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Tale of Nokdu: Episodes 3-4

Our hero finds himself stuck pretending to be a widow as he tries to discover why the female assassins attacked his family. Luckily he has someone he can count on for help, though her help comes with a bad attitude. Still, they’re coming to rely on each other whether they like it or not, and our innocent hero even finds himself with some confusing feelings he doesn’t understand.

 
EPISODES 3-4 RECAP

Nokdu is carried to the spring by the Virtuous Women Corps, who are bound and determined to get to know the new “widow” by bathing together. To his horror, Dong-joo joins them, and she advances on him until he topples into the water.

He comes up spluttering, with his (very muscular and masculine) shoulder uncovered. He puts his clothes back in order, but the four ladies are staring in shock. Soon-nyeo throws a rock… which sails over Nokdu’s head and hits pervy village vice-curator Yoon-geon, who was spying on them from behind a boulder.

Yoon-geon’s clearly been drinking, and he jokes that he was looking for Nokdu’s winged dress. (He’s referencing the folk tale of the fairy and the woodcutter, where the woodcutter stole the fairy’s wings while she was bathing and forced her to marry him. It’s extra funny because the actor played a major role in last year’s drama about the fairy tale.)

Nokdu nearly clocks Yoon-geon, but but Soon-nyeo’s fist gets there first. As they carry Yoon-geon down the mountain, Mal-nyeon shoots Nokdu little side-glances and says she knows why he didn’t want to get in the water. But LOL, she’s just noticed Nokdu’s flat chest, and she tells him that it’s what’s inside that counts as Dong-joo gives him a supportive pat on the back.

MINISTER HEO (Kim Tae-woo) gets a written report that Nokdu was poisoned, but he learns that in fact, Nokdu faked his death and escaped, and may be hiding near the widows’ village looking for the people who attacked his father and brother. He asks his informant about the king’s people who went to the island, and his informant says he only sent the Muweol Corps (the widow assassins), so the king won’t be able to find anything.

As for those who escaped the island, he’s got widows all over the kingdom looking for them, so they should be found soon. The informant leaves, and Minister Heo muses, “He’s surely fated to live a long life. Why did he show up again? Why now, of all times?”

Minister Im tells Minister Heo that he saw Jung Yoon-jo, Nokdu’s father, at Gangryong Harbor. Minister Heo believes that Yoon-jo died during the war, but Minister Im is certain, so he’s told not to tell anyone. Unfortunately, Minister Im has already told the king.

Yoon-jo and Hwang-tae, Nokdu’s brother, make their way by boat towards Hanyang. Hwang-tae is still unwell from his injury, but he insists on going into Hanyang himself, since his father will certainly attract more assassins. Yoon-jo is worried about having been recognized by Minister Im, and Hwang-tae asks if he can bury the secret he’s been dreading, if he brings Nokdu back.

Master Hwang is with them, and his little daughter Aeng-du, and Yoon-jo thanks him for all the trouble he’s gone through for them. Minister Heo says it’s the least he can do for his future in-laws, ha. Yoon-jo has a coughing fit, which doesn’t bode well.

King Gwanghae is told that Gangryong Harbor and the island were searched, but Yoon-jo couldn’t be found. The king says he’s disappointed that the friend he thought died during the war might not be alive after all, but the look in his eyes is cold.

In her room at the gisaeng house, Dong-joo lights a candle and asks Nokdu if he plans to sleep in his wet clothes. Still playing the sweet-voiced widow, he asks for a towel and some spare clothes and privacy to change, and his requests spark Dong-joo’s temper.

Nokdu literally does a spit-take when Dong-joo starts to undress right in front of him. He whines for her to warn him first, and she snaps that she’ll put up a sign in the street next time, hee. Dong-joo shakes him and says this is her room, and he lays down grumbling that they’re actually Lady Cheon’s rooms.

Dong-joo says Nokdu can sleep outside if he hates her that much, but he mutters that his lips will be paralyzed if he sleeps outside — something his hyung, Hwang-tae, used to say when he’d catch Nokdu napping on the beach. Once Hwang-tae had joined him and sighed that Nokdu kept running away from home when it was easy to find him on such a tiny island.

Nokdu had protested that he only got on the fishing boat because Hwang-tae was sick, and that their father should explain why it made him so upset Nokdu could give up or overcome his concerns. The brothers had laughed, knowing that Nokdu would never give up his dream of going to the mainland and becoming a general.

Four widows convene around a note saying that Nokdu didn’t die from their poisoning attempt, and they guess that he knew an attempt would be made on his life. One of them mentions the man that was recently chased away from the village, and they decide that they need to make a more organized effort to follow their orders.

Nokdu wakes in the middle of the night and hurries to get dressed before Dong-joo wakes up and sees him shirtless. She grabs his ankle, but she’s just dreaming and talking in her sleep. Nokdu frees his ankle and sneaks into the room where his suspected assassin lives, and he finds a set of the distinctive maroon clothes worn by the Muweol Corps.

