I am so excited that I was able to recap today’s episode before I have to leave for work. Woohoo~Either I’m getting faster at blogging, which I somehow doubt, or somehow time is slowing down for me to blog. Let’s take that second option. LOL.
Today’s episode had some incredibly awesome moments, scenes that had me celebrating along with the characters as well as heart-wrenching scenes that had me aching with the two men. *Heavy sigh* Ah, the heroic yet foolish gestures of some of these Kdrama characters. *tsk tsk*
Anyhow, I’ll stop ruminating now and let you get on with the recap. Enjoy!
Recap: Episode 18 resumes with the Royal Inspector Lord Park accusing Eun Oh of crimes against the crown and upsetting the social order. Uh-oh, does this have anything to do with appointing a slave to an official position. In any case, Eun Oh and Dol Swe are thrown in jail, Eun Oh fully aware that these charges against him are the concoction of the devious Lord Choi.
Meanwhile, Lord Park asks Choi for confirmation of Eun Oh’s crimes since he’s just imprisoned Lord Kim’s youngest son. Lord Choi confirms Eun Oh’s “crimes” and emphatically states that he’ll wipe them all from existence. Uh-oh, who is this “them all”?
Arang has a surprisingly “safe” conversation with Moo Yeon since Moo Yeon can’t possess Arang without her permission. There, Arang learns that Eun Oh’s mother surrendered her body in exchange for Choi living the rest of his life on his knees before her; she didn’t want Choi killed but made to suffer humiliation. However, since Choi was already under Moo Yeon’s bondage, Moo Yeon didn’t need to do anything. At this revelation, Arang has a difficult time believing that Eun Oh’s mother gave up her body for that reason alone. She suspects that there must be something more. Meanwhile, Joo Wal paces nervously outside as Moo Yeon then asks Arang what would compel Arang to surrender her body: revenge against the person who killed her? to protect the person she loves? At these probing questions, Arang leaves before Moo Yeon can exact an answer out of her.
Once outside, Joo Wal waylays her and reminds her to remember her promise to him–that she will never give up herself for any reason. At this reminder, Arang asks Joo Wal why he consorts with such evil company and leaves him.
With Arang gone, Joo Wal goes inside the cave to talk with Moo Yeon, who tells him to hold off on killing Eun Oh. She now understands why Joo Wal had such a difficult time winning Arang’s heart. Arang is no easy girl to manipulate.
Back at the jail, Choi visits Eun Oh and taunts him mercilessly, telling him that Eun Oh is powerless to do anything…just like his mother before him.
Arang returns to the magistrate and learns that Eun Oh has been wrongfully jailed. She hurries to visit Eun Oh and meets Bang Wool there. Both Eun Oh and Dol Swe urge Arang and Bang Wool to go into hiding at Bang Wool’s house so that Choi doesn’t try anything with them, especially with Arang.
Joo Wal learns of the imprisonment from his trusty servant and rushes over to the magistrate’s office, concerned for Arang.
At the arraignment, Park charges Eun Oh with crimes against the crown–stealing money, appointing a slave to a position regardless of class restrictions, etc. Eun Oh denies all charges until Choi decides to prove Eun Oh’s corruption by killing Arang. He plans to prove that Eun Oh has been dealing with ghosts and evil powers.
As Choi lifts a sword to kill Arang–to prove that she’s not human and will come back to life–Eun Oh frantically acknowledges all charges against him while Joo Wal stands by, tormented by his helplessness to help Arang and in fear for her life. Ugh…I knew that Arang was going to mess things up. She should have hidden herself in Bang Wool’s house as Eun Oh asked instead of showing up for the arraignment.
With the arraignment over, the Bang trio debate what to do. Should they realign themselves with Lord Choi again, and if so how? Hyun Bang, thankfully, convinces the other two to keep loyal to Eun Oh and instead call in the cavalry–aka Eun Oh’s father, Lord Kim–to help Eun Oh. Speedily, they write a missive to Lord Kim and await action.
The next morning, Eun Oh is brought before Choi and Park. At Choi’s continued taunts, Eun Oh retaliates by saying that Choi may have won, but he’ll get his punishment from heaven a thousand-fold over. Filled with hubris, Choi declares that as far as he’s concerned, he is heaven and the law and promises to give Eun Oh his punishment a thousand-fold over. With that declaration, Choi kicks Eun Oh while Eun Oh’s kneeling on the ground.
