Post by ajk on Mar 19, 2015 11:55:08 GMT -5
Jeong Cheol orders a whole bunch of arrests, including state councilors Jeong Eonsin and Jeong Eonji. And he has the king's authority to do it, too. So they're all arrested and paraded through the public streets (maybe a little unnecessary) and tortured. But they didn't go after Lee Sanhae or Ryu Seongryong, at least not yet. Ryu worries that this could paralyze the government at a dangerous time, with an unpredictable Japan hovering hearby.
Evening: The torture session is over. At some point the king showed up and oversaw it, and now he's sitting there with Jeong Cheol pondering one final decision: whether or not to arrest Ryu. He finally decides to do so...but no sooner do the words leave his lips than Ryu walks into the torture yard, alone , bound, barefoot and wearing prisoner's white. He kneels and offers himself up: "Please kill me." Not for communicating with traitors--he dienies that--but for not being able to "see through Jeong Yeorip's wickedness" back when Jeong was a rising star in the government ten years ago. Well apparently only one person opposed Yeorip back then, and he was fired for it...so as Seonjo is forced to acknowledge, nearly everybody else misjudged Yeorip too. Including himself. "So all the servants of the court are sinners.," he says with a smile, realizing that Ryu is right. "Consider this matter over. I can't punish all of them." Even Jeong can't argue with him any more. Then, incredibly, Seonjo walks over to the kneeling Ryu, unties him, then kneels and gives him the boots right off his own feet! It's a staggering gesture and everyone in the yard gasps. "I can't abandon a talented state councilor just because a bit of him is rotten," he says, making an analogy to a thick log with a small flaw. Ryu is escorted back home (but he can't bring himself to walk in the boots; he carries them).
A surprised Lee Sanhae learns that Ryu was pardoned.
"Rotten wood can't be carved." Our little group of Westerners is grumbling about Seonjo's decision. But they decide that continuing on their course would be unproductive...so it's time to change and try something new. Song Ikpil proposes going after Choi Yeonggyeong, "the spiritual mentor who leads the public opinion of Confucian scholars." Removing Choi from power will significantly weaken the scholars' influence.
Well they sure acted quickly, because now we meet Choi for the first time and he's in jail already. They found a way to link him to Yeorip just like wth the others, legitimately or otherwise. Ryu goes to visit him. He's taking it remarkably well...understands it's all a political maneuver; tells Ryu to watch out for himself and not go out put himself at risk over this.
Then we learn from narration that Choi died after repeated torture, and that over the next three years a thousand other influential people in the Easterners faction were killed or exiled. It caused the collapse of the faction and led to the Westerners faction assuming power by 1592. And we get our first glimpse of the prominent Westerner Yun Dusu, accepting the post of inspector general in a formal ceremony.
Military testing ground: Seonjo is getting a first-hand demonstration of that musket brought by the Tsushimans. Its killing power startles him, naturally...but then his advisor Shin Rip shows that it takes so long to reload the thing, several arrows can be shot before the musket can shoot again. "It has a fatal disadvantage," he states, much to Seonjo's relief. Ryu argues that Shin is taking the weapon too lightly but Seonjo is too uplifted by Shin's assessment to listen. But of course Shin has missed the obvious...
...which we're now shown as we watch a Japanese musket unit in training. Sure it takes time to reload, but if you have enough of them, you can fire in waves! We see soldiers fire muskets, then step back to reload as other soldiers with loaded muskets step forward.
The Tsushiman envoys are back before Hideyoshi and deliver their report, particularly about Joseon wanting the pirate leaders. Shockingly, Hideyoshi admits that he ordered the pirates to attack! Then he decides to hand them over after all...but with their tongues cut out and their eyes gouged out so that they can't tell anything to the Joseon government. The envoys are dismissed...so they were luckier than the previous envoy, weren't they.
Back at the testing ground: Now Seonjo is seeing a small prototype of a working time bomb. Very effective...but the real thing is still a year or two away. Seonjo is pleased; says he can wait.
A fascinating glimpse of Hideyoshi holding court with his advisors. Discussing whether or not Joseon will willingly open a route for the Japanese to invade Ming. Kato and Konishi argue from different sides; Kato simply says "We'll crush them" no matter what, and asks for soldiers. But Hideyoshi is more interested in Konishi's calmer assessment--which turns out to be a perfect dissection of the entire military situation, concluding that the Japanese are militarily superior on both land and sea, and that they must go to war with Joseon because an attack on Ming will require Joseon to be an advance base.
Then a lighter scene, of Hideyoshi playing with his baby during a weaning ceremony. The boy has his first taste of rice. Narration tells us that the boy was weak and sickly and that his fate "affected Joseon later." Then there's a gift reception; gifts have arrived from all over the country from the ceremony. One of those gifts is a sword, presented by an emissary from a region that had resisted Hideyoshi in the past. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye the emissary is trying to kill Hideyoshi with it! He fails, just barely--Kato jumps in at the last second--but it's a terrifying moment for everyone present.
Here come the Tsushiman envoys back to Hanyang, bringing Sakadou and the other pirate leaders to present to the Joseon government. As Kato promised, their captives have had their tongues cut out and their eyes gouged out. All except for Sakadou (why not him?).
And now in a state council meeting the difficult discussion starts. The envoys delivered their end of the bargain...so now does Seonjo agree to diplomatic relations? Remember that he didn't want to, maybe not even if the pirate leaders were produced...but he says he'll think about it. Afterwards, Lee and Ryu speculate that once the pirate leaders are publicly executed, which will be hugely popular with the public, Seonjo will use that public sentiment to justify refusing diplomatic relations. "I think he's already decided what to do," Lee says with a sigh.
Cheonri, who saw the pirate leadership being taken to the capital, pays a late-night visit to the jail where the captives are being held. Tells the guard he knew Sakadou as a young boy and has brought him some food, which he has, so the guard lets him in. But when Sakadou reaches for the food, Cheonri grabs him and tries to stab him to death. He's caught at the last second by Ryu, who's come to the jail. In a flashback we see the connection between Ryu and Cheonri: Ryu was visiting the devastated regions hit by the first pirate attacks, and found the barely-alive boy among a large group of dead villagers, next to the bodies of his dead mother and brother. Obviously Ryu brought him home and took him in...but Cheonri has wanted revenge ever since. Ryu tells him that his mother and brother wouldn't want him having blood on his hands...and Cheonri dissolves into a sobbing mess.
Next day: the captives are formally presented to Seonjo by the envoys, who read a proclamation stating that "the mainland knew nothing of the pirate invasion" (lie) and that they will do everything they can to eradicate pirates. Narration tells us that along with the pirate leaders, the envoys also returned 116 Joseon citizens who were taken prisoner by the pirates--another of Seonjo's requests, remember. Then, from Seonjo: "I will give my answer. I will not send envoys to a country of wild beasts." The prisoners are executed, to great public cheering...but when it's Sakadou's turn, he starts screaming that he knows the names of Japanese spies in Joseon and will reveal them. That gets him nowhere...but when the sword is raised over his head he screams one final word: "Bigyeokjincheonnoe!" The executioner freezes, and the king and the officials are stunned.