So Gae learns who the baby’s father is. Bong Sam learns who the baby’s father is. So Sa has to decide who to trust. Does she make the right choice?
The Merchant Gaekju Episode 25 Recap
Out of prison and looking remarkably refreshed Bong Sam (Jang Hyuk) reads the Head Merchant’s letter which directed the Government official to kill him. Thank goodness Sun Dol, Gol Dae, Man Chi, et al hired a forger to write an alternative letter that directed the Government official not to kill him. Bong Sam burns the Head Merchant’s letter to the surprise of his colleges. Bong Sam declares he and the Head Merchant will compete head to head….may the better businessman win.
They “rob” (but pay) merchants for dried pollacks. Have to laugh at the masks and night shopping. Bong Sam suggests they sell the fish directly from the stables.
Merchants are not happy at Bong Sam’s tactics. So Gae (Yu Oh Seong) directs them to block sales.
The Head Merchant is giddy over the bassinet for the baby. Mae Wol recommends the baby sleep with his mother. So Gae reports that he knows about Bong Sam’s dried pollack selling. As long as the stable cannot be repaid in the time remaining, the Head Merchant is ok.
Mae Wol (aka Gae Dong (Kim Min Jung)) visits So Sa (Han Chae Ah). She’s been hired to help with the birth of the baby. So Sa is not excited. Mae Wol asks if she’s afraid of her. So Sa admits that Mae Wol’s love for Bong Sam worries her. But her job as shaman and caretaker makes her trust her. Mae Wol tells So Sa she has to trust her. Run So Sa, run!
Wol overhears the Head Merchant’s assistant requesting 3 different nannies be brought to the house. She suspects that the Head Merchant may be planning to separate the baby from So Sa.
Mael Wol has a visit from the Head Merchant. He offers a gift of medicine. He says So Sa is weak. He worries she may suffer in childbirth. He asks that Mae Wol administer the medicine after So Sa gives birth. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? The “medicine” is poison and will kill So Sa, allowing the Head Merchant to raise the child never needing to reveal the child is not his because the only person that knows this, So Sa, will be dead. Mae Wol assures the Head Merchant she will take care of So Sa. Hmm, I think they both want her dead.
Mae Wol has the medicine tested. The man tells her this is excellent pain medicine. Mae Wol decides she’s misjudged the Head Merchant. The man continues, this medicine cannot be used after birth because it will cause the woman to bled out. She’s shocked.
The Head Merchant waits for his plan to come together.
Back at the stables the boys try to determine the best place to sell the dried pollacks. Bong Sam notices Sun Dol’s eyes are hurting him. He pretends all is well. Gol Dae arrives with the good news the market is open.
They try and get Sun Dol to wear glasses but he refuses. Bong Sam presses him to accept the glasses. Sung Joo’s assistant arrives. He takes them to Sung Joo who is not excited to see them. Sung Joo had to leave their former location for fear of arrest. Bong Sam asks if knows about dried pollacks. Sung Joo asks why they are selling dried pollacks. Sung Joo agrees to help. Hooray! The gang is back together! Sung Joo introduces them to a former pollack seller. Bong Sam explain he wants to start selling pollacks. The man doubts they can be successful. Bong Sam declares they must or they will not be able to pay their debt to the Head Merchant. He asks if there is a why to be successful.
So Sa is in labor. Wol strokes her belly to sooth her. She remembers the 3 nanny order. She thinks the Head Merchant has plans for So Sa’s death. What to do?
So Gae suspects the Head Merchant wants to separate the baby from his mother. He asks Mae Wol if she’s part of the plan. Mae Wol doesn’t confirm anything. So Gae leaves irritated.
So Gae is positive something is afoot. He visits his assistant, the one without the tongue. So Gae tells him they have a mutual enemy in the Head Merchant. He encourages them to work together. He asks what the Head Merchant is hiding. He asks the assistant to write it down. The assistant writes that So Sa is pregnant by another man…Bong Sam. So Gae is stunned and thrilled at the news. Both men laugh and enjoy the shame the Head Merchant must be enduring.
Transporting pollack is hard work. Bong Sam urges his team to endure it. At the stables they plan their route. They are afraid of the robbers. Bong Sam urges them to take the risk. It is the only way to beat the Head Merchant the rich merchant monopoly. Visualize the money we can make, he urges. He’s willing to give up if no one agrees with him. But what can they sell if not the pollacks. Sung Joo offers to transport the pollacks. Sung Joo declares he’s tired of living in fear of arrest. He and his team will transport the pollacks. Bong Sam decides a little advertising will help them sell.
Wol arrives at the stables to talk to Bong Sam. Man Chi tells her Bong Sam isn’t there. Wol gives Man Chi a letter and infers something will happen to So Sa if Bong Sam doesn’t help. Bang Geum opens the letter and reads it “Mistress is in danger, the Head Merchant is trying to kill her. Why? Because you are the baby’s father.” Bang Geum shows the letter to Man Chi but he can’t read. Bang Geum tells Man Chi that Bong Sam is the baby’s father. He can’t believe Bang Geum just spoke. Bang Geum tells him she was going to remain silent for the rest of her life, but they must help So Sa. Bang Geum sends Man Chi to find Bong Sam and give him the letter.
Man Chi moves like a gazelle hot on Bong Sam’s trail. He finds the team. Man Chi declares that Bong Sam’s child is about to die. Sun Dol realizes that So Sa is pregnant with Bong Sam’s child.
