With a big mission upon them, the Righteous Army is moving as many pieces as possible, hoping to secure the safety of their fellow comrade. Ae-shin’s secret is on the brink of discovery, but that doesn’t deter her from this mission. She continues to fight for what she believes in, forcing those around her to choose if they’ll fight with her or against her. It’s not a simple decision, choosing which side you’d risk your life for, but that’s the deal when you admire someone so earnest in her beliefs.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
We return to the triangle of jealousy, where Hee-sung tells the two men that he doesn’t want to develop bad intentions yet. Eugene labels this newly revealed side of Hee-sung “the nobleman’s son,” and Hee-sung asks if that bothers him. Eugene responds that he hopes that Hee-sung remains as his neighbor, Room 303. He warns Hee-sung not to put Ae-shin between them or speak of patience again because he may not end with just a warning next time.
Dong-mae observes the tension between these two and comments that this is exciting to watch. Now, he’s not sure who to hate more, and he hopes that they can make his life easier by getting into a fight and eliminating one of the two. Dong-mae walks into the hotel, leaving the two men to finish their business.
As Eugene turns away, Hee-sung says that Eugene revealed his response only after putting Ae-shin between them. Eugene demands to know what he revealed, and Hee-sung clarifies that Eugene’s claim about patience implied that he’s tolerating something.
Hee-sung asks why Eugene is tracking down slaves who served his family thirty years ago, and Eugene admits that he’s not eager about this search, as it’s tied to his painful past. Eugene says that Hee-sung was there that day too, in his mother’s womb, when Hee-sung’s grandfather declared to nine-year-old Yoo-jin that a parents’ sins are also the child’s sins. Eugene quotes Hee-sung’s grandfather and associates Hee-sung with his family’s sins, and he warns Hee-sung not to get in the way between him and his parents, lest he be tempted to find sins against Hee-sung.
Before Eugene leaves, he turns back around to tell Hee-sung that he can complain about a painful splinter under his fingernail, but he can’t talk about pain in front of someone whose heart has been ripped out — that’s a matter of shame. Eugene walks into the hotel, and Hee-sung’s face crumbles.
That night, Eugene tends to his wound, and Hee-sung stands in the same spot outside as the hotel’s evening lights turn on. The blowing laundry in the yard reminds him of when he first met Ae-shin, and he wonders if he’s meant to be the heartbroken one.
Dong-mae walks aimlessly through the village and thinks about Ae-shin’s skirt brushing his fingers. He stops in front of the bakery, and the owner offers him hard candies, which he’d bought previously because they reminded him of Ae-shin. Dong-mae says that he wouldn’t buy such useless things and says that the candies were so sweet that they were bitter.
The owner of Hwawollu, the prominent Japanese restaurant, urgently meets with Dong-mae regarding his grim fate. He had no idea that the Japanese-disguised server was a part of the Righteous Army, but Hayashi, the Japanese ambassador, will likely not accept this excuse. He’s trying to escape with his life, and he thought that the only person who would buy the devalued Hwawollu would be Dong-mae.
The Musin Society takes over Hwawollu, and Dong-mae walks through the corridors as the new owner. He sits in the room where the American, Logan Taylor, was shot dead, and he wonders who will be next to die.
Ae-shin practices her shooting and thinks about Eugene — him shooting himself with the gun and passing by her carriage slowly after being released from jail. She returns to the hideout, where her teacher Seung-gu comments that the sporadic sounds of her shooting indicated that she may be distracted by her thoughts. Ae-shin admits that she couldn’t focus and asks about the woman she saved.
Seung-gu gently scolds Ae-shin for her audacity to face their enemy head-on. Both her and Eugene risked revealing her identity, but Ae-shin says that there was no other way. To her relief, Seung-gu reports that the woman, So-ah, is alive and that she thanks Ae-shin for saving her life. Seung-gu tells her to forget this woman and her name, as all members of the Righteous Army are nameless, faceless, and just live as soldiers. If Joseon survives, being remembered as “soldiers” is enough, he says.
King Gojong looks out at the peaceful night sky and comments on how it contrasts the precarious state of the nation. His trusted minister advises him to summon the American soldier who was involved with the punished Japanese soldier. The minister explains that this American solider seems to have returned to Joseon as a homecoming, and the king welcomes this news that the American solider is a Joseon person.
The minister suggests that they invite the Joseon-American soldier to the court while the American ambassador is on leave, since they may be able to obtain more information. As a part of their strategy, the minister advises the king to invite the other country ambassadors as well, but they will place Eugene at the forefront.
