The Merchant Gaekju Episode 9 Recap

Two of our main characters meet…unfortunately only one of them was conscious.

The Merchant Gaekju Episode 9 Recap
Bong Sam (Jang Hyuk) has watched in horror as Sung Joo, set on punishing Man Chi and Bang Geum, has first sliced off Bang Geum’s feet. Yuck! When Sung Joo draws his knife to punish Man Chi, Bong Sam intervenes. He tells Sung Joo to stop this. Sung Joo chops off his own hand. Yuck! In an intense conversation, why, is the overarching question. Sung Joo can only offer his reasons, the trust and principals of being a merchant. He tells Bong Sam he must find his own answers.

Needing a break, Bong Sam leaves the cabin and sits down outside unaware that So Gae (Yu Oh Seong), wanting the promissory note, is watching from the surrounding woods.  Bong Sam thinks back to his father’s verdict of death for So Gae’s father and realizes it was a difficult path for his father.

Inside the cabin Sung Joo demands that Man Chi pay with his privates. Yuck! Man Chi tells him it would be better to kill him or he will return and kill him. Sung Joo exits the cabin leaving Man Chi and Bang Geum inside. He tells Bong Sam it is time to return to the stables.

I ask myself, was Bong Sam’s father more merciful with a death sentence than Sung Joo was with mutilation?

So Gae makes his way into the cabin. He finds Man Chi’s coins and then sees slumped bodies of Bang Geum and Man Chi. He leaves a couple of coins for them.

Cheap dude, cheap. Why didn’t he search for the promissory note? Did he assume Dung Joo had it? If so why enter the cabin?

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Head Merchant and his entourage go to the town So Sa (Han Chae Ah) and her entourage are staying. Her father is flattered and surprised when the Head Merchant bluntly says he wants to meet his daughter. So Sa serves soup. The Head Merchant offers a gift…all the portraits of So Sa…which are burned! So Sa’s entourage is gobsmacked. Head Merchant declares he will take So Sa and make her lady of his house. Now So Sa is gobsmacked.

Sung Joo looks at the promissory note and says that they may need to pay Hak Joon interest. Bandits arrive. They fight. Sung Joo is relieved of the promissory note. Bong Sam realizes this was a planned attack to retrieve the promissory note. While on his back, Bong Sam welds a rock and gets the note back. He flees with the bandits in hot pursuit. At a cliff’s edge, they catch up with Bong Sam and put his neck in a grip. So Gae retrieves the promissory note. Good grief, Bong Sam is pushed off the cliff! The head bandit is revealed to be Bong Sam’s sister’s faithful servant Deuk Gae. Bong Sam’s friend hears the bandits say they need to return to Kang Kyeong.

That’s cliff dive number two for Bong Sam! Color me surprised that it was Deuk Gae in charge of the bandits. I hadn’t thought of him as a man of action. I must revise my opinion.

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So Gae and Gae Dong are traveling when she decides to vary from the path. Walking through the leaves, a man’s grabs Gae Dong’s leg. So Gae brushes the leaves away. It is Bong Sam! Gae Dong can’t stop staring at Bong Sam. Join the club, honey, join the club. Bong Sam grabs Gae Dong and tells her to return the promissory note before passing out. So Gae recognizes him from the stables.

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Gae Dong tends to him. So Gae finds his merchant’s name tag. Gae Dong read’s Bong Sam’s father’s name. That upsets So Gae. Gae Dong reads Bong Sam’s name tag. That upsets So Gae.

Finally two of our main characters meet! So Gae knows it is Bong Sam but Bong Sam knows nothing. Loved the line from So Gae “he has a better body than you’d think”. Nice!

Sung Joo et all find evidence that Bong Sam is alive. Bong Sam’s friend is left to search for him while Sung Joo heads to Kang Kyeong to get revenge against Hak Joon.

So Rye (Park Eun Hye) is stoked that Deuk Gae returned with the promissory note. She astutely says the person to kill Hak Joon must be Sung Joo.

Another smart moment for So Rye! Sung Joo wants to hurt Hak Joon, have no fear!

So Gae reels with the knowledge that Bong Sam lays next to him. He’s alive. How? Where is So Rye? So Gae tells him saving his life is payback. He tries to drag Gae Dong away. She won’t leave Bong Sam in such a precarious state. So Gae is gobsmacked. You’ll stay for him, the man whose father killed my father? Gae Dong says your ill fate with this man is your problem, not mine. So Gae can’t leave Gae Dong and their eight year relationship. They are brothers. You got that wrong So Gae! Craftily Gae Dong tells So Gae that he must leave if he wants to achieve his lifetime goal of becoming head merchant. She advises him to go to Kang Kyeong. So Gae believes that Hak Joon is behind this mess. As he leaves he orders Gae Dong to return to him at Kang Kyeong once Bong Sam wakes. Gae Dong says cryptically “once you cross the line, you can never go back.” She asks him to remember those words when he gets in a sticky situation.

