Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 7
There’s nothing like locking a couple away in a confined space with peril looming over them to get their issues out on the table. Meanwhile the mystery gets deeper and wider, as we encounter some intriguing consequences of uncovering the Big Bad’s skeletons (and yes I mean that literally). Turns out she’s no small-beans soul-eater, on the hook for a couple of unsolved murders. That was just the beginning.
SONG OF THE DAY
Arang and the Magistrate OST – Baek Ji-young “사랑아 또 사랑아 (My Love Again My Love)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Eun-oh discovers the black talismans that once sealed the mass grave, and starts to lay them out. There are characters he recognizes: North, South, East, West. He arranges them following the cardinal directions, and then wonders if maybe there are more pieces to this puzzle…
He runs through the forest, following northwest, southwest, northeast, and finds these corners marked with talismans hanging on trees. He grabs them one by one and puts them down with the others.
Mom senses a mystical disturbance. She does not look happy.
There’s definitely something powerful going on, because the kings of heaven and hell watch as a little crystal ball begins to crack…
Eun-oh has one more piece left, and heads southeast. He finds the last talisman, hanging from a tree that’s hanging over the edge of a cliff. Uh, I don’t like the look of this. He inches forward, balancing precariously on the trunk of the tree.
The Bangs happen to be on his tail, and the particularly murderous Bang decides that this is the best opportunity—all they need to do is push, and they don’t even get any blood on their hands.
They argue over who should to do the pushing. Shouldn’t the guy with the murderous ideas have to put his money where his mouth is? But somehow, leader Lee Bang draws the short straw or loses at rock-paper-scissors, because he’s creeping up behind Eun-oh with a terrified look.
Eun-oh reaches, and reaches… and Lee Bang closes his eyes and reaches his hands out…
But he can’t even bring himself to make contact, and just stands there reaching out for Eun-oh’s ass. Please fall backward.
Eun-oh inches closer and finally yanks the talisman from its branch… and then loses his balance and goes tumbling down the cliff. Aaaaaaaah!
As the last talisman comes off, Mom’s power wanes and she trembles, doubling over in a pained cry. She looks up at the heavens, “Has it finally begun?”
And up in the clouds, the kings watch as the crystal ball shatters and a light escapes. And inside we see a view of the mass grave. Hm, I wonder what it is. It can’t be their souls, if she ate them…
The Jade Emperor says it’s finally been uncovered. He sends Mu-young to go down and see if there are any traces left, and muses that the baddie will be scrambling now that they’ve uncovered the thing she’s been struggling so hard to keep hidden.
He turns to Hades, “Aren’t humans useful sometimes?” Hades begrudgingly admits that “the child” has some use. I wonder if he means Eun-oh or Arang. Jade Emperor just smirks to himself like the impish god that he is.
Down below, the Bangs rush to Lee Bang’s side to say he did it, and he swears up and down that he didn’t. I love how they’re like, Yes! Exactly! You didn’t do it! *wink wink* And they drag him away, protesting and screaming that he didn’t do it.
Arang’s voice rings through the forest, calling out for the magistrate. And then Mu-young arrives and stops at the edge of the cliff where Eun-oh fell, but he just keeps going. Should I take that as a good sign? You kinda don’t want the grim reaper to be the guy visiting you after a fall like that.
Arang calls out for Eun-oh at the grave, and then jumps to see Mu-young looming behind her. Dude. Can we maybe get him a collar with a bell?
She remembers she needn’t be afraid of him, though it’s clear she still is, and she asks if he’s still following her around, acting annoyed. She starts to remind him about her deal, but he just walks right past her, through the rope, and towards the grave.
She sighs in relief and then continues her search for Eun-oh. Mu-young crouches down and puts his hand on a talisman, and feels something…
He furrows his brow, “Mu-yeon… it can’t be you?” Ooooh, is this the missing sister? Aw poor Mu-young. I hope he doesn’t end up having to hunt his only sister!
