The episode starts with the Crown Prince surveying the border areas. A note on the screen tells us in passing that it’s 1762, so about 19 years have passed since episode 1. A message arrives from the palace, telling the Prince that the emissary from Qing is raising a stink about the Prince being on the border doing an inspection. Seo Yu Tae, the commander of this border post, tells him that the longer he is on the border with Qing, the more suspicious it will look, and the Norons will use it to foment discord.
The Prince meets with Yoo Ji Sun, who is recently returned from Qing, and she reports on her studies of the Plan. She tells him that the geography matches what is in the Plan, even after 100 years, so that it is still valuable. However, she still has some points that she needs to check before she can confirm everything. She assures him that it won’t take long.
He tells her that in a few days a merchant group from Qing will be passing and he’ll arrange for her to join it. He’ll provide security for her, so she shouldn’t be afraid. She replies that his safety is what she fears for, since he is treading a dangerous path that no one else has dared to try before. The Prince departs from the borders, leaving Ji Sun to wait for the caravan from Qing.
Ji and Chun are meditating in a bamboo forest when one of his minions comes to tell him that Gwang Taek has left the monastery in Qing, but they aren’t sure if he’s returned to Joseon yet. (What’s fascinating about this is that it means that the Hired Assassins have better intelligence gathering than either the government or the Gwang Taek’s friends. Well, that and the scenery is awesomely beautiful as well.)
Chun wonders what the one armed Gwang Taek could be returning to Joseon with. Ji wonders if that really matters to Chun, but Chun asks her if he’s really the only one waiting for him to return.
Ji crosses paths with Jin Ju, who stops, slightly puzzled. She calls back to Ji, and asks if they’ve met before. Ji just give her a hard look, which makes Jin Ju nervous so she apologizes and skips off, looking at Ji over her shoulder a few times. Ji turns away and silently looks concerned. She sits down to tea with Hwang Jin Ki, who tells her he had been worried to not hear from her in the last few years. Ji asks him about the child, and he says that she grew up with bandits and is fearless. She asks if the child is with the bandits, and he tells her that she just missed her, that she was just here. Ji realizes that she has just met the child in question, Jin Ju, and tells Jin Ki that she’s pretty, thanks him, and leaves (the implication being that Jin Ju is Ji’s daughter).
The merchant group is crossing the plain (this is the scene that ended episode 5, so we went back a bit to cover what led up to this from other points of view). Cho Rip is driving the little horse cart that has Ji Sun in it, while Dong Soo and Un are riding beside it. Dong Soo peeks in at Ji Sun, and then asks Cho Rip why Ji Sun is wearing a hanbok instead of a robe if she is a nun. Cho Rip says that she is not a full nun so doesn’t wear the robes (or have a shaved head for that matter – both of which are dubious assertions, IMHO, but we’ll roll with it).
Dong Soo starts wishing for the group to be attacked so that he can demonstrate his talents. Cho Rip tells him he’d get killed, but Dong Soo starts to say he’s the best, when he sees Un and says – Un is the best, and he’s second best. (HA! At least he’s honest.)
And of course, then comes the ambush. Un fires an arrow into a suspicious movement and thus flushed out, Jin Ju and the thieves attack. Un and Dong Soo take up positions around the cart to protect Ji Sun, and the battle commences. Dong Soo isn’t taking it as seriously as Un and Cho Rip, but they both accept that Un is in charge.
Un tells Cho Rip to get the cart to safety, and he takes off, with Un right behind to protect it – followed by most of the thieves. Dong Soo is left to encounter Jin Ju, who proceeds to insult him. He banters back, and several insults later, they both slide down from their horses to start fighting. She tells him she doesn’t have time to play, lets off a smoke bomb and takes off with the gang members who stayed behind. Dong Soo jumps back on to his horse and follows.
Un and Cho Rip are trying to escape when the cart breaks down. Cho Rip stays with the cart as Un engages the group following them. Jin Ju’s group starts to catch up with them, with Dong Soo trailing.
Meanwhile, back at the palace, the Crown Prince hears reports that the Qing envoy is meeting with the King. It turns out that the envoy is inquiring about the Crown Prince’s tour of the border, asking whether he was holding military exercises. If so, the Emperor will not be pleased. The King and officials tell him that it was an inspection tour, not military exercises. However, because the King had to listen to this from the envoy, he gets very angry with the Crown Prince for causing him humiliation. The King tells him that as a punishment, anyone who has met with him on this tour will be demoted. Lord Hong and the Norons gloat that this has caused even more of a rift between the King and Crown Prince.
Back we go to the ambush! The thieves surround Cho Rip and the cart, but find it empty, because Un is riding off with Ji Sun on horseback. At that point, Dong Soo catches up with the cart and Cho Rip also jumps up to start fighting.
