Okay, the detour to sadville is thankfully over, and we get back to business with Jeon Woo-chi the mischievous punisher of evildoers. The original baddies step back into the game in a big way, setting the stage for some social injustices that need to be righted, on the way to facing off with mortal enemies. All in a day’s work for your average champion of the people.
EPISODE 19 RECAP
Following the failure of So-chil’s suicidal mission to assassinate Minister Oh, Woo-chi comes just in time to save him from being killed by Minister Oh’s henchmen. But when a stray dagger comes flying at Woo-chi’s back, So-chil jumps up to shield him.
He takes the dagger in the back, and slumps down in Woo-chi’s arms…
Once Kang-rim and Minister Oh discover that Woo-chi has interfered, they torture So-chil’s right-hand man for information, but he doesn’t know where they might be hiding. That’s hopeful. Does that mean he didn’t die?
Woo-chi has brought him to a hideout where the king sits by So-chil’s bedside. He’s not dead, but he doesn’t look good either. He urges the king to clear up his misunderstandings with Woo-chi, and confirms that he saw Minister Oh’s man (Kang-rim) using magic.
The king finally asks Woo-chi’s forgiveness for not trusting him. (Even though all you did was suddenly change your mind, BOTH TIMES. Whatever, Show.) He asks Woo-chi to promise to always correct him if he every strays, and hopes to someday be able to teach Woo-chi as much as he learns from him.
Woo-chi takes him to see the queen, and when she starts to bow, the king just runs up to her excitedly, so happy to see her.
Aw, these two are so much better when they’re together. He wipes her tears and they each worry after the other, and he cups her face in his hands to keep her warm.
Woo-chi and Mu-yeon watch the happy tearful reunion with knowing smiles. Woo-chi sighs and takes her hand, asking if she knows what it’s like to be separated from the one you love. Uh, yeah, you weren’t the only one separated from her, silly.
He says wistfully, “Everything appears like that person. A bank of snow. A star shining in the night sky. A leaf riding the wind. Everything.” She holds back her tears and says cheerily, “Let’s not be separated ever again.”
In the morning, Bong-gu is busy making his own love connection with the gisaeng Love Hands, to ask if Kang-rim’s men have come around again lately. She balks at his advances, so he brags that he’s a student of the wizard Jeon Woo-chi.
She doesn’t believe that such a famous wizard would have a student like Bong-gu, so he shows her the one trick he knows, and takes her for a spin on piggyback, using his speedy talisman legs to impress her.
He has to stop by ramming his head into a tree of course, but it earns him a kiss on the forehead.
Woo-chi is surprised to see Myung-gi the apothecary so busy at work, and chastises him for seeming so happy that the number of sick people has increased drastically of late. Myung-gi pouts that he has to make a living somehow, and Woo-chi’s ears perk up at the strange news that he’s been treating lots and lots of stab wounds, with rumblings that a group of secret operatives has been mobilized for something.
He goes to see Hye-ryung, who’s also really busy at her station. She tells him that the marketplace rents have been raised steeply, and all the shopkeepers are scrambling to make do.
Woo-chi reports all this to his editor Oh Kyu, but more pressing news breaks that day: the king’s brother dies very suddenly. He’s the prince who would be next in line for the throne.
They rush over to the house where Chan-hwi is examining the body. He says it was a riding accident, and all the injuries are consistent with falling off a horse and being trampled. There’s no evidence of foul play.
Woo-chi goes to see the horse in question, and wonders how a prince who would’ve ridden his whole life fell in such an accident. Bong-gu, who spent his days as a stable hand, notes that something’s fishy—someone cut the straps of the saddle to make it snap very easily.
Even Minister Jang is suspicious, and gives Minister Oh the sidelong hairy eyeball. But he insists it was just an accident. Hm, is someone else behind this?
Hye-ryung tells Woo-chi he might be reaching with his conspiracy theories—falling off a horse doesn’t actually ensure death. She’s right about that. It isn’t a very efficient way to murder someone. But he reminds her that Kang-rim can crush a heart without even touching a person, and vows to find evidence of foul play.
Meanwhile Ma Sook is busy cooking up some trouble of his own, and looking pretty giddy. Kang-rim steals into Minister Oh’s room that night and starts to pour a dark cloud of smoke into him. Ah, will he finally become their puppet?
