Drama Recaps
Chuno: Episode 13
by | March 20, 2010 | 57 Comments


Well, this is the episode! It took 10+ years, thousands of miles, scores of drawings and over a dozen episodes, but this interminable story line of near-miss after near-miss has finally come to an end. Dae-Gil has found his beloved Un-Nyun. But this Un-Nyun is not the beautiful and carefree slave girl of Dae-Gil’s memory. No, this runaway slave has gone and turned herself into a noble woman named Hye-Won and on top of that, and on this day of discovery, she is marrying someone else. On this day of days, Hye-Won is dressed in her wedding finery and is marrying another runaway slave – former General Song Tae-Ha. A day late and a nyang short, Dae-Gil takes out his blade.


“Here Without You” – by 3 Doors Down [ Download ]

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Episode 13 begins with Dae-Gil crouching behind a building in the compound that serves as the temporary headquarters for the conspiracy that seeks to protect the toddler Prince and to one day enthrone him as the true ruler of Joseon.


Dae-Gil watches the happy couple and struggles to come to a decision as to what to do next. I know he had vengeance on his mind against Un-Nyun initially, but talking and doing are two entirely different things. Dae-Gil finds himself in a weak position. Rather than coming in with absolute authority (with a legit government order to capture Tae-Ha) and righteousness (Un-Nyun is his runaway slave after all), Dae-Gil has instead taken the role of a lurking thief, jealously watching as one runaway slave marries another, the latter slave being the very one was involved in Dae-Gil’s family’s massacre.


Dae-Gil has found his beloved, but she has apparently forgotten about him. Un-Nyun looks so radiant in her han-bok! But she is radiant and glowing at Song Tae-Ha… it is almost time to make them pay.


Dae-Gil hesitates for a brief moment, steeling himself for the inevitable sorrow to follow. There is no way that Dae-Gil can let them go. Dae-Gil has given his oath to Left State Minister Lee Gyeong Shik, the second most powerful politician in Joseon, to bring Song Tae-Ha back dead or alive, or Dae-Gil will pay with his own neck. But even more than that, how can he live his life if Un-Nyun is never brought to face what monstrous consequences she had left Dae-Gil in?

But then just like that, Dae-Gil’s decision is turned upside down. Dae-Gil watches as Un-Nyun lifts a baby boy to her shoulders. A baby boy! Dae-Gil falters and retreats. What can he do now, if he takes Song Tae-Ha, he will destroy not only Un-Nyun, but Un-Nyun’s baby boy as well. Somewhere in the recesses of Dae-Gil’s mind, a code has been set in stone and he cannot harm this child. It is over. Tae-Ha senses a presence and moves to check it out but Dae-Gil has already gone.


Dae-Gil trudges away as Hye-Won begins the ceremonial marriage rites. As Hye-Won slowly lowers herself to the ground, bowing deeply in ceremonial fashion, Dae-Gil collapses in a heap just yards away. It is all too much for this man who has spent 10 years chasing after a dream, now gone forever.


Hye-Won and Tae-Ha complete their marriage ceremony as Dae-Gil has made it back to the marketplace square. Dae-Gil takes out a drawing of Un-Nyun that he carries with him, and cries his tears for this cruel twist of fate. The tears drop down onto the drawing of Un-Nyun as Dae-Gil holds his life in front of him.


Seol-Hwa, strolling through the marketplace, happens upon Dae-Gil but she almost doesn’t recognize him. This broken man is not her orabeoni. Dae-Gil cries like a man possessed by a ghost, pounding the drawing against his chest. Seol-Hwa is stunned by his passion. She backs away and leaves him be, unable to bear witness. To Seol-Hwa, each of Dae-Gil’s passionate cries is a confession of love for someone other than herself. Dae-Gil may never become someone who loves her.


And back in Han-Yang (Joseon’s capital city), Chun Ji-Ho has finally returned home from his brutal trip that saw him lose two of his men to Commander Hwang Chul-Woong’s blade. Chun Ji-Ho collapses on the table and calls out for his remaining boys, but no one is home.


Chun Ji-Ho seeks out the Artist Bang, who knows trouble when he sees it. At the point of a knife, Bang relates the awful details about how Chun Ji-Ho’s men were found hung in Ap Gu Jung Dong. Chun Ji-Ho at last realizes what has happened, that he and his men were set up from the beginning. Bang gives even worse news. Chun Ji-Ho’s men were not even given proper burials, and their bodies were probably just dumped. Commander Hwang, you just made a life-long enemy that won’t hesitate to stoop the lowest levels of degradation to see you killed.


That same day, Dae-Gil has made his way to the Buddhist temple to make peace with the cruelness of his life.

Dae-Gil: Buddha unni. You know… life… is quite a fucking hassle. But you know what else, Buddha unni, they say that you are one who has figured some things out in your life. So, you tell me, what do I do now?

So tell me, what the hell am I supposed to do NOW!


At that moment, unaware of a Dae-Gil at his wits end, Hye-Won has approached this same Buddhist temple. Hye-Won left a note for her husband Song Tae-Ha, that she is going to lift up her burden of unrequited love that she has been carrying all these years, and then return to Tae-Ha to be his alone. And Dae-Gil is still conversing with the Buddha statue, asking for some direction. Dae-Gil bows once, and then gets up. Feeling like that wasn’t enough of compensation, Dae-Gil bows again. This is, of course, as much honor and reverence as Dae-Gil has given anyone his whole life. What Dae-Gil is seeking is no longer Un-Nyun, but a way to live without Un-Nyun.


It is interesting how both of these fated people have come to the same temple to figure out a way to let go of the other. But before Hye-Won makes her way into the temple, she is accosted by the leader of the conspiracy to enthrone the Crown Prince. The leader asks Hye-Won to leave Song Tae-Ha’s side, at least until this conspiracy reaches a maturing point. Hye-Won refuses outright, gazing directly into the eyes of the noble without flinching.


Hye-Won is a new woman, far stronger and more confident in herself than Un-Nyun would have been. Unlike her slave self, who fled with her brother the night Dae-Gil’s life was destroyed, the noble woman Hye-Won will stand and fight for her new man.

As Dae-Gil leaves the temple, Hye-Won has taken a walk around the back to wait for the temple to clear. They miss each other (again), but each takes a look towards the other, though their line of sight is blocked by the temple itself. For whatever reason, they can still sense each other’s presence.


At one of the Royal garden pavilions, the Imperial Emissary to the Emperor of the Qing has finally met up with the King of Joseon. Despite titular differences, the attitude and talking between them is extremely plain, and this is for good reason. Joseon had lost its war to Qing, and the King had to bow before the Qing Emissary in a humiliating fashion. From a practical standpoint, the Qing Emissary is really a higher rank than the King, even though under any other circumstances the reverse would be true.


As predicted by the wily Left State Minister Lee, Qing Imperial Emissary Yong presses the issue of the large importation of water ox horns before the King, to force the real issue – that Emissary Yong wants to bring the last surviving son of the late Prince So-Hyeon back to Qing to raise as the Emissary’s own son. This is an obviously delicate issue for the King, who merely wants this child to be murdered and not brought outside the country where he might grow to forment a revolution of his own. The King demurs on the issue of the importation of water ox horns, and Emissary Yong is left with nothing further to add.


Back in the Qing pavilion, Emissary Yong is pissed and orders his men to go to Jeju Island and find General Song and the child Prince. If the King won’t do anything, then Emissary Yong will just have to do it for himself. This is a dangerous game that the Qing Imperial Emissary is playing here. Regardless of whether Joseon is a vassal state to Qing, Emissary Yong is still on Joseon soil. And threatening the King with the one thing that might bring down Joseon’s Royal Family is more than a little risky because the King would then have nothing to lose. Pressed into a corner, there would be no limit to what the King would do to protect his throne – including killing everyone who stands in his way.

The next scene we see Chun Ji-Ho with a crazy look in his eyes, entering a garment store. The dialogue here is amusing and a bit instructive:


Chun Ji-Ho (bowing as he enters): Ah-yooo… Hello there sir.
Store-Keeper (very rudely): What?
Chun Ji-Ho: What is this, starting off with a rude “What”? What is with the half-speech, did someone cut your tongue in half? (Note: speech that contains no honorifics is generally referred to as 반말, ban-mal, or literally, “half speech”).
Store-Keeper: Aigoo, starting out the day damned like this… ya, if you want to beg for money, go to a different store!

Well, that Store-Keeper has gone and pissed off Chun Ji-Ho at pretty much the worst possible time. Chun Ji-Ho beats up the Store Keeper and his two assistants, even tearing off a tuft of hair from one of the assistants with his teeth. Chun Ji-Ho has all three kneeling before him like a teacher with three truant students.


Store-Keeper (very politely): Err… Elder. If I may ask, what brings you here…?
Chun Ji-Ho: You don’t know who I am, do you? I am Chun Ji-Ho, Chun Ji-Ho!
Store-Keeper (ingratiatingly): Aigoo, and I was unaware of this! You are the second-best fighter around, after Dae-Gil…

The Store-Keeper gets kicked hard, and Chun Ji-Ho gives a self-bio:

Chun Ji-Ho: I am the guy who mothered Dae-Gil from when he was little, I am THAT Chun Ji-Ho unni!


It is so interesting to listen to Chun Ji-Ho’s language choices. Like in an earlier episode, when he was giving an eye-witness account of the first battle between Song Tae-Ha and Dae-Gil, Chun Ji-Ho uses quite a bit of onomatopoeia. In this case, he pantomimes the holding of a baby on his back, as he tries to describe how he was the one who taught Dae-Gil everything he knows. Chun Ji-Ho, like most of the uneducated commoners and slaves, half-speaks and half-charades his way through normal conversation.

Finally, Chun Ji-Ho gets to the point. He takes out a picture of Commander Hwang drawn by the Artist Bang and notes that this is the place that makes the uniforms for the military soldiers under Hwang’s command. He wants a name. He wants an address. And he wants it now.

That night, Chun Ji-Ho pays an unannounced visit to Commander Hwang’s home. He sits across from the Left State Minister’s daughter, Lee Seon-Yeong (even though she is married to Hwang Chul-Woong, she keeps her maiden name as tradition dictates; even though a wife “enters” into the house / family of her husband when she marries, she is still not of her husband’s blood line and thus her surname does not change). Lee Seon-Yeong’s palsy does not make Chun Ji-Ho any more sympathetic, however, as Chun Ji-Ho is here to kill Commander Hwang.


Chun Ji-Ho wants to know the whereabouts of Lee Seon-Yeong’s husband, and in a rather cruel fashion, relates how her husband is a rather excellent cold-blooded killer of men. This upsets Seon-Yeong greatly, and her spasms increase. Seon-Yeong is nearly a blur, spastically shaking as she learns of what her husband has been doing at the behest of her father. Tears are literally flung from her eyes and she rocks back and forth.


Chun Ji-Ho: Guys like me, well, we don’t repay kindness much but… we always repay vengeance. Where’s your husband?

Chun Ji-Ho has nothing but revenge on his mind, and he eyes Seon-Yeong, deciding whether to kill her or not. Seon-Yeong is devastated, and has nothing but sorrow in her heart. She responds, articulating her words carefully as she can:

Lee Seon-Yeong: Kill me. Please go ahead and kill me.


