Warrior Baek Dong Soo – Episode 25

We back up a little in our story to Chun heading out of town after being stabbed by Dong Soo. What’s nice about this (and a few of the other repeated scenes in the last few episodes) is that it’s re-edited to give a different feel. This one has an extended walk out to the field for Chun, and a flashback to one of my favorite shots of the whole series – Un following Chun away for the first time.

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Anyway, we’re back with Un greeting Chun and then asking why he never once had a lesson from Chun such as Dong Soo just got, only orders. And Chun replying that it was Un’s own choice. Which Un has to admit is true, however going forward, he’ll chose his own path. The rule is that to become Chun Joo, you must kill the previous Chun Joo. Chun acknowledges that and says it’s time. And so the fight begins.

A minute or so of lovely fight and flashbacks later (and this time set to the theme music, instead of the much sadder music of episode 24), Un stabs Chun in the side. They both look shocked. Chun pats Un gently on the shoulder and tells him that is it (in sort of a that’s enough or well done meaning).

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As the score changes to the solemn chant, Un pulls the blade out. Chun pats him on the other shoulder and tells him that he now has the heavens in his hands. Chun turns and starts to stagger off, and Un falls to his knees. Chun stops and tells Un not to follow his path. And in voiceover, Un says he won’t, he’s no longer an assassin, he’s given up that path. Addressing Dong Soo mentally, he says he’ll give it all up.

Meanwhile, Jin Ju is walking down a path, presumably headed home, when she’s stopped by troops being led by Un.

Chun limps away, like a wounded bear looking for a place to die. Jin Ju slowly walks out in front of him, looking behind her. He smiles to see her, and she quietly tells him to go back. However, they are surrounded by troops with Un and Hong there as well. The score shifts to the slow piano version of the theme song.

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First one archer shoots Chun in the leg, and then another shoots. He shakes his head, and Jin Ju starts to cry. He finally reaches her, and tells her that he is so sorry. The Hongs smirk in the background as she begs him to go back. Hong1 orders a volley of arrows, and Chun spins Jin Ju around and down, so that he takes the arrows in the back. Chun smiles at her and tells her not to cry anymore. As he tells her it’s ok, Dae Ung fires his crossbow, and puts a bolt into Chun’s back.

Chun dies in the arms of the weeping Jin Ju. ::cue momosan’s tears, because truly, Choi Min Soo has carried most of this show for me for 25 episodes and he went out like a star::

A bit of flowing water and undetermined amount of time later, we arrive at Sa Mo’s, where Jin Ju and Ji Sun are sorting ginseng, while Sa Mo and Jin Ki are playing a board game. Three men arrive and ask for Dong Soo. Sa Mo tells Jin Ju to deal with the men, who are getting angry to be ignored.

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Jin Ju asks if they are looking for a swordfight. They ask if she’s Dong Soo. She sighs and tells him to pay, and points at a cash box. A fist fight is 5 yang, a fight with a staff is 10, and a sword is 20. They toss the money in. Jin Ju dusts off her hands, and the next thing you know, the fighter is tossed out of the yard and lands in the road.

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Meanwhile, on a town street, another fight is going on. As his hand is raised in victory, we see that it’s Dong Soo. As the crowd learns that it’s him, he is roundly congratulated and feted. He’s been making a name for himself.

Back at the Assassins HQ, an underling brings in Jang Tae San and Baek Myun Young, two of the fighters from the list who Chun had fought and beaten. Un blindfolds himself and takes them both on. He wins handily and also wins their respect. He then enlists their help.

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Dong Soo is eating a meal and sketching fighting techniques when he is rudely interrupted by another challenger who smashes his table with a huge blade. Dong Soo sighs and after insulting the oversized weapon, he easily disarms the guy with his book and a few kicks. And then he calmly asks for another meal.

He returns to sketching, when Hong Do, the artist arrives for a visit. He greets Dong Soo as “Young Suk” – which the caption handily tells us is a different translation of the characters of his name. Hong Do says he’s been wandering around painting, and guess who he ran across here in the backwater village of Naju – Cho Rip!

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As they happily sit and drink, Dong Soo asks what they are really there for. Cho Rip tells him that a few weeks earlier a mudang gave a prophecy that has rattled the court. And we see that the mudang was visited by the Hongs, when she gave the prophecy that the Prince had to die for the country to prosper. Lord Hong handed her a sack of money and told her that her prophecy had better not change, even with a sword to her neck.

The prophecy had spread by rumor, causing panic and unrest. Then the guards found a voodoo doll the mudang had made buried outside the Prince’s palace. And the mudang persisted with the prophecy, even until she died.

Then there was a shooting star falling over the palace, another bad omen. Even worse, the King caught a cold that day and has been in bed ever since, so everyone is jumpy.

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Dong Soo asks what he can do about any of that. Not much, but it turns out that a fight club/gambling hall has opened in town. Anyone can fight, and lots of money is being wagered. Among the fighters is Jin Ju, wearing a Phantom of the Opera half mask, getting in a return to some badassery.

Rumor has it, partly because they keep showing up, that Lord Hong is behind this place somehow. And so they want Dong Soo to come back to town to look into things.

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Over at Assassins HQ, Un looks around the main hall and recalls Chun telling him that it holds the history of the place. Gu Hyang arrives and asks him if he really intends to disband the Assassins guild. He tells her that he won’t force her to help him, but she can. She tells him it won’t be easy, there is a lot of history in behind the guild, and so many branches and deals with various people reaching into so many places.

He agrees, but says if he doesn’t do it, someone else will come along and rebuild it. So, he wants to remove it down to the last root. She agrees to help him.

Next, Dae Ung is enjoying a meal of chicken without apparently bothering to cook it. He starts trying to think of ways to get rid of Dong Soo. He still has the payment he got from Lord Hong for helping to take out Chun and seems to have a plan in mind.

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In the palace, the King is recovering from his cold, as the Queen pounds home the prophecy while being overly solicitous. She meets with her father and Lord Hong and reports that the King is getting spooked, but the rest of their plan needs to be worked out in detail.

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Over at the gisaeng house, Un leads a meeting of merchants, attended also by Hong1 and the toady. He insists that their cut of the proceeds is going to be 70%. The merchants protest that this is too much, however he points out that without Lord Hong, their monopolies would be broken up immediately. One of the merchants protests and gets up to leave, saying that he doesn’t care whose support they had, this is too much. Another gets up as well. Un stands up and stabs one of them. Then he tells the others that if they are going to withdraw, do it now. (HAHAH! – no, we aren’t told what their monopolies are specifically, but let’s assume that Lord Hong has been getting a smaller cut and enforcing the monopolies by his control of licenses and such.) Hong1 reports to his father that Un had a firm look about him as he did this, and Lord Hong chuckles as he thinks to himself that Un has come around to their way of doing things.

Hong lists a long list of commanders and officials that he wants to meet at the gisaeng house. Everyone except the commander of the Royal Guards, General Seo – who Hong hates and can’t control.

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Back at the Assassins, Gu Hyang tells Un that the guy he stabbed will recover easily and has agreed to leave town. She hands him a list of Noron officials who are getting kickbacks from merchants. It’s a big list.

He sends the two fighters to the fight club to see if they can infiltrate and find out what Lord Hong is doing funding the place.

Another underling comes in to report that Dong Soo and friends should be back in town soon. Un tells him to keep a close eye on them and report back.

Dong Soo is welcomed home, and hears from Sa Mo that Jin Ju has been going down to the fight club. Ji Sun takes him to see it. Curiously, the guy selling tickets to the place is Dae Ung. Also in attendance are Hong1 and Hong2.

