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Tale of Nokdu: Episodes 9-10

The good-natured chef shows a different, very powerful side when he steps in to help his first love and her problematic “mother.” That leads to not one, but two romantic triangles when our hero is forced to take drastic measures to protect his undercover identity. As he gets closer to discovering who’s behind the plot to kill his family, our hero finds himself in love for the first time and the object of his affection just may feel the same way about him.

 
EPISODE 9: “I Like Lord Yul-moo”

While Lord Park’s men point swords at Ssook, Nokdu tumbles out of the palanquin dressed as Lady Kim. Nokdu takes Ssook aside to explain that he was captured on purpose to get into his father-in-law’s house, worried that she’s ruined his plan.

When Lord Park’s head servant asks Nokdu, “Who on earth are you,” he gets slapped. Nokdu scolds the servant for interrupting while motioning for Ssook to get away. Before the head servant can peek inside the palanquin, Nokdu slaps him again and stands in front of it just as Lord Park steps outside.

After reporting that Lady Kim is in danger, the real Lady Kim follows Yul-moo to the government office. When she explains that the officials have been colluding with her father-in-law for ages, Yul-moo just smiles.

Lord Park finds the palanquin empty and wonders what the woman from the widows’ village and Dong-joo have to do with his daughter-in-law’s disappearance. Nokdu shields Dong-joo as Lord Park’s men draw their swords and advance.

When officers from the government office arrive, Lord Park winks as he explains that he’s dealing with a family matter. He’s surprised when the head official announces that there are too many armed men for his story to be true and orders everyone taken into custody.

Yul-moo happens upon the scene just as everyone is led away, with the exception of Nokdu and Dong-joo. The now safe pair jumps apart when they realize that they’re holding hands.

Later, as Nokdu walks alongside the real Lady Kim, Dong-joo reluctantly agrees when Yul-moo points out that they seem close. What they don’t know is that Nokdu needs to be sure that the real Lady Kim wasn’t recognized.

Once Nokdu (now dressed as a man) and Dong-joo are back in their room at the inn, they can’t look at each another. They jump when their hands touch while reaching for their pillows at the same time.

After they’re seated safely apart on their sleeping mats, Dong-joo asks Nokdu why he didn’t leave with his lady. Nokdu is curious to know why Dong-joo was at that house with Yul-moo and gets hit with a pillow.

Upon arriving in Hanyang, Aeng-du refuses to leave without Nokdu and she pulls her father into the city. At the same time, Nokdu shows up at Aseowon (the gibang that serves as the Muweol Corps headquarters) sporting a scar across one eye.

Nokdu sits with a random drunk customer to report that the assassin that he was tailing escaped into the widows’ village. A member of Muweol Corps listens as Nokdu explains that he got his scar in a fight with one of the widows. Nokdu asks his “friend” if he’s ever heard of an assassination corps of women and the spy makes her exit. When Nokdu walks out of the headquarters he just misses Master Hwang.

When Aeng-du wanders off, her father scolds that she’ll never find Nokdu. The girl senses that they’ll find him soon and somehow, father and daughter are hidden in a wagon nearby when the Muweol spy informs Minister Heo’s man that she just saw Nokdu.

While Nokdu’s father and brother share a meal, more Muweol assassins attack but a masked man fights them off. Hwang-tae and Yoon-jo escape out the back door but Hwang-tae hasn’t recovered enough to climb the steep hill. He decides to take an easier path and promises to meet his father at a nearby cave.

Yoon-jo lures an assassin away from Hwang-tae but she’s been badly injured. Hwang-tae comes to her aid but before she can speak, the masked man finishes her off.

At the palace, King Gwanghae and his ministers look down at a dead pig (representing the year of the king’s birth) that was left under Prince Yeongchang’s tree. The king silences Minister Heo, giving Minister Im the chance to implicate the Queen Dowager who’s supposedly keeping company with shamans. To Minister Im’s delight, King Gwanghae puts him in charge of the investigation.

At the brewery in the widows’ village, Ssook informs her team that she received a message that the man with the scar was seen in Hanyang. They discuss the possibility that the still missing Deul-re is on his trail until they’re summoned by the vice-curator to help with party preparations for Lady Kim’s return.

On their way home, Nokdu (dressed as Lady Kim) and Dong-joo run into Yul-moo, who happens to have two horses. Dong-joo has to decide who to ride with, Yul-moo or her “mother”. Yul-moo holds out his hand to Dong-joo and Nokdu does the same, declaring it inappropriate for her to ride with a grown man.