Arang calls out for Eun-oh over and over, and gets no response. But she spots something near the tree where he fell…
Joo-wal goes to see Mom (he calls her Wife as does his father, but I find it’s easier to just think of her as Eun-oh’s mom). She points her finger at him and screams in a rage, “YOU! This is all because of you!”
He falls to his knees to beg for forgiveness, and says he killed her, he swears. He checked to make sure she was dead. But he didn’t know she’d come alive again and walk right out. Mom’s eyes grow wide, “What did you say?”
It dawns on her that these events must be connected. She says over and over, “She’s alive? You killed her, and she’s alive…”
Arang peers over the ledge and finds Eun-oh lying on another ledge, halfway down. He’s bloody and unconscious. She scrambles back to the gravesite and starts untying the rope, and calls out to Mu-young for help. I wonder if the grim reaper is capable of saving a life—does that negate his entire existence, or just make him a rebel? But we don’t find out, because he turns his back and walks away.
She races back to the cliff and ties the rope to the tree, and braces herself before rappelling down, mostly with her eyes closed, terrified she’ll fall.
She gets close, but then loses her footing and the rope breaks, sending her careening past Eun-oh’s ledge. Eeeeep!
But suddenly a bloody arm reaches out and catches her. Eun-oh screams from the pain, using his bloodied broken arm to hold her, and has the time to joke, “Are you here to save me or to kill me?” Ha.
He yanks her up with all his strength, and they both collapse in a heap. He says they both could’ve died, and then realizes wait… she can’t die… “Then I almost died alone for nothing!”
She hurriedly ties off his bloody arm, panicked that they have no way of getting out of here. He says there is one way… she could jump off the ledge and she’d die, but then come back to life, and she could go get help. Uh, that’s your big idea?
She looks down at the river far below, then back at Eun-oh, and closes her eyes, getting ready to jump. WUT. She leans forward… and he grabs her, “Are you crazy?”
He tells her it was a joke, but she’s too panicked to see straight. You know your gallows humor is dark if a ghost doesn’t think it’s funny. She asks what they’ll do then. He tells her he’ll think of something after a quick nap, which is a really bad idea…
She screams at him not to lose consciousness and shakes him, but he’s out. She looks around frantically, and then spots a crevice in the rocks behind her.
The Bangs drink to their denial, and Dol-swe comes around looking for Eun-oh. And then of all things, it starts to rain.
Thankfully that crevice turned out to be a tiny opening to a cave, and Arang pulls Eun-oh inside. They’re both covered in blood, and she tries to get him to wake up. She says she’ll be right back and warns, “If you die, you’re dead!”
She crawls through to find a rather large cave inside, and drags him all the way in. They’ve come in out of the rain, but of course it’s freezing in there, and Eun-oh starts to shiver from the cold.
Arang doesn’t know what else to do, so she lies down behind him and puts her arms around him to keep him warm. Aw. He asks what she’s doing and she says he’ll be warmer this way, and then wonders, “Should I have taken off my clothes?”
Rawr? He cracks a smile. Well that got his attention. But she decides, “No, I can’t bring myself to do that!” She asks if this is any warmer.
But he breaks the news to her that she has no warmth—literally, as in her ki has no heat. “Didn’t you know? This isn’t really the time or place to tell you, but you have quite the number of defects.” Ha.
She says that can’t be true of people… which is of course the alarming thing about it. She sits up and put her hands to her face, trying to feel the warmth. She says it feels normal, but he sighs. It must not be a difference she can feel.
It makes her heart sink, and she goes on a quest to find something to burn for a fire. Eun-oh just sighs that it would be better if she sat still, given her proclivity for accidents.
Once she’s alone, she mutters that there’s no such thing as a human without body heat, and says the Jade Emperor wouldn’t have made her so shabbily. And then she adds nervously, “Even though he left something out which makes me not die when I’m killed…. but still! I’m a person!”
She reaches the end of her trail at a big drop into a waterfall, and turns back. Just then, a shadowy figure approaches… Ack! A person? A ghost? It’s a man, and she backs up in fear, but he says he ran into the cave to avoid the rain, and seems harmless.
She brings him to Eun-oh, who asks if it’s still raining out there and the man says it’s really pouring. