Home > Korean Dramas > Hong Gil Dong Episode 9, recap

Hong Gil Dong Episode 9, recap

Friday, February 1, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Edit: Ep. 10 recap up!

I LOVE THE CHINESE SUBBERS! A big thank you to all those ppl who worked on them, I (and countless others) appreciate your efforts.

So, episode nine… *rubs hands together in glee* I was expecting more angst and fast-pacing, given episode eight, but apparently the writers are having none of that. Nine is almost trippy with its moments of levity. (This episode also seems shorter than the other ones.)

It starts off with Grandpa Heo narrating the miraculous birth of Hong Gil Dong because his father was inspired by moonlight. First I’ve heard of woman impregnating a man, but sure. Dragons are involved somehow. Lord Hong’s wife is all ‘no, I’m not in the mood, DO NOT BOTHER ME.’ So he gets it on with a servant girl instead. (Does this not bother anyone? I mean, socioeconomic values of the time notwithstanding, that’s still frowned upon.) Anyway, the gist of it is that Gil Dong was destined for great things from the beginning. (Legendarium is building, we see.)

It’s funny because they make it sound like Gil Dong was this miraculously grown prodigy from the beginning, and because, eight moving GDs multitasking, zomg! This Gil Dong is a brilliant scholar and one of those people who fly. (You have to see it to appreciate the off-kilter goofy in these scenes.) And he can transform into anything at will. Is it just me, or is he sounding a bit like Harry Potter?

And yes, it is a year later, just to put all suspicions to rest.

Grandpa Heo, in an attempt to revive his flagging medicine sales, tells stories to lure people in, and then, bam! No purchase, no story. Great strategy as far as advertisement goes, I think. Still, no sale.

And then Enok, delectable in magenta overwrap, rushes up about a boat from China. (Audience: Wha- ? Oh. Right. Wooden mummy man.) She’s really really happy to see him, cutesy music plays, and we all realize afresh how whimsical YN is as a person. Her transparent concern and friendship, they warm the cockles of my heart. And Chang Hwe breaks out his happy smiling. A lot. (His bodyguards: eyeroll. Chisu: Ah, um. Your duty awaits, my lord prince. I would do anything for your smile.) Enok, however, was here for a substitute cobra. CH is a little wounded that she doesn’t seem to care that much for him, but he gets over it very quickly when reminded of his mission’s complete failure.

Apparently the king’s been stepping up border control after the bombing incident, which is understandable. So now there’s no way of getting explosives into the country, short of making them. (And they keep hammering in the ‘one year later’ in case we’d missed it. We’re crazed fans, not dumb!) I’m heartened that CH seems to keep GD’s words- he’s really going into the doubt here. Please make him a good king, drama gods!

Crazy moment: King gloats over sword.

I can’t believe it! The old king made the sword so Chang Hwe could kill his brother. Now that’s the way to foster good sibling relations. Suddenly I feel a wave of sympathy and affection for the king. I mean, that has just gotta suck, no matter how you look at it.

GD and co. ambush traveling merchants in the woods. Haha! GD sets himself as a roadside Buddhist! Then he and the gang proceed to relieve the newly appointed federal official of his illicit riches. It’s a very dramatic entrance, and now we know they’ve been super busy distributing the wealth to poorer people.

YN wants CH to come watch her cobra dance (deep down, she just wants him to help her advertise). He feels sort of used but amused. Chisu is jealous that CH seems to like her so much (or just disturbed. The Yongmun people don’t emote much). There is more smiling from the prince dude. Unfortunately, the snake escapes and is killed by really frantic shoes. I mean, really frantic people holding shoes. Enok’s snakes never seem to come to a good end, do they?

Then we are treated to a scene of exaggerated mourning with her identifying her snake at the pseudo-morgue. Everyone’s sad, and it feels overdone, but overdone is what makes Gil Dong so funny amidst all this political tension and angst. The snake is mourned like a real human.

