Yay for the return of fun! Not that last week wasn’t fun, but the more grave direction of the plot meant an appropriately weightier tone. I’m always happier to have the clever little jokes woven into the story, even when the story at large is dire and important, and this episode gives us plenty of those. Mostly, Cha Tae-hyun just cracks me up, whether he’s being mischievous Woo-chi, or Woo-chi’s slacker clone, or Bong-gu disguised as Woo-chi… or just Cha Tae-hyun himself. I’m pretty sure a hefty share of this zany comedy is not a stretch for him. Call it a hunch.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Woo-chi’s clones do as ordered and kick up enough of a fuss that pulls Kang-rim from the task of transporting the queen away. He tells her he’ll take her to safety, then literally just flies off with her in his arms. The king observes this with a smile of satisfaction.
Kang-rim arrives to apprehend Woo-chi, and finds him cackling from the rooftop of a minister’s home. Ha, the clone is dragging out time in the most public way possible, shouting, “I AM JEON WOO-CHI! HEEHEEHEEHEE!”
Kang-rim strikes him with a blow, only to realize when a straw man falls down that this was a decoy. He tells a very dissatisfied council of evil that this was Woo-chi’s magic, and that he (Kang-rim) is the only one who can stand up to him.
Minister Oh orders Kang-rim to recapture the queen. He agrees, with the request that Minister Oh volunteer additional troops from his private force.
The council wonders who Woo-chi’s palace insider contact could be, and Minister Jang suggests Lee Chi’s name as a suspicious fellow. Oh Kyu’s eyes widen, now that he thinks about it…
He storms to the prison to confront Lee Chi, who is currently Bong-gu in disguise wondering when he’ll be relieved of decoy duty. Oh Kyu demands, “You know Jeon Woo-chi, don’t you?” Bong-gu overdoes the denial a bit and swears he’s never even heard of the guy before, LOL. It sure sounds suspicious since the boss points out that Lee Chi’s always pestering him about not writing about Jeon Woo-chi enough.
Bong-gu’s also talking in his thick accent, which Oh Kyu decides is a nervous tic whenever Lee Chi’s lying, and has him tied up to have the truth beaten out of him. Poor Bong-gu. He swears up and down that he has nothing to do with Woo-chi who just saved the queen, and Oh Kyu jumps on that—how could he know that? They must be in cahoots.
He gets one blow and sticks to his story, but the threat of another has him blurting, “I know him!” Oh Kyu gets in his face eagerly, asking who he is. Bong-gu-chi says with utmost chagrin that it’s someone he sees everyday… someone Oh Kyu knows very well… sigh…. “Reporter Lee.”
Hilariously, Oh Kyu has no idea who that could be, and Bong-gu corrects, “Me, I mean me. It’s me.” Oh Kyu’s all, How can YOU be Jeon Woo-chi, and Bong-gu tells him no, not HIM, he’s Bong-gu, but Jeon Woo-chi is Reporter Lee.
Yeah, that sounds about as convincing as you’d think. Bong-gu earns more punishment for his “lies.”
Woo-chi takes the queen to be hidden in the village where she used to help the poor. They’re happy to do a service to their “lady,” whom they call their savior, and welcome her into their midst.
The king impatiently awaits news of his queen’s safety, and finds a letter on his desk. In it, the queen assures him that she is fine, thanks to Jeon Woo-chi’s help, and he breathes a sigh of relief. In fact Minister Oh notes the king’s bright attitude, and the king has to school his features into a frown and say that of course he’s upset with the queen gone, and at the hands of that bandit Jeon Woo-chi.
Minister Oh urges him to increase the bounty on Jeon Woo-chi’s head and intensify the manhunt, now that he’s messed with the palace. So the next thing we know, Wanted notices are being posted: the queen, who has been demoted now to “Lady Kim,” is described as an amnesiac wandering about with worried family out to recover her.
There are drawings of both Lady Kim and Jeon Woo-chi, and the reward is 100,000 nyang. Money-grubbing Chul-gyun’s eyes nearly pop out of his head… and then focus into a murderous glint. Uh-oh. Remember what happened last time when the reward was a mere fraction of that?
Chul-gyun thinks back to the first time he was out for the bounty, and how Bong-gu uttered Woo-chi’s name—back before Woo-chi was a household name.
Woo-chi flies in to relieve Bong-gu of prison duty, and takes his place as Lee Chi. He urges Bong-gu to make sure the beggars don’t know who the queen really is, and they do a good job sticking to their story. When Kang-rim follows a hunch to the beggar camp—having recalled that Lee Chi wrote a story praising the queen for helping them once—the poor folk all say that they haven’t seen the young lady in a while.
