Drama Recaps
Tree With Deep Roots: Episode 22
by | December 17, 2011 | 36 Comments

Power plays, intrigue, conspiracies, mysteries, mass murders, storytelling assassins, awkward tea parties, and drug-induced confessions are just some of the delicacies we’re being offered as we head toward that final and much-dreaded stretch. Who will remain rooted, and who will inevitably be rooted out by King Sejong’s ultimatum? And, more importantly, will our hero save the girl from an enemy he can’t even find?

We’ll have to tune in next week for all of our answers… But is it so bad that I want to tune in next week for the next one hundred weeks?


Kim Bum-soo – “말하지 않아도” (Even Without Speaking) from the Tree With Deep Roots soundtrack. [ Download ]

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Shim Jong-soo, Jeok-hee, and Pyung are all headed straight for So-yi. But where the other pursuers pass up the roving band of singing beggars, Pyung stops them in order to ask about the location of the missing court maidens. The song they’re singing is the one So-yi taught to them in order to circulate Hangul, and Pyung has a brief flashback to the moment when he received the order that anyone and everyone who knows the alphabet must be killed.

With that in mind, he waits until So-yi’s location is divulged before he sets to slaughtering the whole band. He’s merciless, and doesn’t even spare the woman in the group. Fortunately the leader of the roving band is saved from a horrible death due to being away at just the right time, but that also means that he’s left to witness the murder of all his friends and comrades.

Court maiden Geun-ji, who was previously drugged into revealing So-yi’s whereabouts to Jeok-hee, has made it back to the palace. She’s an emotional wreck, hardly able to even begin to tell her story – and the moment Sejong walks into the Hangul Room, it’s over. She breaks down into pitiful sobs, blaming herself for the fact that So-yi and Deok-geum might now be in danger.

Sejong wants to know how much she told them, and in a shaking voice, she says she told everything. They were looking for the Haerye, and she told them where So-yi was. No one doubts her story, and Sejong looks deeply affected as he considers all the implications this might have. Namely, So-yi. Ahh!

So-yi and Deok-geum have been preparing taffy as incentive to get children to sing the Hangul Song, both of them completely unaware that any danger is headed their way. And though it seemed like Shim Jong-soo and Jeok-hee had a head start over Pyung, he’s the one who makes it to So-yi’s house first. When she goes outside expecting to see her orabeoni, it’s Pyung that’s waiting there instead. Uh oh. Oh no.

Shim Jong-soo and Jeok-hee arrive at So-yi’s house after having found their own ways separately. There’s signs of a scuffle, but no court maidens. A woman passing by is swiftly interrogated by both of them for anything she knows, and the unlikely duo comes to the conclusion that Pyung is the one who spirited away So-yi and Deok-geum before they arrived. Both Shim Jong-soo and Jeok-hee decide that, for the moment at least, they might as well work together since they’re after the same thing (the Haerye).

We find Pyung back in the town, alone. He comes across the group of children commissioned by So-yi to sing the Hangul Song and… oh no. They cut away from this scene, but does that mean Pyung is so ruthless that he’d kill all those kids?!

Both Sejong and Jung Ki-joon are trying to figure out exactly what has gone on in their respective camps. Jung Ki-joon is having to deal with betrayal, as news comes from Pyung that Shim Jong-soo has turned on them and that he even attempted to steal their court ladies (hey, they captured them first).

I kind of love that Sejong has made the Joseon approximation of a graph in order to make sense of the story Geun-ji told him. What Team Sejong has come away with is that Pyung showed up, then Shim Jong-soo showed up and fought with Pyung, and in the middle of all of that, a woman from Ming came and captured Geun-ji, acting under orders from Lee Shin-juk. At least Sejong is able to tell that all three of those parties must be working separately from each other, but even he’s wondering why everything is getting so tangled.

Chae-yoon has come too late to rescue So-yi, and sees the bloodied bodies of the singing band strewn in the street. This propels him straight to So-yi’s house, but there’s no sign of the one he loves. We can see this weighing on him as he yells in anguish, knowing that for the moment, at least, he can’t do anything.

In the street he runs into some of the singing children (looking very much like they haven’t been murdered – phew!) to ask them about So-yi. They say that they were supposed to meet her to receive taffy, but she never came. Instead, a tall man with a ghostly voice showed up.

