This first episode was high flying fun that zipped by! I really enjoyed the playfulness and the unexpectedness of it. I really thought our main hero was a rich kid avoiding marriage and is living in the widow village because of that, but noOoOo, there is so much more going on here! I am into it and looking forward to episode 2.
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Shorthand Character Chart: Coming Soon!
How we do this: We update the post around every 10 minutes. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later depending on the scene. There will be typos which we have fantasies of fixing once the episode finishes airing. Also, there might be lovely updates at the bottom, so check back in!
Recap Countdown: starting soon….check Twitter for updates!
KOREAN DRAMA THE TALE OF NOKDU EPISODE 1 (1 & 2) RECAP
We open with someone jumping into water, fishing. It looks like this is Nokdu. He gets a fish in crystalclear water and a little girl waits for him on the coast. When Nokdu surfaces she says, Honey! He sighs and asys that she is doing it again.
They both eat the fish later on this island. Nokdu tells her to listen to him, he has to do something important out of this island. She is all like, so what.
So he tells her, because of that, I can’t marry you. She is all of 6 years old. So he tells her that she needs to tell her father that this marriage is not happening. But she grabs his wrist and says that he promised her father that he would! Nokdu says he did it just to learn martial arts.
Then the father comes out looking kind of drunk and happy. The daughter tells her father that he is not marrying me! The father is all like, what! Nokdu says she is too young. The father says, it is okay, you are the youngest, this is a god given fate.
But then a woman runs in and yells that Nokdu has trouble at home! Nokdu runs homw and sees bandits or assassins attacking his family. He flies like a ninja and starts to fight them by jumping and hoping off of everything. He even slides in the dirt for like thirty feet and is able to cut one of the assassins.
Nokdu and his father are able to take out all of the assassins but one. The assassin is about to kill herself, so Nokdu stops her. But then his father grabs him and lets the assassin leave. They argue over whether they should stay there or leave now.
His father says he is the sinner. But Nokdu says it is his fault, it is all because of me why we are living like sinners here. Umma died all because of me. Nokdu sniffs and then runs to see if his brother is okay. His master is with him and says that they were trained assassins, where do you think they came from?
Nokdu tells his master to take care of his brother and father. The master tells Nokdu that he has to find the head. I will protect your father and brother and go to my home town. Nokdu nods and takes off running.
At the same time, the brother removes a mask from one of the assassins and sees that it is a woman. he is startled.
Nokdu takes off running up the beach.
In a market, we see that the King is walking through in a parade of much pomp and circumstance. The towns people all look at him. Then we see Dong-ju dressed in mens clothing and hiding as she looks at the king. She pulls out an arrow and unleashes it at the King. It is a direct hit!
All the guards take off and pull their swords on Dongju. She is surrounded with all the swords on her neck. A single tear falls.
But then we realize that this was her imagination. She starts to get her bow and arrow ready to shoot the King, but Nokdu hits her on accident and she drops it. So she pushes him and they glare at each other for a moment. But that small moment keeps Dongju from shooting the arrow.
However, another old man threw a rock at the King. Everything stops. The old man says, this rock I threw at you is the rock that killed my son and my sons sons! You removed the citizens house and made us all slaves and built your own castle! You are not a King!
The old man is forced on his knees at sword point. The guards says to find the co-conspirator, arrest everyone around.
So the guards take off into the streets to arrest everyone. Nokdu takes off running and drops her arrows on the ground to not be caught with them. Nokdu is also looking for the assassin that got away. But the guards stop him. He tells them to let him go! Over there, there is one more person hiding!
The guards open the door and a woman is there, she comes out with her head covered. The guard lets her leave. But Nokdu sees her shos and knows that this is the woman! the assassiN! He runs to her and pulls her jacket off of her, revealing her face. She turns in shock and he gets a good look at her. But she is able to walk away because the guards grab him again.
Several people are taken to a prison including Nokdu and Dongju. Dongju immediately pushes Nokdu and says this is all his fault! You messed up this important thing! I almost had him! they start to argue over who is older than who when a man tells them to shut up.
Nokdu sits in annoyance. Dongju looks at the fence and sees that there might be a way out.
Late that night, she wakes up and checks her r=prison makes to see if they are asleep. Then she kicks a part of the wood fence, it comes out easily. So she is able to crawl out of the prison, but she kind of gets stuck, lol.
Nokdu wakes up and tells her that this was a super stupid thing to do. Are you a co-conspirator? You will be released tomorrow morning, but if you run away, you are dead. She asks if he is super dumb? He is all like, are you talking bad about me? Fine, stay like that. He goes back to sleep.
She apologizes and tells him to help her, help me help me! Please! He decides to help her and pulls her back inside. She looks so sad so he asks if she is going to cry? She asks if he thinks she is crying?
