We return to episode 8 with Chun arriving at Sa Mo’s to call out Gwang Taek. To the surprise of most of nearly everyone, they don’t break out into a fight, but instead sit down for drinks to catch up. (Frenemies FTW.) Chun tells him that it’s a shame that the first person he contacted in town was In. Gwang Taek tells him that it’s a shame that In met him, since In’s now missing a hand. Gwang Taek smirks and wonders if the result would have been the same for Chun. Gwang Taek says “Try it anytime” and Chun draws his sword, only to have Gwang Taek block the stroke with his sword. Chun withdraws his sword and they continue their chat. He tells Gwang Taek that he’s still the Swordmaster, even with just one arm. Gwang Taek tells him that since Chun is alive, it’s a close call as to which one is better. Chun thanks him for the compliment, but tells him there is still an empty spot for Gwang Taek’s sword in the Hired Assassins hall.
Meanwhile, Dong Soo has followed the Prince’s group and their stalker to the temple. He is shocked to see Ji Sun allow the Prince into her quarters.
Back at Sa Mo’s, Chun finishes his drink and gets up to leave. Gwang Taek remarks that he seems to have become chattier in his old age, Chun laughs and asks Gwang Taek to walk him out. Sa Mo, on the other hand, is not pleased to see Chun come and go. He asks Gwang Taek why he’s letting their enemy pass freely, is he afraid? Gwang Taek tells him to knock it off.
As Chun leaves, however, he passes Dong Soo and silently taunts him a little. Dong Soo watches in shock as Chun strolls off.
In town, Jin Ju happens to see Un and follows him for out of curiosity. She sees Un meeting Chun and kneeling down to him, but can’t hear what they are saying. Un asks Chun who killed his father. Chun asks why it matters. Un says that he hated his father enough to kill him, but he was still his father. He repeats what Chun had told him, that the person was unreachable, higher than heaven. He asks if it was the Crown Prince. Chun laughs and agrees. Un asks why. Chun replies, basically, that his father had outlived his usefulness. Un says he doubts the Crown Prince would do such a task himself, so who really did it? Was it Gwang Taek, the Swordmaster? Chun laughs and asks what Un plans to do about it if that was the case? Chun shakes his head and walks off, leaving Un with the impression that it probably was Gwang Taek.
As the Crown Prince leaves the temple, he gets a bad feeling about being followed, so he leaves a guard behind. Although the guard can tell someone is lurking, the creepy bodyguard is too shifty to get caught.
Dong Soo arrives back home, and hears that Gwang Taek is there. Cho Rip is happy to break the news that the old man that they met at the bandit raid is Gwang Taek. Jin Ju arrives with a bottle of wine to share. While Dong Soo is pleased to see her, Cho Rip recognizes her as the bandit. She then asks where she asks where the handsome guy is. (HAH!) Dong Soo thinks “Handsome guy? um? That would be me?” But Cho Rip knows – “Un.” Dong Soo wonders if she’s interested in Un, while Jin Ju thinks back to when they were younger and places who Yeo Un is.
Un returns but avoids the drinking party and instead encounters Gwang Taek and Sa Mo. Sa Mo goes off to find Dong Soo, and leaves Un with Gwang Taek.
Gwang Taek asks if Un’s the son of their friend Cho Sang. Un lifts his eyes up a little to reply that he is. Gwang Taek asks him why Un has the look of a killer in his eyes. He asks Un if he has anything he wants to say to Gwang Taek. Un thinks to himself that he’s close enough that he could kill Gwang Taek in a few steps. Gwang Taek puts a hand on his shoulder and tells him that his killer instinct is strong. He kindly pats Un’s shoulder and walks off. Un is left feeling tortured by Chun’s words.
