The storm has come and taken our leads by surprise. In the whirlwind of events, our leads are swept along with the currents, trying their best to make sense along the way. Will they survive? The backdrop for revenge is set; can our hero step up to the task?
Yoon Kang and General Park ride away to save Yeon Ha, while Choi remains hidden atop a tree with his rifle. General Park tells Yoon Kang there’re two snipers, and Yoon Kang counters that there’re two of them as well; there’s a chance for them. The father and son discuss their route of attack, and head for where Yeon Ha is held. General Park edges closer to where Yeon Ha is, while keeping himself hidden. The kidnapper/sniper shouts for him to appear, and General Park finally shouts back, while remaining hidden.
General Park proceeds at such a speed and stealth that he remains hidden from the villains and jumps out from the tall grasses all of a sudden, taking the kidnapper by surprise. He manages to slash at the kidnapper before he can shoot, but the kidnapper runs away, leading General Park towards where Choi is hiding. Choi takes aim, but Yoon Kang fires an arrow at him. Choi jumps off the tree and joins the kidnapper on the run, leading Yoon Kang into the forest. Choi again tries to shoot at him, but Yoon Kang proves to be more agile than he can handle, and they escape.
Yo on Kang turns back to find General Park freeing Yeon Ha from her ropes, and everyone is relieved. General Park leads his children down the mountain, but a gunshot rings from nowhere. He tells them to go back first, and runs to find Choi. Yoon Kang sees the other sniper looking for them, and gets Yeon Ha to move along.
Over at the mastermind, who’s having yet another meeting with his cronies, tells them that their motive is not to get rid of General Park, but to get King Gojong to kowtow to them and never dream of reforming again. They seem to be putting whatever damned plans they have come up with, in motion. Whatever, old fogeys.
The Right Minister goes home, and is informed that “the young master from the second wife is here”. It turns out to be Ho Kyung, who is here to pay respects to his father. The Right Minister treats him worse than dirt, calling him a son borne to a mistress who’s jealous of the first wife. Uhm, then why do you want a mistress then? The Right Minister also goads him to continue with his so-called reforms, telling him to overturn the social norms and get rid of the superficial greetings that Ho Kyung is observing right now. Poor thing Ho Kyung is.
A flashback from Ho Kyung tells us that he confided to Hyun Am about his parentage, which Hyun Am advised him to keep it a secret from everyone, especially when his father is one of the main opponents of reformation.
Ho Kyung heads back to the Jungs, and sees Soo-in waiting outside the main gate. She begs him to bring her to where Yeon Ha is held, insisting that it’s her fault that such misfortune befell on the Parks, and she just wants to make sure that they’re all unharmed. Ho Kyung gives in to her, and they reach the foot of the mountain. Yoon Kang makes Yeon Ha to ride down the mountain, and he returns into the forest to find General Park.
Yoon Kang hears a gunshot, and we see General Park rolling down from somewhere, hurt. Yoon Kang shoots at where he thought had movements, and uses up the last of his arrows. A rock is thrown and lands near him, and he sees it’s acutally General Park who threw the rock, and he’s hiding in a cave. He asks who the snipers are, and while General Park cannot offer him a concrete answer, he tells him his suspicions that they’re related to Gyeonggi Trade Group, and that he had slashed at one arm of one of the snipers.
Meanwhile, Ho Kyung and Soo-in sees General Park’s troops heading up the mountain originally told to General Park, and just then Yeon Ha comes riding down the other mountain. Yeon Ha tells them fearfully that her brother and father are still fighting the baddies in the other mountain. The three of them wonder how to tell the troops the change in location, when Soo-in takes out her pistol and fires into the sky. I like my heroine smart and fearless.
We return to the cave, and General Park tells Yoon Kang the truth behind his mother’s death. Back then, General Park was being pressured by his superior to wipe out the bandits, so General Park had no choice but to command his entire troop to where the bandits were. He rushed into the camp with a few of his men first, intending to save his wife before capturing the bandits. However, the bandits laid a trap for him, and expectedly, General Park fell for it, and so his wife was killed in front of him. General Park looks so resigned and asks for Yoon Kang’s forgiveness. Don’t cry, Oppa!
Just then, Yoon Kang sees his father’s troops nearing. However, the snipers are heading even closer to them, and General Park stops Yoon Kang just in time to call out to the troops. It’s strange that the troops don’t see the two snipers right in front of them, but whatever. Yoon Kang insists on taking on the baddies with his father, but General Park is adamant to face them alone. He knocks Yoon Kang unconscious, and heads out of the cave alone.
