What I said in episode 4’s post, I’ll reiterate again in this one: the series just keeps getting better and better!
When I wrote about the pacing being solid, moving the story along at a brisk pace, I wasn’t joking. This episode just confirms the drama’s masterful sense of timing and plot development.
Episode 5 literally unveils a number of secrets: the “identity” of the mysterious woman, the extent of Arang’s mortality, Young Master Choi’s background, and perhaps the reason behind Eun Oh’s mother’s indifference towards her son. In addition, there are some interesting developments: Bang Woo’s attraction for Dol Swe, Young Choi’s reluctant yet growing fascination with Arang, and Eun Oh’s deepening relationship with Arang (of course).
AND we’re only on episode 5! I can’t imagine how much more I can anticipate, but I’m definitely looking forward to episode 6. Only a few hours away…What a great thought to go to bed with…that when I awake, I’ll be able to watch episode 6. LOL
Recap: Episode 5 resumes with Eun Oh walking away from his face off with Young Master Choi (Joo Wal), wondering why Choi doesn’t recognize Arang as his deceased fiance. He then throws Dol Swe for a loop when he informs his trusty servant that plans have changed; he is going to stay and act as magistrate for a bit longer. Of course, Dol Swe is stunned and suspects that Eun Oh is staying because of that woman. Heh…if you only knew, Dol Swe. Eun Oh rushes back to his place to deal with an errant Arang while Dol Swe is left sputtering his frustrations and with the unenviable task of attending to the last of the funeral proceedings.
When Eun Oh arrives at his place and barges into the room where he last left Arang, she greets him demurely from her seated position, as if to emphasize that she’s been in that exact same position since he left her. Not fooled by her wiles, Eun Oh starts to search her body, demanding to know where she’s hidden her guard’s clothing.
In his frenzy, he lifts up her skirt and sees skin! *Gasp!* LOL. The stunned look of horror on both their faces–for the breech of propriety–is H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S.
Without a second’s thought, Arang’s hand swings sharply against Eun Oh’s unsuspecting cheek, leaving a noticeably red hand print across his left cheek. After an awkward moment, the two decide that one offense pretty much cancels out the other’s offense and call it even. Eun Oh then asks Arang to join forces with him to uncover not only the truth about her death but also the details regarding his mother’s disappearance. He suspects that the two events may be linked somehow. And as far as he knows, she’s the closest thing he’s got to a clue. He tells her that the truth is lodge somewhere in Arang’s lost memories.
However, before they can even begin their joint investigation, Eun Oh insults Arang when he learns that she no longer has the hairpin, the only tangible item he had left of his mother. When Arang comments that she left everything behind, that she was hurtled back to earth with nothing but clothes, and that the hairpin itself was only a representation of the real thing anyhow, Eun Oh spouts out that that hairpin is more important to him than Arang, a thoughtless comment that then propels Arang to insult him right back: Your mother didn’t disappear! She probably ran away from you!
Incensed–because her comment hit a little too close to home–Eun Oh takes off for the mountains, hitting a tree branch until his knuckles are bloodied. And in this tumult of emotions, we see a flashback of his childhood and the cold indifference his mother showed him, even as he clung to her, refusing to return to his father.
While Eun Oh deals with his raging and raw emotions, Joo Wal sits in his room, staring at the picture of Arang in her guard’s clothes that he’s drawn, visibly shaken by his reaction to her and knowing what he must do.
It takes all night for Eun Oh to find some semblance of peace and resolve to return to his place. *Happy sigh* I love the music in this scene.
When he returns, intent on reconciling with Arang, he’s comforted by the fact that Arang, too, has not been able to sleep much. Heh…Show, your visuals are killing me! I LOVE the dark circles under her eyes and her deadpan expression. LOL She tells him that this insomnia must be one of the side effects of becoming human again. LOL. With their differences mended, Eun Oh tells Arang the significance of the hairpin and why he was so upset. He suggests that her death and his mother’s disappearance may be connected.
As Arang digests this piece of news, she asks him if this was the only reason why he helped her then. *Sigh* In typical kdrama-I’m-going-to-lie-to-hide-my-feelings-from-myself-and-from-the-girl-I-like, Eun Oh tells her “yes.” Of course, Arang then stomps out of the room, feeling betrayed and used since she thought Eun Oh had helped her out of genuine concern for her well-being.
As she stomps across the courtyard, she runs into the Bang trio who demand to know who she is. Her reply? “Arang!” LOL. At her unexpected appearance, the Bang trio, who had been celebrating the imminent departure of their interim magistrate, start to wonder what’s going on.
And of course, their jaws drop when they learn that Eun Oh definitely plans on staying. Heh. I guess these three are going to have to navigate the tricky waters between their duties to the new magistrate and their “loyalty” to Lord Choi. Eun Oh conveniently explains Arang’s presence: She’s the daughter of his teacher.
When Dol Swe learns of her “lineage,” he freaks out, ranting and raving about how the mere mention of this teacher still raises his ire and now he has to live with the teacher’s daughter?!
Meanwhile, Lord Choi learns of Eun Oh’s intentions to stay and commands his servant to find out everything he can about Eun Oh.
