Writer : Liana Yus
Editor : Val Kaye Taozen and Tabby
Picture credit: SBS
Both baby tigers, Dae Gil and Prince Yeoning, attempt to show their claws, but with no experience or wisdom, their efforts are wasted. Nevertheless, in time these two baby tigers will grow stronger. This episode marks the beginning of their changing lives. For Dae Gil, it’s the beginning of his journey to become the person we first glimpsed in the first episode. He experiences how badly the lowest humans in Joseon society are treated. As for Prince Yeoning, he must become more aware of the eyes and ears in a palace where people have no respect for him because of his origin. He also discovers that In Jwa is, indeed, a very dangerous opponent.
Instead of starting with the end of episode 6, we start with someone spying at a closed-door meeting between In Jwa and a few ministers. They busily discuss their successful plan so far in installing Crown Prince Yoon as prince regent but, nonetheless, are more cautious concerning the king. They realize the king's unpredictability. In Jwa suggests that for them to have full control, they have to change the person who sits at the highest position of power. Suddenly, the doors slide open revealing Prince Yeoning, eyes blazing. Yeoning is too young and too righteous to understand he is, as yet, no match for the seasoned politicians and In Jwa. As usual, In Jwa takes control of the situation by saying they were merely discussing philosophy.
During their customary meeting, Suk Bin lectures her son about the danger in dealing with In Jwa. Prince Yeoning insists he has to take action. He knows In Jwa controls the Crown Prince Yoon and manipulates the king and court through him. To prove his point about In Jwa’s many crimes, he mentions that In Jwa killed a gambler name Baek Man-geum. Although her interest is piqued, she quickly hides her shock and denies knowing Man-guem. She agrees to Yeoning’s actions but again warns him to be careful.
Yeoning formulates a plan to catch In Jwa. If he cannot catch In Jwa for treason, he will use whatever means are at hand, including the involvement of the Euigeumbu and the Office of Inspector General. (Note: The Euigeumbu was a government agency which handled acts of treason or crimes of the royal family members)
The scene switches. Dae Gil again shouts his demand to cut off In Jwa’s hand. Dam Seo quickly blocks the hatchet as it comes down. In Jwa, then, shows his talent as brilliant gambler. Even with his eyes closed, he says he can pick a chosen card easily, and, thus, he would never resort to cheating. The tables are turned on Dae Gil; he too is mesmerized by In Jwa’s expertise in picking the correct numbers. When In Jwa haughtily demeans Dae Gil even further, Dae Gil reminds him of the promise he made if Dae Gil survived his fall off the cliff. In Jwa simply disregards it.
However, before anybody can react further, Prince Yeoning makes his move to catch In Jwa. In the process of arresting everyone for illegal gambling, chaos break out. Although Dae Gil is caught, In Jwa instructs Dam Seo to rescue him. Maybe he does not want Prince Yeoning to discover who Dae Gil is…not yet anyway. He wants to disclose this secret on his own terms.
Dam Seo cuts Dae Gil loose and literally drags him away. (She grabs his wrist, just like any other Korean drama. But this time it’s the girl who drags the hero away, not the other way around.) Having made their escape, she notices the blood on his neck and gently puts her handkerchief on the wound. He angrily pushes her hand away telling her to stop pretending she cares. “As long as you call the man who killed my father Teacher, Dam Seo, you’re a monster too.” He continues, saying he regrets calling her his bride to be and that he’s not going to give up his revenge mission. Dae Gil strides away, leaving her looking forlorn. (I really wish she would show more facial reactions).
Back at the gambling house, Yeoning secures his detainees and collects his evidence. Everything looks like a successful sting. During Yeoning’s interrogation, even with the mountains of evidence, In Jwa still smiles confidently as if nothing burdensome will happen. He arrogantly tells Yeoning that things won’t work out as he wishes and even goes so far as to challenge Yeoning to kill him on the spot because that is the only chance he will get.