Just as Dong Soo challenges Jin Ju to a single fight, they are distracted by a man who approaches across a field. It’s Gwang Taek! The thieves attempt to relieve him of his belongs, and he just smirks. With 2 blows he takes out 3 people, and then he casually takes his hopae (ID block) out of his pocket. He then uses that as a weapon to take out most of the rest of the thieves as Dong Soo looks on in amazement.
Jin Ju and the remaining thieves take off, but Dong Soo approaches Gwang Taek. He asks him about the strange technique that he used, and Gwang Taek just laughs at him and asks if he wants to learn it. Dong Soo starts to say he doesn’t need to learn, when Gwang Taek uses the tag to smack some sense into him. Dong Soo starts towards him, sword drawn, to tell him off, but Gwang Taek disarms him with one movement and tells him not to mis-use such a good sword.
He hands Dong Soo the sword with a flourish and tells him that he doesn’t have the look of a killer. Then Gwang Taek turns and walks away. Cho Rip runs over and reminds Dong Soo they need to find Un and Ji Sun, who are busy galloping across the beautiful plain in slow motion. (grin) A few of the thieves are still after them, and Un ends up pulling her off the horse to safety in the grass (and sees part of the tattoo in the process).
Jin Ju’s group gallops up and tells Un to hand Ji Sun over (actually, they banter back and forth – I do love how everyone insists on bantering, posturing and threatening each other before they actually fight.).
Un starts fighting and suddenly one of his attackers drops back. Ji Sun has hit him with an arrow (no, don’t ask me where she was hiding the bow). So now we have a stand off, because Jin Ju has also pulled out her bow and has an arrow aimed at Ji Sun. (mercifully at least Jin Ju has been wearing that bow throughout this ambush).
Just then, Jin Ju hears a whistle for them to retreat, and is forced to leave because the police are arriving at the scene of the ambush. As Dong Soo and Cho Rip follow Gwang Taek for a while, Un and Ji Sun wait for them in the forest (awwwwww).
Gwang Taek has made it back to the pretty little spot where he lost Dong Soo, and where he last encountered Ji, almost 20 years earlier. Dong Soo and Cho Rip have followed him all the way here, and Dong Soo asks to fight him. Cho Rip, on the other hand is all, “oh no, not me! I’m just watching.”
Dong Soo charges Gwang Taek, who is still only armed with the ID block. After parrying a few times, Gwang Taek gives him a couple of whacks to the ribs that send him reeling. Gwang Taek tells him that he’s still a kid because he’s too impulsive. They start again and after a few moves, Gwang Taek has him in his grip. He tells Dong Soo that a sword should move not with the hand, but with the heart, and that only a calm heart can control a sword. And then he whacks Dong Soo one over the head to teach him a lesson.
Gwang Taek strolls off, and Cho Rip proceeds to rail against Dong Soo for being such a braggart when even this old guy can beat him. Then Cho Rip (and I find this hysterically funny) pulls a pigeon out of his shirt and sends it off to find Un. They follow the pigeon back to Un and Ji Sun in the woods.
Dong Soo makes puppy eyes at Ji Sun and offers her some meat, which she turns down, because of course she’s vegetarian. Then he gets the bright idea of giving her his shirt to keep her warm. Un apologizes to Ji Sun for Dong Soo’s ignorance and Cho Rip tosses him his vest to put back on.
Back at the campfire, Dong Soo notices that Ji Sun is nursing a sore ankle, so he goes bounding off into the woods to find plants and herbs to make her a poultice. Ji Sun notices that Un has cut his hand, and uses a ribbon to bandage it. Dong Soo first gets jealous, and then remembering how he saw Gwang Taek use his ID block, he asks Un to spar with him. (boys!) After a few moves using a stick as Gwang Taek used the block, Dong Soo is left frozen in place. Un used acupuncture needles to paralyze him. Ji Sun disapprovingly removes them, telling Un that acupuncture needles are meant only for healing, not harm.
Back at the thieves camp, after being told off by her father for going on a raid without permission, the penny finally drops on Jin Ju as she remembers Dong Soo. Her father sits down with her and asks her if she can stop going on raids. She doesn’t want to. And they argue about it, and she finally says she must take after her mother. Which reminds her to ask who the woman was she met earlier, who she felt like she should know. He doesn’t reply, so she goes on to say that she is a thief because that’s her family line. She goes on to say that she has heard the Qing envoy has arrived, and wouldn’t that be a great target. He says no, it’s too dangerous.
