Painter of the Wind continues to impress, despite a few flaws here and there. I officially want to marry Moon Geun Young.
SONG OF THE DAY
Sam Roberts – “A Stone Would Cry Out.” Dahee says: “It’s by one of my favourite Canadian rockers, from his album ‘Chemical City’.” [ Download ]
Giving in, Jeong-hyang plays her gayageum for Yoon-bok. As she does this, Yoon-bok paints her like she’s possessed, clearly squeezing in as much painting as she can before her hand gets destroyed.
During a break, Jeong-hyang muses out loud, wondering why Hong-do told Yoon-bok about the punishment beforehand. It doesn’t make sense. So she suggests: “Isn’t it because he’s trying to save you? Your teacher may be your only hope.”
Yoon-bok, however, is very drunk, and doesn’t seem to take her words seriously.
Meanwhile, Hong-do is having a nightmare in which he watches, horrified, as Yoon-bok’s dad (!!) has his hand crushed under the stone. Even after he wakes up, everything he looks at reminds him of the dream.
During breakfast, Yin-moon asks Hong-do what he’s going to do, and advises that he think it over carefully. Hong-do, seeming to make up his mind, turns and asks Jung-sook to do him a favour.
Yoon-bok gets up, clearly hungover, and remembers Jeong-hyang’s words from the night before. But by the time Jeong-hyang comes around with what looks like hangover soup, it’s to find that Yoon-bok has already left. She finds a portrait of her that Yoon-bok made the night before, complete with poem. Hehe. A romantic gift!
Han-pyung, Yoon-bok’s adoptive dad, appears to have had a talk with Hong-do, in which Hong-do told him his plan, whatever it is. Han-pyung’s worried about Yoon-bok, of course, but the thing that seems to weigh most heavily on his mind is the fact that Yoon-bok will have to give up the honour and glory that comes of painting for the royal family. No doubt he hoped to bask in that glory himself, as her father. DUDE, YOU FAIL AT FATHERHOOD SO HARD.
Hong-do visits the king, where the two of them discuss what will happen to the student who painted the “eeeeeevil” painting. Hong-do laments to the king that such talent will go to waste. Jeong-jo feels regret, as he realizes how well-made the painting is, but thinks that it’s too late to change Jeong-soon’s mind. Hong-do replies, “It may be too late, but…I do not want to give up on this student.”
Yoon-bok returns to the Dohwaseo, and goes to see Hong-do. Hong-do tells her that he didn’t expect her to return. Scared but resolute, Yoon-bok replies, “This is my doing, so I shall take responsibility.” Hong-do tells her that soon it will be time for the hand to be crushed, and she asks, “What should I do now?”
Outside, Young-bok is eavesdropping on their conversation, horror-struck.
Following Hong-do’s instructions, Yoon-bok goes to the marketplace, where she meets with Jung-sook. She hands over a letter, and tells Yoon-bok to go underneath the Gwangdo Bridge to meet a Mr. Bong. Yoon-bok asks if she’s from Hong-do’s household, and she gets all embarrassed and says, “Not yet…”
Yoon-bok meets the guy she’s supposed to meet, and is given a horse, and instructed to go to Pyeongyang and meet someone else there. So off she goes!
But as she rides away, she remembers what Jeong-hyang told her at the beginning of the episode, and, realizing what Hong-do’s going to do, she turns the horse around to go back to the Dohwaseo.
Hong-do’s words earlier have really impacted Jeong-jo, and he continues to ponder the painting. And then – DUN DUN DUN! He notices the red birthmark on the painting!! Oh, that is too groovy for words. I’ve been waiting for this.
It’s hand-crushing time! All the painters and students gather together in orderly rows to watch, because…I don’t know why. To set an example? I don’t know. If it were me there, I would wonder if they were trying to give me nightmares. I would sue them for emotional distress. Not that they could do that back in those days…
Jeong-soon is there, too, because she’s a bit of a bloodthirsty bitch, and no doubt wants to make sure the culprit has been found, and is punished accordingly.
Hong-do is called forward, and asked if he has found the student responsible. Hong-do hesitates for a long time (to…draw…out…tension…). He turns and looks at Young-bok, who seems to be waiting for something. Finally, he says: “I was unable to find the culprit.”
