After a difficult labor So Ga gives birth to a son, who will take the public role as the baby’s father?
The Merchant Gaekju Episode 26 Recap
After learning that the Head Merchant lied and did not try and save Bong Sam’s life as promised, So Sa (Han Chae Ah) heeds Bong Sam’s friends pleas to leave with them. Bong Sam’s friends provide a box for her transport. Wol sees Mae Wol (aka Gae Dong (Kim Min Jung)) who in turn sees So Sa, who in turn sees Mae Wol. Everyone stares at each other. Mae Wol approaches. So Sa asks her to let her leave. Mae Wol says that is up to the Head Merchant. She orders So Sa to return to the birthing room. Sun Dol pleads with Mae Wol to help Bong Sam. Mae Wol states the Head Merchant will kill Bong Sam if they take So Sa. Mae Wol turns to report them and runs into So Gae. She tattles likes she’s 2 years old. Surprisingly, So Gae (Yu Oh Seong) tells her to remove herself from the situation. Mae Wol is shocked. She tries to move past So Gae but he stops her with a vicious punch to the stomach and flings Mae Wol over his shoulder. This show envokes punching female characters with regularity. Man Chi asks why So Gae is helping them. So Gae states life gets complicated sometimes. Bong Sam’s friends leave the grounds with So Sa in the box. They almost get away until the Head Merchant’s assistant tells them they must have tea. They decline the offer and leave.
Bong Sam (Jang Hyuk) limps to the city. Gol Dae tells him not to enter, he’ll be captured if he is spotted. Bong Sam presses forward to enter the city.
The Head Merchant doesn’t understand why So Sa’s maid, Wol left with So Sa in labor. They go the labor room and find Mae Wol and her assistant tied up. Mae Wol tells them to hurry and they may catch them. The Head Merchant orders his men to hunt them down.
So Gae orders the men to find the Head Merchant’s wife. Mae Wol glares at him knowing he helped the Head Merchant’s wife escape.
Mae Wol slaps So Gae for his actions. She demands to know why he helped So Sa to escape. So Gae yells that the child is Bong Sam’s not the Head Merchant’s. Mae Wol reiterates, So Sa is not Bong Sam’s destiny, she is. Mae Wol cries that this isn’t the life she wanted. She wants Bong Sam. So Gae tells her his destiny is to become Head Merchant. Mae Wol supported his quest for Head Merchant. He needs to defeat the Head Merchant. This child strengthens the Head Merchant. Action had to be taken. So Gae refuses to wait until the Head Merchant dies. Mae Wol declares she likes So Gae but she won’t put aside her destiny to help him with his. She tells him to stop. She leaves. Great confrontation between two selfish people that were willing to use each other until they came to cross purposes. Then it was every man for themselves. So Gae and Mae Wol are like two peas in a pods.
Bong Sam’s friends avoid their pursuers. So Sa is crying in pain. She needs to give birth and not in the box. Sun Dol opens the box. Bong Sam spots them and limps to the box. He opens the box and asks if So Sa is ok. She tells him she’s at the end of her rope. Bong Sam tells half his friends to act as decoys and he and the remaining friends will take So Sa. They meet up and realize they cannot leave the city. So Sa is hurting. Bong Sam decides to take her to temple. Wol tells him this is madness. Wol, you see things clearly!
Bo Hyun asks what the fuss is about. The Head Merchant’s assistants lie there was a thief and they are hunting the thief down. Bo Hyun doesn’t believe the flimsy excuse. He tells his men to find out the truth.
Mae Wol and her assistant walk back to the temple. They are stunned to find Bong Sam, his friends and So Sa. Mae Wol is furious that So Sa is there. So Sa begs for mercy. Wol pleads for their help. Mae Wol tells them to leave. Bong Sam begs for Mae Wol’s help. Mae Wol leaves. Bong Sam follows. He asks if she will reject So Sa in her time of need. Mae Wol declares she won’t change her mind. Bong Sam asks her to do it for him not So Sa. Knife to the heart, to hear the man she loves ask her to deliver his child by another woman. Bong Sam says his child’s life is in her hands. He cannot put Mae Wol’s feelings first under these circumstances. Mae Wol can’t say no to Bong Sam. He is grateful.