Feeling completely out of the loop with his master and suspecting that this new development is all because of that woman, Dol Swe goes out for a drink, all the while muttering his discontent. Bang Wool overhears his mutterings and decides to swindle him out of some money and sits down at his table, commiserating with him over his troubles. Hearing her “accurately” guess his problems–since she had overheard him muttering about a man and a woman–Bang Wool relieves him of some coins and then predicts that his troubles will soon be over since the source of his troubles will soon die. At this, Dol Swe demands to know who’s going to die and why?! He doesn’t want his master to die! LOL. Um…yeah, Bang Wool should have just stopped when she was ahead.
Meanwhile, Arang thinks over what Eun Oh said about joining forces and agrees. She walks out to tell him and then freaks out when Eun Oh offers her a peach, the offensive fruit that can hurt her ghostly figure. However, he reassures her that she’s human now and can enjoy the taste of the juicy peach, which she does with great joy. She then calls Eun Oh a momma’s boy because he’s so bent on “mommy this and mommy that” and runs off before he can respond to her insult.
Her comment, though, leaves him thinking back on his childhood and how he really did cling to his mother.
He remembers one particular incident when he went crying to his mother, only to hear her tell him that the day marked the anniversary of his grandfather’s and uncles’ deaths. Everyone was killed by “him” while she was the only one in her family spared. Lost in her thoughts of vengeance, she then vowed to do anything and everything in her powers to avenge their deaths before collapsing in front of a very frightened and confused Eun Oh.
Meanwhile, Joo Wal visits the mysterious woman and reports that all is ready. Then dressed completely in black, he hops over the walls of the magistrate’s residence and enters Arang’s room. With some hesitation, he raises his arms to stab her but momentarily pauses when Arang talks in her sleep, still relishing the taste of that juicy peach and smacking her lips. When she stops talking, though, Joo Wal plunges the knife into Arang’s chest before he has second thoughts, an action that causes Arang’s eyes to jerk awake and then close in death. He slaps a magical piece of paper on her neck that gets absorbed into her skin (a way to bind her soul from leaving her body, I think) and then carries her out of the room.
Sensing the disturbance, the Great Jade Emperor misplays a note and, with a heavy heart, comments to his brother that “it’s now begun.”
As Arang is carried away, Eun Oh senses something amiss and goes to check on Arang. Seeing the empty bed, he thinks she’s roaming the streets at night as she did when she was a ghost…until he sees the blood stain on the covers. Fearing some foul evil at work, he races out into the streets, following the trail of blood, only to lose it when Joo Wal continued by horse. Now filled with fear and desperation, Eun Oh yells out, “Amnesiac!” but to no avail.
In the dead of the night, surrounded by an eerie fog, Joo Wal carries Arang’s body to an abandoned shed and lays her down on the table. *shudder* This scene is so reminiscent of a human sacrifice. As he looks down on Arang’s face, he flashes back to his first meeting with the mysterious woman who gave him his name, Choi Joo Wal, and told him that she’ll take care of him; all he has to do is bring her a young maid of purity on the eve of the Twin Full Moon (yoon dal, an event in the lunar calendar when the two moons merge together). When the boy Joo Wal asks how he’ll know, she tells him that this ring she gives him will tell him.
He quickly leaves the shed to greet the mysterious woman who arrives…and is unveiled to be Eun Oh’s mother (!) who tells him that she’s in high anticipation of tonight’s maid. Fortunately for us and Arang, when he opens the door to the shed, he discovers an empty table. Unfortunately for him, an empty table means a whole lot of punishment for him. At the mysterious woman’s command, Joo Wal begins to frantically search for Arang.
Cut to a few minutes ago when Arang wakes up from the dead and stumbles through the woods for safety. She screams when a hand clamps down on her mouth and silences her.
Thankfully, it’s Eun Oh, who somehow located Arang, and she barely has enough strength to tell him that someone stabbed her and that she escaped before she collapses in the safety of his arms.
Unable to find Arang, who is now safely with Eun Oh, Joo Wal returns to the shed empty-handed. The woman–we’ll call her the soul-sucker–turns her purple ring inward and slaps him, cutting his cheek. She then threatens to return him from whence he came if he fails her…
…which is how we get to see Joo Wal’s humble beginnings: He was an nameless orphan who stole food from the cattle’s troughs. It was only when the soul-sucker “rescued” him that he was able to live like a human being…and with a name. Ah, the importance of a name….
In the morning, Eun Oh goes to check on Arang, whom he now has sleeping in his room. He then asks the Bang trio for some clothes that used to be worn by the damos (female servants who used to work with the magistrate) for Arang. When he goes inside his room to leave her the new clothes (since hers are all bloodied), he cautiously checks on her wound and is astounded to discover that it’s almost healed. Wondering what manner of magic this is, he quietly leaves her to sleep and tenderly places her shoes by his door…
…and gets caught in the tender act by Dol Swe, who demands to know what’s going on. Piecing two and two together, Dol Swe charges into Eun Oh’s room and gasps when he discovers Arang sleeping in Eun Oh’s room. *Pffffft* Eun Oh quickly drags Dol Swe out before he can wake Arang.
