Joseon Gunman: Episode 6
If he’s telling me to come and get it, I can most certainly oblige. Yes, please, and thank you.
The identity game is in full swing, with pretty much everybody questioning the new guy’s resemblance to the old guy, even as they know in their heads that it’s pretty much impossible for them to be the same person. (It’s like they’ve never seen a drama or something!) Especially since the new guy is, frankly, a royal asshole most of the time. The multiple personas give Yoon-kang a pretty thorough mental workout as he juggles all of them—and rather deftly, for now—while trying to will his head to rule over his heart. But it’s hard to keep the revenge going when it requires you to hurt all the ones you love.
SONG OF THE DAY
Thornapple – “아지랑이” (Heat shimmer) [ Download ]
EPISODE 6 RECAP
With one look at Yoon-kang’s face, Soo-in is certain it’s him and asks tremblingly how he came to be here. Notably, when she calls him “Young Master Yoon-kang,” Choi Won-shin’s eyes narrow and he files this information away.
Yoon-kang gets his emotions under control and barks at Soo-in, “What nonsense are you talking about? What young master?” The situation is quickly getting sticky so Hye-won pulls Soo-in out of the room.
Soo-in insists that he looks exactly like Yoon-kang, down to his voice and every facial feature. Hye-won reminds her firmly that her young master died, and says that this is an extremely critical project her father has been working on, entreating Soo-in to not cause complications for them.
Yoon-kang adopts an annoyed demeanor, as though Choi Won-shin is subjecting him to a parade of inconveniences. Choi explains about his resemblance to Soo-in’s sweetheart and plays along with Yoon-kang’s act, though from the sharp look in his eye it’s clear his suspicions have been revived.
Yoon-kang marvels at Choi’s keen memory to have recalled the face of a young man he’d only seen once, and three years ago at that. Choi says that it was a memorable instance because the grieving young man had just lost his father, and Yoon-kang notes (not without a little sarcasm) that Choi is quite the compassionate soul.
The ladies rejoin them, and Soo-in makes her apology. Yoon-kang waves it aside and asks about her proficiency with explosives, knowing that she doesn’t have much, and insists on a full demonstration at the mine. Choi Won-shin says a bit nervously that they’ll need a few weeks to procure the requisite materials.
Yoon-kang can’t let him off the hook that easily, of course, and offers to handle the procurement of explosives to move up the demonstration. He won’t finalize the deal till he’s seen it.
Hye-won assures Soo-in that they’ll find a new specialist before then. All she has to do is appear to be making preparations and not stir suspicion.
Yoon-kang lurks around Soo-in’s home that afternoon, watching from afar as she arrives at the gate. He pulls back out of sight just in time to avoid being spotted.
The words of his rescuer Kim Ok-kyun ring in his ear, taking him back to three years ago: “You are no longer Park Yoon-kang. Park Yoon-kang died in the cold river waters of Joseon. Now you must usher in a new world—you have been born anew, into a person who has never before met anyone, or made any connections. That is your first step toward revenge.”
With trembling hand, Yoon-kang had grasped the knife and cut off his topknot. (It’s a symbolic gesture that makes me catch my breath, because a man willingly cutting off his own topknot is such powerful imagery. No turning back.)
Soo-in can’t let go of her feeling that Hanjo is Yoon-kang, to the exasperation of her maid. Jan-yi urges Soo-in to let Yoon-kang go, but Soo-in argues that he might not have died—they never saw the definitive final moment.
Choi Won-shin’s mind is also thinking along those lines, and he sends a henchman to Japan to dig into Hanjo’s background.
Yoon-kang puts sidekick Sang-chu to work on their other goal: finding Yeon-ha. Sang-chu worries that losing their lead (after Sohn Taek-soo disappeared) is a setback in the mission to clear Dad’s name, but Yoon-kang knows that the gunman will find him. Now he needs to find his sister, and they’ve put out feelers in requesting a literate slave girl to work in a shop.
As our bad guys in Suhogye surmised, Soo-in’s father, Interpreter Jung, is in fact acting as close adviser to the king. Gojong has assembled a small inner circle of officials to strategize a way of countering the powerful old guard. Interpreter Jung proposes the formation of a new government office that the others will not be able to control, one that actively pursues advancement in industry and technology.