Begging for death is probably the one thing that saves Seon-Yeong from being stabbed. Chun Ji-Ho is disgusted, not by Seon-Yeong’s palsy, but that he realizes that he can’t hurt Commander Hwang this way. On his way out, Chun Ji-Ho unnecessarily adds a kicker that he is letting her live because killing her would be an act of kindness to her husband. Then he tells her to live for a long time, another slap in her face and her tortured existence.

Back to the main plot!

Over dinner, Choi and Wang-Son discuss what they have learned, and it appears that Wang-Son has found the place where Song Tae-Ha and his band are hiding out: at some seo-won / great hall for scholars. They agree to check it out in the morning. Seol-Hwa is in the room but for the first time, she is not hungry. This alone should be a cause for alarm, but Choi and Wang-Son don’t seem to get it. Seol-Hwa has been crying to herself the entire time.


Seol-Hwa: I saw a man crying, and I thought to myself that “indeed a man can cry like that.” And seeing a man like that, made me feel so happy, and… that’s why I feel so sad.

And I had thought there couldn’t be a man like that in this world. But even if there is, there’s no way that I can be close to a man like that.


For those who are shipping Seol-Hwa and Dae-Gil, this is a sorrowful scene indeed. Seol-Hwa has found a man in this world who loves so passionately that he spent a third of his life searching for his love. And this man cries with a pain so deep that the echoes still stir inside her own heart. This kind man who saved her life twice. This ruthless man who can never be hers.

Dae-Gil has returned to the compound, to say goodbye. He stands outside of the bedroom chamber where a shadow silhouetted Un-Nyun is pledging her life to another man. Dae-Gil looks down and sees Un-Nyun’s shoes, apparently the very same shoes he gave her so long ago. In his last act of kindness, he turns the shoes outward so that it would be easier for her to wear them once she arises in the morning. As the lights go out in the bedroom, Dae-Gil leaves, never to return.


Back at inn where Dae-Gil and company are staying, the four are finally back together, planning their moves. Dae-Gil asks what Wang-Son would do with his share of his reward money. Wang-Son says that he would buy a tavern for drinking, gambling and wenching. The same question is posed to Choi, who responds that he just wants a farm where he can grow enough food to last through a winter and have enough land so that his kids can run around and play.


Rather surprisingly, Dae-Gil then asks Seol-Hwa what she wants for her life. It is a very surprising question, and not just because Seol-Hwa wouldn’t share in any reward. From Seol-Hwa’s perspective, Dae-Gil asking about her dreams is tantamount to inquiring whether Seol-Hwa would be a match for him. Seol-Hwa’s head floods with the memory of how Dae-Gil rescued her from life as a dancing prostitute.

Seol-Hwa: Me? I just want to meet a good man, be loved by him and not have to worry about where my next meal would be coming from. That’s it.

Wang-Son laughs at Seol-Hwa for thinking that a girl like her would be able to meet a guy who would treat her like a woman. Dae-Gil silences Wang-Son but Seol-Hwa storms out anyway. Dae-Gil reproaches Wang-Son for his callousness; Dae-Gil seems to care what Seol-Hwa thinks, but the question is why.

In the morning, Dae-Gil orders his band to get up and go back home without checking out the compound where Song Tae-Ha probably is hiding. This infuriates Wang-Son and confuses Choi. Wang-Son lashes out at Dae-Gil, who then physically strikes him. After a brief fight that could have escalated very badly, Wang-Son demands out. He wants his share of the money that has been handled by Dae-Gil, and he will go on his own way. Choi yells at Wang-Son to shut the heck up and stand down. Wang-Son yells in frustration but complies. Choi and Dae-Gil take a walk outside to talk.


Choi asks Dae-Gil if he has seen Un-Nyun, and Dae-Gil denies it. Choi asks again, but Dae-Gil just changes the subject. He tells Choi that they should all just stop this slave-hunting life.


Dae-Gil: I don’t want this anymore. Spending my life searching all of Joseon for a woman, listening to this slave or that slave crying and begging me to spare him. Putting my life on the line every single day… I’m tired of it all.
Choi: You.. so you have seen Un-Nyun.
Dae-Gil: By the by, I bought about 20 acres of land.
Choi (stunned): What?
Dae-Gil: So that we can build a home for ourselves. Yours will be there, and then I will have mine next to yours. And Wang-Son can have his tavern there too. Of course, we would still have to pay for a lot of that down the road.
Choi: Where did you get that kind of coin to do that?
Dae-Gil: Where do you think? You guys thought I was only taking a few pennies from you? Seeing how you guys handle money, I knew you guys would just squander it all. We can’t do this for the rest of our lives, can we. Just like other normal people, even if it is just for a single day, we deserve to sit back and straighten out legs, rest and live like human beings, no?
Choi: Is that your true heart?
Dae-Gil: It is my true heart…
Dae-Gil (screaming it out): And how awesome is that??!!


Dae-Gil screams this last part, saying how they will all be happy and live together. There’s no doubt that Dae-Gil is talking to Un-Nyun, hoping she would hear him saying that he has moved on, will be henceforth happy and will no longer be hurt by her.

Dae-Gil adds something strange though, adding that in this perfect dream, he will still find Un-Nyun and bring her home (why?). Choi seems to understand however, and agrees to go. They turn around to head back to Han-Yang but they find Seol-Hwa in front of them.


Choi asks why she is there, but Seol-Hwa responds by telling them not to ask “why she is there” anymore – in her eyes, she has earned the right to be part of the Dae-Gil family. But then Dae-Gil says to Choi that he will meet Wang-Son and Choi back at the inn, but first he has to send Seol-Hwa away, and to do that he should at least buy her something nice first. (As if a gift of clothes will make it alright to send Seol-Hwa away? It is obvious now that Seol-Hwa is not in Dae-Gil’s vision, and even if Dae-Gil has let go of Un-Nyun, he still has no room for any other woman in his heart. But why does he have to send her away again?)