Gae Dong impressed me. She’s drawn to Bong Sam. She manipulated So Gae to leave. Is she going to shed the boy clothes next and reveal herself as a woman to Bong Sam?

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Gae Dong tends Bong Sam. Her past is revealed. Her father buried her alive for being a shaman (spiritual guides)! She was saved by her mother and forced to flee. Before she left her mother told her “if you meet the man that can subdue your spirit and marry him, you can live as normal woman”. Ah, so Gae Dong had the instant connection and realization that Bong Sam was “the man” her mother referenced.

Bong Sam’s friend finds him. He wonders if Gae Dong is gay. Bong Sam wakes and is not happy to learn that Sung Joo went to Kang Kyeong for payback.


Hak Joon is surprisingly calm when Sung Joo arrives brandishing an axe. “What took you so long?” is Hak Joon’s question. They fight. Sung Joo surprises Hak Joon by asking why he stole back the promissory note by sending bandits. Hak Joon disavows sending the bandits. Why would he steal his own note he demands. They fight more. When Sung Joo has Hak Joon at a disadvantage, he claims he did not send the bandits. “I don’t do those kind of terrible things”. Sung Joo laughs. I laugh too. The litany of terrible things Hak Joon has done – blackmail, bribery, lying, cheating, stealing…but he won’t send bandits.  Sung Joo accuses Hak Joon of killing Bong Sam’s father. Hak Joon denies setting the trap that caught and killed Bong Sam’s father. So Rye listens intensely and decides to intervene. Why, why? Sung Joo is thwarted. I’m irritated. So Rye tells Sung Joo he better flee before the police arrive. Sung Joo leaves. Hak Joon can’t believe she let him go. This stops the rumors you tried to steal the stables. Hak Joon accepts this lie. So Rye breathes easier.

As Sung Joo leaves, So Gae enters Kang Kyeong.

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Bong Sam hobbles to follow Sung Joo to Kang Kyeong. Bong Sam tells his friend something suspicious is going on with the bandits. Why did they say that Kang Kyeong was their home base? Gae Dong interjects and advises sending a letter. That grabs Bong Sam’s attention.

So Gae interjects himself when Sung Joo doesn’t have the cash to pay the bill at dinner. He gives himself a new name, Gae Dong.

Gae Dong asks Bong Sam to swear he’ll grant her one wish as payback for saving his life. Bong Sam jokes at first but seeing it is important, he does so with sincerity. He reneges, his life is his punishment. They become blood brothers, by drinking each other’s blood in water.

She asks him to meet her for lunch. He’ll know what she wants he they meet. Ah, she wants to reveal she’s a girl.

So Gae whines he has no plan. When he hears Sung Joo has a letter, he intercepts it. He convinces them to give it to him when he guesses it is from Bong Sam.

He reads the letter from Bong Sam which instructs Sung Joo not to leave Kang Kyeong but stay until Bong Sam determines the forces at play. Bong Sam warns Sung Joo to trust no one.

Good advice, Bong Sam, but the wrong guy is reading it!

And the chess match between So Gae and Bong Sam begins!

My Thoughts

The ninth episode finally brought one main character to meet another main character.  So Gae realizes who Bong Sam is. He doesn’t tell him and is ready to thwart him. Yep, it begins between them.

* Bong Sam took another cliff dive and worked to save Sung Joo. Bong Sam’s loyalty is impressive. He recognized there was an issue with the bandits so kudos for that. He did not recognize Gae Dong is a girl, but no one does, I’m over it.

* So Rye saved Hak Joon from Sung Joo’s axe.  So Rye is two steps forward, one step back. She set Hak Joon up, Sung Joo was going for the kill, but when Hak Joon denied he set the trap that caught So Rye’s father she faltered and saved him. For me to be ok with this, there has to be a yet to be revealed reason. Does she think she will get the real reason out of Hak Joon? Does she not know the litany of evil Hak Joon heaped on her father? Just because Hak Joon didn’t set the final trap, he put her father on the path that ended in his death. Yep, the writer is going to convince me again So Rye doesn’t take stupid pills.

* So Gae again proved he only cares for himself. No problem leaving his eight year traveling buddy, Gae Dong, to pursue his dream of head merchant. No problem assuming Gae Dong’s identity to ingratiate himself with Sung Joo. No problem reading Bong Sam’s letter. You get the idea. I did enjoy So Gae’s comment that Bong Sam had a rocking body.

* So Sa was a mere blip as the Head Merchant declared he was taking her. Serving soup has hazards.

* Gae Dong rocked this episode. Breakout episode for this character. She sold me with the instant chemistry with Bong Sam. We got a snippet of her back story – shunned shaman looking for the right man to soothe her spirits. She’s ready to reveal herself to Bong Sam. What will happen to thwart that?

* Sung Joo, Man Chi, and Bang Geum…the aftermath. Man Chi paid with his privates and vowed revenge. Man Chi gave Sung Joo good advice, kill me, or I will hunt you and kill you. Sung Joo couldn’t kill him. I don’t know why. Leaving Bang Guem unable to walk and Man Chi a eunuch, harsh, harsh. Sung Joo’s temper was in full glory this episode. Too bad So Rye interceded on Hak Joon’s behalf.


Asian drama fan

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Posted in Merchant Gaekju, Recaps
15 comments on “The Merchant Gaekju Episode 9 Recap
  1. […] Episode 09   Episode 08   Episode 07   Episode 06   Episode 05   Episodes 03 & 04   Episode 02   Episode 01 […]

  2. Beez says:

    Thanks for the recap ktamusings. We’re already on Ep. 9 so why do I feel I’m not seeing enough Jang Hyuk? (Although he was really good in the opening scenes of this ep.)

    Let me admit just how shallow I am – I can’t get past So Gae’s hair. It looks so “on purpose” scarecrow. Like when an elementary school play neatly cuts out the “jagged” edges of ragged peasants costumes.

    And he and Gae Bong have been together 8 years (!!!) and he hasn’t noticed dude hasn’t hit puberty yet? No facial hair? And they’ve never, not ever, peed together? (We’re talking dudes in the woods here, okay?)

    And how long it takes these characters to do anything. Geez, between So Rye taking EIGHTEEN years to make any kind of move with her revenge and So Gae scrounging in the dirt for 8 years toward his goal of becoming The Greatest Merchant in the Land, it feels like fairy tale land where nobody ages in real time and they have forever to take their revenge. Instead of revenge, So Rye has given that toad face Han Jook some good times over the years.

    Is this a 60 episode drama? Maybe that’s why they’re taking their time?

    • prettysup says:

      This is 36 episode drama so I guess they are indeed taking their time lol..

    • kjtamuser says:

      I just have to ignore the idiocy of the characters not seeing Gae Dong is a girl.

      Good point about the timelines and lack of aging. I wonder if the writer established long timelines to solidify the relationships between the characters and the corresponding actions because of them.

      We’ve got a way to go, as prettysup noted, this is a 36 episode series that will wrap up in January 2016!

  3. prettysup says:

    Yeah finally So Gae and Bong Sam are going to fight. But I do wish Bong Sam takes a longer time to recover from his cliff dive though, would prefer him to wince a bit more and limp a little longer. Love to see my hero injured.

    • Beez says:

      @prettysup Why? No criticism, just curious.

      • prettysup says:

        @Beez lol its just a weird trait of mine.., I just love to see heroes injured and suffering – u know, the angst/hurt/comfort genre is my favourite. I don’t want them to die, just to suffer a bit more hehe…

  4. Drama Fan says:

    I kind of want all of them to stall their respective revenges and further develop relationships. I want to see more of the women but mostly I want to see Bongsam and Sundol adventures 😀

  5. Holly Moon says:

    So Gae’s hair is just weird. I understand, he had his topknot cut off, but that was years ago. So why doesn’t his hair grow?

    • Beez says:

      Exactly! I hear everybody complain about amnesia and birth secrets in kdrama but those don’t bother me at all. But timelines that don’t add up within the story when it comes to actors ages, looks, etc. really irk me. Why say 10 and 8 years have passed when 5 and 2 will do (and fit the story better)? And the whole not recognizing people you know from your mutual teens is ridiculous. I can believe it for childhood friends to change that much, but teens? Everybody I know from 15 to 50 has the same facial features.

      • Drama Fan says:

        I’m not sure about this. I do have a hard time recognizing some old schoolmates after 10 years. Also, remember that these people have not seen each other at all. Nowadays we have pictures and video that help us keep a person’s physical aspect but if we didn’t have that help I’m not sure we wouldn’t start to fiorget. Ot maybe it’s just me. My memory is terrible in general.

  6. nomad says:

    The actings are just superb this episode. I honestly death is much more merciful than all the mutilations Sung Joo did. It’s already a harsh environment to live in, and you add disabilities to that, for both people who are forever going to be shunned by society? Yes…death is much more merciful. I haven’t finished the episode yet, gotta take a breather from all the cutting and blood, it’s too gory for my taste. I know it depicts the time in Juseon, but I’m going to say it anyway…I HATE THE WAY THEY TREAT WOMEN AS ASSETS!!!

    • kjtamuser says:

      Definitely a gritty episode and the violence was more than I wanted to see. You are right, women are possessions in this past time. Glad I live in the present!

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