Dong Soo and Cho Rip fall asleep, but Jin Ju watches them, remembering how she had proposed to Dong Soo when they were younger. Sa Mo arrives and Jin Ji introduces herself. He remembers her as Dong Soo’s little follower, a description she rather takes exception to. She takes her leave as Sa Mo berates Dong Soo and Cho Rip for being drunk. Gwang Taek arrives and recognizes Dong Soo (who, let us face it, is again not giving a great impression, seeing as how he’s drunk and asleep). Gwang Taek apologizes for not recognizing him, because now that he looks back on it, Dong Soo is a lot like his father. He thanks Dong Soo for living and tucks him in.
The next morning, Gwang Taek walks out to the Yeo Cho Sang’s gravesite while Un follows him. Gwang Taek asks how could Cho Sang leave, which Un overhears, making him very confused, since clearly this isn’t how you would treat the grave of someone you’d killed. Gwang Taek says that Un takes after Cho Sang, and that he should rest in peace.
Back at the palace, the guard reports to the Crown Prince that a killer had been lurking around the temple but got away. The Prince decides that leaving Ji Sun alone at the temple is too dangerous, and with Commander Im decides it’s time for the boys to enter the palace guards. Meanwhile, the creepy bodyguard reports back to Lord Hong that the Prince had been visiting Ji Sun at the temple. Lord Hong asks his underling to find out about Ji Sun’s background.
Dong Soo gets Cho Rip and Un to go back to the temple that night to help Ji Sun. Cho Rip tells him that it’s none of their business, and that he’s nuts. He asks them to wait for him, and tells Un under no circumstances come after him (Hah!). Un can’t quite decide whether to laugh or not, but Cho Rip sizes up the situation as meaning Dong Soo wanted them to keep a lookout, and that they are all nuts.
The Crown Prince visits with Ji Sun in the temple. He answers her previous question – if it came down to it, would he save her or the Plan? He answers that he would save her. He starts to explain his reasoning, but Ji Sun cuts him off, saying that the answer was all she needed.
Ji Sun turns to untie her hanbok and show the Prince the tattoo, which freaks the Prince out a little. She says her fate since she was born was to be his, and as he is trying to backpedal saying that she doesn’t have to do this despite their families’ arrangements, he looks up to see the tattoo on her back, finally realizing what she was getting at. He asks in astonishment what it is, and she confirms that the map on her back is, in fact, the Plan. She tells him about her father removing it from the book, tattooing it on her, and that from that moment on, she has been that treasure.
The Prince looks at her with pity, saying that since that time, she has been in the same situation he has, unable to change the path set for them.
In the meantime, Dong Soo is headed to the temple and sees the shadows of Ji Sun and the Prince, as the Prince is helping her put her hanbok back on. Dong Soo’s mind goes straight to the gutter. He bounds by two guards and into Ji Sun’s room, startling the Prince and Ji Sun. The guards catch up to him and he’s removed from the room.
Dong Soo asks what the heck is this guy doing entering a nun’s room at night (pot meet kettle). The guard asks if Dong Soo really wants to die, but the Prince tells the guard to stop. He asks Dong Soo to leave quietly, but Dong Soo refuses. He turns to point to Un and Cho Rip, his back up, but surprisingly, they had actually listened to him and not followed! The Prince tells his guards to just scare Dong Soo a little, when Un and Cho Rip finally show up. Un, Dong Soo and Cho Rip fight the guards, until the Prince orders them to stop.
Un gets a better look at the Crown Prince and notices his sword. He suddenly realizes that this may really be the Prince. As he is asks if they are from the palace, the guards ask again who he is. Un suddenly sheaths his sword and kneels, surprising Dong Soo and Cho Rip, especially since he then calls the Prince by his title. Cho Rip immediately follows suit, but Dong Soo still questions what is going on, and talks back until he realizes that the guards are giving him a look of pity for being so slow on the uptake. He remembers seeing the Crown Prince at the palace for a second or two, and realizing it’s the same person, slowly sinks into a kneel while simultaneously asking what the heck is going on, why would the Prince be there? Un stays kneeling, quietly pondering the attitude of this Prince, and how he’s treating them.