He dresses in the clothes and finds the Muweol Corps gathered to discuss their mission. Some of them are disturbed that they were ordered to kill a family that weren’t nobles or corrupted officials. Their leader, KIM SSOOK (Jo Soo-hyang) says that only the boss knows why, and Nokdu wonders who that “boss” is.

The Corps is warned that the man who followed them to the village may try to sneak in again, so they need to be extra vigilant, particularly in the gisaeng house. They pass around a picture of Nokdu, then Ssook leaves to see the boss. Nokdu follows her and gets caught, but he nimbly avoids her sword and flees.

Ssook calls for help and they locate Nokdu again, and this time she slices his mask off. Hiding his face, he maneuvers Ssook into burying her sword in a tree and escapes while she’s trying to dislodge it.

He heads back to the widow village and changes into his women’s clothes, and he has a moment of terror when YEON-HOON (Han Ga-rim), Ssook’s second in command, claps a hand on his shoulder. She plucks a leaf from his collar and asks why he’s up so late, so he says that Dong-joo’s bad sleeping habits woke him, and Yeon-hoon laughs that Dong-joo’s drinking habits are even worse. They let him go, but one of them watches him closely.

The next day, gisaeng MAE HWA-SOO (Lee Joo-bin) tells Yul-moo, the good-looking chef, about the man who tried to infiltrate the widow’s village. Nokdu tentatively tries joining them, but he’s knocked aside by a messenger delivering a precious block of ice to Yul-moo.

The messenger draws his sword, alarming the gisaengs, but he just deftly slices the ice block in half. Hwa-soo tells Nokdu that the messenger is PARK DAN-HO (Hwang In-yeob) Joseon’s best… (Nokdu: “Swordsman?”) pushover. Hee. She says Dan-ho is so loyal to Yul-moo that he’ll do anything for him. He looks a lot scarier than he is, and Nokdu mutters that he thought the guy was a messenger from the king.

Yul-moo shaves the ice and adds toppings to make bingsu, which he presents to Dong-joo when she emerges from her room. He holds out a spoonful for her to try, only for Nokdu to leeeeean in with his mouth open. Dong-joo crams the spoon into Nokdu’s mouth and high-tails it out of there.

Seeing her running away reminds Yul-moo of when they were young and he used to watch Dong-joo, who would eat chunks of ice to cool off in summer. He says wistfully that she should have at least tried the bingsu, but LOL, Nokdu has finished off the entire bowl and is now licking it clean.

Dong-joo heads to a cave where she’s stashed weapons and her plans for killing the king during his procession. She grumbles that Nokdu ruined her careful scheme, so the only way to kill the king now will be to enter the palace.

At the widow’s village, Nokdu is coming to the same conclusion: “To catch a tiger, you have to enter it’s den.” He goes into the building where the widows handle village tasks, and he approaches the Muweol Corps ladies.

Another widow barges in, complaining that she took wine to the gibang and a strange man held her hand. Nokdu doesn’t see her face as she tells the others that the man claimed that he thought she was Hwa-soo, the prettiest of the gisaengs. She preens , but when we see her face, it’s a solid no. The other Muweols lie that she definitely looks exactly like Hwa-soo, and Yeon-hoon gets shushed when she asks if they’re all blind, ha.

Nokdu steps in and tells the woman that he’s terribly sorry she looks like someone she hates. He points out the differences in their features, trying to flatter the woman but ending up insulting her instead. She screams and calls him a drenched weasel, which makes Dong-joo, who’s been watching, crack up laughing.

The woman grabs Nokdu by the hair and starts yanking him around, and when Dong-joo tries to break them up, she gets shoved into a hot cauldron and burns her hands. Nokdu is also pushed into the cauldron, burning his butt, hee.

That night, Yoon-jo wakes up and steps outside to watch the storm that’s been brewing. Elsewhere, Minister Heo also contemplates the rain and notes that it’s exactly like the day that Yoon-jo died. In his memory, he sees himself leveling a sword at Yoon-jo, who’s standing on the edge of a cliff holding a small, precious bundle.

Minister Heo raises his sword to strike, but Yoon-jo turns his back, and a tiny cry comes from the bundle in his arms. Minister Heo hesitates, then tells Yoon-jo, “Go. I will report that you buried the dead baby and that I stabbed you, and you fell into the river. Live as if you do not exist. Live like you are dead.”

Nokdu bandages Dong-joo’s hands, whining that he really was trying to be nice to the widow. Dong-joo guesses that “she’s” never had any friends and offers Nokdu advice for next time in exchange for help eating. While Nokdu feeds her, Dong-joo demonstrates how to simper and flatter and play along when a woman is fishing for compliments.

After dinner, Dong-joo also needs help undressing for bed, but Nokdu absolutely refuses. He lays down a blanket and plops Dong-joo on it, still fully dressed, then throws a pillow at her, hee. Dong-joo snaps that she’ll never ask for help again, and Nokdu leaves, grumbling that they’ll never be friends at this rate.

