Gu Family Book: Episode 10
It’s time for the big heist and the big reveal, but what I didn’t expect was the big laugh. Between Yeo-wool getting outed and Kang-chi playing Ocean’s Eleven, the episode goes by pretty quickly, especially when the good guys’ plan goes sideways about seventeen different ways. That probably has something to do with the fact that there are about four good-guy plans being enacted at the same time, because good guys don’t like to communicate.
SONG OF THE DAY
Suzy – “Don’t Forget Me” from the OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 10 RECAP
While hiding in Lord Park’s secret storage room, Kang-chi cops an accidental feel. Yeo-wool just stands there, frozen, until they finally come to their senses and break free in an explosion of awkward.
There’s no time for you’re-not-a-real-boy explanations though, because Evil Minion is shouting at Gon to move aside so he can remove the painting that Jo Gwan-woong likes so much… the painting that also hides the door to the secret compartment.
It slides back like a false wall, with another plain wall behind it. It doesn’t look overtly suspicious, but the minion knocks against it and gives it a shove, but since Kang-chi and Yeo-wool are just on the other side pushing back, it doesn’t budge.
He still finds it suspicious enough to go report to his boss, and orders his men to guard the area for now, and tells the contractor to stop all work on the flooring. Ah, to trap our leads inside? Clunky, but I guess it does the job.
It definitely makes their awkwardness even more awkward, since they have nowhere to run away from each other. Kang-chi just keeps looking down at his hand like it’s got ‘xplainin’ to do.
Master Dam and Tae-seo get word about the hiccup in their plans, and get to work on a contingency plan.
Meanwhile, Chung-jo is made to sit in front of Jo Gwan-woong as he leers to his heart’s content, and she asks if what he wants to see is her biting her own tongue before his eyes. She grits her teeth and says that she won’t waste her life pathetically that way.
Soo-ryun comes to rescue her with the same defense (that she’s just a trainee and not a gisaeng yet) but Jo Gwan-woong counters that he won’t lay a hand on her until she’s officially a gisaeng… so in exchange she should allow him to look at her all he wants. Ewwww.
Chung-jo follows Soo-ryun to her room, where she begs not to be made to sit in front of the bastard that killed her father, but Soo-ryun tells her that if this is her lot in life, she has to deal with it.
Chung-jo would rather die, but Soo-ryun tells her that all of this is her opportunity to do something about the injustices she’s suffered. She cries that she’ll hate Soo-ryun for this, and the wise madam counters that if that keeps her going, she’ll be the object of her hate anytime.
Soo-ryun receives an urgent letter, and upon reading it, she orders her people to swap out Jo Gwan-woong’s liquor—they must do whatever it takes to keep him here for the next four days. They wonder what it’s about, and she shows them Dam Pyung-joon’s symbol on the envelope. Aw yeah.
They succeed in serving him the extra special liquor, and keep him distracted enough to intercept his minion’s message, and they tell the minion he was ordered to wait outside. I don’t know if this’ll last four days, but let’s hope it works long enough to get them out.
Kang-chi and Yeo-wool sit in silence, and then it’s a round of simultaneous “Hey…” and “No, you first…” and back to silence. Kang-chi can’t stand it anymore and starts needlessly counting the chests of silver just to say something.
But he notices that Yeo-wool is looking worse, and takes off his outer layer to keep her warm. She cringes when he brushes against her arm, so he rips her sleeve (for all the clothing removal that’s going on, it’s not as sexy as it sounds) and discovers her infected wound.
He asks how she got hurt, which she doesn’t answer. But then he remembers that it was because of him, when he wolfed out and knocked her back the other night. He says they have to get out of here before it gets worse, but she argues that they’ll lose everything if they leave now.
Kang-chi doesn’t see how a human life is worth more than all this money, but she sees it as more than money—it’s ships, and naval defense, and winning wars. She says she can’t live with herself if they lose that because of her.
So then it’s a waiting game on both sides. Jo Gwan-woong gets really tipsy and stumbles over to Chung-jo. As he caresses her face, he says, “I’ve never once forgotten you, Seo-hwa…”
And then he leans in to kiss her. Augh, make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop. She turns away just in time, and thank goodness he’s too drunk to do anything about it, and passes out in her lap.
