The drama finally shines the spotlight firmly on the Yoon Kang-Soo In relationship in this episode of Joseon Gunman and it’s everything I wanted and more with their sorta reunion. I enjoyed the pretending to be someone else confusion and conflict but these two have always been about how much they mean to each other in the complicated world around them. As Joseon opens up and the ensuing struggles throws them curve balls and strikes, I love how the purity of the affection between them remains so sincere and resolute. This drama doesn’t need love triangles and squares as there are plenty of dangers that will make it hard for the OTP to get together anyways. What I want to see is that their feelings are conveyed to the other person and that totally happened finally. All it took was Soo In getting herself swept up in Yoon Kang’s revenge plan even as his initial strategy was to keep her out of it by pretending to be Hanjo. He ended up needing her help and it’s clear that they are tiptoeing around landmines and one wrong step mean pain whether of the emotional and/or physical sort.
I loved that the good guys got a win in this episode even if some torture was endured for the sake of a greater cause. Yoon Kang’s worry for Soo In and her stepping up to the plate in protecting her man and her dad was awesome to behold. It’s brings back all the stirring feelings from three years ago when they were there for each other even as hammer of doom was coming down. Sageuks are about larger than life situations and JG does a masterful job of balancing that with delivering lovely delicate moments in between big events. The drama also presents a very rich spectrum of antagonists to keep on bringing the conflict, and in doing so show us that it’s not always easy doing bad things. Minister Kim loses his son and his power by refusing to budge and Merchant Choi is reminded once again that even with money he’s still at the back and call of those with even more power. I do wish the business deal that keeps going from on-to-off-to-on would just stick with a decision rather than see-sawing for the narrative but overall the drama continues to be a barrel of unending awesome.
Episode 10 recap:
Soo In is arrested in front of Yoon Kang after being tipped off that she took explosives raw materials and might be complicit in the minister of justice’s death. We all know she’s not being framed but damn it this sucks. It sucks even more that she’s arrested right as she’s about to reunite with Yoon Kang who can only stare in anguish and worry as she’ll fairly carted out of there to the police bureau for interrogation, aka torture.
Left Minister Kim is talking with his cronies about ways to bring down the new department since they are everywhere around the Palace and pretty soon the established ministers will slowly have their power sapped away. The cronies note that the new officials are loyal to the King and what the King is doing is actually strengthening his own royal power base. Minister Kim is disappointed to hear that there is no dirt on Minister Jung to bring him down, which is when he hears that the just arrested suspect in the minister of justice investigation is none other than the daughter of Minister Jung. It’s like candy falling from the sky and he rushes to interrogate her personally.
Soo In is changed into drab prisoner garb and finds herself tied up next to the explosives expert who told the officials that he saw her taking explosives materials from the warehouse, which we all know is true. Soo In hesitates to answer the question and the explosives expert tells her to say the truth that she came to take the explosives material with Hanjo. Soo In admits she took the material but claims he has nothing to do with it and she did it for her own use.
Yoon Kang finds out from Officer Han that Soo In is being held for her possible involvement in the death of the minister of justice. Officer Han worries that the charges are so severe she could be executed if charged but assures him that Soo In can’t be involved so she’ll be released soon. Sang Choo tells Yoon Kang that the interrogation has begun and Soo In’s screams can be heard from outside.
Minister Kim and his cronies have arrived and have dispensed with the pleasantries to dive right into torturing Soo In for what she did with the explosives. Soo In refuses to explain that Yoon Kang asked her to make the smoke bombs and insists that she took the materials to practice making bombs and detonated it in remote places without leaving a trace since it rained last night and likely washed away the remnants. Bless her heart for being quick thinking. Soo In wanted to practice because she couldn’t make explosives before. Minister Kim ask if her dad Minister Jung was behind it all and she handed the explosives to him?
Soo In wonders why he brought up her dad and Minister Kim declares that her dad might be planning to assassinate the King. Soo In screams that her dad had nothing to do with it and yells at Minister Kim for falsely accusing her dad. That gets Soo In a slap in the face and Minister Kim orders Minister Jung brought in for interrogation. The officials storm into the new department and cart Minister Jung away to join Soo In for interrogation.