When he returns, he finds Dong-joo scratching her back by rubbing on the furniture. He deigns to scratch her back as she gives directions, until her itch moves too low for his comfort. He gets out his own bedding and lies down, clutching a hand to his chest. Awww, someone’s getting a crush already.

The pain in her hands keeps Dong-joo awake, and she remembers that Nokdu was also burned. She tries to wake Nokdu but he’s a heavy sleeper, so she just lifts his skirts, intending to apply some medicine to his toasted hiney. He wakes just as she’s about to pull his pants down, and he tosses Dong-joo across the room in surprise.

Minister Heo plays a game of janggi with the insomniac king, who makes excuses not to return to the palace even though it’s late. King Gwanghae muses that Yoon-jo was good at janggi, and says he gave Yoon-jo one more chance to change his move, but he didn’t take it. I don’t think he’s talking about the game anymore.

He confirms Minister Heo’s claim that he killed Yoon-jo after the baby was buried, and seems relieved when Minister Heo maintains his story. King Gwanghae says that he trusts HM never to lie to him, then lies down to rest. Minister Heo contemplates strangling the sleeping king, but the shadow of the guard outside changes his mind.

After Minister Heo leaves the room, King Gwanghae opens his eyes. ~shiver~ When he eventually leaves, he tells his guard that He believes Yoon-jo is alive, and orders him to continue searching.

In the morning, Nokdu practices his vague flattery, but the suspicious Muweol assassin hears him and gives him another odd stare. She looks again at her picture of the man who tried to infiltrate the village, and she follows Nokdu, but just as she calls out to him, Yoon-geon shows up with some salve for Nokdu’s burns. Okay, that’s kinda sweet.

Nokdu takes Yoon-geon’s hands, which makes the situation look romantic, so the assassin finally leaves. As soon as she’s gone, Nokdu yanks his hands back and chastises Yoon-geon for his crush. Yoon-geon offers to put the salve on Nokdu’s burns, so Nokdu sticks out his bum and gives his suitor a nosebleed. He does take the salve though, hee.

He follows Dong-joo to the river when he sees her carrying a huge basket of laundry. He insists on doing the laundry so Dong-joo doesn’t make her injuries worse, and Dong-joo reciprocates by giving Nokdu a soft blanket to sit on.

Dong-joo notes that Nokdu is pretty good at laundry for a noblewoman, and they argue over whether Nokdu will help Dong-joo again. Nokdu insists he’s only doing it because her burns are inconvenient, so she needs to hurry and heal, but Dong-joo just grins at him knowingly.

Later, Nokdu applies some of Yoon-geon’s salve to Dong-joo’s burns, though he acts like it’s a huge annoying chore. Dong-joo says that being taken care of reminds her of the old days, and Nokdu complains that he’s practically her mother at this point.

He asks about Dong-joo’s mother, jealous of Dong-joo’s positive memories, but Dong-joo says that her memories are painful. Dong-joo asks about Nokdu’s mother, and he thinks about how she was very sick, and she’d apologized that he had to live the way they lived. Before she’d died, she’d said, “Your name is not Hwang-tae. You are Jung… Lee…”

She’d begun gasping for breath, and she’d looked at Nokdu and told him, “It is all your fault. Had it not been for you, my son would have… my family would have… ” but then she’d died. Nokdu just says to Dong-joo that she was a good mother, though he felt sorry for her.

He acts all prim when Dong-joo offers to put some salve on his burned tush, but she grows serious and asks if she can call him “Unni.” Nokdu is mesmerized by her huge, pleading eyes, but Dong-joo takes his hesitation as rejection, though he says that he’s not older than her. Flustered, Nokdu picks up his things and runs off.

He wanders the village that night, wondering whether Dong-joo noticed him blushing. The sound of a chime sends all the widows running for their homes, looking terrified. Nokdu huddles in an alley and peeks out to see a red-clad shaman ringing the chimes, followed by a pair of veiled women in white.

A widow tells Nokdu that the shaman is praying to console the widows who died wrongful deaths. She says that they must keep the doors closed and turn the lights off against roaming spirits, and that widows who ignore the warnings sometimes disappear.

Staying hidden, Nokdu follows the shaman to a shrine, and several women in black are led in behind her. Nokdu sees the face of one, and realizes that it’s a man. His foot slips and he lets out an oof!, and the women in white all draw swords. Several arrows fly over his head, killing a boar that was only a few feet away.

The women in white (who turn out to be several of the Muweol Corps) head towards Nokdu’s location, so he throws a rock to make them think he’s in a different place. Ssook spots Nokdu running away and whistles for her assassins, who are stationed nearby in the woods.

Dong-joo is cleaning a floor at the gibang when Hwa-soo wanders over, smelling of the alcohol a drunk patron spilled on her. Dong-joo tells Hwa-soo to clean up while she fetches another dress.