One of the guards finally tells Dong Soo that he’s been told it’s the Prince, so kneel. Dong Soo then drops into a kneel, and starts begging for mercy. The Prince tells him that he seems sensible and grins at him as he continues to beg. Un, on the other hand, slowly starts reaching for his sword, as the discussion has turned to capital offenses, but then drops it as Dong Soo continues to beg for mercy.
The Prince finally stops him and asks for his name. When Dong Soo tells him, the Prince is stunned. Then he realizes who the other are, and startles them by naming them and telling them he’s glad they grew up well. The three bow to Ji Sun as they leave the temple, with Un turning back for another look and bow.
They go home and both Dong Soo and Un proceed to get drunk, realizing that Ji Sun is unobtainable, as she is somehow connected to the Prince. As they sleep it off outside, Un suddenly jerks awake, with knife drawn, to find Gwang Taek standing over them. Gwang Taek calmly remarks that Un is ready to kill. Un puts his knife up and offers him a drink. Gwang Taek accepts and sits with Un. He tells Un that Dong Soo and Un are like his sons, since their fathers were his blood brothers. Un wonders to himself how Gwang Taek could kill his father, when he talks of him like this. Un looks at his sword and thinks that he’s so close that he could easily kill Gwang Taek now. Gwang Taek tells him that even though Un’s father didn’t ask it of him, he feels that Un was given into his care. This really confuses Un, who leaves saying he needs to go somewhere.
Jin Ki goes to check up on Jin Ju in her room, to make sure she’s not out thieving. He sees her bag of loot from the robbery of the envoy, which is the first he’s heard of this, since he forbade her from going. He looks through the bag and when he finds the gold scroll, he knows trouble when he sees it.
At the same time, the envoy is just realizing his loss of the scroll, and goes running to Lord Hong to tell him that it’s missing and that this is a bad, bad thing. Lord Hong asks the envoy what is on this scroll. Yep, it’s bad. Turns out it’s from the Emperor, who doesn’t trust the Norons, and doesn’t believe they can rule Joseon. So, basically, this was a document to the Norons that not only outlined their plots, but informed the reader that the Qing are aware of it. So, if this fell into the hands of the King or Crown Prince, Noron heads would roll, and the Qing would be, at the very least, in deep diplomatic trouble.
Lord Hong tells the envoy that he will guarantee that the Norons are loyal to the Qing. The envoy replies that the Emperor doesn’t foresee how the Crown Prince could become King (presumably since his dislike of the Norons and Qing are known, and the implication being that they expect the Norons to make sure he doesn’t become King). Lord Hong vows to locate this scroll before things hit the fan.
The place Un needed to go turns out to be to see Chun at the Hired Assassins headquarters, where Ji and Chun are sitting outside, for all the world like Mom and Dad Assassin on their back deck. Un asks Chun who killed his father, since he doesn’t think it was the Crown Prince or Gwang Taek. Chun asks why he thinks it wasn’t them, and Un says they don’t seem as if they would have. Chun asks if he, Chun, seems like he could have. Un says that wasn’t what he meant. Chun repeats that and ponders the question. Chun asks him that even if he knows, what difference would it make. Un asks him to please tell him.
Chun tells Un that Un killed his own father. As expected, this news sends Un reeling, as he remembers his father telling that he should be the first and last person that Un kills. Un draws his sword (made from his father’s spear), and points it at himself. Chun tells him that killing himself will not make any difference, or change anything. Un says that knowing this does make a difference to him. Chun replies that Un’s just doing this because he doesn’t want to be an assassin, and that’s why his memory of it was lost. Chun gets up and uses his sword to move Un’s away. Un asks if he isn’t allowed to chose his own death.
Chun tells him, no, he won’t be able to kill himself, that this is the way assassins live. He tells him that he’s asked Un about the differences between a killer and a warrior. Chun tells Un that even he doesn’t know the difference, but he does know how an assassin lives. And that is with pain.
Un gets up and says that he understands and apologizes, bowing his head. Chun raises Un’s head and tells him that even if he bows his head, he should never lose his focus. Chun looks him in the eye and says that the look of a killer is back.