Into this scene, Lord Kim dramatically enters and demands to know how Lord Choi could again manipulate a royal official into prosecuting an innocent man. Choi snidely suggests that Lord Kim is possibly involved in Eun Oh’s crimes and that the royal investigator should charge Lord Kim as well.
But before Park can do anything, Lord Kim announces that he has a royal command from the King for the royal investigator, causing everyone to bow down to receive the King’s edict.
Kim reads the missive, which absolves Eun Oh of all charges and declares that Eun Oh has the King’s approval to appoint a slave to an official position. Rather than bring corruption to the village, the King has heard nothing but praises of Eun Oh’s job at the village. Wow~Talk about having a powerful father! Wheee~
When Eun Oh and Dol Swe get released from jail, Arang and Bang Wool are there to welcome them back to freedom.
With Eun Oh firmly back in place as the village magistrate, Lord Kim tells his son that the royal missive was only possible through the strength of those who wanted to compensate somehow for having turned a blind eye when Choi had framed Eun Oh’s maternal relatives. He then asks after Eun Oh’s mother, and Eun Oh reassures him that he’ll find his mother and take care of Choi. Lord Kim apologizes for not taking better care of Eun Oh and asks after Eun Oh’s welfare.
Meanwhile, Arang sits alone in her room and reflects on the reality that Eun Oh has many people around him who love him and are willing to come to his aid; he has his father, his mother, Dol Swe, the villagers, etc. In short, he has his own life apart from her. Indulging in a total pity party, she then recalls Moo Yeon’s question of what Arang could give up. Aw…she’s sad that she made Eun Oh risk all of that in order to save her…I hope she’s not going to plan something stupidly “heroic.”
Back at the cave, Moo Yeon experiences some sudden pain, accompanied by a deep voice, and her physical body momentarily develops what looks like tortuous veins on the surface of her skin. She calls out for Moo Young.
He answers and comes to see her but stoically refuses to answer her plaintive cry for help. Tormented himself, Moo Young silently leaves.
Eun Oh thanks the Bang trio for their help and loyalty, and he and Dol Swe go to take care of Choi.
While the guards fight Choi’s army, the murderer rushes to tell Lord Choi to flee. However, Choi refuses to leave without his wealth and rudely tells his servant to earn his keep by going out there and doing his job. In disbelief and disillusionment that his master could disregard his concern and instead care only for wealth, the jail-escaped servant (the one who had killed Seo Rim’s maid) goes out to do his duty. Meanwhile, in direct contrast to Choi, Joo Wal listens to his trusty servant’s advice of fleeing the estate.
While Choi frantically gathers his gold into a chest, Eun Oh enters Choi’s room and tells him that jail life is bearable. He’ll escort Choi to a comfortable cell.
He then calls his guards and arrests Choi for crimes against the crown–for amassing a secret private army, stockpiling weapons, extorting villagers, etc.
In a turn of good fortune, the Bang trio distribute food to the starving villagers and confiscate the weapons.
Observing all of this from above, Jade and Underworld discuss how ambition, in the hands of a righteous person, can be a good thing.
Joo Wal returns to his house and is confronted by Eun Oh who demands to know everything that Joo Wal knows. Eun Oh accuses him of removing that creature to another place and that he knows how Eun Oh’s mother became that creature. Ignoring those questions, Joo Wal asks Eun Oh if he knows that Arang met with Moo Yeon. He cautions him to make sure that Arang doesn’t surrender her body because of Eun Oh because Moo Yeon will never give up on trying to claim Arang’s body.
Stunned by this news, Eun Oh returns to the magistrate and confronts Arang, asking why she went there alone and if she really believes Moo Yeon’s words. Arang tells Eun Oh that once she leaves this earth, she will forget all memories of Eun Oh. When Eun Oh tells her to forget whatever it is that she’s planning to do, Arang tells him that she’s no longer concerned with finding out who killed her and why. The moment she found out that Eun Oh’s mother had stabbed her, she realized that her mission now is to help return his mother to him. That’s the least she can do before she leaves this earth. She wants to leave him with that at least, especially after all that he’s done for her.
At her plan, Eun Oh asks her if she knows how much of a coward she’s making him. Without another word, he walks out, leaving Arang thinking on her own late into the night while Eun Oh drinks to assuage his frustrations.