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Dong Soo and Ji Sun arrive just as Jin Ju is about to fight. Dong Soo watches and observes the crowd as Jin Ju wins. As she pockets her winnings, Jin Ki arrives and hauls Jin Ju off by the ear.

Dae Ung goes in the club and bribes the front man into telling him where the Hongs are taking the successful fighters.

Jin Ki wants to know what the heck she is doing, and she tells him that since the merchants are squeezing them out, the trading business is short on money. It’s an easy way for her to get some cash for them. Dong Soo and Ji Sun catch up with them, and say hello. Ji Sun comes to Jin Ju’s defense. The local merchants with monopolies are all squeezing out the smaller ones, and having to pay bribes to the merchants to trade. The trade group could use the cash. Jin Ki on the other hand wants her to stop acting like a tomboy, get married, and behave like a lady like Ji Sun. Oh wellz.

They review the martial arts book Dong Soo has been working on, and Sa Mo tells him that he reminds him of Gwang Taek more and more. Dong Soo says the book should be used for the army as a training manual, as the Prince wants.

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Dae Ung finds the house where the successful fighters are staying and snoops around. We meet one who seems to be in charge of them (which amuses me because he’s played by a guy who was one of the Prince’s bodyguards in Yi San.) Dae Ung shows them his box of gold and offers them that and more to kill Dong Soo.

Ji Sun and Mi So spot Hong1 and the toady in the market picking up large orders of odd supplies and checking on others. When they report that, Jin Ki figures out that those supplies are for making swords, but these aren’t government orders, so it must be Lord Hong himself who wants the supplies. Ordering weapons supplies for his own use seems more than odd, so Sa Mo tells Dong Soo to figure out what it’s all about.

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At the gisaeng house, Lord Hong heads up what seems to be a meeting of military officials, but one of them notes that General Seo isn’t there. Hong makes the excuse that Seo can’t leave while the King is sick.

Hong wines and dines the officials, and tests their temperaments by serving them water and telling them it’s wine. When they all agree that it’s a fine, fine wine, he knows that they are loyal to whatever he says.

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The King is recovering, and calls in the Prince. He tells him that since he’s been down with this illness, he realizes that he needs to hand over things to the Prince to let him be the regent and get practice governing.

The Queen calls in her father and Lord Hong, and they tell her that they can’t allow this to happen, it is a step too close to letting the Prince rule. So they decide to speed up the schedule of their plan.

At the Assassins, Un gets his reports at a table covered with packages wrapped in red. First Tae San reports that the fighters all seem average, but the good ones are being picked out for some reason. Gu Hyang points out that this means the Hongs won’t have to rely on the Assassins for some things. Finally, he’s told that everything is ready, so he tells them to follow him.

In a flashback, we see Lord Hong giving him a fake royal seal. Now Un and his assassins deliver those fake seals – the packages – around town. It’s a setup, anyone who gets the seal and goes to Hong for answers is loyal to Hong.

Dong Soo heads back to the fight club to check it out some more. He signs in as a fighter, and with a blow and a kick sends the first guy he faces clean out of the ring.

Hong1 reports back to his father that Dong Soo has shown up at the club, but he tells them it was to be expected, and to keep to their plan. The officials who got the seals start showing up to ask Hong what the heck he meant by testing them. He tells them that it was a command of the Queen, because the King has suggested a regency period for the Prince.

The police are rounding up the officials who didn’t go to Hong, arresting them for treason for having the fake seal.

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Un keeps an eye on all the proceedings, concluding that a military coup is in the offing. Hong calls him in to chat and Un cuts to the chase. He asks if it’s treason, and says it must be, otherwise Hong wouldn’t be being so polite to him. Hong agrees, and says he needs Un’s help. Un basically says “yeah, with what?” Hong tells him not to be in a hurry, first he needs to meet someone, and he brings out Kenjo.

