This tale took a dark turn in the last episode signaling that our fun and games might be over. It is the halfway mark so we might find ourselves in a complete tone change toward the dark side as our characters try to establish a new equilibrium. But I don’t think that will last forever. Once our team regroups in Hanyang (old Seoul) and establish their revenge plan, I have a feeling that the old banter will be back.
Our recap starts at 22:00 KST!
Caution: Be wary of typos
Character Chart: The Tale of Nokdu Shorthand Character Chart
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: starts at 22:00 KST….check Twitter for updates!
KOREAN DRAMA THE TALE OF NOKDU EPISODE 8 (15&16) RECAP
We open on the destruction of the widow town. Nokdu is flying through the town killing every guy he can on his way to finding Dongju.
Yoo Mool is also there and sees Dongju being strangled to death. Her las word is Nokdu.
She dies and blood splatters onto her face as she falls. But she falls into the arms of Nokdu. Nokdu looks at her tenderly but then several of the men run up to him, so he softly lays her on the ground and starts to fight all of them.
He is fighting like 10 to 1 men while simultaneously trying to keep them from stabbing Dongju who is lying lifeless on the ground.
More men show up. Then Yoo Mool walks between them.
YM – I will take Dongju with me
ND – These bandits know you
YM – She will be safest with me
ND – Stop talking about nonsense and go away if you don’t want to die
YM – If I leave, then Dongju will die. Do you want that?
Nokdu thinks about this painfully and lets Yoo Mool walk around him and pick up Dongju Who must only be passed out on the ground. He carries her away. Then he nods to the bandits.
The rampage goes to the gisaeng house. The bandits yell to kill all the widows and take the gisaengs alive!
But then Yeon Geun shows up with all the other gisaengs and runs to the bandits in a rage. But he is the only one, all the gisaengs are hiding. So he yells for the bandits to leave! But he can’t really aim as he throws something.
He is about to die, but then one of the ajumma avengers shows up and saves him! She starts to fight all the bandits.
The other gisaengs run away and Hwa Soo is one of them. She stabs one of the bandits as the assassins show up to help save all the women. Cheon is with them.
Meanwhile, Yool Moo takes Dongju to a house and lightly lays her on the floor. He calls her name softly and is about to lightly touch her forehead, but he stops and puts a blanket over her instead. He tells her that he will go get the doctor. She looks lifeless.
In the widow village, the ajumma avengers keep trying to help fight the bandits, but they do not have weapons so they are overtaken. But then Nokdu’s master comes back, very drunk and with Aengdoo on his back, and throws a bottle on one of the bandits. He drunkenly wonders what is going on and starts to fight all of the bandits.
He takes them all out as a drunken master and then drunkenly asks where Nokdu is.
In the house, Dongju wakes up with several breathes, and then gets up and leaves.
In the widow village, the fighting continues as the ajuma avengers fight with all they have and the assassins fight with their swords. They are outnumbered, but they are able to kill many of them.
However, there are too many bandits and they have too many women to protect that divides they attack. They are all grouped int he middle and the bandits surround them.
One bandit tells them that they are all brave, who should I fight first?
Nokdu – ME.
Nokdu comes walking in, in his assassin great and tells them to fight him first. He is bleeding from his arm, something serious. The men think he is ridiculous, but Nokdu jumps and starts to take them all out.
In the woods, Dongju runs up a path.
In the village, Nokdu keeps fighting all the men. Ssook attacks them as well. Nokdu fights with all the side people and kills as many as he can until the bad guys all run away.
Everyone comes together as the fight ends. Ssook looks at Nokdu and thanks him for helping them. But she also says that he looks familiar. Aengdoo is awake now and says, euni-i-i-i-i-i. Do they know that you are eunnie now? She is so sad and worried and just gave the entire thing away.
The fighting master, Hwang, hurries her away.
Cheon and Ssook ask if he is widow Kim? He nods. Yeon Geun is all like, no way….no way…a widow can’t be a man! He passes out.
The ladies are in disbelief, you are a man? We took a bath together….you snuck into our town? Why did you do that?
He tells them that his family was attacked on an island and he wanted to know who tried to kill them and why they tried to kill them. He apologizes.
