We start right back in with the thick of the action. The Crown Prince and his guard have gone in search of the Plan, and ended up at a derelict house. It’s a trap, as In and a full force of minions lurk in waiting. The Prince and his guard are surrounded.
Dong Soo is happily strolling back to his friends with the coins that the Prince had given him. He spots Ji Sun in the marketplace and tries to talk with her about her not helping him when he was hanging upside down in the tree, but she ignores him. Jin Ju catches up with him and gets miffed at his attentions to Ji Sun.
Meanwhile, Un is having a merchant convert his father’s spear into a short sword. Ji Sun is jostled in the crowd and Un turns to catch her, marking their first encounter, all in lovely slow motion. She then realizes that the jostling was from a thief, and Un runs after the thief. Dong Soo joins in, picking up (of all things) a trowel. Jin Ju blunts one of her arrows with a chestnut and follows them both.
Dong Soo and Un trap the thief on a footbridge, giving him the options of trying to get by Un and his sword, or Dong Soo and his…trowel. The thief pulls out a knife and tries to get by Dong Soo, when Jin Ju unleashes her blunted arrow and knocks the thief off the bridge. The kids haul the thief back to town, and the locals are all for turning him in to the police. Ji Sun arrives to tell them not to bother, and he escapes. Dong Soo gives her back the purse and gets even more googly-eyed at her. She thanks them and leaves, dropping a pendant that Dong Soo finds and keeps.
The kids are headed up to the hills, where Jin Ju meets her father, and they realize it’s time for her to leave. Jin Ju, adorably, turns around and asks Dong Soo if he’ll marry her when they are grown. Dong Soo is stunned, and then even more stunned when Jin Ju leans over and kisses him on the cheek, much to the amusement of her father and the other kids.
Back at the house – they are still fighting! The Prince gets injured, but his guard is in even worse shape, losing ground rapidly as In tortures him.
And who should wander by but Dong Soo! He notes the horses, from the incident earlier in the day, tethered outside the house. His curiousity gets the better of him. He climbs up to the roof and sees the Prince trapped up against a well. As In’s archers prepare to slaughter the Prince, Dong Soo comes tumbling down to the rescue (shades of Hong Gil Dong!! ) He lands clumsily at the feet of the Prince.
While he stuns In and the Prince by his sudden arrival, Dong Soo actually has a plan. He’s played here before and he knows a few things about this yard. He tells the Prince to follow him and leaps down into the well. The Prince is at the mercy of the archers and gets severely wounded by In, but with his last bit of strength, throws himself down the well, where Dong Soo is waiting. As In blocks the well with fire, Dong Soo leads the Prince through the aqueduct that allows water into this well.
The guard is allowed to live, the better to report back to the palace, but Dong Soo and the Prince have fetched up at a nearby shore – safe but separated.
At the palace, the King is wondering where the Crown Prince is. The Norons take the opportunity to tell him that the Prince goes wherever he likes outside the palace and this has gotten out of hand. The King says that as long as the Prince shows up for the Daesarae – the archery ceremony – he’s not listening to their complaints, but if the Prince doesn’t show up, he’ll be deposed with no more argument. (Those of you who remember Sungkyunkwan Scandal, this is the archery event that King Jeongjo was reinstating because his father, Prince Sado, was so fond of it)
The Prince’s main guard, Im Soo Woong, is back at the palace, and gets word of all the trouble. He heads out to find the Prince, discovering the shambles at the house. The injured guard tells him what happened, but giving it a bit of thought, Commander Im also leaps down into the well.
Lord Hong receives In’s report of the Crown Prince’s death, but Chun wants to make sure everything is confirmed. A slightly premature celebration breaks out.
Dong Soo makes his way home where Sa Mo berates him for being late. He counters that he was out helping someone get away from assassins, which gets him a caning for telling not only a lie, but a stupid lie.
The guards follow the trail from the well and find the Prince on the shore, injured but alive.
And we take a short break to remind ourselves that Gwang Taek is in China, learning martial arts, doing one armed pull ups over a cliff, practicing with the sword against the water and otherwise having a short interlude of swordplay in a beautiful setting.
Okay, back to the palace! Lord Hong rubs it in to the guards that the Prince had better show up, and then is stunned when the Prince actually shows up for the Daesarae.
The Norons try to figure out what happened, since they were sure the Prince had been killed. The Prince, on the other hand, gets patched up in his chambers and tells Commander Im that he was saved by a kid.
