As we start episode 19, Un and Hong’s fight has moved outside to the courtyard. Un is moving away, is blocked by the guards, and then Hong tells the guards to retreat. Their fight starts again in earnest.
As Un is about to get in what looks to be a fairly serious stab at Hong, his arm is hit with a thrown weapon, and the fight breaks off as Dong Soo enters. Dong Soo asks Un what is going on, and Un tells him not to interfere. He starts forward again, but Dong Soo draws his sword and tells him that even if he killed Hong, that it wouldn’t help at this point.
The creepy bodyguard brings out Ji Sun, sword to her neck, as Hong tells them both to drop their swords. Un tells him to let Ji Sun leave first. So, Dong Soo puts down his sword, Ji Sun is released (with Dong Soo telling her to leave), Un puts his weapons down, and Hong captures them both.
As they sit in the jail cells, Dong Soo finally gets up and asks what Un was thinking, trying to kill Hong. Un tells him that it doesn’t concern him. Dong Soo finally gets to ask a few questions, though. He asks Un if he doesn’t remember their friendship. Un tells him that he forgot all of that long ago. Dong Soo grabs him and then in frustration apologizes to him.
Un reacts angrily and asks if Dong Soo has forgotten that Un is to blame for the deaths of Dae Pyo, Commander Im, and the Crown Prince. Dong Soo slaps him in reply. He tells Un that he hasn’t forgotten all that, but that he also won’t give up on Un. Un tells him to give up and forget him. (it was kind of going down the “I can’t quit you” road for a sec there.) Dong Soo tells him he can’t forget, that he hated him and wanted to kill him. He tells Un that he was a coward for leaving and believing in Fate, but that he is still the Un who was his friend. He tells Un that he’ll change Un’s destiny himself if he has to.
Just as Un is telling him that he doesn’t understand why Dong Soo didn’t kill him when they met again, Hong comes by the cell and tsk tsks at them for running towards danger. He tells them that they remind him of Gwang Taek and Chun. And then he warns them to remember that even those two couldn’t bring him down.
Get out your tissue boxes now…
Jin Ju arrives back with the doctor, but she finds Ji barely hanging on, as Gwang Taek pleads with her not to die. As Gwang Taek holds Ji, and Jin Ju holds Ji’s hand, Chun stands by. Ji pulls Jin Ju closer to her and whispers to her that Gwang Taek is her father.
Ji leans back, and with a tear running down her cheek, takes her last breath. Jin Ju and Gwang Taek break down in screaming, wailing tears.
Back we go to where Hong is hanging out at the police station. The one remaining sailor, Ji Sun and Hong Do wait outside, as Admiral Seo goes inside to gauge just what is going on. In a series of veiled joking comments, Seo accuses Hong of burning down the jail to kill the sailors, and Hong notes that he has two prisoners of his own. Seo tells him that he still has a remaining witness from the ship, and Seo basically offers to trade that info for the two boys. No deal. So Seo tells him that he’ll use what he has to implicate Hong.
It’s morning out at the lakeside where Ji passed away. Gwang Taek tells Chun that killing the Crown Prince is something that history will never forgive. Because of Ji’s death, they won’t fight now, but will in 10 days. He tells Chun that he’ll take charge of the funeral. And then he leaves. Chun never says a thing, but just stares out over the lake.
Still out collecting evidence, Seo gets Hong Do to make a painting of the harbor area.
Back at the jail, the officer who had earlier talked to Seo about the ginseng comes by and tosses the key to the cell on to the floor and tells them to get to the dock by 5. They break out, disable a few guards, and pick up their weapons. They manage to escape, and Dong Soo heads for the dock, while Un tells him to go ahead, he has somewhere else to go. He also tells him that there is a Japanese enclave nearby, and that the false ginseng was being dealt by the Japanese. Before he leaves, Dong Soo thanks him, and then tells him not to get killed, because he’ll be the one to kill him. (oh, you two!)
Un sneaks up on the police station and confronts Hong, intending to finish the fight. However Hong tells him that unless Dong Soo is with Ji Sun, then Ji Sun is in danger. Un recalls seeing the creepy bodyguard leaving as he was on his way in. And since Un just told Dong Soo about the Japanese enclave, he knows that Ji Sun is likely to be alone. So he dashes off.
