We play “keep away” with the Head Merchant’s inheritance. Everyone wants it. Who will end up with it?
The Merchant Gaekju Episode 33 Recap
We start with the Head Merchant insulting the Government official by offering promissory note for 5. Not the number he’d asked for. The Head Merchant tells them his cash is all gone. They are stunned. Former assistant (aka the smartest guy in the show) figures out that the Head Merchant has transferred all his assets the baby. So Gae (Yu Oh Seong) yells they must catch Wol before she reaches Bong Sam. The Government official orders Bo Hyun to official put out a warrant for Wol. The Head Merchant tells them he can hand his money off to his son. He asks who wants to be his son. The Government official says the money was never the Head Merchant’s. They all had a hand in making him rich.
So Gae orders the soldiers to catch Wol. Unbeknownst to them, Wol watches So Gae give the orders. Wol (aka the smartest girl in the show) takes off. In the woods at night she stares at the envelop the Head Merchant directed her to get to Bong Sam. She realizes she carries the baby’s inheritance and worries if she can get it to Bong Sam safely. She avoids a road block and travels in the snow.
Bong Sam (Jang Hyuk) and Sun Dol reach the port and learn an export ban on beans and rice has been issued. Due to the famine in Japan the prices have shot up. Gol Dae reaches Bong Sam and pulls him aside. He tell them they are in trouble. He shows them the notice for Wol’s capture. They are startled Wol is being hunted. Why? They have no idea. They decide to find Wol and find out what is going on.
After 8 days, Wol has evaded capture. The Government official is fit to be tied. So Gae suggests the Head Merchant might be hiding Wol.
Mae Wol (aka Gae Dong (Kim Min Jung)) sees the notice for Wol’s capture. She remembers Wol’s threat to find So Sa’s murder. Mae Wol quickly understands that Wol has the Head Merchant’s inheritance for the baby. She wants to block Wol from getting the cash to Bong Sam. Why? She needs him weak and vulnerable so he will turn to her for help and hopefully romance too.
The Government official tells the Queen bad things about the Head Merchant, like not supporting opening the ports. The nephew, who I immediately like, tells the Government official (his uncle) that opening the ports was a bad idea. He wants to know the real reason the Head Merchant is being bad mouthed. The Government official blusters the Head Merchant is the richest man in the land. The nephew laughs and asks if he wants to rob the old man? The nephew then gets pragmatic and says the kingdom needs cash so this is a plan the court should back. Hmm, that surprised me. The Queen agrees. Mae Wol arrives per the Queen’s summons. The nephew is not happy the Queen is talking to a shaman. He gives Mae Wol the eye. Mae Wol tells him death will visit him soon. The Queen doesn’t like that prediction. Mae Wol states she cannot lie. He asks if she’ll risk her life on the statement. She will. Mae Wol has moxy! Shaken, he backs down.
Mae Wol tells the Government official that the Head Merchant will die soon. He asks about Wol. Mae Wol says Wol is heading to Bong Sam’s ships. They send soldiers. They decide to capture the Head Merchant.
The Head Merchant coughs and wonders where Wol is. His assistant tells him no one knows where Wol is and there are many soldiers searching for her. They learn soliders have arrived. They find the soldiers have plastered signs closing down the Head Merchant’s business. So Gae and the Government official stare and smile.
In a blink of an eye, the Head Merchant is kneeling before the Government Official who reads the edict that the Head Merchant is stripped of his power and possession. He’s being tried for treason. The Head Merchant knew this was coming. He declares he only has the 5 promissory note. His assistant begs for mercy citing the Head Merchant’s bad health. The mercy is house arrest versus jail. The Head Merchant coughs. Ugh! Blood spurts from his nose and mouth. It is striking on his pale face.
So Gae learns the Head Merchant has lung disease. The Government official tells So Gae if he retrieves the Head Merchant’s inheritance, he will become the new Head Merchant. So Gae is thrilled at this offer. Smiles all round.
Bo Hyun is angry that So Gae will cut him out of the pie if he becomes Head Merchant. The former assistant tells him who ever retrieves the Head Merchant’s inheritance is the winner. That interests Bo Hyun. The former assistant want to become Head Merchant if he retrieves the Head Merchant’s inheritance. Bo Hyun is surprised. He laughs at him saying he cannot talk only mumble. His brain fires and he realizes the inheritance is worth it. Bo Hyun agrees declaring the former assistant will be the quietest Head Merchant in history. There is something almost delightful about Bo Hyun’s self centered ways at times.
