We’re moving smoothly on to the next phase of the series, which intensifies the drama and transitions us to the next plot line. In this episode, an investigation is under way that will bring Yoon Kang closer to Emperor Gojong while putting Soo In’s life at risk.
The bullet whizzes right over Yoon Kang and Yeon Ha’s heads and prompts him to retaliate. Since he never has to reload, Yoon Kang can easily shoot at several at his enemies with barely a pause. He helps Yeon Ha run out of the estate and then tries to fend off several of the gunmen himself.
One of the gunmen catches sight of Yeon Ha outside and chases her down until she trips and falls. Thank goodness Yoon Kang manages to get away from the other gunmen in time to reach his horse and shoot down the lone gunman. He then picks up Yeon Ha and swings her over his horse, and they escape to safety.
They find refuge in a monastery where Sang Chu’s sister is actually a monk there. She provides the safe haven for Yeon Ha, who will have to stay there for a few days until Yoon Kang can come back and pick her up, since Yoon Kang had “saved” her brother at some point. Interesting bit of backstory for Sang Chu, but not relevant at the moment.
Yeon Ha is so happy to see her brother again that she has no more wishes and desires in the world. It’s a sweet reunion full of tears, relief, sadness for the past, and most of all happiness.
Yoon Kang and Sang Chu then return to their store wearing the laborers’ travel clothing just as Won Shin arrives with Sung Gil for a late night visit. Of course Won Shin did it to check up on the ‘Mr. Hanjo’ and asks where he’d been traveling in such clothing. Yoon Kang replies that he met a grain dealer in Anseong (which Won Shin has Sung Gil go verify after the visit), so of course he hasn’t been home and did not know that the Minister of Justice has just been shot in his home, or that a slave girl had been taken away in the middle of the chaos.
Won Shin posits the idea that Yoon Kang is very much alive, which suggests that Mr. Hanjo is the same gunman that night. However he does not go so far as to outright accusing him because he still doesn’t have evidence, so they both agree to talk again in the morning.
The emperor is astonished to learn that the Minister of Justice has been killed, and the conservative party call for him to investigate into the matter. His supporters go along with the plan, so Gojong allows for the Court of Justice to look into the matter. However privately he has Moon Il Do to look into the matter. Il Do already recognizes that this mysterious gunman is different from the others, so he’s going to have to act quickly to catch this man before the Court of Justice gets to him. What’s unfortunate for them is that they were in the middle of investigating Lord Song’s ties to the conservative party and now have to cross him off from the list of suspects.
Meanwhile, Leader Kim is having a fit at Won Shin for having used gunmen at Lord Song’s house when he specifically told him not to. VP Kim just silently sits and observes in the corner, like the younger sibling that’s currently not getting in trouble with dad, as Leader Kim goes off on how Won Shin made a move without his approval. “I’m your master!” he screeches, and Won Shin gives a noticeable grimace as bad memories seem to resurface in his mind. Whoa. Did we all–including VP Kim–just witness Leader Kim outing Won Shin as a former slave?!
Il Do commences his investigation of the bodies at Lord Song’s estate while Jung Hoon questions the other slaves and witnesses. One woman denies knowing where Yeon Ha could have gone since several other slaves took the opportunity in the chaos to flee as well. A lot of the slaves there all say they heard gunshots but didn’t see who fired them. They all thought a fire had started so they ran away. But all the buildings in the estate look fine, so it doesn’t seem likely that a fire could have started. So what could have caused all that smoke to appear?
Only one person comes to Jung Hoon’s mind who would have the answer: Soo In. And she is currently convincing her father to let her learn the art of gunpowder with the technician Yoon Tae Ho. Her father relents even though it’s dangerous because he won’t get in the way of his daughter’s pursuit of knowledge, and both know that they’ll have to keep this a secret from her mother. So cute. Jung Hoon asks Soo In if she happens to know if there are any explosives that can just create smoke, and she remembers Yoon Kang’s request. She asks to be taken to the scene of the crime to just double check.
In the storage house where all the gifts for Lord Song’s birthday lie, she sees the mixture that she created for Yoon Kang. But how did it end up here? Just then a slave arrives to tell Jung Hoon that she knows where Yeon Ha might have gone, but he drags her away before she can say more in front of Soo In. She makes the decision to not tell Jung Hoon that it’s the same explosive she could make, so he’ll have to find a gunpowder technician to confirm it for sure.
