Joseon Gunman: Episode 12 Recap

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AHH! AHH! The truth is totally laid out for all to see. This is the ‘no more bullshit’ episode, and boy am I happy to watch it.

Yoon Kang catches Soo In touching his hair, and it’s a particularly intimate moment for the both of them. A part of me just wants him to tell her that he is the love of her life! But he doesn’t say anything, instead choosing to reluctantly let go of her hand. Does Soo In still think he’s her Yoon Kang? he asks. No, she replies. Gah!

The following morning Minister Jung heads out on his sedan with his bodyguards to the meeting. Out of nowhere comes Yoon Kang on his horse, charging at them from the other end of the street. Four bodyguards race forward to protect their master, but a bullet to their feet sends them flying in opposite directions. Yoon Kang then pulls out his freaking lasso and captures his prey, dragging him down the road far from the minister’s men. A well-timed horse cart comes in the way between Yoon Kang and the bodyguards. Thanks Sang Chu!

Yoon Kang brings Minister Jung to a remote shed and questions him. If the minister doesn’t speak then he for sure will be hurt by the cronies he thinks are his allies. Minister Jung knows that Leader Kim could cut him off at any moment so he gives up Leader Kim’s name as the one who masterminded Park Jin Han’s case. He doesn’t know the gunman who killed Park however, as Leader Kim is the only one who’s ever spoken to him.

So it’s fitting that Yoon Kang sends a ransom note to Leader Kim and has him send his father’s killer to retrieve Minister Jung. Leader Kim orders Won Shin to get rid of this “rogue” and to rescue the minister.

Yoon Kang has Minister Jung tied up to a tree, not unlike how his sister was tied up years ago. He sees the masked gunman come forth and aims his gun at him. Is this really Won Shin? A wide shot reveals that it’s not. Won Shin instead is leading his other gunmen to surround the area to capture Yoon Kang. He just sent a double to act as him.

Yoon Kang has the decoy drop his gun, but just as he lets down his guard a little bit, the decoy grabs his gun and runs for the forest. Yoon Kang is not worried, because he’s already set up traps of his own! The decoy is knocked out by some swatting bamboo, and Yoon Kang shoots the man down. He pulls the left arm’s sleeve to check, but there’s no scar. Aha!

At that point Won Shin appears from behind. Yoon Kang sees him too late and gets shot in the arm. Eeep! Unable to shoot or get up, Won Shin walks over and steps on his chest. And then he pulls the mask down.

ACK! Yoon Kang’s been revealed! Utterly shocked at recognizing him, Won Shin pulls open Yoon Kang’s shirt to look for a scar on his chest, but there is none. Now he knows for sure that Hanjo is his enemy and is probably Yoon Kang, but he doesn’t understand how ‘Park Yoon Kang’ survived without a scar.

Taking advantage of Won Shin’s confusion, Yoon Kang kicks him off and retrieves his gun. Won Shin’s men arrive at that moment to provide backup and they chase after Yoon Kang. They are only deterred when they run into Moon Il Do’s men. What is Moon Il Do doing there?!

Yoon Kang manages to ride away on his horse, but not before passing Il Do, who catches a glimpse of his unmasked face. His face just says it all.

Won Shin frees Minister Jung from the tree and reveals that he was the true gunman who killed Park Jin Han. That also means he was definitely not the one who appeared before Minister Jung earlier. The minister takes offense that with HIS life on the line Won Shin did not deem it important enough to make an appearance himself. Won Shin is only a hunting dog for Leader Kim, so he’s supposed to do what he was told. If he was supposed to rescue the minister, then he should have done everything he could to ensure that the minister’s life was safe.

Uh, correction: Leader Kim also said to capture Yoon Kang. But of course Won Shin never gets a chance to say that in front of the egotistical minister.

Minister Jung rails on and on about how important his life is that eventually Won Shin can’t take it anymore. He swivels around and shoots Minister Jung in the chest. HELL YEAH! I shouldn’t cheer for him but I can’t help it when Won Shin just gets hit unfairly at all sides because everyone just thinks they are superior to him. Their superiority is not warranted in any way even if he may be their hired gun.

And then, Won Shin shoots Minister Jung in the heart, ending his life. The police arrive and Won Shin and his men make their escape, leaving Moon Il Do with a dead minister in his hands.

