Hometown of Legends: Episode 5
In which Jae Hee is the lord in question (going by Yoon Ki Joo), and Lee Young Eun stars as both of his loves (Yeo Rim and Chae Ok respectively).
SONG OF THE DAY
Episode 5: Young Lord Ogu
(Aaaaaand! Jae Hee goes for the vagabond look in a big way in this episode.)
Ki Joo watches a veritable zombie army march up to him in the misty night. His sword is out and ready, but they aren’t there to tear him apart and take his life force. He follows them out of curiosity and sees a crowd reanacting the hanging of his beloved Yeo Rim. He tries to rescue her, but a crowd of zombies come and sit on him. His handy exorcist’s sword is rather useless against the entire horde, and he can only watch Yeo Rim die.
This is in fact a nightmare that imitates his life, and before he wakes up, Ki Joo has a vision of Yeo Rim walking away onto a bridge, promising to watch over him. She’s holding the handle of his sword, which has two green braids attached and probably serve as some sort of amulet against the dead.
He wakes up and sees Chae Ok, who looks exactly like Yeo Rim, walking up the bridge under which he is sleeping. He chases after her, but she doesn’t recognize him at all (well, it is a different girl) and asks him to let her arm go.
Obviously not daunted, Ki Joo follows her to the dock, where she is negotiating, without success, for the boatman to take her to the other side of the shore. Ki Joo interrupts the two arguing and tells them both that there are ghosts where she wants to go. Then he shocks the boatman by jumping on-board and buying the boat. His reason? Boredom.
Halfway across the bay, the steering oar of the boat is seized by ghosts, who rise out of the water (and their malign intention turns the water around them black) and make to enter the boat. The boatman jumps in the water and swim for shore. Ki Joo walks calmly to the back of the boat and throws a few sheets of spelled paper at them, suppressing the ghosts.
He steers the boat while a relieved Chae Ok (who didn’t see the ghosts, being too busy yelling after the boatman) dismisses the old man’s assertions of other things afoot.
The rest of the voyage is uneventful, and when they land, Chae Ok offers Ki Joo a stay at her house if he has nowhere else to go. She’s in the middle of extolling the virtues of her village when an ajumma comes up and throws a rock at her (which Ki Joo blocks), shouting abuse that actually have nothing to do with the girl. Huh.
At home, her papa is furious that someone dared to hurt his precious daughter (I guess he’s the local lord or rich merchant, by the looks of his house). Chae Ok asks her father what Kim ajumma meant, but he just tells her to stay out of that business, and grumbles at her wearing peasant clothing.
He thanks Ki Joo for escorting his daughter home, and interestingly, warns him away from staying for more than a night. The young man goes to his rooms, but he totally senses something in the wind. And back in the room, concerned papa scolds Chae Ok for not listening to him and coming back, despite his direct warning in the last letter. (Dude, father to a teen but doesn’t know that ‘no’ is possibly the first thing they will not obey?)
Chae Ok is warned away from interacting with the villagers for a while. Kim ajumma’s main grievance apparently stems with dissatisfation with Chae Ok’s father, and nothing to do with the cheerful girl herself.
She also asks after Mak Suk, who’s a servant, but is affectionately called ‘oppa’ anyway. He’s off doing things for her dad. (So this young lady isn’t the haughty type. Oh good.)
Ki Joo tries to get info from the servants about recent changes in the village but they don’t like talking about it. However, he does make himself useful around the house by sticking more spells on the containers of fermented chili and beans, preventing a friendly (as of now) ghost from inducing mildew.
At night, Chae Ok comes in and forces Ki Joo to show her the injured arm, and proceeds to bandage it. (It looks like a rather nasty wound. Object lesson: Do not throw stones at people.) She asks if she really looks like someone he loves, and receives a silent sort of yes. He recalls more of their time together, sadly. After some questioning, Ki Joo reluctantly reveals that she is in fact dead. That gets her off the topic and back to her own room really fast.
(Chae Ok is so x 10^18239208 curious. Obviously will get her in trouble one day.)
When Chae Ok is sleeping, a ghost comes into her room and tries to strangle her into giving back her child. Ki Joo hears Chae Ok’s screams and follows the ghost down to the docks, where she disappears and there is only a drunken guard (foolishly) challenging the (currently nonexistent) ghosts.
Chae Ok’s father sees part of the chase, but I think he’s going to misunderstand and accuse Ki Joo of trying to harm his daughter.
Anyway, the drunken guard apologizes to his wife, who is presumably dead after some sort of betrayal. He looks into the water, and lo and behold! There is his wife, rising out of the water. She drowns him. (I’m assuming it’s his wife here, nothing substantial.)
The next morning, as Ki Joo gets ready to leave, he sees several men clustered around the dead body of the guard, whose face is the green brown of clay. It’s not the first time this has happened. At the funeral, his mother laments and curses the ghosts (confirming that everyone thinks it’s the supernatural to blame here).