Ah greed for money, power, and/or both is a major incentive!
The soldiers search the stables but find nothing. They worry about Wol. One of the men tells Man Chi he knows where Wol is.
So Gae races with soldiers to find Wol.
Wol dressed as a lovely lady or priestess, I’m not sure which, has every man gobsmacked and lusting. Too bad Sun Dol isn’t there, I picked him to be her love interest, though the writer doesn’t seem to do as I wish. LOL when Man Chi chides the men to stop drooling at Wol when her life is in danger. Wol is assured the baby is being taken care of. She enters the litter. The stables men carry her away.
They reach the gate. The official asks to see in the litter. The merchant shows his merchant ID tag. The official demands to see the girl. The merchant declares the girl is his new concubine and should not be disturbed. The official demands she exit. The merchant calls to her. They open the door. Wol exits in her finery. She stares at the photo with the official boldly touching his hand. She plays her part perfectly. The official doesn’t recognize the dolled up Wol. She returns to the litter and they pass through the gates.
Mae Wol learns from So Gae that Wol cannot be found. He asks for help. She advises that Wol would reveal herself if Bong Sam were in danger. She believes Wol is on her way to the port. So Gae leaves quickly and rides to intercept Wol. When he reaches the gate he learns the merchant just passed through with a concubine. So Gae realizes the concubine was Wol. It surprised me So Gae did not grab soldiers when he passed through the gate.
Wol now is dressed like a man. Man Chi, Wol and the rest of team Bong Sam go. They thank the merchant for his help.
So Gae finds the litter and Mae Wol’s cast off costume.
The former assistants arrive at the gate. The official can’t believe another set of men are asking about the girl. The former assistant realizes that So Gae is in front of them. They run.
Meanwhile at the Head Merchant’s house, his assistant brings food. The Head Merchant isn’t hungry and asks about Wol. He’s pleased she’s not captured yet. The Head Merchant tells the portrait of So Sa that his final wish is that his inheritance go to the baby. He asks for her divine help.
The Government officials (uncle and nephew of the queen) wait for word about Wol. The nephew warns his uncle that he must share the money. The uncle acts insulted and storms off. The nephew smiles knowing he’s hit the mark. The uncle / Government official seethes at his nephew’s impertinence. The nephew asks his butler to follwo his uncle. The nephew learns that the Head Merchant wants to transfer his inheritance to Bong Sam’s son. The nephew wonders why the name Bong Sam sounds familiar. His butler says Bong Sam ran in the last election. Now the nephew remembers. He asks for more information on Bong Sam.
Meanwhile, Bong Sam, Sun Dol and Gol Dae watch rice being smuggled. Bong Sam is distracted. Gol Dae declares they have to save Wol. Bong Sam decides they must pursue the rice smugglers and Wol must fend for herself for now.
The official tells Bong Sam to mind his own business. Sun Dol accuses the official of being bribed to turn his back. Gol Dae adds several chest bumps to the accusation. Loved that! Bong Sam suggests they talk to the police. The official caves and they pursue the rice. Love the look Bong Sam gives Sun Dol when the official relents.
The merchants are surprised to be surrounded by the Government soldiers. Everyone runs! Bong Sam, Sun Dol, and Gol Dae come face to face with the two timing merchants. You gotta laugh, these two merchants, go where the cash is and practice situation ethics every moment of the day. The merchants and the rice are captured. They ask Bong Sam if he did this for revenge. Bong Sam declares he cares for his country and could not turn a blind eye. The merchants should sell the rice in open market, not trading illegally. The merchants are unrepentant. They can make trade more rice illegally in a matter of days. Bong Sam is disgusted and turns to leave. The merchants declare that Bong Sam is old school and times are changing.
Bong Sam, Sun Dol and Gol Dae rest and consider the merchants words. Bong Sam knows that more merchants will trade with foreigners. Sun Dol suggests working with the Head Merchant. Bong Sam says they need to find Wol. The trade solution will come after that.