Yoon Kang makes it back to his hideout and begins rudimentary surgery to take out the bullet from his arm. Ick. He finishes it successfully, but isn’t very good at bandaging it under his white shirt. When Soo In arrives to inform him that they need more gunpowder supplies, he can barely manage to hold it together, finally fainting from the wound.

When he comes to, Soo In has bandaged his wound and is helping his fever go down. Gosh, Soo In is just taking care of all the men in her life. She doesn’t ask where he got hurt because she knows he must have had to do something unavoidable, and promises to come back and help treat the wound. He doesn’t want to trouble her, but Soo In assures that she will make sure no one will ever know about the wound.

Meanwhile Won Shin must now face the consequences of his actions. He reports that he found Minister Jung dead at the scene, and the rogue gunman had lured them out with Jung’s body. Then the police arrived, so Won Shin was unable to confirm the identity of the gunman. I wonder why he lied about that bit, but I guess it’s partly because he wants to protect Hanjo if Hanjo/Yamamoto is to be his only way out of servitude. Leader Kim is displeased with Won Shin’s failure and dismisses him, even going so far as appointing a new head of the Gyeonggi merchant group. But Leader Kim is also not fooled, and knows that Won Shin’s “failures” are more like willful disobediences because he’s got something else in the works.

Won Shin returns home to look at his faithful gun… only to be caught by his daughter. Uh oh… He makes up the excuse that it’s his hunting gun but she’s smarter than that. Hye Won’s figures out that he’s the gunman causing all that ruckus in the capital and had nearly killed Interpreter Jung. She knows that he’s talented with the gun because he was a shooter during the war, and she’s matched the days of his “trips” to incidents around Joseon.

She wants to know who ordered him to kill her best friend’s father, and who ordered him to kill Park Jin Han. Dang, this girl is smart. Just based on the fact Yeon Ha was brought into her house she knows that her father was testing to see if Hanjo was Park Yoon Kang because he had killed Park Jin Han. Hye Won tells him to not touch Yoon Kang. If he hurts Yoon Kang, he will lose his beloved daughter as well. Ugh, love.

Won Shin promises he’ll tell her everything in the future, but she will have to trust him for now. He doesn’t care if he eventually gets killed as long as her future is safe and assured. Aww…

Feeling better due to Soo In’s care, Yoon Kang visits the field where he had run to that small rowboat to escape. As he thinks about it more carefully, he realizes that the angle in which he was shot could not have come from the soldiers’ positions. That means someone else had shot him, and that is why Won Shin had checked for a scar on his chest earlier.

When Sang Chu hears of this he wants to kidnap Won Shin and interrogate him. Ha, like that’s easy. Yoon Kang would prefer to tread carefully, just as Won Shin would prefer to keep the status quo until he partners with Yamamoto officially. Once his trade deals with the Japanese are sealed he will kill Yoon Kang.

Just then Hye Won arrives at Yoon Kang’s for a late evening drink. She’s here for some more truth telling! She knows that ‘Hanjo’ is really Yoon Kang because she had seen Yeon Ha at his house the other day. She’ll keep it a secret though, and in return she wants him to forget Soo In. Hye Won wants him for herself (and yes, she really did say that), and she wants to protect Soo In from harm. Conclusion: they should get together. Blegh. YuckReject her!!

The following day Won Shin heads to Min Young Ik’s home to congratulate him on his new position as head of the Gyeonggi merchants. He gifts him a box of gold ingots, then proceeds to ask for Min’s help in bringing VP Kim back into the palace. It sounds crazy, but Won Shin reasons that after his exile VP Kim won’t possibly do anything against Interpreter Jung now. VP Kim would be too indebted to the “grace of His Majesty” and will now actually be a loyal supporter of the enlightenment. On top of that, it would help ease the hearts of other nobles and diffuse the tension in the capital, and thus help encourage commerce once again. All of this would help Min in the long run.

Crazy idea, but not a bad one too.

Soo In and Jan Yi walk Ho Kyung out as he heads back to work after recovering from his wounds. Jan Yi teases the both of them for looking like husband and wife, which makes Ho Kyung really happy and Soo In really uncomfortable. She doesn’t like the thought of getting married to Ho Kyung, especially when she’s got Yoon Kang to think of. And what’s more worrisome to her is that there are wanted posters for the masked Yoon Kang.