Hae Myung visits the bandit settlement. HM finds GD sprawled between bed and floor- still the same old lazy Gil Dong, he muses. (Incomplete transformation from layabout to hero, as evidenced by his hair… Really cannot wait until he abandons this weird perm-cool hair hybrid.)

EH’s dad was in on the assassination of the queen too, and he confers with Lord Hong, making some pretty astute observations to the effect of “all these little kids are probably still alive”. (He’s more right than he knows.) However, they do agree to track down the importers of the WMDs first. To do that, all they have to do is to keep tight controls on people importing explosives. (I wonder, are the Chinese CIA that good at keep explosives a secret?)

CH finds YN mourning over her snake -almost shouts out (or what amounts to shouting with him, anyway) “I can be your friend!” YN muses on his noble status and her own not so great lineage (Audience: *cackles* just you wait). CH says it doesn’t matter, he’s never seen her as a mere peasant (Good to know. But that still begs the question of those he does think are peasants). I’m worried for CH, though, because YN seems to be this good luck charm/mooring anchor for his ‘goodness’. What if he were to lose her? Would he do a Byun Hak Do on us?

The notion of someone actually needing a catalyst for being good is also disturbing, but that’s set along more traditionally kdrama lines and thus familiar.

Back at the bandit camp, lots of chicken is consumed as they celebrate yet another success – this time the loot can be shared amongst at least 100 families.

(Interestingly enough, ‘come here’ in Korean sounds very similar to the Chinese version.)

HM adds a warning to GD: people are starting to notice that the road to Hanyang is dangerous for corrupt officials. HM pointedly asks a question to see if he wanted to know about the others (cough Enok cough), but alas, Gil Dong goes all cool and uncaring on us. He does, however show relief later and looks at his much-battered pouch thing.

To cheer YN up about the snake, CH starts chatting about food in China. YN is astounded that he never had steamed bread with sparrow filling and he invites her to do business for Yongmun in China (so they can be together next time he goes, it is insinuated). YN remembers GD and tears up. YN uses GD’s sunglasses to cover up her crying, very much in pain. At the same time GD thinks about her while holding pouch.

CH dies in a fit of jealousy.

No, he doesn’t, but he is feeling a bit down, especially when he sees her crying in the corner and his face goes all weird in an attempt to convey sympathy and jealousy at the same time.

There is ominous music, and then we see a girl running through the dark woods with a bell on (how crude and offensive), with soldiers chasing her. She slips while running and falls off the cliff/steep hillside. The bandits find her body in morning. Gil Dong notices the unusual bell and wonders about foul play.

Then we are introduced to big evil dude in purple (aka Choi Chul-ju) and his stick of indefeatable iron. He commands his minions to get the escapee’s little sister, who is only 13. When his second-in-command looks a bit disturbed, Choi leers: Thirteen’s still a woman, no? (Me: Ugh, no. I like my jailbait slightly older. Plskthx.) Silently observing Choi while he drags off the unfortunate girl, CH realises afresh how much he dislikes injustice (but doesn’t do anything).

Chisu serves as an expositional device: Choi is a money lender who tricks people into borrowing his money and then forces them to return it with almost impossible interest rates. When they are unable, he takes the sons/daughters/young capable persons and sells them off as slaves and prostitutes. (Apparently prostitutes are worth more in China. Say it ain’t so, Hu.) He also has very strong opinions but holds them in. (Audience: Grimness, yum.)

Choi actually advertises his high-interest lending. Bastard.

New character Shim Chung makes a furious appearance as she dumps water on advertisers (I like her already). She declares that her dad is a victim of their foul practices and tells them to stop if they have hearts. Suk Geun is reminded of his vivid and pretty sister, who went through a similar fate because of him. (In other news, the previously inactive angst meter goes into overdrive.)

Lord Seo plays golf (it occurs to me that Lady Kim should have married Seo instead. They get on so well.) In Hyung made it into the military, apparently. (Audience: big whoop. Moving on.)

As part of her duty in the Yongmun, YN delivers packages to clients. This is the aboveboard, merchant face to Yongmun. She happens to make a delivery to EH. They chat, EH grates on my nerves. She always gives YN cookies and treats (but doesn’t tell her GD is alive!)