Yoon Kang and Officer Han head towards the bureau to save Soo In and Officer Han keeps trying to convince Yoon Kang not to go. His identity as a Japanese businessman only works in the port areas around commence but has no sway in government. If he’s not careful his life may be in danger as well. They run into Merchant Choi and Hye Won on the street and Yoon Kang stares particularly hard at Merchant Choi. He quickly excuses himself and Officer Han explains that Yoon Kang is headed to try and bail Soo In out. Hye Won offers to go with him because they were also summoned to be questioned.
Minister Jung asks Soo In what is going on and Minister Kim cackles that his daughter has been tortured because she helped him kill the minister of justice, right? He hired a gunman to kill him and had his daughter make smoke bombs. Minister Jung had no reason to kill the man but Minister Kim says all the ministers who don’t back reform are his enemies. Minister Kim is certain that he can interrogate the truth out of him and intends to keep Soo In here because if he tortures her then Minister Jung will hurt more and talk.
Yoon Kang and company arrive at the bureau just as another round of torture is inflicted on Soo In. Her painful screams reach Yoon Kang and he can’t hide his pained expression at hearing Soo In tortured. Merchant Choi takes note of that and then they head inside to try and help. Minister Jung can do nothing other than watch as Soo In as tortured.
Yoon Kang rushes into the courtyard and sees Soo In being tortured and even Hye Won and Merchant Choi look fairly upset to witness this scene. Yoon Kang tries so hard to stay calm but it pains him to watch Soo In suffering. An official announces the arrival of Merchant Choi along with a Japanese businessman Hanjo.
Yoon Kang walks up to Minister Kim and identifies himself as the Japanese businessman who was doing business with the Kyung Gi Merchant Group. Merchant Kim asks why he’s here and Yoon Kang announces that he’s here to prove that the woman did nothing wrong. He explains that he owns the explosives material and he asked Soo In to take the explosives for him. He tells Minister Kim to release Soo In since she’s innocent and he’s willing to stay to be questioned according to Joseon law.
Minister Kim tells Yoon Kang to leave because Soo In’s statement was different than what Yoon Kang said. Soo In claimed she used the explosives in the mountain alone while Yoon Kang says he took it from her. Yoon Kang tells Soo In to tell the truth that he told her to get the explosives for him and she had nothing to do with it but Soo In refuses to say anything.
Yoon Kang walks over to Soo In and angrily tells again to tell the truth, she took the explosives at his request because he was delivering it to the embassy. Everyone watches but Soo In sticks with her story that she took the explosives herself. Minister Kim has Yoon Kang dragged out but Yoon Kang tells him to interrogate him first to prove what he said is true. Yoon Kang breaks free of the guards and stands in front of Soo In and Minister Jung and asks if Joseon law does things by interrogating and torturing first before confirming what he said was true with the embassy.
He’s dragged off again and this time Officer Han rushes up to yell at him for daring to cause a scene here which is his way to protect Yoon Kang by dragging him out. Yoon Kang keeps screaming to let him go while shooting anguished stares at Soo In who tearfully watches him get dragged off. Yoon Kang keeps yelling to let Soo In go because he did everything. Yoon Kang is still tossed out and Minister Kim resumes torturing Soo In while he keeps screaming for them to stop.
Ho Kyung hears that Minister Kim is using this investigation as an excuse to discredit Minister Jung and get rid of the new department. He begs another minister to help otherwise Soo In won’t survive. The minister says it’s hard to stop this interrogation since a powerful official died and Soo In admitted she took the explosives. He promises to talk to the King about it.
Minister Kim continues his torture interrogation and by now even Minister Jung has been tortured. Minister Kim brings out the big weapon in a flaming hot brand and prepares to sear Soo In unless she tells him what he wants to hear. Luckily Ho Kyung’s arrival ends the interrogation for the day. He yells that it’s a violation of Joseon law to interrogate without confirming evidence but is dragged out.
Ho Kyung earns a slap to the face by his dad for interrupting the interrogation. He’s not worried about being dragged in for interrogation as well and his dad warns that he isn’t going to go soft on him either just because Ho Kyung is his son. Ho Kyung tells his dad that he will stop this using any method possible. Minister Jung warns Ho Kyung that he’s lived at the Jung residence for so many years that he could be implicated as well.
