The Merchant Gaekju Episode 18 Recap

Someone pays the ultimate price…who is it?

The Merchant Gaekju Episode 18 Recap

mg_ep18_1a mg_ep18_1bTo save Bong Sam, So Rye (Park Eun Hye) meets with So Gae (Yu Oh Seong).  She hugs him. She stabs him with her her hair pin. So Gae pulls away furious. So Rye says she’ll trade him for Bong Sam. So Gae runs away. Sung Joo and his men take after him but to no avail.

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Bong Sam (Jang Hyuk) is thrown at So Gae’s feet. He tells Bong Sam that she wanted to save him. So Gae urges him to confess. Bong Sam refuses to make a false confession. So Gae urges the judge to make a decision without Bong Sam’s confession.

Sung Joo and So Rye hear the judge will make a decision soon. Sun Dol rides his horse to deliver news. What is it?

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The judge declares Bong Sam et all stole grain. He sentences them to beheading. Sun Dol arrives with Bo Hyun’s letter. The judge stares at the letter confused. So Gae announces to Bong Sam et al in the morning they will be released. Battered, bruised, but not beaten the men celebrate. Sun Dol reminds Bong Sam he still must handle the Head Merchant. Tomorrow, tomorrow, Bong Sam declares.

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So Gae reads Bo Hyun’s letter to set Bong Sam free. In heat sensitive secret ink, Bo Hyun directs So Gae to kill So Rye who knows his secrets and kill Bong Sam if he wishes.

Bong Sam et al leave the prison. So Rye is stunned to see his condition. He laughs. The men bow. She can only smile.

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So Rye helps him through the woods. So Rye declares they will stay stuck together forever.

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So Gae and his minions wait for Bong Sam and So Rye to come into shot range. So Gae tells his men not to miss. So Rye sees the men and throws her body in front of Bong Sam using herself as a human shield. She must have taken 6 bullets, I can’t imagine she could survive. In Bong Sam’s arms he begs her to live. How can he go on without her? Sorry, this time there is no miracle. She tells him she’ll come back again (reverting to their childhood parting when she left him in the shrine). They are crying. I am crying. Bong Sam promises to wait for her. So Rye praises him. She dies. So cruel to have her taken from him 3 times in a lifetime. Bong Sam weeps the pain of loss. I’m feeling this death folks.

So Gae that scumbag. He is a slave to money and power. He still isn’t loathsome. He doesn’t spew evil words or enjoy hurting puppies, but maybe that’s worse. He is self-serving, self-absorbed, and it doesn’t even register that killing childhood friends is a horrible thing. It is merely what must be done to advance his own agenda.

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Bong Sam gets drunk by the grave. So Gae finds him. I am gobsmacked that So Gae has the gall to visit So Rye when he’s the one that killed her! Unbelievable! Bong Sam punches him. So Gae claims it is Bo Hyun’s fault. He pushes Bong Sam to the ground. Lies! So Gae says So Rye knew Bo Hyun’s secrets and her death saved him. Bong Sam declares he killed his sister twice. Dude, do not believe that twisted logic. Open your eyes. Every time So Rye died, So Gae was there, leading, instigating, caring out a plan to make it happen.

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So Sa’s maid, Wol, tells her the grain ship is arriving. So Sa knows that means Bong Sam will return if he’s alive.

The Head Merchant meets So Gae and compliments him for returning safely. So Gae tells him everything he learned was from him. The Head Merchant asks about Bong Sam and learns he is still alive.

Gol Dae and Sun Dol rouse Bong Sam from his drunken stupor. They understand his pain. Bong Sam says his sister died because of him.

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Bong Sam literally falls down drunk in front of the Head Merchant. The Head Merchant asks if he kept his promise. Lose 1 grain of rice and he loses his head. Bong Sam declares he lost 2000 bags of rice. The Head Merchant orders the rice unloaded. He’ll deal with Bong Sam later.

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Bo Hyun rewards So Gae with a house. Mae Wol (aka Gae Dong (Kim Min Jung)) enters the house first. So Gae bows. Bo Hyun declares the So Gae, the hawk, caught the snake, the Head Merchant. Mae Wol comments that the Head Merchant is an old crafty snake. Mae Wol recommends that Bo Hyun make So Gae the new Head Merchant. Mae Wol urges So Gae to determine a way that the Head Merchant will accept him.

Not as dumb as he looks, Bo Hyun realizes that So Gae and Mae Wol are frenemies and not to be trusted completely.