Upset that Eun Oh kept all of this from him, Dol Swe asks if Eun Oh has slept with Arang. Heh. Too tired to explain himself or argue with Dol Swe, Eun Oh succinctly says “yes,” which gives Dol Swe a panic attack. He reminds Eun Oh that his father will never allow his son to marry a girl with no social standing. When he demands to know how far Eun Oh plans to take this, Eun Oh answers “to the end” (of the investigation) but Dol Swe misunderstands and thinks that Eun Oh plans to marry Arang.
Brushing all of that aside, Eun Oh takes Dol Swe with him to Abandoned Mountain, the mountain that Arang had escaped from last night, and investigates the surroundings. Interestingly enough, the mountain is rumored to be haunted, which is why the villagers had “abandoned” the mountain, but Eun Oh sees no ghosts. Interesting…are the ghosts even afraid of the soul-sucker?
They come across the shed and walk inside to investigate, but Dol Swe can only handle so much and tells Eun Oh that he’ll wait for him outside. He’ll wait there while Eun Oh searches for anything “weird.”
And indeed he does! Eun Oh discovers something “weird” lodged inside a crack between two wooden planks in the wall…
…his mother’s hairpin! The episode closes with Eun Oh fearfully wondering why his mother’s hairpin would be here of all places?
Musings: This episode had me oscillating between creeped-out fear and sheer hilarity and then back again for another round of the same. O-M-G! The ending, in particular, was quite chilling, and you all know that I don’t do suspense or “chilling” very well much less “quite chilling.” Thank goodness I saw episode 5 earlier in the day when my heart could handle the creepy in broad daylight. And I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the musical score to this series is so appropriate and really works to enhance the mood of the various scenes. Needless to say, the creepy scenes wouldn’t have been quite so spine-chillingly creepy without the accompanying music in the background.
In any case, I have a few musings from this episode:
1. Young Master Choi’s childhood background sheds an interesting light on how long he’s been Lord Choi’s “son.” Lord Choi’s comment to Joo Wal about acting like the “real” thing now totally makes sense. It also explains why Joo Wal has compassion for the impoverished villagers while his “father” does not. This also goes a long way in explaining perhaps the cause of the father-son animosity. On another issue, one has to wonder if Joo Wal was one of the reasons why Eun Oh’s father ousted Lord Choi from Hanyang, Korea’s capital at the time. After all, if Joo Wal became Lord Choi’s son from that an young age, all thanks to the machinations of the “mysterious” woman, then how did Lord Choi and his family accept this foundling and how did the people who knew the Choi family deal with this new addition to the family?
2. We definitely learn more about Eun Oh’s mother and how she never really cared for him at all. My suspicion is that the “he” she so vehemently despises is Eun Oh’s father. Why else would she never look upon Eun Oh with love or compassion. If his father was responsible for the death of her entire family, there’s no way she would have willingly gone to bed with him. I have to wonder if she had been raped by him, had Eun Oh has a result of the rape, and then disappeared from Eun Oh’s sight when she couldn’t bear his visits any longer.
3. As for Eun Oh’s mother’s appearance as the “mysterious” woman, this soul-sucker has been going around stealing souls/bodies for the past twenty years or so, using Joo Wal as the delivery boy. My suspicion is that Eun Oh’s mother somehow got caught in the woman’s attempt to devour Lee Seo Rim three years ago. Remember that the woman tells Joo Wal to only bring her the pure in heart, and Eun Oh’s mother is certainly not pure in heart when she’s plotting vengeance against “that man.” This could also explain why the hairpin was found lodged in that crevice in the wall; perhaps it got dislodged from the mother while she was fighting off the soul-sucker and perhaps saving Seo Rim, although this doesn’t really explain why Seo Rim’s body was found buried so far from the Abandoned Mountain then. In any case, the appearance of Eun Oh’s mother as the soul-sucker certainly provides a new twist in the narrative, one I’m anxious to see develop. If, and that’s a big if, Eun Oh’s mother is some sort of soul-sucker who has been living quietly as the sole survivor of a family execution, then it could explain why Eun Oh is able to see spirits…unless he gets that from his father’s side. But then again, that angle would really throw a twist and then some.
4. Arang and her miraculous healing powers to come back from the dead…I’m curious to see exactly how strong the two kings made her when they reverted her ghostly form back into a human one. For that matter, I wonder if they even realize how she’s technically “immortal” now…after all, they’ve never really done anything like this before, right? Right? It definitely gives one pause since the Great Jade Emperor can’t really see how everything will turn out. There’s something about this soul-sucker that doesn’t sit well with me, and she may very well be the reason why the two celestial kings, in an unprecedented move, allowed Arang to not only return to the human world after crossing the “River of No Return,” but also gave her a human body. Me thinks it is for the purpose of vanquishing this evil soul-sucker and not because they “pitied” Arang as she seems to think.
All these questions and theories and more are floating through my mind as I finish this blog…but I guess I won’t have long to wait since I’ll find out as soon as I sleep and then awake. LOL. Good night, everyone! I’ll be back with the recap to Episode 6, hopefully before I leave for work on Thursday. 🙂