Yoon Kang has changed into his gunman disguise and prepares to jailbreak Soo In from her holding cell. Sang Choo stops his hyung and refuses to let Yoon Kang go on this suicide mission. Yoon Kang won’t let Soo In die but Sang Choo chooses to protect his hyung no matter what.
Ho Kyung’s arrival halts Yoon Kang’s plan and he changes back into a suit to go and speak with Ho Kyung. It’s the first time Ho Kyung has seen Hanjo and is clearly stunned by his resemblance to Yoon Kang. Ho Kyung asks why Soo In would take the explosives for Hanjo and why she’s suffering now alone because of it. Yoon Kang admits he took it and also went to try and explain the truth but Minister Jung ignored him. Yoon Kang tells Ho Kyung to leave and he’ll handle saving Soo In. Ho Hyung wonders how Yoon Kang will save her and Yoon Kang is determined to save her no matter what. Ho Kyung asks Yoon Kang to come with him then if he’s willing to do anything to save Soo In. Ho Kyung brings Yoon Kang to meet with the minister and afterwards Yoon Kang asks a favor.
Soo In is all bruised and battered in her holding cell and crying as she remembers Yoon Kang screaming during the interrogation that he did it and to let her go. She perks up when she sees Yoon Kang sneaking a visit with her. She crawls over to the bars while he kneels down and they stare at each other. He calls her an idiot and asks why she didn’t just say his name from the beginning when asked. She assures him that she’s fine and just keeps staring at him. Yoon Kang orders her to tell the truth tomorrow and save her life but she refuses.
Yoon Kang is furious and frustrated that she didn’t toss him under a bus to save herself and asks why she did it? He starts to cry and asks why she’s so stubborn and making it so hard for him. Soo In grabs Yoon Kang’s hand and both of them are crying. Soo In tells him not to say anything because he’ll be in danger. Yoon Kang tells her that he used her and she needs to tell the truth now but Soo In just smiles tearfully.
Yoon Kang is told he has to leave and he grabs Soo In’s hand back and assures her that he’ll save her. The minister drags Yoon Kang out while Soo In cries in the jail cell. She thinks to herself “doronim, I’m fine and am just grateful that you’re alive. To protect you there is nothing I’m scared of.”
Soo In and Minister Jung are brought out the next day for further torture and interrogation and Minister Jung is about to cop to everything in order to save Soo In but it’s cut short by the arrival of King Gojong. Minister Kim says Minister Jung is about to admit he hired a gunman to assassinate the minister of justice and had his daughter make smoke bombs. The King is furious that Minister Kim dares lie to him and orders the witness brought forth.
The King calls forth Yoon Kang as Hanjo who sticks with the story that he had Soo In take the explosives and returned it to the Japanese embassy. The King asks if Yoon Kang said this to Minister Kim already and Yoon Kang says he told him but Minister Kim refused to investigate. The King is furious and chews out Minister Kim for investigating according to his own wishes, just like how he behaves in court. Minister Kim claims he’s doing what’s best for the country and trying to ferret out the truth.
The King refuses to be led around by Minister Kim and his ilk anymore. The King orders Minister Jung and Soo In released while Minister Kim is taken away and jailed for lying to the King. Minister Kim stares in fury and desperation as he walks past his secret son Ho Kyung. The King takes note of Yoon Kang as Hanjo and thanks him for giving a witness statement and helping the King save another loyal retainer that he almost lost.
Yoon Kang and Ho Kyung assist Soo In and Minister Jung out to the sedan chair that the King arranged to carry them back home. Minister Jung thanks Yoon Kang for helping them and stares at him warmly, clearly aware he’s Commander Park’s son but not saying anything about it. Yoon Kang sees Soo In barely able to stand and apologizes again but she smiles and tells him not to worry. Ho Kyung apologizes to Minister Jung with the unsaid apology that it was his dad Minister Kim who tried to torture and frame him. Minister Jung tells Ho Kyung not to worry as well and leaves with Soo In.
Ho Kyung and Yoon Kang share a silent head nod in thanks before Ho Kyung follows the sedan chair off. Soo In turns around to give Yoon Kang a final look.
Leader Kim holds yet another dark pow wow with his Sugu faction minions to discuss the turnaround with Left Minister Kim arrested and reportedly soon to be sent into exile. He’s furious the other ministers present didn’t stop the King and hears that the King was powerful and insistent this time around. Leader Kim thinks it’s time to show the King the price to be paid when he oversteps his role.
