Joseon Gunman: Episode 2 Recap

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Another fast paced, exciting episode. What I appreciate about Joseon Gunman right now is that it doesn’t pull any punches. It’s fast-paced, and the threat is made real and immediate to us. And even with all the action we get enough comedy and enough romance that makes Soo In and Yoon Kang’s relationship progress quite swiftly and quite believably.

As of last night’s episode, we’ve got two guns in two different places going off. Which hits its mark!?

Soo In’s gun goes off the moment Yoon Kang strikes down his sword. At that same moment, another bullet is shot right for Oh Kyung. That bullet misses Oh Kyung, as he is pulled down to safety by Park. However, for Soo In her bullet hits its mark and cleanly breaks Yoon Kang’s blade into two.

Oh Kyung makes a run for it while Park chases down the second gunman. The second gunman manages to escape by horse, but he’s no match for Park’s mastery of running on the roofs and precise blade. The sword slices right across the second gunman’s back and he is immediately arrested.

As for Yoon Kang, he is frozen in genuine fear. All that big talk about the sword being a better match to a gun is out the window. He cannot believe that the small bullet can break his sword, and Soo In cannot believe that she nearly killed Yoon Kang. Had his sword not struck the bullet at that instant, it would have missed hit him. Soo In freaks out in terror and starts crying, and Yoon Kang just lets her go her way, realizing that she can’t possibly be the gunman or an accomplice. Soo In arrives at the rendezvous point and sees the bullet casing on the ground. She fears that Oh Kyung is now dead.

Yoon Kang continues to puzzle over Soo In while out with his friend, Han Jung Hoon (who happens to be the laziest inspector I’ve ever seen). He tries to figure out if a scholar had stayed the night at the Jung residence and decides to call Soo In out for a talk. At this point Soo In’s home and in her usual clothes, but she worries that he might have recognized her.

And sure enough, with just a glance at her face underneath a scholar’s hat, Yoon Kang does recognize her. He teases her about it, that cheeky bastard, and taunts her with reporting to the police. Soo In insists that she’s not the scholar with the gun that he met on the roads, and then hurries home to go hide the gun! He catches her trying to hide the gun, and she crumbles at his threats of going to the police and begs him not to reveal her escapades outside the estate in men’s clothing. Hee! I love how she’s so scared of Yoon Kang, and how he toys with her to get what he wants. Oh you two. Stop flirting.

Meanwhile, Park questions the second gunman without using the usual means of torture. Instead of whipping him for answers, he tells the second gunman to think of his family, and offers him protection from his “boss.” It’s actually a solid offer, and one that the gunman takes seriously. However, the conservative noblemen have other plans for him. A mole within the palace guard manages to poison the gunman with ice, making his food pass the silver spoon test but once it melts it kills him swiftly. Park is thus unable to learn that the identity of the gunman’s boss is Won Shin.

Kim Jwa Young then orders Won Shin to take care of the “Oh Kyung situation” and to get him Hyeon Am’s book. It appears that Won Shin is just a pawn in the conservatives’ plans when he asks why that book is so important; In a way, Won Shin is just following orders to maintain an old world order, but doesn’t fully understand the significance of what he’s doing and why he must retrieve a book. Kim Jwa Young understands that a book can change the world after having seen the Bible convert so many to Catholicism. Ideas live on through books, and that’s dangerous.

Posters are soon put up around the city of the second gunman, warning citizens that he was just one of a network of gunmen. Jung Hoon assures Yoon Kang that his father is safe and unharmed, even though he went after a gunman with only a sword. Yoon Kang shrugs it off: “I didn’t ask you to tell me how he was.” Jung Hoon: “I’m sure you didn’t have the courage to ask me.” This. This is what makes Yoon Kang’s relationship with his father so intriguing and great.

