Home > Korean Dramas > Hong Gil Dong Episode 7 and 8, recap

Hong Gil Dong Episode 7 and 8, recap

Saturday, January 26, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Goofy pic of bandits:

ze bandits forever

Am trying not to cry, but this one’s really intense, both in plot and emotional impact. (Spoilers ahead)

So, episode 7.

Gil Dong escapes the palace with the help of the thieves, and then persuades the bandits to help him corner his half-brother. He wants to clarify to his father that neither incident (robbing and bombing) was his fault, but In Hyung beats him to the punch, taunting him about his slave’s status. Actually, he specifically sets out to wound Gil Dong by saying that Lord Hong doesn’t care about him anymore, that he let Gil Dong bear the guilty sentence because he’s trying to shield his legitimate son. And then, like the cowardly ass that he is, In Hyung runs away (probably because mommy’s not there to protect his hide). (One of the bandits punches him in the mouth. I wish they’d done more.)

Gil Dong is just shocked into silence, and when Enok shows up he tries to be cool and laugh it off. It’s amazing how perceptive Enok manages to be, and she uses her hands to block Gil Dong’s face so he can cry in peace. So he cries, and she cries with him, but it’s a private moment for Gil Dong anyway.

Back at the temple, the girl bandit (can’t remember her name) tricks Enok into admitting that she loves Gil Dong. Actually, Enok’s drunk at this point, so she tries to say “I love you” because she heard someone say it in China (uh, what?). There’s a cute little dialogue with them trying to figure out what it means (Enok: “You don’t just say ‘I love you’ to a potato, you know?”) And then Enok goes and says it to Gil Dong, who’s just confused.

The Yongmun (龙门) people are super pissed because their carefully crafted plan just fell to pieces, and their troops quickly go back to HQ, somewhere in the mountains. Lady Noh and Chang Hwe get all fired up about avenging themselves on Gil Dong. The test-takers are still stuck inside the palace.

Meanwhile, the king goes nuts (even more, I mean) because he figured out that his younger brother is still alive – alert meter goes on, but the rest of the court just think he’s having a crazy episode. Except Lord Hong, who is supah smart. Then people start finding tracings of the Really Important Sword all around the town, and the king goes absolutely frantic trying to find his brother. The king starts interrogations of everyone that was there (because we all know that people don’t lie under torture) and it’s basically a gory mess inside the palace courtyard. Then Lady Noh threatens Lord Hong, saying that she can provide eyewitnesses who will cement Gil Dong’s guilt as the bomber. (People, especially the nobility who got in trouble for cheating on the exam, are really restless.)

Lord Hong starts executing perfectly innocent men to salvage the situation (suggested by Lord Seo, Eun Hye’s ever-so-intelligent dad).

(The king is so crazy in this one. He’s actually happy at people being tortured. WTF.)

Gil Dong hears about the executions and barges into the Yongmun HQ, demanding to see Lady Noh. He wants to know just what she’s up to, why the etching of the sword is so important – what he’s going to die for, to paraphrase. She’s just itching to get him killed via his dad (what a nice lady) and taunts him some more. Gil Dong rushes back to the execution site, and watches people getting beheaded. (Inner fangirl: such great acting- I could feel his helplessness.)

Gil Dong crosses gazes with Chang Hwe, who I’m warming to, because he rushed out of his safe mountain eyrie as soon as he heard about the executions. Chang Hwe agrees to hand the sword over if Gil Dong admits his guilt and dies in place of the innocent workers. Gil Dong goes to his father and ‘admits’ his guilt. His father is aghast, but he concedes in the end and orders his men to take the sword back after which they have to kill Gil Dong.

And Enok, who hears about this, finds Gil Dong in the valley where they met. She tries so hard to get him to go, but he knocks her out and leads the incoming troops away to save her. Then they shoot him with an arrow as he is backed against a cliff. (Gorgeous music. Will upload if anyone wants.)


Several scenes are worth a separate mention. The one that gets my goat, so to speak, is the one where Lord Hong is trying to get Gil Dong to reveal the true sword thieves. He uses blatant emotional manipulation (in this, In Hyung is more like his father than he knows), calling Gil Dong ‘son’ and trying to force information out of him. Gil Dong, I hope, knows that his dad (is a rat bastard!) is just trying to use him and stands firm. It’s the only time I’ve seen Lord Hong actually acknowledge him as a son, and it’s sad that he does this out of need, not real paternal feeling.

The other one, where Enok wakes up after Gil Dong is gone and chases through the forest, is also very touching, possibly due to the melancholic music playing. Whatever it is, watching her scream and shout herself hoarse over Gil Dong brought tears to my eyes.

