Drama Recaps
Joseon X-Files: Episode 7
by | October 22, 2010 | 57 Comments

Oh man, this episode is brilliant. The more I think on it, the more brilliant it becomes. If we gave this the U.S. television treatment, this would be the episode winning a bunch of Emmys.

I understand if it was confusing for viewers, though, because it’s not an episode whose message is clearly spelled out at the end — there’s room for interpretation and although I’m fairly confident in mine, I’m sure there are other ways to read it. Plus, not only does this episode play with the concept of time, parts of it are told out of chronological order. Hopefully the recap is helpful rather than confusing.

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EPISODE 7: “Village of the fourth dimension”

Rain.

A young boy stands still in the wet, holding a sword in his hand. The slow-motion cinematography and the lovely music give the scene a strangely beautiful look, even as it takes a macabre turn:

Policemen gape, shocked, motioning for him to stop. The boy ignores them, raising the sword to his chin, and then — thrust!

Blood splatters, mingling with water. His body falls, and slowly, the sound of the rain fades in, stripping the ethereality of the scene and letting reality sink in.

Hyung-do sits in an empty room, a haggard mess. Words ring in his ears — recently spoken by Yoon-yi — that warn him in hushed tones: “You must pull yourself together. You should not be in this place.”

Tiredly, Hyung-do makes his way through the village, and comes to a gate where the latest notice has been posted: It’s a drawing of a missing nobleman’s daughter, wearing a red ribbon in her hair.

Jang finds him here, and they head off together to the bookshop, where Yoon-yi notices how sick Hyung-do looks and offers him some hot tea. Hyung-do waves off his fatigue (Jang chortles at Hyung-do catching a cold when it’s not even cold season), and insists that he is fine to continue with work.

The case at hand, which Yoon-yi briefs him on, deals with the daughter of Lord Choi and a runaway slave boy. The young lovers had stolen off together, launching a search, and just recently the boy was discovered. He was found in an absent-minded daze, and it is rumored that the young couple had gone to a place they are calling New Land. This is the latest in a string of similar cases of so-called travelers to New Land who return in this dull state of near-catatonia.

Asked where the boy is now, Yoon-yi replies, “He’s dead. Smiling, he stabbed himself in the neck.”

A flashback shows us that she is indeed referring to the opening scene: Two police officers had found the boy sleeping (note a straw doll dropped in the grass — there was a straw doll cursing Hyung-do in the previous episode) and started to carry him away, but the boy awakened and grabbed one of their swords. With that curiously blank look on his face, he had stabbed himself.

Yoon-yi explains that the boy had claimed that he’d been forcibly removed from paradise. It’s a place without a difference in social classes, where time stops and you don’t grow old or get sick. The boy had declared he would return to paradise, and killed himself. The girl has not yet been found.

Hyung-do nods off toward the end of Yoon-yi’s explanation, the tea cup slipping from his hand and breaking on the floor. Yoon-yi advises him to rest today, but like a good workaholic he insists he’s fine. Together with Jang, he heads out to the scene of the incident.

As he examines the corpse, Hyung-do sniffs, catching a hint of something. This is his first clue, as everybody who came back from New Land apparently smelled like glue.

Off they go to a neighborhood called Banchon — and for those Sungkyunkwan Scandal viewers, this Banchon bears no similarity to that one. This one is a miserable place, characterized not only by poverty but also drug use (opium?) and gambling. Many of the denizens lounge around in a drug-fueled stupor.

Hyung-do has come here because there is a likely connection with glue, made of animal bones, and the butchers who make up a large portion of this local population (butchers, historically, occupied the lowest rungs in society). Hyung-do deduces Choi’s daughter is likely to be here in Banchon, which is so suited for secret activities.

He sends Jang to inquire after carpenters using glue, while he makes his way to an artist’s studio, as artists also use glue. Inside, a particular hanging scroll captures his attention — it’s a woman, who looks rather familiar. The artist didn’t draw her, and says it’s quite old. As he takes a seat, we see that the artist is currently working on a drawing featuring two youngsters.

Hyung-do moves on to his main purpose and asks if the artist has any glue. The man no longer deals the stuff, only making little bits when he’s painting, but he offers a small pot to Hyung-do.

A wave of fatigue washes over Hyung-do briefly, and the artist offers him some tea to help his fever. Hyung-do drinks, although the music tells us to be wary of the man and perhaps his tea. The artist turns back to his work — a closer look shows us a girl and boy holding knives, and a box.