Nokdu runs into the gibang and hides his black cloak just as Ssook catches up. He takes refuge in what he thinks is the empty dressing room, but Dong-joo is inside. She jumps on him as soon as he steps inside, and they go crashing to the floor.

They jump up and Nokdu grabs some scissors, claiming that he was looking for a pair. He hears Ssook in the hallway checking the rooms, so he tells Dong-joo that he wants to give her a haircut and tells her to close her eyes (and pokes them, lol, when she asks why).

Outside, the Muweol Corps surround the gibang as Minister Heo enters and asks Lady Cheon if “he’s” here. She says she thinks so and allows him to search.

Dong-joo trims Dong-joo’s uneven locks as he listens to the noises in the hall. He cuts one side much too short, so he cuts the other side to match, and when Dong-joo says that she just wants it even, he replies he has to take care with her precious hair. She mutters that if she’s so precious then why did he refuse her request to call him “Unni.”

Her eyes are open now, and being so close to Nokdu, she notices something on his chin. She reaches out to touch and Nokdu jerks back, accidentally cutting Dong-joo’s ear with the scissors. She picks up a mirror, but Nokdu grabs it to keep her from seeing her (now very short) hair.

Dong-joo tries to get the mirror back, finding Nokdu’s behavior strange. He holds it behind his back and they have a slap-fight until Nokdu falls backwards. Dong-joo tries to stand, but she trips on her skirt and falls, her hand landing right between Nokdu’s legs. Ouch, and uh-oh.

Nokdu lets loose a very loud, very un-ladylike groan, curling into a ball in pain. Dong-joo removes her hand, looking like she knows exactly what she just grabbed. Nokdu sits up, and Dong-joo reaches out to touch his chin, feeling the rough stubble there.

She picks up the scissors and points them at Nokdu. He attempts a girly, “Omo!” but Dong-joo doesn’t look the slightest bit fooled.

 
COMMENTS

Well, so much for that disguise (and how cute were Nokdu’s pleading eyes there at the end?). At least I’m assuming that Dong-joo is too smart to keep being fooled by Nokdu after feeling his stubble and… well, she pretty much got a whole handful of the truth. I’ve been enjoying their growing reluctant friendship, but it will be fun to see Dong-joo in on Nokdu’s secret. Goodness knows, Nokdu needs all the help he can get.

Tale of Nokdu is so much fun! It’s different than so many other sageuks with it’s gender-bending man, female assassins, and simple storyline that still manages to catch and hold my attention. I’m constantly amazed at how believable Jang Dong-yoon is as a woman, with his soft features and voice (and it helps that he doesn’t have a very prominent Adam’s apple). Yet when he’s in his own clothing (or out of them, yum), he’s masculine and strong and not the least bit ladylike. I love gender-bending dramas, but Nokdu is the first character since Eun-chan in Coffee Prince that I find it completely plausible that those around him buy into his female persona. He doesn’t make a perfectly believable woman because he’s never really been around truly feminine ladies, but he’s doing a good enough job that I understand why those around him don’t question it. And character-wise, I just love Nokdu to pieces… how could you not adore a guy who is brave enough to fight trained assassins in the middle of the night, yet still so innocent that he steals sweets and licks the bowl?

As for the darker story regarding the king and the stolen baby, at this point all we have is speculation and assumptions. Until the end of this episode, I was assuming that Nokdu was the baby that Yoon-jo secreted from the palace that fateful night. But on his mother’s deathbed, she’d seemed to think she was talking to Hwang-tae, Nokdu’s hyung, and had said that Hwang-tae wasn’t his real name. So my theory is that there was a coup and King Gwanghae stole the throne, and that Hwang-tae is actually the heir whose life was saved by Yoon-jo and Minister Heo. What I don’t understand is why Minister Heo is sending the Muweol Corps after the family (and they’re definitely fighting to kill), after spending twenty-ish years keeping such a dangerous secret. But if I’m right, I’m glad that Nokdu isn’t the heir, because it would be another example of how this show is taking familiar scenarios and turning them on their ear (plus I really like Song Geon-hee, who’s popping up everywhere lately, and I’d love to see him get to flex his acting skills on a complex role like that).

I don’t mind the palace intrigues in this story, which look as though they’ll get pretty convoluted the more we learn. But what really makes me love this drama is Nokdu and Dong-joo as frenemies — watching them bicker is just so cute, because they’re both too adorable to be truly mean (and I know I’m overusing the word “cute,” but they’re just so damn cute!). They already have some pretty crackling chemistry, too, which was a concern I had, since I’ve only seen Jang Dong-yoon in non-romantic roles. But I should have trusted Kim So-hyun, who has played several romantic leads and is growing up to be one of those actresses that has chemistry with nearly everyone. The growing friendship between Nokdu and Dong-joo is sweet, so sweet that I was hoping it would take a bit longer for Dong-joo to learn that her new roommate is really a man. But now that it looks like she has, I think thinks are going to get really crazy. I hope Dong-joo remains as Nokdu’s ally, because the poor boy is about to find himself in over his head between his burgeoning feelings and the simple matter of trying to stay alive.