Yoon Kang is already trying to come up with a plan to counteract Won Shin’s suspicions when Soo In arrives to meet the gunpowder expert. True to his word he takes her to her new teacher, and she asks what happened to the smoke bomb she made for him. All he says is, “I used it for a good cause” and refuses to divulge any more.
At first the gunpowder technician doesn’t want to take Soo In on as an apprentice because he is superstitious; A woman in the mines could cause bad luck and stop the gold from being produced properly! Ah, patriarchy. Seeing Soo In’s discomfort Yoon Kang comes to her defense and says that his beliefs are completely unfounded. He’s the boss, and he’s ordering Yoon Tae Ho to take Soo In on as his pupil. Aw. She later thanks him for coming to her defense and swears that she won’t be put off by Tae Ho’s gruff manner. She will learn until she surpasses the men in their expertise. You go girl!
Emperor Gojong then visits the Executive Department’s building where he watches Ho Kyung present a case for a new army equipped with guns from foreign countries. This will help them beef up their national security as well as buy them time to develop their own guns. Gojong interrupts the meeting to express his pleasure over the plans and asks which family Ho Kyung is from. Oooh, that’s a touchy subject. Ho Kyung tries to brush off the subject by saying that he’s an illegitimate son but Gojong presses further on who his father is. Finally Interpreter Jung steps in to say that it’s a sensitive subject, and Ho Kyung begs for forgiveness.
Thankfully Gojong doesn’t take too much offense or find his question so serious. He applauds Ho Kyung and points out that in this new department, birth right truly does not matter.
But once the meeting is done VP Kim drags Ho Kyung outside to ask why the emperor visited his department. Ho Kyung asks, “Are you curious about the policies we were making, or whether he asked who my father is?” Hah! Of course it’s the latter, and Ho Kyung assures that he did not reveal VP Kim was his father. It wouldn’t be advantageous for himself to reveal that anyways. VP Kim also warns Ho Kyung not to meddle too much in politics because talk of new guns and a new army could cause more trouble for the country if China and Japan see Korea arming up.
Soo In visits Hye Won later in the day to tell her about her new lessons with Tae Ho, and they end up sharing information about the death of Lord Song. Hye Won learns that a slave girl was taken from the house, the very same one that was at her house originally. She’s shocked because she knows that it’s Yeon Ha (and Soo In still doesn’t), so she wonders if the mysterious gunman who came to her home the other day was there for her as well. When she questions Sung Gil about the matter, he makes up the excuse that he didn’t know the mysterious gunman was coming and only instinctively took a gun to protect her and Won Shin. Hye Won seems to buy the excuse, but Sung Gil is afraid she suspects something between her father and the mysterious gunman. And Won Shin would not stand for Hye Won knowing anything about his sideline activities.
The following day Hye Won shows Yoon Kang around the storage buildings in their estate. Most hold goods, but one building stores all the documents of all the members of the Gyeonggi Merchant Group that tracks who they are and proves that they’re affiliated with the group. Well that’s very interesting for Yoon Kang and he makes note of its location.
He is also perceptive enough to see that Hye Won is a little down. She reveals that she’s worried about the slave girl that left her home to join Lord Song’s, and doesn’t understand why the mysterious gunman would take her away. She wishes that Yeon Ha had stayed at her home, which is a nice sentiment but Yoon Kang points out that there’s no reason to be so worried over a slave’s life. Hye Won takes offense. A slave’s life is not one to be taken so lightly just because she’s a slave, and Hye Won reveals that she too was a slave until she ran away.
It’s a totally new side to Hye Won that Yoon Kang did not expect, and she’s a bit embarrassed to have revealed her history to him. But he kindly says that she should feel proud instead to have created her own destiny and risen from the very bottom into a respectable young woman. Aww. I know Yoon Kang is being really nice but he’s making Hye Won fall in love with him even more. Stop that!
Even Won Shin doesn’t seem to happy that Yoon Kang is cheering up his daughter, especially when he learns that no grain dealer in Anseong met with Yoon Kang / Mr. Hanjo. This clears everything up for Won Shin, and he instructs Sung Gil to kill Yoon Kang at his signal when they go for a walk in the forest.
When Sang Chu hears that Yoon Kang’s been invited for some drinks and a walk with Won Shin, he can tell immediately that it’s a trap. But Yoon Kang has to go to clear himself of suspicion. After some drinks they take a short walk to the nearby forest, where Won Shin has Sung Gil set up in the trees to shoot the moment he takes out his fan and walks away from Yoon Kang.