His head minion storms in and demands that he be woken up, but he’s too far gone, and Soo-ryun tells him to come back in the morning. Phew, one crisis averted.
Chung-jo can barely stand as she walks back to her room. She stops in the courtyard at the shower of flower petals coming down that remind her of kissing Kang-chi, and she sheds a tear.
Tae-seo gets up and grabs a sword, and marches out purposefully. Uh… can we maybe put him on a leash until he stops trying to kill people?
Kang-chi starts to worry that “young master Dam” isn’t looking so well, and she answers, “Yeo-wool. That’s my name. Dam Yeo-wool.”
It instantly triggers his memory, and now he puts it all together—the little girl he saved from the dog, her knowing about his fear of spiders, her question about whether or not he remembered her. He even recalls her rescue that night, when they met under the crescent moon.
She starts to pass out and he runs over to catch her, as all the memories sink in and he realizes who she is. She faints and falls back in his arms, and her topknot comes out (which pffffft—that thing doesn’t come undone when she’s fighting an army of ninjas, but it does now). But it’s her feverish forehead that Kang-chi notices, and he starts to panic.
Master Dam notices that Tae-seo is missing, but by the time they discover it, he’s already standing outside the Hundred Year Inn. He just walks right inside, which seems like a really bad idea, and tells a servant to give Gon a message that he’ll keep the guards distracted while he rescues the people trapped inside.
Oh phew, at least he’s not complicating matters with murderous thoughts, but couldn’t someone less high-profile have been the distraction guy? Say, someone who didn’t escape jail recently?
But it’s too late to go back now, and Tae-seo draws out every last guard, buying Gon the time to get Kang-chi and Yeo-wool out. He comes in to find Yeo-wool passed out in Kang-chi’s arms, and cuts him off angrily before he can say anything.
He runs in calling her Yeo-wool agasshi because he’s so worried, but it does feel like suddenly no one’s keeping her secret. He carries her away, as Kang-chi says he took care of the immediate threat, and then looks down at his hand, which now has a cut in it. Hm.
Gon gets Yeo-wool to a cart so she can be taken back first, and then joins Tae-seo in the fight. Meanwhile, Kang-chi finds his old friend Ok-man and asks for his help with something in the vault.
Tae-seo tells Gon to go ahead without him because he has unfinished business here, and even though that seems like a terrible idea, Gon listens and leaves him to fight all those men alone. Whaaa?
But as soon as the head minion arrives, Tae-seo falls to his knees with a splitting headache. The spell comes on stronger than ever, and he remembers what Master Dam told him—the only way to break it is if the person who cast it un-casts it, or he dies. I vote Option 2.
Tae-seo announces that it’s why he came here, and runs at the guy full-force with his sword raised. But it stops right at his throat, like there’s an invisible wall protecting him. Tae-seo struggles against it with all his strength, but it won’t move, and the minion scoffs that he can’t kill him.
What’s more is that Tae-seo seems unable to act against this guy’s commands, and when he demands to know the real reason he’s here, Tae-seo can’t believe it as he raises his own finger to point towards the vault. Head Minion finally cracks open the hidden door and discovers the mountain of treasure inside, and poor Tae-seo crumbles to the ground in tears.
Master Dam gets the pitiful report from Gon, that they lost the treasure AND Tae-seo, and that now Jo Gwan-woong’s men are guarding the vault like a fortress. But one man pipes up that it’s not truly over yet, because they do still have one man inside.
Cut to Kang-chi, peering out from behind a crate with a mischievous grin.
Teacher Gong tends to Yeo-wool, and says that she’ll be better in no time. Master Dam asks if he’s the one who sent Kang-chi to the Hundred Year Inn, and Teacher Gong remains cryptic and cheeky: “All I did was make a bet with him…”
Inside the vault, Kang-chi stretches, cracks a few knuckles, and says aloud, “Shall we begin, you old fogey?”
At the crack of dawn, Head Minion demands to see Jo Gwan-woong, and reports that he found Park Mu-sol’s secret storage room. As they arrive at the inn, the servants are loading up two big carts with sacks of grain, saying that they give food to feed the navy every year. Ha, nice.
