be the one clawing his way to the throne now, as none of it is done legitimately.

    Thank you so much, Javabeans. I hope CW make it through….His constant flirting with darkness keeps me on pins and needles. I’m hope he successfully avoids it.

  25. 25 Gracie

    Wow….. you cannot imagine how many times I’ve checked your web for this latest episode…. I am all for Gil-Nok but is very hopeful that Chang Whe will be stronger now more than ever, as he deserves to be King not because the sword say so but because the people believe in him and because the current King… sucks…

    Hey… one big possibility is for sure….. Yinok would most probably cannot be with CW also coz’ grandfather Ryu is rebelling again the new King propaganda….

  26. 26 Lina

    Unlike everyone else here, I am a total CW-YN fan! I dunno why, cuz he’s better looking?

    I anticipate ep. 23 recap tonight! I am losing sleep over you, dramabeans! TT__TT
    Thank you so much! I love your blog!

  27. 27 Jamie

    I love your summaries 🙂 They are well written and accurate..many thanks! KJH is hot!! he’s so cute looking and a great actor too. But does anyone else think that he’s got a slightly different Korean accent? The way he says his words sounds slightly different to other Koreans.

  28. 28 hachiko

    Wow Chang We and Khang We are just the same. At the end a king is just a doll. I feel sorry for them. I always agree with javabeans comment about the difference between Gil Dong and Chang We. And in this case just like Yi Nok and Eun Hye.

    Totaly in love with Kang Ji Hwan at the momment ^_^

  29. 29 maryam

    i love korea and korean and hong goldong i want one day come to korea . this is one of my dream thank you for this drama again i love you

  30. 30 phenny

    thank you very much javabeans for the very comprehensive summary of all the episodes. more power to you!

  31. 31 mariolawpanda

    OMG. first week on the job and ChangHui’s already insane. LOL. family trait perhaps? the throne scene with imaginary ex-king and ChangHui sitting together is so creepy, with the same pose, with the weird expression.

    but i do agree, what’s with little-miss-spoiled EunHye’s sudden crazy spurt? tsk tsk. after all this while i thought her crazy-potential-meter has gone down already since she’s been mia for quite sometime already, then suddenly, jajan~~ “if i can’t have you, no one can” mode.

    i do like-verging-love the drama, but the pacing is waaaayyy too slow. they should’ve cut down some of those filler arcs. it could’ve made the momentum a lot more exciting, rather than “its about time”.

  32. 32 A-M

    I just kept wanting Enok to come in and hug CW while he was on the throne. He needs friends so badly. 🙁 Also, where was his power ballad this episode? I kept waiting for it to play!!

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