Hina receives an unaddressed envelope under her door. As soon as she reads the message, she burns the letter, and we see that it’s been stamped by one of the king’s advisors.
The next day, Hina visits Eugene at the U.S. embassy and relays the unofficial invite to the palace by the king. He must show up in his Western dress without his arms. As the messenger, she doesn’t know the context of this invite, but she offers some words of advice to make up for her switched key blunder. She advises Eugene to only speak in English and use the translator to communicate with the king. Eugene infers that she must have switched the keys on purpose but offers to turn a blind eye.
Eugene looks at the sky outside, and little Domi asks what he’s looking at. He responds that he’s wondering if he’s the blue sky or the black bird.
A servant finds Ae-shin’s grandfather to announce Seung-gu’s arrival, but Grandfather is also looking at the sky. He remembers the prominent words of young precocious Eugene, who commented on how one black bird could ruin the blue sky. Grandfather wonders how this child grew up.
Grandfather meets with Seung-gu, who reluctantly asks for money to buy a secret ticket for So-ah to escape to Shanghai. Grandfather asks Seung-gu how long he’s been teaching Ae-shin, and Seung-gu responds that it’s been about ten years now. Worried about Ae-shin’s safety, Grandfather asks if she’s equipped to protect herself, and Seung-gu assures him that Ae-shin can protect herself better than most men.
Grandfather knows that Ae-shin’s shooting skills aren’t just being used to protect herself and wonders how else she’s being utilized. He recalls that he funded the Righteous Army when Sang-hwa (his son and Ae-shin’s father) went to Japan, but that money ultimately contributed to his son’s death. He knows that he can’t prevent everything, but he requests that even if Ae-shin is utilized, to utilize her less often and in secret. With that, Grandfather offers Seung-gu the money to save lives that need saving.
Before Seung-gu leaves, Ae-shin offers to pack him some food, or in other words, she asks to talk. She says that she heard his conversation with Grandfather and requests that she help So-ah get to safety. She saved So-ah and wants to see this through. Seung-gu honors Ae-shin’s wishes and wonders where she gets her audacity and willingness to risk her life.
The king meets with Eugene, and as Hina recommended, they converse via the translator. King Gojong expresses his delight and appreciation for Eugene returning to the motherland and saving the Joseon woman. He asks Eugene for any advice regarding Joseon-America relations, but Eugene doesn’t offer any. Eugene clarifies that he’s a solider — not a politician — and that his loyalties lie with the U.S. He further claims that he simply saved the woman’s life, not because she was a Joseon woman. He says that he can’t offer any advice that would benefit Joseon.
The translator mistranslates Eugene’s message by saying that Joseon should accept help from powerful countries, including Japan, but Eugene doesn’t correct the translator. At the translator’s words, the king’s face falls with disappointment. The minister excuses the translator, for he knows that Eugene can speak Korean. The translator’s eyes widen in shock, and he runs off, implying that the translator intentionally mistranslated the message.
The king asks Eugene where he’s from, and Eugene says that he doesn’t know. Assuming that Eugene is being disrespectful, the minister scolds him and urges him to tell the truth. Eugene clarifies that his parents were slaves, so they adopted the surname of his father’s first owner, as is custom.
Realizing his mistake, the minister mentions the upcoming event for the elderly ministers and ushers Eugene out. Once he leaves, the minister apologizes to the king for not thoroughly checking Eugene’s background. The king says that Eugene’s cold demeanor indicated that he wouldn’t have shared anything beneficial regardless, and he looks thoroughly disappointed. As Eugene leaves, he takes a look at his pawnshop receipt for the king’s banknote.
Hee-sung’s mother searches through her house for Eugene’s ornament, and her husband proudly says that he sold it at the pawnshop because she was so repelled by the item. She chastises her husband for selling an item full of grudge and fears their fate if Eugene were to return demanding this item. She imitates his gun-threatening move to remind her husband of that traumatizing experience.
To retrieve the ornament, Hee-sung’s mother visits the pawnshop and notices a familiar pocket watch. Choon-shik reveals that it belonged to her son, and she gets livid. As she leaves the pawnshop, she runs into Hee-sung, who tries to wiggle himself out of the situation, to no avail. His mother shows him the pocket watch and scolds him for pawning an item that his grandfather gifted him.