General Park is easily seen by the snipers from a distance away, and they give chase as he starts leading them away from the cave. Choi is sharp enough to see blood stains left by General Park, and follows in the correct direction. Yoon Kang comes to not long after, and shouts for his father. Will he save his father?
General Park hides by a stream, and the kidnapper heightens his senses as he sees blood on the rocks in the stream. General Park jumps from his hiding place and slashes at the kidnapper, and he raises his sword again to kill, but is shot from behind. His blood splashes over the kidnapper’s face, and General Park falters and clutches at his wound. He turns back to see Choi aiming at him. Choi lowers his rifle to reload, and General Park raises his sword arm. A seriously injured man is no match for a rifle, and Choi shoots before General Park slashes down. General Park falls, his last breaths leaving him fast. Choi reveals his face, and his parting words to General Park: “You’re right, it’s me. That’s why you have to die.”
Yoon Kang runs towards the stream, and Choi and his man is long gone. Yoon Kang finds his father lying dead, and it’s a heartbreaking scene to watch him hugging his father, crying for him to wake up, telling him there’s still alot he wants to say to him. It starts to rain; even the Heavens takes pity on the Parks. The troops, Ho Kyung and Soo-in finally find them, shocked at the death of General Park.
It is already night time, and the Right Minister reports to King Gojong in a private meeting. He tells the King that General Park is a traitor, and a flashback tells us how he gets the “confession” from a soldier in General Park’s troop, who is none other than spy planted by Choi (it’s actually that crazyass who thinks he’s Gap-dong!). So the plan from the mastermind was to concoct a story of General Park planning to kill the King’s father, and also he’s the person behind the Kaehwa scholar’s murders. The Right Minister urges the King to denounce General Park, and demands the most severe punishment for his family; execute his son and put his daughter into slavery. King Gojong is understandably outraged the outrageous claims, but he is in no power to overturn the Right Minister, to which the Right Minister smirks. *shakes fist*
King Gojong speaks to his Queen (Queen Myeongsong), and she advices him to act according to the ministers’ wishes, for he is at their mercy. King Gojong looks crushed at the reality thrown at his face.
General Park’s body is brought back to his home, and Yeon Ha falls asleep at the altar. Jung Hoon sits outside the room, while Soo-in and Ho Kyung look from the yard. Ho Kyung suggests to start the preparation for the funeral. Yoon Kang comes out of the room where his father’s body is resting, and tells his friends he’ll go and make preparations.
Right after Yoon Kang left the house, some soldiers barge in, with the head of the troop reading an edict from the King. Jung Hoon tries to stop them from entering, while Soo-in asks what do they mean that General Park is a traitor. She gets pushed aside, and the soldiers bring Yeon Ha and General Park’s body away.
Yoon Kang seeks Choi for a meeting, and tells him he is General Park’s son. He tells Choi that he is told Gyeonggi Trade Group is highly suspicious, and Choi refutes him with the same reasons he told General Park previously. Yoon Kang also tells Choi he knows the sniper had been slashed at by his father, and if Choi continues to refuse to cooperate, he’ll take that Choi is the sniper. I don’t know if I should call Yoon Kang bold or brash. Choi tells his minions to get rid of Yoon Kang at all costs.
Yoon Kang’s friends are all being chased out of the Park residence. Ho Kyung tells Soo-in in a hushed voice to bring Yoon Kang to a certain dock, and he’ll prepare a boat for his escape. Jung Hoon adds on, to find Yoon Kang ASAP, as a drawing of Yoon Kang will be out very soon, and the city gates will be stationed with guards checking for each and every citizen’s exit.
Choi is yet again disguised, and spots Yoon Kang leaving the undertaker. Soo-in looks for Yoon Kang frantically, and sees him walking down the market dejectedly. She immediately pulls him aside, as she spots soldiers looking for Yoon Kang as well. She explains the situation at him and urges him to escape immediately, but Yoon Kang wants to go save Yeon Ha. She tells him he’ll die immediately if he’s caught, and just then a soldier with a drawing of Yoon Kang spots them.
Soo-in drags Yoon Kang and run, while the soldier shouts for back up and gives chase. They buy themselves some time from by hiding, but the soldiers start to close in when they head towards the city gates. Soo-in joins the queue to exit, and Yoon Kang fights his away out with some awesome high kicks and punches.
They run into the forest towards the dock Ho Kyung tells Soo-in about, and hides again to buy some time from the chasing soldiers. While hiding, Yoon Kang asks Soo-in where will he be heading to, how far would it be, and when will they meet again. Soo-in has no answers for him, and Yoon Kang tells her he wishes to talk to her everyday and be with her. That is his first dream, and that it’ll only be a dream from now on, Yoon Kang says bitterly.
