Drama Recaps
Chuno: Episode 3
by | January 18, 2010 | 77 Comments

(Samsooki, whom you know from his City Hall recaps, and hjkomo, who previously guest-blogged her year-end review, have stepped up to write recaps for Chuno! Enjoy. —javabeans)

Enough ogling the slave-hunters of Chuno! Here are the Gi-Saeng of Chuno!

You know, Chuno isn’t so easy to pick up and start watching. First off, sageuks are difficult enough to understand, given the old Korean language and vocabulary, let alone the fact that it generally helps a LOT to have at least a basic knowledge of Korean history. And second, Chuno is an epic-style drama, and epic dramas tend to have a much larger cast of characters than normal dramas. This can make for confusing times, as you think, “who are THOSE guys?” and “who’s THAT guy?” every other scene. And since epics often carry multiple storylines that intersect later on, things can really get confusing as you think, “why is THAT guy doing something with THOSE guys?” Hehe! At least, that’s how I felt when watching this Episode 3 the first few times. but I think that as you get to learn the characters and the stories, Chuno will be one of those dramas that people will be talking about for a long while.


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As we left off Episode 2, Dae-Gil (Jang Hyuk) and Tae-Ha (Oh Ji Ho) are standing in the high grass, facing off. Tae-Ha holds his zhanmadao saber (basically, a Qing military issue sword, good for vertical (up-down) slashing attacks) at guard and Dae-Gil reverse-grips his Qing jian sword (good for short stabbing cuts and in-fighting) to counter Tae-Ha’s long reach and his longer saber (reverse-grip fighting is good to cover the lower half of the body against sweeping up-cuts favored by those who use zhanmadao sabers). Dae-Gil and Tae-Ha rush at each other, slashing at each other. Both land safely but Dae-Gil has been cut on his side.


Does Dae-Gil recognize Tae-Ha from Dae-Gil’s previous life?

Dae-Gil: Didn’t you have a gimpy leg?

Tae-Ha: I’m pretty sure you already know I don’t have a gimpy leg… Isn’t that way you are trailing me?


Interesting! At first, I wasn’t sure how much the other knows about what happened in the past, when Dae-Gil was just a coward rich boy nearly getting killed at the hands of the Qing marauders. It looks like neither Dae-Gil nor Tae-Ha recognizes the other. But Tae-Ha is right though. Dae-Gil knew exactly where Tae-Ha and the other escaping slaves would be.

Meanwhile, Dae-Gil’s fellow slave catcher Choi (General Choi to the gi-saeng who fangirl over him and his pecs, and just Choi to the rest of us) rounds up the other slaves. The duel in the high grass between Dae-Gil and Tae-Ha is forced to an indefinite postponement, however, when arrows fly at them from close-by. It appears that other slave-hunters have arrived. Chun Ji-Ho and his band of lackeys have started shooting arrows at both of them.


Chun Ji-Ho is nothing if not an opportunist. He tells his men to fire away. If he manages to kill Dae-Gil and the runaway slave, isn’t that like killing two birds with a few dozen arrows? Tae-Ha is hit by an arrow and Dae-Gil also hits the deck. At that moment, the quite tall and imposing Choi appears from behind and sticks his sword on the neck of Chun Ji-Ho. Chun’s lackeys turn and point their arrows at Choi. It is a stalemate. Chun blusters a threat, as he has a bunch of men pointing arrows at Choi.

Chun Ji-Ho (growling) : It looks like you want to be turned into a porcupine.

Choi (ignoring the hollow threat to be shot full of arrows): You want to become a shish-kebob?


Chun Ji-Ho loses the staring contest and backs off, saying that he can’t stand Choi. It’s a funny way to back down between guys; basically Chun is the loser in this but retreats without losing that much face by saying he doesn’t even want to be around Choi (even so much so that it’s too much of a hassle to kill him). Lol! Funny guy, this Chun Ji-Ho.

Anyhoo, so Choi and Dae-Gil head back to their rented room, discussing Tae-Ha. Wang Son rushes in, sobbing in concern for Dae-Gil, but seeing as Dae-Gil is alright, quickly makes his leave, still sobbing, as he has unfinished business to bed his flavor of the month gi-saeng. How can a person have such a one-track mind? Choi leaves to find out more about this mysterious Tae-Ha character who was able to hold his own so easily against the formidable Dae-Gil.

Meanwhile, Chun Ji-Ho, the coward in the showdown with Choi, is shamelessly spreading the story of how Dae-Gil got his ass handed to him by that tall slave, and how Chun Ji-Ho and his men rescued Dae-Gil with arrows. Hehe! This is a hilarious scene as the peasants that gather to hear the story just soak it in and believe every word.