I don’t know why this flashback is funny, but it is. It’s Story Time With Pyung, as he gathers all the children around and asks them to read Hangul to him. If anyone can, he has a biiiig prize to give them (I assume this big prize is certain death). Fortunately for all of those children, none of them can read the letters – they’d just been taught the song. This spares them from being murdered, and the nice assassin ajusshi tells them that they must never sing that Hangul Song again, because it only calls for death.

Knowing that Pyung has captured So-yi but not knowing where he might be, Chae-yoon goes to Sejong. He blames himself for leaving So-yi and Deok-geum for even a moment, and Sejong is brought up to speed on the status of his court maidens. This doesn’t stop us from launching into a blame-a-thon, though, as the King then takes blame onto himself for not anticipating Jung Ki-joon’s moves sooner. But now, along with their missing court ladies, they’re also hit with the fact that their circulation plan has failed.

So-yi finds herself bound in a room with the two other captured court ladies, Mok-yi and Deok-geum. They’re soon faced with a triumphant Jung Ki-joon, who’s positively reveling in the belief that he’s won over their silly little Hangul circulation plan. I love that So-yi’s got spirit, and she shoots him the most defiant look she can muster. What becomes of this conversation is a mystery to us, as we cut to the outside of the shed where Pyung is grimly standing guard. If Jung Ki-joon has any plans against So-yi, I hope Pyung steps up his game so his crush isn’t all for naught.

Clearly Jung Ki-joon’s single-mindedness and obsession with blocking the letters is taking a toll on even the most loyal members of Hidden Root, as the Leader wonders aloud to Pyung as to what is to become of them. Something must have happened in the palace to cause all of this ruckus, but what could it have been? Hmm, seems like no one’s told them about Sejong’s proposition yet.

It’s time for some cute, as little Yeon-doo has gone alone into the forest to cry over her missing ajusshi friend, Gae Pa-yi. It’s a nice little moment when she writes his name in Hangul on a stone (Jung Ki-joon has seen her use the new alphabet before, but I wonder if he hasn’t had her killed because of her relationship with Gae Pa-yi), and suddenly he appears. She immediately hugs him, which is adorable, and despite all the bad things Gae Pa-yi has done it’s so hard to not like him when he’s just so sweet with her.

She doesn’t know if he’s eaten or not since Ban Chon has been in chaos due to the whole Hidden Root With Hunt, and offers to go and bring him some food. Double aww.

Promulgation Day is approaching, and you can all but feel it in the air. Team Sejong is working hard to sway their dissenters – first by Park Paeng-nyeon and Sung Sam-moon persuading other Jiphyunjeon scholars, and then by Jung In-ji trying to persuade his old friend and schoolmate, Choi Man-ri.

Our two young scholars seem to have more luck, as they’re able to win the debate on whether or not Hangul will be a detriment to learning Chinese characters. Their answer is simple but brilliant (in a way that I’m upset I didn’t think of before), in that Chinese characters can’t be currently learned just by self-study alone. But with an alphabet like Hangul that can be mastered in ten days, manuals and other helpful material can be made in Hangul in order to teach traditional Chinese characters to those who wish to self-study. Therefore, how can the scholars say that Hangul is working against Chinese characters when more people could learn them?

As far as Choi Man-ri is concerned, it’s nice to see that he is rational and logical (as he should be, with his position), but that he’s also human. His rational side acknowledges that Sejong only has good intentions, but it’s his human side that simply won’t allow him to consent to these letters. The Jiphyunjeon scholars may be able to be persuaded, but Choi Man-ri is already too set in his ways. It’s a lost cause, but at least there aren’t any bitter feelings.

Like Sejong, Jung Ki-joon is having his time of wavering and indecision. But unlike Sejong, Jung Ki-joon doesn’t have a Chae-yoon to bring him back from the brink, and so he just seems to be slipping deeper and deeper into himself and his obsession with the alphabet. In many ways he’s become the polar opposite of Sejong – they’re both obsessed with the same thing, but in two completely different ways.