Gojong and his advisers like the idea, though they know the Sugu faction will offer opposition. Interpreter Jung provides the push that the weak-willed Gojong needs, encouraging him to be firm and act, rather than allowing the others to hold him back at every juncture. Gojong gives him the authorization to create the new bureau and cautions him to be careful, lest he become a target.
The warning comes for good reason, with the Sugu cronies immediately suspicious of Jung’s closeness to the king. Minister Kim reminds him pointedly that he has no business interfering with state matters or sharing his thoughts with the king, and makes it known that he’ll be looking into Jung’s activities.
Yoon-kang meets with the Chois to go over the contract (contingent upon the explosives display, that is). When he mentions setting up offices for his company, Choi Won-shin offers his help, but is declined. Yoon-kang puts them on edge by commenting that he doesn’t intend to restrict his trading to their company—he’s been fielding multiple offers. Choi Won-shin is the best deal at the moment, but he’s got his eyes open for better offers.
Soo-in has been looking intently at his face the whole time, and when he gets up to leave she surprises everyone by blurting that she’ll be his guide through the city. Hye-won fears that Soo-in will make more mistakes to endanger the relationship, but her father seems keen to confirm his hunch, and putting Soo-in close to Yoon-kang can only help. Meanwhile, the merchants’ priority is to keep Hanjo on their side until they confirm the deal, and that means keeping all the competition away from him.
As Soo-in escorts Yoon-kang through the marketplace, she peppers him with questions—he was born in Osaka? Where in Osaka? Are his parents there? Siblings? As he pauses to look at imported goods, she offers to show him where the real stuff is sold, since most of this stuff is lesser quality.
At that, Yoon-kang tells her to drop the act, saying with that infuriating (but also really entertaining) Hanjo arrogance that it’s obvious she’s been batting her eyelashes at him. He scoffs at her behavior as obvious flirtation tactics.
That nettles, but Soo-in recalls Hye-won’s entreaties to help and holds her temper. She grits out through clenched teeth that she’s just trying to be helpful to her business partner, to which he replies that they aren’t partners yet. She’ll have to prove herself first.
Hye-won wasn’t kidding when she promised her father to do everything in her power to help secure the deal: She takes it upon herself to roadblock other merchants’ paths to keep them away from Hanjo, dispatching armed guards to make her point.
The merchants huff, “Is there any law that says we cannot meet Hanjo too?” She tells them smilingly, “If there were, would I go to such extremes as this?” Ha, I love that she’s a woman of action, and utterly uncowed by their blustering threats. It’s unscrupulous, perhaps, but she’ll do what she’s gotta do.
Yoon-kang finds a building to set up shop in, disregarding all of Kanemaru’s thoughtful points against it. I’m starting to really enjoy Kanemaru’s reactions to his boss, given that he’s always offering sensible advice and Yoon-kang’s always ignoring him. You can almost read his inner monologue, wondering, Why’d you even bring me then?
He dismisses Soo-in from guide duty for the day, having found what he was looking for. She presents him with a gift, and holds out a hat (a gat), asking him to try it on. He declines, but she insists that he try and plops it on his head, as he’d once done to her, and the image is yet more confirmation to her eyes.
And then, an excited voice calls out his name: “Park Yoon-kang!” It’s his best friend Jung-hoon, who races up and grabs him in a bear hug. Oh no, already my heart pinches for what’s surely to come.
Yoon-kang shoves his friend aside while Soo-in explains that this isn’t who he thinks it is. Jung-hoon is understandably confused, asking if Yoon-kang’s playing a joke on him, and tries to jog his memory. Mention of the name makes Yoon-kang burst out that he’d better not be called that damned Park Yoon-kang name anymore; he warns Soo-in to mind herself and throws the hat on the ground. Oh, sad. It’s just because they love you!
Yoon-kang storms off angrily, blinking back tears in front of Kanemaru, who must not know anything about his secret agenda. To him, Yoon-kang keeps the Hanjo facade firmly in place.
At home, Soo-in speaks to a drawing of Yeon-ha as though she’s here with her, saying that she can’t decide what to think about it—on one hand, she’s sure it’s him, but on the other hand, there’s no way it could be.
Sang-chu’s hunt for Yeon-ha brings him to a slave matching her description, though it turns out to be a different girl. She’d begged him to take her from her terrible owner, promising to do whatever work he puts her to, and he hadn’t the heart to refuse.