Jung Hoon vows to investigate further and find out where the other gunmen are. He wanders off to another district in the city and tries to spy on Choi Won Shin’s house. Hye Won and her guards catch him as they arrive on horseback and he tries to walk off as if he were just a mere passerby. But Hye Won knows better and corners him on a street. If he’s an inspector, what’s he doing around her house and outside of his jurisdiction? With just her hand she has all of the guards draw their swords. Jung Hoon fakes bravado even though his fear clearly shows through his face and actions. It’s enough for Hye Won and she has her guards sheath their swords, and then bids him good night. If he’s looking for dangerous goods, she suggests he not suspect only her and her father all the time.

I love how icy Hye Won is. But it just gives all the more reason to be more suspicious of her.

That same evening, Soo In greets Yoon Kang when he returns home late. She showers him with compliments about his not-so-ugly-looks (even though it makes her want to punch him) to ensure that he won’t mention anything about her cross-dressing. Yoon Kang promises to keep the secret under one condition: to tell him why she dresses up as a man. Soo In hesitates, but just as she’s about to tell him he stops her. She can tell him tomorrow morning with some tea. Hah! Soo In knows she’s getting manipulated, but if she wants him to keep his mouth shut she has to do it!

What’s even funnier is that her maid has no sympathy and scolds her for getting caught hiding the gun in the first place! Hehehehe. Sassy maid.

The following morning, she arrives in front of his room with tea and crackers but Yoon Kang insists on another pot because he doesn’t like the tea she made! Hah! Soo In grudgingly has to bring him new tea, but just when she does he’s already headed out the door because he has an “appointment” to make! He’s totally playing with her now!

Just as he leaves, a young boy comes up to him and hands over a letter to him. He addresses Yoon Kang as ‘my lady’ because he was instructed to hand the letter to someone who lived in the Jung residence and was dressed up as a man. Hahaha – I love this little jab at how feminine Lee Jun Ki looks. Yoon Kang opens the letter to find that it’s from Oh Kyung. Soo In quickly grabs the letter. Oh Kyung is sailing away from Mapo Port at four in the afternoon that day, running for his life. He hopes that Soo In can meet him and hand over Hyeon Am’s book.

Soo In then tells Yoon Kang about how she was Hyeon Am’s pupil for three years when he lived in the Jung Residence before he died. He entrusted her with his life’s work, and she was sent to deliver it to Oh Kyung after she read it. Moved, Yoon Kang offers to take her to Mapo Port by horseback, since it’s too far for her to walk to. And, if Oh Kyung is a target and is killed, it’ll be too dangerous for her to be alone.

Yoon Kang gets a horse from Jung Hoon and drops a hint about Oh Kyung’s presence in Mapo Port so that his friend can get a chance at a reward for nabbing another gunman. Jung Hoon quickly hurries to report to Park, but unfortunately this intel is overheard by the mole, who then informs Won Shin.

Soo In has no idea how to get on a horse, let alone ride it, so Yoon Kang lifts her on top of the saddle by holding her waist. Skinship! Sort of. The closeness of riding together and his arms around her to hold the reins certainly make her uncomfortable. They ride for a bit and then take a short break in the meadows. Yoon Kang reads Hyeon Am’s book and finds it weird that the scholar called for equality for all people. Yoon Kang still believes that the current hierarchy cannot be touched. It’s set in stone.

Hmmm… interesting how he isn’t an advocate for the new world order.

His thoughts anger and offend Soo In, and she takes the book and the horse for herself. After watching how Yoon Kang rides the horse for a while she thinks she’s got a handle on it. She struggles to get on, and then flicks the reins… and then falls right out into Yoon Kang’s arms. Hahaha. Though he doesn’t agree with Hyeon Am or her ideals, he won’t stop helping her get to her destination. Sweetly enough, he also promises to teach her how to ride a horse when they get back.

Yoon Kang and Soo In arrive at Mapo Port around the same time that Park and his guards arrive. The guards are all disguised musketmen and archers, casing the port for Oh Kyung or any suspicious characters. Soo In spots Oh Kyung first and she quickly runs and hands over the book to him. The hand-off is complete, and Oh Kyung promises to keep the book safe.

