If today’s recap of Episode 10 is any indication, I am loving this series more today than I did last week. I snipped 54 pictures. 54!!! Of course, I probably won’t use them all for this post, but still…
We’re at the halfway mark for this show, and the stakes just keep getting higher and higher. Not only are the characters becoming more attached to each other, but so are its viewers.
The pressing question on my mind? If this show keeps going at this solid pace, what will I do once it’s over? Yeah, I know…I’ll simply find another show to recap and love, but seriously, Arang and the Magistrate is quickly lodging itself firmly in my little Kdrama heart.
Recap: The two–Joo Wal and Arang–go on their first date, and their first destination is to the hanbok maker, who comments that Joo Wal has never brought a lady here before, much less purchased a hanbok.
Joo Wal stands with his back to the two women as Arang gets measured.
Unfortunately, Arang keeps imagining Eun Oh measuring her. LOL
Meanwhile, Eun Oh lets his burgeoning sense of duty and justice get the better of him and turns around from pursing Joo Wal and Arang on their date. Instead, he dresses in his official clothes and asks Lord Choi to turn over the young boy’s father. After much stalling, during which time Eun Oh points out to Lord Choi that Eun Oh has every right to the “wrong doer,” Choi reluctantly hands over the young boy’s father. Furious, he vents his frustrations out on his right-hand man, demanding to know why he even started the trouble that he wasn’t even ordered to do.
As they prepare to leave, Choi’s lackey insults Eun Oh, but before Dol Swe can give the man a good beating, Eun Oh intercedes and prevents Dol Swe from hitting the offensive man.
The idiotic man continues to insult Eun Oh, who then stoops down on one knee and menacingly reminds the lackey that Eun Oh’s father is not one to be trifled with; he won’t care about Choi but simply go after the offending party who has injured his son.
As Eun Oh prepares to leave Choi’s house, he learns from Dol Swe the reason for the “wrong doer’s” torture; the poor man had been caught loitering in front of the magistrate’s office, hoping to get aid from Eun Oh regarding the extravagant interest Choi has been collecting. Recalling Choi’s taunt that the job of magistrate isn’t going to be so easy, especially now that everyone knows of Eun Oh’s low birth, Eun Oh tells Dol Swe to have the gathered villagers start a rumor in the village.
What’s the rumor? That Eun Oh is going to release Choi’s stored grains to correct the excess that Choi has been collecting from the people. Declaring usury illegal, Eun Oh has Dol Swe set aside just the right amount of grain, according to the national interest rate, to account for the money the villagers had borrowed from Choi. The rest, he releases to the starving villagers, who bow before him in their gratitude, an act that Eun Oh dismisses.
Dol Swe cautions Eun Oh to not mess with Choi. Helping the young boy’s father from certain death is one thing, but clearing out the storage bin as a means to aggravate Choi is another.
The Bang trio return from their drinking–they needed to drown their sorrows over the recent trouble, especially from the headaches that are Arang and Eun Oh, an illegitimate son–and are completely shocked to see villagers leaving the magistrate’s office with sacks of grain, Lord Choi’s sacks of grain!
When they discover storage shed after storage shed emptied of Choi’s grains, the three turn on Dol Swe, demanding to know what right a slave of a slave has to empty these sheds. Incensed, Dol Swe grabs one by the lapel, but the damage is already done; Eun Oh has heard the slur and quietly leaves the area for the privacy of his room.
Offended by the slur, Dol Swe shows the Bang trio that he is not one to be treated lightly. He yells at them that the thing he despises most is not the insult to his master but the insult to himself: “I hate being called a slave of a slave!” Heh.
We then see a flashback to an earlier time when Dol Swe is being thrashed for defending Eun Oh from three bully aristocrats. Lifting Eun Oh, he shouts that what makes him angry is being called a slave of a slave. If the nobleman has an issue with him, he can simply take it up with Lord Kim, who will then discipline Dol Swe. Dol Swe refuses to be disciplined by anyone other than his masters.
Cut back to present time and Dol Swe huffs into Eun Oh’s room, telling him that they should pack up and leave. Eun Oh dismisses his suggestion and takes off on his horse to let off some steam.
Dol Swe follows him out and runs into Bang Wool, who has heard of the rumor and arrived to claim her piece a tad bit too late. Realizing that she’s being persecuted by the Bang, Dol Swe steps in front of her and guards her from the evil Bang. LOL. Bang Wool just gazes adoringly at the man who has come to her rescue. Heh.
Meanwhile, Eun Oh tears through the mountainside with flashbacks running through his head.
Flashbacks of the various insults as well as that moment when his mother collapsed on him, declaring her determination to seek vengeance for her murdered family.
Atop a mountain, Eun Oh gazes out on the valley, seeing yet unseeing, his mind lost in thought.