Seol-Hwa and Dae-Gil stroll through the marketplace. Dae-Gil tells her that he wants to buy her some clothes, since it has got to have been hard on her, she who has been looking for her mom all this time. Seol-Hwa responds curiously, that her mom is dead. Dae-Gil replies back that then, who else would buy her clothes, a motherless wench like her? Seol-Hwa pauses with a frozen smile; I’m not sure whether she realizes that Dae-Gil is trying to send her off with a last gift, or just trying to be nice.


And in true Chuno fashion, coming in the other direction is a happy Hye-Won, who has arrived to buy food and sundries for the little Prince. Is this now the hour of their meeting?

Mi Ah (미아) – by JeA (제아) [ Download ]

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But a single glance down the street, and suddenly Hye-Won’s world collapses into a smoldering ruin. Everything that she has known about the world, everything that she has believed. Everything that she has based her present and future life upon, everything comes crashing down. Her oath to be Song Tae-Ha’s wife and woman, her promise that she would never leave his side, her intention to care for and take up the fight to save the little Prince, all that was based on Hye-Won’s assumption that Dae-Gil had died on that awful day 10 years ago.


Hye-Won looks and finds that in front of her is a dream come back to life, a dream that had been dead in her heart for so long. She staggers toward Dae-Gil like a woman drawing on her last breath. Un-Nyun cannot help but draw close. Un-Nyun’s eyes are wild and wide, unable to comprehend what she is seeing. Dae-Gil died that night! Her love had died, she had seen it!


But Dae-Gil is alive. Dae-Gil is alive, and Dae-Gil is 40 feet away. And then their eyes finally meet. It took 10+ years and an epic trek across Joseon, but each has now seen the other.


Un-Nyun sees Dae-Gil, and now Dae-Gil sees Un-Nyun staring at him. All of the memories, all of the shame and pain of her beloved murdered before her eyes come flooding back to Un-Nyun. The tears of remorse start flowing and the horror of it all comes unbidden and with full force.


Dae-Gil is alive!


Of all the episode-ending Chuno cliff-hangers, I think the last 90 seconds of Episode 13 is the most breathless moment I’ve had. If there were any doubts as to the acting ability of Lee Da Hae, they are erased. Lee Da Hae utterly rocked this scene – just wonderfully done. If only they had given her character this kind of depth earlier on! Still, better late than never, I cannot say enough how awesome her acting was in the last part. I am more than stoked to see what happens in Episode 14.

Structurally though, I see nothing but sadness for upcoming episodes, because why else would they set up the characters with their happy dreams (if not to dash them). There are 11 episodes left of this drama, and I am both excited and dreading what is to come.

One last point. Hye-Won represents a transformation for Un-Nyun in more ways than just in her personality and outlook on life. Hye-Won also represents her ability to love a new person, in this case, Song Tae-Ha. I debated this quite a bit both with others and with myself, but my thinking is that if Un-Nyun is in fact becoming a new person (Hye-Won), then for relationship purposes, it is irrelevant as to how or why or under what circumstances that she became a new person.

In other words, it don’t make a hill of beans difference that Un-Nyun assumed incorrectly that Dae-Gil died in the fire 10 years ago. It is tragic, it is sad, it is sageuk-y, but it is irrelevant for the purposes of determining relationships. If Hye-Won has chosen Tae-Ha, and by her acts it looks like she has, then that makes the original OTP of Un-Nyun / Dae-Gil obsolete. The reason is simple: the OTP was Un-Nyun and Dae-Gil. But Un-Nyun doesn’t exist anymore except in Dae-Gil’s memories.

To put it a third way, if Un-Nyun has become Hye-Won, then in order for Hye-Won and Dae-Gil to be the OTP, then Dae-Gil has to start over and woo Hye-Won and win over Hye-Won’s heart, because that pretty slave girl who was dependent upon Dae-Gil to save her from slavery is no more. And THAT will be pretty darn hard to do, since Hye-Won has already married Song Tae-Ha.

So the question NOW is whether Hye-Won has a new heart, or, whether she is still Un-Nyun on the inside. If her heart is new as well, then that new heart is probably not for Dae-Gil. But if her heart is still Un-Nyun, then the OTP probably remains the same, which means the One True Pair will remain Dae-Gil and Un-Nyun. Whew! Stay tuned!


57 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. pun

    finally the moment we’ve all been waiting for…xD

  2. nileey

    great recap!
    took me a while to digest the last four paragraphs though 🙂

    plus I love the last song played. Do you know who sang it?

  3. Annie

    when i saw this ep, i was crying,,, the last part was too sad, i really dont know how the drama is going to end. i love the new song

  4. avicski

    Long wait is over! She had seen him!

  5. Jill4675

    Great episode and thanks for all your work in providing yet another great recap! I have to give a tip of the hat to Sung Dong Il, because his portrayal of Chun Ji Ho is so entertaining! This episode contained lots of great work by Jang Hyuk. In the scene in the temple he made wonderful use of his hands! And yes, LDH showed how talented she is in that final scene…

  6. eiko

    Whew….well done Samsooki…..well done. Talk about feeling the moment come alive……I can hardly wait to watch this episode!

    No need for any more words….just go with the flow!

    Thanks Samsooki!

  7. eiko

    Oi….I just checked it….my mind went blank and I just watched those 2 look at each other! Now…if this were on wide screen in a theatre you’d have many weeping people!

    Whew….Jang Hyuk….what an awesome face! 🙂

    Mahalo again, Samsooki, for the descriptive recap.