So Gae drinks heavily. Mae Wol asks what is bothering him. Is it lost of parent, child, or woman? She realizes So Rye is involved. So Gae admits that it is because of him So Rye died. Mae Wol cuts him off. So Rye’s fate was to die. So Gae declares only Mae Wol understands him. That a dubious honor in my opinion.

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Bo Hyun lies to the Head Merchant with the loss of the rice, he was concerned for him. His plan, which was approved by the Government, provides a new assistant, So Gae. Head Merchant declares he does not need an assistant and certainly does not want So Gae. Bo Hyun is blunt. Either accept So Gae or lose his position as Head Merchant. He is cornered!

Head Merchant tells his man in front of So Sa (Han Chae Ah) that Bong Sam will be punished for losing the rice. Bong Sam is playing games drunk while Sun Dol and Gol Dae watch. The Head Merchant’s men arrive to take Bong Sam. Sun Dol and Gol Dae are shoved aside and Bong Sam is taken to the Head Merchant’s home.

mg_ep18_11dSo Sa watches upset. Wol advises So Sa not to anger the Head Merchant. So Sa must do something. She finds the Head Merchant. She drops to her knees and begs for Bong Sam’s life. Head Merchant says a deal is a deal. So Sa boldly declares Bong Sam is father of her baby. She declares she should be killed instead. The Head Merchant walks away as she cries for mercy for Bong Sam.

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Bong Sam is drunk as a skunk when the Head Merchant accuses him of owing him major money for losing the rice. His life is now in jeopardy. Bong Sam declares he is ok with dying. The Head Merchant declares he will kill him here and now. Bong Sam tells him to kill him. So Sa watches tears in her eyes. Both men see her. Bong Sam urges the Head Merchant to kill him. She entreats her husband to save Bong Sam. He in turns declares himself a loser. The Head Merchant says he is so pathetic he doesn’t deserve to die. The Head Merchant declares he was the fool to hire Bong Sam. The Head Merchant orders him thrown out. Bong Sam yells kill me but he is tossed out. Sun Dol and Gol Dae prop him up. So Sa watches tears in her eyes. Bong Sam sees her crying. He walks away.

The Head Merchant can’t believe his situation. He stares at the painting of So Sa the lured him to this fate. He wishes he’d never seen it or decided to marry So Sa.

Bong Sam drinks ashamed of So Sa saving him and declaring himself a bug not worthy of being saved. He looks to the heavens.

So Gae visits the former Head Merchant’s assistant who is not happy to see him. So Gae asks for his decision. So Gae understands working for him would chafe his pride but the alternative is to be captive forever. He agrees. So Gae smiles.

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So Gae, the former assistant arrives yelling for the Head Merchant. He’s shocked to see the former assistant. So Gae informs the Head Merchant he is his assistant. So Gae has him bow which he does. So Gae taps him with his foot to rise. Please tell me the former assistant will extract revenge against So Gae one day. He’s slippery snake that eludes justice. So Gae says they need someone to take over the stables.

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Sung Joo visits the perpetually drunk Bong Sam at the stables. Sung Joo orders him to get up and force ably pulls him up and out of the hut. Sung Joo shows him his father’s merchant sign that So Rye kept all these years. Bong Sam is surprised to see it. Sung Joo says So Rye left if for him. So Rye never forgot that the goal was to reestablish Chun Merchant Group. Sung Joo tells Bong Sam to snap out his pathetic state. Make his sister proud. Buck up. Bong Sam looks to heavens and smiles. He touches the sign and bows. He raises his head and promises to try and move on, to become the elder merchant, to not embarrass his father. Sung Joo nods approvingly. Bong Sam hovers over the sign.

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Man Chi beats his head assistant. Why didn’t he kill Bong Sam as Man Chi ordered? He chops his finger off as penance. Man Chi isn’t impressed. He walks away to join Bong Sam. Recall Bong Sam promised the Stable Gang he’d help them become merchants after the voyage. This infuriates Man Chi.

Bong Sam runs his hands over his father’s sign. He remembers his father’s words that money can hurt and help people. He asks the heavens what he should do now.

