I always wonder why it comes across romantic when drama leads spend the night outdoors in each other’s arms like in Joseon Gunman, even when they are dirty and likely smelly I think it’s super swoony. Of course if it was Lee Jun Ki letting me use his shoulder as a pillow, I would sleep in a swamp and still think it better than a 5-star hotel room. JG kicked it up a notch in episode 19 as the enlightenment faction’s revolution starts getting underway, but most of the time was spent with Yoon Kang and Soo In on the run (yet again) and then this time it’s her turn to play the noble idiot for a change. I do wonder if it’s idiocy when it feels like both of them are cornered with no way out, but then I call it as idiocy because there was no reason for her to throw her lot in with Scholar Kim and become his spy in the palace as an officially court lady. Soo In is taking herself out of Yoon Kang’s reach so that she can one day be with him? That’s putting a lot at stake, girlfriend.
I did love how this episode was stuffed to the gill with Soo In and Yoon Kang sweet moments even if I’m still seeing no kissing! I guarantee that Soo In would have kiboshed her court lady idea had Yoon Kang kissed the stuffing out of her brain at the end of the episode rather than just get all “whut the hell are you doing, woman!” with her. Ho Kyung and Hye Won are totally useless at this point, one looking like the walking dead with no hope in life and the other just being her dad’s new minion and giving everyone the eye bulging glare. I still love this drama but it really needs to deliver some major catharsis soon, and Merchant Choi or Minister Kim’s body on a silver platter wouldn’t hurt. And maybe the King gets stabbed a few times during the revolution (but not killed) just as payback for showing us that he’s a spineless amoeba. Overall I’m satisfied with even the latest plot turns in JG but still want more righteous vindication to come in equal parts with all the exciting escaping that keeps our hero busier than ever.
Episode 19 recap:
Kanemaru takes a bullet and dies in Yoon Kang’s stead, effectively ending his marginal but sweet presence in this drama. It does, however, have the effect of pissing off Yoon Kang way more than he’s already pissed. He carts all the bodies of Yamamoto’s henchman back to where he’s meeting with Merchant Choi and brings along Officer Han to arrest Yamamoto. Merchant Choi can’t stop it while Yoon Kang tells them to contact the Japanese embassy if they want to save Yamamoto. He’s dragged off vowing to get Yoon Kang back for this while Yoon Kang is pleased that Merchant Choi can’t climb even higher using Yamamoto now. Merchant Choi seethes that Yoon Kang is making a huuuuge mistake but Yoon Kang declares that he’s just getting revenge for a dead friend.
Kanemaru is buried in Joseon while his friends pay their respects at his grave. Soo In wonders what will happen to Yamamoto and hears that he’s likely to be sent back to Japan and never allowed back to Joseon again. He assures her that Yamamoto won’t be a danger anymore but Soo In is worried that the danger around Yoon Kang will never end. She asks if Yoon Kang will stop now if she asked him to, to live peacefully and let everything go. She takes it back immediately and apologizes for suggesting it, she really is so scared and worried about him. Yoon Kang apologizes as well for not being able to walk away but he has to end things for good with Merchant Choi and sever their ill fate. He takes Soo In’s hand and assures her that it won’t take long.
The Japanese ambassadors are in court to request that King Gojong punish Park Yoon Kang for killing six Japanese citizens. A minister speaks up with Officer Han and the investigators are clear that Yoon Kang killed the men in self-defense but the Japanese ambassador claims that Yamamoto’s testimony says otherwise. If he’s not punished then the Japanese government will escalate the matter. King Gojong is pushed into a corner and Left Minister Kim takes the opportunity to argue that it doesn’t matter what the truth is, if Yoon Kang isn’t punished then it gives the Japanese government an excuse to attack Joseon.
