I seriously can’t get enough of Joseon Gunman. It’s like a package of bon bons I keep popping without even with hint of saturation. The story barrels ahead with Yoon Kang juggling so many things but doing a pretty good job if I may say so. He keeps up the Hanjo identity ruse by simply denying all the way to the bank, and that works because so many people saw him get shot and fall into the water. It’s also worth noting that even if his enemy number one Merchant Choi does confirm his identity, he can’t publicly out Yoon Kang without dragging in his own nefarious involvement three years ago. That means Yoon Kang’s identity could get sussed out by Merchant Choi, but for now he can’t touch him regardless because he wants to do business with Yamamoto. That’s a nice conundrum and adds more depth to the story where one big secret isn’t enough to render the story toothless. I keep on loving Soo In for trying so darn hard at everything, even playing the part of the explosives expert because her Hye Won unni asked her desperately for the favor.
I don’t see Soo In going overboard anymore to confirm Hanjo is Yoon Kang, nor is she all atwitter in his presence. She’s still smart in a sheltered way, but has also absorbed the tragedy of the past to form new opinions of the world around her. The girl who got a gun in the beginning of the drama now hates the weapon because of the lives it stole around her, and once again that’s the same opinion Yoon Kang holds. Both of them are now living in the modernizing world not because they are enchanted and have illusions about it, but because it’s the only path forward. Episode 7 brings Yeon Ha back into the vicinity of the people who are looking for her but it would be too easy for her orabeoni to save her from her plight. The King also moves forward with his plans to step over his powerful ministers and create a new department to liaise with the rest of the world, a daunting endeavor that is a direct challenge to the people who will do nothing to hold onto the existing power structure. I worry for Yoon Kang because he still doesn’t know the extent of the conspiracy that he’s in the center of, but am hopeful that he’s so savvy and world weary he’ll adapt quickly to any danger as he’s successfully done so far.
Episode 7 recap:
Yoon Kang spots his sister Yeon Ha in captivity of slavers taking her away on a ship tonight. Before he can rescue her, he’s surrounded by armed men led by Merchant Choi. Yoon Kang raises his gun towards them but Merchant Choi claims to be merely looking for a thief and wants to know his identity and see his face. Yoon Kang fires a shot into the air and uses the ensuing distraction to escape by clambering over the wall. Soo In and Ho Kyung are with Officer Han when the gunshot rings out and Officer Han immediately leads his men towards the sound of the gunshot.
Merchant Choi’s right hand man chases after Yoon Kang and the two fight in hand-to-hand combat but Yoon Kang easily overpowers the guy and kicks him off the roof. Yoon Kang escapes while Officer Han and his men arrive. Merchant Choi extricates his man from Officer Han and points him in the direction where Yoon Kang escaped. His man reports privately that he didn’t get a look at the gunman’s face.
Yeon Ha is led away by the slavers and stops for one last look of hope but no one comes to rescue her. The slavers drive away in the cart before the constables can come stop their nefarious trade. Yoon Kang arrives too late and finds the warehouse empty and his sister gone.
Soo In and Ho Kyung arrive steps behind him and Soo In asks Ho Kyung to wait as she looks around the empty warehouse. They split up and Soo In chances upon a masked Yoon Kang hiding behind a beam. Yoon Kang claps his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming out loud and he stares straight into her eyes trying to calm her down.
Ho Kyung walks up and demands that Yoon Kang release Soo In and offers to be his hostage instead. Yoon Kang pushes Soo In towards Ho Kyung when the constables arrive and take off, leaving a Ho Kyung to take care of a flustered Soo In. Officer Han arrives too late and reveals that the slavers and the teenage girl slaves have all disappeared. Merchant Choi takes note of Soo In looking for Yeon Ha and apologizes if his crew got in the way of the search tonight. Officer Han assures Soo In that he’ll keep looking for Yeon Ha and tells her to go home now.
Ho Kyung walks Soo In home and she thanks him for protecting her back there but asks why he offered himself as the hostage. Ho Kyung doesn’t know why but he just knew he had to save Soo In. Soo In tells him that she got a feeling from the look in gunman’s eyes that made her feel like he wouldn’t harm her. Ho Kyung reminds her that the gunman held her hostage back there.
The gisaeng that Yoon Kang drugged wakes him up the next morning but he just pulls her in to stay in bed longer. Kanemaru wakes Hanjo up for the grand opening of their merchant office and yells at him like an angry dad when he tries to stay abed and push the event to the next day. Yoon Kang eventually staggers out of the room and Merchant Choi’s spy sees him and reports back that Hanjo entered the room last night with a gisaeng and didn’t come out until this morning.