Meanwhile, Dae Gil dejectedly walks home, replaying In Jwa’s sneering taunts in his mind. When he arrives home he finds Grandpa performing sacrificial rites for him. Upon discovering Dae Gil still alive and well, Grandpa happily squeezes Dae Gil's cheek, hugs him, and gives him a cute kiss. Dae Gil tearfully tells Grandpa he failed to avenge his father death. Now he not only wants to retaliate against In Jwa but also to become better than him.
Meanwhile, Yeoning arrives at the prison to see if the investigation is going well. In Jwa is nowhere to be found among the prisoners. The officer informs Yeoning that In Jwa is at the Euigeumbu. Even as they are speaking, new instructions arrive from the Prosecutor’s office releasing all the prisoners and forgiving their crime. Upon meticulous examination, the Office of Inspection finds all the accounting books are fakes.
Yeonging refuses give up. He searches for the ministers involved but instead finds In Jwa having a cozy discussion with them. He struggles to control his temper as both ministers point out his mistakes and his giving orders without the knowledge of the Crown Prince. Left alone together, In Jwa provokes the Prince further. They hear the two ministers outside suggesting that his disgraceful behavior is on account of his origin as a lowly water maid's son. In Jwa again rebukes Yeoning. With blazing anger Yeoning grabs a sword and swings at In Jwa, slicing the edge of In Jwa hat.
Afterwards Yeoning meets with Crown Prince Yoon to caution him regarding In Jwa motives. Yoon interrupts, telling Yeoning that In Jwa is his special friend; In Jwa is the Crown Prince’s right hand, left hand and holds his heart. He adds that no matter what In Jwa does, Prince Yeonging should feign ignorance for the Crown Prince’s sake, the sake of the court, and the sake of the nation. Yeoning now comprehends how deeply the roots of his dilemma delve. Later, meeting with the king, he cries, disheartened in front of his father and frustrated by the injustice that has taken place.
As usual Dam Seo reports subsequent events to In Jwa, and In Jwa instructs Moo Myung to monitor Dae Gil. In the meantime, Suk Bin, her curiosity rising regarding Baek Man-Geum’s death, questions Yeoning’s bodyguard about events that day. She fails to conceal her happiness when she learns that her first-born still lives and also discovers his new name.
Dae Gil and Grandpa analyze In Jwa winning ways, how he manages to choose the right card each time. Grandpa thinks In Jwa uses specially marked cards. Grandpa relates he actually knew In Jwa, the White Faced Scholar for the mask he wore, during his younger days. And that In Jwa always won.
Determined to defeat In Jwa, Dae Gil resolves to better himself…and there is only one person he knows that can help him. The next morning he begin his journey, and Grandpa gives his blessing. As a sendoff, Grandpa throws his dice. Both come up “DAEBAK’, meaning Dae Gil is taking right path.
Trying to control fate, In Jwa again engages the shaman’s help. She hands him the name of one Hwang Jin Ki, a martial art expert who is in prison for treason and a rival to the imperial swordsman, Kim Chae Gun. Meanwhile, Chae Gun calmly eats his dinner at his mountain hideout when Dae Gil arrives and kneels before him in respect. Dae Gil announces that he’s going to become Chae Gun's disciple and that he’s going off to die; he adds that it’s up to Chae Gun whether his only disciple lives or dies.