Back at Sa Mo’s, they get word of the regency plan from Cho Rip. Not only is the palace all a twitter, but Seo reports that the Norons seem to be up to no good. Dong Soo points out that these are the same people that killed the Crown Prince, so whatever they are up to can’t be good.

Hong cheerfully sits with Kenjo and Un and offers drinks. Un asks rudely why Kenjo is back in Joseon. (Actually what I love about this scene, and most scenes with Un and Kenjo from this point on, is that Un pretty much refuses to even acknowledge, let alone speak to Kenjo.) Kenjo says he’s there for the same reason as Un. Hong chuckles and tells them to loosen up, he’s going to take them someplace interesting tomorrow.

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That place, of course, is the fight club. Although Dong Soo tries to dissuade her from fighting, she brings Dong Soo along to show him around some more. Inside, Tae San is making short work of another fighter.

Jin Ju goes in the ring, and fights a guy with an ax as Lord Hong’s party arrives to watch. As Kenjo spots Dong Soo in the crowd…we end episode 25.

And because it really is one of my favorite images from the whole series….

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Oh, my poor Chun. My little furry heart, which bleeds for long haired fighting men in black, just breaks that you would go out like that. Snuffle. Snuffle. And not even an indication of a funeral or who mourned other than Jin Ju. Snuffle. So, let’s say a fond farewell to my favorite assassin. He almost got Song Il Kook’d there, but at least he died in the arms of Jin Ju, and not alone on a beach. Snuffle snuffle. I was actually hoping that he’d die in Un’s arms, but dying in Jin Ju’s was one last reflection of the whole triangle with Gwang Taek. And yes, the screencap at the top is from episode 24. Because it was pretty. Snuffle.

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19 thoughts on “Warrior Baek Dong Soo – Episode 25

  1. eep! there’s a bad typo I thought I had fixed. Sigh. It’s Dae Ung with Hong and the troops, not Un. So, Dae Ung is the one who shoots with the crossbow. My bad…

  2. Yes, right, it was Dae Ung who killed Chun, i thought I had missed something in the episode. The scene where our beloved dae ung eats his chicken raw was …bleah… blood all over his mouth, terrible.
    Good bye, Chun! You are the coolest character ever !

  3. I stopped watching WBDS, but I had begun watching it because I love Choi Min Soo. It’s just that I can’t bear to see what happens to him. I’m scarred from his 1990s epic. His recent turn as the father with a heart of gold didn’t help. (Yeah, all this vague language is my trying to avoid spoiling those dramas for others.) I don’t think I could have been functional after seeing him die this sadly.

    Drama Gods, please, please, please give Choi Min Soo a happy ending one of these days?

  4. I kind of felt sad that Chun wasn’t mourned. Un should have been the one to kill him. But I guess they didn’t want to make Un look too bad. It was a sad way to die, being killed by none other than Dae Ung. But I guess everyone had a hand in his death, DS, YW and those 20 odd soldiers.

  5. Oh I’m sorry, that heaving mess on the floor you see over there is me after watching Cheon die. OMG. Literally sobbing aloud at that one but damn was it an awesome death scene. The guy had a popped blood vessels in his one eye and looked like a walking corpse bless him! Twas disgustingly beautiful really. And I was also sad he pretty much went out alone but at least we got one last touching Jin Joo moment which was all that really mattered anyways since he considered her his family.

  6. Wasn’t the First Rule of Fight Club was *never* to talk about Fight Club? :)

    Dammit, if Choi MIn Soo doesn’t win some sort of award when all those awards are handed out at the end of 2011, I will punch out a samini or two… And as it was explained to me by one of my Korean buddies, criminals and related bad guys didn’t receive funerals. It’s kinda like that to this day, with an exponential increase in pauper’s graves throughout the country.