Merchant Choi isn’t ready to put his suspicion away on that alone and tells his man to search the port area for slavers and acquire Yeon Ha that way. If Hanjo really is Yoon Kang, then he can’t hide his identity from his sister.
Sang Choo asks Yoon Kang about saving Yeon Ha and hears back that the place was crowded with police and Merchant Choi’s men last night so he couldn’t save her. Sang Choo senses its odd and coincidental for Merchant Choi to have been there last night and Yoon Kang agrees so tells Sang Choo to investigate. He also asks Sang Choo to deliver a letter for him.
Merchant Choi arrives with Hye Won and Soo In to congratulate the opening of the merchant office. Yoon Kang accepts the gifts and wants to schedule the explosion test as soon as possible. Hye Won says the test can take place when the explosives arrive and Yoon Kang tells a flustered Soo In that the explosives will arrive tomorrow. Yoon Kang wants to see the explosion tomorrow but Soo In tries to delay saying that she needs to prepare the raw materials. Yoon Kang asks how long she needs and shaves Soo In’s request of 10 days down to 3.
Yoon Kang takes the guests to the receiving room and laugh with Merchant Choi about how a gisaeng kept him up all night and he almost missed this opening. Soo In awkwardly takes her leave and Hye Won follows. Yoon Kang jokes about how he needs to watch what he says around ladies and Soo In is pretty pissed off but Hye Won keeps her from blowing her lid. They leave while Yoon Kang keeps up the bawdy chatter with Merchant Choi.
Soo In grumbles to Hye Won that she was wrong to think Hanjo could be Yoon Kang. They are totally different men. Hye Won is glad Soo In reached this conclusion and turns the talk to the explosives test in 3 short days. Soo In doesn’t have confidence but Hye Won wants her to try her best even if she fails.
Merchant Choi hears Hanjo’s life story where he was born from a lowly warrior and left home after his sister died because he didn’t want to live like his father. He grew up with gangs and got closer to Yamamoto that way. Hanjo laughs about how he’s gotten closer to Merchant Choi and is sharing his personal story already. He ask Merchant Choi to share his own personal life next time and they drink to really starting to do business together in earnest now.
Yoon Kang walks Merchant Choi out and they politely bid farewell. Merchant Choi’s right hand man asks if Hanjo let slip anything but Merchant Choi reveals that everything he said matches his life story received from the embassy. To get to the truth, he needs to get Yeon Ha.
Yoon Kang goes back to his room and says the name Hasegawa Hanjo and then flashes back to three years ago in Japan when he was attacked by a group of lowly Japanese warriors for being a foreigner from Joseon. Yoon Kang fought back valiantly and this entire incident was witnessed by a man who worked for Yamamoto and he offered Yoon Kang a job working for the merchant group which is the largest in Kyoto. The man who offered Yoon Kang the job was named Hasegawa Hanjo.
Sang Choo reports to Yoon Kang that he passed a letter to Officer Han and worries if its dangerous to liaise with the guy who was secretly investigating Son. Yoon Kang smiles and says the only danger is for the ladies out there. Ha.
Officer Han reports to Officer Moon that he couldn’t save Yeon Ha because a bunch of bad guys showed up last night. Officer Moon chides him for not getting any of the assignments he tasked him with done. Officer Han gets a kick in the shin even as he’s assuring Officer Moon that he hasn’t been to a gibang in a long time. Officer Moon hands him the picture of the gunman and orders him to keep investigating.
Leader Kim is not pleased that a gunman died and Merchant Choi didn’t report it to him. Merchant Chou thought it was just a lowly gunman and didn’t want to bother Leader Kim but gets chewed out for thinking the gunmen all worked for him. He asks how the plan to train more gunmen are coming along and Merchant Choi takes Leader Kim to the secret mountain training facility where the gunmen demonstrate their skills and swear their fealty to Leader Kim.
Officer Han excitedly heads to a gibang after receiving a letter from his favorite gisaeng who is back in town. He’s surprised to find a man waiting inside the room and asks who the man is that knows about the gisaeng. Yoon Kang teases about how he could know about the first gisaeng that Officer Han slept with and Officer Han says only Park Yoon Kang could know that. Yoon Kang takes off his hat and Officer Han adorably asks if he’s the Japanese guy Hasegawa Hanjo? Yoon Kang says no, he’s Park Yoon Kang.
Officer Han grills Yoon Kang on the details of their past to confirm that he’s really Yoon Kang. He asks about the time he beat Yoon Kang in a sword fight and Yoon Kang says that’s never happened before. Officer Han insists he did once and Yoon Kang asks if he’s counting as a win the time he tossed dirt in Yoon Kang’s eyes? Officer Han cries that a win is a win and one must never lessen one’s guard, and then rushes to hug his best friend for being alive. Awww, these two are so cute and totally the alterna-OTP in this drama.