Ma Sook goes to see him the next day and says he doesn’t look well. Minister Oh says he had a dream last night, and Ma Sook offers to interpret it for him. Baited.
Minister Oh recounts the dream, and Ma Sook bows to the floor, begging Minister Oh not to abandon him. After making sure to appear every bit the supplicant, he offers his interpretation.
Taking off one’s hat means that no one is above him. Going into a well signifies going into the palace. And the sun means the founding of a nation. In short—he is to be king. Oooh, is this your plan? You killed the next in line to the throne to prep Minister Oh to be king?
His eyes grow wide at the suggestion, though he pretends that it’s preposterous. Ma Sook tells Kang-rim that it’s done—they’ve lit the fire of human ambition, and now everything will fall in line as they’ve planned.
Woo-chi is still a few steps behind, but he does deduce that the next targets are the remaining princes—if you’re going for broke, you’d have to assassinate every single heir to the throne.
He orders Bong-gu to go bring him pig bladders, which Bong-gu scoffs at… until he realizes Woo-chi isn’t kidding. Off he goes.
Next thing we know, the ministers are gaping at strange balloons floating up in the sky above the palace. HA. And ew. They’re like, “Why are there pig bladders flying around overhead?”
And around the corner, Woo-chi is guiding their flight path. Bong-gu complains, “You could’ve used magic to inflate them. Did I really have to do it with my lips?” Hahahahaha.
Woo-chi totally evades the issue by complimenting Bong-gu’s lips and saying that Love Hands is lucky, and they giggle like little boys. He gears up a little magic fireball slingshot, and aims for the pig bladders.
They burst with a big Pop! right over the ministers’ heads, and notes from Jeon Woo-chi fall out of each one. They warn that someone murdered the king’s brother.
Minister Jang runs over to Minister Oh, who continues to insist that the accusations are baseless. But he can feel that suspicions are leaning his way, and asks Kang-rim if he had a hand in the prince’s death. Kang-rim denies any involvement, and Minister Oh warns that they have to keep the other heirs safe, because people already think he’s responsible.
Meanwhile Kang-rim has been promoted above Chan-hwi’s rank as the head of the guard, and that night he orders Chan-hwi to leave his post guarding the king’s chamber. Uh-oh. Chan-hwi doesn’t back down, saying that the king’s royal order supersedes his.
Kang-rim says that only the best warrior in the nation is allowed that honor, so if Chan-hwi can beat him in a fight, he’ll allow it. Eep! Don’t do it! Okay, part of me is a little excited for the battle, but mostly I’m worried for the outcome.
They pick up wooden practice swords in the snow and Chan-hwi attacks with all his strength. But Kang-rim doesn’t even break a sweat and knocks him down.
With a stick to his neck, Kang-rim warns, “The next time, it’ll be a real sword slicing your neck.” He sneers, leaving Chan-hwi wounded, but mostly with a broken spirit.
Eun-woo tends to Chan-hwi’s bruised shoulder, as he berates himself for not being good enough to guard the king. Aw, poor honorable Chan-hwi.
She reminds him that Kang-rim uses magic—how was he supposed to win? She says he did his best, and she knows it. She hugs him, quietly letting a few tears fall while he’s not looking. It’s really sweet.
Myung-gi comes running to Woo-chi with more bad news. Chul-gyun lost the gambling house to a group of men who showed up and insisted he just hand it over. A fight ensued, and Chul-gyun was arrested.
When he goes to investigate, more strangeness comes left and right: there’s a contract to sell the gambling house in Chul-gyun’s handwriting that he swears he never signed. All he knows is, he was knocked out in the fight, woke up in jail, and saw that some of their allies were arrested too.
Woo-chi pays for Chul-gyun’s release so they can get to the bottom of this. Chul-gyun coos gratefully, and Woo-chi chides him, “We’re family!” How cute. And then about two seconds later he follows it up with: “So you can repay me with interest! You have to be more strict about these things with family.” HA.
Hye-ryung the expert forger looks over the contract, but finds no fault with it. She says that others in the marketplace are having the same problem—perfect contracts with their seals and handwriting, handing over their stores without their knowledge.
Woo-chi asks Chul-gyun if he knows anything about the men that attacked him, and Hye-ryung recognizes the district that they’re from, and says they’re the same men Ma Sook used to attack her family.
