Korean Movie Stories

Faith: Episode 19

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EPISODE 19 RECAP

 

After informing Eun-soo that the envoy wants to take her to Yuan, Young gets busy packing up her things and urging her to hurry before Gongmin issues a royal decree. At least if they escape before that, they’re not technically disobeying orders. It’s sweet, the familiar way he packs her belongings and ties her satchel for her, sort of like a wife fixing her husband’s necktie, like this intimacy is normal and comfortable for them.

Young ushers her out first, saying that he’ll speak to the king and then meet her. He won’t be asking permission, but rather informing him of his plans to leave. It’s a tricky situation because the envoy will be appealing to the king, and Young might find himself in the position of being ordered to grab Eun-soo on the envoy’s behalf. He hopes to avoid this.

She urges him to hurry back, and Young sends her off with Dae-man as guard.

 

Young encounters Noguk on his way to see the king, and she tells him that Gongmin has been wanting and waiting to see Young, worried that Young is avoiding him because he’s upset over losing his Woodalchi. He’d told her that Young was bound to be distraught over the men he valued so dear. Aw, that is just like the insecure king, to worry that Young hates him now and holds him responsible, and you can see that Young understands that as he assures Noguk that that’s not the case.

The Yuan envoy sends a letter to the king, and it basically summons Gongmin to a state assembly which the envoy has called together. Man, that’s brash of him, waltzing into another nation and ordering around its statesmen as though they’re his own. Granted we all know Yuan pulls the strings here, but it’s still pretty bold and Gongmin is outraged: “He orders me around?”

Gongmin joins the gathering and sits to hear Yuan’s message, delivered by envoy Sohn Yoo. It’s not a friendly one, and states that Yuan has observed a parade of incompetent Goryeo kings and no longer will trust any. Thus Yuan will dethrone him and basically take over Goryeo, whose sovereignty it will no longer recognize.

Gongmin, naturally, refuses to accept this. Sohn Yoo warns of war, asking whether he will be able to win, knowing clearly how unlikely that is. Gongmin answers, “There are things that must be fought for, even if the battle cannot be won.”

Sohn Yoo praises his silver tongue, but cautions him to think of his people before his impressive words. Gongmin retorts, “On the brink of losing their country, what citizens would fear a thing like war?”

Sohn Yoo makes one last appeal, this time revealing that despite his position with the Yuan court, he is a Goryeo man: “I came running here looking for one last way to keep Goryeo a sovereign nation.” Ooh. Interesting. Were you testing him? In any case, I’m suddenly very interested in Mr. Envoy.

 

He adds that they want to make Deok-heung king, with the condition: He’ll be the last Goryeo king, to abolish the nation himself. Gongmin supposes Deok-heung has consented to the plan.

Sohn Yoo says that there is one way around this, and outlines the steps. First, reinstate the Yuan seal. Second, capture the culprit who has clouded the king’s mind—the woman doctor who has bewitched the royals and his general—and punish her by Gongmin’s own hand. Ohhhh. So it’s a witch-hunt/scapegoat you want. If Gongmin complies, the envoy will report to Yuan that the evil has been dispensed with and order restored.

Well I admit I like this turn a lot better; after watching every Goryeo politico panting after Eun-soo as a trophy to collect, now she’s seeing the flipside of her appeal.

Gongmin argues that she’s blameless, but Sohn Yoo says that rumors have spread all the way to Yuan: This is the best way.

Young is not allowed entry until the meeting is over, and he is announced as everyone leaves. Sohn Yoo hears his name and turns back in interest. He watches as Young is told the king will not see him. Several Woodalchi who were present in the meeting look at him and shake their heads at him uneasily.

He’s packing his chest when Choong-seok reports to him in his room, and he puffs up in this adorable way when Young commends him for being the true leader of Woodalchi over the past seven years. (He doesn’t even try for modesty, saying, “Well, some might say that’s true.”) The conversation carries the unmistakable ring of a goodbye as Young gives him some last advice about preventing trouble instead of reacting to it, and to protect Noguk no matter what, and to take care.

It’s the last one that tips Choong-seok off that something’s up. Young closes the box of his personal possessions and tells him to dispose of it.

 

Dae-man tells Eun-soo his story of living on his own as a child in the mountains, and how he met Young at the tender age of thirteen. Eun-soo gasps and laughs in all the right places as he says he’d spent five days running away, then being caught, then biting Young and running away again until he finally fell asleep. When he awoke, Young was cooking up a fish for him and the rest was history. I guess literally.