Ironically, it is possible that Chun Ji-Ho did in fact rescue Dae-Gil (even though he meant to kill both and Tae-Ha), because I’m not sure that Dae-Gil would have beaten Tae-Ha, given the weapons that they had on them. If you watch this humorous scene, you can see how much informal and base Korean relies on onomatopoeia to get meaning across. Even if you don’t speak a word of Korean, if you listen carefully, you might even be able to start to guess whether the characters in a sageuk are speaking an educated form of Korean or a baser form.

While Dae-Gil is getting his reputation as the number 1 slave-catcher sullied by Chun Ji-Ho, the man responsible for the reputation loss is still in the fields, badly wounded by an arrow. About to collapse, Tae-Ha manages finally to pull out the arrow as a vision of his wife and baby son push him to survive.


Not that far away, Commander Hwang Chul-Woong interrogates the slaves who tried to escape but who were captured by Choi. He presses red-hot iron brands into their skin, torturing them for information. One of the slaves spills all he knows about Tae-Ha, and about how Tae-Ha was able to get around without limping. This last bit is notable to Commander Hwang, who sees that Song Tae-Ha is not so infirm as he thought. Just because he can, Commander Hwang orders the partial blinding of every slave who tried to escape.


Notes: I think I should give a frame of reference here.  It is easy to sit there and judge the past, denouncing slavery and the brutality of the times.  But in this period, not only was slavery a given, but it had been a given for over a thousand years. Inasmuch as there is a lot of dialogue in this drama about how humans should be treated equally, what is also true is that Koreans really didn’t assume that to be the case for over one hundred generations. And what made Korean slavery almost unique among all nations that had slavery historically was the fact that virtually all slaves in Korea were ethnically Korean- this made it impossible to determine who was a slave and who wasn’t, if the masters did not disfigure or brand or tattoo their slaves (and it made it an extremely attractive proposition to try to escape, because escape meant that you could just start over, which is why slave hunters were numerous as well). And so the branding/tatooing of the slaves was an extremely common occurrence, but blinding was not. Economically speaking, blinding of the slaves was actually worse than losing the slaves to escape for Commander Hwang. A one-eyed slave is nearly useless, meaning that Commander Hwang would now be housing, clothing, feeding and keeping watch over slaves he can’t make money off of. Thus it is likely that deterrence and punishment were the objective behind the blinding, and likely these poor slaves will be executed when their use as deterrents against future escapes diminishes..

Back with the trio of Dae-Gil, Choi and Wang-Son. Choi has found out quite a bit about Tae-Ha just by asking around, complete with former employment and work history, former places of residence, martial skills, likes and dislikes, favorite color… Hehe! It’s almost like he googled “Tae-Ha” to get the information.


Choi recommends against going after Tae-Ha, because since Tae-Ha was with the late Prince and all of the intrigue that happened when the Prince was murdered, going after Tae-Ha will mean being involved in things that will be outside of their understanding. (Thank you Drama Narrator General Choi!). Dae-Gil refuses to give up though; his reputation at stake, he has to capture and/or kill Tae-Ha. Wang-Son leaves the heavy thinking to his hyung’s and takes leave to go have more sex with various gi-saeng.

Given all they know about Tae-Ha, they have already guessed where Tae-Ha might be. And sure enough, Tae-Ha, still bleeding from his arrow wound, appears before the mountain tomb of the Crown Prince, bowing before his former master. A flashback to the past, and we see General Song Tae-Ha leading a group of his closest officers to rescue the Crown Prince as he is being brought to China. Tae-Ha and his officers ambush the regiment of Qing soldiers leading the Crown Prince, but the Crown Prince curiously stops the effort. Tae-Ha learns from the Crown Prince that he is going willingly to Qing, as he must learn about his enemies in order to defeat them. Tae-Ha also learns that conspiracies are afoot in the Royal Court, however, as the Crown Prince wants to Korea to extend its understanding to across the world, while the King and his courtiers do not. And then to the present, as Tae-Ha speaks to his dead Prince:

General Song Tae-Ha: Your highness, please forgive this servant of yours for not raising a glass to your lips as I make haste to escape!


The tradition before tombs of masters and loved ones is for the best food and drink to be arrayed out before the tomb, to allow the dead to return and taste the foods of this world once and again. Tae-Ha is showing his true fealty to his lord by coming back and by noting that he must be forgiven for not bringing wine or suitable drink to slake the thirst of the Crown Prince. Tae-Ha is determined to see his way to avenging the Crown Prince and protecting, if possible the Crown Prince’s last surviving son. At the end of this scene, you can also see Tae-Ha, even though he is still bleeding to his untended arrow wound, trying to pull up weeds from his master’s tomb – as the last person left to protect the Crown Prince, Tae-Ha tries to perform all of the rituals that show his true loyalty to his master.