  8. thunderbolt

    Wow, samsooki, you’ve outdone yourself! Awesome recap! Agree with you that LDH (acting-wise) has completely redeemed herself starting from this eppie.

  9. itsnicethat

    Thanks so much Samsooki for your insightful recap of this episode. If I may be so bold, Jang Hyeok said in an interview that Dae-Gil did not see Eon-Nyeon in that marketplace scene; she saw him, but not he her. He attributed it to tricky editing. Thanks once again!

  10. 10 samsooki

    @2, nileey –

    The really pretty song during the ending sequence is called Mi Ah (미아) (“missing child”) – by JeA (제아), one of the lead singers of a korean r&b girl group called Brown Eyed Girls.

    Below isn’t the full translation, just the translation of the lyrics that were in the scene:

    사랑… 사랑… 사랑… 사랑해서 아픈 사랑
    Love… love… love… because I loved, this painful love.

    길 잃고 헤매이는 아이처럼, 내 마음 갈곳없어
    like a wandering child who has lost her way, my heart has no place to go.

    곁에만 있어도 행복할텐데, 그대는 자꾸만 멀어지나요
    even though just being by your side would make me happy, you keep getting further away from me

    나 이젠 어떤 꿈을 안고 사나요
    Now with what dream can I hold onto and live?

    여울저만가는 해 저녁 끝에, 그대의 슬픔이 보여요
    At the end of an evening’s echoes, I can see your sorrow.

    어디로 갈까요, 길을 잃어버린 나의 마음을…
    Where to go now, this heart of mine which has lost its way?

    여울저만가는 해 저녁 끝에, 그대의 슬픔이 보여요
    At the end of an evening’s echoes, I can see your sorrow.

    어디로 갈까요, 길을 잃어버린 나의 마음을…
    Where to go now, this heart of mine which has lost its way?


    I bring this up because I think this song represents Un-Nyun’s heart, which has clearly lost its way. If the song really does represent UN’s heart, then I think there is a good chance that DG and UN will be together by the end of the drama (in spirit, if not together corporally). One or both might die by the end (this is a sageuk after all), but what matters is the heart. And this song seems to indicate that UN’s heart is for DG?

    @9, itsnicethat –

    If DG didn’t see UN, then that’s REALLY odd editing then. I wonder why he dropped the fabric and opened his mouth like he saw a ghost. Maybe the prices were sooooooo low he was astounded. hehe! 😀

  11. 11 itsnicethat

    @ Samsooki, he he, maybe the director was throwing us a bone, again? Like back in eppie 4, when Dae-Gil also half-opened his mouth as he lowered his bow in a stunned look, we were so sure he saw Eon-Nyeon on the boat? Thank you once again.

  12. 12 asianromance

    thank you for the recap! It was riveting! I’m not watching this but the last few screencaps of Lee Da Hae- the very image of a person whose world has crumbled under her feet. I agree with you that her acting here is superb.

    and i think that screencap of DaeGil and Seolhwa in the distance picking out fabric and with the both of them smiling- they look like such a cute couple.

  13. 13 langdon813

    So much awesomesauce…and the episode was great, too! 😀

    Lee Da-hae KILLED this episode. Every moment leading up to this has been Jang Hyuk’s to knock out of the park, but she absolutely nailed it. And broke my heart into a million pieces.

    And how much more can Dae-gil possibly endure? He looked for Un-nyun for 10 years, caused her brother’s death, found her on the day she married another man, then stood outside the bedchamber as the new marriage was consummated. And all he could do for her was to try to make a single moment of her life easier by rearranging her shoes. The very shoes he bought for her so along ago, when again, that was all he could do for her.

    And when he prostrates himself before Buddha, his hands…OMG, I have no words. But you did, and they were perfect.

    Great recap, samsooki! Can’t wait for 14 now.

  14. 14 bbm

    the scene when daegil cried truly breaks my heart, and my thought is like seolhwa, i didn’t know a man can cry like that…
    Awesome recap Samsooki, and thank you for the song (and the lyrics)

  15. 15 eiko

    @ samsooki

    He WAS looking right at her….that’s why he dropped the fabric. Right at the time they both had eye contact, the music came to a crescendo!


    There’s no tricky editing. I don’t know what “tricky editing” would mean….that scene is full on shot. Not unless someone is implying they were not at the same place at the same time. But she was walking towards him.

  16. 16 samsooki

    @15 eiko,

    What itsnicethat is bringing up is that at the end of Ep 4, if you go back to river ambush scene, right before DG shoots his arrow, he looks up and has a somewhat similar expression as the one that he has here at the end of Ep 13. We were meant to think that he saw UN. But, at the start of Ep 5, we learn that DG did not see UN, because he would never have fired the arrows if he knew she was on the boat.

    And again, at the end of this Ep 13, we are led to believe that DG sees UN. But, I think this case is different from Ep 4. Something (or someone) made him startled. I’ve not read or heard the interview, but I think maybe JH is saying that DG did not get to see UN, which is a little different from DG not actually seeing UN at all.

    In anycase, I think the answer to this question can be found in Ep 14, which will be discussed… next time? hehe! 🙂

  17. 17 Molly

    That is the worst (best) cliffhanger ever. Ahhh! I was always hoping for Un-Nyun to end up with Tae-ha, but now that element of fate is convincing me otherwise…Ahh.

  18. 18 ellen

    LDH’s performance has really impressed me when she (UN) noticed & recognised DG. The development was slow paced that it allowed me to absorbed what she must be feeling at that time. I can imagine her disbelief & shock to see her beloved DG alive & well. The flashback & then the pain & anguished on her face stirred me. When I thought they stared at each other with DG frozen still… that scene moved me to tears.