After listening to Yul-moo and Nokdu argue, Dong-joo chooses Yul-moo. Nokdu watches sullenly as a pleased Yul-moo speeds up his horse, forcing Dong-joo to tighten her arms around his waist. Nokdu stops his horse and soon Yul-moo and Dong-joo hear a shriek.

Nokdu is on the ground and claims to have hurt his ankle. Yul-moo isn’t nearly as enthusiastic when he has to ride with Nokdu and both men sigh longingly when Dong-joo rides past them on her horse.

Yeon-geun and the gisaeng smile when Dong-joo enters the village on horseback but they’re aghast at the sight of a sleeping Lady Kim with Yul-moo, her arms around his waist.

After waking Nokdu, Yul-moo and Dong-joo reach out to help him dismount. It’s payback time when Nokdu lowers himself into Yul-moo’s arms, angering Dong-joo and stirring jealousy in Yeon-geun and the gisaeng.

During the meal, Dong-joo gulps down wine while Mae Hwa-soo scowls at Nokdu and Yeon-geun glares at Yul-moo. Jung-sook asks if Nokdu’s family gave him something nice and he hands his rucksack to Yeon-hoon, who nods after seeing its contents.

Ssook and Jung-sook step outside to speak privately with Nokdu, who they learn has never consumed alcohol. Ssook is confident that Nokdu will soon be officially initiated into the Corps and Jung-sook enthuses, “You are almost there. There is no reason for us not to accept you unless you are not a widow.” Uh-oh.

By the time the women return to the “party”, Dong-joo is drunk. The gisaeng accuse Nokdu of hitting on Yul-moo and Yeon-geun whines, “Why does Lady Kim like a stray cat like him?”

Yeon-geun meows and Mae Hwa-soo clings to Yul-moo while Nokdu tries to convince them that they have the wrong idea. When a drunk Dong-joo spills some wine, Mae Hwa-soo warns that she’ll reveal people’s secrets and she proves her friend right by announcing that the gisaeng’s feet stink.

Worried, Nokdu tries to take Dong-joo home but Mae Hwa-soo won’t let him leave until they finish discussing his feelings for Yul-moo. Dong-joo points at Nokdu and admits, “It is true my mother likes someone.”

Nokdu runs to Dong-joo’s side just as the gate to the gibang is pushed open. As the gisaeng press Dong-joo for details, Aeng-du yells, “Honey,” and waves to Nokdu.

Master Hwang and Aeng-du approach the group, prompting Nokdu to confess that he likes Yul-moo. Everyone is shocked when Nokdu kisses Yul-moo.

Yeong-geun passes out and Aeng-du crushes the apple in her hand. Fed up, Dong-joo forces Yul-moo and Nokdu apart and blurts out, “Darn it. I like you!”

EPISODE 10: “Who Do You Like?”

Dong-joo is relieved to wake up at home after dreaming about her confession but when she tries to go back to sleep, a small hand lands on her face. Dong-joo sits up and after seeing Aeng-du asleep next to her, she realizes that it was no dream. Dong-joo runs outside to be sick and overhears some widows gossiping about her fight with her mother over a man.

In their room, Nokdu instructs Aeng-du to call him “Unnie” but she can’t stop calling him “Honey.” When Aeng-du asks Nokdu why he has to be her unnie, he’s forced to tell her the truth, “If people here find out that I am a man, I will be tortured and killed.”

Nokdu next meets with Master Hwang, who can’t believe that his student has been forced to pose as a woman. When Nokdu asks about his father and brother, Master Hwang repeats that they’re both fine (not really) and explains that he sent a letter promising to return with Nokdu.

When Master Hwang wonders if Dong-joo’s confession was meant for him or Yul-moo, he’s asked, “What to you think?” Master Hwang teases Nokdu that if Dong-joo was talking to him, she has horrible taste in men.

A passing Yul-moo catches sight of Nokdu and runs away. Nokdu chases after him and passes a sobbing Yeon-geun and the angry gisaeng. Nokdu catches up to Yul-moo near a pond just as the chef loses his balance. Nokdu reaches out to save him but Yul-moo folds his arms across his chest and falls into the water.

Nokdu corners a shivering Yul-moo, who’s decided to think of him as the mother of the woman that he loves. Nokdu asks Yul-moo what he loves about Dong-joo and is told, “I love everything about her because I am in love with her.”