KJH is truely a great actor – I didn’t like him in Fireworks (*is shot*) but here, he’s so crystal clear at portraying all the conflicted feelings that Gil Dong has. The scene where the arrow hits his chest and he just stares around is very powerful. Watch this episode, please, because no amount of dead narration is going to compare to the real thing.


Episode 8

So we start off with Gil Dong standing on the edge of the cliff, life flashing before his eyes, and he remembers a conversation with his mentor, asking deep questions of him. At the time, he doesn’t care about the rest of the world – “If the world does not allow me to do anything, I will do nothing.” As he falls back into the water, he ponders whether the answer has changed (yes, it has).

Luckily for him, the bandits find him and carry him into relative safety in an abandoned (by the looks of it) hut and treat his rather severe chest wound (caused by the arrow). The pouch given to him by Enok is pierced through, all stained with blood. Very nice music as Gil Dong is carried away, hovering between life and death. When he wakes up, he’s decided that he’s no longer going to avoid and run away from the system, he is going to fight it as hard as he can for the people who can’t.

In passing, King still crazy. Lady Noh still cold bitch.

As the Yongmun people hear about the news, Chang Hwe has a flashback to his conversation with Gil Dong after handing over the sword. Gil Dong tells him that as the son of a slave, he’s been told all his life to do nothing worthwhile, as befits a slave. He wants to know if Chang Hwe is killing all these people to get to the throne simply because he is the queen’s son (I think he’s using the word ‘of properly royal blood’ here, but it’s meant to contrast with his half-brother’s lineage). In fact, Gil Dong wants to know, “Why should you be king?” Which, apparently, is a question Chang Hwe’s never even considered – he is of the blood, it should be enough.

Now it’s not. (I like how Gil Dong makes CH think every time they meet. The way he’s helping CH mature into a more thoughtful person makes the character development fan in me squeal.) So he is starting to realizes the price of revolution. When Lady Noh tells him to just go ahead and forget about killing all the people, he replies, “If I had been the one to succeed, the heads hanging outside would be killed on my orders.” Both Enok and Gil Dong serve to make him more three dimensional as a person – Enok by giving him the knowledge of joy in life/being alive and Gil Dong by making him think. (CH is very much in danger of being a puppet king at the beginning – he hasn’t given much thought of what’ll happen once he is on the throne, but now he’s actually trying to figure out what makes him different from all those other power-mongering monarchs.)

Enok continues to look for GD, her grandfather follows her. In a rather comic sequence, he keeps echoing her name but she’s so focused on looking for Gil Dong that she doesn’t hear him until he literally shouts in her ear. Gramps is worried because she seems too absorbed in the idea that GD is alive. (In passing, Eun Hye hears about the death, and is devastated. Audience: booooooring. Moving on.)

Gramps gives her the idea of asking someone who knows people in power to search for Gil Dong’s whereabouts, so Enok goes to the Yongmun HQ and throws a tantrum to get in. (Prince’s reaction when he sees her shouting and waving: WTF.) He leads her to where Gil Dong was shot, and tries to get her to believe that GD is dead. (Me: and you have absolutely no ulterior motive for that. NONE. You have no feelings towards her at all.)

Surprisingly the townsfolk are all truly sad. They cry and sniff about not seeing Gil Dong rush around, destroying everything in sight. People agree that in light of recent events, they’ve wronged Gil Dong by casting him out as a hooligan. The Wang dude, sitting in front of his store, muses that today is the day another boat (or the last?) leaves for China, and he’ll just behave as if Gil Dong was on the boat. He’s so sad that he misses the chance to sell something to a customer.

(In a brilliant effort to continue the series the writers Gil dong refuses to tell Enok he’s alive, to stop her from looking for him and thus putting herself in danger).

While strolling through the city of Hanyang incognito, Gil Dong sees that the heads of the executed labourers hanging on the walls, next to his clothing (which have ‘Traitor/Treason’ written on them – thus hammering in the situation he’s in). A little boy tearily asks for his father’s head, but the guards only shoo him away. Lord Seo passes by on litter, without a care in the world. Overnight, the heads disappear.

We see Gil Dong burying the heads, and since the earth is frozen, he tries so hard that his wound reopens, and he comes to the realization that he does indeed care for those wrongly killed. (He answers his own flashback, in the first episode, when his mentor questions him about the man he was burying.) I think all the flashbacks (at least 4!) in this episode are meant to portray a change – for both HGD and CH, in the way they think and see the world.

The town is abuzz, and Enok concludes that it must have been GD, and runs to find him near the unofficial bandit cemetery. She misses him by a few minutes, but she does find a bottle of alcohol, and is certain it’s Gil Dong’s.

CH also comes to the same conclusion, but with much less joy.