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Thanks so much for the recap and comments. "She got a whole handful of the truth..." ha, ha! I love this show to bits and honestly, it's the first kdrama I've liked this much since Radiant. It's always welcome to have a fresh take on over-used tropes.
It's helping me get over the Untamed obsession...

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They did a good job of how she found out. Went straight for it instead of walking egg shells around it and dragging it out for 10 episodes. It's better to be partners in crime and falling in love rather than deceiving each other only to fall in love.

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Totally agree! I hope it is not a fake-out, that she has figured it out and is somehow convinced to be his reluctant ally; that will be a lot more believable and a lot more interesting than continued ignorance.

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Exactly. That's why I have hopes for this drama - they didn't drag out the secret.

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Happy to confirm it wasn't a fake out.

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I’m not big on sageuks especially rom-com ones but something about this show is so charming and the leads already have chemistry. Jang Dong Yoon’s heart eyes and flustered reactions are already getting to me. Please give me more ‘omo omo’ from Jang Dong Yoon and I’ll be a happy watcher 😂

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Yes please.. I think he has opportunity to show case so much and he is...definitely a great cast n chemistry

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I love everything about this show. Not a bored moment. I rewatched episode 1 and 2 because Im so impatient for Monday haha

Great job cast and crew, I hope this fun flows continues

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It's a riot every episode 🤣🤣

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Jang Dong Yoon is such a natural, that I really wish he and Kim Soo Hyun are in a more heavy sageuk like my country. All his emoting is so on point and has such gravitas. But well... I already like this drama more than the writers previous work. Hope they will make it more interesting. The directing strangely captivating, I didn't expected it's his first long drama.

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I think light sageuk is a good start. It's hard to carry a heavy one as a greenie without relying on the veterans.
It must be difficult for those 3 young actors in MY COUNTRY to act beside Kim Yeong-cheol who does everything right. Thankfully their scenes together are very few.

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Yess... He is still a newbie. I don't think he will get every thing right, But I believe he will be believable in a heavy sageuk setting. This Light Sageuk will be a start for him to step up his game and make producer trust him, I think.

Regarding My Country, The 3 young actor is okay, Though Yang Se Jong Is the most suit in this heavy role and already in character.

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They are doing better than I expected. When they are on their own, they are great but when they share screen with Kim Yeong-cheol's commanding presence than you kind of see the difference.
PD Kim is so good at foiling it with that fanboy moment over Yi Seong-gye. Love it!

Lets continue when that show is being recap.

I haven't seen Jang Dong Yoon in a drama before. I meant to watch "Solomon's Perjury" but only managed eps 1 and put it on hold.

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Haha, funny recap! Finally a sageuk I can follow, with no Ministers of the Left or what not to confuse me. And you're right, LollyPip, they're so CUTE!

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Literally squealing and startling the people around me when Dong Joo noticed Nok Du’s beard, him painfully cutting her hair, them grappling over the mirror, and that fateful tumble onto... well...

I haven’t been this engaged in a drama and it’s only episode 2!

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Very cute show. Jang Dong Yoon is very believable as a woman. LOL at the director casting him because his Adam's apple is barely noticeable. My only confusion is that I also watch Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency and I am starting to get the side plots mixed up.

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I have the same problem with getting the two dramas mixed up. Well, at least I did but not anymore since I dropped Flower Crew. I only liked Seo Ji hoon as the king and he wasn't getting enough screen time.

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Me three - I keep getting the plot lines for these shows confused! The big difference right now is that Tale of Nokdu is just a delight while Flower Crew I can't really find funny because I see where show is headed and it is just more hurt for our poor newbie king.

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Yeah poor guy's heart is going to be completely crushed. And he's the one who loved the female lead back when she was still a diamond in the rough.

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I haven't even started that drama because it was evident from the trailers that the first love would end up with major heartbreak.

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Jang Dong-yoon is so pretty and believable as a lady. I recall when I watched Coffee Prince for the first three minutes I thought Eun-chan was a boy. And I was so amazed by how believable Yoon Eun-hye carried her/his character for the rest of the drama. It's also the vibe I get from Jang Dong-yoon in the Tale of Nokdu.
I hope this drama will start a new gender bender and cross dressing male to female drama.
As for the drama itself, the first two episodes didn't grasp me like how Moonlight Drawn by Clouds and 100 Days My Prince did, but I still enjoyed it and I did laugh alot. The palace intrigue is too confusing. I expect something lighter for a suppose to be a romcom fusion sageuk. If I didn't read this recap I would assume Nokdu is the hidden heir. I hope next episodes will be focus more on Nokdu and Jang-doo interaction.