Officer Han asks why Yoon Kang pretended not to recognize him and hears Yoon Kang has a reason to keep his identity a secret. He wants to find Soo In to tell her immediately but Yoon Kang reminds him that he’s still a fugitive and he needs to be considered dead by all of Joseon. He especially can’t have Soo In know otherwise she’s in danger. Yoon Kang asks Officer Han to volunteer for the assignment to keep watch on the Japanese business doing business in the capital which will give them an excuse to meet in the future. He asks Officer Han to keep looking for Yeon Ha as well and Officer Han assures him that he won’t stop until he finds her.
Minister Jung hands the proposal for the new department to King Gojung and all the arrangement are in place save for the reveal in court to inform the ministers. Most of the ministers oppose the plan but a few point out that they need to acquire new ships and weapons and further trade with the other countries in order to maintain Joseon’ self-defense. King Gojung puts his foot down and orders this new department formed immediately.
Hye Won and her dad discuss this big development in court before she heads out to meet with Soo In and Yoon Kang who are visiting the explosives warehouse. Soo In checks out the raw materials and points out that the materials are assembled but the quality is not the best. The dirt is salty so absorbs moister easier and harder to ignite. Yoon Kang thinks she’s using her knowledge to hoodwink him so Soo In grabs a handful and tells him to smell and confirm himself.
Yoon Kang grabs her wrist and the two of them pause on that moment of skinship before Yoon Kang tells Soo In to either dry this dirt herself or get her own raw materials.
On the walk back to town, Yoon Kang reminds Soo In to keep the raw materials safe and she wonders why he’s so distrusting of everyone. Yoon Kang says he trusts plenty of people, just not her. Soo In huffs that he owes her an apology after she successfully detonates the explosion. Yoon Kang smiles at her plucky temper after she storms off.
They are stopped by a group of men who mistakenly want to harm them and Yoon Kang sees how scared Soo In is so pulls his gun to warn him off. He shoots a warning blast into the air and then pulls Soo In behind him as they run for it.
Soo In pulls Yoon Kang behind a rock outcropping to hide and the men pursing them run past their hiding place. Soo In holds tightly onto Yoon Kang’s hand to keep him from being discovered and Yoon Kang remembers all the times he’s had to run from pursuers with Soo In.
Soo In notices their joined hands and both quickly let go but she also flashes back to running away with Yoon Kang. She stares at Yoon Kang and then asks why he pulled a gun back there? She really thought he was going to shoot the old man. Yoon Kang would never do that, he despises those who use a gun to kill. She asks why he carries one and hears that he uses it for self-defense. Soo In hates guns before it takes a life too quickly and cruelly.
Yoon Kang asks Soo In if she still thinks he’s Park Yoon Kang? How much did she like him? Soo In would never forget him in her life time. During the time they spent together, they laughed and they cried. It was the happiest time of her life. Soo In asks one more time if he’s really not Park Yoon Kang? Even if she tells herself that he can’t be Yoon Kang, there is too much that she senses from him that he is Yoon Kang and has a reason not to admit it. Yoon Kang once again denies that he is Park Yoon Kang.
Hye Won and her men arrive to rescue Yoon Kang and settle the misunderstanding with the angry men. Turns out the merchant group moved their ancestors burial sites to widen the road for the mining operation but she’s now paid for the move and hired monks to perform new rites. Hye Won sincerely apologizes to Yoon Kang for constantly getting into danger because of them. He lets it go and walks away which Soo In finds very rude but Hye Won doesn’t mind. Soo In wonders why Hye Won keeps accepting Yoon Kang’s bad behavior like she owes him one. Hye Won reveals she owes him her life since he saved her life on this very mountain. He didn’t just save her life, he walked into her eyes and she saw a new side to him that Soo In doesn’t see.
Leader Kim cackles maniacally about the King creating a new department outside of their purview and stabbing them in the back. The ministers are all freaking out and Leader Kim decides that he’ll meet privately with the King about this.
Minister Jung tells Ho Kyung that the King is assigning the management of the new department to him and he wants to invite Ho Kyung to join in. This new department is about about birth since he’s just a lowly translator so he wants Ho Kyung to also take this opportunity.
Sang Choo admires Je Mi washing clothes in a tub before freaking out when he realizes she’s washing Yoon Kang’s suit. He quickly grabs it out of the wash and informs a furious Yoon Kang who chews out Sang Choo for not keeping a closer eye on Je Mi. Sang Choo placates Yoon Kang by revealing that he’s found Yeon Ha. So has Merchant Choi and he makes the move to go meet with the slavers.