Shock all around. Hong-do continues, making his apologies, and says he will accept all punishment. He also adds that the student is still young, and that if the making of the painting is anyone’s fault, it’s the fault of the adults who are responsible for him. He requests that he be the one to receive the punishment in the student’s stead.
And so that’s what they decide to do. Hong-do is tied to the hand-crushing machine, and he doesn’t make one peep of protest. The guard lifts his hatchet to cut the rope…just as Yoon-bok finally arrives, and bursts in, screaming for them to stop. But it’s too late. The guard cuts the rope anyway. Hong-do flinches, preparing for the worst…
But this wouldn’t be a drama without some handy (HAHA I CRACK MYSELF UP) twisting of fate. It turns out that the guard didn’t do a very good slicing job, because the stone is still hanging a few inches above Hong-do’s hand, by a very frayed rope. Hong-do’s safe…for now.
Yoon-bok rushes to Hong-do, hysterical and trying desperately to untie him. The guards drag her away from him, and she declares that she has something to say. But just as she’s about to make her confession, Young-bok suddenly leaps up and declares that he’s the culprit. Oy vey.
They each cry out that they’re the culprit, that the other person is innocent. This goes on for some time, becoming more and more frantic, until Yi-pan, the guy in charge of this whole mess, finally tells them to shut up, and orders Hong-do to tell him which one of them is the real culprit. But Hong-do continues to declare that he doesn’t know. And it’s ordered that the rope be cut again.
But look! He’s saved! AGAIN. King Jeong-jo suddenly arrives, taking everyone by surprise and putting a halt to the proceedings for now.
He and his step-grandmother have a private little chat.
Jeong-jo: “Must there be bloodshed?”
Jeong-soon: “It’s already begun. Since it has, shouldn’t we see the end to it?”
Outside, Hong-do, Young-bok and Yoon-bok have a whispered conversation. Yoon-bok insists that she’s the one who should be taking responsibility, and that they should stay out of it: “I realized that there’s no point in me running away. That’s why I came back. Teacher. Hyung. I’m sorry.” But of course, Hong-do and Young-bok are both far too stubborn to listen to her, with Young-bok insisting that he’s the one who made that painting, and Hong-do telling them that he’ll take care of everything himself, and they should stay quiet.
I like the acting in this scene. They’re speaking softly, and, although they’re crying, there aren’t any big dramatic tears. There’s just a sense of warmth and self-sacrifice that’s nice to see. Oh, and I appreciate the lack of music during a big portion of it.
Hong-do is summoned to see the elders, and is asked once again who the culprit is. But all he says in reply is, “Is my own hand alone not enough for you?”. Yi-pan freaks out and says that he’ll have all three of their hands crushed.
Han-pyeong takes this chance to go onto his knees and beg that his sons be spared. Yi-pan tells him to reveal who the real culprit is – in other words, out one of his sons. Han-pyeong is in anguish. How can he possibly betray one son for the other?
There’s a really lovely scene added in here, with Young-bok and Yoon-bok alone. Yoon-bok is crying silently, and, to comfort her, Young-bok places his hand on top of hers. It’s just so sad that he’s the one who’s comforting her, when he himself is just as in need of comfort. This scene is adorable enough that it pretty much makes up for all the slightly over-dramatic shenanigans earlier.
Well, it seems that Han-pyeong has decided to betray one of his sons anyway. Hong-do’s shocked by his decision.
The final touches are put on the decree. Looks like Jeong-jo wrote up another one?
Aaaaand, the decree is read out. No hands will be crushed today. Yoon-bok’s absolutely weak with relief and gratitude, but Hong-do remains uneasy, knowing there is more to come.
It’s revealed that Jeong-jo bullied Jeong-soon into signing the decree in a very sneaky (and AWESOME) way:
“Your Majesty. I remember it very well. What my grandmother said when the two of you met for the very first time. ‘What desirable ears you have! The lucky red mole under your ear, especially, is a sign that the nation will prosper.'”
Jeong-soon’s been PWNED, and she knows it. Ha! (Also, Bae Soo Bin? Growing hotter by the nanosecond…)
Even though no hands are to be crushed, the culprit must still be punished somehow. Yoon-bok steels herself for the worst, but it is Young-bok’s name that is called. Looks like glory and honour was more important to Han-pyeong than his own son. Young-bok is thus banished from the Dohwaseo, and ordered to work in Danchongso and mix ingredients for the rest of his days. Dude. HARSH.
