We like to think of Hee Sin in Song of the Bandits as the girl in dark blue. There is no depth to this reasoning except that, against a backdrop of black and brown, she was the only spot of color for the majority of the runtime of the show. We had previously talked about this choice, which set her apart from the rough and tough bandits, yet established that she was an ally due to its complementary nature. It is also noteworthy that after coming back from her mission, she dresses in more earthy tones, as if to match the wardrobe of the bandits she left behind. It is not just a mark of her loyalty but also a representative of the future she has started hoping for. Hee Sin wanted to leave her job with the government. While she gave other reasons for it, we feel it was because she wanted to be with Lee Yoon. The woman was in love, and if our deductions are right, Yoon was also the first person with whom she had been able to be completely herself without having to constantly put on an act, and that is something worth pursuing. Yet, we saw an ending for her in Song of the Bandits that we could not have expected at all.
Before we understand Hee Sin as an independence activist for Joseon, we see her through Lee Yoon’s eyes. He says that she was the first person to show him kindness in a world where slaves are treated worse than animals. There is a flashback of Hee Sin as a child, giving her hand to Lee Yoon and helping him get up. We don’t want to comment on the glorification of a simple, humane gesture, but the intent of the writer is to show Hee Sin as a person of compassion who did not believe in cruelty towards those that society deems as being lesser than. Later, when she was still pretending to be an ally of the Japanese, we saw her mask slip when one of the people spoke badly about Joseon. When she was giving a speech about the supremacy of the Japanese empire, she couldn’t control her tears because not only did she disbelieve everything she was saying, it went against her inherent principles to do that.
Perhaps the biggest clue we got into Hee Sin as a person was through the letter that she wrote for Lee Yoon. When she described the helplessness she felt during the massacre near the train, we had to wonder if this was the first time she had actively participated in the independence movement. Her sentiments had always been towards that, but this was probably her first active mission. When she met Lee Yoon many years ago, she had herself asked him for a dance so that she could request his kindness towards the Joseon people. This actually reminds us of their second meeting, when she blew up something as part of the resistance. This means that when she stole the Gando railway funds, she had already been doing it for many years. However, her privileged bubble meant that she had not seen death and destruction up close the way others had. Maybe that is what caused her disillusionment for the time being.
We can guess that Lee Yoon fell in love with Hee Sin very early on. When he met her at the ball, Gwang Il said that she was someone he had been looking for for 10 years already. Add another 11 years to that, and Lee Yoon had loved her his entire life. But the first time Hee Sin saw him properly, it was when he protected her from the danger she was in. Her feelings were rather overwhelmed at that moment, and while she says that he gave her hope to go on in their first meeting, we believe that she was already in love. She just needed to recognize it.
Twice before leaving, Hee Sin asks Lee Yoon for his name. However, we suspect she already knew it. She must have heard it, either when Gwang Il was talking to him or during his interaction with Seon Bok or Nyeoni. Yet she wanted to hear it from him. It is easy to sense that this was about more than respecting boundaries or privacy. She was asking for him to trust her with something about himself.
Hee Sin certainly figured out what Lee Yoon felt for her, and it was not just because the others spoke about it. The way he stood by her, risked his life for her, and never let her go no matter what, along with the simple way he looked at her, were all dead giveaways. But the first time Hee Sin even gave a hint of her feelings was right at the moment that she was leaving, and that is when the two kissed, in acknowledgment of what could have been between them and will probably be in the future.
Cut to that future, and their responsibilities toward independence came in the way of their story. Hee Sin met Gwang Il, and he was desperately seeking reassurance that she would be in his life. Hee Sin assured him that she would be with him no matter what. Hee Sin was already on the verge of leaving it all behind, but she continued the ruse in front of Gwang Il for more intelligence to help the independence movement. Until she left it all behind, she would fulfill her responsibilities as much as she could and with complete honesty. But then she saw Lee Yoon leave the flowers for her, she couldn’t deny what she actually wanted to do, which was to be with him.
In the end, we saw that Hee Sin was getting married to Gwang Il. Our theory is that if there is a Song of the Bandits season 2, the wedding will not happen. But if it does, we know that it will be for the purpose of the independence movement because that will remain Hee Sin’s first responsibility.