Yoon-kang tells him to turn her away, but Sang-chu argues that they need someone to work for them anyway once they set up their office, and Yoon-kang is too soft-hearted not to give in. Everyone, say hello to the newest member of the family, Je-mi (Kim Ga-eun).
Dressed in his peddler guise, Yoon-kang heads out on personal business—time for the rendezvous of the gunmen.
Assassin Moo-deok leads his trainees in laying a trap for the mysterious gunman, positioning themselves strategically to ambush him from all sides. It’s nighttime by the time Yoon-kang arrives near the meeting spot, where his father was killed. He’s on high alert and so are the assassins, who fire at the first sign of rustling, downing a deer instead of their target.
Suhogye holds another meeting, where one member reports that their attempt to plant moles in the queen’s court have failed, as she cleared them out. Lord Kim chuckles, musing that the king must be preparing to make a big move.
To that end, Interpreter Jung meets with Kaehwa scholars led by Ho-kyung, who worries over the feasibility of creating a new bureau that would essentially strip power from the existing State Council and Six Ministries. Interpreter Jung knows the ministers will resist, but suggests that they have faith in the king’s resolve.
He has poured both his energy and money into supporting the Kaehwa faction, which is cause for some resignation from his wife. It doesn’t appear they’re in big trouble, but I do wonder if it’s a concern to take seriously. Soo-in is chastised for spending so freely on her imported goods, but on the upside (sort of?), it appears she’s bought everything worth buying and is no longer on the hunt for new items. Let’s nobody take that as financial advice now: Spend until there is literally nothing left to buy.
Moo-deok’s ambush party waits out the entire night in the mountains, but finds no sign of their gunman. In the morning it’s clear he didn’t make it, and Moo-deok orders his team to return to base.
…which is just what Yoon-kang was waiting for. He has been out all night, but never intended to make contact like a sitting duck (phew). He notes the size of Choi’s army as it retreats, then intercepts Moo-deok and gets him alone, beckoning to him and running away to force a chase.
Moo-deok pursues, shooting at him as he runs, and with his trademark speed Yoon-kang whirls in midair to fire back at Moo-deok. He gets in two good shots, knocking off Moo-deok’s hat and then scoring a hit on the shoulder. Moo-deok goes down, writhing in pain.
Yoon-kang advances menacingly, looming over a cowering Moo-deok, who asks who he is. “I see you don’t recognize me,” Yoon-kang growls. “Even after you sold my sister off as a slave! After killing my father!”
Moo-deok’s eyes widen. “Then… you’re Park Jin-han’s son…?”
“Yes,” Yoon-kang says. “I am Park Jin-han’s son, Park Yoon-kang. I survived. I was so wronged, I could not die.”
He demands to know who Moo-deok is, asking if he was the one to kill his father. Moo-deok denies it but he won’t reveal the shooter’s identity, even laughing when Yoon-kang insists on a name and fires a warning shot next to his head.
Moo-deok advises him to not do anything stupid: “You can’t handle him.” Welling up in rage, Yoon-kang fires into his knee. Last warning.
Moo-deok stares down the barrel of that gun and goads, “Shoot.”
Yoon-kang wrestles with his warring impulses. Moo-deok takes the choice out of his hands by taking out a dagger and saying, “Then I’ll do it.” He drives the knife into his own chest, and as he dies, Yoon-kang yells at him frantically, desperate for a name.
Moo-deok dies. Yoon-kang bellows in frustration, his lead lost.
Yoon-kang checks the dead man’s left shoulder to see if he bears a scar from the fight with his father, but it’s clean. It is, at least, a clue, and Yoon-kang says he’ll find out the rest on his own.
The sniper trainees return to the mountain headquarters to find that their leader didn’t make it back. Knowing that he’s not the type to keep him waiting, Choi Won-shin guesses that Moo-deok encountered trouble on the way.
It’s happier news for Sang-chu, who lights up adorably upon Yoon-kang’s return. He wasn’t entirely certain his hyungnim would be making it back alive, and is vastly relieved.
Yoon-kang resumes work as Hanjo, overseeing the construction of his new offices. He makes pointed comments to Hye-won about how their explosives expert is doing nothing, and Soo-in chafes at his constant criticism. Hye-won informs him that the explosives delivery will not be allowed to be kept here (it’s too close to the palace, putting the king at risk) and offers to show him to a suitable warehouse.
