Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 16

I’ve mentioned that I love the pacing of this series, right? Today’s episode continues the strong narrative as we learn oh-so-many new things. Seriously, there are a great number of meaningful “reveals,” but the biggest of all the “reveals” is exactly how Lee Seo Rim died. The discovery of that particular chunk of the mystery is incredibly bittersweet.

 I hope you’re all ready to read today’s recap…Enjoy!

Recap: Episode 16 resumes with Arang looking at the returned journal and deciding that Joo Wal may actually not have anything to do with Eun Oh’s mother. After all, he could have simply run into her while on a walk. Um yeah, keep telling yourself that.  However, just as she concludes that Joo Wal may be innocent, she remembers taking the hairpin from Eun Oh’s mother’s hair, telling her “Please, don’t go.” Stunned by her recovered memory, she wonders if Joo Wal was responsible for something evil, possibly taking Eun Oh’s mother to that place.

Back at the magistrate’s office, Eun Oh waits for Arang to arrive and decides that the time has come for him to tell her that his mother may be involved in her murder. Likewise, Arang walks back home and decides to tell Eun Oh the new developments. However, she decides to hold off on telling him about her memories of Joo Wal until she has clearer memories. When they convene to discuss each other’s news, Arang suspects that the things happening to her and Eun Oh aren’t coincidences; they seem to be orchestrated by none other than the Great Jade Emperor. After all, Jade came down personally to teach Eun Oh how to vanquish ghosts. As they bid each good night for the evening, Arang asks Eun Oh for one favor: to search for Lee Seo Rim’s maid servant. He promises to do so and bids her good night. 

The next morning, he orders his guards to search the mountainside for Lee Seo Rim’s maid’s dead body, and the Bang trio lament this dark turn of events. After a relatively quick search, Dol Swe and his men are able to locate the body buried in the ground. When Arang arrives on the scene, Eun Oh goes to prevent her from looking at the corpse, an act that causes Arang to flashback to another time when Eun Oh tried to prevent Arang from looking at Seo Rim’s corpse. She belatedly remembers that her maid had cried inconsolably over Seo Rim’s body. Realizing that someone had missed and loved her that much, Arang disregards Eun Oh’s concern and goes to pay her last respects to the woman who had loved her like a mother. Aw…he’s so intent on protecting her as much as possible. I love the fact that even though he desperately wants to shield her from this horror, he is still respectful of her to not prevent her from doing what she wishes and needs. Arang soothes her old maid’s hair and covers the body, saying that her maid must be cold. Eun Oh reminds her to find the identification wood piece, which she quickly does. The identification clearly points to Choi’s thug henchman, and Dol Swe leads the guards to arrest the villainous murderer.

Lord Choi hears of the arrest and fumes over his henchman’s stupidity in getting his identification wood piece stolen and over Eun Oh’s continued meddling in his affairs. Meanwhile, the townspeople are encouraged by the signs of justice they see. One villager declares to his neighbor that after this arrest, he’ll forgive the magistrate anything; the man can do no wrong as far as he’s concerned.

Later that night, Eun Oh and Arang discuss the day’s events. Arang asks if Eun Oh is finished with the affair now that the murderer has been captured. Eun Oh asks, “How can I rest when the real mastermind behind the murder is Lord Choi? I’m not that type of magistrate.” Aw…I love how Eun Oh is really stepping up to the plate. 🙂 He wonders if Joo Wal might also be involved since his father obviously is. Arang silently tucks this question away and tries not to even think about the possibility. She can’t imagine that Lee Seo Rim might have loved such a villainous man. She suspects that there must be another reason.

Meanwhile, Joo Wal thinks back on Arang’s question, “Aren’t you curious as to how Lee Seo Rim died?” Wondering why Arang would ask such a question, he goes to see Moo Yeon and asks if he was the one who killed his former fiance.  She coldly explains that he did, in fact, kill Seo Rim. How could he not when Seo Rim had followed him that night and learned everything about their plan.

At this news, Joo Wal is rocked to his core and tearfully wonders why. Moo Yeon again coldly asks why what. Is he asking why he killed Seo Rim or why Moo Yeon erased his memories of the murder? Joo Wal replies both, and Moo Yeon explains that he asks her to help him live.

