Joseon Gunman: Episode 3 Recap

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I love it when set-up episodes (usually the first two to four) go by really quickly in order to get straight to the meat of the story and to devote more episodes to it. This episode was one that really focused on family both in a comedic and dramatic light, and I really like how the characters have grown in their personalities so soon. Plus – the snapshot at the end of the episode shows Lee Jun Ki looking oh-so-sharp in glasses and a suit!

We pick up with Won Shin aiming his gun at Soo In and Yoon Kang. Just because he has the book he’s not going to let them get away so easily. Suddenly an arrow comes whizzing right past his line of sight. He turns, and Park and his men have them surrounded. It’s one bullet against at least 20 arrows aimed at Won Shin. Park commands him to put down his gun, and he does. But he’s not going to go down so easily.

Won Shin runs for the cliff, and amidst the flying arrows he jumps into the rushing river below. Park isn’t going to have any of that escape nonsense; He orders his men to follow along the ridge and goes flying off the cliff as well. It doesn’t matter that his son is yelling at him to stop, Park is going to catch his man.

Park is not far behind Won Shin, and once on land Won Shin whirls around and aims his gun at Park. *Click* and no bullet comes out because the gun was waterlogged. They resume their chase, and finally meet face to face, gun to sword. The moment Park draws his sword Won Shin flicks a bullet into his rifle. Won Shin shoots Park’s arm; Park manages to slash Won Shin’s arm. But in the end, ’tis but a scratch and Won Shin manages to run away.

Thankfully Park does not bleed out or die from this gunshot wound as his men find him and help bandage him up. Soo In and Yoon Kang explain how they got involved, and Park asks how Soo In met Yoon Kang. Since Soo In is technically a boy here, they pretend they met at a gisaeng house. But Park is a lot sharper than he pretends to be. The moment they’re alone Park commends Soo In for being brave and advises her to go home and stay out of trouble. He also recommends she buy a new dress before actually going home.

Soo In and Yoon Kang ride home and she goes in first so as to arouse less suspicion. Her mother freaks out at her appearance and immediately grabs her to her room to cane her legs before Soo In can explain anything. Soo In gives her mother a Park-approved lie that she was taken by the Palace Guards for questioning because she was involved with Hyeon Am. Her mother is still concerned over her daughter’s chastity: “Then why do you have a new dress?!” Soo In: “I… Oh they spilled ink on me!” Another insistence that Park knows where she was convinces her doubtful mother.

Meanwhile Park must report the sad news to Emperor Gojong that Oh Kyung is now dead too. Fired up, Gojong gives Park more soldiers at his disposal to get to the bottom of this case. Even Park swears upon his life that he will find the gunman assassin.

That assassin has also just given Hyeon Am’s book to Kim Jwa Young, who then burns it before others can read his incendiary ideas on “equality for all.” Kim Jwa Young also introduces Won Shin to Second Vice Premier Kim Byung Jae.

I’m going to start calling Kim Jwa Young “Leader Kim” as he is the leader of the Conservative Party, and Kim Byung Jae “VP Kim.”

So Leader Kim learns about Park’s troubling moves through VP Kim, and he then tells Won Shin that it’s more imperative than ever to get rid of Park, who even knows that there’s a mole within his men based on Oh Kyung’s death. Won Shin conspires with the first gunman on ways to set up a trap for Park and lead him away from his men. So the first gunman decides to do some recon around Park’s family and his background. As for Won Shin, he returns home to his daughter who sounds like she has no idea her father was involved with Oh Kyung’s death at Mapo Port. It’s curious how she acts like she knows what her father does but at the same time does not suspect that her father’s involved. She must just be a cold and calculating woman who learned from her father, but is still shielded from the truth.

Lest we despair on the Enlightenment movement, we learn that some students of the dead scholars are still around. They’re not as big of a target as they’re just students, but the loudest of them all, Kim Ho Kyung (Han Joo Wan), has just returned from Japan after hearing the deaths of his mentors. It looks like he might stir up some trouble for the conservatives.