They tense up at the approach of a bearded stranger in black, however, and thankfully he doesn’t engage them. Dae-man says he walks without sound, and he doesn’t want to fight someone like him.

Young waits by impatiently and asks his aunt why the king won’t see him. She delivers a twofold message: Officially the king has agreed to hand Eun-soo over to the Yuan envoy. Unofficially, Gongmin wants Young to run far away with Eun-soo. Thus he cannot see Young, to keep up the story that Young left before receiving the king’s order, keeping him free of treason accusations. I’m… pretty sure we’ve used this plot turn in early episodes, just sayin’.

 

He wonders why Yuan wants the doctor so badly—what do they suppose she can do? He’s still in the dark about their true intentions, and instead of telling him the truth Lady Choi just asks if he can’t entrust Eun-soo’s trip to the portal to his Suribang men, and remain at the palace. She cautions that the next twenty days (till heaven’s door opens) could undo everything he’s worked for, and be unable to ever return.

Young smiles in this bittersweet way, telling his aunt that he has spent the past seven years here and yet he can remember nothing very special about it.

As he turns to go, Lady Choi tells him to be careful, revealing the true reason for the envoy’s visit: the doctor’s public execution.

He asks what happens to the king if Eun-soo disappears, but then decides he doesn’t want to know: “I cannot remain here in any case. If I leave like this, I have no right to return. What good does it do someone like me to know of the king’s business?”

 

But for all the subterfuge in play, our Goryeo court isn’t fooling the Yuan envoy, who meets with Deok-heung. Young had guessed that these two men have been working together, and it looks like that’s not far from the mark. Sohn Yoo is aware that the king agreed to his terms knowing the doctor would be out of reach, and that she ran away with Choi Young as her escort.

Deok-heung calls Young a useless man. How could the king’s lead bodyguard leave so easily? Did the king put his trust in such an unworthy man? He wants to “end this” right away, without further delays. Sohn Yoo says that pushing the king too hard could lead to war, which Deok-heung dismisses as unlikely given his nephew’s temperament.

Sohn Yoo states that he is a bureaucrat, whose job is to find efficient solutions while paying the smallest price. To which, PFFFFFT. In punishing Eun-soo, the one small sacrifice is worth the bigger picture.

The runaways pause for a break, and Young looks at the welt on Eun-soo’s arm from the poison and asks if it’s easily curable in heaven. She assures him that one exam and shot is all it’ll take.

He sits next to her against a tree, and then says in this deadpan, “What are you doing?” *Pats shoulder.* Ha, you might as well just grunt, “Me Tarzan, you Jane.”

He comments that she’s not much of a walker, and she agrees since this place requires it a lot more than heaven does. He asks if there were things she liked in this world, and she thinks it over. “Is there nothing?” he prods. You just know there’s a five-year-old Choi Young somewhere inside, going, “Me, ooh! Pick me!”

Eun-soo thinks of something, and mimics his gruff speech pattern: “What? What’s this? What’re you doing?” Heh, well now at least we know she likedthe Tarzan-Jane attitude.

 

Gongmin convenes a meeting with his senior officials, beginning the preparations for war. He appoints one of his guards to head up the army, and the man balks, recommending Choi Young for the job instead—the men fought with him before and will follow him. Gongmin overrules him, and the man accepts the order with some trepidation.

Senior statesman Lee Je-hyun is wary of launching right into war, but Gongmin says what he really wants to do is show Yuan that if they want to claim Goryeo land, they will have to spill their blood for it. He asks, “What do you think, General?” and the question hangs in the air for this prolonged beat before he realizes that Young is not here. It’s a heavy moment for everybody in the room.

 

Deok-heung informs Ki Chul of the runaway situation, and as we might suspect, Ki Chul does not take this well. He advances with an ominous tread and a crazy(-er than usual) gleam in his eye, and Deok-heung backs away nervously saying that he just found out himself.

Ki Chul demands to know how HIS doctor ran away with Young if Deok-heung didn’t let her go, his hand swirling with icy mist. Deok-heung gulps and says he has a secret plan for recovering the doctor, and I’m not sure if that’s true or if he’s just pulling things out of his ass to save himself. In any case, Ki Chul isn’t having it and he growls, “I’m sick of you and your secret plans.” That makes two of us.

He raises his ki-charged hand to deliver his wrath… and then collapses, losing control of it. Eum-ja rushes to his side, but can’t lay a hand on him without freezing himself. Hwasuin delivers some emergency firehand to counter the effects, and Ki Chul is taken to his restorative bath. I’m thinking this was probably not the scene you wanted snakey snake to witness, but you know, imma let you lie in that bed you made.