Dongju comes running up then and calling Nokdu’s name. She walks all the way up to him.
ND – Sorry, this is because of me
DJ – I thought you were dead
ND – I am not dying, see, I am okay
But then he spits blood and falls to the ground. All the ladies run to his side.
Yoo Moo’s assassin tells him that the King will not find anything. The town is burned to the ground and all the surviving widows are dispersed.
Yool Moo say that she disappeared while he was looking for medicine for her. The assassin apologiges and says that he should have come earlier. But Yool Moo says that he told him not to be at the scene.
He also says that he does not think he can let that guy live anymore. The assassin says that he will find him and kill him. But Yool Moo says, before that, he has to solve one thing. He looks from his vantage point on a cliff and sees guards or soldiers waking on a path.
Cheon and the survivors continue walking through the woods. Cheont ells them that they can follow this path to the harbor and escape. But the woman sys that they can rebuild their town. Cheon tells them that they should go as far away as possible. Assassin Yeon Boon tells Cheon that they can take the widows there.
Cheon tells them that she wanted to make them brave, she didn’t want them to be scared ust because they are women. She is sorry that she could not keep the promise. Her assassins say that they are only separating temporarily. They will come back together and make a better plaace.
Cheon tells them yes, do not lose your hope and survive to the end. Jung Sook hugs her and Cheon tells them all to hurry. They all bow and leave.
Ssook stays and talks to Cheon. She tells her that she took all the gisaengs to the government office. They are all smart and pretty so they should be okay everywhere.
Cheon asks about widow Kim – no – that guy?
Ssook says that he is in the other town over the hill. His entire body is destroyed. he pretended to be a woman so that is bad, but if he did not risk his life to save us then…
Cheon says that it is the first time that Ssook is on someones side like this. Ssook says that is not it. Cheon tells her that she has no power to do anything for anyone. Ssook asks her where she is going now?
Cheon tells her that she will do anything until the end. She will go to hanyang and see Heo Yoon. You should move with the others. Ssook says that she promised to stay with her, but wait, I will bring you a horse.
Ssook goes off to get the horse. Cheon waits. But then she sees the guards riding up the path. Cheon sees those same guards riding up the path.
Hey Yoon finds out about what happened in the widow village and says that he does not know where the remaining widows are right now. they could have killed him as well, but as a warning he let me go.
Heo Yoon knows this is Yool Moo and is about to angrily go somewhere, but his guard tells him that the palace should know about this, so you shouldn’t move right now. Heo Yoon regretfully listens to him. But he also thinks that the assassin that came to him, Nokdu, is the new way.
Ssook is about to rescue CHeon who is arrested and walks with the guards. But Cheon signals, no.
We flashback to Ssooks past. She ran from assassins and was corned on the edge of a cliff. They told her to jump and tehy will take that as her loyalty to her husband.
But then the men are all killed arrows by women assassins. Cheon is one of them and tells Ssook that she should not look down at the edge of a cliff. She should save her own life and not think about loyalty to her husbsnd. Lets go, with your head up.
Ssook thinks about all of this as she sees Cheon being taken away. But then an arrow hits Cheon right in the chest. The guards all yell, who is there? Find them!
Ssook looks around and sees Yool Moo’s assassin. Then she looks at Cheon who is struggling to breath and dying on the road. Ssook cannot go to her or she will reveal that she is there. It also does not look like Cheon wants her to. So Cheon closes her eyes and dies.
Ssook stands and Dongju cries over Cheon’s grave. Dongju wants to know why this all happened? Ssook buried Cheon and says that she fill find whoever did this to them.
Dongju pats Nokdu’s forehead as she nurses him back to health. He holds her hand and looks up at her. He says, I thought you left. I had a dream where you left without me.
Dongju – that was a stupid dream. i am not going anywhere, so sleep some more.
He closes his eyesa and softly puts her hand on his chest as he rests. But then he opens his eyes again and it is Yeon Geun is sitting over him, LOL. Nokdu hops up and is all like, what happened? Um, where is Dongju?
Yeon Geun tells him not to move so much. But Nokdu hurries to try and stand and hurry off. Yeon Geun calls him Jashik and looks like he might still have a touch of feelings for him.