After each murder, he would be racked with such terror and guilt that he would simply stay huddled in a little ball in his room. It was only when she erased his memory that he would be able to face himself and life. So, each time he murdered someone, she would erase his memories of the event. Ah…this totally makes sense now why Joo Wal can so coldly kill and yet be such a “good” person. He has no memories of the murders to taint him. He asks why Seo Rim came to that place that night, and Moo Yeon snidely suggests that he should ask her the next time he meets her. How should she know? As Joo Wal flees from her place, Moo Yeon decides to hold off on telling Joo Wal that Arang is Seo Rim. She suspects that there will come a more advantageous time to reveal that tidbit to Joo Wal.

Up in the celestial realm, the two kings discuss the developments over another game of “Go.” Underworld asks if Jade really anticipated everything–Moo Young being unable to kill Moo Yeon’s spirit, etc. Surely, he couldn’t expect the strength of Eun Oh’s mother’s spirit trying to reclaim the body after Moo Yeon’s strength was weakened due to not eating on the last leap moon. Jade agrees that he hadn’t foreseen that, but this new development only reinforces his belief in humans and why he loves humans so much; they are so resilient.

Meanwhile, Moo Young continues to worry over how to deal with Moo Yeon. He wonders if there’s any way to protect Moo Yeon and revert her back to her old self. He reflects back on one of their last conversations together and wonders to himself if Moo Yeon is now “happy” that she’s “human” and can possess things even though she’s now this “creature.”

As for Arang, she decides to revisit the buried crime scene of all those corpses. She reasons that although the evidence may be gone, perhaps the location will spark some memories. Unfortunately for her, Joo Wal makes his way to that same location and starts to vaguely remember his role in killing Lee Seo Rim.

Stunned, Arang asks haltingly if Joo Wal was present when Lee Seo Rim died. She’s careful with her wording, as if she won’t even entertain the thought that he could have killed Seo Rim. Equally stunned, Joo Wal barely says anything and quickly walks away, visibly shaken by the question. With his silence, Arang realizes that he was somehow involved, even though her heart protests that it can’t be true.

Back at the magistrate’s office, Eun Oh’s father Lord Kim comes to visit, throwing everyone in a tizzy. No one expected such a high-ranking nobleman to come visit their humble little village. Eun Oh greets his father and then asks him about his mother’s past with Lord Choi. He explains that his mother must have come to this village to seek out Lord Choi.

With a heavy sigh, his father explains the events of a long time ago: Eun Oh’s maternal grandfather was involved in investigating Lord Choi’s evil doings in government and was about to bring charges against Lord Choi when that villain counterattacked by framing Eun Oh’s entire maternal family. Only his mother was barely able to escape the executions. He then tells Eun Oh to try to understand his mother and how she must have felt, knowing that she was neglecting her only child because she simply couldn’t get rid of the hate and vengeance against Choi. She must have thought it would be better to simply disappear, taking with her all her hate. *Heavy sigh*

As the father leaves, he reminds Eun Oh that taking care of the country and the people are the same thing: taking their side and listening to them. Eun Oh respectfully tells him that he’ll abide by this advice, and the father takes his leave, telling Eun Oh to contact him again if he ever needs anything. He’ll lend his power to Eun Oh’s cause. Lord Kim leaves, now knowing that Eun Oh’s mother came to this little village to exact her revenge on Choi.

Later that night in Seo Rim’s old room, Arang looks at her reflection and speaks to Seo Rim, telling her that discovering the truth behind her death is so painful. Finding the murderer, going to heaven, etc. would require that she implicate Joo Wal; is that what Seo Rim really expects and wants? As she tears up at the thought of bringing Joo Wal to justice, Eun Oh walks in and asks what’s wrong. At her silence, he tells her that she doesn’t have to tell him now; he asks, though, that she remembers while she’s here on earth that until she leaves for heaven, he is by her side. OMG~Kill me with your thoughtfulness, Kim Eun Oh~! Ugh….