And the story switches back to Chun Ji-Ho, who has captured more slaves and is trying to arrange for an exclusive arrangement between him and his crew, and the police chief. It appears that the police chief cares only for the money that returned slaves brings, which makes him not only a mercenary but a hypocrite as well. Chun Ji Ho continues his attempt to destroy Dae-Gil and his crew, by forcing the two old fogies (the artist scribe and the horse caretaker) to also take part in trapping Dae-Gil. What could that old fox Chun Ji-Ho be planning?


That afternoon, we see a new character being introduced: Seol-Hwa (absolutely hilariously played by Kim Ha Eun). She is a dancing gi-saeng with a traveling troupe, making money by basically bumping and grinding men for coins during the day, and being a lady of the night at… well, at night.  Her megawatt smile immediately beguiles Wang-Son, who might have run out of coins to stick into his mouth if not for Dae-Gil and Choi dragging him away by his ears.


Wang-Son is inconsolable when Dae-Gil orders him to stay put and make food. Wang-Son looks to Choi, but the latter orders him to make some rice with a bit of noo-rung-ji (the crusty toasty rice that forms if you cook rice too long – it’s tasty). Har!


That night Seol-Hwa escapes her life of dancing and prostitution though, serendipitously running into our slave hunting trio who reluctantly keep her safe for the time being. Seol-Hwa is a sly one, and tries various tactics to get Dae-Gil to let her stay with them. Wang-Son is nearly beside himself with glee, but Dae-Gil doesn’t like the idea. Right when Dae-Gil loses his patience with her, Seol-Hwa drops the act and tells her story. She lost her mom at an early age to parts unknown, and lost her dad to disease shortly thereafter. All she wants to do is find her mom, who happens to have a large birthmark near her breasts (this grosses Wang-Son out, hehe!). Choi, being the stoic softie, votes to keep her. Since Wang-Son is a YES YES YES, and so Dae-Gil doesn’t immediately toss her out the door. Seol-Hwa is quite pleased with herself – not only did she escape forced prostitution, but she managed to hook up with three guys who actually are pretty decent and won’t harm her intentionally. Smart, smart lady.


The scene shifts to a night-time secret meeting among slaves. They’ve made a pact to start a slave revolution, whereby they would kill every yang-ban (the noble class) they see, all the way up to the King himself. With all the yang-ban dead, they would then be their own masters.


The re-captured slave Eop-Bok and the slave woman that has taken a liking to him are both caught in this conspiracy. Eop-Bok reluctantly agrees to take part in this to prevent the slave cabal from killing the woman who had overheard everything. As ridiculous as this idea sounds, they do have one weapon that nobody expects that a bunch of slaves would have – a musket! Eop-Bok, the former hunter who spent years in Qing using just such a weapon, is chosen to test fire the weapon. Suddenly very determined, Eop-Bok knows just who to target as the first assassination – Dae-Gil, that rat bastard who makes a living catching humans who just want to live free.


Meanwhile, when we last saw Un-Nyun a/k/a Hee Won, she had made her escape, trying to pass by as your garden variety male guy who wears lavender silk pajamas and a lavender silk do-rag. Un-Nyun has seriously got herself into a heap of trouble, dressed like a man and trying to make it through the country-side. Within a day, she has been spotted as a girl travelling in the guise of a guy by two unsavory peasants, and they follow her in the open country-side, waiting for a chance to attack her.  Unlike the street-wise and wily Seol-Hwa, Un-Nyun didn’t really plan ahead and is now in really big trouble.  Did she think that she could walk the unsafe countryside by herself and unsavory guys wouldn’t think that she was a woman? 


Un-Nyun hides behind a tree, but it is too late for her, her pursuers are actually right behind her and drag her down to assault her.


As luck (or fate) would have it, nearly unconscious Tae-Ha is passing by on a stolen horse, almost collapsing from the loss of blood. Even in his weakened state, Tae-Ha stops the attack and chases off the would-be rapists and then collapses in front of Un-Nyun.


And just a few miles away, our other main character is about to collapse as well. The former hunter turned slave Eop-Bok has set his sights on a mounted Dae-Gil. As Dae-Gil and his men are about to leave, Eop-Bok fires and scores a hit! Dae-Gil is struck in the forehead, and falls to the ground, bleeding. His eyes lose focus…




When I first watched Episodes 1 and 2 of Chuno, honestly, I was very impressed with the drama but I didn’t care that much. While I felt it was a huge leap in the technical ability of k-drama productions, I just didn’t get the emotional impact and I felt a little hollow.

