Home > Korean Dramas > Iljimae Episode 4, recap

Iljimae Episode 4, recap

Saturday, May 31, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

So, folks. Just started reading Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides – it is one heck of a book. I haven’t finished it, but I feel confident in saying that it’s a great book. It’s the vibes one gets.

Anyway, you’re probably about to beat me over the head with Gil Dong’s stick or something… so here it is.

Episode 4

Last episode ended on a stressful note.

Yong is trying to keep his father’s hand attached to his wrist, and after being shown Shi Wan threatening Yong, we flash to a dogfight. *headdesks* They better not have been hurt during filming. Shi Wan comments that the two dogs look alike and could be taken for brothers. His clear enjoyment of the fight disturbs even his friend.

At the jail place, Shi Hoo has requested a meeting with Swe Dol. They enjoy a father-son moment together. Swe Dol tells him that Yong is just an adoptee (who is, I think, also younger than Shi Hoo – he calls him ‘child’ – but it could also just be because Shi Hoo is miles ahead in the maturity department). He urges Shi Hoo to stay and meet Dani, who’s coming to visit, but Shi Hoo reiterates her words at their parting and upholds his promise to her to never recognize her anymore. (What will he do if/when he finds out he’s Lee’s son and Kyum/Yong’s brother? Hmm.) Poor guy’s obviously unhappy. Oh, Mr. Kicked Angst Puppy, let Eun Chae give you a hug already.


Young Shi Hoo, shortly after being absorbed into Byun Shik’s household, decides that he doesn’t want the glitzy riches and wants to come back to their family, but Dani pretends to not recognize him. She doesn’t even see/pretends to not see the bruise at Shi Hoo’s mouth, and ignores his tears. (Fails as a mother! Just really don’t like her, sorry, but what sane mother doesn’t notice these things??) (But then, her behaviour hardly shows her up as sane…)

Back to the present, Yong is desperately practicing for the upcoming fight. The boxing manager (who is also in charge of the betting, what a conflict of interest) introduces him to his opponent, who’s got at least 60 lbs on him (for the metrics amongst us, that would be 27.18 kg). Yong snarks to his friends (one of whom looks like Ji-Hyuk from Choon Hyang) that fighting is about brains, not brawn (yes, but if you have no brawn your brains risk being squished before being put to use).

We change shots to Shi Hoo practicing diligently (they’re really playing up the differences between our two main male leads, aren’t they?). Shi Wan says the same thing he did to Yong, but this time he’s making Shi Hoo win the prize money. (Audience: We hope you reincarnate as a fly.)

Shi Wan totally knows they’ll both do it because both boys love Swe Dol.

Yong, in the meantime, has asked someone to make armour for him – specifically, clothing with nails affixed on the outside. (And he’s supposed to be smart? No one sees those bits of metal, nope.) Outside the shop, he bumps into Bong Soon and her father and is forced to down a bottle of laxative. Lols at Yong being weaker than Bong Soon.

The person responsible for framing and killing Lord Lee (not Byun Shik, who was just a tool) has noticed the PM of the left’s interest in the case. (Btw, it was all 13 years ago.) He tells his underlings to watch the PM. And, of course, to get rid of the irrepressible Yong.

At night, right before the match, Bong Soon and her father do some betting on the outcome, and the father recognizes that one of the contestants is in fact Yong (who they both know can’t fight to save his own life, let alone other people’s hands). Shi Wan and his bratty friends also attend. Shi Hoo is here too, albeit reluctantly.

I’m expecting some miraculous event, or at least some good slapstick in this one.

This match thing is more like the WWE than … anything historical that they might have had. Go fusion. Go sneaky. Go really random script.

Eun Chae is bringing tea out to Shi Hoo, in a manner that suggests this is habit, when she hears from the servant (he who is friends with Swe Dol) where he’s gone. Not one to do things halfway, she gets out the riding gear and mounts a horse to chase after her errant brother(s). (Koreans in the audience, tell me, were women allowed to ride horses with their legs split? I know the Chinese weren’t, unless it was a very very very special case.)

At the match, team red aka the Hulking Beast of Baldness is beating everyone into silly pudding. Bong Soon is super into it, but her father’s bored. Yong awaits his turn, dressed and masked like Zorro.

Eun Chae bursts in, heart in her mouth, and sees Yong lounging there. (OMG THEY MEET. AGAIN. BUT REALLY IT IS THE FIRST TIME.) Lols. In order to demonstrate their shared blood, Eun Chae mistakes Yong for Shi Hoo – and she should be trusted to make the right decision, since she only sees Shi Hoo every day.

The servant runs up (kept up with a horse on all those mountain roads? Bravo.) and tells her Shi Hoo is actually inside the room. Eun Chae slaps Yong for daring to keep holding her hand, then flounces away.

(Wow. Yong even gets beaten by his future girlfriend. Does this guy have no pain threshold levels or something?)

Yong preps for the fight and starts… dancing onstage. (Um, honey. That’s really not what fighting looks like. Looks like we’re going for the ridiculous again.) But his experience in running away from his father comes in handy as he dodges and weaves like mad. Very flexible man, that Lee Jun Ki.