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I also don't like and find the palace intrigue confusing and I also didn't understand anything from Nokdu's mom's final words.

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This was another great episode from this drama. The relationship and attraction between ND and DJ continues to grow and with the revelation out of the way we can focus on their dynamic as reluctant allies. Being a saguek there are a lot of side characters introduced in this episode which I assume will be given more background in the future. The widow village is a very intriguing place and sets aside the regular rules of saguek dramas. It makes it hard to predict what kind of relationships exist in this village and how characters relate to each other. There intrigue and mystery but romance is still the main plot of this drama and based on the newly released stills will hopefully continue to become the bigger focus of the drama.

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Oh I love this show...everything balance perfectly.. The cast is awesome n fun without trying... Can't wait for tomorrow

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Waiting for a scene with KSH and Jo Soo-hyang. I want to see if they sneak in some reference to their arch-rivalry in School 2015 - Who Are You.
And of course the question "Who Are You" could pop up a few times here too.

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Dugu se yo? Hahaha! That would be the best Meta! Let's hope this time they're on the same side!

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They would have to jump thru some hoops to get on the same side, considering one is an assassin and seems to be after the other's likely love interest.

But how about some sort of fight that recreates the scene from early in School 2015 when the 3 baddies pour all that stuff over KSH. What was it -- flour & fish sauce? I wouldn't be surprised to see a fight scene or three here, so they'll have the opportunity if they want to take it.

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I'd completely forgotten about that. That would be fun and I think they did have a scene together in this episode when she burned her hands.

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"...because the poor boy is about to find himself in over his head between his burgeoning feelings and the simple matter of trying to stay alive."

His little heart flutterings when he had to itch her back and when she asked to call him "noona" (instead of oppa!) were, I agree with you Lollypip, so CUTE!

He's so naive about life in general (like the widows'd never seen another woman with muscly shoulders before? *snerk*) and the reading of situations just go over his head (like the compliment scenario and the bingsu sitch. What did he think was happening? "Oh, this guy is just offering sweets around for free! Me, me, me!" I laughed. They're all so frigging adorable).

But then he ascertained that the shaman ritual was a cover (which I didn't work out till swords were drawn)! How can someone be so shrewd and so innocent at the same time?

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He's innocent about all regular things but alert to danger and deceit! He's so likable! They both are!

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The widow village is the best drama setup and so many women! A drama full of women is always the best kind of drama! There isn't only one kind of woman but all kinds with different shapes, sizes and skills! They're doing the whole cross dressing without the over the top mocking gestures and it's so fun to watch! They chemistry is adorable!

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This drama is so cuteee, I hope they steer away from palace intrigue. It's the biggest let down of most sageuk for me, when they forget their initial premise and give 80% of screen time to old men palace scheming.

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I'm hoping the palace intrigue is more like Rookie Historian. Completely forgotten till the last arc and then neatly wrapped up without too much conflict.

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Agree, I prefer to watch the 2 leads and the village people no pun intended lol.
I'm here for the cute!

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Yes, the widow village and gisaengs moonlighting as silent assassins are way more interesting than palace infighting.

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The older actor is not doing it for me too.... Though they are solid actor, but the setting of palace scheming of this drama scream BORING to me too, lol....

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OMG same! Especially the King he isn't a very good actor here! The Minister and Dad are not bad but the King doesn't have any screen presence!

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I've complain about his acting in "The Flower in Prison."
The 2 young leads are doing a much better job here.

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Oh! I haven't even heard of that drama! The two leads are much better actors than the King! He isn't even menacing he's just boring!

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Before I make my comments about the episode can I just say how happy I was when he started to cut her hair. The bob needs to appear immediately I love that look for Kim so-hyun even in sageuk.

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She's a cutie with the new hair!

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I loved this recap and reading it now makes me want to watch the episodes again. I'm happy they won't be waiting to do the revelation even though I was enjoying the mistaken identity hijinks. I'm not thinking too hard about the birth secrets yet because it doesn't occupy a large part of the drama but they did make it too obvious so this theory does seem plausible. I agre that Kim so-hyun has a knack for creating chemistry and I've felt theirs since the teasers themselves. I'm enjoying the bickering a lot but I also want to know more about the widow village itself which I found to be a very refreshing concept. I can't believe I'm saying this but can it be Monday soon?

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I'm impressed by JDY's acting since Solomon's Perjury and since he never disapointed me.

I'm happy to see Kim So Hyun really fits in her character. I didn't like her last dramas, so it's great to watch her like that.

I hope the cross-dressing that will last because it's really fun to watch :D

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I like Kim So-Hyun as a talented actress but strangely I never like any of her drama.