They finally reach the dock, and Soo-in urges Yoon Kang to board the boat. She promises Yoon Kang she’ll protect Yeon Ha and take care of her. She also gives him her compass, and promises that if they meet again, they’ll be together every day, like his dream.
Yoon Kang walks towards the dock and stops to look at Soo-in one last time. She runs and hugs him for the last time. Yoon Kang kisses her lightly on the lips, and they promise each other to live well.
Ho Kyung comes riding, calling for Soo-in. He is followed by a huge troop, and soon arrows are flying towards Yoon Kang. Ho Kyung gets Soo-in to mount his horse, and Yoon Kang shouts for her to leave. The boat is leaving the dock, but arrows continue to fly. Some soldiers aim their rifles at Yoon Kang, and there’s another sniper also aiming for Yoon Kang at a hidden place. The bullet hits Yoon Kang, and he falls into the water. The sniper is Choi.
Soo-in and Ho Kyung turns at the sound of the shot, and Soo-in wants to save Yoon Kang. Ho Kyung stops her from going, telling her she’ll be captured by the troops. Ho Kyung relates the events to Interpreter Jung and his wife, who couldn’t believe the turn of events.
Soo-in sits in her room dully, and admits to her maid (ok, her name is Jan-yi) that she has just fallen in love with Yoon Kang, and lets him know her feelings, but she never expected that he will be so far away from her now. She adds that it’s like a nightmare, in resonance to Yoon Kang’s first dream.
While everyone thinks Yoon Kang is dead, he is actually saved by some scholars, and we’re told the one who actually saves him is Kim Ok Gyun. They’re headed for Japan, and while Kim Ok Gyun’s friends fret about whether Yoon Kang will wake up before he leave Joseon, Kim Ok Gyun reasons that the unexpected in life is what makes life interesting. I like you, Kim Ok Gyun.
Three years later, Jemul-po. Choi and Hye Won walks down the marketplace at the port, and they’re here to welcome some Japanese merchants.
Soo-in is sipping tea, flipping through a photograph brocure, while Jan-yi wonders aloud why Soo-in has to come to Jemul-po Port every month. Soo-in explains that technology in Japan changes rapidly. She’s here today to buy something she really, really wants. Ho Kyung comes to bring them to the merchant, when suddenly some porters come charging down the street and get into a fight with other porters on the dock. The fight starts to get ugly, when suddenly a shot is fired at one of them.
A smartly dressed man with gold-rimmed spectacles on a boat nearing the port readies his pistol for a second shot, looking smug.
I read that some viewers find the buildup for revenge is waaaay too slow, and General Park should have been killed earlier. Come on, people, it’s a sad thing to kill off characters. I think the pace is not only to buildup the revenge plot, but also the development of the loveline between Yoon Kang and Soo-in. In fact, I find their loveline development a tad too fast. I have no idea how much time had passed in the plot; judging from how swiftly the Conservatives move to remove all the Kaehwa scholars and their determination to get rid of General Park, I’d make a guess of a month or less from the death of Hyun Am to General Park’s death.
Thus, I know it could be just me, but I wasn’t totally bought over by love between Soo-in and Yoon Kang (the Arang shipper in me be damned!) Granted, I do appreciate the opposites attract rule in love, but this. I can see how Yoon Kang falls for Soo-in, but for it to be reciprocated, I was expecting abit more to be convinced. But whatever.
I also can’t help but roll my eyes at the contrieved writing of killing or not killing off characters, especially at scenes when a million arrows fly all over the place, but none hits the intended target (see episode 3 opening scene). I know these are the main characters we’re dealing with, but the arrangement is way too off and dramatic that I really can’t stop rolling my eyes. But whatever.
I certainly hope Ho Kyung will never go to the dark side (even if they have awesome cookies!), because he’s too earnest and hopeful about the reforms that his old fogey father adamantly opposes. I’m having really bad second lead syndrome now I feel guilty to Joon Gi Oppa. Surely there’re ways to refrain from the usual tried and tested love triangle/quadrangle forumla that’s old and stinky now!
Yoon Kang is back with a vengence! Joon Gi oppa DEFINITELY is one of the best looking actor in Joseon garb, so I’ll definitely miss seeing him in the yangban outfit. But seeing him looking so smart and smug in the western suit has me rubbing my hands in glee, because it dictates a change in him, and I can’t wait to see how he’ll carry out his revenge.
Bring it on!
PS: I know I’m terribly slow in my recaps. I’ll try not to be so easily distracted!