Aha. Yong put the laxative in some buns, which he then fed to Man Mountain. I see where he’s going. Yong wins. (We garner a few lols. One rare thing Iljimae does better than Hong Gil Dong would be the toilet jokes, I suppose.)

Next up? Yong vs. Shi Hoo. Ouch. Conditions are that one must raise the defeat flag before the hourglass runs out or both lose – which means Shi Wan wins. *I smack me some Shi Wan*

Dani hears of Yong being at the gambling pit but not why, and is incensed. She, like Eun Chae, goes after her annoying male ‘relative’.

Aww, Shi Hoo and Yong, both doing this for their father. *sigh* Woah! Shi Hoo took his shirt off! *fans self*


Anyway, not looking at his chest, nope. Shi Hoo is beating Yong pretty soundly, but it’s obvious his heart’s not in it. Yong refuses to give up, even when he’s going into the dizzy, concussed stage of beaten up. (*kills Shi Wan*)

As he gets beaten more and more, he starts to remember his past. Uh-oh, because secret assassins just set out for him. Dani and Eun Chae both burst in, and when Shi Hoo sees Dani, he stops beating Yong into the ground.

They communicate via eyepathy, and she finally understands that his life isn’t all roses.

Dani looks up and recognizes Yong as the other combatant. Yong stops beating Shi Hoo, now that Dani’s told him to stop, but Shi Hoo jumps up and starts KO-ing him instead. She shows that she does care for him (raising a kid like Yong for 13 years, I suppose you have to love him a little to be able to stand his shenanigans) by screaming for the both of them to stop (oh the irony of brother against brother). She is dragged out.

As Dani is dragged out screaming, Yong remembers his final glimpse of his real mother.

But Shi Hoo is drawing tons of blood now, and he begs Yong to surrender. Yong screams that he can’t, or his father’s hand will be cut off. Shi Hoo, being a sharp cookie, catches on. He asks if his opponent is really Yong, and then raises the defeat flag. There is also some male bonding, of the bloody fighting kind.

It’s morning now, and Yong anxiously awaits Shi Wan to give him the money. Eun Chae is waiting for Shi Hoo, I think, and Yong spares a few glances for her. But his main focus is on finding Shi Wan – who has run off, so Yong gives chase.

Eun Chae finds Shi Hoo inside. (Hey, if I had a caring sister like that, I wouldn’t push her away. Just saying. They’re pushing the angst real hard on this one.) Disappointed woman #2, aka Dani, asks him what he was doing in such a place, but he just walks off.

In his shoes, I guess I would feel pretty crappy too. Scratch that. I would find that bastard half-brother of mine and kill him very dead.

Yong rushes downhill to the city, but is felled by several really bad migraines. (The past, it is upon us!) His luck seems to have run out, for this is when the four horsemen of doom come by to kill him, once and for all. Poor Swe Dol.

If Yong doesn’t make it, then this gives a very good reason for Shi Hoo to hate him, and this time it’s not his fault.

Anyway, by some improbable twists involving a spear, a whip, a horse and a cliff, Yong ends up saving the life of his assassin. (Even with his memories re-integrating themselves, he still doesn’t remember being Lord Lee’s son.) His assassin spares him, but he is rendered unconscious in the duration. His father’s … in a bit of trouble, I’d say.

On the way home, Bong Soon finds the sack of money Yong dropped. After an amusing fight for the money that sends them both rolling, the father and daughter find Yong’s prone body (I’d say this was a bit too convenient, but I did want this to happen, so no mockery this time).

But they don’t give him the money, as he doesn’t recognize them. Damn.

Lord Wossface is convinced, once and for all, that Yong is dead, by the ponytail his subordinate gives him. He gets in trouble for telling Lord Wossface that Yong was innocent. I foresee another resignation in the future.

Yong runs to the jail, only to see that he’s too late. His father is being helped out by Dani and a friend of his.

But his hands are fine! After some frantic double checking, we see that Lord Byun Shik actually stopped the hand-chopping in the end. Instead, he opts for… a root canal? Swe Dol is now gap-toothed.

Byun Shik goes to inspect his new luxury hotel, only to find that Eun Chae has ordered a stop in construction. He is angry because her word is worth more than his. Lols, and so it should be. Shi Hoo hears of Eun Chae’s threats to stop working if her father chopped Swe Dol’s hand off.

On the way home, Yong has more headaches accompanied by his memories. (I take it we should violently beat more of our amnesiac people? Public might not take well to that.) He remembers meeting with the PM of the left, and rushes for his house. There, the older man tells him that his name is Lee Kyum and that his father was framed and killed.

Unfortunately, the other side has made moves to label him as a traitor, and Yong, hiding behind the screen, so like what he did that fateful night, recovers his memory.

He breaks down and does crazy dances through the streets. Luckily this is night, in Seoul, and no one notices. Screaming and crying, he finds his way back to his old house, still full of plum blossoms from spring. (Note to self, get OST asap and post it.)