Mae Wol and her assistant prepare for the baby’s birth. Mae Wol orders her assistant to fetch the Head Merchant as soon as the baby is born. Mae Wol put the Head Merchant’s medicine in the tea. Recall this will make So Sa bleed to death after deliver. Yes, Mae Wol is ready to commit murder. Mae Wol thinks she must to do this for Bong Sam. The Head Merchant won’t allow Bong Sam to escape with his wife and child.
The Head Merchant is furious his men have not found So Sa. His assistant tells the Head Merchant to get a grip right now. The Head Merchant realizes he must wait.
Bong Sam paces outside hearing the cries of So Sa. Mae Wol encourages So Sa.
The Head Merchant paces waiting for word of his wife and son.
Back at birthing central, the night air is punctuated with the cries of a healthy baby. Bong Sam is thrilled that he’s a dad. His friends offer their congratulations. Smiles all around.
Mae Wol tells her assistant to leave to inform the Head Merchant of his child. She prepares the death tea.
Bong Sam is thrilled with his son. So Sa is quiet. Bong Sam asks if she’s tired. So Sa is emotionally dazed. She has a son, Bong Sam is here, and she’s afraid and happy at the same time. Bong Sam apologizes for putting her through all this. Mae Wol arrives with the death tea and asks Bong Sam to leave. She tells Bong Sam she has medicine to stop the bleeding. Wol looks afraid for her mistress. So Sa asks Mae Wol how she can thank her. Mae Wol tells her there is no need for thanks. She tells So Sa to drink the tea. Bong Sam offers the cup of death tea to So Sa. Wol takes the tea and drinks it herself. Everyone is surprised by Wol’s action. Mae Wol asks if Wol thinks she poisoned the tea.
Mae Wol stands outside frustrated. This isn’t going like she planned. Bong Sam comes to her. She tells him she doesn’t want to hear his thanks. He tells her that he loves So Sa and now he has a son to love too. He asks her to release him from her heart. She tells him destiny and attachment are different. She wants to let him to live the life with So Sa and their son. Attachment is clinging because you do not want to let go. Destiny is being unable to let go even though it is what you want. Mae Wol wishes she were in So Sa’s shoes. She cries. Bong Sam puts his hand on her shoulder. Gol Dae arrives telling him that Mae Wol’s assistant is missing. Mae Wol tells Bong Sam he cannot escape from the Head Merchant.
The Head Merchant is happy to hear he has a son. He must bring his son home!
The Head Merchant is marching to the temple when Bo Hyun encounters them. He asks if the baby has been born. The Head Merchant confirms the child has been born. Bo Hyun offers his congratulations and leaves. He knows something is wrong.
Bo Hyun asks So Gae why the Head Merchant is acting weird. So Gae tells him he’ll share the truth when the time is right. Bo Hyun tells him the time is right. So Gae tells Bo Hyun that So Sa fled. The child is not the Head Merchant’s. The child is another man’s baby. Bo Hyun is stunned. He recommends they use this information slowly and wisely to wear down the Head Merchant. He laughs. Finally they can defeat the Head Merchant.
The Head Merchant arrives at the temple. Mae Wol greets him. Bong Sam greet him. The Head Merchant says he’s here to get his son. Bong Sam tells him he does not have a son.
They take the discussion private. The Head Merchant says the child is his continuance in the world. The Head Merchant doesn’t want So Sa. He wants his son. Bong Sam says that cannot happen. The Head Merchant threatens Bong Sam and So Sa. Bong Sam tells him to give up the idea the child is his. The Head Merchant tells Bong Sam not to cross this line. Bong Sam tells the Head Merchant not to cross this line. It’s been a while since the writer has utilized the crossing the line analogy, something used often in the first third of this series.
Bong Sam’s friends deliver So Sa and his son to the stables. Man Chi tells her not to worry. Bang Geum takes So Sa and the baby inside. Wol is not happy with the rustic accommodations.