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Page Turner, Bring it on Ghost, School 2015 were all great dramas but she struggled a little during 2017-18. This year she picked up two very good roles and with Love Alarm she proved how nuanced her acting is I she's making great progress. 😁

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I didn't like Ruler: Master of the Mask even Yoo Seung-Ho could save this script ; she was not ready for her role in Radio Romance, she never convinced me as a young adult and Love Alarm, I didn't really understand the character's choices. I think she's not ready for adult role with romance and kiss scenes for now. It's why this kind of drama suits her more for me :)

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RULER was one of the worse sageuks ever written. Even the actors didn't know what the heck they were doing.

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She wasn't an adult in Love Alarm and romance suits her perfectly as we can clearly see in this drama and her previous one. The recapper also clearly mentioning how great she is at creating chemistry with everyone. She transitions just fine between young girl and adult. Shes a very versatile actress the only one in her generation that has successfully challenged various genres. She is entirely convincing in all her roles.

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In fact it's only YJG and KSH from the generation of child actors who have actually managed to prove themselves worthy of lead adult roles. They're also the only ones who have managed to proved how versatile they are. They have been a lite unfortunate that their dramas don't always have good writing but they've always been very good at transitioning into their roles.

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*little

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In Love Alarm, she's an highschool student first but at the end of the drama she's older. And I didn't say she wasn't good as an actress in this drama but that I couldn't understand the characters.

I also think she always has a good chemistry with her costars.

But I don't agree with the fact she's convincing in all her roles and honestly it doesn't matter, every actor has up and down in their career.

I understand that you are a big fan but please calm down a little bit with the "only one in her generation", there are a lot of good young actresses too.

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I get fangirling and being loyal to your bias but don't discredit other child actors who are struggling with big age gap pairing and crappy scripts that doesn't help with their transition.

Yeo Jin-goo and Kim So-hyun do have their struggles with transitioning to adult roles, especially when paired with much older actors or actresses. Sometimes it works but most of the time it doesn't.

This drama is light and playful and this role is perfect for her age.

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In Love Alarm she was a college student in the end which I wouldn't say is much older. I don't see how she wasn't convincing as a college student. There are other actors in their generation that are good but most of them haven't done lead roles and haven't challenged different genres. I didn't say it was their fault for being unable to do that but it also means they haven't been able to prove themselves yet. YJG and KSH have been working non stop for 4 years which is why I think they are the only ones who have been the most convincing at lead roles. Yes I'm somewhat biased but I never felt she didn't act her character to the best of her abilities. Both Ruler and Radio Romance had very bad scripts and it wasn't the age gaps which was ultimately the problem. The same goes for YJG it wasn't the difference in age but the quality of the script that was the most problematic every time.

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I wasn't trying to create an argument so I'll just apologise for any misunderstanding.

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Oof! The gender reversals in this drama! The man being chased down by the bad guys who are actually female! That hand crushes the crown jewels and its gotta hurt! Best ending scene!

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Where else can we see the male lead gets into a cat-fight? This drama is so refreshing.

As for mom, I think she means that by letting Nok-du alive and help raising him up ruined her own family, her precious son. His real name is 'Jung Yi..' (dad's real last name), not Jeon Hwang-Tae. I believe anyone in line for the throne in Joseon era would have had the last name 'Lee' not 'Jung'. Anyway, it might be too soon to cut down any possibility.

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I agree with you.. I believe, Hwang Tae is Jung Yoon Jo's son and his real name is Jung Yi (..). But because of Nokdu, they have to live in hiding, no noble life, but to leave like peasants.

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This part is so confusing to me. It seems like the mother is talking to Nok-du thinking it is her son, telling him how precious he is and then suddenly realizes that it is not her son, but Nok-du and starts blaming him for existing. The scene just goes over my head as I don't know what the intentions were. Either/both of the boys could have fake names as they are in hiding. The brother is named Hwang-Tae, so it seems like she is trying to tell the brother his real name and not Nok-du. I assume the baby was Nok-du since the mother is blaming him for disrupting the family, but I just don't know. I watched the episode on two different web sites to get two different translations but still am confused. Ah maybe on Monday.

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I'm sure they made this scene confusing on purpose. Keeping my eyes peeled out for other clues instead because I'm certain this whole birth secret is a red herring.

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Gwanghae's son, the crown prince was named Yi Ji. The writer may have changed the first name but kept his royal family name.
So Nokdu is not only royalty but he might be the next heir to the throne.

Why is he being hunted by these female assassins is still a mystery to me.

Maybe something happened in the palace and his father is trying to protect him. I want to believe that there is some good in him in this drama since he loved the people in history.

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Kim So Hyun has the best chemistry with all her male leads. Jan Dong Yoon is no exception to that! These two cuties are the cutest just look at them bicker and knaw away at each other. Frenemies! So cute! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Tom and Jerry couple 😂😂

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thanks for the recap:-)

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the widow village setting is good. And I actually I love the first 2 episode Tale of Nokdu Better than Moonlight drawn by clouds. I don't know. The world building is more fascinating, funny scene in this drama is work for me more too.