Nokdu runs to a beautiful grass field and looks off. Master Hwang coems up to him and asks how many days he will wait there? She is not coming back. She decided.
He says that he is not waiting for her, he just came out for some air. Hwang asks if he is crying? Nokdu says that it is becsue the wind is cold. Then he asks how she can disappear like this on him, she said she would wait for me.
Hwang starts to mention Cheon and says that she was attacked while running away. She is buried.
Nokdu falls to his feet. Hwang says that Yeon Geun wanted to keep this secret from him until he is fully recovered. Are you okay?
Nokdu says he has to leave to Hanyang. But Hwang tells him that he should not leave like this. Nokdu says that he has unfinished story to tell her.
Flashback to Dongju sitting next to a sleeping Nokdu. She tells Hwang that she has to leave. He tells her that she has not even slept for days. Dongju says that she has to leave. That is why hse is staying next to him and watching him right now. Because it is a little moment for him.
Hwang asks what she is talking about. Dongju says that she thinks she won’t be able to leave him when he wakes up. Don’t tell him that I was like this. Just tell him that I left without any feeling. Please.
She holds Nokdu’s hand and looks tenderly at him.
In the present, Hwang wonders if it will hurt more if he doesn’t know about it or if it will hurt more if he does know about it? He looks at Nokdu walking off through the field.
Cut to Dongju in the city looking up, possibly to the palace.
END PART ONE
PART TWO OF THE TALE OF NOKDU
The King is angrily walking in the courtyard and asks why they can’t findn who attacked them or who survived! The important witness for who carried the Kings order has died, but you cant find anything! What can you even do!
The pulls the guards sword and holds it to his neck. The guard tells him that he heard that the night before Cheon died, she visited Heo Yoon. The King drops the sword, stunned.
Yool Moo sits in contemplation when his assassin comes in. he asks if he has heard anything about Dongju? Yool Moo tells him that they have to find her. If she resists then force her to come here. If that guy is with her, then kill him on sight.
Cut to Dongju, she is applying a face mask to a lady as other ladies watch. This looks like her new business, so she is sellingn these face masks to them and asks if they can help her find a spot as a maid in the palace?
Scene change to the street where Nokdu, Aengdoo, and Hwang walk in slow motion, and very cool, up the streets of Hanyang. But then Yeon Geun shows up and completely throws off the cool factor as he started Nokdu.
Nokdu asks him how long Yeon Geun will follow them? You said we should come here together so you can go your own way. YG asks them if they have a place to stay? They say that they can take care of it.
So Nokdu, Aengdoo and Hwang walk away. hwang says that it looks like he still has feelings for you. Aengdoo says that he stayed next to him when he slept, but it shouldnt be. Nokdu is all like, nonsense, he saw that I am a boy.
But then Yeon Geun runs up on them once again and holds Nokdu on the shoulder. Nokdu hops again.
They all go eat in a restaurant. Yeon Geun says that he will help them get settled. It is all for Aengdoo and this old man. Aengdoo says she will call him oraboni (like oppa) from now on. But Nokdu thinks that he might get in trouble and be punished if he sticks with them due to what happened to the widow town.
Yeon Geun starts to mumble all sorts of things like how he can handle it and you might have trouble and I worry about you as a country boy so just follow what I say and I will have you pay me back later. So lets go find a place to live. No, no, we have to change your clothes first.
So Yeon Geun takes Nokdu to a clothing store and sits as he waits for him to come out in his new manly clothing.
Nokdu comes out in all baby pink from head to tow. Yeon Geun mutters that he is still pretty. But he say, no, I mean, you look like a Hanyang person now!
Hwang is about to say something but Yeon Geun tells him that he has money and he is good at everything. So YG stands to put a hat on Nodu and tells him that he is his cousin that left hanyang a long time ago when he was young. he was sick so he had to go to the south. Since then we did not have contact. So let’s make it that you came back. It looks like you have a story that you cnanot say since you pretended to be a widow?
Nokdu asks if this is affecting Yeon Geun? Isn’t it bad for you?
Yeon tells them that he would already be dead in the widow town if it wasn’t for them. Your name is Yeon Soo. Lets find a house.