Time for a little musical interlude – Ji Sun awakens before the others in the forest. She takes the shirt that Dong Soo had given her and covers him with it. Un has also woken up, and watches quietly. They glance at each other and nod,(awwwwww) Un looks at the bandage on his hand, and also remembers her tattoos, so he’s smitten but also wondering what is up with the samini.
The next day, they deliver Ji Sun safely to the temple and Dong Soo goes on and on about Ji Sun. He even says he might marry her. Cho Rip says he’s gone completely nuts, to which Un says that’s nothing new.
As Ji Sun limps up the steps, they stop to look at her ankle. The monk asks why she used a poisonous plant on her wound. She tells him that it isn’t poison as long as they don’t eat it. (She knew it was the wrong plant, and didn’t humiliate him by saying so. awwwwww!) But as Dong Soo walks away, he sees the two plants and realizes he mistook the healing one for the poisonous one and feels like an idiot.
Back at the palace, after having hired In to rob and frighten the Qing envoy, Lord Hong reports on the robbery to the King. He asks if they can use this opportunity to build the Qing a nice new area. He then goes over to the gisaeng house, where he passes along the news to In that Gwang Taek is back in town.
Chun is sitting in the candle lit main hall, drinking. He draws his sword and focuses. With ominous foreboding, the candles snuff out, one by one, and Chun collapses back to the floor.
Later, he’s sitting at a table with Ji, and In comes in to tell them that Gwang Taek has returned. In says he intends to welcome him home. Chun asks him since when does he welcome anyone.
Ji sits in the bamboo forest looking at some flowers and thinking – and so we begin one of the most interesting sequences in the series so far – some of the back story of Chun, Ji and Gwang Taek. We see them as their younger selves – Chun much less scruffy and with more elegant black robes, Ji with hair adornments – and most of the dialogue is done in voice over. Ji says she’s sick of killing. Chu says this is how it’s always been, and it’s the path they chose. Ji tells him she wants to stop, and she won’t wait for him either. Chun ask her who it is who has changed her eyes. Next we see Ji meeting Gwang Taek in the fields, and Chun witnessing this from a distance. Then Chun confronts Ji, asking her why, why Gwang Taek. And this is perhaps the only time we’ll see Chun with a look of betrayal on his face.
Next we see Gwang Taek and Ji, hand in hand, running down a pier, only to be stopped by Chun. Chun draws his sword, but a glance from Ji tells Gwang Taek not to draw his.
More assassins arrive, and Chun tells Ji and Gwang Taek to leave. Chun blocks the path of the assassins, and he is confronted by a guy we haven’t see before, who yells at him. Chun says that no one will fight these people – a “this guy is mine” kind of statement.
Ji stops at the end of the pier and draws her sword. With a tear in her eye, she tells Gwang Taek that she can’t go any farther with him, that their fate stops here. She turns and walks back to where Chun has knelt before the others in surrender.
We then see that Chun has been tortured and punished, and Ji goes to pour water over him. Chun asks her if she really meant to leave. Ji just walks away.
Back in the bamboo forest, Chun has come to sit next to Ji. He tells her that his heart stopped a long time ago. He puts a comforting hand on her shoulder, and gives her a slight smile. She puts her head on his lap and cries.
And with that beautiful and slightly enigmatic image, we quietly end episode 6.
Woohoo! I can see all of the viewers picking ships from here. But, after all the bouncy silliness of Dong Soo and gang fighting the bandits, we get that last quiet and serious piece. It still doesn’t tell us the full back story of Chun and Ji, but it fills us in on where Gwang Taek fits in.
So, let’s ponder the assassins for a few minutes. It appears that in this guild of Hired Assassins, there are currently 3 leaders or Lords of this guild – Chun, Ji and In. That appears to be basically the order of rank as well, although they act independently and without requiring a consensus. So, for instance In takes the job of trying to kill Gwang Taek and Dong Soo that Chun refuses.
To become an assassin, Un was recruited by Chun, however there is no real indication as to how anyone else joined up. Since Ji was being chased as she tried to leave, it’s also unclear as to whether there is anyway out of the assassins once you are in, or how one moves up in rank. However, in the assassins lair, the candles light up banks of swords, with one place notably left empty, and Chun ponders it while he’s contemplating Gwang Taek’s return. (Yes, this pretty much was an excuse for another screencap of Chun)
Another slight housekeeping note – the subs at Viki are fairly decent – if they would port them to softsubs and release them to the wild, they’d be doing the world a favor. I actually get SBS Global, and normally this is about when shows start showing up – after about a 6 week delay from Korea. However, Warrior Baek Dong Soo isn’t listed yet, they are still playing Lie To Me. If it shows up in the listings, I’ll check out the subtitle quality, but it’s been my experience that the SBS subtitle quality can be iffy.