The disclaimer: Spoilers for the Show Abound. Reader Discretion Advised.
Summary: Gyebaek receives news that a troop of 130,000 is heading to Paekche. He prepares for battle, and Euija asks him to return alive so they can achieve their dreams together.

Well, it’s been a long, sometimes strange, but mostly long, trip to get to here. Episode 36 of Gye Baek, the finale. There were be blood. There will be tears. There will be me, cheering because I can finally take a break and figure out a way to make writing one of these recaps quicker.
The real question will be, will it be worth it in the end?

For the last time, here’s the link to the show:
Gye Baek can be watched on Crunchyroll or Hulu. Hulu’s free stream is 16 x 9 (I believe Crunchyroll’s free stream is 4 x 3). Each episode is a whopping 60+ minutes.

Going into this show I knew there was a element of tragedy and that this show can’t have a happy ending. I knew this because I looked up who Gye Baek was historically. The audience probably knew this as well, so it was mostly just a matter of waiting for the other shoe to drop. For every victory there was going to have to be a massive backlash. Which is what we’ve seen. There’s been cycles of treachery and alliances, friendships made and broken. A lot of drama and a lot of nighttime battle scenes that are impossible to screen capture.

Baekje is severely outnumbered. By more than four to one. The King sends word for everyone to mobilize their forces.

Well, I guess that’s that. All the training montages in the world can’t save you from sheer numbers. Gye Baek isn’t ready to give up.

The king promises to so everything that he said he would do originally if Gye Baek can just save his kingdom. The civilians, meanwhile, are evacuating and the army thinks they’re marching to their deaths.

They would be correct, but you can’t tell them that.
Before Gye Baek marches he pays Eungo a visit, to make another hollow promise that he’s going to come back alive and plead her case. Dude, she threw you under the bus! You owe her NOTHING.
Cho Young is another issue all together.

Where are the kids?

STUPID HISTORY. This is literally, the ONLY thing we know about the real historical Gye Baek.
In 660, Baekje was invaded by a force of 50,000 from Silla, supported by 144,000 Tang soldiers. Gyebaek, with only 5,000 troops under his command, met them in the battlefield of Hwangsanbeol. Before entering departing to the battlefield, Gyebaek reportedly killed his wife and children to boost the fallen morale and patriotism of his army, and to prevent the thought of them to influence his actions or to cause him to falter in battle.
This makes no sense. It makes no sense then and it makes no sense now. I see the explanation, BUT IT STILL MAKES NO SENSE TO ME.
Yet the show is forced to do this stupid thing because it has to, so I’m not gonna fault them for that, because they handle it the best way they can.
(Well, maybe not the best way they could. In fact, I find it odd that at one point in the series I looked like they were setting up Gye Baek to hook up with the mute girl. At which point Cho Young was probably supposed to die on the King’s sword, or die in the final battle. Why didn’t they? Who knows.)

Would you follow a man that did that?

That’s fucked up. With your shield or on it.... HOME TO YOUR WIFE.
This goes against all I know about inspiring people.

Opening shot of the series. WAIT, the whole show was a FLASHBACK? (Well, it is ancient history after all.) A flashback in a flashback. That’s deep man.

Now you know why Gye Baek was sitting against a tree looking forlorn.
Onward to your nobel deaths.

Gye Baek is holding out hoping for reinforcements from the nobles.

That’s a lot of dudes.
There’s some quite moments in here. Gye Baek talks to an old man who joined up to die in battle to join his sons and wife, and gives him a new sword. He reminisces on his quiet joys in life he wants his men to enjoy.
Joys he can never have again because Cho Young is dead.

A lot of these scenes are the shots they showed in the first episode over again. Obviously, it’s the same battle. The really fancy, expensive looking battle. It still looks really good.

While Gye Baek won that battle, the other forces haven’t done so well.

Kim Yushin isn’t keeping his cool during all of this. He just wants to grind Gye Baek to dust. He has the manpower to do it too.
Then this awesome thing happens:

A crazy guy rides out alone, and Gye Baek sends him back to Kim Yushin as a present.

Then there’s an ounce a good news. The reinforcements are riding. Too little to late though. Four battles on the plains has ground their forces down, and Gye Baek is exhausted.

Just like how you’re not?
The finale battle appears to have been shot during magic hour, which makes the whole thing look amazing, from a lighting sense.

Our troops put up a valiant effort, but we all know this isn’t going to be pretty. Ready? Here we go.
One Down:

Two Down:

Stabbed by unnamed, random grunts, our hero goes down.

In the middle of this, Eungo somehow escapes her cell and jumps off a cliff. FEEL GOOD MOMENT OF THE SHOW.

King Uija sits in an empty throne room, alone. Abandoned. Friends dead and gone, wife a traitor who jumps off a cliff to short to die by jumping alone, so she’s probably dying of exposure. He actually flinches when Gye Baek goes down, so I guess he heard a million voices crying out and being suddenly silenced.

As GyeBaek falls, we get the Gladiator ending where he sees his wife and kids as he bleeds out.


FIN!!? Wait, what about country? Well, here’s a link to what happened after.
Certainly not the ending I’m sure a lot of people were hoping for. For the record, Huengsu is probably still out there cracking wise and being awesome, and saying “I told you so.”
Awh... hell, I just realized Boss Dokge must have lived. Urrghhhhh.

Final Thoughts:

Gye Baek isn’t a show without problems. For one, it needed to be at least ten episodes shorter. Repeating moments of drama and betrayal three times was a great way of displaying history repeating itself, but a terrible slog. It did a great job of making Gye Baek a likable character, once he became a General. I think they did the best they could at telling the tragic ending, without retroactively changing history.
Cinematically the show did look good. Great sets, great costumes, probably not historically accurate for the year but great looking. Lighting was surprisingly awesome, and the fight choreography was splendid. The acting was decent to good, almost too good as Mu Jin was far more likable than his son until late in the series.
Is it worth your time? How much time do you have? 36 hours worth?
That leads me to last part of this entry...

Now a Word from Our Readers!
What series should I watch next? Here’s the list of requirements:
•*Historical Based/Period Drama.
•*Must be available on Hulu or Crunchyroll for free! I am not a cheapskate, but my money goes to manga, anime, and games first and foremost.
•*Please, for my sanity, take length into consideration.

I will always be taking suggestions for future series to watch. Once I have enough I’ll be putting the choices to a vote.
For now, I’ll be taking a brief break to allow me to recharge, and probably make some new graphics.

See you next time, peeps. Feel free to sign off below with questions, comments, and suggestions.