By the stream, a startled Wol comes face to face with So Gae. No where to run Wol. So Gae tells Wol to hand over the inheritance. He tells her what she holds is considered treason. Wol claims she doesn’t have the documents with her. She points to across the stream. Wol yells for team Bong Sam and wades into the stream. So Gae’s man goes in then out of the stream it is too cold. Wol calls for Team Bong Sam who arrive. So Gae and his man stare at Team Bong Sam. Wol is saved (for now). Man Chi tells So Gae that he has a bad habit of stealing. So Gae says everyone wants the Head Merchant’s inheritance. Bong Sam will never be able to hold onto it. Wol declares Bong Sam is the recipient. So Gae and his man start to leave. Everyone stops in their tracks when 2 dozen bandits arrive. Man Chi tells Wol to run. So Gae runs after Wol. Team Bong Sam must run after So Gae. The bandits run after everyone.
Everyone runs in the woods. Wol trips and falls. So Gae and his man grab her. Team Bong Sam grabs them. The bandits surround them all. A fight breaks out. The former assistants watch the brawl from some rocks. The former assistant wants his man to grab Wol. He refuses to go in during the fight. Team Bong are outnumbered and overpowered. Wol turns to run. So Gae and his man turn to catch her. They are overpowered by the bandits. The bandits find the inheritance letter and promissory notes. They are not happy with the paper money, they want coins. They decide to burn the promissory notes. So Gae (who is gagged) can’t believe it. The former assistants can’t believe it. The promissory notes are burned. Everyone is stunned to watch the Head Merchant’s money go up in smoke. The bandits discover the unconscious Wol is a girl. They cackle with the money they’ll make when they sell her. Team Bong Sam struggle to free themselves to save their beloved Wol. The bandits ponder what to do with Team Bong Sam. They decide not to kill them. They take Wol and leave Team Bong Sam tied to the trees. The former assistant dashes to the fire to retrieve the promissory notes but ash is all he gets. They untie So Gae who is beside himself to see the Head Merchant’s inheritance turn to ash. So Gae yells at them for just watching. They yell at him for betraying them. So Gae frets how he can explain this mess. He walks away. He declares they will leave Team Bong Sam tied up.
At the bandits lair, they dump Wol on the floor. Wol is scared of them. Bong Sam arrives. What? Turns out Bong Sam, Sun Dol and Gol Dae PLANNED this evening’s events. Gol Dae proudly declares they were on it once she started screaming at the stream. Sun Dol explains they had to make So Gae believe it the farce and apologizes for scaring her. Bong Sam thanks them. The bandit RETURNS the letter from the Head Merchant. Wol hands Bong Sam the letter. Bong Sam sees it is promissory notes. 10, 1 million promissory notes!!! That’s powerball sized money! They are gobsmacked. Wol declares the Head Merchant said his inheritance was being given to the baby. They stare at the money, they stare at Bong Sam who can’t believe he’s holding the mother of all baby gifts in his hands!
Wol eludes capture for as long as she can. Wol has been strong in a supporting role in this series but this episode was her moment to shine. My hat’s off to Mun Ka Young who portrays Wol. She did a terrific job this episode. Wol cleaned up well. Had to laugh when the stables men were gobsmacked how beautiful Wol is. Was every man at the stables in love with Wol? I was pleasantly surprised when Bong Sam turned up at the bandits lair. Loved this twist. Did they give the bandits fake promissory notes to burn? The agony on So Gae’s face, the former assistant’s face when the money burned – priceless!
* Bong Sam’s evolution was evident this episode. He didn’t go after the the Head Merchant’s money when faced with treachery by the merchants (who are surprisingly unrepentant about all their two timing moments) that smuggled rice to sell to the Japanese who are willing to pay exorbitant prices due to the famine in their country. Instead Bong Sam did the right thing forcing the capture of the merchants and the rice. The merchants had the last laugh when they said they’d find another way to sell the rice to the Japanese. I simply loved the utilization of the bandits to trick So Gae that the Head Merchant’s inheritance had gone up in smoke. Has Bong Sam ever been this clever?
* So Gae aligned himself with the Government official. So Gae is consistent. He’ll switch to the team that gives him the best advantage. So Gae embodies the phrase “every man for himself”.
* Mae Wol realized Wol had the Head Merchant’s inheritance. She directed So Gae to find and retrieve Wol so gain control of the Head Merchant’s money.