At the tree where he once carved, “I will not forget”, he weeps for the father he never got to mourn, and for forgetting, and just for himself.

Just then, Eun Chae enters with her aunt, who plans to renovate the Lees’ house into her own home. She sees the plum tree and goes over to see it, not noticing Yong on the other side of the tree (*headdesks*). Very nice shot with all the flower petals flying around.

Yong goes home, and Dani comes at him with a broom. For once, he just takes the beating. Swe Dol comes out to stop her and tells him to shoo. So he does.

Meanwhile, Shi Hoo is still doing his ‘I am carved from rock’ thing, and infuriates Shi Wan.

Yong wanders the streets, angsting.



– Despite its moments of obvious insanity/WTF/woe-ness, the series is growing on me.

– Anyone else think it’s interesting that we’re starting the series with Eun Chan/Shi Hoo, Bong Soon/Iljimae but will almost certainly switch? Or is it boring for you?

– Interesting factoid: the actor for Shi Hoo is also named Shi Hoo.

– Yay for things looking up!


  1. irugnotmis
    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    wow fast recap! not that long either!

    I saw Middlesex in the bookstore last time and have been wanting to read it ever since but never got the chance. So it’s good you say?

    about the relationship switch, it’s most unfortunate. I like the pairing the way they are now. I think another gongja and unrequited love sprang misery will be too much for my little heart T_T

  2. sevenses
    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Why thank you! I’m not at the obsessed crazy level yet for this show, so, thankfully for you guys, the recaps are only around 2000-3000 words long.

    The show was billed as a Lee Jun Ki/Han Hyo Joo thing, which is why they’re both in the tags, but who knows? It could change. We just need to loosen Miss Eun Chae’s hold on Mary-Suedom.

    (Yes it is good! Though you should have relatively good tolerance for a lot of things before you try to open the book. You’ll see what I mean. Are you liberal enough in your views? *tries for an Evangelical pose and fails*)

  3. irugnotmis
    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    you mean the whole intersex issue?

  4. sevenses
    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    There’s more than that. But if you’re okay with the intersex, I think you’ll be fine with the others.

  5. irugnotmis
    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    cool. will definitely dig that book out when i’m done with finals. ah finals. =(

  6. sevenses
    Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Good luck with those!

  7. chickenchop
    Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 6:29 am

    Middlesex is a great book from the beginngin, but it drags a bit towards the end, i still prefer the other book by eugenides, “the virgin suicides”. work of genious, that one. Thanks for the recap, i am obsessed with seeing ljk overact in every single scene. it is, i guess, very gratifying for the viewer to see a twenty something year old guy crying “secretly” in loud sobs, like a 5 year old baby while the girlfriend watches from behind.

  8. Da
    Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    wow you’re super fast ! thanks so much for ep3-4 recaps ^^

    it seems junki is over-acting in some scenes but it’s so funny anyway~ maybe some people remember his character from Time between Dog and wolf that he’s a quiet cool guy so it’s weird to see him act in this role ^^”

    finally, they met !! Eunchae and Young haha … i love his expression when he smiled and didn’t want to let go of her hand ! His silly character is super cute Junki~

    This series is very cool to me~ i love it ^^

  9. sevenses
    Monday, June 2, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Lee Jun Ki’s overacting is a signature by now, I think I’m getting used to it…

    I wonder how things are going to go – they’re setting things up very much against him – all allies dead, etc. One thing you know is that the higher the odds stacked against him, the better things will turn out in the end for him.

  10. flyingcrispi
    Monday, June 9, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Sooo, it’s not HGD, but it’s getting half-good… I’m going to keep on watching for now…

    PS: Is Eun Chae blind and deaf? Not seeing LJK behind the tree was a bit too much…

  11. sevenses
    Monday, June 9, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Half-good is about right, though 5-6 will reach a new level of frustration to some people.

    Lols, it’s the Law of Director Knows Best. She’s not meant to find out until later… so she doesn’t find out… and this happens over and over again in 5 and 6. I still have some forehead bruising.

  12. flyingcrispi
    Monday, June 9, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Is that right… Well I hope it gets better!
    “(Koreans in the audience, tell me, were women allowed to ride horses with their legs split? I know the Chinese weren’t, unless it was a very very very special case.)”

    They probably weren’t, but I did horseback riding for 6 years, and I’m telling you that riding with both of your legs on the same side is just something uncomfortable and risky. Plus, the saddle wasn’t a sidesaddle, it didn’t have those sticks (dunno how they’re called in English) to put your legs on. So there was no way she would go on moutainy roads with the two legs on one side if she wanted to stay alive. Or the directors and crew didn’t give a flying crap about horseback ridding.

    “(I take it we should violently beat more of our amnesiac people? Public might not take well to that.)”

    They should put a warning like “don’t try this at home!” in the beginning. But seriously, wherever he goes, he gets beaten up, whoever he meets tries to kill or beat him. This guy is Buddy Israel!

    And I forgot to say: great recap, sevenses! It was very fun to read!

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