Dong Soo is in fact down at the dock, and he tells the group that they should go on ahead, while he checks out the Japanese at Dongnae. Dong Soo heads off, and we see Un rushing towards the ship.
The creepy bodyguard shows up on the ship, but it turns out that Un arrived in time, and kicks him overboard.
At the palace, Cho Rip examines the dead kitchen lady, and determines that she was poisoned. He goes to report this to Gwang Taek, and finds the household in mourning for Ji. The group is gathered around where Ji is, grieving. ::hands out more tissue for those susceptible to such things:: (we’re now going to play spot the continuity error – it puzzled me why this scene bothered me until I watched it a second time. Then I concluded it was just a plain screwup.)
Dong Soo arrives at Dongnae and after watching the merchants going in the gate, scales the wall to get into the Japanese enclave. He sneaks in and searches the office until he finds a ledger. He follows some merchants who are acting suspicious and sees them messing with the false ginseng.
However, he’s also caught looking, and we meet Kenjo, who also claims to be new to the area, but also seems to be in charge. Needless to say, he doesn’t buy Dong Soo’s story, and when the guards arrive, they sic their giant fighter, Jung Hyung Mun, on him. Surprisingly, Dong Soo manages to take the big guy down. So, Kenjo decides to take Dong Soo on. However, just as they start to spar, Dong Soo sees the merchants scuttling away with the false ginseng. So he puts his sword up and tells Kenjo he doesn’t have time to play. At first he refuses to give Kenjo his name, but then thinks better of it and tells him to ask for Baek Dong Soo, and if he really wants to spar, he’ll be in Hanyang. When his guard asks why he let Dong Soo go, Kenjo tells him that Dong Soo would have slaughtered the guards.
Dong Soo intercepts the merchants and takes one of their boxes of false ginseng. (BTW, it’s becoming a bit of a habit for Dong Soo to politely ask for something and then sort of shrug and knock heads when the people draw knives or fight. It’s almost taken the place of the earlier little running dialogue gag about him being afraid of only 2 things.)
Lord Hong meets with the Queen, who has recovered. Lord Kim is happy to tell Hong that they’ve shown that the kitchen lady was poisoned, and surprisingly, Hong’s department was the last place she visited. Lord Kim asks the Queen if this isn’t a good time to get rid of Hong, but she tells him that it isn’t quite time, he’s still too dangerous, but he might also be of some use to them.
The ship arrives, with Un leaving and Dong Soo meeting them at the dock. They go back to Sa Mo’s to find Mi So waiting for them to tell them what happened. Dong Soo takes off at a run to where Ji is being cremated. Hong Do and the rest follow.
Sad musical interlude as Gwang Taek lights the funeral pyre, and much grieving is going on. They all go to the mountain side to cast her ashes to the wind, and Jin Ju finally collapses. Dong Soo goes to comfort her and she bitterly tells him that he is like her mother. Hong Do butts in and asks how he can promise to protect Jin Ju with everything else he has to do. Hong Do, on the other hand, tells Jin Ju that whenever she misses her mother, she can still look at her. He draws Ji’s portrait and gives it to a grateful Jin Ju.
Back at the lakeside, Chun completely breaks down and cries like a wounded animal.
Un arrives back at the Assassins headquarters to find Chang recuperating. He finds out from Un that they attacked Chun, and this was the result. Un hears that Chun is still alive, and he tells Dae Ung not to do anything more. He tells Dae Ung that he’s not going to warn him again. (which has to be about the 10th time someone has told Dae Ung). When Un leaves, Dae Ung mutters to himself that Un still doesn’t get it, he’s still got plans to get revenge.
Gu Hyang reports on the goings on at the palace, and that Hong will probably skate because there isn’t enough evidence. When he asks why she came to tell him all this, she tells him that as the only remaining Lord, he has the power to leave the Assassins by dissolving the guild. He tells her that he has no intention of doing that.