But, all that has changed. After watching Episode 3 (and re-watching Episodes 1 and 2), I have to say, Chuno seriously rocks. What I felt was missing from Episodes 1 and 2 was a consistent flavor and an idea of who to support, who to get behind. And with three episodes in the bag, those questions have been answered and I am fully engaged in this drama now. What an awesome episode. Just brilliant! I can’t really find anything to compare it to, because this is really a new species of k-drama in my opinion.

Imagine what would happen if you took all the complaints that you might have had about k-dramas in the past. Low production values, poor directing, uneven acting across ensemble casts, boring stories or plots, lack of credible action scenes, complete lack of special effects and/or sound effects, small-screen feel to the projects, monotonal musical score, lack of style points, inability to mix drama, humor, action and a love story. Chuno is what happens when you take all those complaints out of the complaint box and you decide to build a sageuk from the ground up, fixing every single problem.

Episode 3 has laugh-out-loud humor, both physical and language-based. It has tremendous action sequences. Multi-leveled suspenseful story lines. Interesting characters across the board. Evil characters yet to be fully revealed. The amazing cinematography and well-mixed sound effects. Interesting editing and nicely planned structure. Beautiful costume design. A slick modern feel despite being set 4 centuries ago. Taken altogether, Episodes 1, 2 and 3 are beyond good. It has become must-see.

But, to get the full effect, I really REALLY recommend waiting for good subtitles (i.e., WITHS2), even if you have to start watching Chuno weeks after it starts airing. There is so much to understand, and if you are patient with the first three episodes and really get what’s going on, then I guarantee you, by the fourth episode of Chuno, you will be completely hooked!


77 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. belleza

    Chuno and PAC??!!? Are we getting a Fugees joint for Episode 4 Recap? 😀

  2. sophia

    that was a great recap!!! i have to say, episode 3 was very good. this is truly a great drama. i just hope it doesn’t lose its touch 🙂

    and yes, WITHS2 is subbing this drama ^^

  3. vis

    Thanks for the review, Samsooki! I’ve watched them raw already, but yeah it’s good advice to wait for HQ subs from WITHS2 to get the most out of the subtitles. Can’t wait for the new batch of episodes this week ^________^

  4. yuki

    wow really really great recap and commentary! how do you know so much about the swords Dae-gil and Tae-ho used. I really liked your input on that. It never occurred to me to analyze fighting styles but it’s quite awesome. Thanks!!!

  5. belleza

    “It never occurred to me to analyze fighting styles but it’s quite awesome. ”

    There’s something about Dae-gil that makes me vaguely think of the anime Samurai Champloo. Especially in how he holds the sword.

  6. Rabgix

    Thanks Samsooki for the bit about slave ownership. That kind of put some things in perspective.

    Great recap!

  7. snow

    thanks samsooki and hjkomo for continuing recaps of chuno! i was debating whether to watch this… now i guess i probably would!

    you mentioned tae-ha used a “zhanmadao saber (basically, a Qing military issue sword, good for vertical (up-down) slashing attacks)” while dae-gil had a “Qing jian sword (good for short stabbing cuts and in-fighting)”.

    i just wanted to point out that the zhanmadao (斬馬刀) is actually a sabre – the “dao” in “zhanmadao” means sabre, and dates back to the Song Dynasty. it literally means “chopping horse sabre”. it is a weapon with a single long broad blade.

    what dae-gil is using is, as you pointed out, a “jian” (劍) – this means sword. a “jian” was pretty multi-purpose.

  8. ockoala

    Have I entered into an alternate universe? samsooki and hjkomo have put aside their KJH and wine-lover induced differences and united in a joint project? What brought about this unification of the two-Koreas, so to speak? None other than the uber-epic wonder that is Chuno!

    Great recap, guys! It will be *so* much fun and enlightning to watch along with you both. I adore Chuno, for me, its a fusion blend of the best of k-drama with the sagueky epicness of Chinese wuxia stories. I hope its less political intrigue and more human-love-hate-loss angtsy goodness. Wednesday, are you here yet?

  9. anna

    So many good comments about this epic drama.. and yet, I still haven’t “felt” anything. 4 episodes in, and still nothing. Maybe I should stop seeing how I shouldn’t really push myself to like what others do. Well, it’s not like I dislike this drama, just that I don’t feel anything watching it. Probably will continue once it finished airing and subbing, just to waste time.