Officer Moon urges Yoon Kang to go into hiding and explains that even if there are eyewitnesses it doesn’t matter if they are Joseon people as long as Yamamoto insists on his side of the story. it also gives the Japanese government the perfect excuse to invade. Yoon Kang refuses to back down since the truth is being ignored here, not to mention Merchant Choi in cahoots to send all the grain in Joseon to Japan for Yamamoto causing the Joseon people to starve. What kind of King would let his people suffer and punish the innocent? How he protect Joseon this way! Officer Moon is upset for Yoon Kang as well but worried that with foreign relations at risk Yoon Kang could be sacrificed.
Soo In arrives at the Palace for her weekly meeting with Queen Min and stands outside her chambers waiting for her to finish talking with King Gojong. She hears Queen Min urging her husband to arrest Yoon Kang immediately and not let his desire to protect one man put all of Joseon at risk. Minister Kim informs Merchant Choi that the King will soon approve arresting Yoon Kang so that will give Merchant Choi the excuse to be ahead of the government officials to capture Yoon Kang for credit and a legitimate reason to kill him.
Soo In rushes to warn Yoon Kang to escape before the officials arrive and Yoon Kang can’t believe the King has officially sold out his last shred of integrity. Sang Choo wants Yoon Kang to leave as Merchant Choi is arriving with his men and Yoon Kang wants everyone to gather in the temple where Yeon Ha is stashed. Merchant Choi’s men storm Yoon Kang’s residence while he hides in his gunman secret lair with Soo In who is so scared she’s shaking.
Sang Choo tries to stop Merchant Choi from finding the entrance to the lair through the bookshelf but fails. Luckily Yoon Kang and Soo In have escaped on horseback successfully. Hye Won seems both upset and relieved when she hears that Yoon Kang escaped but helps her dad to prepare Yoon Kang’s picture to plaster all over town. Yoon Kang and Soo In ditch the horse to run away on foot when the government officials close in on them. Soo In loses a shoe while running behind Yoon Kang through the mountains and they don’t have time to go back and get it.
Ho Kyung informs Scholar Kim that the order has gone out to arrest Yoon Kang and its only a matter of time before he’s captured. Merchant Choi storms to Soo In’s residence and warns her mother that if Soo In stays by Yoon Kang’s side then she’s going to die as well because there is a death warrant out for Yoon Kang.
When finally Yoon Kang and Soo In stop safely to rest, he discovers that Soo In’s feet are all cut up and bleeding from running without her shoe on. She tries to downplay it but Yoon Kang takes off her sock and is upset to see her toes are all bloody. He bandages her foot uo and they quietly stare at each other. He apologizes for her needing to escape because of him. Soo In isn’t angry as she just wants him safe. He wants her to go home in the morning but she refuses since people will be keeping an eye on her to try and track him. Soo In also refuses to leave because she never wants to be separated from Yoon Kang again.
Scholar Kim confers with the Princess’s husband about secretly saving Yoon Kang because they need someone like him on their side. He’s the full moon gunman who has been helping the suffering people. The Princess’s husband agrees to send his private troops to rescue Yoon Kang.
Yoon Kang wakes up with Soo In sleeping on his shoulder but he sees her bloody feet so secretly runs off to retrace his steps and look for her lost shoe. He finds it but also see Merchant Choi’s guards walking through the mountain.
Soo In wakes up all alone and freaks out wondering where Yoon Kang went. She also sees Merchant Choi’s men and starts running. They spot her and give chase and she can’t run far with her hurt foot so they easily corner her. Merchant Choi’s henchman points a gun at her demanding to know where Yoon Kang is but Soo In stares right back at the barrel of his gun and refuses to say anything. Thankfully Yoon Kang arrives in time to take out all the men with his gun and takes Soo In away to keep running.
Yoon Kang has Soo In sit down when he sees her cringing in pain. She wonders where he went and he apologizes before taking out her lost shoe to put it back on. Soo In is so touched and they continue running knowing that both Merchant Choi’s men and the government officials are closing in.
Yoon Kang and Soo In hide behind a rock outcropping where they are currently boxed in on both sides by their pursuers. Yoon Kang decides to use himself as bait and wants Soo In to hide here. She refuses and wants to escape together but he refuses to let them both die. He wants her to make her way to the temple where Yeon Ha is. Soo In refuses to split up as she has this premonition that she will never see him again, even if they live they can never be together. Yoon Kang assure her they will be together if they make it out of this alive.