Leader Kim calls Merchant Choi out and orders him to assassinate Minister Jung. Merchant Choi accepts the order but begs a favor for Leader Kim to unite all the merchant groups in Joseon. He claims it’s to facilitate commence and not to gather power and he wants Leader Kim to lead the new merchant group. Leader Kim asks why the Japanese businessman who gave witness to save Minister Jung and his daughter is being allowed to do whatever he wants. Why hasn’t Merchant Choi taken him out and allowed him to interfere? Leader Kim reminds Merchant Choi that he’s just a hunting dog who does what he asks and eat what he gives. He’s nothing and with one word Leader Kim can demote Merchant Choi and his daughter into runaway slaves. Leader Kim tells him to get rid of Minister Jung and then wait quietly until he’s summoned again. Merchant Choi slinks away.
Merchant Choi drinks alone fuming over his earlier meeting with Leader Kim and being put in his place. He shatters a wine cup with his hand and Hye Won finds her father all frustrated and tries to comfort him. She cleans the cut on his hand and assures him that they will get through it and whatever is bothering him can be resolved. She asks to share in his worries because she’s grown up now and will always be by his side to help him. Merchant Choi says they need to work with Yamamoto so they can control all the commerce in Joseon. Soon the world ruled only by money will arrive and then no one can mistreat them.
Yoon Kang sits in his room and thinks back to Soo In all bruised and bloody in the jail cell trying to protect him. He looks at his hand that Soo In grabbed in jail. He cries and holds his head in frustration. Soo In rests in her room and takes out the broken compass and clutches it to her chest while crying.
Yoon Kang can’t stop thinking about Soo In being all hurt after the torture and totally zones out Sang Choo trying to talk to him about the document he swiped from the Kyung Gi document repository. He gets up to pay Soo In a visit.
Merchant Choi pays a visit to Soo In’s dad bearing herbs to help in their recovery and asks when he’s planning to return to work. Soo In’s dad explains he’s resting for a few days and will go back to work in three days. Merchant Choi smiles to hear that, clearly planning his assassinate attempt.
Hye Won sits with a recovering Soo In and asks if Soo In hates Yoon Kang for getting her into trouble. Soo In doesn’t since he came and helped her in the end. Hye Won brings up Yeon Ha and apologizes for not telling Soo In earlier. She claims that when she knew the slave was Yeon Ha, she was already being sent to the minister of justice and there was nothing Hye Won could do. Soo In calls her on that excuse because the Hye Won she knows can do anything she sets her mind to. Hye Won also knows how important Yeon Ha is to Soo In who has been desperately searching for her. Soo In lays back down to rest and tells Hye Won to leave.
As Hye Won leaves she runs into Yoon Kang visiting Soo In. Soo In hears Yoon Kang’s voice outside as he greets Hye Won and she quickly changes to go out and meet him. When Soo In wonders why Yoon Kang is here, he candidly says that he was worried about her. Yoon Kang asks if she’s feeling better and Soo In says yes. Hye Won hears that and looks slightly crestfallen and takes her leave.
Yoon Kang and Soo In stand by the pond to have a quiet chat. He apologizes again for getting her into the mess and asks why she didn’t just out him during the interrogation. Soo In asks if he’s ready for the truth? If she said that she made smoke bombs for him, what would he say to the officials? Yoon Kang says he could have explained it as being used elsewhere. Soo In doesn’t think the officials would buy that story easily and may interrogate him. She reminds Yoon Kang that he tried to save her during the explosives demonstration so she’s saving him in return. She says they are even now and tells Yoon Kang not to feel bad because he kept insisting he was going to save her and he did.
Minister Jung leaves for work with his wife and daughter worried about him but he assures them that he’s fine. Officer Moon and Officer Han keep an eye on him to protect him from the gunman. Officer Moon tells Officer Han to stay at the house in case other gunmen come and he’s worried about his own safety so Officer Moon says the King has arranged for other guards to keep watch. Officer Moon follows behind Minister Jung while Merchant Choi’s man takes note of that.