  10. 10 anna

    Honestly, Un-Nyun is a slave.. couldn’t she have dirty herself up a little ..especially when disguise as a man? We all know she’s pretty, it doesn’t hurt to make her less pretty for convincing sake.

  11. 11 hahafatgirl

    Lol, LDH is so beautiful already, must she have such perfect hair when disguised as a man? I can’t even get such perfect side swept bangs.

  12. 12 Samsooki

    @6, when I started down the path of recapping Chuno with hjkomo, I realized I didn’t know enough about Korean history. So, I was pretty astonished to learn that Korea had a 1,200 year history of slavery. 1,200 years! I mean, I had known ancient Korea has a history with slavery, but I didn’t know it was that institutionalized. Basically, whenever you watch a korean sageuk, you have to watch with the perspective that EVERYBODY in the drama assumes that slavery exists, has always existed, will always exist. i.e., slaves are part of society, there will always be slaves, and that is the way it will always be.

    @7, you are correct! Going further, the word dao 刀 actually means “knife” but depending on context can be any single-edged cutting weapon from a knife to a polearm. I have always used dao and the double-edged jian (劍) interchangeably though, because everything to me is basically a ‘sword.”

    (btw, I got the idea of talking about the weapons because I used to play Final Fantasy VII, which, of course, can be made into a k-drama, with Aeris Gainsborough being played by Kim Haneul and Cloud Strife being played by Lee Jun Ki. But don’t get me started…).

  13. 13 hjkomo

    Great review, Samsooki! 😀

    @ ockoala

    Behold the miracles Chuno can bring about…hehe 😉

    And like Samsooki said, sageuks are difficult to understand, and it takes several viewings to fully grasp the language, vocabulary, characters, and history. Thank you, Samsooki, for taking time out of your already busy schedule and joining forces with me. 🙂

    Thank you, Mister X and WITHS2, for your outstanding work,
    and once again, thank you, JB, for your wonderful blog. (I’m always available to help you slap those who get out of line. 😉 )

  14. 14 snow

    @12 samsooki

    lol, i wouldn’t mind if you start a discussion on the weapons used in chuno, that would be pretty interesting.

    you are right that the use of 刀 is very varied in terms of weaponry and also in common parlance where it mostly means knife. i’m just a little picky, so i personally wouldn’t interchange 刀 and 劍, they’re not really the same.

    what did you think of the fight choreography so far?

  15. 15 Acalle

    Adding to all the difficulties you listed about sageuk is MisterX’s translations.
    Even though we appreciate his tremedous dedication to sageuk subtitle work, it just makes it even harder for us, who don’t speak Korean nor have vast knowledge about Korean history, to follow the drama. Half of the time I have to guess the meaning, otherwise, I’ll just spend most the time reading (or looking up the dictionary like someone suggested) the subtitles and missing to see how cool Jang Hyuk look on the screen 🙂 .

  16. 16 LYNN

    Usually I’m not in to period drama but this one got me totally hook. Episode 3 was awesome I can’t wait for your recap on Episode 4.

  17. 17 ockoala

    @ samsooki

    ” I have always used dao and the double-edged jian (劍) interchangeably though, because everything to me is basically a ’sword.”

    You are such a *boy* (it’s sharp and pointy)! The third novel in Louis Cha’s masterpiece Condor Trilogy contains two weapons of immense power – the Heaven-Reliant Sword (倚天劍) and the Dragon-Slaying Saber (屠龍刀). Now, how much would the subtleties be lost if we willy-nilly swapped the 刀 and the 劍. Teasing you, of course, your understanding of the various ancient weapons-of-choice is already way beyond my lady-like sensibilities.

    @ snow

    I find the fighting choreography excellent for a k-drama, a big step above most k-dramas (though CitC was also excellent), in that the realism is injected with a light fantastical element. I like to see DG and TH jump so high, because they’ve been provided a larger-than-life image, and their fighting needs to convey that.

  18. 18 lilly

    Lol LDH looks top much inconvincing…

  19. 19 haezi

    chuno is awesome. if it continues as strongly as it started, it’ll be one of the best dramas this year.

  20. 20 Samsooki

    @14 snow –

    I grew up on Yuen Wo-Ping, who mastered the art of one hero fighting dozens of bad guys at once. But what I love about Yuen Wo-Ping’s choreography is his rhythm in one-on-one, hero vs. anti-hero fighting. Not that you HAVE to have a fight rhythm, but it’s nice because it adds a layer of poeticism to the fight. Then it’s not just a fight, it’s a poem too. If you look at the sequences so far in Eps 1-3, it’s a bit more difficult to pick up the rhythm of the fight. Still, gorgeous camera work. I am sure that in dramas to follow, the action sequences will also evolve and get better.