Yoon Kang purposes runs off in full view of his pursuers to lead them away from Soo In. There is a gunfight and Yoon Kang falls down a hillside and faints.
Merchant Choi is furious that he lost Yoon Kang. He searched the mountain and couldn’t find him and the government officials also didn’t capture him. Soo In arrives at the temple and hears from Yeon Ha that Yoon Kang hasn’t shown up.
Yoon Kang wakes up and finds himself saved by Scholar Kim and the Princess’s husband. Yoon Kang has been moved to the outer provinces to recover but he wants to go back to the capital to see Soo In and assure her that he’s safe. Scholar Kim asks him to stay as everyone is looking for him in the capital plus he’s needed here for something important. Soo In paces all night long worried about Yoon Kang, looking at her injured foot and thinking about her sweet boyfriend.
Back at the Palace, Minister Kim reports to Queen Min that Yamamoto has been handed back to the Japanese who agree not to escalate the matter as long as Yoon Kang is punished. He assures her that the government officials are all looking for Yoon Kang and he will be captured shortly. Minister Kim reveals that Ho Kyung is his son and asks for his promotion to a higher military ranking and Queen Min approves.
Yamamoto returns to Japan and promises to come back to expand his business deal with Merchant Choi. He wants Merchant Choi to kill Park Yoon Kang soon so that he can come back to Joseon. Merchant Choi promises to do that and later asks Hye Won if there is any sightings of Yoon Kang. Hye Won assures her dad that the merchants will soon have word for them. He then asks her to spend more time with Ho Kyung since he’s Minister Kim’s son and now rising through the military ranks.
Hye Won walks with Ho Kyung to discuss his recent promotion and they encounter two of Ho Kyung’s former scholar classmates. Ho Kyung is happy to see them but they only have harsh words for Ho Kyung who is relying on his family connections and no longer ascribes to their enlightenment ideals. Ho Kyung can only take their insults silently.
Soo In’s mom is upset that her daughter keeps getting into dangerous situations because of Park Yoon Kang. She wants to marry Soo In off and refuses to let her wait for Yoon Kang anymore.
Soo In’s maid urges Soo In to listen to her mom on this one, Yoon Kang goes from being one criminal to another and is always in danger. Right now her mom is so worried because her dad is no longer around to protect them. Her maid explains that life is just living with a nice guy and making do together so Soo In should just accept that.
Yoon Kang watches soldiers training and remembers Scholar Kim asking for his training assistance on guns so that he can create a new world for the people of Joseon. Yoon Kang trains the soldiers on how to shoot guns while Scholar Kim and the Princess’s husband are pleased with the progress.
Soo In sits in her room remembering Yoon Kang’s promise that he will come back to her and they won’t be apart anymore. She wonders where he is and why he’s not back yet? Yoon Kang sits in his room thinking about Scholar Kim wanting to create a new world without classes and the slaves will have the freedom to live their own lives.
Merchant Choi informs Minister Kim that soldiers from the province controlled by the Princess’s husband was seen near the mountain that day when Park Yoon Kang disappeared. He wants Merchant Choi to investigate further.
Scholar Kim asks Soo In one final time if she is willing to become an official court lady and enter the palace to serve Queen Min. He needs her to serve in an official capacity so she can get important secrets from the palace. Soo In asks if the innocent will have a chance for justice, if people like Yoon Kang will never need to run for their lives anymore, if Scholar Kim’s dreams come true in the new world he wants to create. Scholar Kim promises that will happen as he wants to create a wold where the powerful cannot use their authority to step on others.
Soo In informs her understandably upset mom that she wants to become a court lady and serve in the palace. Her mom refuses since her dad already died for his enlightenment cause, she can’t lose her daughter to the same damn ideals. She warns Soo In that she ill have to kill her own mom if she wants to become a court lady.