Meanwhile, Joo Wal watches as Arang eats yet another handful of snacks. He wonders how she can keep eating as though she’s been starving for quite some time. She quickly explains that she’s gone hungry before–a long, long time ago when her “father” abandoned her–and so she eats now whenever she gets the chance. Joo Wal looks upon her with more tenderness as her words resonate with him.
Of course, Arang soon forgets that she’s in his presence when she spots two ghosts by her side. She offers a snack to the more timid ghost and then one to the more assertive ghost. When they both run away after receiving their dduk (Korean rice cake), Arang waves them well…until she belatedly remembers Joo Wal. Fortunately, yet strangely, Joo Wal doesn’t make any comment about Arang’s odd behavior. Interesting….
On the walk home, he learns that Arang is not at all close to Eun Oh and that Arang has a question for him but will ask him at another time. After all, she can hardly ask after he’s bought her all these things–dress and food–why he wasn’t this kind to his fiance Lee Seo Rim. As they talk, though, Joo Wal muses that it’s a shame the night is so late, or he would have loved to have taken her to see those flowers. Arang comments that the flowers are, indeed, best when seen at night and then gets distracted wondering about Eun Oh and whether that troublesome man has collapsed from lack of food.
And who should arrive on the scene just as she mutters her concern? Eun Oh, of course! Despite his physical and emotional fatigue, he still packs quite the presence, riding up to them on his horse. 🙂
Joo Wal explains that he was merely escorting Arang home since it is so late at night, and Eun Oh wearily tells Arang to grab hold and hoists her onto his horse. As they leave, Arang calls back to Joo Wal, thanking him for a lovely day.
Joo Wal’s smile for Arang quickly stiffens to a different expression altogether as soon as she’s out of sight. *shivers*
Eun Oh asks Arang if she was able to get her questions answered and freaks out a bit when Arang replies that she couldn’t ask him those questions, not when Joo Wal had just bought her all these things, including a new hanbok. When Arang shows frustration and jealousy over Lee Seo Rim, Eun Oh comments on the irony of Arang being jealous of herself. Heh…good point. However, Arang corrects him: “Lee Seo Rim is Lee Seo Rim, and I’m me.”
Eun Oh stops the horse in the middle of a meadow, suggesting they get some fresh air before returning home. Aw…Is this their second date? A moonlit stroll in the meadow? A way to replace memories of Joo Wal with memories of him perhaps? LOL
Realizing that Eun Oh is still worried about her, Arang asks if Eun Oh likes her. After all, the dressmaker had said that for men, concern is the first sign of love. Eun Oh hotly denies this, and Arang tells him that’s a good thing since she only has two moons left on earth. If she doesn’t uncover the truth of her death within that time, she’ll be cast down to hell, but if she does solve the mystery, then she’ll be sent up to heaven. Either way, she will only be on this earth for two more moons.
This casually mentioned comment silences Eun Oh as he simply looks at Arang and tries to process her words.
When Arang walks away, determined to keep things light, Eun Oh finally snaps out of his shock and chases after her, demanding to know why she didn’t tell him this important bit of news until now. She comments that it doesn’t affect him, so she didn’t.
Meanwhile, Joo Wal sits contemplatively in his darkened room when he receives an unexpected visit.
The soul-sucker quietly walks into the room and comments that since Joo Wal hasn’t visited her in a while, she thought that she should pay him a visit to hear how he’s progressing. At his report that things are progressing slowly, the soul-sucker wonders if there’s another man, but Joo Wal tells her that’s not the case. Whew~Eun Oh is safe from her schemes…for now. She then urges Joo Wal to hurry. She knows that Joo Wal has feelings for this girl, but he must hurry for both their sakes. OMG, what a cruel woman! She knows Joo Wal fancies Arang but still wants him to sacrifice Arang to her…Cold-hearted!
After she leaves, Joo Wal looks down at the picture of Arang he drew, and his face takes on a sinister, determined expression.
While Eun Oh and Arang are in the meadow, Dol Swe and Bang Wool wait for Eun Oh at the magistrate’s office. Bang Wool hopes that Eun Oh will be able to release some food to her. However, when her “lips” are mentioned in passing, she bolts up from her position and tells Dol Swe it’s late; she’ll come back again in the morning. Heh.
Unfortunately, she forgets her book and rushes back inside…just as Arang and Eun Oh arrive. Without a single word to his faithful servant who hasn’t seen him all day long, Eun Oh silently marches back to his room.
Unable to get an answer from his master, Dol Swe pesters Arang to find out what’s upset his mastser so. Bang Wool overhears their conversation and gets jealous that Dol Swe might have a woman in his life. She then belatedly recalls that Eun Oh’s face and Arang’s voice seem familiar to her somehow.
Sulking in his bedroom, Eun Oh still can’t believe that Arang would keep something as important as her fate from him.