So at least they know that Kang-rim and Ma Sook are behind both attacks, on the heirs to the throne and the shopkeepers in town. They don’t know to what end, but Woo-chi figures there’s only one way to handle it—go head-to-head with Kang-rim, once and for all.
He broods outside and Mu-yeon joins him, worrying that he might be taking on too much on his own shoulders. But Woo-chi says he’s stronger now, and sighs that it’s time to cut his ill-fated tie to Kang-rim.
She reassures him that everything will go well, even though they both look too worried for my liking.
Hye-ryung comes out to see the pair of them holding hands and smiling at each other, and rushes back inside. Aww. When she comes back out she’s prepared to act unsurprised.
It doesn’t help that when they turn around and see her, Woo-chi unclasps his hand from Mu-yeon’s really awkwardly. She nags them to hurry up and go inside before they catch cold, grumbling for them not to come complaining when they’re sick. Gah, her covering up her pain like that just stabs me in the heart.
She mutters to herself, “So what if you fight some guy, or live or die, what difference does it make to me?” She lets out a shaky sigh.
Ma Sook and Kang-rim go full-force with their distraction tactic, to send the city buzzing with one problem after another so that no one will notice what they’re planning in the background. Whatever it is, it includes knocking Minister Oh off his pedestal, not putting him in more power. Interesting.
The marketplace reels from the latest crisis—a rice and cotton shortage, which sends prices through the roof. Woo-chi gets the Scoobies together to figure out who’s controlling the supply, and tasks Hye-ryung with a special job.
The next day she bumps into Kang-rim’s minion Doong-gae, and pickpockets him with a smile. Ha, I wish she got to do more stuff like this.
Included in his purse is a coin that Chul-gyun specifically marked. And what’s more is that she followed him back to his hideout where he had a massive supply of shortage items. It proves that Kang-rim & Co. are the ones taking over people’s shops, including the gambling den, and the ones holding back the rice supply to drive up cost.
Woo-chi smiles at the gang, and asks if they’re up for a little payback. They recruit the beggars in the queen’s village to help unload the stores, and Woo-chi leads the supply raid in Kang-rim’s camp.
And then by daylight, the entire supply is set up in the market, with a sign that reads for everyone to take his or her share, courtesy of Jeon Woo-chi. Awesome.
The townspeople hem and haw, scared of being tied to a known criminal like Jeon Woo-chi. But the Scoobies are there to be willing and vocal participants, to help the process along. Hye-ryung sets an example, saying that no one will know if they all partake, and reaches for a scoop of rice. They stand watch as everyone digs in happily.
Kang-rim fumes when he finds out what Woo-chi did, and knows that he couldn’t have done it alone. He sends his men out to catch any known associates of Jeon Woo-chi. Uh-oh.
That night, Chul-gyun and Myung-gi drink at the local tavern and Chul-gyun has a few too many, still sad about losing his precious gambling house. Myung-gi tries to get him to go home already, but he’s already three sheets to the wind, and starts loudly declaring that they’ve got nothing to fear—they’re friends with Jeon Woo-chi! OH NO.
Myung-gi quickly clamps his mouth shut, but it’s too late. Kang-rim’s minion is sitting at the table right behind them.
They follow Chul-gyun out and nab him easily, since he’s barely standing up on his own. He’s brought blindfolded and tied up to Kang-rim, who bullwhips him and demands to know where Woo-chi is. Ah crapcakes. This is going to a bad place. The whole gang lives under one roof!
Poor Chul-gyun refuses to give Woo-chi up, and gets beaten and strangled to within an inch of his life. Kang-rim warns that he must know who he is, and what he can do. He gathers up his killing blow and aims for Chul-gyun’s heart…
And Chul-gyun coughs that he’ll bring Woo-chi to him. Aw, I can’t even blame him, though I hope he’s thinking on his feet. If he’s told to bring Woo-chi here, maybe he’ll figure out a way to warn him.
He heads out with a few minions on his tail, and goes to see Myung-gi to treat his bruises, acting like they’re from a bar fight. Just then, Woo-chi arrives (in his Lee Chi guise, thank goodness) and it gives Chul-gyun the opportunity to whisper at him to act like they don’t know each other because they’re being watched.
