Episode 2 deepens what episode 1 laid out, and I’m finding myself slowly enjoying the world of Arang and the Magistrate. And yes, this episode confirms for me the rightness of my decision to recap/nutshell this series; its story and pacing, characters, and humor are just what I needed after a long summer. 🙂
Eun Oh lifts Arang onto his horse, and the two of them evade their ghostbuster. Once safely away from their pursuer, Eun Oh demands to know where Arang found her hair pin. Arang grabs the hair pin back and tells him that it’s hers; she didn’t find it anywhere. She had it with her when she died. Hearing this, Eun Oh resolves to help her since she’s the only clue he has to finding his mother.
In the celestial realm, our ghost reaper visits the Great Jade Emperor/King of Heaven (Yoo Seung Ho), who tells him that the ghost reaper’s past life and his longing for the sister are things that is best forgotten in this spiritual realm. He then welcomes the King of the Underworld who wonders how Arang’s ropes could have become loose. The Great Jade Emperor comments that the seeds of fate have been planted and all they need to do is wait for them to blossom. Heh…nice metaphor! 🙂
Meanwhile, back in the “real” world, our trusty servant, Dol Swe, is aghast in amazement when he learns that Eun Oh, looking ever so dashing as a little penguin in his Joseon raincoat, is planning on temporarily assuming the role of magistrate. Blaming those meddlesome committee members for his master’s uncharacteristic decision, the servant takes off to give them a piece of his mind.
In another part of town, nobleman Choi learns of Eun Oh’s decision to be the town’s magistrate and that he claims to be the son of a nobleman responsible for forcing him, Choi, to move from his previous town.
While Choi tries to figure out Eun Oh’s motives for taking the magistrate position, said magistrate tries to draw a picture of Arang to hilarious results.
Picture after picture, he attempts a likeness–he for the purpose of identification and Arang for the purpose of figuring out what she finally looks like since she can’t see her reflection–but his artistic abilities are sadly lacking. And so, he hires an artist to draw an invisible Arang, commenting here and there that the features are all wrong. Ultimately, though, none of the pictures suffice, and he ends of ripping them all. LOL
Eun Oh does learn from Arang that despite her amnesia of her former life, she does know two things: 1) she’s been dead for three years and 2) her side hurts sometimes as though she had been stabbed with a sword.
Armed with that knowledge, Eun Oh commands his little committee to compile for his perusal all incidences dating back about three years and those primarily involving women. The committee brings him three books worth of cases but none fit Arang’s situation.
On a stroll around the neighborhood, Eun Oh comes across a house that’s tightly locked up. Curious, he jumps the wall and investigates the house. Fortunately for him, he learns from a servant, who finds him trespassing on her old master’s house, that this house belonged to a former magistrate and that the room he just vacated belonged to her young mistress who mysteriously disappeared three years ago. Ah…this may be why Arang keeps visiting the newly established magistrates as well.
While Eun Oh learns of this crucial news, Arang competes with fellow ghosts to eat the food laid out during memorial services for the dead. A hilarious fight ensues with Arang losing and remaining ever so hungry. (Korean folklore has it that ghosts need to be fed so grieving relatives will leave food out for their deceased…called jae sa)
Eun Oh finds Arang and tells her that he’s discovered her identity. He then calls the committee members and asks about the magistrate’s daughter. They tell him that she was once engaged to the only son of nobleman Choi but ran away with a member of the lower class. She didn’t die but rather ran away, leaving her privileged life for the unknown man.
Still not remembering anything, Arang thanks Eun Oh for at least helping her find her identity and gives up hope that Eun Oh will help her any further. However, Eun Oh agrees to keep helping her since he still doesn’t know how she got a hold of his hairpin gift to his mother.
Eun Oh takes Arang to visit her former fiance, and Arang learns that she must have dearly loved her fiance since her heart starts to beat rapidly. With her newfound “love” for her fiance, Arang refuses to meet him in her present state. Yes, even though he can’t see her. LOL
In complete disbelief, he asks her how a ghost can even sense her heart beating. LOL. He quickly pulls his hands away when he realizes what he was about to do–touch her chest–and tries to drag her to the front door so that he can speak with Choi’s son. But of course, Arang freaks out and drags him away.
From there, she accompanies Eun Oh to eat and promptly gets drunk…on Eun Oh’s rice wine no less. With a dead weight Arang to carry, Eun Oh lugs her to her shaman’s house. The beauty of the scene? Arang reveals to Eun Oh that she was never drunk. LOL. Poor Eun Oh and his back.
At the shaman’s house, Arang requests that the spiritual medium make her a beautiful set of clothes. Her requests go ignored until Eun Oh gives the shaman two pieces of gold to make the dress by the next. day. Aw…so sweet of him.
Bashful about disclosing her bust measurements, Arang insists on taking her own bust measurement and quietly whispers it to the shaman, who loudly announces the size for Eun Oh to hear. LOL. Then in an intimate moment, Eun Oh quietly measures the rest of Arang’s measurements for her hanbok. When Arang leaves without a thank-you word to Eun Oh, he grumbles about her ingratitude but then pounds his chest to calm his beating heart. LOL. Arang witnesses this and comments to herself and she does have an eye for men. Pfffft.
As for nobleman Choi’s son, he visits a brothel in search of his missing fiance–the secret mission was for him to find his fiance by a determined time set by his father–but he leaves quickly when he realizes that she would never come to a place like this and that he was a fool to even consider it. As he leaves, a giseng comes to tempt him, and he draws a knife on her, warning her away and to not speak of this moment to anyone. Hmmm…a bit creepy here.
On the way home, both men cross each other’s path on the bridge: Young Master Choi completely unaware of Eun Oh’s interest in him and Eun Oh wondering what Arang sees in the young master.
Yup, I see the makings of a grand ol’ bout of jealousy starting to take form. LOL
Later that night, as Eun Oh is about to fall asleep, Arang shows up next to him and tells him that there’s one thing she was never able to do before she died: kiss a man.
Then leaning slowly forward, she draws close to Eun Oh, whose eyes widen in shock at this unexpected turn of events.
Thoughts: Heh…what a great way to end the second episode!
I’m pleasantly pleased with the pacing of this show. We’re only on episode 2, and we’ve already discovered so much: Arang’s identity, Young Master Choi’s relationship with Arang and his secret mission, Eun Oh’s first stirrings of feeling for Arang, etc.
Then there are the gloriously yummy metaphors that our celestial kings throw about. I especially liked the Great Jade Emperor’s metaphor about how the “seeds of fate are planted” and all that remains is for them to wait for the seeds to blossom.
But more than anything else, I think what’s going to keep me coming back to this show is the tight dynamics between Eun Oh and Arang. Not only are they bickering in classic Tracy-Hepburn style, but the cute predicaments they keep getting themselves into are just too adorable. 🙂 I mean, just the scene with Arang’s heart pounding and Eun Oh almost touching her chest to demonstrate that ghosts’ hearts can’t pound is full of tongue-in-cheek mirth.
The other great thing about this recap/nutshell? That I was able to finish before 11am! LOL. Enjoy!