Scene change to Nokdu walking up on the swing. It is the swing that he and Dongju had a fun time at. He thinks that Dongju is a bad person, but then sees The King sitting in the seat. he doesn’t know that he is the King though.
ND – How long are you going to be there on the swing?
Several guards show up and then disappear when the King waves them off. Nokdu does not notice them.
King – You are waiting for the swing?
ND – Yes, I am
King – Ah, so you want to ride the swing
He stands up and then sits again and says that he just sat there.
Nokduu sits on the grass
ND – I will sit and wait a little longer.
King – It seems like you are worried about something
ND – Yes, I am worried about something
King – Can I ask you what you are worried about
ND – I am afraid that I know something that I have to know but that I shouldnt’ know
King – You are the same as me. So are you running away?
ND – No, I have to move foreward to face it.
He starts to walk away. the King stands
King – Have we seen each other before?
ND – i don’t know
King – See you around
ND – If our fate connects
The King smiles pleasantly as he looks at Nokdu leaving. While Nokdu is walking away, he thinks that he saw the King somewhere.
That night, Heo Yoon looks at the sky, then Nokdu comes in his all black attire and stands behind him. He tells him that he wants to hear his answer that heo Yoon could not finish telling him last time.
Heo Yoon tells him to follow him. Then he goes inside to where Yoon Jeo is. Nokdu sees Yoon Jeo and they have a big reunion as father and son.
Nokdu runs to Yoon and gives him a big hug and his father hugs him as well and they look at each other and check it each others faces and ask how hard it must have been. Nokdu asks if he is trapped there?
Yoon says that Heo Yoon is his friend. he is not trapped there. Nokdu asks why his friend wanted to kill them and now he is not killing them. Why is that? Is it – because of me?
His father hugs him tightly and tells him not to ask anything more. Nokdu exclaims that he hugged his mother so much, but no matter what he did, she always favored hyung.
His father looks at him and tells him that they need to find his brother. But Nokdu cries and says that his mother lived as an empty person and died without medicine. How can I not ask anything? how? Who am I? WHO AM I?
Ousdie, the King walks the street and thinks abot what Nokdu told him. “Ii need to face it” he has resolve as he walks away.
Nokdu asks his father, am I the son of the King?
Yoon tells him that he does not know what he heard, but you are not, you are my son.
Nokdu wipes his tears and tells his father that he will not tell him the truth he wants, is that right? I will be back.
His father asks where he is going!
Nokdu says that he will correct everything that went wrong and he will make it so that father and brother can live in the daylight.
He pushes past his father and goes outside. His father tells him to stop, but starts coughing and cannot follow him.
Nokdu goes outside and is stopped by a lot of guards. The guards tell him that he has to stay here. They are about to pull their swords on him. But then they hear a knocking on the gate. It is the King!
The King knocks again, but then motions for his guards to break the gate open, so many many guards kick the gate open and run inside to make a patch for the King. He walks in determinedly.
Inside, Yoon Jeo asks Heo Yoon how much he knows? Heo Yoon asks him how much he knows? 20 years ago, why did the King want to kill his own son? Even abandoning you, his best friend, why?
The King bursts through the door and sees Heo Yoon and Yoon Jeo talking together. Everyones eyes go wide.
Meanwhile, Nokdu was able to escape from the house and avoid the guards. But his wound in his side still affects him.
In the house, The King grips his sword, his bod grows tense and he runs to stand in front of Yoon. Yoon looks pained as well, and mutters, your highness.
The both stare at each other with intensity, the King shutters his sword again and Yoon yells, YOUR HIGHNESS several times as he bows in front of the King.
Elsewhere, Nokdu has made it home and surprised Hwang who wakes up to see him there. Nokdu tells him that he wants to go into the palace and find things out for himself.
In Heo Yoon’s house, The King asks Yoon if he was the only one to survive? Heo Yoon and Yoon jeo are both on their knees now. Yoon tells him that he was the only one to survive from the begining. So I am the only one to survive.
The King tells him, if you have any more lies, then I will kill you myself. He leaves enraged and tells his guards to guard them so that they cannot go anywhere. Yoon starts to cough again.