The two return to their respective rooms, lost in thought. The next morning, Eun Oh learns that there’s someone who remembers his mother from three years ago. From this villager, he learns that his mother had come to the village and insisted on finding work at Lord Choi’s estate. Although she didn’t look to be a servant, she insisted on working as a servant and was caught three days later trying to poison Choi’s food. He muses that after such an incident, the woman simply vanished, something he suspected Lord Choi wouldn’t have allowed.  The villager then asks Eun Oh to look into one of Lord Choi’s affairs.

Returning to his office, Eun Oh starts to receive visits from various villagers, all of whom come before him with their reports of Lord Choi’s injustices.

Meanwhile, Dol Swe runs into Hyun Bang and learns that Hyun Bang has decided on the magistrate; he finds Eun Oh more to his “liking.” Dol Swe misunderstands, of course, and thinks that Hyun Bang likes Eun Oh. LOL. I think it’s ironic that the guy who was most intent on doing away with Eun Oh way at the beginning is now on Eun Oh’s side.

Lee Bang gets called into Lord Choi’s house and given a task: tell the arrested servant to remain silent.

At Bang Wool’s house, Bang Wool watches as her mother and her friends/relatives enjoy the ancestral feast. Although she can’t hear them still, Bang Wool pieces together the fact that her mother was able to see the pork/kimchi eating between her and Dol Swe. Needless to say, Bang Wool is mortified that her mother saw the whole thing. Heh.

Arang and Eun Oh reconvene to discuss the new developments and learn that the creature has been living at Lord Choi’s residence before Choi was even there. Each family that lived there had prospered greatly. They reason that Choi will have tucked her away somewhere since the creature is of such value to him.

The ghosts that ran away after being commissioned to spy on the Choi estate return after they learn that Eun Oh has gotten rid of the evil spirits. Eun Oh orders them to spy on the Choi household and report anything suspicious. They agree to resume their mission, especially since Eun Oh now has a reputation for being “scarier than a ghost.” LOL

Two of the ghosts follow Joo Wal’s trusted servant as he takes some food to Moo Yeon, and they hurry back, demanding to know why Eun Oh lied to them about having gotten rid of all the evil spirits. They just sensed a very powerful evil spirit, one that they don’t even dare getting near.

Eun Oh and Arang, who insists on accompanying him with the logic that two are better than one, follow the ghosts to the isolated shed. Moo Yeon senses Arang’s presence and comes out, welcoming Arang. Moo Yeon then welcomes Eun Oh, apologizing for not having recognized her own son that last time they met. Arang realizes that this is not only Joo Wal’s “aunt’ but also Eun Oh’s mother.

As Moo Yeon slowly walks toward them with evil purpose, Arang recalls Seo Rim’s final memory: She had followed Joo Wal and Eun Oh’s mother to meet a woman who then took possession of Eun Oh’s mother’s body. At the moment of possession, Eun Oh’s mother’s spirit had asserted herself, saying that this isn’t what she had agreed to and then tried to kill herself. Joo Wal was able to stop her, but when she then tried to kill Joo Wal so that she could finish killing herself and the evil spirit within her, Seo Rim had rushed in front of Joo Wal from her hiding place and taken the blow in his stead. As Seo Rim slumped to the ground, her last words being “Young Master,” Eun Oh’s mother’s spirit had withdrawn–probably from the shock of having killed a person–and Moo Yeon took advantage of that moment to reassert her possession of the body.

Joo Wal had then carried Seo Rim to the shed, and Moo Yeon started to interrogate Joo Wal about Seo Rim’s identity. When Joo Wal couldn’t give her any other answers than “I don’t know,” Moo Yeon had erased Seo Rim’s memories and then commanded Joo Wal to take care of the body. Joo Wal had carried the unconscious and dying Seo Rim out of the shed. In the process, Seo Rim had dropped the hairpin that she was holding in the shed, allowing Eun Oh to find it three years after her death.

Arang remembers all of this as Moo Yeon walks directly up to her. In shock, Arang can only stand numbly in horror as Moo Yeon raises her hand to touch Arang’s face. Thankfully, Eun Oh forcibly stays Moo Yeon’s hand, preventing the evil creature from doing anything.

