The ladies had a strong episode. Will So Rye and Bong Sam find each other?
The Merchant Gaekju Episode 7 Recap
Bong Sam (Jang Hyuk) leaves the stables. The head merchants, Jo Sung Joon and Song Man Chi, have it out. Man Chi is insulted beyond belief that Sung Joon would have chosen Bong Sam as the next in line to run the stables. Man Chi rages that he is the right hand man and should be next in line. He can’t take it. He rifles through Sung Joo’s papers and takes the deed to the stable. Sung Joon’s wife, Bang Geum, finds him going through the papers. On impulse he grabs her as he exits the stables. She tries to talk him into returning but he refuses. He asks her to stay. She is torn. In a flashback we see that Man Chi was about to propose to Bang Geum but Sung Joon beat him. Bang Geum gave Man Chi a chance to propose but he refused so she married Sung Joon.
Time makes recognizing each other harder…So Gae (Yu Oh Seong) and Gae Dong take a breather after a uphill hike with all their gear. So Rye (Park Eun Hye) walks past So Gae. She hears the voice, looks, and walk on unaware it is So Gae. He did not see her, so he is clueless about the near miss.
Bong Sam buys eggs.
The stables are in disarray with the exit of Bong Sam, Man Chi and Bang Geum. Sung Joo is mad Man Chi and his wife fled together. He reports them a basically puts a bounty on their heads. Merchant fan out to look to post flyers about them to catch them. The document seemed like an early wanted poster, the circle with names around it looked cool.
The Head Merchant visits, Hak Joon, his brother and other merchants. Hak Joon is pleased to learn that Man Chi made off with Sung Joo’s wife and the stables are on the brink. Hak Joon loves his enemies to suffer!
Bong Sam searches for his sister, So Rye. He recalls her leaving him at the temple, placing a hard boiled egg in his hand and promising to return. Present day, Bong Sam rails to the sky demanding to know why So Rye has not returned as she promised. Sometimes Jang Hyuk’s solo scenes are more powerful. Nice touch that he’s eating hard boiled eggs.
So Gae and Gae Dong happen to stop and rest at the grave sites of his father and Bong Sam’s father. So Gae can’t believe his eyes. He muses that Bong Sam’s father must have lured him to this spot to berate him for not marrying So Rye and letting Bong Sam die.
The doctor shows So Rye the basket of hard boiled eggs he says Bong Sam leaves him. He talks like Bong Sam is still a child. Horrified, So Rye realizes the doctor is not 100% right in his mind. She is crushed. Loved Deuk Gae’s head shake indicated the doctor was bit a soft in the head. As So Rye prepares to leave, she thanks the doctor for saving Bong Sam as a child. She offers him her mother’s hair pin, which she was to give to Bong Sam’s wife to show her gratitude. I would have let Deuk Gae pay the doctor with the coins and kept the heirloom that was intended for Bong Sam. I did think her gratitude to the doctor was lovely. She believed without the doctor, Bong Sam would be dead.
So Gae wonders about So Rye. Is she a maid and miserable? He notes the grave marker costs money, so maybe So Rye isn’t poor and miserable. Gae Dong tells him she believes he will become the greatest merchant in the land.
Bong Sam visits the doctor. He tells Bong Sam that he just missed his sister. Bong Sam doesn’t believe him, at first. Then he realizes, So Rye may have visited. The doctor tells him that So Rye travels in a hand carried pallet. Before Bong Sam runs after his sister, the doctor hands him the hair pin from So Rye. Nice that Bong Sam got the hair pin. I thought he would have recognized it.
Bong Sam searches for So Rye but cannot find her. Ahead on the road he sees a hand carried pallet. He squeezes past the travelers to move closer to it. Everyone is stunned the pallet is dumped over the cliff. This was a deliberate move by the men carrying the pallet. Bong Sam believes So Rye is in the pallet. Faced with So Rye’s death before he is reunited, Bong Sam leaps from the cliff and retrieves the downing woman inside. He staggers out of the river holding the woman he believes is So Rye. The family makes their way down the cliff road to intercept them. I thought Bong Sam hurling himself off the cliff was completely in character.
We learn the background on the woman Bong Sam just saved. She’s a beauty and her father shopped her around to the highest bidder. She ended up marrying a man that recently died. Her father has her back on the market again. The merchants pass a around a drawing of Jo So Sa (Han Chae Ah). The Head Merchant is particularly interested in the drawing.
So Sa is thankful for Bong Sam saving her. She prays that Bong Sam will find his sister. Nice parallel moment with So Sa believing that Bong Sam will get what he desires just like Gae Dong told So Gae he would be a great merchant. The lighting on Jang Hyuk is fabulous, he looks great.
So Sa tells Bong Sam that she has an unfortunate destiny. She realizes this is a chance to escape her father, her life, and the bleak path in front of her. She asks Bong Sam to take her with him. Bong Sam is stunned at the request.
The seventh episode was stronger for the female characters. Looks like Bong Sam may have a new travel companion. This would continue the ongoing parallel path between Bong Sam and So Gae. I liked this episode.
* Bong Sam’s focus was finding his sister. He was bold jumping off the cliff, but it made total sense. Separated for 18 years, the sister he has longed for is drowning below him…trying to save her was logical under those circumstances. My favorite Jang Hyuk moment? I liked the solo scene when he asked the heavens why So Rye had not returned as she promised him as a child. You got the feeling that Bong Sam does not harbor ill will towards his sister for being left behind. I had to laugh when Bong Sam waved his hands in front of So Sa when she asked him to take her with him. Jang Hyuk sold me on the shock and disbelief she’d suggest this. Their chemistry was good. That makes me happy.
* So Rye got closer to Bong Sam than I expected. She and the faithful Deuk Gae talked to the doctor and for a moment, she thought the doctor was her conduit to Bong Sam. But the doctor’s talk made him appear senile and So Rye left disappointed. What a near miss as Bong Sam was there just moments after she left. So Rye’s other near miss was standing close to So Gae but not recognizing him.
* So Gae was stunned to find his father’s and Bong Sam’s father’s grave markers. He spent a moment by his father’s grave but once Gae Dong found Bong Sam’s father’s marker, he quickly shoved her aside. I liked the internal dialog knowing that Bong Sam’s father would be disappointed that he did not fulfill his final wishes to marry So Rye and take care of Bong Sam. I find So Gae likable with a terrific smile.
So Sa’s statement that she had an unfortunate life was an understatement. A father that literally sells her to the highest bidder, not once but twice. Being beautiful doesn’t solve everything. I liked the initial chemistry with Bong Sam. I was glad she told him she was not So Rye. I wondered for a second if she would lie.
Man Chi took Sung Joo’s wife Bang Geum when he fled the stables. That was interesting along with the back story between the three characters. We’d seen them traveling together but romance between the characters had not been a plot point. I liked the rivalry between Sung Joo and Man Chi over Bang Geum. I especially liked the scene where she wanted Man Chi to propose but he refused. Her frustration at his lack of action in the past and her frustration at his present day actions was well done. Sung Joo was a man of action when he sent men to look for them.