This show just keeps getting better and better! Yes!
It’s been a while (OK, just a few months) since a show has surprised me the way this one is doing with each episode. I am pleasantly surprised by the solid pacing and narrative of this story. *humming happily* The big plot development that I wasn’t expecting…at least not in this form? The “return” of Arang. Of course, I expected she would return–after all, it’s only episode 4, and the series would be sadly lacking in the heroine department if she couldn’t return from the spiritual realm–but I never expected her to return, if you know what I mean. Then there’s the ending…oh my! The plot is definitely thickening in more ways than one, and this little twinkie is excited beyond belief! 😉
Recap: The episode resumes with Eun Oh searching for his amnesic little friend, Arang, while Arang takes a trip to the spiritual realm escorted by Moo Young.
In a seamless display of technological savvy and agility, the show employs an array of colors and visual effects that enrich the narrative. Especially appropriate is the background music that underscores Arang’s journey from the human world to the spiritual one. As she follows Moo Young to go meet the Great Jade Emperor–or younggam taengi–as she “affectionately” calls him, a boat miraculously arrives unguided by any human or ghost.
And as the two travel the river, one that prohibits a return back to the human world once it’s crossed, all the lush vibrant colors of the previous scene transform into the timeless black and white, indicating Arang’s entry into the netherworld. To underscore the danger and uncertainty of this afterlife, the waters begin to get choppier and choppier until the boat sails right into a sheer drop…
…and on the other side? She meets a horrid-looking creature that scrutinizes her with gleaming eyes, ready to devour her, but one that disappears as soon as Moo Young nods approval of Arang’s entry.
Meanwhile, Eun Oh learns from our trusty shaman Bang Wool that Arang has lured the head ghost reaper and somehow convinced him to take her to see the Great Jade Emperor. However, Bang Wool fears that, rather than going to visit the Great Jade Emperor, Arang is headed directly to hell. Her reasoning? How could Arang not after what she’s done–attempting to throw the head ghost reaper into the abyss of oblivion?
Armed with the knowledge that there’s nothing he can do for Arang now, Eun Oh returns to the magistrate’s residence…and just in time! While he was away, his trusty servant Dol Swe was under attack. Lord Choi’s group of
thugs men were beating him senseless and mere seconds from ending his life, one that was devoted to serving Eun Oh. And how does Eun Oh save our little sidekick? By throwing his shoe at the head thug. LOL.
Using his father’s name and power to intimidate the men, Eun Oh clearly threatens them with death if anything should happen to him. After all, he reasons, if he is found harmed, his father wouldn’t go after Lord Choi but the men who harmed him. When the men reluctantly leave, Eun Oh cheekily reminds them to bow to him (a sign of formal respect given by those in low social rank to those in higher ones) and then embraces Dol Swe, who hugs him for dear life. Aw…I love this relationship. They are so adorable together, especially since Dol Swe takes everything Eun Oh says to heart. I loved Dol Swe’s “the body is mine!” comment as he was getting beaten by Choi’s men.
With Arang no longer in the picture, Eun Oh arranges to at least give her body a proper burial and “invites” all the villagers to come pay their respects to the former magistrate’s daughter whom they had maligned so viciously with their gossip. However, during the three days of the wake in which the villagers were invited to come and apologize (Koreans typically bury their dead in odd number of days, usually one, three, five, or seven days for the wake and then followed by the actually burial/funeral), no one shows up for fear of retribution from Lord Choi, “not even an ant,” according to Eun Oh.
And so with a heavy heart, Eun Oh dresses in his funeral clothes (white in Korean) and walks out of his room to lead the funeral procession…only before he can even get out the front door, he sees Arang walking purposely right up to him with a cheery smile. When he simply stands there gawking at her, she peers forward and is pleased that he’s missed her. Aw…these two.
Amazed, he grabs her by the hand and takes her back into the privacy of his room to find out exactly how she was able to return and what happened. During this brief interaction outside, though, Dol Swe sees Arang and mistakenly assumes that his young master has gotten himself a girlfriend. Heh…the look for disgruntlement on Dol Swe’s face at not being told about this girlfriend is priceless!
When Eun Oh realizes that Dol Swe can see Arang and that she really is back in human form, he demands to know what happened, and so Arang begins her tale…
…of how she was taken up to meet the two kings (I love how she mistakes the King of the Underworld for the Great Jade Emperor and then continues to call Yoo Seung Ho’s character younggam taengi even after realizing her mistake. LOL. His expressions during this meeting are hilarious!) and how the kings have decided to grant her a chance to discover for herself how she died.