The other Hidden Root members have become aware of this, and it’s Han Ga who specifically pleads for Jung Ki-joon to come to his senses and make some decisions. The offer Sejong made for all Hidden Root members to safely out themselves can effectively make their Hidden Root Scroll (and thus their allegiance roster) moot, thus ending the blackmail-like hold they have over their veterans. At this rate, Hidden Root will collapse. Even the Leader interrupts, knowing that Jung Ki-joon has changed upon seeing the letters. But he can’t forget the mandate fated onto him. He can’t forget how Jung Do-jun died so terribly, and how his father, Jung Do-gwang, also died.

Through all this, Jung Ki-joon remains eerily silent.

Sejong and Chae-yoon are both lost souls, since both of them are helpless to save the woman they cherish. After uselessly obsessing over a map (he doesn’t even know where to start, so it can’t do him any good), Chae-yoon goes straight to Sejong, who doesn’t seem all that happy to see him. Maybe he reminds him of So-yi.

Chae-yoon: “Were you wavering again? Don’t. Due to my error, Dam has fallen into great danger. So I will find her no matter what. As of now, I don’t know how or where to find her. However, remaining like this inside the palace, I cannot forgive myself, Your Majesty. Hence, your humble subject, at this moment, will be leaving to find Dam. Hence, Your Majesty should also go on Your Majesty’s path. May you press forward without faltering, Your Majesty. If Dam were here now, she would have said that to you.”

He fights tears as he says this, and it’s clear that leaving the King, and thus breaking his promise to follow wherever Sejong would lead, is a gut-wrenchingly difficult decision for him to make. He doesn’t ask for permission to leave, nor does Sejong stop him. They just have a tacit understanding of each other.

Chae-yoon is left to wander Ban Chon in misery until he sees a ray of hope… the little girl, Yeon-doo. You can just see the thought processses in Chae-yoon’s mind and how he immediately latches onto her because she’s the only tie he has to Hidden Root now, and the only tie he has to finding So-yi. He treads so carefully that it feels like even his words are treading on eggshells as he asks her if she’s going to her friend, Gae Pa-yi.

He appeals to her both as a child and as an adult, using a soft voice and words she can understand. His eyes glassy, he all but pleads with her to tell him where Gae Pa-yi is, because the court lady he loves is at the place where Gae Pa-yi is at, and So-yi is all Chae-yoon has left. Just when it seems that Yeon-doo is going to acquiesce, her mother interrupts for her to hurry up and tell the kind palace guard so he can catch that horrible Gae Pa-yi. With Yeon-doo’s trust in Chae-yoon effectively broken, she chooses to side with her ajusshi friend and heartbreakingly lies to Chae-yoon that she hasn’t heard from Gae Pa-yi. Aww.

Fortunately Chae-yoon gets the bright idea to follow Yeon-doo anyway to see if she leads him to Gae Pa-yi. He’s saved from a killing blow by her inhumanly strong just in the nick of time, but he’s thrown a good ways away just by blocking the blow. By the time he gets up, which is mere seconds later, all traces of Gae Pa-yi and Yeon-doo have disappeared. Believing Yeon-doo is the one in danger, Gae Pa-yi has set to running away with her on his back.

With his only lead gone, our hero is left alone to wander the forest, crying Dam’s name in the saddest, loneliest voice ever. My heart is breaking for him.

We’re soon back to Lee Shin-juk, whose house of cards is falling down all around him since Shim Jong-soo’s betrayal and Sejong’s proposition. The ticking clock of Promulgation Day can be felt by everyone, and thus the span of time in which Lee Shin-juk can choose to reveal himself or not is slowly disappearing. Through a message from the Ming woman, Jeok-hee, he’s made aware that Sejong most likely knows about his movements. So now, he must debate on whether or not to trust Sejong and reveal himself as a member of Hidden Root – or forever stay silent and suffer the inevitable consequences.

Jung Ki-joon finally breaks his long silence as he tells Han Ga that every grievance that’s been brought against him from the rest of Hidden Root is true. A genuine parliament system would make for a better Joseon, and it would be in keeping with Jung Do-jun’s ideals. Instead of trusting one man (the King) with a nation, it’s better to trust many. However…

Jung Ki-joon: “These letters, you see. Lee Do and myself… It’s a fight between us, with us laying down our thoughts. As for me, this extremely dangerous mischief of Lee Do’s – casting aside history – I cannot just wait and watch. One who understands politics… casting the citizenry aside, without even knowing the end result for which he himself can’t even be responsible… he tries to experiment? This from the likes of a mere King who, at best, can govern for just fifty years?!”

Whichever way anyone puts it, Jung Ki-joon simply can’t accept these letters, and can’t accept King Sejong. At least he recognizes that he’s being single-minded, and says he’s come up with a plan. What is it? Of course we don’t hear it, because that would ruin the surprise.

As Chae-yoon is on his way out of the city to do anything he can to find So-yi, he passes by the only man that survived Pyung’s massacre. He’s trying to get justice for all his people that have been killed, and just when it seems like Chae-yoon is about to pass him up, he hears the man sing the Hangul Song. This instantly warrants our hero’s attention as Chae-yoon instantly takes the singing man aside, desperate to be told every single thing that he saw. He has to find So-yi, and is clinging to what might now be his last remaining lead.

Sejong’s done a little maneuvering himself, and through the use of Sung Sam-moon and his father’s palanquin, he’s able to arrange a secret and sudden meeting with Lee Shin-juk. It’s The Most Awkward Tea Party Ever, as Sejong switches between being jokey and serious as he prods the minister about his involvement with Hidden Root. Lee Shin-juk couldn’t be less obvious, and we know that the King knows about his involvement in Hidden Root… but for the course of most of their conversation, they speak as if they’re roleplaying, with Lee Shin-juk answering questions as if he were a member of Hidden Root. Which of course he’s not. Right? Right. Cue strained laughter all around.

The question of the night is why Hidden Root would have denied themselves that deal to realize a genuine parliament, when that seems to be their highest goal. Through Lee Shin-juk, Sejong is able to discern that there has been a fissure within Hidden Root over Jung Ki-joon choosing to block the promulgation over making the deal for a parliament. Sejong is a master at this psychological warfare stuff, because he keeps laughing to calm Lee Shin-juk down when the minister seems to get worried, in a tone that’s like: Oh, we’re still joking, right? This is so fun, isn’t it? Look at us, just a couple of good buddies having a good time. I love this scene.

While they’re roleplaying, Sejong goes ahead and asks why Lee Shin-juk hasn’t stepped forward as a pretend-member of Hidden Root. The minister boils it down to trust (mainly, that he doesn’t trust in Sejong), even though the King already said that he would acknowledge Hidden Root as a separate political faction, and one that could be debated with, at that. So how much more trust can Sejong offer?

Shim Jong-soo knows that if the court lady Geun-ji made it back to the palace, then she’s surely told everyone that he’s a member of Hidden Root. What he’s also deduced on his own? That So-yi is the Haerye. That’s yet another strike against our favorite girl, and one that Shim Jong-soo seems to be holding up his sleeve when he goes to meet with Jung Ki-joon in Hidden Root’s secret camp.

When Jung Ki-joon accuses him of betrayal, Shim Jong-soo throws it right back at him. It wasn’t he who betrayed Hidden Root, it was Jung Ki-joon, when he chose the letters over a genuine parliament. He claims that Jung Ki-joon was everything to him, but he’s changed too much. Regardless of how frightening the letters can be, he accuses Jung Ki-joon of not looking to the future (which is interesting, since this is exactly what Jung Ki-joon is accusing the King of) since he’s wagered his life on blocking these letters. What’s to become of Hidden Root once he’s dead?

Jung Ki-joon finally asks what Shim Jong-soo wants, and the formerly loyal member responds that he knows where the Haerye is. Well, this can’t be good.

Sejong and Lee Shin-juk carry out their pretend party all the way till the end, neither of them saying what they actually mean yet somehow managing to convey exactly what they mean at the same time. It’s only when Lee Shin-juk is leaving that Sejong drops all pretenses and lays it out straight. Lee Shin-juk is to hand Jung Ki-joon over in exchange for becoming the head of the political faction called Hidden Root, and he can use that power in the court to insist on a parliament system. Win-win, right?

Shim Jong-soo, in the same breath, offers a deal of his own to Jung Ki-joon. In exchange for the Haerye he wants so dearly, he’s to step down from his position as First Root and give it over to Shim Jong-soo. As the new leader of Hidden Root, he’ll be the one to realize Jung Do-jun’s will.