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Bong Sam meets with So Gae per his request. Bong Sam refuses So Gae’s hospitality saying their relationship no longer includes drinking and smiling together. So Gae says they are both merchants. Bong Sam says no alcohol until he is put in charge of the stables. So Gae tells him in 10 days he better be gone from the stables. Bong Sam asks for 1 year. He tells So Gae he owes him. The debt can be paid by giving Bong Sam 1 year to run the stables. So Gae agrees he owes Bong Sam. So Gae asks if Bong Sam is willing to risk his merchant ID as part of this deal. If the money isn’t repaid in 1 year, then Bong Sam must give up his merchant ID and leave forever. Bong Sam agrees. So Gae’s smiles. He believes Bong Sam will never be able to raise 300,000. Hmm, he jacked the price.

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Bong Sam intercepts the Head Merchant. He kneels in front of the Head Merchant. Bong Sam ask how he can raise big money. The Head Merchant stares in disbelief. So Sa stares in disbelief. Bong Sam faces says “believe it…I’m serious”.

My Thoughts

So Gae and Bong Sam are now at odds. Bong Sam sees So Gae clearer than he ever has. Does he really understand the extent of So Gae’s tactic to use anyone and everyone to further his agenda? Probably not, but he has the gist of it. So Gae for his part, was more than willing to kill Bong Sam but was thwarted. Now he’s got a new plan to eradicate Bong Sam and stop him from being a threat to So Gae.

* Bong Sam thrice separated from his sister now has an eternal separation. How bittersweet that Bong Sam had such a small window of time and minimum scenes with So Rye before So Gae and his minions killed her. I hated seeing Bong Sam self-flagellate blaming himself for So Rye’s 2 deaths (over the cliff and by gunfire). Self loathing was the order of the day for Bong Sam. Anger is a phase of grief so it all makes sense.

* So Gae is a user and able to justify any action if it furthers his agenda.  So Gae has crossed the line many times in this series. I got mad this episode when he had the gall to visit So Rye’s grave and tell Bong Sam that the blame lies squarely with Bo Hyun. What a lie! Bo Hyun said kill So Rye and Bong Sam’s life was So Gae’s decision. But the key is that So Gae’s actions directly lead to So Rye’s death. Under orders doesn’t cut it. So Gae did the deed. He brought the minions to Bong Sam and So Rye in the woods. He told them not to miss. He told them to reload to kill Bong Sam but was thwarted when others arrived on the scene.

* So Sa pleaded for Bong Sam’s life. The Head Merchant want to live in fantasy land and have everyone pretend the baby is his. So Sa would have not of that under the circumstances. She openly declared Bong Sam was the baby’s father. Her pain over seeing Bong Sam suffer was tangible.

* Gae Dong / Mae Wol promoted So Gae. She supported So Gae as the next Head Merchant. Bo Hyun realized both Mael Wol and So Gae are using him, but he is using them too.

* So Rye died…for real. So Rye, So Rye, what can I say? For many years you plotted but got no where to revive your father’s business. Now Bong Sam will take the flag and run with it. So Rye, your death scene was moving. You weren’t the greatest sister or brightest merchant, but you had heart and you never wavered in your desire to find your brother and revive your father’s business. Your execution of your wishes was subpar but your heart was in the right place.

Shout out to Prettysup pswho informs us that the series may be extended 4 episodes from 36 to 40 (link to article). This surprises me. I did not think the rating were considered good for this series. Looking at the AGB ratings posted at Asianwiki (link to ratings at bottom of page), they have risen from 8% to 12%.

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Posted in Merchant Gaekju, Recaps
28 comments on “The Merchant Gaekju Episode 18 Recap
  1. Drama Fan says:

    So Gaeeeeeeeeee!!!!!! I don’t even knowwww what I feel for him. He is just soooooo eeeevillllll. I like the Head Merchant for some reason. And Bongsam, there were moments I felt sorry and others where I wanted to smack him! But he did have a perfect reason to go crazy 😦 Im just glad he got back on his feet by the end of the ep. Go Bongsamee!

    • prettysup says:

      Yeah, ep 19 gets more exciting after the real business starts!

    • kjtamuser says:

      I do find So Gae an interesting evil character. He doesn’t swirl his mustache and swear revenge but he cuts down anyone in his path without blinking an eye.

    • Jane Tilly says:

      So Rye was looking her best when she had herself all dolled up to seduce and stab So Gae. I loved the way her hair was styled! I was really hoping she would be successful and was so VERY SAD her time with Bong Sam ended; it would have been nice if they could have spent more time together. 😦

  2. prettysup says:

    The scene at SR’s grave – BS’s eyes were so swollen sob sob – I wonder was it done by makeup or did JH really cry so much until his eyes got so swollen? It takes a lot of crying to make the eyes so swollen..