Merchant Choi goes to beg Yoon Kang to work with his merchant group again. Merchant Choi lies that he needed to confirm whether Hanjo was Park Yoon Kang because he’s still a criminal under Joseon law and Merchant Choi will get in trouble for doing business with him. Yoon Kang calls Merchant Choi a foolish businessman who let this opportunity slip by because of his own fear. Merchant Choi bows deep and admits he made a mistake and asks for another chance.
Yoon Kang laughs at him and wonders if Merchant Choi shouldn’t get on his knees to beg if he’s asking for forgiveness and another chance. Merchant Choi pauses but then gets up from the seat and kneels before Yoon Kang to beg for another business opportunity. He’s willing to kneel a hundred or a thousand times for another chance.Hye Won walks in to see her dad kneeling before Yoon Kang and she turns and leaves.
Yoon Kang finds Soo In waiting for him at his residence and the two sit down for tea. Soon In points out this is the first time she’s been inside his room and hears that people normally aren’t allowed in. Yoon Kang asks why she’s here and Soo In apologizes for mistaking Hanjo for Yoon Kang doronim and says it won’t happen again.
Soo In reveals that she recently heard about Yeon Ha who is the younger sister of Yoon Kang. She believes Yoon Kang doronim is the gunman and rescued his sister Yeon Ha from the minister of justice’s residence. When she was at the port to find Yeon Ha, she ran into the gunman there as well. She is sure Yoon Kang is willing to pick up a gun to save his sister so just knowing that he’s alive somewhere makes her happy.
Yoon Kang asks if that’s enough for her to be happy, to know that Yoon Kang is alive. Soo In says yes, that’s enough to make her happy and feel so grateful. She is basically telling Yoon Kang that she knows he’s Hanjo but she also won’t force him to admit it. Awwww. Yoon Kang congratulates Soo In that Yoon Kang is alive. Soo In asks for more tea and after Yoon Kang leaves the room, she takes out the broken compass to put it back.
Thoughts of Mine:
Everything that happened in this episode was just all sorts of amazing. I loved Yoon Kang and Soo In’s mutually understood reunion that meant more than tearful open hugs. Both are in so much danger that their being with each other, even with Yoon Kang pretending to be Hanjo, is already a blessing. Soo In’s maturity and self-sacrifice in this episode really showed what she’s made up. She not only protects Yoon Kang as Hanjo, she does so with an understanding not to ask any questions and allow herself to be a help rather than a hindrance. She didn’t know that by admitting to taking the explosives it would lead to her dad getting swept up in the investigation, but I don’t blame her for not clearing things up even when Yoon Kang insisted she tell the truth. Yoon Kang is in such a precarious position, and having watched him die once in front of her, there is no way she would ever risk his life again. Plus it didn’t matter what Soo In said, Minister Kim and his cronies were going to find any reason to remove Minister Jung from power and ultimate she and Yoon Kang are just caught up in a greater power struggle beyond their understanding and control. I was so happy to the King finally do something rather than bemoan about how he wishes he did more to counter the Sugu faction. It’s one thing to lament sacrificing Commander Park, who was dead by the time the King was called to turn him into a traitor, it’s another to do it again. I’m glad he’s fighting back even though he’ll likely have to pay the price for it down the road. No one said the road to modernization was easy.
Soo In and Yoon Kang’s scenes in this episode were all absolutely moving. The way he kept looking at her with open anguish and concern, understanding that he put her in harms way himself. How she kept staring at him time and again as if still unable to believe that he’s her Yoon Kang doronim. Their jail cell scene made me tearing up with the way so much was left unsaid but the love and worry was so palpable. I don’t think Yoon Kang was thinking about himself in this episode and trying to maintain his cover. He was so worried about saving Soo In that his revenge plan naturally fell by the wayside, which makes sense since what’s revenge for a dead dad if he loses his currently still alive beloved in the process. I love that Yoon Kang has his priorities straight and is still willing to risk his own life is need be to keep Soo In safe. He’s not as calculating as he ought to be, inside is still the hotblooded young man who rushed out to save Yeon Ha from the kidnappers. It’s clear that the death of a loved one is one of Yoon Kang’s biggest fears, having seen the bandits take his mom and later the gunman kill his dad. He may be skilled at the sword and gun but in this episode he’s been reminded that he’s still one lone man against an institution of corrupt power trying to resist change. The best ending might actually be Yoon Kang and Soo In leaving Joseon for Japan forever and walking away from all the conflict.
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