The carts set off on their journey and Jo Gwan-woong heads inside, giddy like a little kid at Christmas. He insists on going into the vault alone, but as soon as he steps inside, he screams for his minion.
He rushes in to find the room cleaned out of every last piece of silver that was in there. Awesome. The bad news is they catch on to the food delivery bait-n-switch right away, and though the servants don’t break, the guards are ordered to go straight to the naval base.
Lee Soon-shin comes out to face Jo Gwan-woong, who says that something of his got delivered by accident along with the grain, and insists on having his men inspect the carts themselves. The officers protest, but Lee Soon-shin allows it.
They tear into the sacks… and they’re filled with grains, as advertised.
Back in the vault, servant Choi heads down and calls for Kang-chi, who pops out and removes the giant tarp he took from the construction site… and behind it is the massive fortune, hidden right under their noses all this time. Lol.
Lee Soon-shin sighs at the loss of grain that could’ve fed his men, and Jo Gwan-woong retorts arrogantly that he’ll send the same amount to replace it, scoffing at the need to feed an army when the country isn’t at war.
Lee Soon-shin growls at his men to pick up every last grain from the ground because it comes from the sweat and hard work of the people of Joseon, and tells Jo Gwan-woong that from this day forward the navy will not accept a single drop from the Hundred Year Inn. He orders his men to escort them out.
Jo Gwan-woong turns to go when a familiar voice calls out to them. It’s Kang-chi, who greets them happily and tsk-tsks at wasting precious food like that. He’s got three giant carts behind him, and says with a smile that he’s here on an errand from the late Lord Park.
And then he just waltzes the giant carts of silver right past them, because he can. Ha. I love it.
They can do nothing but stand there and watch the money wheeled by, because they have no claim to it, and they can’t even take it by force. The head minion lurches at Kang-chi, but an officer has a sword at his throat in no time.
He says he had that vault surrounded so that no one could go in or out, so how did Kang-chi do it? Kang-chi leans in: “Didn’t you know? I’m not a person.” He leaves Jo Gwan-woong fuming, and it’s pretty damn satisfying.
Lee Soon-shin thanks Kang-chi for keeping his promise, and Kang-chi says fulfilling Lord Park’s last will is naturally his duty. And then he asks hesitantly, “About that proof I asked for…”
Cut to Teacher Gong, admiring Lee Soon-shin’s hat in wonder. Kang-chi swells up proudly, “See, this is how close we are!” It cracks me up that Kang-chi really was motivated by this bet. Kitchen fogey is officially a genius.
Teacher Gong fondles the hat lovingly and puts it on like a little fanboy and asks how it looks. Kang-chi: “Can I just buy you a different hat?” He asks the teacher to be careful with it, since he has to return it tomorrow.
The old man asks what Kang-chi wants for his wish, since he did win the bet, and Kang-chi rubs his hands together gleefully as the lid to a pot opens…
Samgetang? Hahahahaha. He moved 5000 nyang of silver for Lee Soon-shin to build his turtle ships… so he could get samgetang? Hahaha. I’m dying. In his defense, it looks like one tasty chicken.
He tears into it, calling to the chicken lovingly, and there they sit, Kang-chi gnawing on a chicken leg and Teacher Gong flaunting his Lee Soon-shin hat, like a pair of idiots… who maybe just saved a country.
Master Dam and Gon watch them from afar, and wonder if maybe Lee Soon-shin was right about Kang-chi all along, or if he’s molding him that way.
Jo Gwan-woong brings Tae-seo out and sets him free, but orders him to return with news of what Lee Soon-shin is doing with the silver.
Tae-seo says he’d rather die than be their dog, but Jo Gwan-woong says if he doesn’t do as he’s told, it’s his sister Chung-jo who was sold as a gisaeng, who will pay the consequences.
Wait, is this the first he’s learning of this? That seems like a gross oversight. It must be, because Tae-seo goes to the gisaeng house and cries to see his sister carrying a tray of liquor and apologizing to guests after a spill.
Yeo-wool wakes up and wonders how she got home, and runs out to greet Kang-chi, and then stops short, remembering the awkward touching. She covers her chest and turns around, but he spots her and runs over to feel her forehead.
He seems completely unruffled, still calling her Dam-gun and feeling her forehead like it’s no big deal. She whirls around and asks about the silver, worrying that it all went wrong because of her.
