I have to admit that I thought this was going to be a boring episode because I was afraid of that “mid-series lull,” but thankfully that did not happen. More intrigue happens and some more characters discover truths. I’m more excited for the upcoming episodes now!
We skip over Soo In’s visit at Yoon Kang’s to see him walk her home. Uh – does he know she knows? Jan Yi meets Soo In at the door as she was worried about her lady’s health, and with just one look at Mr. Hanjo she knows it’s Yoon Kang. It’s hilarious because she has denied Yoon Kang’s existence all this time and has run away before she could ever get a good look at him. Now that she has, and has heard him speak, she knows for a fact that it’s Yoon Kang. And that his hair has gotten uglier. Hahaha! I love how no one is ever fooled by Yoon Kang’s disguise, which I guess is pathetic on his part for not having hidden himself well.
As Yoon Kang leaves, he spots Jung Hoon not-so-surreptitiously keeping an eye out on Soo In’s house. Caught, he admits that a gunman has been targeting Interpreter Jung so he’s keeping watch until Jung goes to Nambyul Palace to meet with Qing representatives the next day. Jung, Ho Kyung, and Min Young Ik are to make a deal with China to import 500 guns and build up a modern army while sending talented young men over to learn and train in making the weapons. If this deal goes through, the emperor will be more empowered to fight against the conservatives’ control over the military and power in politics. Later on, Yoon Kang wonders if Soo In knows about his identity because of her comments earlier. He checks to see if the compass is in his armoire. It’s there. Flashback to the visit and we see that Soo In snuck it back inside while he went to get tea. He thinks his secret is safe, but she’s really just helping him protect it.
The following day Won Shin and his men head out for “business” while really heading out to Nambyul Palace to assassinate Interpreter Jung. Moon Il Do and his men have also situated themselves in the area, keeping a look out for any suspicious gunmen. And a disguised Yoon Kang also keeps an eye from afar, waiting for the gunmen to appear.
Won Shin spots Jung Hoon on the roof from afar and makes his move. Without telling us so much as to what he’ll do, we know he’s going to hurt Jung Hoon to clear the way for the murder. Luckily Yoon Kang notices that Jung Hoon is gone from his post and quickly rushes over to check on him. Now there are two gunmen situated on two rooftops, aiming at Interpreter Jung. But before Won Shin can do anything, Yoon Kang’s already got his gun trained on his back. He tells him to put the gun down, and the two end up in a tussle. In a beautiful overhead shot the two of them roll off the roof and crash on some crates below. The two of them battle for Yoon Kang’s gun… and then a gunshot rings through the air. Sung Gil had kept his aim on Interpreter Jung and Ho Kyung spotted him from a distance. When Sung Gil fired, he jumped to protect Jung, taking the bullet on his left soldier.
Chaos ensues, and we’re back to the fight between Yoon Kang and Won Shin. Thanks to his youth and fighting prowess he quickly gains an upper hand over Won Shin, and then rips off Won Shin’s sleeve. There’s a sword scar on the left arm that his father had warned him about! Now that he knows he’s got his father’s killer, Yoon Kang reaches to unmask the man. Won Shin stops his hand from getting any closer and then his men arrive to save the day, shooting at Yoon Kang to let Won Shin get away in time.
Emperor Gojong is furious when he hears of what happened to Jung and Ho Kyung. How much of a mess are his opponents willing to make? He sends his own royal physician to tend to Ho Kyung, though nothing is better for the young scholar than having Soo In by his side tending to him. He is so in love with her, and even says as much when he visits his father in the outskirts of the city. Word of the gunmen’s assassination attempt reaches Yeon Ha’s ears as well, who worries that her brother could be in danger.
Meanwhile Won Shin is hurting (physically and emotionally) from the tussle he had with Yoon Kang. It doesn’t help that his daughter has heard of the gunmen’s failed assassination attempt on Interpreter Jung and is suspicious of his injuries, nor does it help that Leader Kim throws an ink blot at his head for his failure. Leader Kim doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and threatens to remove Won Shin from his position. The need to team up with Yamamoto is even more urgent now, and luckily Sang Chu is advising Yoon Kang to do the same and team up with Won Shin to find his father’s killer.
On top of that, Mr. Yamamoto is planning to make a visit to Korea soon. Yoon Kang better get his act together business-wise or else he’ll be sent back to Japan.
Hye Won arrives to apologize to Yoon Kang on behalf of her father. Her sincerity is enough to “move” Yoon Kang into giving her another chance with the mining business, though I’m sure the pressure to make a deal is more of the driving force behind his decision. He visits Won Shin later that night and is surprised to see the merchant moving in pain with a suspicious bruise on his cheek. Won Shin brushes his injuries away with an explanation of having fallen from a horse, but Yoon Kang is not fooled. He now suspects that Won Shin himself may be his father’s killer. Sang Chu later adds that an entire middle section of Won Shin’s background has been ripped out, so they’re going to have to find it now to confirm their suspicions.
Hilariously though, after all the chaos, Je Mi gives Sang Chu some rice balls with high quality ginseng so that he has energy to battle other gunmen and not cause a ruckus like he did in Nambyul Palace. Haha – I love these two!
Yeon Ha sneaks in the following day to Yoon Kang’s store and thankfully no one catches her. She only wanted to confirm that her brother was alive and unhurt, and then Yoon Kang offers to take her back to the monastery to make sure she gets there safely. As soon as they cross the front courtyard, Hye Won and Won Shin enter through the gate. EEEEK!