Nokdu goes outside and starts to feed the little chicks, Dong Dong and Dong Ju. He asks them if they also don’t like it? Yeah, what Dongju made for you was super nice. That bad girl who does not have any responsibility even though she has good skills.
Cut to Dongju selling more things to ladies. She tells them that this is very difficult to get. One of the ladies says that she heard that it will make your skin super porcelain white.
Dongju gives it to them. But one of the ladies asks if this is a bride to be a maid in the Palace? i am leaving. But the other one is happy and thanks Dongju and then leaves. Dongju thinks it would be a lot easier to just climb the wall than to do this.
Elsewhere, Nokdu goes to a blacksmith and tells him that he is practicing for the government exam and needs an archers bow. The blacksmith starts to show him some thing. Nokdu asks him if he remembers the guy that bought the magnet? he was short, did he come back?
The blacksmith says that he has not seen him since then. But he is his regular customer. Nokdu tells him that he will take thes things and then come back.
Then Nokdu goes to the swing and sits there for a long time which prevents several kids from using it. The ladies from before tell Nokdu that he needs to move so that the kids an use it. So he stands up to leave.
But one of the ladies falls in love with Nodku and accidentally on purpose trips into his arms. She is mesmerized. he holds her for a moment and then sets her back up and continues on his way.
She sighs and says that he is kind but not caring, ah, what can I do?
Nokdu goes to the library and meets the King there again. The King tells him that their fate has connected again and asks what he is doing there?
The King says that he had things to clear up on his mind but Nokdu was on the swing all day. Are you preparing for the office military exam?
He says yes, he has to go into the palace and thinks that this is faster than becoming a desk officer.
The King asks why he wants to come to the palace?
Nokdu says that he wants to see the King.
The King asks why? It does not seem like you are planning something good.
Nokdu says he wants to be recognized by him.
The King asks his name.
Nokdu says it is Yeon Soo.
The King asks if he is in the Yeon family?
Nokdu says that is right.
So the King tells him that he needs to give him a bribe for his super future. Can we meet here again, 5 days later? Then the King leaves. Nokdu was about to say something else, but the King does not turn around.
Cut to a flashback of Nokdu putting Dongju’s shoes on her. Dongju is thinking about this as she puts her own shoes on. She remembers Nokdu’s smiling face looking at her. She tries to shake it off and says that she does not deserve to cry.
Then a woman runs around the corner and asks her if she can really do anything?
They go to sit. The lady tells her that she wants her to find a guy for her. She can’t find him and only has some time outsid the palace. She just wants to talk to him. he resuced her from getting injured so she wants to show her gratitude.
Dongju says that this is like finding Mr. Kim in Hanyang (like finding a needle in a haystack). The lady says that she fired one of her ma-a-a-aids. So Dongju seriously asks what he looks like.
While dongju is walking aorund, wer hear a voice over of the lady telling Donju what the mystery man looks like. he is in a pretty pnk suit and has lovely beads framing his face and has skin that is better than any woman and his eyes look like he has 100s of stories there.
We see a handsome drawing of Nokdu show up on the screen as the lady describes him. But then when we see Dongju walking around, we see her drawing which is so bad and looks more like a Picasso impression. Dongju wonders how she can find this guy as she looks at her drawing. The palace woman might have drawn this actually.
Dongju thinks that this drawing should at least look human. She wonders why she wants to meet him at the swing 3 days later (3 days has passed now). She also thinks that they can change their suit often, but they won’t change their beads on their hat too often.
But she is frustrated as she looks at the image again. That causes her to miss Nokdu walking by.
But then when she looks up again, she sees a pink man walking by. She runs to him.
The King motions for his guards to stay back.
Dongju looks at the King and thinks…sparkly eyes….sharp chin line….white skin….and pink suit….
The King asks if she is done checking?
Dongju apologizes and asks if he went to the swing a few days ago? The King thinks and says yes, I did. Dongju says that she is sorry to ask him, but can you come to the swing tonight? A woman wants to see you.
He is all like, a woman? With me?
Dongju says yes, it is nothing, she just wants to talk to you tonight. You are going to come right? Promise? Then Dongju runs away. The King looks on fondly and thinks that he is supposed to meet Nokdu today as well (because it is 3 days since the last time they met).