He suddenly leans in close like he’s going to kiss her, and quips, “See, this is why I was so completely fooled. Other women wouldn’t be worried about the silver before everything else, no?” She thinks about it for a second and continues her line of questioning anyway.
He assures her that he delivered it all safely, and she beams, petting him on the head like a puppy. I love that when they’re distracted it’s like nothing has changed, but now they have that belated realization every few seconds after they touch. She pulls away quickly.
Kang-chi thinks back to their conversation, when she had said that their first meeting would have no meaning if he didn’t remember it, and he had asked, “And if I do remember it? Does it have meaning then?” He doesn’t say anything about remembering yet.
She notices the cut in his hand and asks how he got hurt. Was it because of her? Flashback to inside the vault, after she had passed out. Kang-chi notices a few blue lights float into her wound, and gets an idea.
He takes out a dagger and cuts his hand, and squeezes a few drops of his blood into her wound… and the blue lights follow, and multiply, and heal her arm completely, as he watches in wonder. Nifty.
Yeo-wool guesses that he did get hurt because of her, but he tells her not to worry about it, and doesn’t give her details. She tells him not to do it again: “I don’t want you to get hurt because of me either.”
They share a lingering gaze and then Tae-seo comes looking for Kang-chi, blindfolded to keep him from getting stabby.
At the gisaeng house, Jo Gwan-woong tells Soo-ryun that he changed his mind, and he wants to sleep with Chung-jo, tonight. Ugh with the skin crawls, this guy. What’s worse is that Chung-jo is there to hear it. Her knees give out and she falls to the floor.
Back at the school, Tae-seo says he has a favor to ask of Kang-chi, and pleads with him to rescue Chung-jo. He gets down on his knees: “I beg of you, Kang-chi-ya, please save her!”
Kang-chi stands there, stunned, not knowing what to do. And behind a pillar, Yeo-wool whirls around, having overheard.
I sort of love that there’s no big to-do about Yeo-wool being a girl. He doesn’t get all angsty about it because they’re just friends, so he’s just the idiot who didn’t know, which is pretty much how we felt about it as viewers. All the crossdressing hijinks with none of the angst? I’ll take it. I don’t care much about the fact that they knew each other as children, but I am glad that he figured out that Yeo-wool was the one who saved him that first night under the peach blossom tree. It’s nice to see that they have a friendship that grows out of mutual concern, and isn’t greatly altered by the fact that she’s not a boy. Though I suppose in the grand scheme of things, if she accepted his gumiho-ness, him being cool about her girl parts doesn’t really compare.
It’s a bit frustrating to go back and forth with Chung-jo’s arc because once she made her decision to stay at the gisaeng house, I liked where we were going with her character and Soo-ryun, as figures outside the confines of strict noble society. Her searching for a way to survive, maybe even dreaming of a different life for a woman that isn’t defined by nobility—all such good stuff. But it goes out the window every time Jo Gwan-woong comes around and leers at her, because I just want her to drive a fork in his eye and say to hell with it. I just hope we don’t go back to square one with Tae-seo wanting Kang-chi to rescue her, even though I obviously want her to get away from Creeps McGee.
This show tends to falter when it tries to be too serious or too dark, but it has a nice sweet spot in the cheeky comedy and the whimsical supernatural element—it does well with the magic, and it’d be nice to have more of it. The being trapped together is always an eye-roller of a trope (It’s really hard to meet a drama that does that well) but at least we earn something out of it in this episode. Kang-chi’s healing blood is a biggie, and I much prefer this kind of discovery, where he figures things out as he goes, instead of being told by the Exposition Monk what he can and cannot do.
The heist moved things along swiftly, and I really enjoyed Kang-chi’s big hero moment in this episode, where he finally gets to do something right for the good guys and gain some trust. But my favorite thing is that it’s then undercut with the bet and the utter ridiculousness of the pair of knuckleheads enjoying their spoils of battle, with zero concern for all the pomp and circumstance that’s going on around them. I just love that stuff. It was this great Zeppo moment—behind the scenes Lee Soon-shin is building turtle ships and making history, and in the foreground a half-gumiho and an old fogey are having a grand ol’ time with a chicken and a hat. Now that’s comedy.