The local exorcist (a very pretty girl) falls to the ground and gets possessed by ghosts who demand revenge for a nicely ambiguous crime of ‘everything you’ve done to us’. Riiiight.
I have no idea what’s going on, but the shouting and muttering reveal that some villagers were probably given the short end of the stick on something that sent them to their deaths – and the village chief paid off the survivors. Which means that some villagers resent Chae Ok, even though she’s pretty much the only innocent in the equation. Also, it’s death number nine, so the rest of those alive are getting pretty anxious to keep the breath in their lungs, so to speak.
Moving on – the pretty exorcist raises her fan and points to Chae Ok as the sacrifice that will calm the ghosts. (Rather an opportunistic minx, one feels, but good at grasping the emotions of a mob.) Chae Ok doesn’t know what to do, and goes back home. Ki Joo obviously sees disturbing similiarities between now and Yeo Rim’s death, while the witch girl smirks subtly.
Ki Joo sees another ghost, possibly the same man who was hogging the tanks at Chae Ok’s house… but he runs away. The ghost really likes eating, and is absolutely petrified of being sent on his ‘long journey home’. Ki Joo muses that it’s strange to have so many ghosts not moving on.
As Chae Ok is trying to squeeze her father for info, a drunken man (the one who started shouting back at the funeral) comes and accuses the village chief for sitting there while his people die one by one. He hints that Chae Ok’s beloved Muk Suk also went by the way of the mysterious death. At this point, Chae Ok runs off, bumping into Ki Joo (who follows her), to the house of the lady who haunted her last night. As expected, no one is there.
She then finds another ajumma in the thralls of poison, and uses acupuncture to treat her. Ki Joo is touched that Chae Ok would leave home to learn medical skills for her people. She’s scared at the change in the people, while he notes a group of dried herbs hanging on the wall. Ominous music abounds.
He mentions to Chae Ok that all the stricken households have so far had branches of cherry trees, which help prevent flu. She guesses that the village has had an epidemic while she was away, and he notes that the first man he spotted was the victim of a fire. (He’s seeing an invisible pattern here, I’m guessing.)
Two men watch the ravishing (though in a completely modern style) Yeon Hwa bathe by moonlight. (That’s really odd: bathing in a place with ghosts when you are a witch who is supposed to know her trade.) Anyway, she gets dragged under by a sudden attack of the ghosts, and comes upon the two men with glowing green eyes. Needless to say, they die.
Their blue-faced corpses are found the next day, and with anxiety running high, Yeon Hwa’s suggestion of an appeasement ceremony is taken up without much fuss. However, she demands that the sacrifice be a human. Most of the crowd doesn’t want it, though the shouter seems to accept is, as long as he isn’t the sacrifice in question. Well, no danger of that, it’s Chae Ok they’re all after, seemingly. (What does she have against Chae Ok anyway? Mere jealousy is a bit… petty.)
Ki Joo, having watched this progression of insanity, is muchly concerned for Chae Ok’s safety. However, he himself is also in danger, what with Yeon Hwa silently stalking him amongst the rabble.
The focus of all this, Chae Ok, is off nursing the old lady back into health. She hears the full version of the story from the old lady: when the village was going through its epidemic, her father decided that the uninfected people should still live, so he ordered the sick ones to be killed (or dumped into the harbour, it’s unclear).
Ki Joo looks for Chae Ok and also warns her father of what’s in the wind. Yeon Hwa watches the crowd marching to the village chief’s house with rather more than professional pleasure. Ki Joo searches for Chae Ok, but he’s kind of hampered by not knowing the village very well. He bumps into the gluttonous ghost again, and this time receives rather more info – Yeon Hwa is possessed by Muk Suk, who really wants Chae Ok.
At last, things start making sense.
Chae Ok leaves to find a child who was sent away early on in the epidemic, in hopes of making her friend feel better. Ki Joo leaves with her, as he knows it’s really unsafe for here here.
The villagers storm the village chief’s modest house, and leave him tied up. Searchers report that Chae Ok is nowhere to be found, and probably went on a boat with the stranger. Yeon Hwa comes to visit Chae Ok’s trussed up father, and goes into evil mode – aka Muk Suk takes over.
Muk Suk is really angry at the village chief, first because he was deceived and killed, and second because he would always kick Muk Suk around in the ten years he worked for the old man. Basically, because he’s a selfish, elitist old ass. He promises full-scale revenge.
In the boat, Chae Ok argues with Ki Joo. She wants to go back to the village and end things once and for all with her own death. He tells her that her death won’t change anything – and that these people will move on to find other sacrifices. Then they get attacked by a bunch of ghosts. Ki Joo’s short sword scares them off, but they ambush the unsuspecting Chae Ok and drag her underwater.