Kang-rim sends his men on a search through the village, seeking out the queen from their dirty, smelly, and dying ranks. He gets unnervingly close at one point, but the beggars caution him away from the contagiously ill woman, who’s coughing blood and must be moved to quarantine.
Bong-gu escorts Mu-yeon and Hye-ryung to the village to visit the queen with food… and they don’t notice that they’ve picked up a tail in Chul-gyun, who follows. The queen shares her food with the beggars, which worries our Scooby Gang because she’s not eating properly. They can’t afford to feed every single beggar, but the queen isn’t the type to eat herself before they’re fed.
So when they encounter an uproar in the marketplace on their way back, it gives Mu-yeon an idea. A mean ol’ loan shark is threatening a merchant for the money owed, issuing dire threats if he fails. Hye-ryung notes that the man, Pyo Mang-dong, has a rotten reputation. Mu-yeon’s expression takes on an interested glimmer—is this a job for Butterfly?
She shares the idea with her teammates, saying that if they raid Pyo Mang-dong’s ill-gotten gains, they can kill two birds with one stone. Punish the evildoer and feed the beggars! Hye-ryung’s concerned since Woo-chi isn’t around to help, but Mu-yeon tells her that Butterfly totally outranks him. Heh, glad to know the petty rivalry goes both ways.
That night Butterfly slips into Pyo Mang-dong’s house and holds him at swordpoint. Wimpering and scared, he begs for his life and shows her into his secret storeroom, reluctantly filling her bag with his gold. But he’s not a complete idiot since he also triggers an alarm bell rigged under the table, and stalls to hold her there while his men outside jump to attention.
Mu-yeon hears the bell and knocks Pyo Mang-dong out, but finds herself surrounded outside. Thankfully she’s still got her martial arts savvy and makes easy work of knocking everyone aside… until a net drops down on her from above. Arg, foiled.
Pyo Mang-dong cackles that he was prepared, having expected a visit from her or Jeon Woo-chi at some point. He has her locked up in a storeroom just as he has a familiar visitor—Kang-rim.
Kang-rim has obviously been her many times before since this is a familiar exchange for them, and her orders the loan shark to prepare a huge sum of money for him. He’s interested to hear that the famous Butterfly has been caught, but he’s reminded that he doesn’t have time tonight, because he has more loan sharks to visit. Kang-rim promises to return tomorrow instead.
Hye-ryung witnesses Butterfly’s capture and is all nervous worry, so when Woo-chi finally comes home she fills him in, sending him off to the rescue.
When Woo-chi jumps into the fray, he releases Mu-yeon from her ropes and together they fight off her captors. Hye-ryung even teases afterward that she thought Butterfly was supposed to be better than Woo-chi, ha.
Mu-yeon fills them in on Kang-rim’s visit, which raises some questions. So Woo-chi questions the loan shark, asking for answers, only to get a flat denial of any knowledge. Menacingly, Woo-chi extends a hand, poising to work some kind of sorcery… and tickles him.
HAHA. He’s glowering fiercely and demanding, “What is your relationship to Ma Kang-rim?!” *tickle tickle* He does this with such concentration that it actually looks like there’s technique involved here. It’s pretty hilarious.
Giving in, Pyo Mang-dong confesses that he was once an ordinary merchant, and one day Kang-rim appeared and promised to make him rich. So he set him to this job and made him do his bidding, until one day he started demanding large sums of money and threatening to hurt his family. He has other loan sharks that he commands in similar ways, and Pyo Mang-dong writes down their names.
To ensure this guy doesn’t blab to Kang-rim the minute he’s let off the hook, Woo-chi pulls out his forgetfulness medallion. Handy!
We soon learn what Kang-rim is doing with all that cash he’s collecting: He presents Minister Jang with an enormous “gift” of 50,000 nyang. Ah, he’s making his move, is he? Our baddies must’ve decided they’d rather have a Joseon puppet who’s more, uh, puppetty—they need a better ally than Minister Oh. I assume they’re building up Minister Jang to overthrow his superior; now Kang-rim offers to help Minister Jang get out from under Minister Oh’s thumb, assuring him that this conversation is safe between the two of them.
Meanwhile, Ma Sook maintains his servile act as he meets with Minister Oh, who is displeased that Kang-rim hasn’t found the queen yet. Ma Sook suggests that there’s no point in finding a former queen who’s already on the outs—perhaps it’s a better use of their efforts to secure a new queen instead.