The episode ends on Arang’s face, full of tears and horror.

Musings: This show continues to tell a strong narrative, bringing details from previous episodes meaningfully into the current ones as more chunks of the great mystery come to light. 

There are a number of things that moved me in this episode:

1. Joo Wal’s frail and desperately pathetic humanity–his struggle to survive after what he’s done and his desperate longing for love and acceptance that he’ll even kill to gain that

2. Eun Oh’s mother’s valiant struggle to reclaim her body and at least kill herself before the evil creature can continue to kill since she wants no part of murder other than to avenge her family…it speaks volumes of her core essence as a decent human being and indicates that she’s not that far gone in her desire for revenge that she won’t try to prevent evil. I’m hoping this is a good sign for her and Eun Oh’s future relationship as mother and son, that she’ll be able to move past her all-consuming anger against Choi and truly love Eun Oh.

3. Eun Oh’s continued tenderness to shield and protect Arang for as long as he is allowed to be with her.

4. Eun Oh’s father and his willingness to come visit Eun Oh and lend his youngest son the full extent of his strength/power

5. Arang’s growing pain as she pieces together the details of her death.

*Heavy sigh* To know that Seo Rim died in the act of protecting her beloved Joo Wal is so incredibly sad but also makes complete sense. Seo Rim’s love for Joo Wal–despite his lack of knowledge of her existence–would have propelled her to sacrifice herself for him, regardless of whether his family broke off the engagement or not. My only concern is whether this trait in Seo Rim will be revisited by Arang in a later episode in a possible act of saving Eun Oh. Hmm…I hope not, but I can totally see the writer going there.

OK, my time to muse is up. Tons of errands to do before I have to leave for work…thank goodness, some kind soul uploaded this episode for me to watch early this morning so that I could finish the Thursday recap before work. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed the recap!

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Snoopy's Twinkie

Created Musings back in 2010 when viewers were frantically searching for SungKyunKwan Scandal recaps. She currently blogs and comments from the US. You can also find her on FB (@SnoopysTwinkie), twitter (@twinkiedramas), and YouTube (Twinkiedramas).

6 thoughts on “Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 16”

    1. I was wondering the exact thing this morning. LOL. The trick is how to keep Eun Oh and Arang together when one is obviously human and the other is a ghost…unless Eun Oh dies while trying to save Arang or his mother. Then problem solved since he and Arang will both be ghosts, right?
      Oy~I try not to think too much on what might be…two more weeks left! 🙁

  1. The thought of Joo Wal readin Seo Rim diary brought me to tears and actually simpathizing with him for the first time! These last two episodes were wonderful! I know, a lot of people are disappointed with the lack of romance but please! I think it’s perfect and there in the background and I’m satisfied with that!

    1. Is it weird that I am not even watching it for the romance? The bigger story has me so entranced that the romance is just a nice bonus. 🙂

  2. Lol for the first time, romance is just an extra for me in this story. I want to see how it all ends! If I was Eun Oh, I would’ve already swiped my fan at her, called Moo Yeong, and finished everythig up nicely. I mean, his fan can’t hurt humans, just ghosts. Why hasn’t he taken a whack at his mother yet? Surely he has SOME pent up anger towards her. Mehhh…he’s mama’s boy Eun Oh according to Arang so I guess he wouldn’t -_-

    Ju Wal needs a realllllllyyyy big hug. That poor guy. When he figures out Arang’s identity and regains his memory(if, but cmon you know he’s gonna) he will be crushed. Like traumatized. He needs some love! In any form! He’s by far the most pitiful boy ever. I love him to death.

    So is there any mystery that needs figured out still? I think we pretty much know everything but the conclusion.

  3. Thanks for the recap, ST!

    Wol, I have to agree with you. The romance isn’t interesting to me in this story, it’s the story itself – not just the mysteries to be revealed, but the self-discovery that’s part of the reveal. And the characters are all so interesting! Joo Wal isn’t ‘big bad’; the more we learn about him, the more we see how far he’s fallen because of hat he wanted, and got.

    I can’t believe there’s 4 episodes more! How will the suspense be sustained? How will it end??

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