Iljimae Episode 12, recap
I’m so giddy, ooh, and not from the heat or lack of food. It’s so hoooooooooooooooot. I wouldn’t mind either, but the humidity hangs all over like particularly unwanted attention.
Kyum’s tattoo, in passing, looks like an amalgamation of the words ‘heaven’ and ‘friend’ in Chinese.
Bong Soon nurses Yong through the night. He wakes up and hears from her (unintentionally) that a noble he’s targeted is going off to Japan on diplomatic/spy related issues.
Byun Shik is admonishing his underlings for failing to capture Iljimae. Eun Chae, at home, is worried about Iljimae’s safety. While getting stuff for Byun Shik, Shi Hoo notices that Eun Chae’s stuff are being displaced, and cottons on to the fact that Iljimae is working from the list of Friends of Heaven.
So now guards are stationed at potential households. Except that Shi Wan walks off with a gisaeng.
(Woah, Iljimae can search places when there’s someone sleeping there?? Nerves of steel, dude.)
Lols, Shi Wan gets tied up and hung on top of a well, like he did to Iljimae. His screams bring a bunch of soldiers, who give chase. Iljimae gets sandwiched, after which he escapes, and Shi Hoo manages to be the only one who can keep up with him. Even after getting slashed in the leg by Shi Hoo, he still gets away.
Iljimae: 2; Shi Hoo: 1 (give concession for two injuries)
Lol, he disguised himself as a noble lady and escaped via her carriage. Somehow the chase through the night was so long it turned to day. Luckily for Yong, Shi Wan is the one who leads the search troops this time and they get shut in a warehouse for their troubles. It’s an icy warehouse too.
Shi Wan and his people end up having to crawl through ventilation, and when they come to the opening, Iljimae’s already put a huge rock on top of the vent.
They wait in shivering agony for Shi Hoo’s rescue troops, lol. Humiliation x2 for Shi Wan.
Eun Chae hears the news that he’s still alive with joy, but Shi Hoo cautions her that he’s just using her, and vows to make her see the truth.
Yong gets home and has a lie-in, but hears that random young men are being forced to strip and show themselves. (Must. Not. Insert. Slash. Joke.) He runs out and gets involved in the first street fight he can see. He blends in with most of the roughs, but Shi Hoo and his people come upon the fight and inspects him.
Kunghe monk, just walking through the market, sees Yong fighting and is all annoyed at his patient. He joins in the fight and pretty much dismantles the others with a few moves. Yong is awed.
When everyone is shown as having a leg wound (wow, what a lucky coincidence), Shi Hoo asks for them to take their clothes off and check for back wounds as well. Kunghe monk notices Yong looking awkward and creates a diversion, which doesn’t fool the organized Shi Hoo, more’s the pity, and just as Yong is about to be forced to undress, Shi Wan comes up.
Shi Wan, twice humiliated and an enormous asshat, is still very loyal to his friends, and brings Yong away for treatment, against Shi Hoo’s wishes. (Omg, thank god.) Eun Chae sees his wounded leg and remembers to be annoyed before she shows concern. (Good acting here by Han Hyo Joo.)
Byun Shik meets with the Qing ambassador. There is mutual boot-licking. Remember the yangban who tried to harass Eun Chae? His son. There’s some issues about the king giving tribute to the Qing emperor. (Also, the good noble, the one who may potentially help Yong, Kim smtg smtg, is mentioned. He’s also considered super upright.)
Hilariously, Yong remembers Kunghe monk beating the crabapples out of other people, and decides to ask him to teach himself. Bong Soon and the tea/alehouse mistress have a conversation and come up with the idea that Bong Soon is in love. Bong Soon runs off in distress.
Byun Shik sees Shi Hoo being all moody and frustrated over not being able to capture Iljimae, and takes him to the other really good swordsman in the town – the king’s guard. He also gets a request to teach martial arts.
(It rains, days without end, and Byun Shik is distressed that minister Kim is doing stuff. He requests an audience with the king.)
Shi Hoo’s been kneeling for a long time in the rain. He says to the king’s guard:
I must capture someone. For he is my path to living like a human being, a way for me to climb high.
We switch back and forth between scenes – between these four men who have chosen different paths but are linked irrevocably – the two older ones were companions in battle, and Yong and Shi Hoo are half brothers.
Kunghe monk makes to run away, but Yong adamantly does not let him go. The monk throws him around many times, and he holds on, despite his injuries. When asked why he wants to learn, he says:
There is something I must do before I die.
(I’d say that Yong has a better starting point. He isn’t blinded by himself, he’s clear on what he’s supposed to do and where he will go after accomplishing his goals. Not so sure about Shi Hoo, who may find being a noble less than satisfying – after all, people will always whisper about his ‘inferior’ blood.)
In the morning, Yong says goodbye to Yangsoon, the little daughter of the vegetable seller, and gives her the nice pink ribbon he bought the other day (which Bong Soon thought was for her). He only mentions that he’s going away somewhere to train his body. (Hope he tells his parents, or they’re going to be mighty worried.) (What am I saying? They’re going to be worried anyway.)
Bong Soon experiences some jealousy upon seeing the scene.
Yong goes to the plum tree and says his goodbyes. Bong Soon follows him to his old house, and watches him commune with his and Eun Chae’s tree.
He leaves a note to his parents, telling them he’s in training for the exams. Dani is cold, as usual, but we know her now, and can tell she’s also worried.