Minister Oh chafes at the unsolicited advice, but he uses it anyway. Taking the suggestion to the king, he proposes replacing the queen. Ha, Ma Sook knows just how to play him. Naturally, though, the king refuses.
Lee Chi is still stuck in prison, but gets to work on a way to foil Kang-rim. To do that, he starts a spell…
At the crack of dawn, just as Oh Kyu is set to take his reports for the day to the palace, he finds the entire stack of reports blank. What happened? He panics as he unrolls each scroll to find it completely white.
Oh, hahahaha, so now they need his help! What a way to secure freedom, by making his captors think it was their idea to set him free. Oh Kyu comes to the prison in a hurry, ordering him out quickly. Lee Chi feigns ignorance, even asking if he can stay here longer.
But no, Lee Chi’s super-speedy writing skills are needed, and he’s put to work replicating the reports that got mysteriously erased. I love how pissy this makes Oh Kyu, who both hates Lee Chi’s proficiency and needs his help desperately.
The ladies have done their research on Kang-rim’s money-collecting activities, down to how much he rakes in per month and from whom. Woo-chi wonders where he could possibly be using those great sums, and declares the need to cut off that money supply.
Mu-yeon argues that it’s dangerous, worried for his safety, which Woo-chi brushes aside. He points out that he’s already a wanted man so what’s a little more, and adds, “I have you guys.” It’s a sweet sentiment, though probably not very comforting to Mu-yeon since the ladies have no superpowers.
She argues that they must protect the queen, and our Scooby Gang makes a trip to the beggars’ village bearing food and money. The queen is grateful for their kindness, and sets about distributing the goods.
But Chul-gyun steps it up and puts two and two together… realizing that Lee Chi is the link. And when he confronts him, he says confident, “I know it all, Reporter Lee. No, Jeon Woo-chi.”
Lee Chi laughs it off, or tries to, but it becomes apparent that Chul-gyun knows too much. He knows where the queen is hiding, and says that put together, turning in both her and Woo-chi would net him 200,000 nyang.
Woo-chi warns, “It’s fine for me, but you can’t mess with the queen.” And though he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, he threatens, “I’ll make sure you keep your mouth shut forever” and starts working up a spell.
At the last second, Chul-gyun grabs his hand and begs, “Let me in on it.”
Chul-gyun actually has this whole argument thought-out and reasoned, saying that Woo-chi will need someplace to store all the stuff he raids from the corrupt. This is a specialty of Chul-gyun’s, and besides, if he did double-cross Woo-chi for the prize he’d just get hunted down in the end. So he decided it’s better to join forces and work for him—for a small cut, of course.
Woo-chi narrows his eyes and says, “I didn’t see take you for that kind of person! But… you’re smart.” Haha.
The deal makes sense, though, and it’s always better to have potential enemies on your side. So Woo-chi takes Chul-gyun the stash from Pyo Mang-dong’s raid, and Chul-gyun is set to the task of converting them into money. He’s like a black-market dealer and money launderer, selling them carefully and without a trace.
Bong-gu and Chul-gyun even bicker about minion hierarchy, until Woo-chi decides that Chul-gyun is the hyung. Hee.
A couple of beggars see the wanted signs in town and recognize their Lady in the drawing. One of them argues that Lady asked them to keep her presence quiet, but the other argues that her family must love her greatly to put up such a sum for her return. Uh-oh…
The queen tends to her charges, telling Mu-yeon that it makes her happy to clothe them and care for them. She argues that nobody is born wanting to be a beggar, and says that responsibility lies at the hands of the country for failing them.
Meanwhile, Bong-gu practices magic spells on a stump of wood, trying to mimic Woo-chi’s incantation. Haha. So cute. Woo-chi advises him to concentrate and chides Bong-gu for skipping over the very basic spell he taught him, trying to jump right on to Woo-chi’s advanced chant. (“Even 5-year-olds can do this one!”) Oh interesting, so I guess this kind of magic power can be taught. At least to an extent, seeing as how Mu-yeon has lost her abilities.
Mu-yeon overhears a beggar talking about the queen’s family being notified, and realizes they’re all in danger. She races to warn Woo-chi, and they’re able to usher the queen out of the village just before Kang-rim arrives with his troops. He’s brutal in his hunt to ferret out the queen, and his men beat up the beggars who get in their way.