Jung-hoon paces in his office, trying to puzzle out how a stranger could look so much like his friend. Did Yoon-kang get reincarnated as a Japanese man? Haha. Well, he was never the brains of the operation.
He receives a note tipping him off about the gunman’s corpse in the woods, and sets out with Officer Moon. He points out that the tip came to him and that he should receive credit for it, which makes me think that if he weren’t Yoon-kang’s friend he’d have no career. He just amuses me.
The officers find the body exactly as noted, lying next to his gun, and check the shoulder to confirm that this isn’t the “Expert Choi” in charge—this must be the subordinate. Jung-hoon is ordered to carry the corpse back, which I’m sure cannot end well for Jung-hoon. Or the corpse, for that matter.
Ho-kyung hears about Soo-in’s latest project and urges her to quit. His concern is twofold: It’s dangerous work, but worse is her fixation with Yoon-kang’s doppelganger. He argues that if Yoon-kang had survived, he would certainly have sought her out, and asks her not to get caught up in risky matters.
As Hye-won leads Yoon-kang to their warehouse, they chat a bit about their backgrounds. He notes that she does quite a bit of hard work for a woman, and Hye-won says she’s never lived as one—she’s always led a life just as though she were a man. Then out of nowhere, their two guards are shot down by arrows, and Yoon-kang and Hye-won find themselves surrounded by armed brigands.
The leader declares that somebody wants “this bitch’s neck,” indicating Hye-won. She makes clear that Hanjo is unrelated and should be let go, although it turns out they don’t want him anyway—just her. Hye-won keeps her head held high as she follows the leader, not betraying any fear.
Yoon-kang is held back at swordpoint, but seizes an opening and attacks. He takes on the entire gang single-handedly, which is not only brave of him but damn impressive, and Hye-won is certainly not immune to admiration. I love the slow-motion, beautifully scored scene as he fights, almost as though we’re in her point of view.
Soo-in has been trying to find out about Yeon-ha on her own, but hasn’t had much luck. Tonight, however, Jung-hoon brings her a potential lead, which is both good news and bad news: They’ve found Yeon-ha… because she’s being sold off to China with a group of young slave girls. She’s scheduled to ship out tomorrow night.
Jung-hoon promises that the police will rescue her, then sighs about that rude Japanese guy who looks just like Yoon-kang. If only the real Yoon-kang were here, he says, he’d rush off to save Yeon-ha straightaway. Hm, is that an idea Soo-in gets into her head?
Choi Won-shin’s henchman returns to deliver his full report on Hanjo’s background, but before he can read it, he hears of Hye-won’s attack. Thankfully she’s made it back safely, thanks to Hanjo, and despite his crimes Choi is still a loving father, and his gratitude toward Hanjo for saving his daughter is evident.
Soo-in waits for long hours outside of Hanjo’s lodgings, and pushes past his cold reception to ask one more time: “Are you truly not Young Master Yoon-kang?” He’s just too similar to the man she’s never once forgotten—will he deny it through the end?
He tells her firmly that she’s wrong, but stops when she blurts, “Then what about Yeon-ha? Will you deny knowing that child too?” She tells him that Yeon-ha will be sold off as a slave tomorrow, and he struggles to control his expression before facing her.
“What does that have to do with me?” he scoffs. “Whether she’s sold off to Japan or China is not for me to know.” He orders her to not seek him out again and leaves Soo-in in tears, making it to his room safely before allowing himself to react.
Soo-in walks home, thinking that this was her last try. “If he ignores Yeon-ha, then he must not be the young master.”
Yoon-kang struggles with himself, wanting to act but reminding himself he can’t: “Even if I say Yeon-ha’s name, I am not Park Yoon-kang.”
Soo-in: “Then I will stop too. I will forget the young master now.”
That doesn’t mean Soo-in is going to forget Yeon-ha, though, and she’s determined to do what she can to help the rescue. She asks Ho-kyung to go with her to confirm that Yeon-ha is in fact one of the slaves. He’s afraid to see her disappointed yet again, because she’s so dejected every time a lead falls flat, but she pleads anyway.
Choi Won-shin also hears of this development and decides that if Hanjo is really Yoon-kang, he wouldn’t ignore his sister’s plight. He stations a man to keep an eye on Hanjo, who is very conspicuously enjoying a drinking party at the gibang.