Young-bok says his goodbyes, and tells Yoon-bok that she possesses great talent, and asks her to become the very best painter, for his sake. But Yoon-bok is unable to accept it, and keeps insisting that she’s the one who should be banished, not Young-bok. She demands of her brother, “Why must you always be like this?!” She declares that she can’t fulfill Young-bok’s wishes.
Hong-do’s drinking alone, and we get a flashback where he remembers Young-bok who, after overhearing the conversation between Hong-do and Yoon-bok, begs Hong-do to save his brother. He begs him, in fact, to take his arm instead. But, of course, Hong-do didn’t listen to him in the end.
Yoon-bok runs off by herself into the mountains, unable to handle all the turbulent emotions within. She chances upon several piles of rocks (I assume for religious practices?), and throws them one by one, screaming out her guilt and anger. She lifts one particularly big rock, ready to throw it…and realizes that she can, in fact, strike her own hand with that rock, just like the punishment she thinks she should have received.
After taking a while to gather up her courage, to brings the rock down upon her hand…and her screams of anguish echo down the mountain.
Nicely-written scene, and I like the closing of it. But the real highlight here is Moon Geun Young’s acting – the best I’ve seen from her so far. She makes Yoon-bok’s pain and guilt and self-hatred absolutely tangible, and isn’t afraid to throw her entire body and soul into this scene. Wonderful!
That night, Jeong-hyang and her maid are walking along, when they come across Yoon-bok, who is sitting near the place where Yoon-bok requested the gayageum concert before. Yoon-bok collapses, and Jeong-hyang gathers her into her arms. Just before Yoon-bok passes out, she whispers, “You’re as beautiful as ever.” OMG THEY ARE SO GAY.
Jeong-hyang takes her to the kisaeng house, but no doctors will come to help, as they refuse to enter a kisaeng house. Uh, so kisaeng don’t get any medical treatment simply due to the fact that they’re kisaeng? Bastards.
The next morning, Hong-do is off by himself in a corner of the Dohwaseo, looking at the written records of a certain painter – Seo Jing, Yoon-bok’s daddy. We get intriguing flashbacks into the past, where we’re informed that Seo Jing was murdered, and that it’s suspected he was murdered by his enemies due to his supposed bad attitude. Seo Jing wasn’t able to gain much prominence in Dohwaseo activities due to his practice of painting everday, mundane things. His good friend, Hong-do, was the one who conducted his funeral. In voiceover, Hong-do promises his friend that he’ll be sure to reveal the truth.
Jeong-hyang and her maid visit the Dohwaseo to ask Hong-do for help, causing quite a stir amongst the horny students. She tells Hong-do what happened, and he goes with her to the kisaeng house. Yoon-bok’s hell-bent on never going back to the Dohwaseo, and yells at Hong-do to leave her alone. Hong-do bodily lifts up a struggling Yoon-bok and takes her out of there, easy as pie.
He takes her to a pool (with a small waterfall!), and throws her into the water to make her snap out of her stubbornness. Yoon-bok struggles weakly, clearly unable to swim. Hong-do continues to lecture her, not noticing that she is slowly stopping her struggle, and allowing herself to sink to the bottom of the pool. When Hong-do finally does notice, she’s deeply immersed in the water, and losing consciousness. End episode.
OMG sad episode. I admit I teared up a little. It must have been exhausting for the actors to continually maintain such powerful emotions like that, especially for Moon Geun Young.
I really like the clever use of flashbacks in this episode – several of the events don’t happen in a linear order, thus effectively hiding a lot of the twists, and keeping the viewer on her/his toes. Unfortunately, it does start feeling manipulative after a certain point, with everyone continually being saved from the worst case scenario at the very last minute. They could have toned that down a lot more, and it would still have been as effective (if not more).
Oh, and I liked how the problem was wrapped up in a way that didn’t feel too neat. People suffered from the “solution”, and the choices made along the way continue to further the plot – such as Jeong-jo’s discovery that it’s Jeong-soon in the painting. Am looking forward to how that will colour their relationship in future episodes.
The acting from a select few continues to shine, and Park Shin Yang doesn’t annoy me as much this episode – I liked the way he portrayed Hong-do’s concern and heartbreak for Yoon-bok and Young-bok, anyway. Here’s to hoping he’ll improve.