She visits Yoon Kang to change his bandages and subtly warn him of the posters by suggesting he not do reckless things for a while. Yoon Kang thanks her for her care, and tells her to stop coming. He also will find another gunpowder technician soon so that she can stop working at the mines, as it is too dangerous for her to be there. Soo In protests, but finally relents when she realizes that Yoon Kang will not change his mind. If he means to replace her in the mines, then she will at least continue to treat him until the wound is completely healed. These two stubborn heads are just perfect for each other.

Soo In leaves his place only to bump into Hye Won. Awkward, especially when Hye Won’s words the other night still linger in the air. Instead of meeting with Yoon Kang she decides to chat with Soo In. Hye Won finds out that Soo In’s been treating a minor injury and that she’ll be replaced at the mines. Of course, any distance from Yoon Kang is good for her so Hye Won agrees with Yoon Kang’s assessment. She wants Soo In to go back to buying foreign inventions and hanging with Ho Kyung, encouraging her to marry the young scholar who saved Interpreter Jung’s life. After all gratefulness can turn into love, just as Hye Won had experienced with Yoon Kang. I hate how Hye Won keeps flaunting her crush on Yoon Kang in front of Soo In knowing full well that those two are the OTP.

Min floats the proposition of bringing VP Kim back by Emperor Gojong. The emperor is not pleased, and even though everyone urges him to bring back VP Kim for political manipulation, Gojong does not want the traitorous man back in his palace. Finally Interpreter Jung reveals that Ho Kyung, the man who saved his life, is actually VP Kim’s illegitimate son. At least for that loyal subject, could Gojong bring VP Kim back?

Gojong finally acquiesces, but when Interpreter Jung tells his family and Ho Kyung, the ladies protest. How could Jung agree to bring back the man who tried to kill him? Jung feels bad that Ho Kyung must listen to Soo In insult his father, but what can he do? VP Kim is a bad man.

While all this is happening, we finally revisit Jung Hoon, who’s been locked up in a jail cell. At least his favorite gisaeng Myung Wol has managed to come visit him in prison. It’s funny how Jung Hoon pretends to be a tragic hero in front of Myung Wol and then becomes a bumbling fool when Moon Il Do appears. It turns out that Yoon Kang had sent a message to Jung Hoon about meeting at Baek Mountain to help him with the “Minister Jung-issue.” Jung Hoon freaks out that he missed the meeting time but Moon Il Do says that he went instead. So that’s why he was there…

Moon is also no fool, and figures out that the sender of the letter is Yoon Kang. A glimpse of his face on horseback was enough to recognize the son of his beloved chief. Jung Hoon admits as much but still claims that he has no idea where Yoon Kang is hiding. What a good friend. The price of protecting his friend, however, is to stay a little longer in the smelly prison cell.

Sang Chu is the most amazing little sleuth who manages to get all the information for Yoon Kang in a timely manner. He had gone through the military records and discovered Won Shin’s past as a champion sniper. Won Shin was rewarded for his skill, and that’s what started his rise to becoming a head merchant. However Sang Chu’s investigating has not gone unnoticed by Sung Gil or Won Shin. Knowing that he’s now the target, Won Shin decides to scare Yoon Kang a little bit.

The following day the officers of the palace guard barge into Yoon Kang’s store because they received a tip that the wanted gunman is hiding there. One of the officers is pretty sharp and notices the likeness between the gunman’s eyes with Yoon Kang’s. He drags Yoon Kang away in front of Soo In (who was there to treat his wounds again), and on the way out they bump into Won Shin.

Won Shin swears on his word that this ‘Mr. Hanjo’ is not the masked gunman they are looking for. In fact, he was with ‘Mr. Hanjo’ the entire day that Minister Jung died. With that lie, the officers let go of Yoon Kang. But now, Won Shin and Yoon Kang are going to have a little talk.

Won Shin apologizes for the brusqueness of the palace guard as everyone’s on edge looking for the man who killed two nobles. Yoon Kang notes that he’s suddenly reminded of this ‘Park Yoon Kang’ Won Shin had mentioned before. In a conversation laced with double meanings, Yoon Kang warns Won Shin that he will expose the whole truth and seek vengeance for his father’s death.