Yoon-kang drinks it up with his gisaeng companion freely, plying her with special liquor… which knocks her out in no time. He slips out of the gibang unnoticed and makes his way to the port.
There, all of our relevant parties are already stationed. The police officers lie in wait, ready to take action when the boat is boarded. Soo-in and Ho-kyung are there, anxious to confirm Yeon-ha’s presence. And Choi Won-shin has his men in place, ready to apprehend any man with his face covered. If Hanjo shows, that’s confirmation that he is Yoon-kang.
Yoon-kang makes his stealthy approach, taking out the guards silently. He finds the building where the traffickers wait, with the girls imprisoned inside, and slips around to infiltrate. And all of a sudden, his way is blocked by armed guards, who surround him with swords drawn just as their leader steps up. It’s Choi Won-shin.
How awesome are all of Yoon-kang’s disguises? I am especially partial to this newest one as the masked gunman, partly because he’s a badass with his weapon and righteous fury, but also because he looks like the most amazing magical fairy-elf prince of all dramaland, and I am absolutely not above swooning over a pretty picture on the screen. My screencaps are being overrun with frame-by-frame shots of Lee Jun-ki, and it’s becoming a problem. Not that it’s a problem I mind having.
I was surprised that he so willingly outed himself to the assassin, even if ultimately it was moot because the guy died. For instance, even had he learned of Choi’s identity as the head gunman, I didn’t expect him to charge right up and give his Inigo Montoya speech, because I thought he was working the long con for this revenge gig. But I suppose there’s no need for him to hold back if he thinks he’s nearly at the end of the journey—he can’t know there are fourteen episodes left.
Even with so many hours left ahead of us, I’m glad to have all our characters immediately suspicious of Hanjo being Yoon-kang—that tension is what makes the conflict suspenseful, and yet you don’t want to watch supposedly smart people just accept the easy explanation without questioning it fairly rigorously. It makes sense for Soo-in to be dogged in her belief, but it’s easy for the world to dismiss her conviction because they can just write it off as heartbreak.
Choi Won-shin’s reaction, on the other hand, is a bigger question mark because he only ever saw Yoon-kang once. But I don’t doubt that it was a memorable encounter, and he’s shrewd enough to pick up on the clues around him, which makes him dangerous. For now, that risk is mitigated by the fact that they have to make sure not to piss off Hanjo, but once he finds a chink in that identity armor, you know he’s going to be ruthless in chipping away at it.
I was expecting all sorts of good romantic angst over the are-you-or-aren’t-you question, but I hadn’t really thought much about his friend, so it was a great moment to watch him deal with his surprise before asserting the asshole routine to Jung-hoon. It hurts to watch him be so mean to those he loves the most, although it makes sense that that’s the best way to protect them. The second he betrays his true feelings is the second everything goes up in smoke, so it’s interesting to watch how well Yoon-kang can keep his Hanjo facade in place.
So far he’s managed pretty smoothly, but it’s going to wear on him pretty soon, and the sadistic bastard in me can’t help but rub her hands together in anticipation. Because you know, sometimes drama angst is really enjoyable, okay? Angst tends to get a bad rap because so many dramas fall back on it as a narrative crutch, without doing the work and building up the moments properly. But done well, it’s the stuff.
I’m okay with Soo-in being kept wondering for the time being, because right now we’re at the stage where she’s pretty sure how she feels but understands that she can’t push him any further. I’m even looking forward to the budding conflict that’ll arise when Hye-won falls for Hanjo, because here’s a case where friend-loyalty doesn’t apply—not as long as Hanjo is separate from Yoon-kang. Heck, I even look forward to watching Yoon-kang torture himself by pushing Soo-in away and possibly into Ho-kyung’s arms. What can I say, this drama is turning me seriously sadistic. Why does the pain hurt so good?
- Joseon Gunman: Episode 5
- Joseon Gunman: Episode 4
- Joseon Gunman: Episode 3
- Joseon Gunman: Episode 2
- Joseon Gunman: Episode 1
- Kolorful Palette: Gunnin’ for Gunman [Joseon Gunman]
- Oh Snap! Joseon finger guns
- Meet the cast (posters) for Joseon Gunman
- Lee Jun-ki goes gunslinging for Joseon Gunman
- “And now… the age of the sword has ended”
- Oh Snap! Oh my god, finally