Upon getting to an unknown island, Kunghe gives him all sorts of difficulties. Not an easy master, this one. Yong gives as good as he’s got, though. Throwing stuff in the ocean and making him carry it builds strength, for all Yong’s complaints and staggering around.
He’s quite good at this teaching, if not conventional in his methods.
The king sets bait for minister Kim and his compatriots, using Kyum. (So they DO plan to put Kyum on the throne. That means he’s royalty. Yay for being right. I think I’ll reward myself with some ice cream.)
The monk slyly insinuates that Iljimae’s been awfully quiet since he and Yong have left for the island, but Yong refuses to rise to the bait. Kunghe is just like, be careful, dude.
Yong does menial labour all the time. Like all disciples, he understands not his master’s ways. Lol, he actually throws a tantrum in front of Kunghe and thus the mop-throwing war begins. If he can dodge the mop when Kunghe throws it, he gets to start learning martial arts. (At least he didn’t learn this right away, like with the thieving. But certain stereotype conventions have to be observed.)
Meanwhile, in the palace of evil, the king has set the trap. All he has to do is wait for the nobles to find Lee Won Ho’s son, and then they’ll all be killed.
Hee. Bong Soon comes for a visit, and the first thing she says after setting foot on the island is “YONG!!!” She brings him all sorts of goodies, and as the only person Kunghe is actually afraid of, she gives him a break for the afternoon too. She’s soooooooo good to Yong. I want a boyfriend like that. (Only, you know, less shrill.)
And it’s so amusing to see Bong Soon effortlessly dodge mops. Poor Yong. Or should I say, poor Yong’s face?
OMG YOU SHOULD ALL SEE THIS. BONG SOON BEATS YONG INTO THE GROUND.
AND THEN SOME MORE.
You go, girl! Show him that you’re not a doormat!!
After that session of ‘So You Fight Better Than Yong’ (doesn’t everyone?), they share a rare companionable moment. Bong Soon actually didn’t learn from her dad, she learned herself, to one day avenge her dead brother. Her dad hears and looks heartbroken, and guilty.
That night, all three of them lie on the bed, awake.
(If you think about it, the king caused all this, so they should all gang up and kill him instead. Wonder how Yong’ll react when he finds out he needs to kill the king. That’ll be an interesting episode.)
Shi Hoo and Yong learn the basics of swordfighting, though using different principles.
The common people gossip about Iljimae’s absence, some say that he escaped to China, some say he was crippled after that last raid and killed himself, and one school of thought even holds that Iljimae is in fact a girl, and got married.
Swe Dol, of course, mixes everything up: Iljimae escaped to China, couldn’t bear married life as a cripple and killed herself. When he tells Dani, she only tells him to be quiet and goes off to worry about Yong.
(Lol if Shi Hoo heard this version he’d laugh himself silly.)
On the beaches, everyday, Yong practices with Kunghe. Not that he’s any good, as he ends up sprawling face first into the sand a lot. Kunghe tells him to stop being silly and wave his fake sword around with purpose – there are nine types of basic strokes: vertical, diagonal, horizontal, thrust, etc.
He teaches Yong defensive swordfighting, whereas the other teaches Shi Hoo offensive.
As Yong learns to fight, Kunghe settles him down one night for a good talk about morals, ethics, and what to do with his newfound skill. (I’m guessing he learned other stuff too, like hand-to-hand. Don’t have time to show us all of it, more’s the pity.) He regrets his past, fighting and killing all those in his way for what he thought was right. He cautions Yong that in the midst of killing someone, having the moral upper hand means about as much as being insane – he’s still a person, under it all, not special, not inferior, just another person.
The king’s guard imparts his own wisdom, but it’s the opposite of Kunghe’s (actually what he held before leaving the king’s service) – kill all those who block his way.
More time passes, both Shi Hoo and Yong improve enormously. Bong Soon wastes away waiting for Yong, and Eun Chae does the same. Falling leaves signify… a year’s progress. (I’m pulling timelines out of a hat here. Any help?)
Oh, now they show us the hand-to-hand. It’s a long and arduous process, and poor Yong’s probably got a nice collection of bruises from Kunghe’s training.
Swe Dol sweeps the snow in his courtyard (this is definitely one year later – show starts in middle of fall) and thinks of all the times he’s beaten Yong with it. He misses his child.
The king’s in his palace, awaiting for the time to set his plan in motion, but nothing’s moving, so he vents frustration by crushing small, harmless flowers. Yea, go red-eyed demon kings.
The main theme plays as we see Yong’s vast (I mean vast, as in can-match-Kunghe vast) improvement over the course of the year.
- What?? No preview for next episode??? Well, be on the lookout for that next week. Where are the subs right now?
- Well, Kunghe is stronger and better than the king’s guard – that’s what they said in the beginning between themselves. He also has a conscience, which is why he left the king’s service in the first place.
- I think I get the prophecy now. Remember? It was something like, a new era for Korea, something red, like the sun. (That’s not too vague for you, is it? Go soothsayers.) The king thinks this means he’ll get supplanted, but possibly it just means Iljimae. You know, the red blossoms? Talk of self-fulfilling.
- I wonder if Shi Hoo has thought of suspecting Yong yet. He’s there at all the right times. The guy should be sharp enough to piece together the absence, his close friendship with Shi Wan, his hankering after Eun Chae, and a few other things. Still leaves the question of whether his loyalty to Dani and Swe Dol will outweigh his desire to be a noble. Also, half-brother subplot that is in the hands of the aforementioned parents.
- We haven’t seen Kyum’s mom in a while, come to think of it.