Hye Won catches a glimpse of Yeon Ha’s face but Yeon Ha turns away and walks right back through the gate they had passed. That’s when Won Shin sees her back. Oh God, they totally recognize her… Hye Won had wanted to discuss a matter about middlemen, but asks who the young girl is first. Yoon Kang explains that she was just a potential store clerk but he decided not to hire her. He guides Hye Won somewhere else, but Won Shin heads straight for where Yeon Ha went. EEEEK!
She’s only hiding by the side of one of the houses, so she doesn’t have much where else to go. Suddenly a hand pulls her to safety just as Won Shin rounds the corner. Yoon Kang catches him snooping around, and Won Shin admits that he thought he saw the slave girl he sent to Lord Song. “You’re a bit obsessed with that girl,” he comments, and adds that if it were the same girl he’d surely have remembered her. Good point, and they go back to discussing business.
So who is Yeon Ha’s savior? It’s Soo In! Who knows why she’s snooping around Yoon Kang’s home but the two are so happy to see each other again.
Soo In reveals that she knows about Hanjo/Yoon Kang, but she will pretend to not know until he reveals himself to her. She takes Yeon Ha back to the monastery, and just then Yoon Kang comes running up the stairs, having just finished his meeting. Soo In quickly hides so that he doesn’t know of her involvement, and she listens as the siblings talk about the future. Once again Yoon Kang refuses to tell Soo In about his identity, even though he dreams of doing it every day. But he doesn’t want to put her in danger. Everything will only be resolved once their father’s name has been cleared.
Bad news comes to Won Shin when he hears that all of the middlemen decided to deal with the Songdo merchant group instead. It turns out Leader Kim has been pulling his weight around and making Won Shin weaker as punishment for his failures. Won Shin takes the matter into his own hands by visiting ex-VP Kim in his humble house. He wants to start working for ex-VP Kim because he knows that Leader Kim will soon discard him. In return he’ll find a way to bring Kim back into the capital. Kim won’t bite, thinking that Won Shin is still Leader Kim’s man through and through. But Won Shin promises to get him back into the city first and then from there, ex-VP Kim can make his decision about their alliance.
In the dead of the night, we get the return of a character we did not expect to see again: Son Taek Soo! He’s returned to the safety of his home but hasn’t realized that his wife has turned him over to the police already. She fears more for her life than his. Jung Hoon takes him to Moon Il Do to be interrogated, but Taek Soo won’t say a word. He knows that he could easily get killed by some spy within the police force, so he will only talk when he’s been transferred to a secure location. When Yoon Kang hears that Taek Soo was caught, he wants to meet with him and hear, face to face, why the man betrayed his father. The conservatives are likewise afraid that Taek Soo will reveal everything but Leader Kim is not worried, knowing that Won Shin will take care of the matter.
Jung Hoon has Taek Soo transferred to another location and then has one of the officers guard him inside the shack. The guard is none other than Yoon Kang, and once alone he reveals himself to be the gunman who was in his house so many nights ago. Threatening him with a pistol he demands to know who told him to fabricate Park Jin Han’s case. Taek Soo finally breaks, and says that he reported to the Court of Justice that evening. There, the Chief Justice told him exactly what to say while another man wrote up the fake letter that was used as damning evidence against Park Jin Han. And the whole time, Minister Jung Won Ho watched and made sure everything was set to bring down Park Jin Han.
But why Taek Soo of all people to make the report? Before Taek Soo can explain any further a bullet hits him in the back and he falls down dead. It’s one of Won Shin’s gunmen – who looks a lot like Sung Gil – and in an instant he’s gone. Jung Hoon gets blamed for the failure to protect Son Taek Soo and Moon Il Do suspects that Jung Hoon could be a spy for the gunmen. Especially since Jung Hoon let a stranger dress up as a police officer and be in the same room as Taek Soo. Gah, if only Jung Hoon could say that it was Yoon Kang!
The following day Sang Chu finds information on Minister Jung’s plans for a meeting outside his home. It would be Yoon Kang’s chance to catch him there. Soo In interrupts his planning with a visit and they talk a bit over the accident. She is grateful for Ho Kyung’s actions, and Yoon Kang awkwardly asks, “Are you just… grateful to him?” KEKEKEKE. Do I sense jealousy here?
But more problems come up! This time the gunpowder technician has gotten hurt in an explosion at the mines. His injuries will set back progress for some time, which is not good since Won Shin and Yoon Kang have been getting everyone working overtime to get things ready for Yamamoto’s arrival. Soo In volunteers herself for the task; She knows enough of the basics and can simply ask the technician for help if needed. Yoon Kang doesn’t want her to do it, but Won Shin is desperate enough to let her take on the task.
Yoon Kang tells her to be careful, afraid that she might get hurt like the technician did. It’s so sweet that he cares for her well-being so much. That evening, after she checks the gunpowder storage, she sees Je Mi bringing tea for Yoon Kang. Soo In offers to take it in instead since Je Mi is so busy. She finds Yoon Kang asleep on his desk.
Unable to help herself, she reaches forward and touches his hair. Hanjo is so much like her Yoon Kang… She leaves, and Yoon Kang grabs her hand.
DUN DUN DUN. Cue romantic music?
The angles of these shots! Makes me love the action sequences in this drama even more.
I have nothing more to say because episode 12 is coming up next!