Ki Chul is frustrated that he isn’t able to search for Eun-soo himself (given his house arrest, and probably also his health), and orders his minion to send out the search parties with an enormous reward for the man who brings him the doctor. Oh, and yeah, they’ll probably have to kill Choi Young in the process. You say that like it’s so easy—like it’s a thing that youhaven’t failed to do a dozen times already.

Young ushers Eun-soo into an inn that evening, keeping a watchful eye on the other guests. Hm, there’s a bearded man in black wearing a hat who seems familiar. I love that he’s got his grim face on amid the room full of roughnecks, and she immediately proposes they have a drink, putting on her best aegyo-face to do it.

One of the roughnecks leaves his table to take a better look at the Wanted posters he’s carrying, confirming that they’re the ones. She chatters on about the drinks but he warns her to duck on his say-so. She immediately complies, in time for him to knock down the men attacking him.

Let’s pretend this was a cool fight scene, because it makes it funnier that Eun-soo’s first response post-melee is to raise her head, see the fallen bodies, and take another swig of makgulli. Gotta love a girl who knows how to appreciate her beverages.

 

Young takes a look at the Wanted drawings, and she complains, “This is what I look like? How awful!” She examines Young’s features against his drawing, while he takes note of two men at a nearby table: our be-hatted mystery warriors.

At the palace, Noguk finds Gongmin still at work at his desk. His first words are a sheepish, “I was just about to retire.” Noguk stomps up to his desk wearing a stern face and silently packs up his things, while he says meekly, “Honest. I really was just about to get up.” Haha. This is hilarious. And cute—they’re firmly in Old Married territory.

 

Noguk asks him directly, “What is today’s problem?” He has so many new ones arising every day, that she’ll just hear today’s: “I’ll hear it, we will think it over together, and we will stay up all night together.” Aw.

He tells her that he needs to find a way to keep Goryeo sovereign. Even with the current demands to give up the doc and use the Yuan seal, neither are in his possession so he must prepare to fight. But he doesn’t know if he can do that, and wonders how he would feel to be a citizen receiving the order to fight for his country. He asks Noguk what she would do if she were that commoner’s wife.

She thinks it over, then starts to answer… and gags. Omo. Pregnancy already?

 

He calls for help in a panic, and Lady Choi ushers her out. How cute, he’s all awash in fear and his people just give him a knowing look. Jang Bin checks Noguk over and confirms it, which elicits the cutest silent cheer from Lady Choi.

Gongmin is given the good news, and he goes to his wife on the brink of tears. He pulls her in for an embrace and thanks her.

 

In the middle of the night, Eun-soo wakes up in her empty room. She finds Young outside and joins him, noting that he keeps looking in the direction of the palace. She guesses he’s worrying about the king, and offers up a compromise: He can take her as far as the village near the portal, then return to the palace.

He answers that he can’t return: “When a warrior hesitates while wielding his sword, he dies. A warrior who hesitates cannot protect the king.”

She asks if he’s ever lived a day in his life doing things he wanted to do, and not merely acting on the orders or requests of others. He replies, “Yesterday. And today.”

Then cutting this moment short, Young bolts up in alarm and shoves Eun-soo back toward the inn. A dagger flies into the wall next to them. He follows her inside and instructs her to stay put—this fight will likely spill blood.

Outside are the two mystery travelers, and Young joins them in a sword fight while Eun-soo watches from the window. One falls, and she breathes a sigh of relief. What happened to the other one?

I’m guessing he escaped, because next thing we know it’s morning. At Suribang, the various members convene over breakfast to share their latest findings. Deok-heung is in cahoots with envoy Sohn Yoo, and Ki Chul’s minion was seen buying loads of medicine—again.

 

Their intel makes its way to Gongmin, who realizes that Sohn Yoo knew that the seal and the doctor were gone before even making his proposal. He’s also lent a room to Deok-heung, so his loyalties are clear. He makes the request for Suribang to find out where Deok-heung and Ki Chul stand, and whether they’ve had a rift.

Sohn Yoo returns under the guise of helping with the whole independence plot. Gongmin asks why he’s using such “dizzying tactics” when he was sent here to abolish the Goryeo nation. He tells him to stick to his orders, and not muddle things up with demands of seals and doctors.

Sohn Yoo says that he is here to make a choice between two candidates: one who prepares for war in the name of Goryeo, and one who prizes his own safety above all else. Gongmin sneers, “Then what shall I do? To win your favor, shall I dance for you?”