He’s brave…or is he foolish to penetrate Demon’s place to free his fellow slaves, including Seol Im? They all sneak out of the barrack, but before they get to the main gate, Demon and his men discover them. Dae Gil tries to hold Demon and his henchmen off, first with the torch and then by closing the gate, after the slaves have fled. Holding the gate shut, he’s beaten mercilessly. Demon, confident that all the slaves will be recaptured, sneers at the bound Dae Gil, explaining that he will kill all the escaping slaves because of Dae Gil’s actions. Moments later, the guards drag Seol Im into the compound—perhaps she hesitated to run because of her attachment to Dae Gil. In any case, Dae Gil shouts that he will kill Demon if he harms Seol Im but to no avail as Demon puts a sickle at Seol Im’s neck. Dae Gil cries out to the empty darkness for help and promises that he will repay a 100 or a 1000 times more. (Does this sound familiar?) Demon may be confused, but we know to whom he shouts. Just as Demon prepares to slice Seol Im’s neck, suddenly Demon’s men get hit and fall from a series of mysterious shots. Chae Gun menacingly emerges through the gate, armed with a log. Insolently calling them out, he starts hitting them one by one as they came forward. Chae Gun wonders why Dae Gil’s doing this crazy thing by himself, and Dae Gil answers that he is not alone. Miraculously, the slaves pour in through the gate, armed with whatever makeshift weapons they could find, and begin attacking Demon and his men. Once Demon and his men are subdued, Seol Im brings out the slaves’ contract documents and burns them. Then she sets fire to the building where they had suffered so much. It is time for them to return home. She hugs Dae Gil and tells him that they have to meet again. It's her promise to him. Chae Gun agrees to take Dae Gil as his disciple.
In Jwa learns about this from Moo Myung, while Dam Seo informs him that Yeoning is determined to learn everything about In Jwa’s background. Back at the mountain, the training starts, with Chae Gun complaining Dae Gil must to lose weight because he keeps thinking of food. Soon enough Demon appears, throwing a sickle at Dae Gil. Chae Gun sees the sickle flying and knocks Dae Gil over. Rushing at them with revenge in mind, he’s left tied and dangling from a tree. As the tiger roars, Chae Gun tells Dae Gil about how angry the tiger is because Dae Gil caused the death of the only female tiger around. Disciple and Master stare at each other knowingly.
Before I watched this episode I thought of the love line, romance...a kiss to be exact. I got more than I asked for, not romance but still not so bad...a kiss, hugs and check squeeze from Grandpa, a hand hold from Dam Seo, and a hug from Seo Im. I was thankful also that Dae Gil did not get beaten as badly as before.
At the start of the episode, In Jwa discussed Mengzi theory which I had not heard of it before. I found out that this person was better known in China as “Master Meng”. Mencius was a fourth-century BCE Chinese thinker whose importance in the Confucian tradition is second only to that of Confucius himself. He is most famous for his theory of human nature, according to which all human beings share an innate goodness that either can be cultivated through education and self-discipline or squandered through neglect and negative influences, but never lost altogether (source: http://www.iep.utm.edu/mencius/ ).
I think this episode wants to show that both brothers are still young, that they lack of preparation and experience to fight the seasoned In Jwa. They have a lot to learn like planning thoroughly, gaining more connections, and thinking ahead of time to outsmart their opponent. In Jwa has been preparing a lifetime, ever since his family was killed. He is an ingenious person as he told Dae Gil of his advantage and capabilities.
Maybe Baek Man-Geum wanted Dae Gil to be ignorant to save him from In Jwa because he remembered In Jwa mentioned that he will die if Dae Gil started to attain greatness. In Jwa recognizes Dae Gil already is strongly courageous even if he is an ignorant boy and only time will shown his greatness. With Prince Yeoning, In Jwa guesses and testes how intelligent the prince is, because at the beginning Prince Yeoning pretends to be a ladies’ man and a drunk.
Dae Gil will need lots of help to catch up in physical and mental knowledge. That help comes in form of the imperial swordsman. Yeoning, on the other hand, has the king to advise him and his mother for support. I’m glad that Dae Gil already has a connection with ordinary people as he shares their burden and suffering even, if he still does not realize it.
One thing I notice is Dae Gil use of the words “100 or 1000” twice in this episode, once when he warns Dam Seo and the other when he calls for Chae Gun to help him. Those are the same words that the king employs in his story about the “monster with one hundred ears and one thousand eyes”. Hmmm...he is his father’s son after all.