Yul-moo has to explain love to Nokdu, “Love is like a cough. You cannot hold it back.” It’s Nokdu’s turn to shiver when Yul-moo uses their kiss as proof that it’s impossible to hide one’s feelings. At the mention of his feelings, Nokdu announces that he’s giving up on Yul-moo and walks away. As he walks through the gisaeng house, Mae Hwa-soo purposely bumps into Nokdu while another gisaeng throws water at him.

It’s dark by the time that Nokdu finds Dong-joo sitting on a small bridge. When he smiles at her, Dong-joo hits him and blames him for her humiliation. Dong-joo points out that Nokdu could have come up any number of distractions besides kissing Yul-moo. Dong-joo remembers Aeng-du and wants to know why she calls Nokdu “honey” and learns that she thinks that they’re betrothed. Dong-joo is scandalized by the thought that Nokdu is involved with two women.

Nokdu asks, “Which one of us do you like,” and Dong-joo hotly protests that she’d never like someone who’s involved with two woman and disguised as a woman. Nokdu answers, “Fine, then. Let us go,” but Dong-joo refuses. After Nokdu walks away, Dong-joo angrily asks herself, “Why is he so curious about that?”

When a sleeping Aeng-du wakes up in the morning, she gasps at the sight of a ragged looking Nokdu who waited up all night for Dong-joo. He mumbles, “How could it be me? There is no way. I did not ask because I had feelings for her. I was just curious about why she had said such a ridiculous thing.”

When Aeng-du asks what he’s talking about so early in the morning, Nokdu shouts, “How dare she stay out all night?” Dong-joo wakes up in her cave with a back-ache after sleeping on the ground.

Nokdu has breakfast ready when Aeng-du drags Dong-joo home. Nokdu and Dong-joo avoid each other but end up reaching for the last piece of egg at the same time. When they abandon it, Aeng-du is about to pop it into her mouth but decides to give it to Nokdu, forgetting her promise not to call him “honey”.

Dong-joo suggests that Aeng-du would be better off marrying someone upright and kind, not a useless punk like Nokdu. After Aeng-declares, “He is good enough for me,” Nokdu gives her the last egg.

That night, Nokdu can’t sleep because Dong-joo hasn’t come home. When he hears the signal that there’s a meeting at the shrine, Nokdu grabs a black cloak as the village goes dark.

At the palace, the Queen Dowager is dragged from her quarters and when she sees the covered bodies of her servants, she shrieks, “I do not know anything. What curse? What conspiracy?” The Queen Dowager shouts for her son, Prince Yeongchang, as Minister Heo’s man races to the shrine on horseback.

Minister Im and his allies witness a sobbing Prince Yeongchang being taken away. Minister Im is warned that he could become a target of those who disagree with his plan but he’s not worried.

Nokdu watches as Minister Heo’s man enters the shrine only to exit seconds later, joined by the mysterious visitors. In her cave, Dong-joo can’t sleep and she finally goes home.

Dong-joo follows Minister Heo’s man as he leads one of the visitors to his horse. Minister Heo removes the dark cloak covering his head and Nokdu overhears him explain, “His Majesty purposely waited until I was gone. He has been doubting me ever since the incident that happened on the island.”

When Minister Heo gallops away, Nokdu guesses that he’s the man who ordered the assassination of his family and asks himself, “Why would the King be interested in us?”

At the palace, King Gwanghae recalls being in a village in Gyeonggi province twenty years ago. As he held his newborn son in his arms, the king’s hand inched towards the infant and he thought, “Why did you have to be born on the 19th of November?

That’s how Yoon-jo found the king as the queen sobbed alone with grief. Later, as Minister Heo knelt before King Gwanghae he was told, “Jung Yoon-jo took my dead son. I want you to get rid of them both.”

In the rain, Minister Heo watched as a sobbing Yoon-jo dug a tiny grave until a cry came from the bundle on the ground. Yoon-jo shielded the newborn when Minister Heo raised his sword and it was then that he came up with the story that Yoo-jo fell into the river after burying the baby. Minister Heo urged Yoon-jo, “Live like you are dead.”

Yoon-jo did just that until he risked a trip to the mainland to get medicine for his sick wife. Unfortunately, he was recognized by Minister Im who then told Minister Heo. That’s when Minister Heo instructed his man to have the Muweol Corps kill Yoon-jo before the king could find him and derail Heo’s plan.