Hee-sung asks his mother if anything happened during the year of his birth and maybe on the day of his birth. He asks specifically about a nine-year-old slave boy, and his mother gets uncomfortable, noticeably reaching for her neck. She pretends to be clueless and hurries off to make lunch. She warns Hee-sung to stay hidden at the hotel, and Hee-sung gives her a sorrowful smile.
As Hee-sung walks away with the pocket watch in his hand, he remembers the day that his grandfather gave him the gift. He was facing the other way, but he can hear the pleas of the servant who begged for his farmland back — the same farmland that Hee-sung’s grandfather sold to buy that pocket watch.
The tailor’s assistant recognizes Hee-sung on the road, but Hee-sung doesn’t recognize him, cheekily claiming that he can’t remember men’s faces very well. The tailor stirs his memories by reminding him when he was first measured for a suit, and Hee-sung then gladly greets the man. Noticing Hee-sung’s size, he comments that the suits that Ae-shin bought and sent to him every year must have been small on him. Hee-sung pretends to know what he’s talking about, and once the tailor leaves, he seems to find a glimmer of hope in the engagement, knowing that Ae-shin still thought of him year after year.
At the medicine shop, Ae-shin opens the secret drawer where she keeps her shooter disguise. It’s the suit that the tailor mentioned, and that’s why it was probably a small fit — because it was for Ae-shin, not Hee-sung. Ae-shin notices that she’s missing her mask, and she realizes that Eugene took it from her.
When Eugene returns to the embassy, he finds Kyle typing away on his typewriter. Eugene jokes that he’s finally writing that poem, and Kyle says that it’s actually an essay suggesting that the two of them go on an adventure before the ambassador returns. Eugene offers the next line in that essay: “No.” Ha, these two are great.
Kyle mentions that he found a black mask in Eugene’s office, and Eugene says that it belongs to a woman. Kyle teases Eugene that he must have let a woman into his room, but Eugene responds in Korean that he let someone into his heart. Unfortunately for Eugene, Kyle understands the word maeum or “heart” in Korean, and he teases Eugene that he knows about that this is about the noblewoman. Eugene grumbles at everyone around him being such a quick study at languages.
Eugene invites Kyle for tea and shows him the pawnshop receipt for the banknote. At this point, everyone is looking for this banknote to take control of Joseon, even the U.S. ambassador. Kyle says that this banknote holds Joseon’s money rights, ginseng distribution rights, and the railroad concessions, so the U.S. ambassador can take control of one of these things if the banknote is relayed to him.
Eugene isn’t sure what to do and says that there are two options: leading Joseon to its demise or delaying this. Kyle disagrees and says that the U.S. needs to stop meddling in Joseon. Besides, the U.S. will take control of the Philippines and not have a stake in who takes control of Joseon, he says. Kyle says that the banknote should be returned to Joseon, since it belongs to them.
This comes as a surprise to Eugene, and he says that this is an odd thing for an American to say. Kyle says that these words come from a poet (not an American) and explicitly repeats what he implied, saying, “Eugene, don’t become a dangerous man, Yank.” Kyle says that he hopes that the last line of his poem reads that being deployed overseas was like a picnic.
He leaves Eugene with those words, and Eugene thinks about the royal translator’s mistranslation and the minister’s flustered reaction to Eugene being of a son of slaves.
Eugene finds the minister at his home and seems a bit surprised to see him in humble clothing chopping wood. Eugene tells the minister that the translator lied and manipulated the translation to favor Japan. The minister asks why Eugene is disclosing this now, and Eugene admits that he had a change of heart.
The minister expresses doubt about Eugene’s confession, saying that he doesn’t quite trust the former slave who fled to the U.S. in his youth. Eugene says that it’s up to the minister, but his reason for meeting the minister came from a place that was more difficult, more dangerous, and burned hotter than shooting a gun. Though now, Eugene realizes this may have been a misstep.
Gwan-soo finds Eugene and explains that Japanese-siding Minister Lee has ordered all the streets of Hanseong to be searched to find the missing geisha from Hwawollu, or as we know, the Joseon woman in the Righteous army. Eugene watches from afar as Ae-shin’s carriage arrives at a search stop, and Ae-shin readily exits her carriage to comply with the search.
The soldiers show Ae-shin the sketch of the woman they’re looking for, and Ae-shin pauses in a moment of recognition. The soldiers accuse this Joseon woman of disguising as a geisha to earn money and condemn her for abandoning her nation. But Ae-shin expresses sympathy for this geisha. Eugene watches the carriage pass by and thinks about Hee-sung’s mention of his fiancée.