Back at home Soo In daydreams of how Yoon Kang protected her from Won Shin. Now that she’s alive and the fear has passed, she’s left with thinking about how gallant he was. She wanders outside and catches Yoon Kang looking around her gardens. He wanted to know if she was okay after the whole ordeal of losing the book, and she encourages him to stick around her garden to look at the random scholarly inventions that she has (like a globe of the world). She thanks him for what he’s done for her and promises to return the favor.

Their sweet moment of bonding is interrupted when a guest arrives: Ho Kyung! As a former student of Hyeon Am’s, he also boarded in her house and used to stay in Yoon Kang’s room. She is so excited to see and catch up with him that it hilariously makes Yoon Kang jealous. He is so miffed at how close Ho Kyung and Soo In are!

The following morning Ho Kyung heads out early to meet with his friends and fellow scholars. When Jan Yi, Soo In’s handmaiden, comes calling for “Young Master,” Yoon Kang thinks she’s looking for Ho Kyung. That’s how miffed he was at losing Soo In’s attention! So when Jan Yi clarifies that Soo In is actually looking for him, his face is literally glowing.

Soo In has just figured out what she wants to do for him to pay him back after saving her life. Tonight is supposed to be a total lunar eclipse, so in the complete darkness she’ll light up some rudimentary fireworks for him. He’s surprised she’s knowledgable in dealing with gunpowder. Soo In is no ordinary woman of her time! She suggests they bring his sister but Yoon Kang lies that his sister is sick so he could get this private date with Soo In. Too. Cute.

Yoon Kang gets specially dressed up for this, wearing his brightest and nicest outfit. He goes to meet Soo In in front of the house, and Yeon Ha is there too! She’s looking mighty grumpy that her brother tried to keep her out of this little outing, and he quickly tries to appease her by saying that he’s so happy to be with his healthy, never-caught-a-cold sister. Heh! The only little damper to this otherwise-happy outing is the fact that they’re being followed by the first gunman.

Meanwhile, Park is busy showing pictures of the second gunman to people in the city. They discover that his name is Jong Tae, a bullying merchant under the Gyeonggi merchant group. However, one person who knows him swears that Jong Tae died five years ago when he accidentally killed someone in a fight and was beaten to death on the streets as punishment. Park immediately goes to Won Shin’s house since he is the head of the Gyeonggi merchants. Won Shin acknowledges that he’s heard of Jong Tae and that he’s dead. But Park, shrewd as ever, points out that someone could have helped Jong Tae and saved him from the brink of death. Though the merchant class has strict rules on helping a criminal, if someone did help him then that person just bought Jong Tae’s undying loyalty.

Yoon Kang, Soo In, Yeon Ha, and Jan Yi all head out to Hwagye Mountain to visit a temple and get a glimpse of Seoul from up high. As they have to climb some tricky rocks Yoon Kang extends a hand to Soo In. She steps up with his help and they end up a little too close to each other. Their sudden attraction is not lost on Jan Yi and Yeon Ha, who giggle over this blooming relationship. After a visit to the temple, they relax by a stream and Soo In tells Yoon Kang of her dream to travel and go to places beyond the city gates. Women have a hard time going anywhere by themselves, and she wishes to break free from societal constraints. It’s a lofty and admirable dream, and it renders Yoon Kang speechless because he’s never thought of his own dreams.

They finally reach an open field in the forest to light up some fireworks. Soo In gestures Yoon Kang to come close to see how she will light the fireworks, and she strikes a match right at his face. Startled, he jumps back, and Jan Yi and Yeon Ha laugh at him for how silly and outdated he seems. Soo In lights the firework and the wick burns down to the gunpowder. But then nothing happens! All of her efforts in looking cool has just been wasted!