The Head Merchant suggests a trade for his son. Bong Sam says he’ll raise his own son. The Head Merchant tells him to have another baby and forget this one. The Head Merchant tells Bong Sam he cannot beat him. Bong Sam declares he will beat him head to head in the merchant arena. The Head Merchant is shocked at Bong Sam’s declaration.
Bong Sam and Gol Dae leave the temple.
Mae Wol meets with the Head Merchant. He asks Mae Wol what he should do. She suggests he talk to So Sa about returning with the baby. The Head Merchant wants to know where So Sa went. Mae Wol offers to determine that and help facilitate the Head Merchant meeting his son.
Bong Sam arrives thrilled to find So Sa and the baby sleeping. He gently brushes So Sa’s hair and tucks her in. He holds his son. He smiles. He tells his father his son has been born. He brags his son is handsome. He thanks the sleeping So Sa.
Wow, it is dried pollack central. Sung Joo learns that Bong Sam has a baby and cannot come. They need Bong Sam. He tells Gol Dae to fetch Bong Sam.
The Head Merchant receives gifts for the birth of his son. They ask to see his son. The Head Merchant says it was a hard labor and his wife cannot see them now. They turn the conversation to business. They talk about the lack of fish merchants. So Gae figures out that Bong Sam is cornering the fish market. The Head Merchant is not happy.
Bong Sam and So Sa and the baby are a happy family. They discuss names. So Sa suggests Yu Su. Bong Sam knows that is the name the Head Merchant selected. So Sa asks him to let her name the baby Yu Su. Stupidly, Bong Sam, giddy with joy, agrees. He leaves for business.
So Sa waves good bye to Bong Sam and his friends.
The Head Merchant arrives. So Sa is stunned.
The Head Merchant asks to hold the child. He assures her he won’t take the baby. He pleads to hold the baby. Stupidly, So Sa, guilt ridden, agrees. The Head Merchant tells the baby he is handsome. He tells the baby to become the next Head Merchant. He kisses the baby. So Sa is shocked at the familiarity.
Bong Sam and So Sa have the same problem, they are willing to trust those that are not trustworthy. Bong Sam believed that Mae Wol would do the right thing and help deliver his baby and take care of So Sa. He was right, but what he didn’t realize was that taking care of So Sa meant killing her in Mae Wol’s mind. On the flip side, So Sa allowed the Head Merchant’s please to sway her to hold and coo over the baby. He said it was just for a moment but then cooed the baby will become the Head Merchant as this was his destiny.
* Bong Sam had a moment of happiness. Yes for a brief instant he was a father and the woman he loved lived with him. Then he left to make the money to save the stables and everything is poised to tumble down. By the way once, I saw the massive dried pollack “farm” I saw the potential for this to be a way to make major money to pay off the Head Merchant with and save the stables. But back to Bong Sam, I was glad to see him savor the moment, that is likely the last happiness he will have for a while.
* So Gae blocked Mae Wol from stopping So Sa from leaving. So Gae surprised me with his explanation to Mae Wol – this isn’t your business and it isn’t my business either. You can cite multiple instances in previous episodes where So Gae did interfere with the intent to make Bong Sam suffer.
* So Sa trusted the Head Merchant again when she handed over the baby. You would think after last episode when So Sa learned that the Head Merchant lied about requesting Bong Sam’s release not death. Horrible labor for So Sa. Wouldn’t you want to punch the next person that told me to hang on or be quiet if you were in labor? So Sa is lucky that Wol interfered and drank the death tea. Wol is an advocate for So Sa again and again.
* Mae Wol was thwarted killing So Sa using the medicine the Head Merchant provided. Mae Wol thought about it and decided So Sa’s death was the only way she could achieve her destiny with Bong Sam. Eliminate the competition, it is a straight forward plan. Oh the irony of Mae Wol handing the death tea to Bong Sam to hand to So Sa. That was similar to So Gae gagging So Rye so she could not reveal she was his sister then telling Bong Sam to toss her off the cliff. What did you think of her explanation of attachment versus destiny – attachment is clinging because you do not want to let go and destiny is being unable to let go even though it is what you want? While Mae Wol uses the word destiny her actions smack of attachment.