On his way out of the artist’s studio, Hyung-do catches a glimpse of a girl walking ahead of him. This drama is seriously making me wary of young girls in hanboks, but he spies the red ribbon in her hair, which makes him think of the drawing of the missing girl. He follows her through dark corridors, past butchers’ stalls, and outside — into the bright sunlight.

Wait, wha-? Hyung-do knows something is wrong, but he doesn’t understand what just happened, and looks around in bewilderment. He trudges along until he comes to the same gate from before, only now the girl’s missing poster is torn — has time passed?

Based on Hyung-do’s lack of a reaction, it seems like we are back at the top of the episode, when he first saw the drawing. Only, instead of Jang finding him here, this time it’s Yoon-yi.

She asks why he’s here, and he answers that he’s here to meet Jang — but she asks who that is. Hyung-do laughs at her joke, speaking in his usual familiar way, until he realizes that she doesn’t know who he is, either.

Alternate Yoon-yi is offended, thinking he’s taking liberties, and tells him curtly he’s better off going to a gibang (gisaeng establishment). Hyung-do looks around in alarmed confusion, and the scene ripples, like heat waves.

Realizing that something is very wrong here, Hyung-do goes to Yoon-yi’s bookshop, where he accidentally catches a glimpse of her changing her jeogori top, which reveals a scar on her shoulderblade. Not exactly the way to reverse that bad first impression, and she orders him to leave in a hard voice.

The camera lingers on the tea, which triggers a memory to the teacup he dropped, and he says, “I’m sorry. I think I’ve lost my way.” She figures that that’s typical of Banchon, explaining that this is at the edge of that neighborhood, and offers to draw him a map.

As she draws, Hyung-do tells Alternate Yoon-yi that she looks a lot like someone he knows. She interprets that as more smooth talk (lol at his uncomfortable reaction to that), and asks how he came to be here.

He answers that he’s looking for someone whom he hasn’t found yet. As he sits there waiting, we fade back to the flashback of the previous scene when he’d followed the girl through Banchon. (The fact that some of these flashbacks are coming to Hyung-do later suggests that he may have forgotten some of these things until later, which explains his dulled reaction in the aftermath.)

However, the events of this flashback differ from the scene we’d previously witnessed — this time, Hyung-do loses the girl but sees the boy and follows him to a hiding place within Banchon. The slave boy reunites with the young girl and tells her that the arrangements have been made with the palanquin bearers (a transportation service) for tomorrow. They’ll carry her away from here, but he’ll have to meet her separately, because slave hunters are on his trail.

The girl wants to travel together, but he says it’s more dangerous that way. With youthful innocence, the couple assure each other that it will work out and speak in loving tones. He declares himself satisfied with her safety, and she assures him that she’s happy right now, with him.

Hearing slave hunters approaching, Hyung-do hurriedly steps out into the main courtyard — into daylight, once again confused.

Emerging from the flashback, Hyung-do now asks Alternate Yoon-yi what’s going on — how can the slave who died now be alive? Intently, he asks, “Is this the New Land that people talk about?” She answers, “There are some who say that, but it is not new land. It has been here for a long time, but has merely been unseen.”

He says, “They call it paradise. It seems like a place that cannot exist.” She replies, “Places that are necessary are not always there from the start.” She adds that if you decide with your heart, your body follows naturally (which suggests that people’s desires have somehow contributed to the creation of this place).

New Land Yoon-yi: “In this village, the memories, fantasies, and desires that were earnestly hoped for become reality. What is it that you saw, and came here for?”

Hyung-do thinks of the boy who died and answers that it seemed the boy was asking for his help. He wants to help the two runaways — how can he?

Yoon-yi answers that he can go back to the place where they first intersected. At that, Hyung-do heads out immediately, though he pauses to turn back.

Hyung-do: “How did you come to be here?”
New Land Yoon-yi: “There is a person I want to meet.”
Hyung-do: “Have you met?”
New Land Yoon-yi: “I had thought I had, but it seems that I have not yet.”

Hyung-do heads out in the drizzly night to retrace his steps through Banchon, and spots the boy in the marketplace. Unfortunately, that also draws the attention of the two slave hunters behind him, and the boy runs into the forest.