  21. 21 Jane

    ohmygoodness, thank you so so much for your recaps!! You don’t know how much I look forward to them ( :

  22. 22 more

    Tupac Shakur!!!

    That is what im talking about 🙂

  23. 23 Samsooki

    @15 Acalle –

    I don’t want to open a can of worms here, but let me say this. Really briefly.

    MisterX’s subs are generally beyond fantastic. They are superb in not only translating meaning, but keeping to the historical period, AND delivering the English translations with lyricism. The level of difficulty in what MisterX does is beyond every single person I know. Those that are fluent in Korean cannot do the English as well as he can. And those that are fluent in English cannot translate the Korean as well he as he can. And those that know both are still not able to add the poetry, meter and lyrical prose that he adds.

    Stiil, I get it. This could pose a problem with those who don’t speak English as their primary language, or for those who just don’t care to pick up a dictionary and learn what “slattern” means, for example. I myself had to look it up, hehe!

    So, while your criticism is valid……. I think on the balance, this k-drama world is made 1000x better of by having his subs, than not having them. I prefer to spend the extra two minutes to look up words I don’t know and have his subs, than not.

  24. 24 snow

    @20 samsooki,

    i think it’s way cool that you grew up on hong kong cinema. to me, it wins hands down in the fight choreography department. no contest. i understand what you mean about rhythm and sense of poetry, it does lend an element of grace in an otherwise messy fight scene (as most fight scenes are wont to be). yuen wo ping is a master, though i was not impressed with his work in “crouching tiger, hidden dragon” – actually that film was a mess.

    i also quite like corey yuen – his work in “fong sai yuk” comes to mind.

    i haven’t had a chance to watch chuno yet, so i will take yours and ockoala’s (#17) word on the fight choreogaphy for now, and hope it will be better as the story progresses.

  25. 25 Jo

    anyways beyond this overload of testosterone convo…SEOL HWA is amazing. I love her, i love how she is cute, and frank but not in your face rude. Its just the right amount that just buys you. In fact, I love her more than Lee Da Hae …. compared to her, Da Hae’s performace was a bit lack luster I think.

    seol Hwa is such a cutie, I just love her.

  26. 26 Acalle

    @23 Samsooki – Thanks for your response. I know this issue has been discussed in various forums. Even though I have some difficulties with his subs, I still NEED it desperately. And I totally agree that beside some of the ‘above-my-head’ words, his transalations is 100x better than others. Last year, after watching Kingdom of the Winds with KBS subtitles, both my husband and I had to agree that MisterX’s is far more sophisticated.

  27. 27 robotmatsuri

    Thank you so much Samsooki & hjkomo for picking up the recapping for Chuno! It’s such a difficult series to watch raw (I’m much too impatient to wait for subs).

    Seol-Hwa is so cute. 🙂 And the flashback scene with Tae-Ha was sad, I want to know more about his family and his past. Thanks again!

  28. 28 momosan

    @hjkomo and samsooki

    Which of you picked 2Pac? Because that’s a classic.

    I’m waiting for the WithS2 subs. I’ve watched enough sagueks to know enough to follow along, and once you are 25 eps deep into a series it’s alot easier, but this one (eyecandy aside) I think I want the subs for.

  29. 29 Samsooki

    One more thing –

    I picked Tupac Shakur (and this song in particular) because this is a drama about basically about human bondage – sometimes by force, sometimes by blood, sometimes by oath, and sometimes by love. And Tupac’s lyrics capture the anger, hope and resentment of being in bondage better than any.

    And since this is a fusion sageuk, I felt it appropriate to let PAC represent with this song, which itself is a fusion between 80’s music (Mr. Mister) and west coast rap. That IS what I’m talking about. 😀

  30. 30 j.

    Random Question: Do you know the actress that plays the GiSang on the left? (the first photo you posted).
    She’s so familiar looking, but I can’t for the life of me recall which dramas I’ve seen her in.

  31. 31 javabeans

    Thanks for the recap, Samsooki! I’m thrilled that you and hjkomo agreed to bear the burden of Chuno recaps. This should be a fun ride.

    Someone’s gotta say it so I will, though I mean this with utmost respect: I find MisterX’s translations often incomprehensible. What he does is, as Samsooki says, incredibly valuable and the drama world is better for having him in it. Still, I’m a purist so I like my subtitles to actually mean what is being said onscreen. I think this is a matter of potayto, potahto.

  32. 32 mak

    For a first time I really don’t know who to ship-love the 3 main actors,

    LDH/UN with HJ/DG or LDH/HW with OJH/TH? I’m glad LDH was acting with her EYES in her wedding episodes-I can feel her emptiness and sadness, and more is her CHEMISTRY with both actors-so sweet with DG and beginning and in the 4 eps start to feel the hotness with Song Tae Ha, this is what I called good acting.

    But to me the credit goes to JH and OJH the most-one is so charismatic and the other one is so regal hot.

  33. 33 Taohua

    What a lovely surprise! Thank you Samsooki for the recap! This helps while I’m waiting for the subs to come out.

    In this episode, Kim Ha-eun was pretty awesome. Seriously I couldn’t recognize the person who played Nayoung (the character she played in CitC)…it really is a testament of her talent as an actress. I have to admit however, that while Chuno is a wonderful drama in every aspect, it took me til episode 4 to feel some sort of emotional connection. But now I’m eagerly waiting for the next episode!

  34. 34 Jill4675

    Anyone not watching Chuno yet??? Quick: jump in and get caught up! 😉

  35. 35 Qwenli

    Hi, wasn’t planning on reading the recaps in full, but Samsooki’s details into the sabre/sword and slavery pulled me in. It takes boys to have such angles!

    I am not a fan of all 3 leads before I begin, but I have taken a liking to LDH (to think that she wasn’t the first choice in casting!) and to Jang Hyuk. Something about the show makes me think it will push his profile higher.

    Somehow I have a nagging feeling that the pace and excitement of Chuno has to do with its music. They have chosen a rather modern piece to give it that much icing. But what I didn’t like is the tenor singing at the end, which gives it an historical feel but tenor singing in korean saguek? Its nice and grand but I because it is such a strange fit, I consciously reminded myself not to be swept into the mood by the director which is the only slight grouse I have about the show.

  36. 36 hagrid0211

    Thanks Samsooki and hjkomo! We love you to bits!

    Woah! That was a beyond-awesome recap. I’m amazed by how comprehensive this recap is. Not only does it provide a detailed information about the weapons, it also gives us historical commentaries that just put everything into perspective! I’m sure writing this recap has got to be more tedious than it looks that’s why we can’t thank you enough for taking the time to write this for us!

    No wonder you’ve been MIA at the soompi thread, you were preparing to give us this surprise! awwww… We’re so touched! Can’t wait to read your recap on the 4th episode! My favorite episode so far!

    Thanks again! 😛

  37. 37 randomfan

    are you a chunojussi now?

  38. 38 OzChick

    Of COURSE Lee Da Hae would get caught out as a girl! They could have atleast smothered some mud on her face and made her hair more disheveled. Geez!

  39. 39 OzChick

    And thanks for the Tupac song! Perhaps a Fugees song next?

  40. 40 Samsooki

    @30 j. –

    The first woman is an actress named Yoon Joo Hee (윤주희). I actually shouldn’t have referred to her as a gi-saeng, because at this point, she’s really just referred to as the assistant innkeeper. In Korean, her title is 작은 주모 (Jak-eun Joo-Mo) which literally is “small bar mistress.”

    The second woman is an actress named Jo Mi Ryung (조미령). She is the owner of the inn that the slave hunting trio of Dae-Gil, Choi and Wang-Son stay at. In Korean, her title is 큰 주모 (Keun Joo-Mo) which literally is “big bar mistress.” The big and small here don’t refer to size but to age and seniority.

    I referred to both of them as gi-saeng, but I went back through the first four episodes, and neither of them did anything to warrant me calling them that. (The reason I assumed they were gi-saeng was because of the way both women totally fan-girl over General Choi and play around with the guys… which would be completely unacceptable behavior to any “proper” woman.)

    My bad! They aren’t gi-saeng!

  41. 41 langdon813

    Just finished Ep 3 and I have to say that, although I was tempted to watch 3 (and 4) unsubbed, I decided not to, because Chuno is just too special watch without knowing fully what’s being said. And it is absolutely worth the wait. The added bonus of two of my favorite people taking on recap duties? Cherry on top! And I’m definitely a huge fan of Mister X’s subbing after CiTC.

    Killer song choice, samsooki!

    Question about Ep 3; the slave who hands off the musket to Eop-bok (the guy hugging the basket in the pic above), is he the Crazy King from HGD?

    We are getting SO spoiled here at Dramabeans; we’re the luckiest Kdrama fans in the world, I swear. It’s just an embarrassment of riches every single day.

    Thanks guys!