As Nokdu walks home, he asks himself, “Who was that man? And what does the King have to do with it?” As he approaches his door, Nokdu is happy to see Dong-joo’s shoes next to Aeng-du’s.

While running along the river, Minister Heo’s man falls down the bank and discovers a shoeless body near the water.

Realizing that Dong-joo can’t sleep in total darkness, Nokdu offers to light a candle but she won’t allow it. Nokdu remembers Dong-joo’s terror as she slept in prison and when he asks why she’s afraid of the dark, she remembers being in the mass grave.

After Nokdu lights some candles, Dong-joo’s fear lessens and she sees that he covered the windows with their clothes. Dong-joo warns Nokdu not to be nice to her but he announces, “I cannot hide it anymore.” Before he can explain himself, Dong-joo turns around to go to sleep.

As Nokdu watches Dong-joo sleep, he thinks of Yul-moo’s explanation that love is like a cough that you can’t hold back and tells himself, “I am in big trouble.” In the morning, it’s Dong-joo who’s watches Nokdu as he sleeps and she warns herself, “I cannot.”

When Nokdu wakes up and opens his door, he sees Aeng-du playing with the chicks while the ladies of the Virtuous Women Corps prepare to celebrate Dano, the 5th day of the 5th month.

Bok-nyeo explains that the women will wash their hair in iris water (for maximum shine) and then meet men at the swing. Soon-nyeo notes that of course the widows won’t be involved but it doesn’t dampen their enthusiasm and they chant, “Dano, Dano, Dano.”

Nokdu invites Dong-joo to joins him at the market to ride the swing, adding that there’s something that he needs to tell her. He’s disappointed when Dong-joo refuses, “Hearing it will be pointless.”

When Nokdu asks if Yul-moo is the reason that she won’t hear him out, Dong-joo tells him, “Yes.” As Dong-joo walks away, both she and Nokdu look sad.

Yul-moo offers swordsman Park Dan-ho a taste of a dish that he’s cooking. When Yul-moo sees a small shadow, he finds Aeng-du with her mouth open wide. Soon, she’s eaten practically his entire dish but when Yul-moo offers Aeng-du the last piece, she asks him to pack it for her brother before correcting herself, “Sister!”

Nokdu’s alcohol-free existence ends when he gets drunk while drinking with Ssook’s team. As Ssook, Yeon-hoon and Jung-sook watch Nokdu weave his way home, he falls into some muddy water.

Dong-joo is surprised by Nokdu’s condition when he enters their room to grab a towel so that he can wash up. It’s dark by the time a clean and bare-chested Nokdu thinks of all the times that Dong-joo ignored Yul-moo.

Yul-moo walks Aeng-du to the widow’s village and explains that he can’t enter because only women live there. Yul-moo freezes when Aeng-du grumbles, “That is why…my brother became my sister.”

Nokdu hasn’t bothered to cover up before entering his room to tell Dong-joo, “I do not like anyone.” When asked why he told her, Nokdu explains, “I like you. That is why.” Nokdu kneels in front of Dong-joo to argue that she likes him, not Yul-moo, “He might be looking at you, but you are not. You are looking at me. Is that not true?”

After Dong-joo exclaims that she knows nothing, her eyes widen in surprise when Nokdu kisses her. Dong-joo doesn’t pull away when Nokdu gently cups her face in his hands to kiss her again.

The door is thrown open before their lips can meet and Dong-joo and Nokdu gasp when they see a furious Yul-moo, who now knows Nokdu’s secret.

 
COMMENTS

There were quite a few clues dropped in these episodes as the palace drama picks up steam. The presumed dead son of King Gwanghae was born on November 19th and since Nokdu just had a birthday close to Dano, the 5th day of the 5th month, whose son is he? It’s possible that Yoon-jeo lied about Nokdu’s birthdate to protect him because the palace is certainly a dangerous place, just ask the Queen Dowager and her son, Price Yeongchang.

In addition to the birth information, we learn that Minister Heo was the one who ordered the assassination of Yoon-jo and his family. With more information about the night that King Gwanghae’s son was born, it’s clear that he believed that the baby was dead but he wanted Yoon-jo dead to protect some kind of secret surrounding the birthdate. As Minister Im makes his move to remove the Queen Dowager and Prince Yeongchang from the palace, wouldn’t the king’s legitimate son strengthen his position? It appears that Prince Yeongchang is King Gwanghae’s younger half-brother and without an heir, the boy becomes his likely successor. Could that be why Minister Heo, the only other person who knows that the king’s son survived, wants Yoon-jo and family dead? Minister Heo and Minister Im belong to two warring factions who have definite ideas about who should succeed King Gwanghae and their fight is just getting started.