Alone in the medicine store, Ae-shin looks out the window and remembers the night that So-ah was dragged out by the Japanese soldier. She thinks about Eugene intervening to confront her enemy. Her thoughts are interrupted by her maid, who suggests that they leave before drawing attention. Ae-shin agrees and says that she needs to prepare to leave for Jemulpo, the meeting spot where they would smuggle So-ah out of Joseon.
Grandfather looks worried as he hears the sounds of preparation for Ae-shin’s trip to Jemulpo. Meanwhile, Hayashi explodes in anger about the geisha causing the death of his soldier. He can’t make any moves to capture the geisha because his actions could be associated with his foreign affairs work, so he orders Dong-mae to go to Jemulpo and cover the ports while the Joseon soldiers search the streets.
Dong-mae finds the ship ticket dealer and watches the poor man getting beat up by his men. He threatens to use his sword if the ticket dealer won’t reveal the information they need, so the ticket dealer leaks the exact time and arrangement to meet the woman in secret to board the ship to Shanghai. Dong-mae tests the ticket dealer by asking if he meant that he was meeting a man, not a woman. But the ticket dealer insists that it was a woman he was told to meet, and this confirms the validity of the information.
Seung-gu arrives at the U.S. embassy, and the American soldiers surround him, holding him at gunpoint. This parallels young Seung-gu being surrounded by the American soldiers after the deadly battle that killed his father.
When Seung-gu meets with Eugene, he claims that he’s here to get repaid for the alcohol Eugene used when they met previously at the graves. Eugene realizes that this is Gunner Jang, and he asks if the geisha is safe and if he’s the leader. Seung-gu plays dumb, and Eugene says that he just took a shot in the dark.
Seung-gu asks why Eugene is hanging around Ae-shin, and Eugene plays dumb by saying that the person he was with was a man, not Ae-shin. Seung-gu realizes that Eugene knows Ae-shin’s secret and quickly grabs the gun by Eugene’s desk. Aiming the gun at Eugene, Seung-gu asks why he saved the geisha. Eugene comments that Seung-gu’s student is just like her teacher.
Seung-gu cocks the gun, but Eugene informs him that it won’t work because the spring isn’t installed. Eugene shows him the missing piece, and Seung-gu realizes that this must be the gun that his mechanic friend disassembled. Seung-gu puts down the gun, and Eugene mentions how all the men around Ae-shin try to kill him despite the fact that he’s only done anything to help.
Still mistrustful of the Americans, Seung-gu suspects that Eugene has ulterior motives for helping them. He doesn’t trust Eugene, who may look like a Joseon person but is an American soldier nonetheless. Eugene tells him to just take his money and leave, and Seung-gu warns that he’s asking for quite a sum.
Dong-mae and his gang walk through the train cars on their way to Jemulpo, scanning the fearful passengers for anyone suspicious. Dong-mae and Yujo stand stationed at the ship’s entrance, and they check for anyone remotely suspicious. Dong-mae stops a familiar face, and he recognizes the man as one of Hayashi’s assistants. He realizes that Hayashi sent a man down there because he doesn’t trust Dong-mae.
It’s last call for boarding, but their target is nowhere in sight. Dong-mae looks to the ticket dealer, who looks just as confused not to find his customer. Dong-mae notices that the merchants they scanned on the train haven’t boarded the ship, and he quickly realizes that he’s been misled. He found it suspicious that the information provided was too accurate and too easy. Hayashi was misinformed about the geisha escaping on the boat — she’s taking the train.
As Dong-mae calls his gang to head towards the train, a gunshot from behind them distracts the gang from their mission. Yujo leads the gang towards the man who shot the gun, and more gunners shoot at them from all sides. Dong-mae yells that this is just a distraction to delay them from catching the train, and as he’s about to turn, a bullet nearly hits him from above. He turns to its source, and the gunner quickly hides on the rooftop. It’s Ae-shin.
Dong-mae yells at his gang in frustration and realizes that he needs to call Hanseong to inform them of this mistake. He runs toward the telephone building, and Ae-shin follows him from above. She aims her gun at the telephone and hits her target just as Dong-mae runs into the building. The phone is fried, and Dong-mae looks out the broken window to see a black-clothed figure running away on the rooftops.
Eugene currently looks at the donkeys carrying a fleet of luggage, and he thinks back to his agreement with Seung-gu. In a flashback to Eugene’s office, Seung-gu explains that the woman is not yet safe. They’ve spread the false information about the geisha fleeing Joseon via ship, and the Righteous Army plans to hold up the captors at the port so that she can escape via the 1:00 train. Fortunately, the train only runs twice a day, so the captors will lose her.