    • Drama Fan says:

      I think its because he cries for real and he has had a lot of crying scenes. I imagine they don’t all get done in one take etc? So yeah my theory is they are swollen for real.

      • Beez says:

        Plus,watch JH in the later episodes of all of his dramas even if he hasn’t been crying. I think he has more of tendency to really get some heavy eyebags when he’s very tired. (Courtesy of those live shoot schedules.)

        A lot of you guys mentioned you didn’t finish FTLY – his eyebags were soooo very huge that I was wondering if it had become permanent or if he would need surgery to continue his career.

        • Drama Fan says:

          @Beez Despite eye bags I think JH has a tendency to look more beautiful as the drama progresses. It’s magical! It happened in FTLY, SoGC, definitely in Midas, etc I mean his eyes have always been there ever since his 20’s and thank God his career is doing well.

        • Drama Fan says:

          Speaking of live shoot schedule, one thing Gaekju’s PD is doing well is that his production is on schedule. JH mentioned he is sleeping and gaining weight thanks to this 🙂 Just that, makes me like this PD even if I don’t agree with some of his stylistic choices.

      • Prettysup says:

        Yeah I notice that JH has those eye bags since Thank You days, but that doesn’t cover his beauty at all haha… Love him for his realness

  3. Beez says:

    This is why I don’t like Gal Dong. She’s just helping a sociopath justify murdering his childhood friend/love/ ex-fiance.

    @ktamuser excellent summation of So Rye’s life.

    I have soooo many questions this episode.
    Since So Gae has denied everything to Bong Sam, what debts are Bong Sam and So Gae agreeing that So Gae owes Bong Sam? (We, the audience, know of So Gae’s actions, but Bong Sam is ignorant for the most part and so why does So Gae even agree to Bong Sam’s terms?)

    Why does Head Merchant let himself be blackmailed without first seeing if what BH is telling him is actually being said?

    Why do subtitles have (Bong Sam’s loud friend) call him “teacher”?

    • kjtamuser says:

      I love how your characterize Gae Dong’s actions – perfect.

      My thoughts on your questions:

      1. So Gae knows he owes Bong Sam for killing So Rye. He tried to say as much to Gae Dong / Mae Wol but she cut him off. I was thinking let the man confess and admit culpability.

      2. Head Merchant is pressured from many directions (So Sa, Bong Sam, So Gae, and Bo Hyun) that he appeared to take a placating stance this episode to allow himself time to regroup.

      3. I’m guessing Gol Dae (who’d have thought I’d grow to like this big lug) sees Bong Sam as the smartest merchant and therefore earns the title merchant.

      • Drama Fan says:

        I also think Teacher Bongsam is how the Songpa stable people used to call Bongsam. This was after he helped the business grow with the innovative idea of giving credit and creating a catalogue of cows etc 😀

    • Prettysup says:

      According to the characters description on the official site, people in Songpa stables have been calling BS as teacher since he was young due to his intelligence. They call him Teacher Bong

  4. Nao says:

    Jang Hyuk cries so well. This is totally different than his tears in Chuno. Had more of a small child weeping for his sister feel. At that moment he seemed so small and young. He is just a fantastic actor. And beautiful too. 🙂

    • Prettysup says:

      Yes.. The way he cried during the reunion scene vs the death scene are totally different altogether. This is what u call a top class actor

      • Beez says:

        I agree. He reminds me of Al Pacino (whom many don’t appreciate now for his intensity during the 1970’s,but at the time, we’d never seen anybody bring it like that and during that time,it was recognized that Pacino was amazing). Since I noticed the similarity in intensity, I was pleased to see articles and news blurbs refer to JH as the Korean Pacino and I’ve seen JH, himself, say he admires Pacino as an actor to somewhat model himself after. I think JH may have more going for him because he also can bring a quiet intensity, as well as be over the top when it calls for it.

      • Nao says:

        Also the look of mortification and embarrassment when SoSa begged for his life in front of the Head Merchant–also top class acting.

    • Jane Tilly says:

      This episode moved me to tears. Jang Hyuk’s acting is phenomenal and as a bonus he is VERY easy on the eyes! 🙂

  5. Nao says:

    I’ve been curious about the ratings. I hope it does really well! 4 extra episodes would be awesome.

  6. […] 20   Episode 19   Episode 18   Episode 17   Episode 16   Episode 15   Episode 14   Episode 13   Episode 12   Episode 11 […]

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