Commander Im heads over to Sa Mo’s and gets Dong Soo’s side of the story, including how he knew the well led to the river because of the fish in the well. Im concludes that the Hired Assassins must have also known of the house because they were also searching for the Plan. He tells Sa Mo that they were led there in part by the half coin they had. He shows it to Sa Mo, but Dong Soo recognizes it as part of the sign for the house where he first saw Ji Sun (see, the photographic memory comes in handy!) and leads them there.
Meanwhile, Sa Mo tells Un and Dong Soo that they are going to go off to the training camp to learn how to fight, and so they set off. They arrive at the training camp, where Dae Pyo is in charge. Sa Mo leaves them there and heads home nervously, as if dropping Dong Soo off at school for the first time.
Dae Pyo tells them that their arrival makes a total of 50 trainees at the camp, but it isn’t certain how many, if any, will actually become warriors.
They meet their fellow trainees, including Cho Rip, and start learning the ways of the school, including left handed chopstick eating only. We also meet Dae Pyo’s daughter, and a nice lady who does all the cooking and has a crush on Sa Mo (and whose name has completely eluded me).
Since it’s their first night there, a few of the boys decide to challenge Un to see just what he’s got, since they’ve heard he’s pretty good. Dong Soo awakens to find everyone else outside watching Un fight. Dong Soo finally gets his chance to challenge Un and loses miserably.
They head out for their first day of training, only to discover that the punishment for being last in something is to miss a meal, which gives Dong Soo incentive to work harder. Cho Rip comes in last and misses the meal.
The Prince is finally well enough to venture to the Yoo’s home (note that this does not go unremarked by the people following him). Yoo So Gang, the head of the household meets him, asks for the half coin, and when it’s shown to him matches it with his own. The Prince is told that the Plan is not there, but is kept at a temple for safe keeping. Ji Sun is then presented to the Prince, and by presented we mean she now belongs to the Prince.
Lord Hong hears back from his informants that the Prince went to the Yoo household, and he assumes that the Prince is close to getting the Plan. He tells Chun that if he can get the Plan and give it to the Qing that Chun will be free of any obligations and able to live freely. Chun tells him that he’s learned not to plan too far ahead, because things often don’t go the way they are planned. Hong tells him to handle this personally, but Chun merely says he’ll consider it.
Dae Pyo gives the trainees their first test – swimming to shore, although technically they can also survive on the island. Dae Pyo sets off for shore in a boat, leaving them all behind. With Un in the lead, the trainees start swimming off. However, Cho Rip can’t swim well and wants to stay on the island. Dong Soo convinces him to try swimming and leads him out into the water When Cho Rip falters, Dong Soo goes back to help him.
When Un reaches the shore, he panics when he realizes that Dong Soo and Cho Rip haven’t made it back. Finally he sees Dong Soo dragging Cho Rip to shore, and retreats back to the group in relief.
Dae Pyo tells Dong Soo and Cho Rip that anyone who got help to finish will be eliminated. Dong Soo replies that elimination is better than death. Dae Pyo asks him if he thinks this is a joke, that it’s not a playground. He tells them that learning martial arts is to be taken seriously. Dong Soo replies that while he doesn’t want to give up learning martial arts, that if killing a friend is what they are learning, what is the difference between that and being an assassin? He’d rather give up learning martial arts than have to become that kind of person.
And on that note – we end episode 4!
This episode belonged to Oh Man Seok. The Crown Prince is front and center – fighting, planning, and being decisive. Oh Man Seok went from swashbuckling to standing on the dignity of his title, all in the space of one episode.
This recap is actually a bit shorter than the previous ones because the episode took so much time in the fighting and training sequences. And lovely sequences they were! Honestly, this is some really beautiful and scenic footage.
We’re moving into the meat of the story. Un and Dong Soo start their training, while the Prince moves forward in finding the Plan. Most of our characters have been introduced, and their relationships going forward are in place. The story has been set in motion, now we just have to see where it is going!
A quick housekeeping note. Viki has subtitles available for North America. Their subtitles are, shall we say, more useful than the darksmurfsubs, however as far as I know, they haven’t released them as softsubs.
Also, a couple of people have asked me why my spelling of names isn’t matching up with either set of subs (well, and one esteemed person berated me for mangling a name in episode one – mea culpa). For most of the names, I was just writing down the names as they were presented on the screen although occasionally I double checked with dramawiki’s cast list. Just chalk it up to the perils of trying to romanize names. I’ll see you for episode 5!