The queen turns back to see the melee in the village, looking perturbed. So is Woo-chi, who’s itching to fly in and fight them off, but the others warn them against acting hastily. If Woo-chi gets involved, he’ll just endanger the queen—escape is more important.
They slip back into town, where Chul-gyun meets them to show them to a hideaway. The small hut is the perfect spot (for now), not too far away but still tucked out of sight. The queen is heavy-hearted, however, feeling guilty for being the cause of all this trouble. Woo-chi urges her to think of the king and be strong.
Kang-rim has to report that they lost the queen again, but he’s not worried because he’s got a plan. They’ll just have to make her come back of her own accord…
A third notice joins the Wanted posters in town, now adding the beggars to the mix. As accomplices in the harboring of a wanted criminal, now they are all traitors and will be given a traitor’s punishment: execution.
Naturally this horrifies the queen, whose first impulse is to barrel right over to stop the execution. Poor queen, as if she could. Our hero team argues that this is all a ploy to draw her out, and she’s well aware of it—but she also can’t sit back and let this happen. Woo-chi manages to appease her for now by promising to save them, asking her to wait.
The king is furious as well, and orders So-chil to get Woo-chi to save them no matter what. Poor king, always two steps behind.
That means our palace team has to make contact with our superhero team… and shrewd Kang-rim is on the ball, following Chan-hwi that night. Eek! He watches as Chan-hwi and Eun-woo head to the bridge meeting spot and leave a message on the stone indicating that they request a meeting.
Then later, as they’re heading out for the appointed rendezvous, Kang-rim stops them and sends both Chan-hwi and Eun-woo on trumped-up errands. They aren’t armed with ready excuses and have to comply, which means that Woo-chi comes to the bridge and finds nobody there awaiting him.
Kang-rim flies in instead, and cuts right to the chase: “Where is the queen?” Woo-chi conjures up his spell, but Kang-rim just waves it aside with a flick of his hand like it’s nothing. Kang-rim gathers together his own powers, which have grown tremendously since we last saw them. Mu-yeon, who can sense the energy in the air, dashes off in their direction.
Woo-chi blocks Kang-rim’s spell, but it’s such a strong blow that he goes flying anyway. Kang-rim has new tricks up his sleeve, like disappearing and reappearing in a flicker, and even his regular fist-fighting powers are greatly magnified. Woo-chi takes blow after blow, and when he tries flying up into the air Kang-rim just grabs his ankle and sends him crashing down. He advances with deliberation like the Terminator and asks, “Now you see you’re no match for me, don’t you?”
Gathering his energy in his hand and readying to deliver another blow, Kang-rim warns that he can crush Woo-chi’s heart in seconds. Where is the queen?
Woo-chi just growls back, “I don’t know.”
Nooooot the answer he was looking for.
Wow, so Kang-rim really upgraded his body to the next model in ruthless killing machines. Is that the going rate for your soul these days? I always liked the flashes of emotion Kang-rim gave us when he was the conflicted version, so I can’t say I’m getting a lot out of his newer badder self.
On the other hand, at least he’s no longer the mopey puppy about Mu-yeon, so that’s gotta be a hashmark in the plus column. Still, I think there’s room for glimpses of humanity in his character, which the drama isn’t really bothering with, so now I place him squarely in the category of villains I really don’t care for.
Thank goodness, then, that at least the good guys keep me interested. Such an array of kooky characters, and most of them have their endearing quirks. I was afraid Chul-gyun would once again turn to boring backstabber, but I much prefer him as the happy black market broker, bickering away with Bong-gu over pecking-order rights. The ragtag Scooby Gang is a conceit that hardly ever gets old, and has a way of warming your heart when they come together and Get Stuff Done. Of course, it’s always better when each character gets their moment in the spotlight and I’m still waiting for a few of them to get theirs.
The women, for instance, have a way of showing something interesting about their inner feelings despite their dwindling screen time. Hye-ryung and Mu-yeon have these exchanges that show their differing mindsets (Hye-ryung thinks needlepoint is a waste of time, Mu-yeon smiles as the queen argues it’s worthwhile to clothe children with it), but they’re on the same team for now and knitting together a bond. I wish we could see more of it, actually. But I’ll take what we can get, and am relieved that Mu-yeon’s still up to her Butterfly bandit antics. Just ’cause a girl doesn’t have superpowers doesn’t mean she can’t be a hero, right?
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 14
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 13
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 12
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 11
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 10
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 9
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 8
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 7
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 6
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 5
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 4
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 3
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 2
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 1