While this wasn’t my favorite episode ending, I understood its necessity. We’ve been flirting with the power play within Hidden Root for a while, so we needed to see payoff in some form. Still, I’m getting the sinking feeling that Jung Ki-joon is becoming more and more impotent – and I don’t think a change in leadership is necessarily going to make Hidden Root menacing again. Especially with Shim Jong-soo, who I’ve honestly never taken very seriously. His scenes aren’t anything to throw away, but I admit that my attention tends to waver when he’s usually on as so far he hasn’t carried all that much weight. Now that it seems like he might be carrying a great deal of weight, I’m not sure if my perception of him can really change this late in the game. But who knows, this show has surprised me many times before.

I’m beginning to question Jung Ki-joon more and more, and not in the way I used to. One wonders if he ever received Sejong’s message throwing his youthful words back at him: “Only violence?” Of course, it’s dramatically fun for him to be at one end of the extreme (in that he feels charged by heaven to block those letters), but goodness, sometimes I wish he’d just move a little more. It does baffle me a little as to how he can get so angry – like when Shim Jong-soo walked in – and still have no desire to even stand. It’s as if he’s been told that he can only act with his face and that he’s not allowed to move his body. This might just be a result of ‘what happens when you’re evil’, though, since he’s pretty limited in the places he can go and the things he can do while occupying the top spot on Joseon’s Most Wanted list.

Of course I still loved the episode as I’ve loved every episode, and perhaps Jung Ki-joon is bearing the brunt of my impatience to see what becomes of Chae-yoon and So-yi. Honestly, whatever happens within Hidden Root is fine – I just want to have a good showdown as we head into the last two episodes. Tree has been so good to us thus far, I’m hoping the final week will really cement this as, you know, the best drama ever.


36 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. megarasama

    Thank you for the recap! I have been refreshing this page for countless times today just to read your recap. I am a bit sad that it’s almost finished…aaaah another drama withdrawal soon.

  2. Jomo

    Thank you much much for this recap!
    Thank you much much for this recap!
    Thank you much much for this recap!

    I was also terrified of what Ghost voice was going to do to the kiddles and was very relieved when CY runs into some of the singing children (looking very much like they haven’t been murdered – phew!)

    As far as Bad BonBon sitting straight up in his Evil man chair, I have seen this from other dramas, namely Kim So Roo and WBDS. Is this some sort of short hand for “Bad Guy Speaking”?
    You put the bad guy a the front of the table, with his goons at each side. You don’t move the camera that much. It looks like a portrait more than a moving picture. I noticed it in earlier episodes, so I was glad they let him get up from the chair and move around. Maybe in the next episode, he’ll pick up a Joseon laundry bat, Al Capone style an eradicate his enemies. Oh? That’s right! It’s Pyung’s job…

    Totally loved the face to face with the king and the clown. Despite the fact that it was all talky talky, it was my fav scene of this episode. Han Suk Kyu and Ahn Suk Hwan should insist they work together again on all their projects.
    I watched their subtle and not so subtle fleeting looks terror, triumph, nervousness, scrutiny, menace, jokiness as if it were a violent tennis match. Each volley carried increasingly more force. Both men having to reach deeper than we can see to respond. Of course, the king had the advantage most of the time, but the clown fought well enough to stay alive.
    Or so he thought. The king’s final smash over the net was what he was aiming for all along. The clown knew he had been beat before the match started!

    Ahh only two more shows and I am sad sad.

  3. Linda165

    Thanks HeadsNo2, I was waiting to quickly scan your recap before watching this episode. So Yi and Chae Yoon are still alive, so I’m going to watch it now.

  4. Adele

    Great recaps this week as always, thanks!

  5. jn123

    This haerye business is bugging me– I wonder if anyone can explain?

    First of all, is haerye the same as Japanese hanrei 凡例, like the explanatory note you get at the beginning of a dictionary? Or something else? Either way, I’m not understanding why a system as elegantly simple as hangeul *needs* a single key housed in a single memory- prodigy-girl’s brain. I mean, surely any of the other court ladies could explain the system to a novice without reference to So-yi? Can’t the scholar members of Heaven & Earth + Sejong himself do the same, and therefore easily train others to go out and try to disseminate again if it fails this time?

    The whole haerye thing thus ends up seeming a little like a manufactured conflict to me, something to artificially single out So-yi, put her in danger, & create angst/foreboding with Chae-yoon rather than a plot point that flows logically from everything else. And this makes me sad, because it’s the first time in 22 episodes that I’ve been dissatisfied by anything. Can anyone explain & restore my faith?