Hyung-do follows, managing to tackle the boy, insisting that he’s here to help him. But the boy panics, his eyes rolling back in his head. He’s in no condition to listen to Hyung-do’s pleas to tell him where he’s going before the slave hunters catch up to them.

He can hear the hunters shouting behind them, but when he looks, he sees nothing. Where are the voices coming from? The landscape is empty, though he can clearly hear them yelling, “There he is!”

The boy manages to get up and runs off. Hyung-do, so bewildered by these strange events, looks around in a daze. Finally, the slave hunters appear and rush by him.

Hyung-do asks Yoon-yi what he can do to right this scenario, because he couldn’t stop anything from happening. She answers calmly, “Did you not see for yourself? It’s already too late.”

Hyung-do: “This isn’t paradise. Didn’t you say it was where you could be happy forever? But those two — why in the world must they encounter those things?”
Yoon-yi: “The happiness people wish for cannot always be the same. If the happiness wished for by one person differs from the desire of another, they cannot help but repeat their own ways.”
Hyung-do: “Then what happens to Lord Choi’s daughter?”

The answer is not pretty. The girl is carried in the hired palanquin by two men who pause for a break. Leering, one man grabs a knife and readies to use it, which alerts the girl to impending trouble.

Menacingly, the men ask for more fare — but it’s not money they want. With a lecherous laugh, they grab her, beat her, and tie her to a bamboo stalk.

Horrified, Hyung-do asks if this scenario is bound to repeat, over and over. Yoon-yi answers that “they” are also fixated on what they want for themselves. Ah, so there’s the rub — this New Land’s promise of “getting what you want” applies to evildoers as well. Quite a tricky Catch-22, isn’t it?

Handing him the map she has drawn, she urges him to hurry out of this place. Hyung-do, however, now has more important things to accomplish than leaving New Land, and declares that he will help the youngsters leave, too.

Yoon-yi reminds him that they came here because they wanted to. Hyung-do retorts, “How would they have known that what they wanted would turn into hell?”

She counters, “Is the outside world that much better than this?” She warns that if he continues to meddle in their lives, he will not be able to leave, either.

The boy runs through the woods, searching for the girl, and finds the palanquin empty. Racing through the bamboo forest (oh god, not that accursed bamboo forest again!), he finds her tied up and frees her.

The girl is badly beaten but smiles to see her lover. She presses a pouch of money in his hand (her fare, I presume), and tells him that it’s enough that he can leave here and live comfortably. She means on his own, though, because she’s fading fast. Weakly, she tells him, “I’m glad I got to see your face.”

With that, she slumps, and the boy cries out in anguish.

Hyung-do declares that he will sever the loop by making sure these events never begin in the first place. If this is a place where you only see what you want to see, well, that can work for him. Those kids may have thought this would be paradise, but how can dying every day — only to be revived, only to die again — be called happiness?

He burns her map, saying, “That wasn’t what I wanted to see.” Yoon-yi warns him that he may be hurt, but he is prepared for that. She says, “You were always that kind of person” — and that sure captures his attention. Eyes widening in shock, he asks what she means by that. So she DID know him? Who is she?

Yoon-yi doesn’t answer, and tells him to hurry if he wants to break the cycle.

When we return to the girl, we’re in the moment before she is attacked. Only, true to his word, Hyung-do appears in time to prevent injury, and fights off the two men, who scurry off.

Thus when the slave boy arrives, she’s still here, safe and sound.

And yet, that would be too easy of an ending, and we see Yoon-yi looking over a familiar drawing. It’s the same one that the old artist was working on, only now we get to see how the scene ends. Previously, the girl and boy had been facing an empty palanquin with knives in their hands. Now, blood pools around it, and a body lies inside.

In the forest, the happy couple leave together, hand in hand. They stop to bow their gratitude to Hyung-do, who waves them off feeling mighty gratified at this satisfactory outcome…

…until a knife is thrust into his back — by the slave boy.

Hyung-do gasps, “What are you doing?” And another knife stabs him from the other side — it’s the girl. Both look down at him impassively as he falls to his knees, mortally wounded.

A third figure joins them — the artist who gave him tea. Hyung-do glares up at the man and asks if he’s the one deluding people into thinking there is such a thing as New Land. The man tells him that he merely opened the door a little; Hyung-do came of his own free will.