Gil Dong joins forces with the bandits and, in a playful turn, decides to rob the biggest robbers of all – the corrupt government officials. They bombard the top four officials with sewage water, to the glee of every other person around, and post up warnings to the effect of “Most Corrupt Official will get robbed”. It turns into a game for the commoners, and they have lots of fun guessing the names. The officials, on the other hand, quake in their homes, tremulously hoping “It’s not me”.

Nothing happens, and everyone’s slightly puzzled, conspiracies abound, and the king gets to show us some more of his derangement. He’s all chuckly and “Don’t betray my trust”-y.

Meanwhile, Enok requests that CH stop searching for GD. He is alarmed and wants to know if he’s been found, but Enok has decided to stop because it would make GD try to hide more. (CH: still not most important person in world. Damn.) Also, his sideways look of plotting is getting annoying. Please get a different way of being broody, plskthx. Lady Noh’s decided that since CH likes Enok so much, she might as well as have a post at the legal side of Yongmun – and she gives bandanna guy orders to find Enok a post.

It is revealed that Enok was named by CH’s mother, and was probably engaged to CH. (Audience: we knew that. Moving on.) The writers want to establish the triangle a bit more firmly, and we have a touching scene of GD and Enok thinking of each other at the same time, each resolving to be strong for the other’s sake.

Lord Seo visits at GD’s house, and it turns out that Lord Hong is sick. So the man actually has a conscience.

The lecherous bandit person passes the Leading Stick to GD, saying that on this mission, they’re listening to him. The screen splits into four parts as we see that all four houses are being robbed. (Gil Dong, you sly foxy thing.) The bandit troup really do see him as a de facto leader, and happily haul in the goods. Each official/lord wakes up to see Gil Dong pointing his stick at them and beg for him to take the money – just don’t tell anyone you robbed us.

(In passing, Gil Dong’s stick reminds me of the Sun Wu Kong/孙悟空’s stick, and the Leading Stick is a less pretty version of the Da Gou Bang/打狗棒.)

At Lord Seo’s house, they encounter Eun Hye, who recognizes Gil Dong and promises to keep quiet only if Gil Dong agrees to meet her in a month where they met in the rain. (She’s kind of annoying.) GD couldn’t care less, but he agrees because killing her would be slightly troublesome.

The bandits count their spoils and compliment each other on such a large amount of loot – but like Gil Dong, they agree to give a portion away to the families of those executed by the king. Gil Dong meets with his mentor, speaking of his resolve to stop running away and mentions that the bandits are going undercover for the winter. His mentor wonders if he’s going to take Enok along, but GD is resolute: he doesn’t want Enok to be placed in that kind of danger.

He gives the little pouch and tells his mentor to give this to her as a proof of his death. Enok believes him and cries on the steps of the monastery. GD is watching, and he almost reveals himself at Enok’s pain, but he forces himself to walk away.

The preview doesn’t bode well for GD/Enok shippers, at least, not for now, with CH doing his huge angelic smile (I’m beginning to think the producers picked him for his smile) whenever he thinks of Enok. They mention a particularly vicious moneylender (next target, anyone?). But there is hope! The preview ends with Gil Dong turning the corner in the street and Enok coming just enough to see the back of his head. No indication as to whether she recognizes him or not. (And it looks like winter’s passed too.)


– So CH is human, not vengeful autobot. I’m glad for him. He even looks forward to meeting GD again, no wait, looks forward is too strong. He anticipates and wants to have an answer to the king issue. More character development for me! (I keep thinking that he’s meant to be wooden and slowly thaws into a recognizable king candidate. We’ll see.)

– Lady Noh will die/reform. She has to. Her policy is starting to not fit with the direction CH wants to go in already, plus she has some pretty hefty vengeance thing going on with just about everyone.

– We’re probably close to finding out Enok’s real lineage, which will unleash untold amounts of angst as she finds out GD’s dad was responsible for her parents’ death. And then CH will step in, because he doesn’t seem to do much yet, and we must have love rivalry.

– Between now and the three years later mentioned in the beginning, Enok picks up some fairly impressive swording skills. And who do we know is really good with a sword? That’s right.

– Pairing theories will wait until next week, methinks. My hand hurts.

Muchly impatient for next Wednesday,


  1. flyingcrispi
    Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Dear Sevenses,
    Something odd happenned to me as I was reading your post.
    Before I even knew it, the fatal illness of addiction striked me . I was already addicted to Hong Gil Dong, but know I’m also addicted to your recaps/summary and little comments. Please, carry on!
    Looking forward to your next posts,

  2. Monday, January 28, 2008 at 10:11 am

    *blushing* Thank you so much for your kind words!

  3. Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm

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