Won Shin places his hand on Yoon Kang’s shoulder and says, “Mr. Yamamoto is coming soon, so please let’s focus on the business at hand.” And then he slides his arm down and gives a tight squeeze at where the bullet wound is. Ouch. Yoon Kang uses every effort to conceal his pained expression, and then replies, “I just sent a letter to Mr. Yamamoto to delay his trip, so you’re going to have to wait a little longer before he arrives.” Hah! And with that he puts his hand on Won Shin’s left arm where the sword scar is, and gives it a squeeze.

Sheesh these two!

Ho Kyung visits his father after he’s been reinstated back in the capital. It doesn’t look like VP Kim is remorseful for his actions as he still condemns his son for being in love with an interpreter’s daughter. He believes that Ho Kyung will give up his foolish dreams of changing the world and end up by his side. This begs two questions: 1) Does he really think he can still bring down Interpreter Jung after all that’s happened? And 2) Why does he care so much about his illegitimate son’s career when he’s got his own legitimate sons to follow in his footsteps?

Yoon Kang visits Yeon Ha at the monastery again to update her that everything will be over soon. Aww, the siblings will soon be living happily! Just then, Soo In arrives to visit as well and they all see each other. It’s kind of undeniable now that ‘Hanjo’ is Yoon Kang, especially since he was holding Yeon Ha’s hand.

Soo In admits that she knew about his secret identity for a long time, and that’s why she protected him during the trial earlier. He’s so angry that she would risk her life for him that he tells her to just stop everything she’s doing and forget about him. Her Park Yoon Kang is dead, and he’s forgotten all about her. Oh God, I can’t believe he’s doing what Hye Won wanted him to do!…

Yoon Kang pushes Soo In away even more by telling her to marry someone else. (Hint hint: Ho Kyung.) Devastated, Soo In asks, “Do you really mean it? Do you want me to live my life with someone else, and not regret what you just said?”

Yoon Kang: “Yes, I mean it.”

CRAP WHY’D YOU DO THAT YOON KANG?!

Heartbroken, Soo In walks away. Yoon Kang can’t hold back the tears now and he clutches his heart, in pain for not ever being able to stand in front of Soo In as her dear Yoon Kang.

YEAH YOU SUFFER YOON KANG, FOR YOUR NOBLE STUPIDITY!

And then finally, as if he heard the cries of all the fans worldwide (or just mine), he runs after Soo In and hugs her tightly.

YESSSS!

Comments:

Oh man, that last moment was a huge win for me emotionally. If the episode ended with him rejecting her and letting her leave, I would have slammed my fist on the table (like Yoon Kang likes to do) and complained about having to go through more weeks of separation angst. By being given this moment of gratification I feel that even if we get angst, at least we know they’ll solve any obstacle together. Or even if they have to be separated somehow, then at least both of them and I got the satisfaction of having this reunion for this moment. I hope they end up working together because Soo In is a really smart woman by her own right, and she isn’t going to hold Yoon Kang back in any way. It’s unfortunate that she might now become a target for his enemies, but we know that she’s tough. If she could withstand the torture for several days, I’m sure she has the mettle to deal with Won Shin.

I also feel like I’ve gotten a lot of emotional pay offs with this episode. Aside from Yoon Kang and Soo In, I also get the pay off from Won Shin finally standing up for himself against his oppressors. It was difficult watching him silently take in all the insults when he’s not exactly “failing” his “masters.” It felt so good to watch him kill Minister Jung because all the evil nobles are written to be so egotistical that they’re insufferable. I also really felt relieved when Hye Won confronted her father about the truth. Once I realized that she technically did not know her father was the gunman, I felt anxious for the day when she would find out. She’s not dumb, and it was only a matter of time when she’d know. Her finding out in this episode just added to the number of payoffs that happened here.

It’s really amazing how quick everyone figures things out. Enough hints are laid and there are no doubts that people see what they see. The characters don’t act like they “must have made a mistake” and therefore pretend that they don’t know anything for another episode or two. They are quick in putting two and two together. It helps the story overall because I still feel like there is more to be told in the world as the battle is not just between Yoon Kang and Won Shin. We need to clear Park Jin Han’s name and decisively remove Leader Kim from a position of power for all. I am glad that Moon Il Do now knows Yoon Kang is alive because if he knows where he is, he will most likely tell Gojong. And then Yoon Kang and the emperor can team up together, and my wishes will all come true.

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