    But I digress. It was a great, but bittersweet episode. I was happy (for lack of a better term) that Cheon did not need to crawl under a bush and die alone, which is what I feared after him being previously wounded by both Woon-ah and Dong Soo. That would not sit right for such a deeply-nuanced character. Best part was the calm and collected way Dong Soo asked for another set table after seeing his first meal be hacked to bits. Too cool.

    Only four more to go, momosan! FIGHTING!!!

    • Yep, that’s true about the criminals. For instance, when Chun thought he had killed Dae Ung, he just had him tossed in a ditch. However, Ji got a lovely send off, and dagnab it, Chun deserved some respect. Or at least someone more than just Jin Ju to cry for him. Besides, that was an ugly transition, wasn’t it. From his death to all light and sunshine in the courtyard some time later.

      • Ohh… So glad you noted the tonal shift. I have seen Lee Hyun-jik’s work before and he is bipolar but makes it work — but not always. I had an issue with the way a variety of moods seemed hacked together in episode 2, this episode and something in a much later episode. But maybe Kim Hong-seon is to blame, too. I loved the way everything lingered and continued to linger till the bitter end with Sado and then there was Ji. Yet it varied for other characters which just feels so cruel. I also blame Yoon Soyi for not really giving Jinju the depth her character deserved, it was pretty disheartening. She could react in the moment but there was just no continuation.

        Still, Choi Min-soo proved yet again that he is a freaking legend.His Cheon went out magnificently (my poor exploded heart). Plus, this was his longest TV appearance after almost a decade, hope he’s rewarded for his inspiring turn as Cheon. But then awards shows have been farcical lately. Er, always were?

        Well noted @anais, sadly, those are not the only shows they’ve done that to him. *chokes back tears*

      • If you think Chun’s death wasn’t mourned for wait till you get to the last episode (more like second to last, cause last is just extra stuff) of the series and you’d want to bang your head against the laptop…I did and I don’t even understand/speak Korean.

        In a way though when most people don’t mourn him sends out a pretty strong message. The message being that when you do wrong deeds and people know that (like killing people for living) no matter how much good you do your life is for naught. And for an Asian drama what other way to show it but having only one person acknowledge/mourn your death. I am an Indian and we have a saying that says that how a person has lived his life is reflected during their funeral or something similar.

        In a way I like this drama but it could have been epic because the main actors are really good (only one exception being the Ji sun), but it felt like writing faltered a bit. It feels like writers catered to the viewers way too much towards the end or either that they wrote themselves in to a corner.

        • @heartzeal, I’m still too emotionally bankrupt to even utter Word One about the Finale… in fact, Episodes 27, 28 and 29 continue to rattle around in my brain and I’m still trying to make sense out of everything. (Thinking about that one scene near the end — and you could probably guess which one — is STILL bringing tears to my eyes even as I type this.) I have 5 pages (single-spaced) of jumbling thoughts written out, but I should probably light a fire to them (and my own brain) and pretend nothing ever happened. Sigh.

          I agree with you on the way other cultures hold their funerals/memorial services. I’m (half) Irish, and if me and my family and friends do not send off the deceased with a heavily-attended wake full of singing sad songs and copious amounts of alcohol, then we haven’t properly done our job. Going hungover to the church mass the day after helps with the solemnity and subduedness of the service at least… :)

          @supah, amen about the Awards Shows. It’s all about what the kids are crushing on these days that rules… durn young’uns! Hopefully we’ll be pleasantly surprised — I mostly watch them to see the stars’ Fashion Do’s and Don’ts assaulting my eyeballs. :)

          • Actually I have reached my conclusion after mulling over the finale for days and y’know what? It was glorious! In context – glorious! A little Sandglass-inspired but with a twist of its own. Will type up this theory on momosan’s finale recap *hears collective groans*. Whut?? (Oh yes, there were flaws, not going to deny that, but… more on that later.)
            Le sigh. Drama watching is and should always be a personal thing, it’s you who invests your time, heart and soul (and rivers of tears) into a show, so respeck to everyone’s personal opinions (just not those opinions heavily influenced by majority opinion/those tasteless articles comprising ending spoilers/Yoo Seungho’s hormonal fangirls), While it won’t wind up in my Top 10, I loved this little treasure of a manhwa adaptation. It kept me thoroughly entertained and kicked ass from beginning to end.