  42. 42 randomfan

    recap the 4th episode! please! LOL

  43. 43 hjkomo

    @ langdon813

    Yes, that’s Jo Hee Bong, the crazy king from Hong Gil Dong.
    This really has an all-star cast…and with more to come. 🙂

  44. 44 Biscuits

    @ Qwenli: Haha, I’ve gotten used the tenor singing in Korean. It’s been used in a lot of sageuks, although I usually think of Jo Kwan Woo first.. for some reason.

    But I do agree that this drama has a great OST. My newest favorite OST since the Legend (Jo Hisaishi! Love that guy’s stuff) OST…. yes… I liked that drama and the ost…. ^^;;

    @Samsooki: Thank you for the recap ^^

    It was entertaining and informative! Btw, out of curiosity, did you do research just for this recap? Is all this information that you have about Korea that you’ve learned over the years, or did you actually study Korean history?

    Every time I read your comments or recaps, it’s always so informative ^^

  45. 45 Nixazure

    @40 Samsooki
    speaking of Gi-Saeng, I’m gonna leave my definitions in the hope of this providing some help to anyone who may be interested in Chuno as a non-native speaker.

    Gi-Saeng is a woman who live by serving drinks to noblemen called Yang-Ban and, if need be, having sex with them.
    you may remember the women who have a chat with Lee Kyoung-Sik, prime minister, and dance before him in the middle of the second episode.
    you may call them Gi-Saeng.

    Joo-Mo is like a woman who own a private business dealing with accommodation, food, drink etc. not for noblemen but for common people.
    generally, Joo-Mo has got nothing to with prostitution.
    those three slave hunters are currently staying at the Inn which these two Joo-Mo manage.

    Sa-Dang-Fae is a gourp of people who travel from place to place, earning money by performing a wonderful feat, playing music, dancing in the streets.
    they are also said to moonlight as a prostitute for common people. though they were considered as one of the most lowly stations back then, people liked them because they gave people a lot of pleasure.
    as you know, the new character, Seol-Hwa is a member of Sa-Dang-Fae.

  46. 46 langdon813

    @ hjkomo

    I thought so!

    I recognized Kim Ha-eun (oh, Na-young 🙁 ) right away. And Ahn Suk-hwan, seriously, what has that guy NOT been in?

    I can already tell I’ll be playing “It’s THAT guy (or girl)!” a lot with Chuno.

  47. 47 Samsooki


    I went back to the video (to confirm whether it was the crazy HGD king) and I think I might have made another mistake. hehe!

    The reason I thought the secret meeting of those guys in rags (including Jo Hee Bong) was a slave meeting was because Eop Bok (and Eop Bok’s love interest slave woman) were both there and because Jo Hee Bong said that after they kill all the yang-ban (nobles), they would go to the government office of funeral stuff (during that period, that’s where the slave registers were kept) and burn it down. (i.e., if they weren’t slaves, why would they care). But I just noticed that none of the other people in that scene other than Eop Bok and Eop Bok’s love interest are actually tatoo’ed. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t… so, I went to the KBS website to look it up and they don’t refer to those guys as slaves either, just as poor wretches. At this point, all those conspiracy guys in rags COULD be slaves, or they might be just dirt poor peasants who hate the yang-ban. Don’t quite know yet.

  48. 48 Sere

    Thanks guys. I’m gonna redirect a friend of mine to your recaps cos for some reason my squeeing like an idiot didn’t make her fall in love with this drama instantly, despite her having watched the eps (oh goodness. Grammar fail there. Sorry about that).

    I really, really like Seol-Hwa. I think she’s a great addition to the cast. I LOVE her interaction with the boys, esp General Choi and Daegil, and I hope to see it developed in more ways than one. It’d be wasted if she was used just as comic relief imho.

    Lee Jun Ki as Cloud? nooooooooooooooooooo. I like LJK as much as the next girl, but I can’t really see him as Cloud.

  49. 49 Gems

    Thanks Samsooki and hjkomo!

    Even though I’ve watched episode 3 with subs, I really like reading other’s opinions and interpretations because it adds to my understanding of the drama. Sometimes I’m too focused on reading the subs that I miss out on some nuances in the drama.

  50. 50 itsnicethat

    Dear Samsooki,
    Hello. Thank you so much for your amazing recap. Just thought I’d add that I actually remember the news write-ups referring to the 큰 주모 (big bar-mistress, Jo Mi-Ryeong’s character) as “a retired gwangi” (관기, i.e., a government gisaeng, as opposed to “sagi” or a private gisaeng). If I’m not mistaken, the article also described the 작은 주모 (small bar-mistress) as a young widow.
    Here it is: http://news.joins.com/article/735/3970735.html?ctg=15

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