In the privacy of her room, Arang writes a letter. Some time later, Joo Wal receives a letter, a letter that causes him to crumble it up in his hands as soon as he reads its contents, obviously shaken by what he’s read.
When Eun Oh returns, Arang prepares dinner for Eun Oh, telling him that she wanted to prepare a meal for him with her own hands before the full moon. At his continued silence, she reassures him that she’ll listen to him; he doesn’t need to worry anymore. She admits that on closer reflection, she realized that her plan was foolish. Asking if Eun Oh finds the meal delicious, Arang looks on wistfully as Eun Oh eats her dinner. Uh-oh, why do I feel as though this is her last final moments with him?
Meanwhile, Dol Swe takes the Bang trio out for a meal, thanking them for their part in exonerating him and Eun Oh. Dol Swe introduces them to the pork and kimchi combination (LOL. This food combination just keeps popping up at random times.) and suggests they all forget the past and become like brothers. The Bang trio joke that perhaps they will when Dol Swe rises through the ranks and becomes as high in status as a magistrate.
Early the next morning, Arang resolutely walks out of the magistrate, stopping only to rearrange Eun Oh’s boots so that he can wear them more easily as he comes out; the boots are now facing away from the room. She visits Bang Wool, telling her that Bang Wool is beautiful, and apologizes for pestering her in the past with all her requests. She asks Bang Wool for one last request–to deliver a letter to Eun Oh.
Sensing something amiss, Bang Wool rushes to deliver the letter to Eun Oh, who in turn rushes out to find Arang, his boots easy to wear because Arang had taken the time to rearrange them. It’s an interesting detail/symbolism that the show highlights. In her letter, she thanks him for all their moments together. Because of him, she forgot that she was a ghost. She thanks him for cherishing her and asks him to remember her; she can’t get herself to ask him to forget her. In closing, she writes, “Magistrate, I love you.”
She walks through the woods and meets Joo Wal, requesting him to take her to Moo Yeon.
At her request, Joo Wal tells her that she’s incredibly cruel to ask him such a thing when she knows clearly how he feels about her.
As she apologizes and decides to walk on by herself, Joo Wal yanks her into his arms, sparking a memory of Lee Seo Rim rushing to block him from Eun Oh’s mother’s knife. Rocked by his memory, he can only stand frozen as Arang disengages herself from the embrace and walks towards Moo Yeon’s cave. Joo Wal simply watches her go, muttering Lee Seo Rim’s name.
Moo Yeon smiles in anticipation as she senses Arang approaching the cave while Eun Oh runs through the meadow, trying desperately to reach Arang before it’s too late.
Musings: This episode was simply awesome! It continues to deepen what is already in place and adds yet more depth to the story and relationships. We wondered what was going to compel Arang to surrender her body, and now we have the answer. She’s willing to embrace eternal damnation if it means that Eun Oh can have his mother back. If that doesn’t say love with capital letters, I don’t know what does. OK, let’s ignore the fact that her plan is simply stupid with capital letters, bold-faced and italicized fonts and all; the thought is still heart-wrenchingly sweet.
Joo Wal continues to be the sympathetic second lead, who causes my heart to ache for him. Very much like Lee Jun Ki’s character in My Girl, there’s a part of me that wants a happy ending for Joo Wal, even though I want Eun Oh with Arang.
As for the story itself, it does a nice job of inserting the occasional social critique, voiced by Bang Wool, as it allows Dol Swe to rise in social status, something completely unheard of by normal standards. I also LOVED how Papa Kim came to his son’s rescue. Woohoo~Did anyone else squeal with delight at how quickly Papa Kim was able to move mountains? 🙂
At the root of the story, though, is Eun Oh and Arang and their love for/loyalty to each other. As the story winds down to its final two episodes next week, it’s obvious that we’re heading into the final resolution of Arang’s fate, Eun Oh’s future with or without Arang, Eun Oh’s mother’s rescue, and Moo Yeon’s damnation/salvation, if she can be save. After seeing her several lifetimes of ill-fated destiny with Moo Young, there’s a part of me that wishes Moo Yeon happiness, too, that perhaps somehow, she and Moo Young can finally be happy lovers.
The episode didn’t have any previews of Episode 19, instead choosing to close out the credits with a voice-over of Eun Oh and Arang’s confession to each other. And so I leave you with the last picture to take you into the final stretch of our Arang and the Magistrate journey together. One can only guess how the writer will conclude this series, but I, for one, am all atwitter at the many possibilities! 🙂