 

Sohn Yoo reiterates his demands: seal, doctor. He will return tomorrow, but cannot wait above three days.

The envoy leaves the meeting formulating his own strategy: Find the doctor and kill her bodyguard. Isn’t it amazing how everybody has the same plan all the time? Only think if they pooled their brain trust instead of playing a five-way game of chess all the time. With invisible pieces. And separate rules.

Sohn Yoo tells his warrior that Choi Young is renowned for his skills but will be hampered by his charge, and therefore should pose no problem to him. The warrior dons his hat—hm, the return of Mr. Mustache. Well he’s no Kinpei, but I suppose we are to fear him.

The envoy sends a letter to Noguk directly, and it seems the news is dire. She hides the note out of sight from Lady Choi.

 

Back on the road, Eun-soo flits around Young, pestering him to let her teach him something. She’s determined to repay him for all the practical skills he’d taught her, but he dodges her like she’s a pesky gnat and ignores her urging.

Finally she YANKS his cloak and insists he listen to her “magic words” from heaven, which he can use and teach his Woodalchi. She makes a fist and pumps it: “Aja!” Haha.

She describes it as a chant of encouragement and pesters him to give it a try. Young stares at her with a stone face, then turns away.

She chases him down and shows him her way of making a promise: the pinky-swear. “If you promise this way, you don’t have to risk your life.” That is a good point, given how their first promise played out.

Then the hi-five, which she instructs him to teach the king. Ha.

At the next village, there’s a heavy armed presence, but they don’t appear to be hunting for them. Young identifies them as newly drafted soldiers, and Eun-soo tells him to have a chat and find her at the apothecary shop.

She waits while the healer treats a child, and from a dark corner, Black Hat watches.

Young finds men lining up to enlist in the army; they’re excited to raise their lowly status in becoming soldiers, on top of being fed and clothed. Since he’s been out of the loop he doesn’t know of the impending war with Yuan, and asks an officer if trouble has arisen at the border. But the officer treats him like a lowly nobody, and tempers flare as other soldiers are called over.

Young spots a strange man walking off, though, and disengages from the scene. He sees three more strange lurkers, armed with bows, and takes off running.

Eun-soo consults with the healer, asking about her poison spot. He says there’s no cure, but acupuncture can alleviate the pain. She asks if she can learn from him, “because there’s somebody I don’t want to show that I’m in pain.”

 

Black Hat arrives outside the apothecary—taking down another ruffian who calls dibs on Eun-soo—just as Young comes running up to find her safe. He grabs her wrist and leads her away, smiling in relief.

Noguk helps Gongmin dress (cutely, he insists on doing it himself, not wanting to tax the pregnant wife) and tells him she’s off to pray for the king and baby’s well-being. He offers to go with her, even though she says she’s fine, adding that double the prayer is double the effectiveness. Noguk advises that he tend to his work first: “Others will laugh at you.” Cut to: Lady Choi, suppressing a laugh behind him. Ha, cute.

But then he leaves, and Noguk’s smile turns worried. Ack, you’re not going to pray, are you? That damn letter.

Gongmin visits Ki Chul at home, to the latter’s surprise, and says there is something for them to give and take from each other. He asks for the Yuan seal.

Deok-heung hears of the visit and immediately knows that the seal is the reason. He also figures that Ki Chul will hand it over, “because he is half-mad already. There’s only one thing he sees, and he won’t care about the seal.”

Ki Chul asks what he will get in return. Gongmin offers to lift his house arrest—wasn’t there a place Ki Chul wanted to go? Ah, carrot effectively dangled. Ki Chul practically twitches in eagerness and agrees right away. It’s so immediate that even Gongmin’s a bit incredulous, and not in a good way.

Ki Chul asks, “Your Majesty, please don’t mock me.” It’s actually quite affecting, his request, because Ki Chul in this state is really rather pathetic. Although my sympathy is quick to recede at his ensuing speech: “There is nothing I have not had. I have always gotten everything I have wanted. If I had wanted, I would have been king. A Ki Dynasty—what would have been difficult about that? However, I have always had a blackened hole in my heart.” One might argue that the blackened hole was his heart…

 

“It would not fill up,” he continues. “Then I met the woman from heaven. She said there is a world other than this one. Whether that is paradise or hell, I do not care. I must go there.”

Gongmin asks if going will fill that space in his heart. He replies, “Won’t it?” There’s that crazy gleam again, and Gongmin looks amazed at the extent of his… delusion? Fanaticism? Crazeballs?