Somehow, Nokdu’s father poses a serious threat to Minister Heo’s plan. Who was the mysterious masked man who fought off the latest wave of Muweol assassins and who sent him? Along with just about every other character, there’s more to Yoon-jo than we know, and that probably includes Nokdu’s brother, Hyung-tae, as well.

Yul-moo really made his presence known from rescuing Nokdu and Dong-joo to stealing some time with Dong-joo by providing horses for the trip home. There was his awkward kiss with Nokdu, the budding friendship with the lover of food, Aeng-du, and his discovery that Nokdu is not only a man, but his romantic rival. Yul-moo caught them almost kissing! It’s been hinted that Yul-moo is a powerful and possibly dangerous man. Does anyone else think that the body near the river could turn out to be the missing pervy aristocrat? He hasn’t been seen since the night that Dong-joo arrived on his doorstep and we know that Yul-moo had something to do with his disappearance.

Yul-moo is definitely powerful enough to get the government officials to overlook their long-standing association with Lord Park and arrest him. What will that mean for Nokdu, a man living as a woman in a widows’ village? I’m guessing that Yul-moo will be forced to keep Nokdu’s secret in order to protect Dong-joo’s reputation, after all she’s been living with a man under everyone’s nose. Aeng-du will likely stay on as their roommate to keep things proper but goodness, her slips of the tongue are nerve wracking.

As much as I enjoyed the blossoming romance between Nokdu and Dong-joo, their kiss wasn’t my favorite moment. That belongs to Aeng-du, who told Dong-joo that Nokdu was good enough for her while looking at him like he was a delicious dish. Park Da-yeon as Aeng-du is a real scene stealer and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her going forward. Light moments like these become more important as the story heads into darker territory and romantic angst. And of course, there’s always the obligatory scene with Nokdu’s bare torso to look forward to.

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Gahhhh this episode was all sorts of cute, especially Aeng Du drooling over everything - the food & Nokdu. And that kiss between Yul Moo and Nokdu!!! I totally did not see that coming but it was so hot, I howled so loud (into my pillow, luckily). I want more of that, but it seems the ruse is up. Oh well, shirtless Nokdu kissing Dong Joo was pretty darn fine as well.

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I thought the kiss between Nokdu and Yul Moo was more sensual than the very disappointing kiss between Nokdu and Dong Joo. Just barely touching lips together and holding that pose for a few seconds isn't a kiss in my opinion. When that "kiss" happened it was like the promise of any real (romantic) chemistry between the two just drained away. It was so sterile and lackluster. How awkward for the two of them. Another person had mentioned that the episode did have obstacles to a romance and maybe Dong Joo hadn't quite had time to recover from that emotional roller coaster enough to respond fully to Nokdu's kiss. Let's hope that is what it is and the next time they kiss it will be more realistic.

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The kiss between Nokdu and Dong Joo wasn't an actual kids. He kissed her but she didn't want to be kissed. You can literally see her cringe and move away from him. She doesn't want to be in love so she didn't want to admit her feelings. The kiss makes complete sense it shouldn't be sensual it would be weird if it was. The second kiss that got interrupted might have been sensual because she was preparing her heart to accept his confession.

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Yes I agree. Nokdu's kiss was more of a "May I?"

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totally agree with this comment Newbie
she didn't want to be kissed that time and it came out really well in the scene with Nokdu not pressing it.
specially in contrast with the kiss with Yulmoo where he just went for it so much.

for what the scene conveyed, I loved it.

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I think she can’t respond to the kiss because she was still stunned looking at that shirtless bod. 😉

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Yup she's completely mesmerized by his abs.

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THAT LAST SCENE ahhh!

I have to say, it is so refreshing to see a main lead like Nokdu who doesn't beat around the bush with his feelings and also has the confidence to challenge Dong Joo's assertion that she doesn't like him back.

I've seen too many dramas where the main couple spend an inordinate amount of time angsting and denying their feelings for each other, and it's such a nice surprise to see Tale of Nokdu not falling into that drama trope.