    Thank you.

  19. 19 mimi

    Great recap!
    @11 itsnicethat: The director also threw us a bone when DaeGil threw that dagger into UnNyun’s back when she was riding away on the horse. From the cliff hanger it looked like DaeGil recognized her but we saw that he didn’t – when the next episode aired.

    I wonder whether DaeGil is supposed to be this crazy, reckless guy now w/ a psychotic laugh just like his counterpart Chun Ji-Ho (the toe smelling slave hunter). Did the director want him to be a different man from the DaeGil we met when he was younger or has Jang Hyuk taken the acting a bit too… um, far? Is it written into the script that he needs to be another Joker from Batman?

    It just doesn’t make sense to me that DaeGil’s whole personality and mannerisms have changed. His slave hunting experience could certainly have made him more grubby and mean, but look at General Choi, for instance. He is still the same man under the Chuno job description.
    …Oh, and I think if Jang Hyuk straightened out his posture, he would be at least 6 in. taller. 🙂

    • 19.1 Soua

      Imagine loosing everything you’ve known and love… Wouldn’t that drive you a little crazy? 😀

  20. 20 eiko


    Okay….I got what you’re saying. I’ll hang on to that feeling….because if we are somewhere half way of the drama….something has to happen to get us all riled up and emotional.

    See, the writers do that with those “dream” like scenes….they like to play that into many dramas….a lot like playing mind games. By the time they get you to where you’re not going to pay attention or disbelieving…..they slam you with the real mccoy!

    or am I dreaming? 🙂

  21. 21 eiko

    @ samsooki

    hehehehe…..I won’t bet with you…..but I shure love it!!!! 🙂 And that music is totally awesome for the vibes!

  22. 22 firewife

    Thanks for the recap samsooki! Great song choices too.

    Oh my goodness…soooo many heartbreaking moments in this episode. I cried through nearly the whole thing.

    The scene where DG picks up UN/HW shoes and turns them around was particularly touching to me, because isn’t that an act a slave would normally perform for their master? It really spoke volumes to the true nature of the DG/UN relationship, I thought.

    The ending scene in the marketplace was heart-stopping and, yes, LDH rocked it! Best moment of the who;e drama so far, for me.
    I hope the critics will give her a break now, poor girl.

    If I have one eensy-beensy quibble with this episode it would be when DG’s tears drop onto UN’s picture and begin rolling down her cheeks. Once was touching, but…..twice just seemed like overkill.

  23. 23 firewife

    After watching ep. 22 I have a new entry in the OTP race.. DG/TH FTW !

  24. 24 birdscout

    What a fantastic recap! Thank you, samsooki. Not only are your recaps detailed, well-written, insightful, and funny, they are also filled with interesting background information that add to the appreciation of the drama. It never dawned on me that the literal meaning of “ban mal” was “half speech”.

  25. 25 Ladymoonstone143

    Thanks Samsooki for a great recap. At the end of the episode…i don’t know how many times I repeated watching it and crying all over again…lol. A heart breaking episode that left you wanting for more.

    Thanks again…

  26. 26 momosan

    Ah, the full prostration bow and trembling hands…..I lost it.

    “Dae-Gil: Buddha unni. You know… life… is quite a fucking hassle. But you know what else, Buddha unni, they say that you are one who has figured some things out in your life. So, you tell me, what do I do now?
    So tell me, what the hell am I supposed to do NOW!”

    Life is suffering my dear Dae-Gil.

    The origin of suffering is attachment….

  27. 27 Amg1

    @samsooki. Thank you for such an awesome recap. This episode is what a proper Tragedy is meant to be, I was crying all over again, when Dae-Gil cries at the market place oh man what a heart brake, but like I said all along, when Un-Nyun sees Dae-Gil again, man my heart just broke in half, and what a sad fate to be given, just when she thought that she could love again her wings were clip beyond repair. The main reason why I have come to like Chuno so much is that the element of tragedy is ever present and from the beginning has given us a sense that non of the three main characters may find redemption at the end of the day, making it a true to life tragedy, at the end of the day not all people will eventually will find happiness, so I am just getting my heart and mind ready for a very sad ending not that I like pain but at this point the story does not lend itself for a happy ending!!!!

  28. 28 deannadsc

    ….although this is totally unrelated to Chuno in any way whatsoever…I’d like to greet KANG JI HWAN a Happy, happy Birthday!!! JB, I acknowledge of course that,KJH is YOURS!!! But I ‘ve been missing him in the small screen & have resorted to watching his fan-made vids on youtube!!!
    ….have stopped watching Chuno for a while because most recent episodes available are still RAW…it’s an awesome drama, & i hope to finish it eventually!!! Special thanks to Samsooki for the recaps!!!

  29. 29 Just A Fan

    First, thanks for the recap!

    I love hearing the Chuno moments over and over again. Funny, how we all have waited for the day that they meet again and by God, the writer is just so cruel to make them see each other that way.

    I never thought I get to see a man dealing with his pain that way. It is such a personal grief that we should not have witness. During that moment in the market, the wailing Dae Gil could no longer hide beyond a mask. He will always first be the person who loves UN, even his second third priority in life is UN. I hope I will never see a man bare his heart and soul like that. It is such a cruel fate. Whew! And JANG HYUK’s performance is AWESOME!

    I was crying as well. Chuno rules! We all anticipated that something huge will happen if they get to see each other again and they the writers, directors, producers did not disappointed me.

    I realized that for a man to cry that much in public especially for a man like Dae Gil means that its as if he experience death the second time around.

    Thanks again for the recap!!!

  30. 30 serendipity

    Nice recap! You’ve really captured the pivotal significance of this episode, and helped us navigate some puzzling plot points.