Deok-heung declares that he really didn’t want to go this far, but people keep pushing him to do it, so proceed he must. Oh, please. That’s a lame attempt at justifying a round of Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself? if ever there was one.

 

Noguk heads to the temple with a minimal entourage, saying she wants to go quietly. Lady Choi stations Noguk’s guards at the perimeter, while inside, Noguk slips away out of view. It’s enough time to allow her to slip into a small room for the rendezvous. She speaks to her hidden contact in her native tongue, and asks for the message from her mother.

Still nobody appears. Then the doors seal off, shutting her inside.

In the woods, Young and Eun-soo hurry onward, having picked up pursuers. They’re the archers from the town and Young leaves Eun-soo hidden among the rocks, then heads back to face them.

Eun-soo’s hair ornament comes loose, and the metal ball goes rolling into a crack. She feels around to retrieve it… and notices something else there in the hole.

 

She feels around and retrieves a small plastic container, one that resembles a film case. It’s obviously been there for a while, having picked up dirt and moss, and she opens it to find a note.

They’re pages from her diary. She reads, but what does it say? What does it say?

The archers keep Young in their sights, bows at the ready. But Young easily sneaks behind one and cuts him down, then takes down his two friends just as quickly.

He returns to find Eun-soo subdued and shaking. He asks what’s wrong, but she hides the note out of view. I’m not sure whether it’s all the letter’s doing or if her poison is kicking in, but she looks weak and pained, and asks him to hold her.

 

As he holds her close, a flashback (flash-forward?) shows Future Eun-soo (future in her lifespan, but from the past era) arriving at this spot to plant the note. Eun-soo looks over Young’s shoulder, almost as though she can see her other self there just several feet away.

The note reads:

“The one to read the letter I hide here should be you, Eun-soo, shouldn’t it? And if you’re reading this, it means that he’s with you. Remember every moment of that day. The honest eyes he looks at you with, his warm chest. Yes, Eun-soo, I am the future you.”

COMMENTS

This show sure loves to deliver thundering truths one step after we’ve already figured them out, doesn’t it? I don’t think this big revelation comes as much of a surprise to anybody, though I’m certainly happy to have it now rather than never. It’s just that WE’VE known for ages, so when the bomb drops in the laps of our main characters, it doesn’t hit us with the same impact. It would be nice if they were concurrent bombings, is all I’m saying.

So this Eun-soo (the one whose timeline we’re following) ends up going back in time and becoming Hwata, or perhaps just picking up that reputation. I can see the legend of Hwata existing pre-Eun-soo, and her arrival being conflated with the Hwata myth. Or, it’s also possible she originated that legend.

In any case, Eun-soo must go back to the future at some point (to pick up the diary and the medical implements), then jump back in time. Since her diary is believed to be at least a hundred years old, let’s go with that. The big question is: Why did she go back? Was she trying to return to Young’s side and got the wrong chimney? Or did she know it would shoot her back before his lifetime, but figured she had to pre-date her other self?

And now that she knows she’s shaped history, is she trapped in this loop? Because if she fails to repeat the cycle of her future self (um, I’m going to call her Older Eun-soo, since she isn’t always in the chronological future but will have aged more), she disrupts the pattern for her past self, doesn’t she? (Older Eun-soo has to leave the diary for Younger Eun-soo to read it and save Young’s life, for instance, thus shaping Goryeo history.)

She’s literally got her hands tied by history/the future/her time loop. Can she ever stop, call time out, or quit the game entirely? Will that, like, cause time to collapse? Or is everything going to happen regardless of her will, because she’ll be tugged along by either Fate, the universe, or the flow of time? I’m confused. Expecto patronum!

As for the other characters, it’s nice to get a different adversary in our Yuan envoy, given that our current villains are sort of losing their pizzazz. Ki Chul is actually getting more interesting (in my opinion) with his crumbling sanity and weakening physical condition, but as a foe he’s not putting up much of a fight. And Deok-heung is the very definition of a Magician Wielding His Bag of Trick. Rinse, repeat.

I was happy that Noguk and Gongmin got their moment of happiness, although it’s too bad we know it can’t last. I just want them to enjoy it while it’s there, despite knowing historically that the story is, to put it mildly, a bittersweet one. I wonder if that’s the same for our main couple as well, because as much as I’d like for them to have their happy ending, you can’t quite have a stable relationship while one’s off flitting through time, can you? And I thought long-distance was a bitch. Poor Young: We even have two Eun-soo’s floating around in this world, and he can’t hold onto either one.

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