Smiling, the artist tells him, “From now on, you’ll have to enjoy rescuing these children. Welcome to New Land.” Meaning, of course, that Hyung-do is now sealed into this New Land paradise of never-ending loops.

The world blurs around him as Hyung-do loses consciousness, and it begins to rain…

When the world fades back in, Hyung-do is standing in the rain again, at the entrance of Banchon, looking at the (torn, old) drawing of the missing girl.

A familiar scene: Yoon-yi pours him tea as he sits in a daze. Ahhhhhh, and now we understand why he’s so “sick”! Traveling back from New Land saps the spirit, and Hyung-do’s illness isn’t a cold so much as it is the aftereffects of such “travel.”

The scene progresses almost identically as it did at the top of the episode, with Yoon-yi filling him in on the case of the runaway who killed himself after being dragged back from paradise. Yoon-yi and Jang’s words are exactly the same as before, but this time Hyung-do’s reaction is different as he registers this eerie sense of deja vu.

The word “paradise” rings a bell, and Hyung-do looks up sharply as he puts together the pieces. Previously he had dropped the teacup out of fatigue, but this time it crashes to the ground because he loses his grip. And, creepily enough, this time there’s a fluttering insect that falls out of the tea (ewwww).

He bends down to look at the mess, but (thankfully!) the insect is not there. Yoon-yi’s whispered voice speaks to him the same words he’d heard in the beginning of the episode, saying urgently, “You must be sent back. You do not belong here. You must be sent back to where you were.”

Speaking these words is New Land Yoon-yi on the other side of reality, who whispers, “No, this is not what I wanted.”

Now Hyung-do glances around warily, looking around with new eyes. He sees the tea set, which triggers his memory of the artist’s tea, the chase in the forest, and all the events from New Land. Mixed into those “memories” is the image of a bloodstained Hyung-do, dying from his stab wounds.

Hyung-do makes his way through the bookshop as the truth falls into place, and pushes open a door in the back, coming face to face with… himself.

HOLYSHITOMGWHAT?

The two Hyung-dos stare at each other, stunned, for a moment.

Then, blackness opens upon a different image — of a worn, battered Hyung-do awakening in some sort of pit, whcih appears to be in, or linked to, Yoon-yi’s bookshop. This tired Hyung-do stares up, and then Yoon-yi finds him there in the well, asking worriedly if he’s okay.

We are taken through these moments in brief flashes, and land on one memory in particular. It’s the parting of Hyung-do and New Land Yoon-yi, who repeats those words from before: “You must leave quickly. You must come to your senses. This is not where you should be.” She warns, “If it’s not now, you cannot ever leave.”

The Hyung-do in the well says, “At first, I thought I was called to this land because of that gaze.” (He refers to the woman in the painting.) The Current Hyung-do also repeats those words to New Land Yoon-yi — it’s as though some things remain constant, no matter which “cycle” one is caught up in — and he realizes, “It was you who called me. Why are you letting me go?”

New Land Yoon-yi admits that it was her own personal greed, but adds that he does not belong here. The moment is fraught with emotion as he realizes that their connection runs deeper than he’d known, but that they’re about to part ways again.

Hyung-do asks, “Will you go with me?” With sadness, she shakes her head no. He asks, “Can we meet again?” Handing him her necklace, she tells him that since they have crossed each other’s paths once, perhaps they’ll meet again. She leaves him with the last words, “I was glad to see you again.”

Now we’re back in the present, with Hyung-do at the doorway between his world and New Land. He sees New Land Yoon-yi through the open passageway, and they keep their eyes fixed on each other, with tears in hers, as Hyung-do slowly closes the door between them.

Rain again. Hyung-do finds himself in an empty room, just like the one from the opening scene.

He’s tired and out of sorts, but reacts when his caretaker turns out to be Yoon-yi — the real one, or one more iteration of her?

Hyung-do asks what happened, and she explains that a hallucinogen was slipped into the tea the artist gave him. In disbelief, he asks, “Are you saying I was just hallucinating?” Yoon-yi answers that she doesn’t know what he saw, and he replies firmly, “It wasn’t a dream.”

Lightly, with a smile, Yoon-yi says, “Then you must have seen New Land.”

Hyung-do’s eyes widen to see the necklace Yoon-yi wears, which is the same one that New Land Yoon-yi had given him. This Yoon-yi explains that she’d lost it a while ago, but thankfully found it recently.

