Brace yourself folks…So Sa, who has had limited backbone this series, shows moxy. This you gotta see!
The Merchant Gaekju Episode 29 Recap
Sung Joo yells to halt team Bong Sam from fighting the soldiers. He yells that he is the wanted bandit Sung Joo.
When Bong Sam (Jang Hyuk) and Sun Dol arrive they find the fish fields burned, the business destroyed. Bong Sam blames the Head Merchant. If you watched Seinfeld, you’ll understand that I thought “Newman” when Bong Sam uttered “Head Merchant”.
The soldiers have Sung Joo in custody. So Gae and his peeps intersect with them. They thank So Gae (Yu Oh Seong) for his tip to find the bandits. Sung Joo asks if So Gae is to blame for the soldiers. He doesn’t answer that question directly but claims he’s sorry. Sung Joo realizes that Bong Sam was the target. So Gae doesn’t deny that Bong Sam needed to be curbed.
Team Bong Sam locate the soldiers. Sun Dol holds Bong Sam back from charging into the mix.
Sung Joo asks So Gae if he knows the real reason why his father died. That gets So Gae’s interest and he follows Sung Joo. On the cliff, Sung Joo tells So Gae his father had many sins, including raising a scumbag like So Gae. That doesn’t go over well. So Gae grabs Sung Joo. He in turn grabs So Gae and declares So Gae’s life ends right here, right now. So Gae sputters for the soldiers to save him. Too bad, so sad, Sung Joo takes So Gae over the cliffs with him. As you know all the characters cliff dive at some point on this show and don’t die in the process. I’m assuming the same holds true in this instance. The soldiers tell So Gae’s peeps they should find the body next spring. The soldiers leave.
Bong Sam finds Sung Joo. Rats, Sung Joo broke the fall for So Gae. Sung Joo spits blood and apologizes to Bong Sam for not having helped him sufficiently. Yep, So Gae is alive. He mutters why does everyone think Bong Sam is so great? Too late, death scene time for Sung Joo. He implores Bong Sam to strive for be a gift to the people. Bong Sam promises. Sung Joo implores to find the answer and follow the dictates of heaven. With that, Sung Joo dies. Tears and sobs all around. I liked Sung Joo and am sorry to see another of that generation of characters gone.
Mae Wol (aka Gae Dong (Kim Min Jung)) learns the fish farm went up in flames. She only wants to know if So Sa survived. She’s not happy to find out So Sa lived through it.
Bong Sam buries Sung Joo. At the marker, Bong Sam remembers the “best of” Sung Joo moments who was truly a father figure and mentor. Gol Dae gives Bong Sam Sung Joo’s merchant ID. Bong Sam promises to remember Sung Joo forever. They leave the marker.
So Gae implores Bong Sam to help him. Bong Sam says he’s forgiven So Gae too many times. Worried, So Gae grabs Bong Sam’s leg and begs him to save him. Bong Sam walks away leaving So Gae pleading in vain. As he watches Bong Sam leave, So Gae promises he’ll kill Bong Sam if he lives. Two thoughts: 1. Does anyone have a tally of the number of times So Gae has vowed to kills Bong Sam? We are in episode 29, seems like So Gae vows Bong Sam’s death every other episode. 2. Am I a terrible person for enjoying So Gae being the one at a disadvantage?
So Gae’s peeps wonder what happened to him. Their loyalty? Who ever pays them the most money.
So Gae shivers alone. He dreams Gae Dong finds him. But it’s not a dream, it’s Mae Wol. She’s found him and takes him to a warm room to recover. So Gae wakes to find his peeps claiming their concern over his well being. Mae Wol bring something hot to drink. So Gae thanks Mae Wol for saving him. He vows to repay her kindness (with So Sa’s death I assume).
Team Bong Sam wonder if they will go bankrupt. Bong Sam wants to know what their cash balance is. The numbers aren’t strong. So Sa (Han Chae Ah) leaves the room and tells Wol to bring the Head Merchant tomorrow.
The Head Merchant is happy to receive Wol’s message. He believes he can get his hands on the baby and raise him.
So Sa interrupts Mae Wol’s prays for Sung Joo and Bang Geum. Stupidly, she asks if the Head Merchant asked Mae Wol to pray from them. Mae Wol lies and claims the Head Merchant made the request. Stupidly, So Sa believes Mae Wol. As a viewer, I get frustrated that So Sa still believes that the Head Merchant and Mae Wol can be trusted despite the repeated actions that prove otherwise. I had similar frustrations with Bong Sam forgiving So Gae, again and again and again. He seems to have bought a clue.
So Sa tells the Head Merchant he needs to apologize for the two deaths. He halfheartedly apologizes and insults her clothing. This seems to please her. She offers the Head Merchant…a sign of divorce! You could have knocked me over with a feather! So Sa boldly states the marriage was her father’s idea. The divorce is her idea. Wow! So Sa tells the Head Merchant to leave Bong Sam alone. And he’ll never get her son. Let me savor the one shining moment of So Sa’s moxy. The Head Merchant declares Bong Sam will be ruined and they will become paupers. So Sa “you are pitiful. You can’t beat Bong Sam. I know him. I believe in him.” Bam! The Head Merchant mocks her devotion. She’ll bring the baby to him, mark his words. One last stare from So Sa and she leaves. The Head Merchant is livid. So Sa, for a brief shining moment…you were strong!
The Head Merchant informs So Ga et all to spread the work that Bong Sam’s fish business failed and everyone must sue Bong Sam. One what grounds? Will you replace the fish? The Head Merchant yells that Bong Sam must become a slave…make it happen.
So Gae et all approach Bong Sam et al. So Gae laughs are you disappointed I wasn’t frozen to death or eaten by a wild animal? Gol Dae, the straightforward lug makes me love him when he says “I’m a little disappointed.” Bong Sam says the heavens spared him. So Gae says Bong Sam must repay his debts. The merchants are called in. They look uncomfortable. Bong Sam has 1 day to settle his debts. So Gae laughs even more time won’t help Bong Sam.
The merchants tells Bong Sam they will sue him. They tell him the Head Merchant would retaliate, Bong Sam must have been aware something like this could occur. They aren’t happy but they must file the lawsuit.
Bong Sam can’t let it happen but what to do? Sun Dol sees the Head Merchant wants the baby and to reduce Bong Sam to a slave. Bong Sam sees it too. What a bleak moment for our hero.
The Head Merchant and team evil hear the bell. It is time.
Bong Sam tells his team to take the family away with the last of the money. Bong Sam hands over all his money. Sun Dol tells Bong Sam to endure for a few years. Bong Sam laughs and tries to lift the mood. He’ll be ok.
Everyone prepares to leave the stables. So Gae and his men arrive. So Gae shows the judgement from the court. Bong Sam did not repay his debt in the specified 1 year time frame. Bong Sam reads the judgement. What can he say but yes, I’ll empty that stables. But wait there’s more. So Gae demands his merchant ID. Ouch! You knew that was coming. So Gae reminds Bong Sam he gambled his merchant ID if he didn’t repay the debt within a year. What can Bong Sam do but hand over his merchant ID, his father’s merchant ID and Sung Joo’s merchant ID? So Gae grabs the merchant IDs. A major goal has just been met.
Then Man Chi arrives. Save Bong Sam Man Chi! Save Bong Sam! Man Chi demands the merchant IDs be returned. Man Chi declares there is time until the deadline. Behind Man Chi merchants with the fish appear. Bong Sam is stunned. The merchants are stunned. Music soars, letting know good stuff is happening!Everyone is happy. Team Head Merchant are not happy. Gol Dae snatches merchant IDs from So Gae and returns them to Bong Sam. He thanks everyone. So Gae realizes he’s lost this round.
The Head Merchant hears he’s lost this round. Where did they get the fish? Bo Hyun summons the Head Merchant. Bong Sam repays the debt and the interest to an unhappy Bo Hyun. Sun Dol asks for a receipt for the repayment. Bam! Bo Hun returns the stables deed. Bong Sam read the itemized list of the stables and confirms it is the correct document. Bo Hyun admits he never thought Bong Sam could repay the debt. The receipt is given to Bong Sam. He leaves. So Gae and the Head Merchant can’t believe the last minute salvation that Bong Sam was granted.
The Head Merchant dismisses So Gae! He splutter and claims the fish were burned. The Head Merchant orders So Gae thrown out. He is tossed outside the gate. He pounds but they won’t open the gates.
Bong Sam asks Man Chi how he was able to come up with the fish. Man Chi says Sung Joo was once fooled by So Gae so he set aside a stash of fish just in case something happened. Ah Sung Joo, you are the hero of the hour. Now we see what Sung Joo asked of Man Chi. He tells him to take the fish to the caves immediately. Bong Sam looks to the heavens and yells to Sung Joo the stables are regained. Man Chi tells Sung Joo they were able to right the wrong he did so many years ago. Bong Sam thanks Man Chi. He suffered at Man Chi’s hands but Man Chi saved him when all hope was lost. Both men cry and hug. Nice moment. You can recover from mistakes. You can be forgiven.
Mae Wol visits the Queen who is impressed at Mae Wol’s selfless dedication praying for her son without concern for her own well being. Mae Wol demurs. The Queen offers Mae Wol palace all access pass. Mae Wol is thrilled. The Queen bids her to come closer. Mae Wol does. The Queen takes Mae Wol’s hand in gratitude. Mae Wol promises eternal devotion.
So Sa and Wol organize Bang Geum’s clothes. Wol once again proves to be smarter than most when she notes it was odd that a soldier shot a woman holding a baby. So Sa remembers Mae Wol’s threat on her wedding day.
Mae Wol arrives home to find So Sa. Wasting no time, So Sa asks if it was Mae Wol’s doing that her sister in law was killed. Mae Wol is shocked. So Sa is angry.
So Sa showed major moxy this episode. I was totally surprised and pleasantly so. The way So Sa threw down the white divorce cloth to the Head Merchant…superb. The way So Sa declared the divorce was her idea…awesome. The way So Sa stated that the Head Merchant would never get his hands on the baby…loved it. Best scene of the series for the normally meek and mild So Sa.
How utterly fitting that Sung Joo charged Man Chi to save the fish in the caves. This fish saved the stables, Bong Sam, and that community. Plus it made things right between Man Chi and Bong Sam, plus Man Chi and Sung Joo. Bong Sam’s second father was Sung Joo who supported and loved and saved Bong Sam. When Sung Joo took So Gae off the cliff with him…that was bold! Well done writer!
* Bong Sam was saved at the last minute. Glad it worked out for our hero.
* So Gae met his goal of obtaining Bong Sam’s merchant IDs in his hands only to be stripped of them. I know the stable was important but watching Gol Dae snatch Bong Sam’s merchant ID, Sung Joo’s merchant ID and Bong Sam’s father’s merchant ID from So Gae, that felt great.
* So Sa was strong in this episode…twice. Amazing for this character and episode to remember.
* Mae Wol was honored by the queen and accused by So Sa. What’s an obsessive lying shaman to do?