    I find Chuno in turns fascinating and frustrating, and I’m usually less emotionally invested than the makers would like me to be. But I dare anyone to watch the last moments of Ep 13 unmoved. I never cared much for the old DG (tame) / UN (servile) OTP and just wanted present-day DG to get over it already, even when DG was weeping openly (my reaction to that is “JH I love and respect your acting, but DG you really need to get over it”). That is, until LDH’s moment, that instant, when suddenly that love became the centre of the universe, the reason for living, the ground beneath our feet… just from her stricken expression. In a sane moment I still don’t buy the whole Life-Changing Epic Love of Ten Years Ago thing (that’s just cynical ol’ me). But at that moment, LDH sold me on Epic! Love!

    Maybe it has something to do with expectation management. I totally expect JH to 110% emote whatever the script calls him to, even if it’s chagrin at burning his toast, so I don’t feel much emotional punch when he pulls out the stops. But when LDH nails it, I catch my breath and pay attention. Poor JH! Acting his darling socks off and I just go, “yeah yeah here he is delivering the goods, again.”

    For my part, I don’t think DG was sure he saw UN. Certainly he thought he saw her, when he dropped the cloth and stared, but he wasn’t sure. And was trying to make sure when SH pulled him away. If he were more sure, I don’t think he wouldn’t have walked away so casually. He was probably thinking, “Hmm, I thought I glimpsed her… but I must be seeing things again.”

    I’m placing my bets on Commander Hwang meeting a gruesome end at the hands of Chun Ji-Ho. A very very gruesome end. They are clearly setting up a Dangerous-Person-Deserving-Death vs Repulsive-Insanity-Seeking-Vengeance showdown, and I feel scared. It might be so gruesome that we might feel sorry for Commander Hwang. It’s likely so gruesome neither will survive and there’ll be lots of collateral damage. Eep. *runs and hides*

  31. 31 Sakura

    samsooki, thanK you for your awesome recap and the song.

    I almost used one box of tissues and before going to bed ponder –
    Is there such a man in this world ?. By the way the shoe dae gil gave to Un Nyun is red in color.

    About the baby in arms, I don’t know what was in his mind but if he put all evidences together then he will be asking himself I don’t see any baby tagging along during the chased like when he didn’t not believed when his half brother told him that Un Nyun is now married.

    Here I have to share something, while my tears rolling down it strucked me when
    Dae Gil was crying out loud with his mouth wide opened ?, I saw beside the saliva, green mouth refresher, no dental filling and maybe has tonsils. Another thing I would like to say eventhough he was beating his heart with the portrait clutched to his chest, it did not tear or crumpled, so here we know how precious is Un Nyun.

    Dae gil’s grey and dark side was influenced from his peers – two interesting characters – jjakgwi and chun ji ho especially in the laughter and the “cunning” look besides his own unique character.

    Well, I still hope for general choi and wangson to be dae gil’s neighbour, they can have a cup of tea every afternoon and talk about making arms – choi is good in this field and teach their children about arrows and bows and for seol hwa to marry wangson.

    As for the OTP did not waver, still wish for dae gil and Un Nyun. As for the character Hye Won it is on the surface but her heart is saying something else !. There will be more surprises to come from your recap samsooki?.
    Soon we will missed CHUNO.

  32. 32 chrys86

    Dear Samsooki, thanks for the wonderful recap and the song too!! 😀 Thank you… This episode is totally owned by JH and LDH!! especially LDH, she was truly awesome!!

    I’ve never thought Dae Gil is such an intelligent man! He actually knows how to manage their money and bought land!! If he is not a slave hunter, I believe he made a very good business man!

    ….and he do not want SH to be part of his future life huh… strangely, i’m glad.. opps!

    Dear itsnicethat – “Jang Hyeok said in an interview that Dae-Gil did not see Eon-Nyeon in that marketplace scene; she saw him, but not he her.”

    I suppose his character, Dae Gil may have THOUGHT he was dreaming or having illusions AGAIN in seeing UN. So, I guess that explains he thought he did not see her…

  33. 33 dany

    JangHyuk can emote expressively (the market scene) but also silently (his worn tired hands at the temple was so touching, almost more than his prayer), and also the act of turning her shoes which I think is a huge turning point and an indication that his prayers are answered – he must deal with his loss and move on. But even more, I was so moved by his conversation with Choi by the river – by the words unspoken, by the instinctive understanding of a friend that some things are better left unsaid (Choi’s kind heart), and by the fact that he will fight and plan and save and work for anyone that he loves (I mean, he didn’t have to put away money and buy land for his friends?! It just amazed me because I didn’t see that coming).

    I also look forward to scenes with CJH’s character. He is repellent and yet charismatic all at once. Chuno has such a great supporting cast: the “bad” characters all have terrific back stories.

    Who is the actress playing LSY? She is AWESOME!!! I wish they could show how her marriage came about with HCW. There is so much grief and pain in her life, yet she’s under no illusions as to her father’s evil, and stays loyal to her husband who can barely look at her…I want to see more of her.

    Agree that LDH had her best scene yet. She’s one of my favourite young Korean actresses, but her role has been pretty much one-note till now. She has played the role as the numb gentile lady touched by the kindness of a good man, but now that she has seen DG, perhaps her character will change. But I have no hope of any reunion with DG – marriage is a pretty final bond that only death (whose?) will break. And DG’s prayer at the temple and his acts subsequently show that he has decided to let her go.

    So far, TH is easily the most boring character. He’s a good man (end of story), I feel a little guilty for wishing that they would get rid of him!

  34. 34 Qwenli

    Hi, nice review, I enjoy reading your writing. I think it is challenging to recap something if you have already watch the latter episodes. So kudos to you Samsooki!