            And back to this episode, yeah, Choi Minsoo… he kicked ass and took names.

            • I’ve mulled over the finale for days too. I still feel irritated (read: stomping mad) at the writers. I’m not a big fan of YSH. I think he’s cute and all, but I couldn’t sit through GOS and haven’t even tried Flames of desire. But I thought that YW was such an interesting character and I felt for him much more than DS. If any other good actor had played YW, I still would feel the same way. With DS, I was really just drooling over JCW.

              Anyway, hopefully your thoughts might make me feel better and give me a perspective on the show that I just can’t see right now. Looking forward to it.

            • I couldn’t watch God of Study either, because I’m a fan of Abe Hiroshi and had enjoyed Dragon Zakura. I really didn’t want to see a k-version. YSH was actually pretty good in Queen Seondeok, and I suspect he took the part of Un in part after watching KNG burn up the screen with Bidam. The anti-hero is often more fascinating that the hero.

              And yeah, there’s a reason I’m a -san – Choi Min Soo FTW for me. I think the boys are cute enough that I wouldn’t mind fixing them up with my young relatives but that’s only proof I’ve turned into one of my aunties. 8-) But yes….thoughts are being formulated over here at Casa Momosan. BTW, the WBDS special is really cute. It’s funny that Jin Ki was the NG king – he is a riot.

            • I say I’m not a fan of YSH but I have watched most of his work to date, including all of GoS, FoA and some of QSD (urgh, acronym-hater here). But I’ve never really took to any of his characters (maybe in The Way Home, yeah) and actually detested him as bratty Kim Chunchu the most. Took me a long while to warm to the tragically emo Woonah, but I eventually succumbed to the pretty.

              Yeah I watched the special too, Sung Ji-ru was definitely NG king, he was infectious, I couldn’t stop laughing either. Also when CMS sneaked up on Yoon Jimin and whistled in her ear, her reaction was hysterical! Had to replay it a good few times.

            • Ooooh, momosan… Abe Hiroshi kawaii desu ne!! I’m a huge fan of his too, ever since “My LIttle Chef” was being chopped up into 30-minute segments and shown Saturday nights on the late, great KTSF. Good times… I did make it through all of GoS, but that’s only because I was housebound after having foot surgery in March 2010 when it was on KBS World and needed *something* to keep my mind off my pain… questioning along the way WTF was up with all the child stars (clueless about the whole ‘idol-acting’ thing at that time), and why Bae Doo Na took on such a strange project. :) It wasn’t until WDBS started promotions and I started spazzing out over JCW’s new project. Then You Guys then pointed out that YSH was one of the leads in both GoS and Flames… I put two and two together, came up with JAILBAIT, and settled down to wallow in the eye candy goodness of both the Boy Leads. (The Manes of Glory also sealed the deal for me. I’m really really really shallow…)

              Finally got a chance to watch the Special again. LOVED IT!! Geez, it seems like *ages* ago when WDBS aired its first episode… ::sniffle::

  7. Thanks for the recap!
    (Almost read some spoilers up there! I had to avert my eyes and speed the scroll!)

    I liked that even though jerky-jerk Dae-ung fired the final blow, it took SO many people to finally bring down Chun. Not one person could take credit for his death as he was that strong of a life force.
    He died powerfully.

    How about this game? Every time Hong drinks, we take a shot. Is this a joke by the writers? All he seems to do is scheme to kill the Prince Heir and drink from his little metal bowl.

    Does anyone at this point understand what Un is up against to shut down the Assassins, or is it yet to be explained?

    I am so looking forward when Un kills a Hong. It had better happen!

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