In order to do so, both kings utilized their powers to do something they had never ever done before: turn a ghost back into a human being. The catch? She has only three months (three full moons) to discover who killed her and why. Of course, the plan works, and Arang is hurtled back down to the human world but without one stitch of clothing. At this, she yells up to the heavens that the two kings are “perverted younggam taengis.” LOL
Stealing some clothes, Arang finds her way to Eun Oh’s place, all the while marveling that she’s human again and that she’s pretty. LOL
Pressed for time and barely able to process what he’s hearing, Eun Oh forbids Arang from leaving the confides of his room and quickly rushes to attend to Lee Seo Rim’s (Arang’s) funeral. And what does Arang do while she waits? She looks around her room and enjoys the sight of herself in the mirror. 🙂
Meanwhile, the two kings continue their game of life and death, this time with the King of the Underworld winning. And we learn with his win that each game these two play determines whether there will be massive deaths/famine/etc. or countless births/good fortune/etc. Oh, and they discuss one other thing…heh heh…that if Arang can’t complete her mission successfully, she’ll not only be completely the King of the Underworld’s to punish but that the Great Jade Emperor will have to trade his young body for the King of the Underworld’s old body. LOL. The relationship between these two cracks me up!
Back on earth, Young Master Choi goes frantically to a locked house but stops himself from actually unlocking the door and entering. Shrouded in mystery, a woman dressed richly in purple hanbok sits in a room, biding her time for who knows what. Hmmm…I get the feeling that this might be the person who is in charge of Young Master Choi’s mission to find the mysterious girl.
And lo and behold, as he backs away from the house and walks through the streets, he runs into Arang, now dressed as a guard. She had decided not to simply sit around in her room and waste valuable time. She had “disguised” herself to go see her own funeral. Her reasoning? That the funeral would be the first and best place for her to start her investigate. Unfortunately, as Young Master Choi steadies Arang, his ring glows an ominous red, and his eyes widen in shock.
But before he can question her or detain her, Arang takes off to join the funeral where Eun Oh recognizes her despite her “disguise.” However, before he can do anything, Arang is told by one of the Bang men (hiring committee) to pick up a shovel and help bury the poor girl. Of course, Arang refuses (Seriously, who would willingly bury her own body?) and runs away before the men can force her or before she is recognized by Lee Seo Rim’s servant, who is watching over the body in its final stage of burial.
What ensues is a chase around the village streets with Arang, followed by the Bang and their men, Eun Oh, and lastly Young Master Choi. Fortunately, Arang evades the Bang people but gets cornered at a dead end by Choi, whom she recognizes and quickly asks for his help to hop over the wall. The reason for her panic? Eun Oh, who had told her emphatically to not leave his house, had spotted her and was running towards them.
Choi lifts her up the wall with the comment that scholars do not dirty their knees (LOL) and then stands transfixed as Arang flashes him a wide smile of gratitude.
By the time Eun Oh arrives, Arang is safely on the other side of the wall, and the two men face off in what is sure to become a battle of wills and ultimately a battle for Arang.
Musings: Woohoo~We finally have our long-awaited face-to-face alpha male conflict. 🙂 I’m really liking the development of this story. Have I mentioned that yet? 😉
A few things I want to explore before I wrap up this blog post:
1. Young Master Choi doesn’t recognize Arang’s face. So he’s either telling the truth about not really knowing Lee Seo Rim, or…he’s not who he says he is. After all, why does a human have a red ring that can glow? Interesting…especially since he seems quite taken with Arang’s smile at the end there.
2. Anyone else get the sense that Moo Young might be Lee Seo Rim’s older brother? I think it was back in episode 2 when the Great Jade Emperor told Moo Young to let things go and just not worry about his younger sister anymore now that he’s in the afterlife. However, the interactions between Moo Young and Arang in this episode, especially when he cautions her to behave before the two kings during Arang’s meeting with them, makes me wonder if he is her brother. I’m definitely getting a big brotherly vibe from him. Of course, I could be totally wrong about this.
3. The adorable side relationships…Tooooooo cute! Especially the one between the two kings. The scene about switching bodies had me chuckling for a good few seconds.
4. Arang returning in human form certainly poses a new twist to Eun Oh’s growing affections for her. She’ll be here as a human for three whole months, plenty of time for him to really fall for her. And the look on his face when he realizes that Dol Swe can see her? Wow~I’d say he’s starting to develop the makings of a solid lover’s concern.
I hope you enjoyed this recap. I know I left out a number of things (i.e. Lord Choi’s scenes), but I figure that with the English subtitles out by now, this post should serve mainly as a summary of the major events, right? 😉 Off I go to watch and recap episode 5 now. Stay tuned for that post later tonight…have a great day!