Eugene asked Seung-gu why he was divulging all of this information, and Seung-gu reasoned that Eugene shot his arm to save this woman, so he can finish his work. Seung-gu requested that Eugene help from the American side and let the woman pass the checkpoints smoothly without a search. Eugene corrects Seung-gu, claiming that the woman he saved was Ae-shin, not the geisha. Although Eugene complained about having to repay such a big debt for alcohol, he didn’t refuse the request.
To cover up this mission, Eugene recruited Kyle to go on their adventure. As they prepared for their personal trip, Gwan-soo told Eugene that he’d been doing some thinking. Eugene laughed worriedly because every time Gwan-soo did some thinking, it had always gone against Eugene’s initial plans. Gwan-soo connected the dots that Kyle’s random trip with a stranger was timed perfectly with when the streets are bustling with searches, so Kyle must be trying to help this stranger.
Eugene looked tentative in response to Gwan-soo’s perfect deduction, but this time, Gwan-soo made a supportive suggestion. He offered to accompany Kyle because this is his job as a Joseon person. He seemed to know the implications of their journey and was willing to support the Joseon cause.
Back to the fleet-carrying donkeys, the geisha So-ah, now disguised as a man, thanks Eugene for his help. She apologizes for searching his room, which happened because So-ah expressed doubts about him. She asks why he’s helping her now, and Eugene says that he’s decided to go with delaying the demise of Joseon. Kyle passes by on his horse and assures Eugene not to worry. He shares the next line of his poem: “Let’s go!”
In his hotel room, Hee-sung looks defeated that this pocket watch keeps coming back to haunt him. He wallows in his misery, lying on the bed and thinking about how his fiancée is using the suit she fitted with the tailor. As he broods in his room, we see the watch tick to 1:00.
Ae-shin runs along the rooftops and hears the train whistle as it departs. She barely takes a moment to find relief when a bullet shoots near her. She shoots back and hits her target, and she continues to flee. Right at her tail, Dong-mae collects the gun from the man she shot and chases after her. He climbs onto the rooftop and aims his gun at the cloaked figure. As he concentrates on his target, he slowly recognizes the eyes of this cloaked figure.
Suspecting that his target may be Ae-shin, Dong-mae struggles to pull the trigger of the gun. He’s got a clear shot, but he chooses to aim slightly off and hits her leg as she leaps between rooftops. Ae-shin crashes down to the ground mid-sprint, and she winces in pain from the impact of her injury and fall.
Dong-mae runs to the site of Ae-shin’s fall, but she’s escaped the scene, leaving only a small pool of blood. Yujo catches up to Dong-mae and reports that they’ve missed the train, so Dong-mae orders his gang to return to Hanseong and head north to Shanghai. He plans to stay behind to confirm a suspicion.
Kyle and his entourage near the Hanseong exit gate, where Joseon soldiers execute their searches. Gwan-soo announces Kyle’s title and explains that the servant in the back (So-ah in disguise) is also a part of Kyle’s party. The Joseon solider approaches So-ah suspiciously, but Kyle jumps off his horse to express frustration that an American solider is being held up for a search. The Joseon solider defers to Kyle’s authority and lets them pass through without a search.
Injured Ae-shin breathes heavily in pain as her maids tend to her wound. The bullet left a large enough wound that they need to stitch up her leg, and Ae-shin’s loyal maid volunteers to do it. Afterward, they burn the blood-covered clothes to cover up any traces of Ae-shin’s injury.
Kyle and Gwan-soo successfully escort So-ah to the docks and wish her luck in her journey, and Kyle gives her his hat. She rides away in a boat through the night, and both Kyle and Gwan-soo look relieved.
Dong-mae sits on the train tracks at the station and repeats the mantra: “Don’t come.” He desperately hopes for Ae-shin not to show up, but his wishes don’t come true. Ae-shin and her servants arrive at the train station, and Dong-mae says that it’s quite a coincidence that she’s here this morning.
Ae-shin explains that she’s coming back from the temple, hence the mourning garments. When she tries to pass by, Dong-mae stands in her way. She orders him to move out of her way before she kills him, and Dong-mae scoffs, saying that he would be faster at that. Ae-shin doubts him and asserts, “Is that so? Even though I could [kill you], I don’t think you could [kill me].”