She rises to exit his room, leaving Hyung-do puzzling at this odd sense of deja vu…

 
COMMENTS

Pretty damned brilliant, if you ask me. I love how all the little details fit into place. At first watch, it’s a bit puzzling, but as you wade through the episode, things click into place so securely, so intricately, that I’m left amazed. But first let’s clear a few things up:

New Land. Is it a real place, or a state of mind? A metaphysical in-between? Is it merely the work of a hallucinogenic drug that trips everyone out into thinking they’d been somewhere when they’re just strung out on some psychotic brew?

It seems to me that New Land is somehow parallel to this hallucinogenic state, but it’s not ONLY a hallucination. It’s not all in the head. I think of it as akin to the Matrix, where there are two realities occurring simultaneously, linked and yet separate. The hallucinogen may “open the door,” as the artist said, but it’s not merely a bad acid trip. And what happens in New Land has an effect on what happens in the real world, which would not be the case in a dream. It also makes sense that Banchon, which sits at the entrance to New Land, is littered with junkies, no? I’m sure some of those laggards aren’t just druggies, but feeling the dullness that comes with the return trip from New Land.

It appears that Yoon-yi’s bookshop is the gateway, which is a very interesting detail. Let’s not forget that there’s the “very old” painting of her in the artist’s studio — plus the fact that both of them offer Hyung-do that very suspicious tea. So what’s the connection? Are they in cahoots? Or is Yoon-yi using the artist? Vice versa?

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Hyung-do and Yoon-yi’s connection goes back farther than he’d suspected. No surprise, given her mysterious past — and the fact that the Current World Yoon-yi has no memory of her past may play into this. Perhaps it’s not that she’s deceiving him, but that she isn’t aware of the connection in this world. When Hyung-do first meets New Land Yoon-yi, she says that she has not yet met the one she’s waiting for. She means Hyung-do, but this version of him hasn’t recognized their link — whereas, at the end of the episode, he has realized their connection. That must be the one she wanted to see, the one whom she was “happy to see again.”

The nature of this story is what also makes the episode confusing on first watch, but so awesome on second watch. The “flashbacks” that we occasionally see are from previous loops, which explains why they’re told technically out of “chronological” order. For the Current Hyung-do, his memories and flashes are occurring chronologically, if we take him as the linear standpoint — we see them unfold as he sees them. But in terms of the “loop,” it seems they’re occurring out of order. If that makes sense.

As for the purpose of New Land… I think it’s bloody brilliant how they constructed this episode to show the paradox of everybody getting what they want. First of all, it’s a nasty sort of paradise, to be held up by a technicality — sure, it’s a place where time stops and nobody ages, because nothing ever moves the fuck on. If you’re doomed to die, then live, then die again — I suppose technically you never die, right? And the thwarted lovers will always end up together… until the loop takes them back to the beginning, when they’re apart.

Plus, if you open up this world to everybody getting their selfish desires, then how do you reconcile the slave who wants to escape, and the slave hunter who wants to catch him? By letting them both get what they want, of course! And to keep the “promise” of eternal wish fulfillment, you just lock them into a continuous loop so that they keep getting what they want, forever.

Likewise with Hyung-do. He enters New Land late into the game — notice that the picture of the missing girl gets increasingly tattered, because each time he arrives at that gate, he’s in a new “cycle.” So Yoon-yi warns him that he can’t stay too long, or he’ll get stuck into that cycle, too. When he decides that his earnest wish is to save these two kids, he locks himself into their loop. In order to keep saving them forever, he has to fail… forever.

See, in the real world, time is linear and the very nature of that linear time makes desire and ambition and striving worth the payoff in the end. Because we achieve it. But to KEEP achieving it? You have to keep finding yourself in the same situation. Literally.

It’s a clever way of making true literally what is already true on a philosophical level.

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57 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. cartesiancircle

    brain freeze… but thanks!

     (0)


    • 1.1 dramabeansfan

      haha true that.

      MIND= BLOWN!

       (0)


      • 1.1.1 joeydragonlady

        kudos to the writers, found this drama prestty late and i gotta say i love it! I’ve watched ep 7 like 3 times and each time i notice something new.

        thanks JB!