So now the King meets with Nokdu at their meeting spot. Nokdu apologizes for making him wait. The King chuckles that they not only have fate, they have similar tastes. They are both wearing a very similar pink outfit.
The King gives Nokdu a small box filled with yutt, Korean sticky candy, and tells him to please pass the government exam. Nokdu thanks him so much and asks how he should pay for it. The King tells him that if he passes the exam, he should not ignore him.
Nokdu nods so the King tells him goodbye, you should be busy studying for the exam. Nokdu nods and leaves.
Then one of the Kings guards comes up and tells him that the grandson of the Yeon’s was very sick so he went to the countryside and they lost contact with him. The King thinks, they lost contact with him? Then he looks off surprised and questioningly at Nokdu walking away.
Elsewhere, we see Nokdu training in the countryside. Hwang tells him not to work too hard yet. Nokdu thinks he is right and throws his weapon on the ground.
Hwang smiles and says that he found the medicine for him that he was looking for. It reminds me of Mr. Jung on the island. Can you tell me why you need it?
Cut to Nokdu jumping the fence and dropping off the medicine at his fathers place. But the guards come up to him and ask who he is. Nokdu is about to either take off his mask or do something, not sure, but then his father opens the door and says, Nokdu!
Nokdu uses that moment to start to fight the guards and get away. As he is fighting, his sleeve gets cut so the guards pick it up and then yell to follow him!
At the swing, Dongju and the girl wit for the pink man to show up. The King stars to walk up an the lady sees him and is all like, are you crazy! She runs off.
The King comes all the way up to Dongju and asks why she is running away? Dongju tries to explain why she might have run off and bows several times and apologizes about men and women love and runs away.
Then his guard tells him right at that moment that a man tried to find Yoon jeo and ran away. They did not see his face, but Yoon Jeo called him Nokdu. The King says, Nokdu? We need to catch him.
Cut to Nokdu running through the streets of Hangyan as many guards serach for him.
As Dongju is walking back, she see the search and sees someone hiding. teh music starts to play as she wonders what she should do.
She looks up the street at the guards and thinks for a long moment. Then she puts her jacket over her head an tells the guards to come to her, she says that she saw a suspicious person that way. they all go running int he direction she pointed.
Dongju looks back at where the person was hiding, they are no longer there. So she looks around for him and can’t see him. The guards keep looking around.
Nongju keeps looking around as well, but then is pulled into a building.
She was pulled in by Nokdu. He holds her arms and pulls her around a shelf where there are bowl and dishes everywhere.
ND – You
DJ – I have to go
ND – No, you can’t
DJ – I will draw their attention so you can hide here
ND – No, I won’t let you go anywhere anymore
Dongju tries to move and Nokdu keeps her there. But then seh tries again and a bowl falls and clanks ont he ground. They know that it was too loud for this quiet night.
The guard outside pauses his steps, he heard it. They turn back around.
They all go to the door where Nokdu and Dongju are hiding. The King goes right to the door and opens it. he walks inside with a lantern
Nokdu and Dongju look at the door, but they stay hiding around a corner. The King is right on the other side of the shelf. He is looking at them.
Nokdu looks at the King, the light shines on his face.
This show is the absolute best, it is rivaling The Crowned Clown as my favorite sageuk of the year and is taking a spot as one of my favorite dramas to recommend and maybe of all time. We’ll have to see how it ends of course, because all bets could be off. But right now, I love every single thing about it!
I really love how the King and Nokdu are getting to know each other, though it is pained because they will have to destroy each other in the end right? Or will the writer give us another switcheroo to make us all end up on the Kings side? I am so so so so so curious and into this!
Ssook – The big scholar? (Heo Yoon)
YM – I will help you get revenge
HY – What if we dethrone the current King and make Nokdu the new King?
Gambler – When you come in, it is your body but you an’t go out as your own body
ND – Ah, these Hanyang people don’t have any business ethics
ND – She is busy paying for my debt
ND – Are you going to run away?
AD – You want to put her next to you? that is what you think?
Hwang – They are having a hard time pretending like they don’t like each other
DJ – You? Make a deal? Are you going to the palace in front of the King?
ND – he said I can bring family members also
DJ – So, I can see the King?