Ae-shin looks at him with a fierce look, and Dong-mae remains silent, looking exposed by her words. She passes by him followed by her servants, and Dong-mae stands on the tracks, utterly crushed by Ae-shin’s words. He says, “I told you not to come, but you came anyway and even knew… that.”
In the train, Ae-shin hides in a carriage and winces as she ties a cloth around her bleeding leg. It took all her strength to walk normally in front of Dong-mae. Having escaped his gaze, she crumbles in pain, out of plain sight.
Hee-sung stands outside the tailor’s shop, pondering what Ae-shin’s suits were used for. Meanwhile, her other two admirers run into each other at the mechanic’s shop. Eugene waits to pick up his fixed music box, and Dong-mae stops by to fix his sword. He tells Eugene that it was his sword against guns, and since he can’t wield a gun as well, he only managed to hit his enemy in the leg. Eugene tenses up at this news, and Dong-mae requests that Eugene inform him if he notices anyone limping.
Later that night, Ae-shin visits the medicine shop. Once she’s fully inside, she allows herself to limp through the shop, and she stops when she notices another figure there. It’s Eugene, and her eyes light up at the sight of him. They’re both glad to see each other and ask the other about their injuries.
Eugene says that Dong-mae was looking for a man limping from a gunshot injury, and he asks if that person is Ae-shin. She jokes that she did get shot in the leg, though she’s not a man. Ae-shin asks that he keep this a secret, and Eugene says that she’s indebted to him once again. Ae-shin proposes that they call it even now, this secret in exchange for that time she let him onto the boat to see the ceramist.
He jokes that he regrets being indebted for the boat ride, since he rowed the boat himself. She says that it’s too late for regrets and admits that love is harder than she thought. She apologizes to Eugene, for everything he’s endured for her. Eugene says that they can give it up if it’s too difficult, but Ae-shin refuses. She says, “Since we can give it up anytime, let’s not today. Today, let’s continue walking this path.”
Ae-shin asks what the next step is after introductions and a handshake. Eugene says that they probably can’t do it because the next step is “hug.” Before he can continue, Ae-shin runs to hug him. She tells him that she already learned “H” in the alphabet, and they stand quietly in a gentle embrace.
Okay, that was kinda cute. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of this main couple, but I do find the whole alphabet romance kind of cute and rudimentary in a nice way. With all the action building up, it’s nice that these two still have a nice rapport and find some solace in each other. While their intentions don’t completely align just yet, Eugene is slowly but surely taking steps to side with saving Joseon, and we know that makes him the leader in this admirers’ competition. While I wasn’t very keen on the idea of three love interests for Ae-shin, I actually don’t mind it too much because I am all about the two angsty second leads. One is cursed with the sins of his forefathers and another is cursed with a forbidden love. It’s only a matter of time until Hee-sung puts together the pieces to figure out Ae-shin’s secret, and I can’t wait because so far, the reveal of Ae-shin’s secret has only brought out the best in these dudes.
I’m loving Ae-shin more and more as this show goes on — her forthright manner with the guys, her blind courage, her stubborn loyalty to her values. She manifests the heart of the resistance, and she’s such a force. I think Grandfather and Seung-gu are well aware of Ae-shin’s potential in the movement, and they might be the only ones keeping her back from going rogue. Not that she hasn’t gone rogue already — she was a complete savage in her confrontation with Dong-mae. How could you crush Dong-mae like that! He was completely defeated, and she totally knew what she was doing. He’s got the cruelest fate of them all, and those puppy eyes aren’t helping me hate you. Not that I wanted to hate you in the first place, Yoo Yeon-seok.
We’ve all come to admire the cinematography in this show like a broken record, but it truly does elevate everything, including the wonderful imagery. Though not subtle, the parallels of the present day with our characters’ pasts are timed and portrayed beautifully. The quick flashbacks remind us of our characters’ intentions, their motivations, and their demons. I do wish the show would be better at balancing their subtleties and their explicit messages. Sometimes, I need to think too hard about the vague references. Other times, I need them to stop with the slow motion and dramatic music because yes, I get that this is a super important and beautiful/tragic/cool moment.
I’m happy that our comic relief characters did something noble for a change, and it makes me extra proud because the bar was set so low for them. Kyle and Gwan-soo are great buffer characters in our group of angsty and volatile leads, and I like that they flew under the radar with the Joseon soldiers just like they fly under the radar with viewers. If anyone needs something to do while watching this show, please keep a record of Kyle’s poetry lines and draft a poem by the end of this show. I would love to see if it makes sense because that would be the ultimate gift and plot twist.