He tells her that this isn’t so bad, at least I am in Seoul now. She puts the wood piece back and asks why he is there in Hangyan (old name for Seoul). Nokdu says he wants to find out who he is.
In a dream, Gwanghae has a dream that his younger self was aout to kill a little baby boy. He wakes up with sweats and chills and looks at his hand.
In the prison, Dongju has a bad dream, so Nokdu pats her on her back. Then he sits up and sighs. He tells himself that he is so timid ad wimpy (to Dongju) and then puts his jacket on her.
The next day, they wake up pretty cuddled up to each other. Which shocks them both, so they both hop up and pretend like that didn’t happen.
Guards come to get them all and take them to the palace to be questioned/tortured. Dongju looks nervous and remembers what happened to her family. It looks like her family was taken out by the guards.
One of the guards mutters that all this is happening because they found that arrow, but they don’t know when that arrow fell on the ground.
Dongju is put on her knees for questioning, she remembers that her mother told her to just survive. She can’t talk, so te man questioning her gets more and more upset. Nokdu notices this and stands up to address them.
ND – Let me see your King!
Everyone looks at him.
ND – I want to talk to him about this situation.
Palace man – DO you want to die?
ND – No, I don’t want to die, I just want to talk. I am doing this because I don’t want to die. But even if I die, I want to say what I want to say!
The King asks what he wants to say? Nokdu says that if someone really wanted to have a coup, then they wouldn’t throw that stupid rock. And you didn’t know when that arrow fell or how it fell. Now so many rumors spread talking about the old man that lost his son and grandson for construction and you arrested hundreds of citizens. Why are you using us for this only?
If I was you, I would not do this stupid thing. I would make a nice tomb for the old man and show off how nice I am.
The guard asks if he is going to tell the King this? Nokdu says yes, he wanted to say this. You never know, the citizens might be moved by it and try harder to make the palace. The guard says that is a stupid thing to say. Heo-yoon says he will tell them to take care of it.
Later on, one man says that this makes sense, it is not polished, but it makes sense. Maybe the citizens will think better about this bad King. Okay, lets do it. But the man who threw the rock should die.
So Nokdu and Dongju and all the rest of the people are let out. Nokdu puts his hand on her shoulder (though he thinks she is a boy) and asks if he would like something to eat? But then he sees the woman assassin and pushes Dongju on the ground to confront her.
But this woman is just a woman and keeps walking by. Jokdu is a bit embarrassed and Dongju is so annoyed. She stands up and argues with him about pushing her when he said they should eat together. She is ready to yell at him some more, but then remembers that she left a will in her gisaeng house. So she has to run back and get it. She takes off running and tells Nokdu that she better not see him again or he will get it!
Nokdu smiles and says that whimpy boy has a loud voice. Then he wonders where he can find something and looks at a mark that looks like a crescent moon with a dot on it.
He takes off walking and finds a place where he can eat and sleep. We also see that the assassin knows that he is there. That night, okdu waits for the assassin to come to him. He wants to kill her so he can see his father and brother again.
Flashback to his father disciplining the brother because Nokdu was let inside a ship. Nokdu says he wants to learn how to read and write and sail! Why do you say no to everything! His father asks if he wants to be disciplined more?
Cut to both boys with lash marks on their calfs, sleeping, while their mother dresses their wounds.
Nokdu wakes from his dream to noise outside. But this is the tavern woman. She brings him a late night meal that a customer ordered for him. She asks if he wants it? It is free.
He thinks, free? Okay, thank you. He takes it and starts to eat it with his back to the door. But it looks suspicious. The woman looks at him again as the door closes.
Soon, we see Nokdu falling out of the tavern as if he is poisoned. He can barely walk. The assassin starts to follow him. But then he runs into a cerfew guard and asks them to help him. He passes out with them. the guards think that he is dead.
the assassin goes back to the room and makes sure that the drink is all gone. The woman tells her that she said she would get 5 coins. But she gets a dagger to the chest instead.
When the guards come back out, they see that Nokdu is not there. Cut to the forest, where we see the assassin limping away. NNokdu looks at her and says that he has to see who is behind this. He starts to follow her.
END PART ONE
Nokdu follows the assassin over a rocky cliff and almost gets himself caught when he sees her changing her clothing into womens clothing. He starts following her as she walks under a large rock. He thinks that these guys are all dead. He follows her around the rock and he passes a sign that says “No Men”.
When he gets to the village, everyone is shocked to see him. A Man! He wonders why there are only women here? Then the enforcer women come out and start punching rocks and things like they are the Incredible Hulk. They yell at him, You came to the widow place! Do you want to seduce a widow!!!!! Then they start to beat him up, lol.