Up in the celestial realm, another man is equally perturbed, wondering who Eun Oh is and how he came to wield that magical fan that can vanquish evil reapers. He muses that the pattern on the fan is…He never clearly says his suspicions, but my thought is that he recognizes his sister’s design. After all, Eun Oh picked up the fan in that abandoned shed, right?
Back on earth, Lord Choi learns of the emptying of his grains and erupts in anger. He doesn’t want Eun Oh gone from the village anymore; he wants Eun Oh’s head!
Completely unaware of the conspiracy for his throat/head, Eun Oh arises early and wakes up Arang, telling her that they have a lot of important things to do, especially now that she’s only got two moons.
The Bang trio convene together and nervously discuss how the quiet from Arang, Eun Oh, and Lord Choi is making them nervous. If this quiet continues, their village may gain a reputation as a peaceful village and perhaps receive an award from the king. LOL…their worries crack me up!
Dol Swe, unable to gain an audience with Eun Oh, decides to take matters into his own hands and visits Bang Wool with gifts of food.
However, Bang Wool throws them down and tells him to stop. She then lets slip that she wants him to stop speaking to her so politely/formally and instead wants him to revert back to his gruff ways with her. Ha! Realizing what her words indicate, Bang Wool scurries out of her room while Dol Swe swaggers in confidence of Bang Wool’s affections.
Back in the celestial realm, the Great Jade Emperor advises one of the heavenly maidens to put more heat into her fire. His metaphor of push and pull is hilarious as it mirrors what’s going on with Eun Oh and Arang. He tells the maiden that her lukewarm tending of the fire is why she has no suitors. She doesn’t understand feelings.
He stops pestering the maiden, though, when he spots his brother, who asks him when he plans to tell Moo Young that his younger sister, one of the former heavenly maidens, is now the one wrecking so much havoc. The two lament that as long as Moo Yeon inhabits a human form, they can do nothing. Interesting…This also means that Moo Yeon is way beyond caring for her older brother since she referred to him in a previous episode as “Moo Young” and not “older brother.”
So…what was this very important thing that Eun Oh had to have Arang do so early in the morning? Get fitted for a new hanbok. LOL. To the dressmaker’s confusion, Eun Oh gives her pointers on how to measure Arang properly, claiming that Arang has a high waist. Pffft. The dressmaker wonders who Eun Oh is and what Joo Wal is to Arang. *chuckles*
Of course, when Eun Oh learns that Joo Wal has also ordered a dress from the dressmaker, he pays her to cancel Joo Wal’s order and then expedite his. OMG, this man is so adorable! I’m going to be so crushed if the two kings don’t let him have Arang.
He then takes her to “heaven.” He had told her previously that if anyone was to send her to heaven, it would be him. And so, he takes her to a meadow filled with flowers, his version of heaven on earth.
As the two take in the beauty of the flowered meadow, Arang asks Eun Oh when he first started seeing ghosts. Eun Oh begins to tell her more about himself, how he got really sick as a child and when he recovered he could see ghosts, how rumors started swirling around his town that he was a spirit-possess kid, and how his father used his power to quell the rumors and even legitimize Eun Oh by including him in the Kim genealogy.
Processing Eun Oh’s story, Arang asks if that’s what fathers do–fix bad things. She wonders why Lee Seo Rim’s father wasn’t able to block her death or the vicious rumors that surrounded her disappearance.
She then asks what Eun Oh will do when he finds his mother. His answer? That he’ll ask her what he meant to her and then take her far away and live together with his mother, away from everyone. Arang comments that by the time he finds his mother, she’ll probably be in heaven, and Eun Oh agrees that she’ll probably be in heaven.
Musings: *Sigh* The ending is so touchingly sweet yet tinged with pathos. I want to cry!!!!
As the various relationships deepen, a growing part of me dreads the ending and hopes that the writer will find a way to make Arang and Eun Oh’s ill-fated meeting a lasting and happy one. As for Joo Wal, I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s skating an extremely fine line between sanity and insanity, and that this “competition” from Eun Oh, once he perceives of its strength, will be just the thing to push him over the edge. When that happens, who knows what he will do to Eun Oh and Arang? *Heavy sigh* There’s a small part of my heart that hopes against what is inevitable that Joo Wal will redeem himself somehow.
Beyond the love triangle, what this series does well is pacing. It wisely paces the amount of information the viewers learn so that each episode is a fount of information not only for the events unfolding in the real world, but also in the celestial sphere. It knows not to give out too much information but definitely enough to make the viewers panting for more. And the metaphors that get bandied about only enhance the complexity and depth of the writing. Have I mentioned that I LOVE this show yet? 😉
With the series at the hallway mark with episode 10, the show bypassed the usual previews, which makes me all the more curious of episode 11’s events. Thank goodness, we only have a few more hours to wait before we learn more about the wonderful world that is Arang and the Magistrate.