  35. 35 Sere


    OMG I love Here without you! For some reason, it reminds me of high school (and the ’90s) even though when it was released I was already in my 20s. ^^ Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    As for Chuno and the discussion about relationships and OTPs, you brought up very interesting points and I do agree with you. Still, at this point, I think talking about whether she loves (or loves more?) -Daegil or Tae-ha?- is kind of a moot point imho. She’s married now and I think she will honor her vows because that’s the kind of person she is now. I truly believe that, even if she were still head over heels in love with DG (and I think she is), she’d set her feelings aside cos when she married TH she did mean to be by his side and she did mean to be loyal to him and only him for the rest of her life. I know she made that choice on the wrong assumption that DG was dead, but that’s irrelevant now: the choice has been made and she has to bear the consequences of it. The way I see it, the only way DG and UN could be together if Taeha were to die or if he asked to null the marriage, which I don’t see happening as 1)it’s a sageuk and 2)I’m not even sure UN would accept that for she respects TH; plus she has already started having feelings for him and, no question about this, he has feelings for her so out of, I don’t know, loyalty? love? respect? I think she’d stay by his side.

    BTW, at the marketplace, I’m pretty sure Seol-hwa was very much aware that DG was about to send her away. The opening sequence of ep 14 makes it crystal clear, but we’ll talk about that when the time comes.

    Do you really think he saw UN at the market place? I’m not so sure. At the end of ep 13 I thought he did see her, but then ep 14 gave me a deja-vu of ep 4 so I couldn’t rule out the possibility that he did not see her and in fact only sensed her presence or hallucinated seeing her there (after all, it’s not like he’s never hallucinations about her before), which would be kind of illogical and unrealistic since she was STARING right at where he was; how he could have missed her is beyond comprehension. In any case, the editing was weird.

    As usual, thanks for the recap, guys!

  36. 36 Candice

    Thanks samsooki for the broad and wide views and also the songs and lyric.

    I have a different opinion about Dae gil’s seeking guidance from Buddha.
    First his forehead was on the ground, then his palm was open, and towards the end the palm was in a shape of clawing, so I think he asked for something more then what we think.

    As for the market scene the director wants to show us Hye Won’s reaction when meeting Dae gil for the first time after 10 years, what was her memory – the laundry scene when they were young and what was her eyes and heart telling us?.
    Dae gil thought he saw someone like her that is why he dropped the cloth slowly and walking in a “doubtful” manner, if he saw Un Nyun then he will be dashing or running straight towards her.

    Yes! JH acting DG’s character is very real and LDH redeemed her action in
    East of Eden. Jang Hyuk told LDH that everything will be alright in the end,
    so lets watch.

  37. 37 robotmatsuri

    Thanks Samsooki for another brilliant recap! You had me in tears in this recap–much like how I am when I watch 13. It’s such a painful episode to watch for me since I’m so emotionally attached to Dae Gil. 🙁

  38. 38 song4u@


    You pretty much rock man!

    I could not agree with you more on what has to happen for the OTP of HW/DG to take place at this juncture. In your next recap, talk about SH and DG more…please.

  39. 39 eiko

    @ samsooki…

    episode 14 has been posted. 🙂

  40. 40 Rovi

    to samsooki

    “Royal Garden Pavillion”???

    Looks like Gwanghallu & Ojak Bridge to me…

  41. 41 samsooki

    @40 – Rovi,

    That’s a good call!

    I think you are right. Looks like the Gwanghallu Garden 광한루 Pavilion (in Nam-Won province), which of course is nowhere near Han-Yang (Seoul).

    I just assumed it was Kyung Hwe Ru Pavilion 경회루, but you’re right, the tourist pics for 광한루 are identical to the shots taken for Chuno.

  42. 42 Rovi

    I’ve seen Gyeonghwoeru before, and it’s much larger, grander, & “squarer” than that…
    …and I don’t remember seeing a bridge anywhere near Gyeonghwoeru… (only water from the artificial lake XP)

    (That’s what I get for watching too much “YeoinCheonha” online with Japanese subs on the Internet… :P)

  43. 43 Norme


    Awesome recap Samsooki…Can’t believe that DG expression is so touching ….what’s next…hmmmm…

  44. 44 selina

    Thanks for another great recap

  45. 45 ockoala

    Market meltdown. Shoes. Hands. *sob* Jang Hyuk has a fan for life after this performance. Just unimaginable heartache for him.

  46. 46 miss

    thank you so much for recapping this epi.
    as i was watching it, i had these huge tear drops rolling down my eyes. the hubby thought i was insane until he saw he watching chuno. lol. this drama truly is touching.
    -i dont think DG saw HW…cause if he did, he probaly would of ran up and hugged her because at that point hes still unclear as to whether HW/STH really did get married.
    -ive watched this drama like….4 times already. im still in love with it still. i told my husband, huni, i want the full episode of chuno for my bday!!! lol. i cant wait til i can watch it on tv w/ full clear shots and surround system. the music itself is beautiful also.
    -thank you all for your inputs on chuno…i love reading each and every comment.

  47. 47 miss

    ” the hubby thought i was insane until he saw i was watching chuno.”
    lol…it be nice if there was an edit option. i was typing too fast. lol.

  48. 48 blah

    I want TH and UN together!!
    DG needs to get over her. It’s been 10 years! If you think about it, it’s a creepy obsession… Sometimes, things aren’t meant to be.
    They’ve both changed. The image the DG and UN have of each other is that of the past. And again, it’s only an image – not reality.

  49. 49 Vic

    omg in this series , the thing i like most is the slaves shooting yangban subplot ! so epic !!!!!

  50. 50 cathy

    Chuno ends with high rating , i hope this one will get some awards later , guys acting excellent , two main lead actresses acting amazing too .

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