At that moment a disguised Won Shin whips around and aims his rifle right at Oh Kyung’s heart. He does not miss. Park notices his son at the port, and his guards quickly spring to action and fire their multiple arrows and muskets at Won Shin. They are so close to getting him, but not accurate enough. Yoon Kang pulls Soo In away from the dead Oh Kyung, and she grabs the book and they run. Now that she has the book they’re both going to be targets, and their horse has been killed so they don’t have a means to escape.

Seeing no escape from the constant fire, Won Shin jumps into the sea and swims towards the shore after Yoon Kang and Soo In. The two run into the mountains and once deep enough, shed their outer clothing so they won’t be so noticeable in the dark. Neither of them have weapons: she, too scared to wield a gun again and he, without an extra sword. They resort to running even more, barely keeping a good distance away from Won Shin and the palace guards who are tracking all three of them.

Yoon Kang and Soo In seek refuge in an abandoned house, and in this momentary respite Soo In takes out a compass to figure out where they are. She thanks Yoon Kang for saving her life, and he suggests they stay the night. There is no way they can get out of the forested mountain in the dark, and it might be more dangerous to wander with Won Shin on the loose. Park’s guards think similarly as they’re losing Won Shin’s trail in the dark night, so they set up camp as well.

Unable to really sleep, Soo In hears Won Shin’s creeping presence near the house. She quickly wakes up Yoon Kang and they just barely manage to hide themselves under the floor boards. Except, there’s a lot of mice down there. Soo In lets out a small cry and Won Shin aims down at the floor boards. He misses them by one inch.

The mice scurry out from under the floors and Won Shin thinks that the cry he heard was just the mice. He leaves the house, and Soo In and Yoon Kang head out to find another place to hide. It’s there that Soo In finally breaks down from having seen a man die right in front of her very eyes.

The next morning Soo In wakes up to find that she’s sleeping very close to Yoon Kang. When he stirs, she pretends to be asleep, leaving him with the awkward task of extricating himself from this situation. They find a stream to wash up in and Yoon Kang really notices how pretty she is. He’s not even kidding!

Oh stop flirting you two.

Just then, Yoon Kang notices Won Shin down the stream a little further, also taking a break. They try to make their escape quietly but he notices them. Running sequence again as Yoon Kang and Soo In make their way through the forest… and find themselves at the edge of a cliff. Won Shin catches up to them and demands the book, aiming the rifle at him. Yoon Kang encourages Soo In to give the book, as they have no other way out of this.

Reluctantly Soo In gives it up, and for a moment it seems like they’ll be spared. But Won Shin raises his rifle again and Yoon Kang quickly shields Soo In.

Comments:

Super action packed second episode because now there are no more scholars left to kill other than Yoon Kang and Soo In, who are the next closest to the late Hyeon Am. I like how the two of them bonded over a secret and an experience because it makes them believably closer to each other. A near death experience where neither wishes death upon the other is bound to make them closer, but I also like how Yoon Kang is still his mischievous self. Instead of falling head over heels for Soo In, he finds her something closer to a friend and wants to tease her as a way of getting closer. Clearly this is a sign that he likes likes her, but I like that he doesn’t really admit to that yet. He’s a bit of a playboy, and he’s got his whole “I’m so entitled” act going. As for Soo In, I love how she’s not fooled by him and yet trusts him because he has proven to her so far that he can keep his word. He might be a jerk sometimes but he’s a man of his word.

I’m also really glad to see Yoo Oh Sung in a villain role more worthy of him than the one in Faith. Here he is so much more badass, more calculating, more cruel, and more of an expert at something tangible than just having the power to freeze things. Him and Jeon Hye Bin would make a formidable pair because she is so very calculating and cruel like he is. In this episode it’s even more clear just how involved she is in the conservatives’ plans to bar the Enlightenment from coming to Joseon. She and Soo In are both really smart women, but Soo In’s downfall may be that she trusts easily. It’s pretty clear that Hye Won is not a good friend to have when you’re Soo In.

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