Woo-chi acts like he came to get medicine too, and Chul-gyun manages to tell him what happened. He bows apologetically, saying he made a huge mistake, and all he could think to do was get away long enough to warn them. Yay, good job.
Woo-chi pauses a moment to let it all sink in, and then surprisingly beams at Chul-gyun, telling him he actually might’ve done him a favor. He changes the plan, and whispers it into his ear.
Later that night, as Chul-gyun leads Kang-rim out, Woo-chi goes to the gambling house alone. A bunch of Kang-rim’s men are there armed with swords, and order him to leave because the place is closed and they’re waiting for someone.
Ha, they’re waiting for him, aren’t they? Woo-chi gets all offended that they don’t recognize him, and makes a big show of announcing himself as the infamous Jeon Woo-chi, before knocking them out with a bit of flair.
The rest of the team arrives and starts setting up a circle of symbols and talismans. Ooooh, is it a devil’s trap? I hope it’s a magic pit of quicksand.
Once they place all the pieces down on the ground, Woo-chi gathers up his energy and shoots it down, and the circle absorbs the power and vanishes.
Chul-gyun arrives with Kang-rim, and swears that Woo-chi will be here. He wonders where his minions are, and when he calls out to them, it’s Woo-chi who appears from the shadows. Nice.
Kang-rim vanishes into thin air and reappears up in the balcony, and they fight it out, blow for blow. Woo-chi barely misses Kang-rim’s heart-crushing move, and somersaults down to the ground floor.
Kang-rim flies down in pursuit… landing right on top of the spot Woo-chi prepared. Whoo, it IS a trap! He struggles, but the force not only holds him there; it’s impervious to his magic.
Kang-rim looks up at him in utter shock, not understanding how he could’ve pulled it off. And then, another blow: Mu-yeon walks up to Woo-chi’s side, along with the others.
She looks at Kang-rim with pained eyes, and even still I think he has this glimmer of hope that she might love him.
He tries his damnedest to break free, and growls at Woo-chi for stooping to such low tactics. Woo-chi laughs that he’d dare say such a thing when it’s his own trick he used against him. Touché.
He asks how, and Woo-chi says that the wizards he chased into hiding all gave him their powers, so that Kang-rim could be punished.
Woo-chi: “I will banish you from this world forever!” But at that, Mu-yeon looks over at him in surprise. Uh. Oh.
Is she not onboard Plan Kill Kang-rim? Because you might’ve discussed that, say, BEFORE you set the trap and all. I certainly don’t mind an ideological split between the couple, and frankly they could use a bit of tension since all they’ve done for entire stretches of story time lately is hold hands and make nice. But uh, if she stops Woo-chi now, isn’t that going to put a big crimp in the plan where all of you don’t die?
There were a couple of developments I liked in this episode—first, I’m glad Ma Sook is getting back in the game, and I thought his dream interpreting with Minister Oh was very clever. It remains to be seen if they’re just setting him up to take the fall or just using his power and wealth until they need him, but it’s nice to have that push and pull, especially since Minister Oh has gone largely unchecked for that long arc involving the queen.
I loved all of Chan-hwi’s moments in this episode, and really, I wish there was far more time spent on his character. I’d much rather watch his development than do more flip-flopping with the king, or watch the political backdoor deals. He’s one of the show’s best characters, and though the world is pretty rich with great side characters in every corner, there’s a nice melancholy range in his story that I think hits a great note. The idea that he’s almost rendered obsolete in a world with powerful wizards, or that doing his best and being upright might not be enough to protect his king—those are such great things to explore. I’m really glad we got the scenes that we did here, but I still want more.
Any time Hye-ryung gets actively involved, I’m happy with the Scoobies, so I’m glad we haven’t let her fall by the wayside. But she’s another character I wish we spent more time with, because her conflict is actually more interesting to me than Mu-yeon’s. Even if they’re not going the route of a traditional love triangle, there’s something great to mine with her love and devotion to Woo-chi, and I don’t want her character to be shortchanged. Her unrequited love is perhaps the most normal, down-to-earth human element in the whole show. The fact that she’s just as worried about Woo-chi but can’t express it? It’s just so darn relatable and sweet. Basically, give the girl more to do because she’s awesome.
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 18
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 17
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 16
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 15
- 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