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oh wow, i'm glad nokdu isn't the heir! I stopped watching in the middle of the first episode because i just wasn't having it. But now that you've given me hope, i'm off to actually watch. Thanks.

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Omigawd . . . those eyes . . . those huge brown eyes . . . Yes, miss Kim, I'll do anything you want . . . we'll double your pay for this series and you can cut your hair anyway you like.

Also, kudos to the actresses playing the Muweol assassins. Not femme fatales or drama students pretending to be warriors, but fit, athletic, and all business. Worthy opponents for our heroes!

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I like the theory that Hwang-tae is the baby who was saved, but it doesn't seem to fit with what Hwang-tae asked in the boat about burying the secret and bringing Nokdu back.

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If Nokdu was the royal secret wouldn't their father be more concerned to keep him safe rather than his brother? He just let Nokdu chase after those dangerous assassins but kept Hwang Tae by his side. To me that was strange.

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Excellent observation!

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I already watched the episodes thrice that must be why I noticed. heh

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A star-making role for Jang Dong Yoon, especially if the ratings keep getting better. Has there been another male actor who became a star after cross-dressing as a woman?

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Lee Joon Gi? Hahaha The King and The Clown achieved critical success and that launched him to stardom. Idk about his performance since I hadn't watched it yet but I bet he did gooood

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Lee Joon Gi? Hahaha The King and The Clown achieved critical success and that launched him to stardom. Idk about his performance since I hadn't watched it yet but I bet he did gooood

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Lee Junki was excellent! He will always be one of my fave! I miss him in sageuks.

His character in the film was not pretending to be a woman. He was the "biri" in the group of clowns. A beautiful man with feminine features. Everyone knew he was a man.

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omg that last scene was so cute! i couldnt stop squealing! from the part where he poked her eyes, gave her such a bad haircut but she was smiling like a fool, to her finding the stubble, tripping and then grabbing his family jewels lmaooooo

i love the burgeoning relationship/chemistry between the two leads. so cute lol

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The leads are chemistry heaven!! Never a boring moment they're together!!

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Thanks for the recap. Glad I'm not the only one who sees the birth secret as a red herring. This drama has been turning tropes around on its head so let's see where they go with it.

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Ok. This show is definitely laugh out loud funny! It's honestly what i needed after watching very serious dramas recently. I'm really liking it so far. Hope it'll stay as funny and enjoyable for the coming weeks. This and Extraordinary You are the 2 shows that are totally making my week. And add in the recent My Country for a touch of seriousness.

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I just had to say that NCT Jungwoo's voice as the sweet fake voice of widow Nokdu & the woodcutter fairy dress moments were one of my highlights!
_it's not my fault I keep imagining Nokdu with a hair flip & saying the member with the best hair 💁🏻‍♀️😂😂😂
Blame Jungwoo. NCTzen forever 💚💚💚

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I don't think Nokdu is the MLs official name... 🤔 Also the scene with him giving advice & saying - the king should at least pretend was very telling.
He may or may not be the hidden heir, but it's entirely possible he might end up being a king by the end.
You don't hear tales of normal people. They're either generals, royalty or import ministers.

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I am relieved and excited to be hearing good things from comments. I am anticipating this drama and trying to hold myself back until I can watch with out the dread episode wait.

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I had no worries about the chemistry, but it is still good to hear confirmation. Kim So Hyun, as you say @lollypip has a natural (or has the ability to create) chemistry with her co-stars. And Jang Dong-yoon did have a romantic part in Dance Sport Girls and did the yearning, sweet boyfriend very well.
Thank you for your recaps! I will enjoy following this show.

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My drama crack of the week 👏👏

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Mine too!!

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I like how Jang Dong Yoon's not THAT much taller than Kim So Hyun - maybe half a head. And standing next to Kang Tae Oh, he looks slimmer and more feminine.

I think it's funny how the widows seem to live in this peaceful self-sufficient commune all dressed in light-colored clothing. Then by night they're assassins. But day or night, their personalities remain the same.

My favorite moment was when Dong Joo felt for the stubble on Nok-du's chin. I found that to be really heart-pounding - so much more than all the other instances of skinship.

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I love how Tale of Nokdu is defying most k-drama tropes. First, with a boy genderbending instead of the female protagonist which is commonly used. Second, the assassins being all girls and seriously capable! Third, the whole women village that requires no assistance from men. Fourth, the female protagonist knows how to stand up for herself and was seriously providing huge support to the male lead instead of the usual Knight in shining armor scenes (EP7-9 will attest to this.) And fifth, the drama doesn't drag scenes, they get it over with, without sacrificing quality.

Jang Dong Yoon and Kim So Hyun both made the webtoon characters come alive. The production made a good job in casting these two.

Now my thirsty buttocks is just waiting possible kiss scene along the way. Mwahaha.

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The reverse all the tropes in the most amusing way! KSH - JDY make everything hilarious! Love them!

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Died laughing when she called him Unnie!!

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And then again when she grabbed his manhood!!

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