The two enemies discuss the mysterious gunman, and according to “rumors he heard at the market” Yoon Kang asks if Won Shin is affiliated with the other gunmen who were outside Lord Song’s house that night. Won Shin dismisses that rumor as merely a rumor, and then asks again where Yoon Kang was that night. This time Won Shin is outright accusing him of being the gunman, but Yoon Kang refuses to answer where he really was that night, only saying that he was somewhere Kanemaru would disapprove. Hahaha!
Taking his non-answer as confirmation that Mr. Hanjo equals Yoon Kang, Won Shin takes out his fan and steps away. In the distance, Sung Gil presses against the trigger… but suddenly one of Won Shin’s workers appears with some bad news. A mysterious gunman broke into their document storage house!
Won Shin’s eyes widen. Mr. Hanjo is standing before him and the mysterious gunman showed up!? We see that the mysterious gunman clumsily fired the gun into the roof and then grabbed the document concerning Won Shin. And, it was actually Sang Chu. Hah! So this was Yoon Kang and Sang Chu’s plan all along!
Before Won Shin can apologize profusely Yoon Kang tells him that all deals are cut off now. If they can’t trust each other and he is to be treated like a criminal then how can they work together? Yoon Kang’s also said this so many times that I don’t know if he’s serious or not, but it looks like Yoon Kang is this time. After all, nothing is tying him down to Won Shin anymore.
It’s a huge blow to Won Shin as not only was he “proven” wrong in his suspicions, but the document about himself is gone and he lost his profitable business deal with the Japanese. He nearly kills one of his workers over this but Hye Won’s timely appearance helps put a stop to this. And then another messenger comes with more bad news: Yoon Kang wants his investment refunded in three days’ time and all the gunpowder to be returned to him.
Amidst all this, what’s hilarious is that Je Mi catches a disguised Sang Chu coming back from Won Shin’s house and thinks it’s so cool that Sang Chu is the mysterious gunman. She promises to keep it a secret, thinking that Yoon Kang doesn’t know his assistant is a masked vigilante. Haha!
Soo In curries favor with Tae Ho by bringing him deliciously cooked food and some tea that’s good for his throat. By calling him ‘Teacher,’ he even slowly warms up to her. However before her lessons can even begin the royal guards arrive to take Tae Ho away. They are arresting him in suspicion that he may have killed Lord Song because the suspect used gunpowder, and he’s an expert who could have handled it.
Dismayed, Soo In hurries to Hye Won’s house where she arrives just in time to hear Hye Won say that the slave that was taken was Yeon Ha. Oh. Crap. Hye Won tries to explain but Soo In won’t hear it. She’s too shocked for words that her friend knew where Yeon Ha was the entire time, and she doesn’t want to talk to her now. Instead, Soo In leaves to process all the information she just learned. Putting all the clues together it seems that Mr. Hanjo really is Yoon Kang.
She hurries over to Yoon Kang’s home but he’s not around. Je Mi takes her to the sitting room to wait, but once the maid is gone Soo In sneaks up to Yoon Kang’s private quarters. There she opens his armoire and goes through each drawer until she finally finds the proof that she needs: the broken compass. It’s the compass that she gave Yoon Kang, and the very same that must have saved his life. She knows!!!!
Yoon Kang finally returns home and finds Soo In waiting for him in the sitting room. With one look at him all the feelings come flooding back and she can barely bring herself to say anything. Suddenly the doors open and the royal guards enter. Soo In is under arrest for having stolen gunpowder, so she is now connected to the mysterious gunman that could have killed Lord Song. Yoon Kang tries to stop the guards from taking her away but two guards hold him back.
Soo In is going to court.
I loved the last scene a lot. The forcible separation of the two makes great use of slow-mo because Yoon Kang and Soo In were just reunited, but are now separated physically. It may seem cheesy and the metaphor totally obvious, but it was still a beautifully staged scene.
Similarly I loved the scene where Leader Kim yells at Won Shin. The shadows on everyone’s faces hides just enough of their emotions so you can tell what they’re thinking without them being so obvious about it. And Leader Kim is seriously a deranged old man. I love that Choi Jong Won plays him with such a whimsical ferociousness that it actually freaks me out. It reminds me of all those villains who seemed a little too addled in the head to be taken seriously, but should be taken seriously. Example: Yoon Je Moon in King 2 Hearts. And then you have someone like Yoo Oh Sung, who plays another kind of villain who is really evil and yet still has a bit of humanity left to make you not really hate him. Example: Kim Sang Joong in City Hunter.
Looking really forward to episode 10!