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I love how common sense prevailed. Dong Joo says she likes someone while drunk. The choices were Yul-moo and Nokdu. And Yul-moo has to be ruled out since she was always dismissive of him. Nokdu knows this and as been the beneficiary of all the sweets Yul-moo gave Dong-joo and she refused. Of course, the person she likes is Nokdu.

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Its rare for male leads to make a logical conclusion like that. I appreciate that the writers laid out how he arrived at the conclusion instead of imposing what he thinks she should feel for him.

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The palace politics doesn't do it for me but thankfully, the comedy more than makes up for it. That whole scene with Nokdu kissing Yul-moo + drunk confession! I squealed and laughed. It was gold.

My favorite Aeng-du moment is her looking at Yul-moo cooking. She looked like she was about to make him husband #2.

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That little girl has such a commanding presence and a big personality. She’s def gonna be a force to reckon with when she grows up!

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Thank you for the recap, @teriyaki!

I have nothing substantial to comment but this show currently owns my whole heart and soul (even if the Palace Politics are insanely boring to me.) This is also the first kdrama I've watched in a while that has been keeping me interested so thank you, Tale of Nokdu, for bringing me back to kdramaland 💛.
P.S. Can Aeng-du be sent back to the island already?!? Just UGH.

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I agree with Aeng-du being sent back to the island because I can just see her blabbing Nokdu's secret to everyone.

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Same! If she continues to be like this; her cuteness can’t even save her from me skipping over her scenes in the future.

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She was quite annoying this episode. Her high pitched demanding over food and Nokdu wasn't very cute.

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Well, the political intrigue is what gives the necessary mystery/tension to perfectly counterbalance the comedic aspects, and keep me fascinated with and loving this drama.

However, I also wish Aeng-du would be dispatched immediately. I just find her annoying, and the parts of the story with her the only times I want to FF. She’s played her part now (revealing Nokdu’s masquerade to Yul-moo), so let’s be done with her and her piggish gobbling.

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Ah, you see, I’m the complete opposite but I do understand where you’re coming from. I’m glad there are people that enjoy that part of the drama. 😊
And SAME about Aeng-du. I will only be glad to see her in the future episodes if she stops being so irritating.

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I know she's just a kid but I find her super annoying. Please send her back to wherever.

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I totally agree that Aeng Du is a scene stealer. She had so many expressions and funny lines.

I realized Yul Moo has connections and power, but he never had that dangerous vibe to me. He's been amicable and kind to everyone. During the first time we saw the pervy aristocrat demanding the underage girl, Yul Moo came in and handled the situation cleverly and without brute force or any hint of evil.

He does have a swordsman though and why would a chef need a swordsman? I didn't even know his name until now. Park Dan Ho will probably show up more often.

Nokdu's and Dong Joo's kiss was so awkward. I couldn't even enjoy his abs show because it looked randomly added to the scene. I didn't need to see Dong Joo's clenched fists. Her face was enough to see she wasn't ready. It would have been enough that he only confessed his feelings for her. Or he was leaning in to kiss her and then they got caught. I'm trying to understand his side and that he was learning about love for the first time. He's the proactive type to go for what he wants. He didn't want to hide his feelings any longer and wanted to tell Dong Joo the truth. But he moved a little too fast.

On the other hand, the kiss between Nokdu and Yul Moo came out great. It was surprising, but looked natural. Now I'm wondering how Yul Moo will change after the shock he got at the end. I'm hoping he doesn't drastically become malicious and filled with jealousy.

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Absolutely agree with abs being out of the place, even though I don't complain about any scene with abs that fine. It felt like they wanted to assure the viewers that Nokdu was manly enough for a male lead....

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Well, to me it was a statement when Nokdu came to her bare chested. It wasn’t just a random showcase of JDY’s abs... to me it was him pleading her to look at him as a man after she told him how could she like someone who pretended to be a woman. That’s why I find it intimate than distracting.

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Yes he came to her bare chested (thank you once more kdrama gods) but what I want to know is how did he walk through the widow's village like that?
Is the place to wash up that close that he was able to sneak in? Sorry, but I found that little detail a bit confusing.

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Didn’t everyone go to Dano festival or something that?

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It was meant to be awkward. She didn't want him to confess his feelings and she definitely didn't want him to kiss her. She didn't want to accept either of those things. The kiss was just there for shock value but none of the characters were ready for it yet.