One of the assassins delivers a letter from Lord Hong. Gu Hyang notes that to bring him down, they’ll have to deal with him. She tells him that bringing down Lord Hong would be the first step in dissolving the guild.
Un meets with Lord Hong and tells him that he regrets not killing him. Hong brings out a big box of gold, and starts negotiating their next steps. Un is surprised that Hong wants to continue to hire him. He tells him to just tell him what it is he wants Un to do. Hong tells Un that the only solution is for Hong to find a scapegoat for the whole incident. Listening outside, Hong’s toady panics at the thought that as the closest one to Hong, he’s got his neck on the line as prime scapegoat material. He runs home and gets every valuable he can lay his hands on to bribe Hong into using someone else.
Cho Rip arrives at Sa Mo’s looking for Gwang Taek, and has a happy reunion with General Seo. Cho Rip, Dong Soo and the remaining sailor head into town, with Gwang Taek warning them to keep on their toes for more machinations from Hong. Gwang Taek stays behind to practice in preparation for sparring with Chun. However, at the end of his practice, he clutches his side in pain.
At the palace, Lord Hong presents his results to the King, claiming that he’s proved it was the Japanese who sank the ship. The Prince, however, arrives with his own findings. He brings in Dong Soo as well as the surviving sailor. First the drawing of the port shows that the ship wasn’t wrecked where Hong is saying it was. Then there is the remaining ginseng from the wrecked ship, which was false ginseng. He says that while the false ginseng is also a medical herb, some people have bad reactions to it, and suggests that the Queen likely had an allergic reaction to it The Queen’s father confirms that she has always avoided it because of that. Lastly, he shows the King that the ginseng from the royal kitchens that was retrieved before it was thrown out was also false ginseng. He also turns in a report from General Seo, which notes the ledger from the Dongnae Japanese enclave shows the purchases.
The King asks if Hong has any reply to this information. Hong claims he is being framed.
Finally, Dong Soo brings forward the surviving sailor to testify that it wasn’t the Japanese who attacked the ship, but they ran aground. Not only that, but the rest of the sailors died in a prison fire.
Hong protests he is being framed, but Lord Kim starts a movement to have Lord Hong punished. Hong is arrested and taken off to be tortured. Lord Kim urges him to give up, but Hong insists that he won’t. In fact, he tells Kim that if Hong goes down, he’ll take down Kim and the Queen as well. Hong1 and Hong2 lurk just outside the gates, vowing revenge on Dong Soo.
Now for some very quick sceens that will add up to something later…
Kenjo gets a letter from Hanyang, and Lord Hong waits in jail.
The Prince thanks Dong Soo and gives him a message for General Seo. The mountain boys see Dong Soo off, and pass Kenjo and company as they enter the palace. As they turn, boys run into Hong1 and Hong2. Hong1 uses the opportunity to insult them and the Prince. They draw swords, but Hong2 talks them down.
Chun sits by the lakeside, and Jin Ju comes to check up on him. She tells him that Ji wouldn’t be happy to see him like that.
The Prince goes to greet the Queen, who tells him that it was fortunate that he had nothing to do with the ginseng incident. Lord Kim arrives to tell the Queen that Lord Hong has been found innocent.
And we end episode 19 with Lord Hong walking out of his cell, swearing to kill everyone involved.
And if this was the end of the ginseng scandal I think we’ll all be happier.
It’s a telling point of the personalities involved that when they are scattering her ashes, Gwang Taek tells her to be like the wind and follow him; Jin Ki tells her to rest in peace and live an ordinary life in her next life; while Jin Ju asks her to be her mother in the next life and live with her.
Sadly, Cho Rip’s chicken bit the dust in the poison test, otherwise he’d come over here and party with the lizards. And yes, I admit it. The page topping screen cap isn’t actually from episode 19. But if you are a major character and you get bumped off, you deserve to top the recap, and I didn’t want a dead Ji on the top of the page. That’s actually from episode 6. Also, I need to thank Belleza, because this was the episode we went to town on over at Dramabeans. Between jokes about Kenjo and the jail scene, what would normally be a tearjerking episode now has scenes I’ll never be able to see again without cracking up.