Yoon Kang agrees to become an instructor and lead the revolutionary forces but asks that he be allowed to secretly go back to the capital to see Soo In and his sister and assure them he’s fine.
Officer Moon wants Officer Han to stop his investigation since its not needed anymore and join him in protecting the King. Officer Han refuses since he doesn’t want to protect a King that would toss Yoon Kang under a horse time and time again. Officer Moon has already accepted the assignment and will go but understands Officer Han’s reluctance and doesn’t force him.
Soo In meets privately with Ho Kyung to let him know that she’s becoming a court lady and he’s understandably upset as well. He asks about Yoon Kang and why she would leave him like this. Soo In claims she will forget Yoon Kang since she is becoming a court lady. Ho Kyung asks if her love with Yoon Kang was so weak that she could forget it and let it go just like that. If that was the case, why couldn’t she have let him in and given him the chance to love her. Soo In explains that she always saw him as her orabeoni but now he’s not even that since he’s chosen to go back to his dad and work for him.
Sang Choo and Je Mi are understandably worried about Yoon Kang since there has been no word from him. Je Mi lightens the mood when she finds out Sang Choo’s real name since it means raw vegetables. He explains it actually meant three autumns and the reason he got it was because his gambler dad sold him as a slave and promised to buy him back in three autumns. Sang Choo starts crying about his sad lot in life and uses that to get some skinship in with Je Mi.
Yoon Kang returns to the temple and sees Yeon Ha first. The siblings hug followed by the arrival of Sang Choo and Je Mi and everyone is happy to see him alive and well. The happy mood turns when Yoon Kang hears from Yeon Ha that Soo In is entering the palace as a court lady today. Yeon Ha urges her brother to go see Soo In now since today is the day she’s going.
Soo In bids farewell to her mom who refuses to come outside to see her off and declares that Soo In is no longer her daughter and should never come home again. Soo In gives her full body bow to her mother before fixing her mom’s shoes. Yoon Kang arrives at the residence and sees a palanquin from the court waiting outside for Soo In.
Soo In takes one last turn in her courtyard and remembers spending time with Yoon Kang looking at the globe when things were much happier. Soo In thinks to herself that she will be fine, as long as she can protect him then she will be fine.
Soo In turns around to see Yoon Kang before her and he demands to know where she is going now? Is she really going to the palace to be a court lady? He refues to let her go and if she was going because she thought he died then he’s back now. Soo In cries and is happy that he’s fine but refuses to give up this path. She is doing this so that she and Yoon Kang can live in a better world together. Yoon Kang refuses to accept that since how can being a court lady help him. He takes her hand and pleads with her not to go. Soo In’s mind is made up and she is happy to be able to see him before she leaves. She promises that she will see him again and asks him to take care during their time apart.
Soo In gets into the palace palanquin and heads off to become a court lady. Yoon Kang is barely holding it together while standing in the courtyard. Soo In apologizes to Yoon Kang in her mind, she knows he doesn’t understand her now but he will one day. she is doing this so they can be together forever and never be separated again. They can live happily in a new world together.
Yoon Kang rushes outside just as Soo In’s palanquin is passing by. She opens the curtails to look out one last time at Yoon Kang who stands there staring at her near tears. Guh, even if this will end well eventually I still hurt right now for my sweet OTP.
Thoughts of Mine:
I’ve watched enough sageuks to know that being an official court lady means that Soo In is now part of King Gojong’s back palace and if he wanted then he could take her as a concubine any time. No wonder Yoon Kang freaks out when he hears this, though the audience comes away feeling less upset since it doesn’t appear King Gojong has any interest in ladies right now when his country in a mess so Soo In is in no imminent danger of getting some royal attention. I’m totally on the side of Soo In’s mom in being furious that she keeps putting herself in danger because of Yoon Kang, and now placed herself right smack in the center of all the brewing conflict. I suppose if Soo In wasn’t in the palace during the revolution some viewers will complain again that she’s peripheral to the conflict.
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