    Thanks as always for the awesome recap, HeadsNo2! I too loved the tea party scene, and Pyung with the kids. I wish there were more than just 2 episodes left….

    • 5.1 Jomo

      Good point! That may be what saves her, too.

      Maybe when they go to kill her, she’ll say something like:

      Go ahead, but it’s too late to stop this now. The ten others who know this alphabet will become 50 soon, then 200, then 1000. All of them can recreate the haerye. You don’t need a photographic memory to learn it because it is that simple.

    • 5.2 queencircles

      I think of it as like an explanation of the letters, and what they stand for, or maybe just like a dictionary of sorts that shows all the words in korean written out. So if someone was trying to learn it. I don’t think it’s necessary to have it to learn if someone is teaching you, but my guess is that they want to make sure that it doesn’t get published, or just have it so they can destroy it and then if they kill everyone who knows the language, there is no explanation of what any of the letters mean, thus the language is effectively dead.

      That’s just how I’ve been seeing it. Not sure if that’s necessarily exactly what it is.

    • 5.3 Bamsa

      I think, hearye has the list of characters that can be formed from one hangul alphabet. In the very beginning they say there are many characters starting with “g” and others are taking a long time … but So Yi writes them down in few minutes.

    • 5.4 imoan.naomi

      If I understand correctly, the haerye is an explanation of why the hangul letters look the way they do, what sounds they make, and the rules of using them. For example, if your hangul word starts with a vowel sound, the first letter is always ᄋ (iung). It’s kind like of the way potato has no “e”, but potatoes does.

      Since hangul is an alphabet and not a set of ideographs, you could theoretically combine them anyway you like as long as the sounds work. And the spelling of words would change based on the pronunciation of the writer. The haerye gives the alphabet some structure. To contrast, think of the multiple spellings for the romanized korean words you know.

      Hope that helps restore your faith in SoYi’s importance. Although I do agree that it seems a bit silly (not to mention irresponsible) to lay that burden on one person.

    • 5.5 bd

      Maybe the writers, JKJ and the others put a little too much importance on the haerye since, afterall, the litle girl, Yeon-doo, was able to learn Hangul w/o it.

      But it probably is pretty impt. to really utilize Hangul to its fullest.

    • 5.6 dramabliss

      That So-yi became the “carrier” (or hard drive, as Jomo has aptly put it) for the haerye did not just fall out of the blue, i.e., as a contrived plot point.

      It isn’t as if from the start, King Sejong gave So-Yi the task of keeping the haerye in her head.

      If I recall right, the scholar Jang Seung-Soo was working on the hangul notes (haerye) and was on his way to a hiding place in the mountain with the notes when he was killed by Pyung (Episode 7). Fortunately, Pyung lost the package and Chae Yoon was able to retrieve it. In Episode 8, So-Yi went up the mountains looking for the notes. Chae Yoon, who secretly followed her, place the package where she could easily find it. While the hidden Chae Yoon watched, So-Yi committed each of the pages to her incredible memory before ripping and burning the notes.

      It seemed also that So-Yi did all this on her own, and not under Sejong’s orders.

      It is clear, thus, that the circumstances of the narrative forced So-Yi to be the haerye carrier. I do not see it as a contrived and manufactured plot point to create danger for So-Yi and subsequent angst for Chae Yoon.

      • 5.6.1 Jomo

        I just saw this.
        At first I was going to say, heads came up with the hard drive comment, but then I found I had called her a portable flash drive in Ep 16. LOL!

        ‘11.1.2 Jomo November 27th, 2011 at 2:50 pm
        They also have no idea that Soyi is their portable “flash drive.”’

    • 5.7 hint

      haerye is 解例
      凡例 is read bumrye in korea.

  6. queencircles

    Thanks again. I didn’t mind too much that this felt like mostly a setup episode for the finale next week. I was apprehensive watching it, just wanting to know what was going on with So-yi, but the political stuff was pretty intriguing too, and the Most Awkward Tea Party in History was pretty funny.

    I really did think that Pyung was going to kill all those children. But then when it flashed back to him having story time it was so cute. That screen cap that you have of it, oh man, are assassins supposed to be this adorable? But it mainly sucks for all those singers he killed. He’s probably like, Oh oops, they didn’t actually know the letters either. Erg, my bad.