The eclipse has already begun and Soo In tries to figure out a way to get the fireworks to work. Tired and aware that her brother needs some alone time with Soo In, Yeon Ha suggests that she and Jan Yi head back to the temple to wait for them. Yoon Kang then realizes that the fireworks may not be working because the top layer of gunpowder is too damp. They remove the top layer and try lighting it again. This time it works and the both of them delight in the sight of the fireworks.

In the glow of the sparks Yoon Kang leans in and kisses Soo In on the cheek. AWWWWW. This is too cute.

The moment is ruined when Jan Yi comes running up to them saying that she lost Yeon Ha. The young girl had run ahead to the temple, but then by the time Jan Yi got there she was nowhere to be found and no one had seen her. They all start running into the forest looking for her and Yoon Kang sees the owl necklace he made for her stuck in some branches. Fearing her kidnapping, Yoon Kang sends the two ladies home while he continues looking for her. Soo In is not one to remain inactive and she goes to Hye Won asking for some men to help find Yeon Ha. However Hye Won points out that it’s too late to do anything or find anyone. Instead she promises to give Soo In some men to lead the search at first light.

Little do they know, Won Shin already has Yeon Ha and is ready to use her as a hostage.

The following morning Yoon Kang still has not been able to find her. Park gets a ransom note for Yeon Ha bidding him to head over to the meeting place alone. Yoon Kang arrives in his father’s office to regretfully tell him that Yeon Ha is gone, but Park already knows. He slaps his son across the face and scolds him for not being there to protect his sister when they have assassins coming to hunt them down. Soo In overhears this and she feels guilty, knowing that it’s both her and Yoon Kang’s fault for not having paid more attention to Yeon Ha while they were out enjoying each other’s company. Park states that he will deal with this by himself, which immediately brings up bad memories for Yoon Kang. The last time Park had to “deal with something,” his wife died. She was taken away by escaped slaves whom Park was hunting down, and when Park didn’t heed their warning to stop chasing them, they killed her.

Yoon Kang is afraid the same thing will happen to Yeon Ha but his father refuses to listen and locks him up instead to prevent him from meddling. Yoon Kang begs his guard to let him out because he was a sitting duck when his mother was taken away, and this time wants to do something about saving his sister. He has blamed his father ever since for his mother’s death, and doesn’t want to blame Park for his sister’s. His guard finally lets him out. Park had refused to bring any backup for this instance and the guard fears the worst. If Yoon Kang could go ahead and catch up to Park on horse, his father might survive this.

Another poor person comes up to Park as he heads to the meeting place to inform him that the location has been changed to Baek Mountain. He bumps into his son as he doubles back in the other direction and tries to send Yoon Kang away. But Yoon Kang refuses to sit back and watch his sister die the same his mother did. He learned sword fighting to protect his sister, so he wants to go.

Finally Park relents and the two ride furiously to the new meeting location, where not one but two gunmen are awaiting Park in order to kill him before he reaches his daughter.

Comments:

I really thought this episode would end with Park and Yeon Ha dying, but I guess it’ll be saved for the next episode. It was good to see what happened to Mrs. Park and see why Park and Yoon Kang have such a bitter relationship with each other. At the same time Yoon Kang and his sister get along quite famously and it’s really cute to see how close these two siblings are. I’m a sucker for happy family moments and seeing Yoon Kang and Yeon Ha’s interactions during the fireworks date was adorable.

I also felt that the progression of feelings from Soo In and Yoon Kang was at the right pace. Though it was a little fast the two of them had an experience that only heightened the tension between the two of them and inexplicably revealed their true natures. As much as a cad Yoon Kang can act like he still has a protective instinct around the women in his life. The two of them are unafraid to show their feelings for each other, which is great because I don’t want to see Ho Kyung messing up this OTP here.

I’m not looking forward to seeing Park die (I already gasped in fear when he got shot in the arm), but I’m so looking forward to see Yoon Kang become the worldly man that is equal to Soo In’s new and “radical” ideas.

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