So Sa ask Wol to get a midwife. Wol tells her to endure the baby. Wol hopes the baby will wait until Bong Sam arrives. So Sa doesn’t understand why Wol isn’t sending for a midwife. The Head Mechant sees So Sa’s distress and assumes labor. Wol lies says it is indigestion. So Sa stares to Wol in surprise but back Wol up.
Mae Wol ponder what to do. Kill So Sa as the Head Merchant has requested or let her live? The Head Merchant sends for Mae Wol to attend the baby’s birth. She remembers So Sa’s faith that Mae Wol will help her in spite of her feelings for Bong Sam. Mae Wol declares this is So Sa’s fate and leaves with the medicine that will kill So Sa.
Mae Wol and her assistant arrive. Mae Wol directs them to make the birthing location. The Head Merchant confirms that Mae Wol has the medicine. She tells him to put his faith in her.
When Bong Sam returns Man Chi reads him the riot act. Bong Sam reads Wol’s letter. He is stunned. He yells So Sa’s name and starts running.
So Sa’s labor intensifies.
Bong Sam falls down breaking his ankle. He refuses to stop.
Mae Wol has the birthing room set up. She orders everyone out of the room. Mae Wol orders everyone to leave. Wol begs So Sa to let her stay. So Sa tells Wol to leave. She exits the room. So Sa grasps Mae Wol’s hand and tells her she trusts her. Mae Wol assures So Sa she’ll take care of her.
Bong Sam hobbles along with his friends helping. Sun Dol tells him to stop. Bong Sam refuses. Bong Sam cries and asks Man Chi to save his woman and baby. Man Chi agrees. Like gazelles they run through the woods leaving Bong Sam and Gol Dae to follow at a sedate pace.
So Sa is yelling due to the pain of labor. The Head Merchant is startled at her cries. He wants a boy to continue his legacy.
Bo Hyun and So Gae discuss the Head Merchant having a successor. Gifts are discussed. Bo Hyun feels bad for So Gae. He will be usurped by a baby. So Gae is unconcerned. Bo Hyun wonders why.
The labor is difficult. So Sa falls unconscious. Mae Wol wakes her and urges her to fight. Mae Wol agrees to take a break and lets her assistant watch So Sa.
The gazelles split up. Bong Sam arrives at the stables. Gol Dae is surprised to hear Bang Geum’s voice. Man Chi, Sun Dol, et al are ready to risk their lives to extract So Sa. Bang Geum hides Bong Sam and Gol Dae. She assures them the baby and mother will be brought to her. Bong Sam wants to go directly to So Sa.
The Head Merchant frets why things are taking so long. Mae Wol assures him his son will be delivered successfully. Wol interrupts that So Sa’s family has sent a gift. The Head Merchant tells her to leave and put the gift out of sight. Wol allows Sun Dol to see So Sa. He introduces himself to So Sa. He wants to take her away. So Sa is shocked everyone knows the secret of the baby’s father.
So Gae sees Bong Sam’s team waiting outside.
So Sa refuses to leave as she owes the Head Merchant for saving Bong Sam’s life. Sun Dol refutes that by quoting the letter the Head Merchant wrote. He states if they hadn’t switched the letter Bong Sam would be dead. Wol implores So Sa to leave with Sun Dol. After hesitating, So Sa agrees. Bong Sam’s team offers to put her in a box. Wol sees Mae Wol. Everyone stares at each other. Are they busted?
Nice to get a break from the trading story line and focus on the baby’s parentage reveal. I was pleased that the Head Merchant’s treachery requesting Bong Sam be killed was revealed to So Sa. I was pleased she realized she had to leave or else she and the baby where in danger. I liked the cliffhanger of Mae Wol spotting Team Bong Sam aiding So Sa to leave.
* Bong Sam realized So Sa’s baby was his. Yes, breaking the ankle while running through the woods was a forced plot point but the writer had to keep Bong Sam from So Sa so the suspense would ratchet up for our star crossed lovers. The other plot point of selling the fish wasn’t all that riveting but underscores the ticking timelines that Bong Sam has to repay the money or forfeit the stables. The fish doesn’t seem like the solution to make major money the way the writer explained it this episode.
* So Gae finally knows that Bong Sam is the baby’s father. So Gae was giddy with the knowledge. Finally he’ll have a major advantage with the Head Merchant.
* So Sa trusted the Head Merchant and found out he lied. So Sa learned that the Head Merchant demanded Bong Sam’s death not release. Glad this was revealed this episode and not delayed for an extended period. Didn’t look like a fun labor for So Sa. She did a reasonable job of making Mae Wol feel guilty by declaring she trusted her to help her and her baby.
* Mae Wol decided killing So Sa using the medicine the Head Merchant told her to give So Sa after the birth was an acceptable game plan. Mae Wol is not evil on the same level as So Gae. You can see that she struggles with the ethics of her choices. She still makes bad choices but it isn’t effortless like it is for So Gae.
Shout out to kdramadreamer (aka zhaoul) for giving me the Three Day Quotes Challenge. For the Day 3 Quote which I’ve applied to this series, what stood out for me in this episode was when So Sa answers Mae Wol’s question – “are you afraid of me”. So Sa answers honestly and effectively shining a light on Mae Wol’s ethics “I’m worried about you as a woman. I’m worried about your heart towards Bong Sam.” Mae Wol relishes this victory point. But then So Sa points of that Mae Wol’s priority should be ethics and honor when she states “As the shaman, you cure the pain and suffering of humans and offer comfort. I trust you will earnestly take care of my baby and me.” You see the statement doesn’t change Mae Wol’s mind but made put her on alert that So Sa was willing put herself in Mae Wol’s hands and that she expected fair and caring treatment.