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Yup-Moo is able to get the corrupt local police to turn on the noble who’s been their pay master, in the capitol city! Just how high up is Yul-moo and his family? And since Dong-Joo was his arranged bride to be, her family also was of similar rank.

If NokDu is the infant prince, we could have a royal wedding!?

KSH was lovely as the young Queen in Goblin.

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And oh, the chase scene - NokDu chasing down Yul-moo fleeing like the devil was on his tail - was more interesting than a Vagabond crash and burn.

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OH MY GOD that was the best scene for me! It was hilarious and they ran so fast, it was crazy. For some reason, I made speedy choo choo sounds as their feet slaps the ground.

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I love the chase scene. It really looked like the actors ran as fast as their long legs can take them. To the onlookers who didn't know Nokdu was a dude, it looked extra scandalous. This new girl not only tried to steal her daughter's guy, she kissed him and then aggressively chased after him even though it was obvious that Yul-moo wasn't interested in her. This widow is some two-faced gumiho.

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I love that scene too, and i replayed it quite a bit.

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That little girl is so stinking adorable!

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She is but I’m slightly slightly annoyed at how dog headed she is about marrying Nokdu and how she really can’t keep a secret but still wants to be there.
But yes. She is cute for sure.

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The kiss definitely didn’t feel right, but I’m not giving up hope! I think Dongjoo just needs more time to deal with her own demons, because she’s clearly grappling with a lot. I hope she learns soon that Nokdu is on her side! I love them together, and I still think their chemistry is wonderful.

Am I the only one who doesn’t really care all that much about Yulmoo? I know he’s handsome and he cooks but they haven’t really shown us any real reason to actually like him/root for him yet. I find myself wondering more about Hwangtae than him. Sorry Kang Taeoh 🤷‍♀️

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I'm getting the feeling that he gave up everything and decided to be a chef in a gibang to be close to Dong Ju without tipping her off....

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He’s meant to be mysterious. Handsome charming chef is more like a facade.

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And how that facade crumbled.

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Ho ho! Our only episode this week! So thank you for the recap @teriyaki!

Favourite bits:
I didn’t expect to get THREE love confessions and TWO kisses in one episode! Haha.

The cringy omg the secret is so going to be let out bits with drunk Dong Joo and then 😳😱🤣🤣🤣when Nok Du full on grabbed Yul Moo and kissed him. Such a male way of kissing which is why it was even more hilarious since he’s supposed to be meek docile Lady Kim 🤣🤣🤣

And of course the fanservice bare chest of Nokdu at the end as he kissed Dong Joo. 🤩 hahaha.
I must say I did feel the kiss moment wasn’t as tender and touching that I would have liked it to be. I much preferred the moment with Nok du and Dong Joo on the swing. I guess they were setting up the moment to be interrupted by Yul Moo, but I wish their first kiss and Nokdu’s confession wasn’t marred by this and was more special.

I’m boggled by the palace politics as always and do find the tone there very jarring compared to the lighthearted tone with Nokdu/DongJoo/Yul Moo. But all in all it’s a fun ride and I hope the politics won’t bog down the future episodes.

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I really enjoyed this episode! Though the palace politics are pretty contrived, at least there’s some effort to keep the audience guessing? And contrary to the other comments, I liked the first kiss between Nokdu and Dong Joo. I thought it was MEANT to be awkward as the both of them deal with these newfound feelings that are inconvenient to both their missions. I swear it was not JDY’s abs...

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One of my favourite scenes in this episode was Nokdu lighting the candle for Dong Joo, knowing she is afraid of the dark, even though he was not supposed to. Also Nokdu's grumpy face while watching Dong Joo and Yul Moo riding together was the best! The chase scene was so hilarious, how Nokdu completely forgot to be lady like...haha!!
Another personal favourite was Nokdu's frustrations while trying to teach Aeng du to call him 'unni'!

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Someone needs to compose an ode to The Torso. I would but I'm not entirely sure I know what an ode is.

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The Abs are all we see,
Running, twirling or striding,
And to me,
They are best presented,
Glistening in water (or sweat, most likely oil),
Because the Abs maketh the man,
Hidden underneath the omo charm.
As Jang Dong Yoon continues his toil,
We shall most happily continue to stan
The Abs and Kim So Hyun’s Love Alarm.

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🤣🤣😂😂 You did! Thank you. This mad my day

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Shirtless Nokdu was everything. I'd love to see the behind the scene of that scene. Like how did KSH react.
The little girl Aeng Du is really hilarious. I'm watching for the fun of it. I'm tired of palace politics .