Ki Joo unhesistatingly jumps into the water, swimming toward the ghosts. Through their eyes, he sees what actually happened – Chae Ok’s father sent the sick off in a boat, promising a cure. Muk Suk was not privy to the plan, and he was okay with spending time with sick people as long as he got to marry Chae Ok in the end. Then, of course, the village chief followed in a small boat, with the shouter and a few other people, and set the boat on fire.
[“Laer Meg a Kjenne” starts playing in this scene.]
The people in the boat start jumping into the water (though why they didn’t try to use the water around on the flames mystifies me), among shouts and pleading. Muk Suk is dragged down by the others. It’s chaos all around. The people who came to kill them are crying too, but they’ve steeled themselves to do it, and row away.
Back to Ki Joo, who takes out his trusty sword and gets rid of the clingy ghosts. He hauls Chae Ok out of the water. She’s swallowed some water, but is fine, overall. (Wow, Jae Hee smiles!) Ki Joo is really glad Chae Ok’s okay.
Unfortunately for them, the mob comes back and hits Ki Joo in the head, taking Chae Ok away.
While he’s unconscious, Ki Joo dreams of what happened to him the first time around. Yeo Rim was the concubine wife (not main wife, I don’t think) of a noble, but she fell in love with Ki Joo. When they were discovered, she was hung for adultery while he was severely beaten and left to die. He tried to save her, maimed as he was, and was held in place while she hung.
He wakes up tied to a post in a storeroom. The gluttonous ghost is there, munching on chicken, and refusing to untie Ki Joo because he would get sent on. Ki Joo uses his ghost whispering skills and manages to get himself untied.
Down at the bay, the ceremony is going through. (And when people die after this, will the villagers say, Oops, shouldn’t have killed her?) Ki Joo runs to the source of the music as fast as he can, while Chae Ok’s father begs the people to dump him in the bay instead. Then the village chief faints.
As Yeon Hwa dances on to the music, blackened ghosts start rising out of the water. They do a siren call of sorts and hypnotize the villagers into stepping into the water. Ki Joo runs up and unties Chae Ok, while calling for the villagers to stop. If they feel so sorry making other people die to save their own lives, his reasoning goes, then why repeat it with Chae Ok here?
Muk Suk just really wants them dead. (Hello, green eyes.) The ceremony continues, but Ki Joo goes after another part of his attack – the dead. With spelled paper, he forces them to go peacefully, which lets the villagers regain their senses and lament properly for their loved ones.
However, there’s still the issue of Muk Suk, who’s really angry now. Ki Joo goes after him with his short sword, but Muk Suk is the stronger fighter. After some tussling, Ki Joo actually gets possessed by Muk Suk, who plans to use his own sword against Ki Joo.
When he’s about to lose, Ki Joo calls out Yeo Rim’s name, and the sword miraculously flies away while propelling Muk Suk away from Ki Joo’s body. Then it flies past Ki Joo to impale itself in Muk Suk’s chest. Hoi, that’s some sword.
Muk Suk remarks that this is no ordinary ghost-slaying sword, which somehow sends Ki Joo into the past again. We see that Yeo Rim’s ghost promised to guard him, and then her spirit entered the braids on his sword. Muk Suk’s spirit remains, however, and Ki Joo urges him again to forgive the villagers.
Chae Ok comes forward to talk to him, and tells him to take happy memories away with him, to heaven. Muk Suk goes.
A lot later, Ki Joo prepares to leave, as Chae Ok runs up to him, all winded. She hands him a pack of emergency herbs and tells him (very wisely) that it’s time for him to take care of his own wounds instead of others’. She also suggests that he let go of Yeo Rim, as thinking about her all the time will make her stay by his side. Ki Joo wordlessly jumps into the boat.
As he rows away, looking at Chae Ok waving at him, he tries to say that Yeo Rim is the one thing that he cannot let go of, that she will understand if he doesn’t want to let her go. As he rows off into the horizon, in the fuzzy sunlight, it looks like Yeo Rim is sitting in the boat with him, and Chae Ok redoubles her waving to the both of them.
– As usual, picture credits to Luv the awesome.
– I have a friend who looks exactly like the possessed witch girl, and it’s going to be really weird … especially if she starts wearing green contacts. Also, I have been told that Muk Suk shares an actor with Mr. Crazy Monk Mentor from Hong Gil Dong (thank you, vurms). Should have realized earlier, oops.
– Some really classic mentions of mob mentality here. Alas.
– Lols. Jae Hee plays this mysteriously dashing problem solver dude. He’s kind of listless, though it’s to be expected for someone who’s just lost a loved one. It’s interesting to see his serious side, as opposed to the goofy roles he’s been taking on lately. 😀 I do wish they’d found a better-fitting wig for his buzz-cut head.