Lord Hong is getting nowhere looking for the real thief, but it’s reported the rumor is that Hwang Jin Ki was seen near the incident. Lord Hong calls Hwang Jin Ki a traitor, and he contacts Chun. However, Ji is the one who comes, saying that it isn’t a matter that Chun needs to take care of. Lord Hong agrees, and asks if Ji can find Jin Ki, who is reportedly highly skilled and untraceable.
He offers her a reward for the return of the scroll and even more for killing of Jin Ki. Ji replies that she’ll do it if he’ll let her have free rein and won’t interfere with her. Lord Hong agrees, but also sends a message to Chun that Ji will handle this herself, which puzzles Chun.
Jin Ki, meanwhile, is reading the scroll and looking very worried. A message arrives via thrown dagger. He takes his sword and breaks it, and then goes to meet Ji. He gives her the broken sword and is told to destroy the scroll. He tells her that the scroll has to do with the safety of the Crown Prince, but Ji cuts him off and says it has to do with the safety of him and his daughter. He tells her he understands, and is told that from now on, that Jin Ki is a dead person, he can’t be alive. He bows his head, and as she leaves, Ji asks him the name of the child. He tells her that it’s Jin Ju. As she walks away, Chun is quietly watching and listening.
The next day, the 3 boys find Gwang Taek meditating. Sa Mo swats Dong Soo around and tells him to greet Gwang Taek properly. Sa Mo tells Gwang Taek that they don’t listen because they are all grown now, so it’s time for Gwang Taek to be their teacher. Dong Soo starts babbling about why he doesn’t listen, when Gwang Taek tries to whack him one with a wooden sword. Dong Soo startles even himself by catching the blade in his hands. Dong Soo and Gwang Taek practice, and while he does get beaten soundly, Gwang Taek tells Sa Mo that Dong Soo is doing very well.
Commander Im takes the boys to the training ground, telling them to behave themselves, wait and he’ll return in a moment. As the boys watch the drill, and Dong Soo starts to comment on the lack of skill of the others – we get to meet a few of them: Hong Sa Hae, the son of Lord Hong, and in charge of the squad; and Hong Myeong Ju, Lord Hong’s nephew (and I will be forever stuck thinking of them as Hong1 and Hong2, sorry about that).
As Cho Rip comments that Dong Soo has managed to cause trouble already, the other trainees take offense to being insulted. Hong2 points his wooden sword at Dong Soo and asks “Do you want to die?” and so we begin – Dong Soo vs Hong2, and then as Hong2 falls, against 3 more of the trainees. That brings out Hong1, and since Un decides to join in, they go for a full out attack on both sides, with the 3 boys wreaking havoc on the squad.
And with that introduction of the boys to their new comrades in arms (HAH!) we end episode 8.
Well, that was dark and full of plots, wasn’t it! Despite the amount of time Dong Soo bounced around, this seemed to be more of an Un centered episode as he got to be emo-boy for most of the episode.
Chun is still messing with Un, manipulating his nature. First, Chun never really comes out and says “yes, this is who killed your father.” He answers more cryptically and rhetorically, letting Un’s own mind jump to conclusions about who may have done it and why. Then when Un meets both Gwang Taek and the Crown Prince and things don’t add up, he goes back to Chun again for answers. “You did it” isn’t really the whole story, but another partial truth. It’s enough to help tip Un into thinking his nature as a killer will out in the end.
We aren’t told yet exactly why Lord Hong calls Jin Ki a traitor. However, Jin Ki acts with respect towards Ji and follows her orders, so we have to assume that somehow he’s connected to the assassins.
Dong Soo continues to be the puppy who bounds ahead, only to find himself a little beyond his limits and having to backtrack. But at least the boy learns…eventually.
Sa Mo and Jang Mi (the nice lady) continue to be cuter than bunnies together, and Chun continues to quietly work his own agenda, while Gwang Taek is just getting up to speed on what has been going on for 20 years.