  7. mskololia

    At the end of this episode, I expect Gae Pa-yi to take out Pyung when he tries to kill the little girl after watching her use the letters. The gentle giant will then let the maidens go with Yeon-doo when CY finally finds SY et al.

    I doubt Jung Ki-joon will give up his position so he flees starting up another branch of MB elsewhere where unsuspecting aristocrats give ears to his views of their world….Greed and self-preservation never take holidays.

  8. mskololia

    Thanks HeadsNo2 for the wonderful recap! 🙂

  9. Ani

    The little girl and her ahjusshi friend are totally cute. It reminds me of Lord Sesshomaru and Rin in ways. Here I thought this was going to be finale. Well, onwards to the last stretch.

  10. 10 MojoJojo

    These recaps keep me sane while watching the episodes. Thanks so much.

    Did anyone think “Power rangers” when CY pulled out that medallion that Sejong gave him?

    I still have hopes for Pyung, I know he’s assasin in all… but I think he’ll do the right thing in the end.

    I can’t wait for the last two episodes. I read on viki they were considering a 2nd season. Not sure how I feel about this, love the show but i’m afraid they may affect the awesome that it is now with a second season.


    • 10.1 mskololia

      Yeah, I don’t know how I feel about a second season either. In the US, we are accustomed to seasonal drama series. One can stop at whatever season or continue or pick it back up again at some point…whatever. It really does not matter. One either watches or not…..

      This one definitely has potential be awesome, but I think that will be the case if they continue with a storyline on the promulgation of the letters and how that takes root in Joseon after TWDR….

    • 10.2 bd

      Actually have more hope for Gae Pa-yi doing the right thing at the end than Pyung, who deserves a gruesome death along w/ JKJ.

    • 10.3 Arhazivory

      No no no to a 2nd season!

      I didn’t watch Power Rangers but that medallion part looks like it was lifted straight of thepages of Shin Angyo Onshi – one of the best manhwas ever written.

  11. 11 anais

    I guess I must be the only person who thinks it’s completely fitting and symbolic that Jeong Ki Jun sit rigidly, immobile and fixed at the head of the table in the narrow confines of the shed of the Milbon forest stronghold, isolated from the rest of the world. Just as he is so fixed on the paternalistic notion that it is the “responsibility” of the learned elite to govern and that the ignorant masses will forever be ignorant (never mind the tautology that becomes obvious if we reinsert the fact Jeong Ki Jun wants to stop the hangul because – gasp! – the hangul will prove that the “ignorant” aren’t ignorant but are kept ignorant), so fixed that he’s willing risk his own and Milbon’s demise, this way of thinking led to Joseon too to become rigid, fixed, isolated, and doomed.

    I’ve been enjoying Jeong Ki Jun become so obviously and sadly the embodiment of a rotten way of thinking.

    • 11.1 dramabliss

      Lovely explanation, anais!

      Visual/cinematic metaphor for a one-track, rigid, bigoted mind.

  12. 12 cv

    I hope they don’t have a second season. If they want, they should just start another drama similar to this one.

    TWDR should be one on its own and end at episode24. I’m going to miss watching it but on the other hand, can’t wait to see what they have for an ending!

    It better be good—> happy ending with the good guys winning–meaning no one is killed–and how they wrap up this drama(better go out with a “Bang!”). Each episodes so far has been solid–the tension great–all cast has been excellent(no complaint there).

    I will base my opinion on if this will definitely be the best drama of 2011 when we get to the ending! =)

  13. 13 bd

    Think ep 22 was a bit more compelling than ep 21.

    The late-nite tea scene w/ Sejong and Lee Shin-juk was just brilliant.

    I think that Jo Mal-saeng is a pretty interesting character and hopefully, will be more fully used for the last 2 eps (also b/c Lee Jae Yong is such a good actor, did a realy good job in “Emperor of the Sea” where he did play a “good guy”, even tho it was a good guy who saw things a bit differently like Jo Mal-saeng).

    Can’t believe TWDR is almost over, but it’s been one heck of a ride.

  14. 14 dramabliss

    Thumbs up, HeadsNo2 for another daebak recap.

    I am so with you in hoping that next week’s climax and denouement will be as, if not more, amazing and compelling as the episodes have been so far to cement TwDR as the best drama ever.