Nokdu leaves and sees the sign that says, “No Men allowed, this is a widow town.”
He walks away looking so pitiful with his busted lip and disheveled appearance. So he sits on a rock to figure all of this out. How come assassins are in that widow village.
Just then, several men come walking around and talking about how there is a widow town near here. they only think about their dead husbands here. But they also talk about how they are chasing a widowed woman.
Cut to the widowed woman running through the woods at night. She falls and we see Nokdu tell her that he wants to help her. he picks her up and takes her to a cave. he says he will help her.
But then a man starts to fight Nokdu so Nokdu starts to fight him and wins. He asks the widow if she is okay? But the wodow pushes Nokdu and says, Are you okay honey?!
It turns out that the widow and this man are running away. They apologize to Nokdu for fighting him. Nokdu tells him that they should not go to the widow place. Your father is there looking for her. The two lovers talk about this, he says she can’t go there, then I will never see you! She says it is better than him dying. Nokdu says that he thinks there is a way.
Back at the widow village, the men are still looking at the entrance. Then a woman comes walking around. The men approach her. The woman hits him away as she hides her face. This makes the fathers nose bleed, lol. The father pulls the cover off revealing a womanly Nokdu. The father apologizes right away for his rudeness. Nokdu grabs his scarf and starts to walk off. The men think she is so pretty, look at her back.
Nokdu keeps walking to the widow village and then goes to the place where the lovers are hiding. they both laugh at him and asys that he is so pretty, his voice and walk are cute. The woman is dressed in his clothing. They tell him that they want to give him something, so the woman gives him jade and gold.
He is happy to have it and says he should not refuse what they are offering him. then he says, okay, lets try it!
He goes back to the village and goes through the entrance that says it is only for widows. But he looks so afraid of these ladies.
One woman yells, who are you! He hops and says that he is Kim from Seoul (Hanyang). I heard that you help widows that are chased. The woman gasps and lets him in. She walks him around and says that this town was created by women who lost their husbands during the Japanese war. They always tell us to kill ourselves to keep the dignity of our family name and all that nonsense. So we just stayed here and finally the government approved us. So we made our own town.
Don’t worry, there is only one way in, where you came in, and one way out to the gisaeng jip. So don’t worry.
Nokdu looks aorund and thinks that this place is completely run by women. The lady showing him around says that he has a nice body, like you will give good birth to kids. Nokdu says he takes after his mother.
Then the Avenger like women show up with a man on their back, lol. Nokdu kind of hides his face from them. The ladies say that they caught a man who tried to sneak in and sent him to hell, hahaha. they all pump their fists.
Then they introduce a Gisaeng woman to Nokdu. they all explain that they built this gisaeng jip here because there is a lot of women energy. the woman make all their supplies and alcohol. they take care of us as well. It is strange helping each other, but it works.
The leader of the giseng jip says that Nokdu should sleep with these Avenger like women for now until she has her own place. Nokdu looks terrified and says that he does not want to affect them. Maybe he can stay in the gisaeng house instead?
Cut to Nokdu at the gisaeng house. The head of the house asks if she is okay? There are a lot of men here. Jokdu says she is okay.
But then a Yangban (oble) is seen dragging a little girl into the gisaeng house. Dongju yells that he should stop! the head of the gisaeng house comes out and asks what this is about. the man says he wants to sleep with her but this low class girl stopped him! Dongju says this girl is only 12 years old.
The head woman tells him, don’t you know that this is against the law? The noble cares nothing about the law. The lady says that they don’t have to follow the rules here, but you are different. I am telling you this just in case you lose your dignity with your emotions. he asks how long he has to wait? She says 3-4 years.
So he says okay, I will wait. However he pulls out a knife and grabs the girl. It looks like he will cut her hair? He says if he cuts her hair then it will take 3-4 years to grow! Or, you can give me your hair!
Dongju is so fed up and grabs the knife. She tells him that she wil give him her hair. It will regrow. She grabs her hair and cuts it off to give it to the man.
This scene is shot in slow motion as we see Dongju cutting her hair off and Nokdu looking at her in amazemet.. The wind picks up puffing her hair out into a shape. And we also see her hair ties falling onto the ground. She looks at Nokdu and he looks at her.
But then the music stops and the man asks how dare they. DO you really want to die?
But then a young man comes in with a chicken. He looks like a noble as well. He grabs Dongju by the hand and throws the chicken at the man. they ask him if he is a cook? he says yes, kind of. You should be angry because of this argument. The yangban says yes! Look what they did to this yangban!
The young man gives him something to chew and says that it will calm his anger. He starts to chew it but says aaaaaaagh, it is so bitter! Water! Water! The young man tells him that bitter things in his mouth are good for you.