         (0)


  2. holey moley

    i agree with you…that this is a brilliant episode…this is my favorite, and might be the best episode, though it confuses the hell out of me…because of this recap, i’m now off to watch this for the third time…

     (0)


  3. Stephie

    Ahh, so confusing! But it does make a little sense maybe if I watch it. However, the ending seems very un-ended…

     (0)


  4. dramacafe

    Thanks JB! I’ve been waiting for the recaps for this one!
    This definitely is the most awesome episode so far! Just watching the de ja vu scene totally creeps me out in an amazing way! It’s so philosophical on many levels but it’s so exciting, amusing and engaging to watch! I just totally love this drama!

     (0)


  5. first time

    Ok now i really have to watch this drama! How many episodes are there altogether?

     (0)


    • 5.1 Amg1

      12 we are in the final episodes good thing the show only airs on Fridays!

       (0)


    • 5.2 a-a-a

      12 episodes I think

       (0)


  6. sunshine

    LOVED this episode. I had actually skipped episode 6 but after I watched episode 7, I read your recap and so many things clicked.

    As New Land Yoonyi urges Hyung Do to leave, she says “He loses your trace in the rain” and I noticed that your recap had mentioned a freaky correlation between when it rained/stormed and when bad things happened in the haunted house.

    Also, Yoonyi’s necklace had stuck to the metal pole at the end of episode 6. I didn’t watch it and only read your recap, so I don’t know if she retrieved it or not. However, it definitely came up again at the end of this episode.

    On top of that, the minister’s daughter is wearing the same hanbok as the ghost girl in the previous episode. Since I didn’t watch it, I can’t compare their faces that clearly because that screencap with her face was really dark, but definitely the same hanbok.

     (0)


    • 6.1 doozy

      I, too, was wondering if the Lord Choi mentioned in this episode had any connection to the one in the previous episode.

       (0)


  7. langdon813

    This is quite possibly the most brilliant drama I’ve ever seen. I LOVE having my mind blown time after time. But Ep 7 went above and beyond. WAY beyond. What a thrill ride this show is!

    Thanks JB! :-)

     (1)


  8. Noypi

    Ok, so I was reading through this ep and by the end all I could think of was INCEPTION.. Y’all know that movie with Leonardo de carpio.. Its like a dream within a dream within a dream. And I loved that movie same thing with this episode.. Amazing.

    Thanks for recapping JB!!

     (0)


  9. Cassandra

    Wow, definitely a mind trip this show. Thanks for the recaps, I really look forward to this one.

     (0)


  10. 10 mal

    a little like FRINGE. an alternate dimension

     (0)


  11. 11 Amg1

    JB!! Thank you for your hard work, after reading this recap I had found a “New Respect” for you as a “Commentator”, your recap is truly as brilliant as the episode itself.

    I do believe that the time movement concerning “parallel” universes as interpret by quantum mechanics or the different hypothesis a la “Matrix”, in this episode are brilliant.

    The fact that she went into “New Land” and was some how waiting for him tells me that maybe he died in the past and some how she is trying to relive the experience, but does it mean that all he has live so far is part of a repeating cycle?

    Well the next episode is as good as this one and shades more light on what is going on, thank you again!!!!!

    I feel I have fallen in “Love ” all over again with your writing!!!!! : O }

     (0)


  12. 12 mskololia

    Terrific episode…thanks JB for a wonderful spellbounding recap!

    Why the young lovers killed him was beyond me and eerie. Their motivation was totally selfish…I think they landed in hell of their own making, and not paradise.

    Is it selfishness that gets people to cross over? Not saying that motivation or wanting something out of life is selfish, but now that I read the recap, it just comes across.

    I cannot wait to read epis 8/9.

     (0)


  13. 13 hester

    whoa. I haven’t been watching this, because I have a general aversion to historical dramas (too many people dying for my tastes), but really, your recaps almost have me convinced to give it a go. trippy stuff.

     (0)


  14. 14 pixie

    thanks for the recap JB! i’ve been waiting for it ‘coz i got confused on the first watch but slowly understood the second time.

    i have the same question as @sunshine. Yoonyi’s necklace got pulled by the magnetic pole in the last episode and they didn’t show if she got it back or not, so how did she retrieved it? i’m sure it will be explained later.

    i agree, this is a brilliant drama and the best one airing at the moment.

     (0)


  15. 15 mellowyel

    OMG so epic. Still trying to get my head around it. Must watch this series now.