Yoon Kang and Sang Choo meet with the slavers who reveal that she was just sold to a big merchant. Yoon Kang runs off since the sale just took place while Sang Choo tries to get the identity of the merchant but the slaver claims not to know anything.
Yeon Ha is taken back to the Kyung Gi Merchant Group while Merchant Choi arranges for a banquet the next day where he makes sure Hanjo is invited. Yoon Kang cries in his room that night frustrated over not being able to rescue Yeon Ha yet again. The next day Yoon Kang accepts the invitation to the banquet.
Soo In is at home trying to practice making the explosives based on the manual but doesn’t think she can do it without doing a test run. Her maid suggest she give up now or else go steal some gunpowder so she can practice beforehand. Soo In actually likes that idea and goes to Yoon Kang’s place and lies to Je Mi that she needs to check something in the warehouse. Je Mi lets her inside and she swipes some gunpowder and other raw materials. Soo In bumps into Sang Choo on her way out and drops her swiped raw materials.
Hye Won notices Yeon Ha as a new face around here and hears that her dad brought this new maid back. Some businessmen arrive and one sleazy one takes a particular long look as Yeon Ha walks past. Ewwwww.
Merchant Choi welcomes Yoon Kang to the banquet and they sit down to chat. Merchant Choi brings up how he brought a new maid back recently since it’s getting busier at the merchant group. He asks if Soo In still mistakes him for another person and Yoon Kang doesn’t know if she still thinks so but there are a lot of people who look alike in this world. Merchant Choi agrees and thinks only a blood relative can tell the difference. He excuses himself to rejoin the guests.
Yeon Ha enters the room to deliver tea to Yoon Kang and she immediately recognizes her orabeoni. Yeon Ha drops the tea tray and runs to hug Yoon Kang while he is startled to see his sister there. Merchant Choi hears the commotion and peers into the room with a smirk as he waits for Yoon Kang to confirm his identity.
Thoughts of Mine:
Yeeeps! I so wants Yoon Kang and Yeon Ha to reunite for their sanity’s sake but it definitely can’t happen with Merchant Choi looking on. I swear he’s such a dangerous foe, one that makes this drama actually feel scary because the enemy isn’t just a cackling laughingstock stupidly wielding power. Even Leader Kim and his minions aren’t easy to fool and win over. Merchant Choi finding Yeon Ha before Yoon Kang just reminds me of how quick thinking he is, and coupled with his wealth and resources, no wonder he’s always one step ahead when it comes to planning his strategy. Yoon Kang has his advantages in that his identity remains murky plus he has the Yamamoto merchant group flag backing him up. He also gets to do undercover operations and nothing beats being a stealth ninja at night to try and rescue an enslaved sister or get in some skin ship with the girl he can’t reunite with just yet. I think Yoon Kang was ready to hint at Soo In about his identity before Ho Kyung interrupted, but if she knew I don’t think she would be able to resist trying to help him and maybe creating more problems for him. Soo In, she means well but doesn’t always deliver the best results. I still don’t get what some viewers find so lacking or objectionable in her character. She’s flawed but realistically so, with a spirited personality and a fierce loyalty. Compared to cool and rational Hye Won, she’s the act first and think later type, but not overly so that she comes across as simplistic. I like her so much, she doesn’t seek conflict but isn’t afraid to stand her ground when it finds her.
Yoon Kang’s past three years is starting to be revealed and I loved the intense fighting for his life sequence in Japan. He’s down but not out, and the ferocity he displayed makes sense that it would attract the attention of Yamamoto’s man. I figured Yoon Kang went through Hell to get back to Joseon as Hanjo but it helps that we see him again so in control and in charge so it doesn’t hurt as much to watch his past slowly revealed. I wonder what he held on to to get through those years? The hope of rescuing Yeon Ha, the desire to avenge his father, and the dream of being with Soo In one day again? Probably all three, but there are so many obstacles he needs to conquer to make it come true and right now he’s taking it slowly. I like that he doesn’t seek out Soo In and blow his cover, but he also doesn’t avoid her company and even secretly allows himself to enjoy it. It was so bittersweet to have him ask why Soo In liked Park Yoon Kang so much and her answer was the loveliest bit of romantic stirring I’ve heard in awhile. It wasn’t passionate and life-changing, her feelings for Yoon Kang, it was unforgettable because of how happy she was when she was with him. Soo In also dared to ask Yoon Kang about his identity, which I’m proud that she stays true to her heart and intuition rather than accepting his denials at face value. There are just too many moments between them that harken back to their past and she would be clueless to ignore it.
Click here to watch Joseon Gunman.