The man is given water, but it is actually vinegar. The young man tells him, ah, this is vinegar? It will actually become poison with that bitter pill. The man runs away with his henchman.
The woman asks if it really becomes poison? the man says he is not sure, he never tried it.
they all smile and laugh now that this man is gone. the head of the gisaeng tells Dongju to follow her. Jokdu thinks that this gisaeng is familiar, where have I seen her before? But then a man clears his throat around him as if he likes him. So Nokdu walk away to his room.
Inside the room, he sees a bag that has clothing in it. Part of the clothing is purple.
Cheon is the Gisaeng Jip owner, she talks to Dongju about why she did that. Dongju says that a 13 year old girl went to that place and came back dead, not even two weeks passed. And now he is doing this again, what can I do?
Cheon is upset that she cut her hair as a gisaeng. Dongju says that she is not a real gisaneg yet. Cheon tells her not to brag about that. Then she curses that man and sighs. Dongju excuses herself. But Cheon tells her not to do anything dangerous.
Outside, we see Cha Yool-moo waiting for her. He is the noble man that helped her earlier. She asks him why he did that. He says that guy made him so angry. That a-hole messes up this place. Dongju tells him not to do it anymore. He says he has to because she left her will, so of course he will matter in it. My heart almost blew up, don’t you worry about me?
She asks if he forgot that he was not supposed to do anything. Was worrying a part of that deal? If you continue doing that then i am leaving this place. He says okay, I will stop, you make it so that I cannot say anything. She hurris off.
Inside her room, we see Nokdu looking through the bad. Dongju sees him and pushes him out of the way quickly and then grabs whatever he is holding. Nokdu is so shocked that she touched all on his chest. They have a bit of a breathless standoff as they talk about touching their things or touching their chest. Did you see anything?
They both say no and then grumble about sharing a room. Dongju tells him not to touch her things! You can stay here but don’t touch anything! He gets up and says he won’t touch anything! he walks off andit looks as if Nojdu is following him.
Little flashback to Nokdu looking at the clothing in the bag. He saw it all and now knows that this is that boy from earlier. He thinks she is not a normal person.
Dongju tells Nokdu that she is not following him, you widow. he nods and keeps walking. They run into a man who is smelling flowers. He prsents the flowers to Nokdu and says that he is the woman that he was looking for. Dongju is so afronted, she scoffs and walks off after telling them to have a good conversation.
Nokdu tries to get away from the love struck man, but the man will not let him leave. He ays he is appointed by the King to take care of this place and says a lot of other good things about himselg. Nokdu calls him a useless officer and tries to walk away. he tells her, if you need anything…Nokdu yells that he does not need anything. But then he realizes that this guy takes care of this place so….
Cut to the man giving Nokdu a map of the village and the gisaeng house. He is so happy to help Nokdu out and tells him not to be shy to talk to him.
Nokdu walks thorugh the village and finds the limping woman .She goes inside a building so he says, I found it.
But then the Ajumma Avengers come out and says, I found you! he hops and backs against a wall. All three of them tell him that they want to talk to her, they should take a bath so that they can all become friends. He is all like, no! I am shy! How can we take a bath together among women?
They are all like, yeah, we were shy at first two, lets go! One of them picks him up and starts to carry him away. He is helpless. Nokdu sees Dongju and tries to ask for help. He says he was looking for her. Where are you going? Dongju says that she aws going to take a bath to wash her hair. The ladies all laugh and start to carry him away again.
Nokdu is trapped at the bathing spot with four women who are about to bath with him. he does not want to take off his clothing at all. they tell him that he is too shy. he tries to keep hil clothing on and they try to take it off of him. He also tries not to look at any of them. But, he finally falls into the water.
They all laugh, but then they look at him with alarm as if they know that he is a boy. they all are alarmed. Nokdu braces for their attack.
Me too! I’m surprised at how much I love this show! Even though reading the synopsis for the show made me thought the show was going to be interesting, after watching it, it made me realize the synopsis was misleading and there was more to the story than presented, which is great!
So much more to the story! They got me 😁
Tale of Nokdu for the win!! I think I have found my fluff watch for this fall. OMG! This is too cute! I’m in love! I haven’t seen the male lead in many dramas before watching this, but I am really liking his performance and goodness, he is a pretty lady. (Not as pretty as my Kim So Hyun, but I do find him mostly believable “in disguise.”) It looks like Dong Ju has already found out Nok Du’s secret at the end of the first hour, but maybe not. I’m hoping that she still doesn’t know so that we can have just a few more cohabit hijinks where she thinks he’s a lady before it switches over to “partners in crime” hijinks and the usual man/woman cohabit hijinks.
I can’t wait until you see the next episode!