     (0)


    • 15.1 mellowyel

      ooh, p.s. turns out there are a number of international television awards given out every year. too bad we can’t nominate this episode on their behalf

       (0)


  16. 16 Mel

    I. Am. So. Freaking. Scared. O.o

     (0)


  17. 17 v

    lol… didn’t I tell you so? kk.
    i knew you would like ep 7…

    and thank you for the recap! mwua!

     (0)


  18. 18 strawhatz

    thanks for the explanation, to me this is the most confusing episode….looking forward to this week episode

     (0)


  19. 19 houstontwin

    I have been waiting for this recap because I was so confused after watching episode 7. I think that it is really brilliant how the story is laid out experientially. One of the great qualities of this drama, and particularly this episode, is that it makes us work so hard. Still…I haven’t quite caught on (even after watching the next 2 episodes!). I’ll just have to watch them again.

     (0)


  20. 20 jojo

    Thanks for the recap JB…agree this one is brilliant…watched it twice…it is amazing to me that in the midst of all the hyped-up series I have been watching, this little gem has been allowed to shine!

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  21. 21 CPW

    where can i watch this drama?

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    • 21.1 houstontwin

      You can watch on Viikii (they call it Secret Book) or at Dramacrazy (secret investigation).

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  22. 22 Anon

    Errr… Inception, anyone? XDD

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  23. 23 lilly

    I feel this drama will be my fav drama of the year before of God Of Study and Sungkyunkwan scandal.

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  24. 24 enjoydrama

    Thanks! I was so confused after watching this episode and was waiting for your recap. This drama is a gem!

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  25. 25 asianromance

    OMFG! That was frickin amazing!!! It’s like the cross between the tv show, Fringe and the movie, Inception- both of which I love.

    Thank you so much for the recap!!

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  26. 26 megan

    DAMN.
    that’s all I gotta say is.

    DAMN! /confused person..haha

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  27. 27 Bayard

    Thanks a lot! I love to read your explanation to this series, it helps me to understand these “small” things I otherwise miss, as Korean culture is still foreign for me to some extent. And especially this episode was quite confusing – now off to watch it again with the info you provided LOL

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  28. 28 Lan

    Now that I think about it, Yoon Yi doesn’t seem like she comes from the same time as Hyung Do. The picture of her is an ‘old’ picture. She probably went to New Land for a purpose… Maybe when her current ‘mission’ with Hyung Do is over, she’ll have to go back to her own time (which she doesn’t remember/ doesn’t know right now) and she thought of going to New Land to see Hyung Do again.

    Or maybe, I suspect that Yoon Yi is lord Choi’s daughter, and not the shaman like Hyung Do thought in the last episode (ep 6), but she herself might not know it. She eyed the shaman with disdain and the shaman was killed, not her or Hyung Do? The little girl who followed her might be the ghost, but she might be Yoon Yi herself as a little girl? Yoon Yi felt into the pit, yet she was safe. She lost her necklace there, yet she could retrieve it. Her connection w/ the place seems so tight…

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    • 28.1 houstontwin

      I like your idea that the ghost is Yoon Yi. That is really, really creepy!

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  29. 29 beggar1015

    Even after reading the recap I’m still not sure what the hell is going on in this episode. But I also wondered if the girl in the … what is it called again? hanbok? … was the same girl we caught sight of in the last episode. And there was the repeated image of a white pinwheel (on her palanquin, and someone in the opium den had one) that I wonder if it’s important or if I’ve had too many ‘shrooms.

    Here’s a trip: what if the missing daughter in this episode is Yoon Yi and the slave boy is Hyung Do, perhaps in the previous life or another dimension, and they’re still trying to get back to each other in their current incarnations. Or again, maybe that’s the ‘shrooms talking.

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    • 29.1 mskololia

      That is a definite possibility….

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  30. 30 Anonymous

    dramaf****ngbeans awesome analysis and interpretation. thank you.

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  31. 31 peanut butter

    awesome! this drama gives me the chills in a really good way! it just gets more interesting that i feel like i’m being sucked into the story!

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  32. 32 meiguoren

    I don’t even watch this show, but I have read every summary you have made, because they are fascinating. Good work!

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  33. 33 wantMOARkdrama

    This drama is trully brilliant. The deepness of it and the fact it played with the idea of time and alternate realities without being too confusing is absolutely amazing. I agree with you! This drama should get awards! Thanks for the recap, you did a good job of breaking it down :)

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  34. 34 sang hee

    i agree with you 101% JB….brilliant brilliant epis, i can hardly wait for the dvd to come out! awards awards yes yes…i surely hope so! and when it does get an award or so, i hope KJH will be allowed to attend the event! thnx JB for recaps…as always you did an excellent job!