    For me, Christmas holidays this year will surely be marked with TwDR withdrawal symptoms. *sniff*

  15. 15 Tha


  16. 16 postmarked

    I just did a somewhat ~marathon~ of this drama and the recaps for the past few days and am so enjoying BOTH very very much so, Thank You!
    I also enjoyed reading the insightful comments we have in the comments section.
    Can’t believe how educational watching this drama has been!

    I think one of my favourite things about this drama is how bad-ass the female characters are and how they’re rarely damsels-in-distress that seems to be quite common in dramas. Hopefully our 3 maidens held captive gets out some way or another soon!

    I’m quite hoping there would be a change of heart with Pyung. I mean despite the evil deeds, he seems more like a blind follower than a truly malicious person.
    Crazy theory: maybe his unexplained loyalty to the Root is somehow tied to the mysterious iron bangle that Soyi identified in the earlier episodes? Say if he got that damaged in a battle, then he could break free from this “spell” that he’s under. Random thought, although realistically, I’m not expecting an explanation for his character.

    Anyway, thanks everyone for the contributions!

  17. 17 neener

    thanks for the recap!

    I just want So-yi to be safe!!!^_^

  18. 18 Arhazivory

    I feel sorry for Yoon Je-Moon – the actor that plays Nonwon – his ass must hurt from doing so many takes while sitting in a chair. lol. The set-up for the finale. *sighs* I’m going to reallllly miss this one.

  19. 19 iLLusiOnEr

    Thanks for recap!

    Anyone wonders what is going to happen in the last2 eps? Watching from the trailer at the end of 22nd, why SY cries when Sejong ask for Chae Yoon? Is this a premonition of a sad ending of one of our heroes?

  20. 20 coolbeans

    am i the only 1 whose heart was breaking during chae yoon’s and the remaining singing beggar’s scene? I felt so sympathetic for his character! i remember seeing him in some variety shows so maybe he’s a gagman? i think he acted his character really well! oh yeah hope there wont be a sad ending!!!

  21. 21 ahjummabunny

    I don’t expect a showdown. I expect those in a frenzy to fuss themselves out of existence, become irrelevant. I’m wary of shim jong soo taking over mil bon, but I don’t see that happening, I think jung ki joon’s brain has rot so much that he’ll probably try to eat shim jong soo. I think one of the show’s strength is that they know exactly how big of an explosion to give us each time and I just can’t see soyi being in danger ( with all the truth out- as in shim jong soo outing her as haerye to jung ki joon) and then being saved, but I also don’t see her being outed and dying.

  22. 22 lenrasoon

    The awkward tea party was my favorite scene in this episode, King Sejong is such a sly fox, i love him! and Lee Shin Juk is swayable so i think he might do what the King wants.

    and i can’t with people thinking that Pyung will redeem himself, this episode is evidence that he won’t, he killed a lot of people (remember that kind prince?), i have chills down my spine just to think “what if the little kids knew how to read hangul?” Pyung probably wouldn’t spare their lives (but thank god the drama didn’t go there) and just because he has a little crush on So Yi that doesn’t erase the bad things he’s being doing since the beginning of the drama, i think he should pay for everything he did together with Jong Ki Joon (and when i say “pay” i mean with his life).

    oh i think it will be interesting seeing Shim Jong-soo, Lee Shin Juk, JKJ fighting over power (since i don’t think JKJ will handle his position over the haerye). And when people in the same group start to fight each other that only means the beginning of the end.

    thanks for the recaps!

  23. 23 Mara

    this drama gets better every week. the last two episodes are going to blow us away, like when we found out jung ki joon is garion.

  24. 24 triniti

    the scene between the king and Lee Shin Juk i think easily makes it to my favourite scenes list in this whole drama. it wasn’t epic, it wasn’t a tear jerker. But it was Joseon badass. And soo delicious to watch. Neither of them stood up, they were seated the whole time, yet it was the subtleties of the scene that made it so interesting to watch.

    Over all, this episode was a little mellow for me, besides that awesome scene. It was the episode full of things that needed to happen, everyone needed to get updated and onto the same playing field before the final battle. Not that it was any less an amazing episode, but all kdramas experience this. im just hoping for a killer ending. (and i don’t mean an literal killing, of course!)

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