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Did I miss something? How did Nok-Du know about the Mu-Wol headquaters?

I was prepared since last week that Aeng-Doo would be the one exposing Nok-Du's secret, so I didn't bother. She is understandably honest. She's from the countryside and the way she was raised allows her to speak her mind without worrying about the consequences. And she's so young. I don't think she understands the complexity of the adult world. She doesn't even understand the concept of marriage. That makes her clinging onto Nok-Du less annoying in my opinion.

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It seems like there were no other children on that island. Like Aeng-du is the youngest kid and Nok-du may be the second youngest, so Nok-du may be her only playmate.

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Possibly.

Also, he could be the only one who is the same level, her match. She's fierce and sassy and strong (crushing an apple with one bare hand). He is her dad's apprentice, a good one, so she might look up to him.

Hwang-Tae is not much older and they seem close but she is not attached to him as much as she is with Nok-Du.

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Nok Du riding the horse behind Yul-moo was such a sight! He looked so pretty! And props to how he got there in the first place! 😂 pretending to fall from the horse?! And prettily biting his lip from the pain!? Hahaha! I swear I could see that hidden eye roll from Dong Joo hehehe

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If Nokdu is a real female he could be a femme fatale given that action alone ahahaha....

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My favorite scene (aside from those kisses) has to be the slap fest from “Lady Kim” admonishing those guards for not showing her respect and trying to open her palanquin. Ssook didn’t know what quite to think and fled 😂😂😂

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Can we send Aeng-du back to the island please? She is one lose mouth villain I can't bring myself to hate because she is freaking cute.

I watched the clip Yul-moo running away from lady Kim like the flash himself like 50 times already and its still funny 😂😂😂

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Thank you for this nice recap @teriyaki - as much as I loved this episode and each one as usual, I still felt a bit of whiplash from how they moved from one scene to another. It was confusing and I didn't realize there was a masked man helping the dad and brother - it all happened so fast.
And those shoeless feet? That was so out of the blue for me. So I'm hoping the next episode will explain some more.
Yes the little girl is cute - but her mouth makes me so nervous and I just wish she would go back to the island.
Yul-moo hasn't given off any dark vibes for me yet. but then maybe I haven't been paying any attention. I hadn't even realized he was the chef for the village.

Methinks I need to rewatch the first few episodes again seeing as we only got one this week.

Again thank you!!!

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The Abs are all we see,
Running, twirling or striding,
And to me,
They are best presented,
Glistening in water (or sweat, most likely oil),
Because the Abs maketh the man,
Hidden underneath the omo charm.
As Jang Dong Yoon continues his toil,
We shall most happily continue to stan
The Abs and Kim So Hyun’s Love Alarm.

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everyone's like, the kiss between nokdu and dong joo was so awkward and horrible, but like, have you ever had a first kiss? yeah, first kisses tend to be awkward and horrible and you just dont know when to breathe, where to put your hands, his abs are right there, i should look at it, right? i mean, not? not to mention, dong joo's been grappling with her feelings the entire episode, literally berating herself to stop feeling the way she does. she wont give in, not just then, not when she's still clearly traumatised and hungering for revenge and they're both hiding so many things from each other.

nokdu, on the other hand, is clearly the type to charge head first into something he wholeheartedly believes in? i need to know why people want to kill us, infiltrate an exclusively female assassination group hiding out in a widow's village by pretending to be a woman? save the friend im starting to have feelings for, literally adopt her as a daughter (while also buying her "freedom" with actual gold eughh). protect my identity, kiss the dude that's in front of me! i actually am in love with dong joo, ask her point blank and get swept away by my desperation and longing!

ahhhh i can sense the fun and games are over as the romantic angst and political intrigue take centre stage. not that i mind (actually i do, i just came from ep 11-12 and i need my girl dong joo to actually be more involved in the plot but i have my own theories for that anyway) but i hope we still get the lovely moments that made me fall in love with nokdu and dong joo. like, it would be radical if they decided to actually end the pining and the should-i-no-i-should-not and actually be a couple while dealing with palace intrigue. that would be so awesome. be a close unit against everything else. i've never seen that in kdrama before. or any other show.

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Am I the only one who wonders how the kiss between Nokdu and Yul Moo didn't give away his secret?
Because... um... even clean shaven men's facial skin tends to feel a little like sandpaper lol

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