EH goes to see GD while YN is clueless (Audience: pantomimes strangling EH.) Apparently it’s monthly and has been going on for a while now.

I’m glad, however, that no one in the bandit camp seems to like her:

GD: ohnoes, she’s here.

Mal Nyeo: *restrains self from killing EH*

EH sharpens her nobility claws on GD by making him do stuff for her. (Me: Oooh, bad move, threatening him all the time.) He’s really annoyed and has better things to do, but is ordered to escort her back to the city. It strikes me that she isn’t trying to annoy him (and us) but she just doesn’t have any other way of expressing her affection. Still, I don’t like her.

While in town, GD looks for the source of the bells. EH is annoyed that he’s inquiring about a bell for a girl. He leaves in a huff and EH is dismayed. She ‘didn’t want to send him off with anger.’ Her granny seems to be worrying herself into an early grave.

Lady Noh strikes a bargain with Choi: in return for explosives, she will provide them with a ship for whatever their cargo is. CH is listening off to the side and realizes that this man is in fact a human trafficker. (Still prince of inaction.)

But, at least CH is bothered by this whole human trafficking thing.

More crazy moments! The king is strangely comforted by the fact that his brother is alive. (Because Macbeth without Duncan’s bloody corpse is just a drunken Scotsman.) Hong wants him to be a better monarch. It amazes me, but the King knows that he’s crazy and in fact blames it on the sword (Kang Hwe: oh daddy, why?) Hello, expositional device, as he waxes insane about his insanity.

I would put forth the theory that he’s pretending to be insane, but dude, he doesn’t know a hawk from a handsaw even when the wind is southerly.

Suk Geun wants to help Shim Chung, but is too late. She is dragged off by uncaring minions. He tries to intervene, but is beaten by Choi’s iron stick. Gil Dong finds out the Choi bought around a hundred bells from a merchant. (Audience:100 girls?!)

As night falls, YN realizes she lost GD’s glasses. She remembers that she night have left it in the warehouse and goes to search. CH comes in search of YN. (People just keep coming and going in this episode.) He hears from Grandpa that YN has gone off to look for something in the warehouse and runs off, presumably to rescue her.

Meanwhile, Suk Geun staggers back to the bandit headquarters, heavily beaten, and pleads for Gil Dong to help Shim Chung, who’s been captured.


– It goes without saying that I can’t wait for the next ep!

– This ep was really awkward, I think in part because it is meant as a transition from the first third of the series to the rest and besides, skipping a year in narrative events is bound to be hard on anyone. Will wait for eps of high caliber like 7 or 8. I do like how well they’ve managed to neatly split the narrative between our two gangs. It’s a nice balance.

– I get that CH experiences a complete about-face b/c of YN’s powerz of fluffy doom, but it bothers me that Broody Angst Man has turned into Idiot Smile Man. I want more depth! (ep 10 spoiler!) Admittedly, he did do better after YN showed obvious disappointment in his lack of moral conscience , but the role of ‘good second lead’ seems to be going begging.

– Which leads me to the Eun Hye hate. I just get so annoyed with her character. I mean, she is socially inexperienced despite her obvious intelligence and all. I guess I’ve just seen too many second female leads like her in other dramas and am tired of the stereotype.

– Obviously Choi is being set up as the evil of evils. Secondary evil awards go to Lady Noh and the King.

Recap for 10 coming up as soon as I finish it. Sorry, schoolwork beckons. In fact, I find that it wields a hammer.

Until next time,


  1. xx
    Sunday, February 3, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    somehow my other comment got posted to the other post…xDDD
    i was talking about Hong Gil Dong

  2. Sunday, February 3, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Ne, I’m glad. That makes my victim count something like 4. Ahahaha! Taking over the world, one drama at a time. Hey, this way, I have a waiting buddy, along with the hundreds of other soompi-ers. (No, but seriously, what’s your opinion of the show so far? Which ep are you on?)

    Je t’aime, ma chère… à bientôt!

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