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  35. 35 dramfan88

    Wow – am amazed at the depth of this show. Really makes you think and ponder about reality.

    Am more amazed at your in-depth analysis. Thanks heaps JB. You are awesome!

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  36. 36 Lola

    Is the girl who ran away the daughter of the same Lord Choi from a previous episode (I mean the episode with the possessed writer)? I don’t think she’s the daughter of the Choi from episode 6 (with the haunted house)? I don’t know really know how many elements I should expect to recognize from one episode to another.

    This was definitely a confusing one though. I’m wondering about the part in the end. Javabeans seems to say that the care-taker in the end is yet another Yoon-yi, but as I was watching, I actually thought it was the Yoon-yi he always knew. She recognized him and he recognized her and I think that when he asked who she was, he was asking which version of Yoon-yi she was, also checking which reality he had landed in.

    This episode definitely made it seem like it gave some kind of glimpse into the future. It seems that Yoon-yi will at some point and up in this parallel universe, perhaps she’ll even fet the scar in one of the upcoming episodes. I don’t really see any other reason why they would show it. Also with the necklace from the previous episode, I don’t think she ever retrieved it from the pole. Hyung-do was probably holding it when she found him so she retrieved it.

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  37. 37 Blah

    Just saw episode 8 and it cleared up the questions surrounding this episode :) I won’t spoil it though!

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  38. 38 giddygirl108

    I think this is the first time I’m going to have to re-read this recap. Wow…so trippy! I definitely will have to watch this show in the future!!!

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  39. 39 SH

    i still wished this drama is more than 12 epis….i’ve nvr liked a sci fi as good as this one…brilliant is the right word i agree JB!
    any idea of what rating this has garnered in Korea & elsewhere?

    this may be out of this subj. here but any news about Kim ji hoon since he left for the milit? (i miss him a lot).

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  40. 40 koreandramagirl

    When is ep 8 synopsis coming out. I really want to read it cos i cant watch it.

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  41. 41 Ally

    What an awesome episode! Your recap really did make things clearer. I really want to watch this episode again, but as I have the slowest internet connection in the world – it took me 2 hours to watch this episode – I’ll have to settle with reading the recap again to sort it all out/enjoy it a second time.

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  42. 42 JiHwan

    After watching this episode, I was completely confused. It was so difficult making sense of things, because everything felt so chronologically out of order and it felt as though everything was a dream where the events just didn’t link together. I think i need to rewatch this episode at least one more time. Hopefully it’ll make a bit more sense. thanks for the recap, dramabeans! I don’t know how i’d understand things without it.

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  43. 43 doozy

    “WTF?!” was my knee-jerk reaction after watching Episode 7. Thanks so much for your amazing recap because it does help straighten out a lot of the plot details that happened in this episode, although I still don’t think I understand 100% of what happened, maybe I’m too dim for this kinda show.

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  44. 44 Jade

    Thank you for the your recap and comments! Helpful as always (:

    Just one little note to add on? Regarding the “fluttering insect that falls out of the tea” accompanying Hyung-do’s realization that he has been caught in a loop, I immediately thought that it was a butterfly. If so, perhaps it can be read as a reference to Chang Tzu’s “Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man” which fits the situation pretty neatly?

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  45. 45 Ennayra

    I like your take on this episode. I swear, this isn’t a drama that lends itself to marathoning.

    Kim Ji-hoon has really grown on me. I first saw him in Stars Falling From the Sky, which was a typical rom-com, but this choices since then have been truly unique. :-)

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    • 45.1 Ennayra

      *his choices

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  46. 46 chickenwing

    Always wanted to watch this since you recapped this years ago. Was really hard to follow the story just based on the recap, but after watching it the pieces sort of fell into place – in very convoluted places.

    Conclusion:
    #1 Javabeans is a genius.
    #2 Javabeans curses in her recap.

    Totally non creepy request:
    I’d love to hear you curse in your podcasts! (Please do not censor your material)

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  47. 47 Pearl~ai88

    Coming back and reading these recaps again after quite a while. I had an epiphany about the ending of the drama and New Land Yoon-yi…. O_O CHILLS

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