Following the ratings stagnation, viewers were noticeably more impressed with this week’s episode wich saw the ratings go up once again.
The episodes this week had a general theme each. Episode 11 was about defining the relationships of Iljimae (Lee Jun Ki) and Eun Chae (Han Hyo Joo), Bong Soon (Lee Young Ah) and Ryung (Lee Jun Ki), Shi Hoo (Park Shi Hoo) and Eun Chae. Despite Iljimae’s status as a thief, Eun Chae is drawn to him with his acts of robbing the rich to give to the poor. Iljimae meanwhile is only occupied with using Eun Chae as a means of finding his father’s killer, but then, he is attracted to her mannerisms of caring for the poor despite her status.
Meanwhile, for Bong Soon, after acknowledging that Ryung is the long-lost “brother” whom had promised to take care of her when they were little, is smitten with him and longs to show her affection through feeding him with lots of good food and just gazing at him. But Ryung just finds her irritating but counts on her as a good friend probably. The ending of Episode 11 just goes to show how much Bong Soon likes Ryung now.
For Shi Hoo, he is left jealous after a brief scuffle with Iljimae who had paid Eun Chae a visit, both of them gets injured. But Eun Chae only cares for Iljimae first. This marks the breakdown in their relationship.
For Episode 12 focused on Ryung and Shi Hoo getting their martial arts training.
Ryung chances on Bong Soon’s father good fighting skills during a marketplace scuffle and decides to learn fighting from him. Ryung just wants to learn fighting to complement his thievery skills so that he can find his father’s killer. What he doesn’t know is that Bong Soon’s father had a part to play in his father’s death.
For Shi Hoo, after being thwarted time and time again to catch Iljimae red-handed, he decides to learn fighting skills from the top assassin head that’s serving the king. Fate is that both their teachers were actually comrades in the past and it would be interesting to see how their disciples turn out.
With Ryung away learning fighting, his absence is sorely felt by his adoptive parents and the commonfolks as Iljimae is temporarily out of commission.
The story up till now is interesting because it doesn’t depict Iljimae as a heroic figure from the offset. Instead it sets up Iljimae on the path to revenge for his father. During that path, he realises how corrupt the government is and the widespread poverty. For revenge and to help the commonfolk, he learns martial arts to rob the corrupt officials and feed the poor. The supporting cast are excellent as well, especially Ryung’s adoptive parents. Growing and learning with Iljimae, that’s what unique about this drama.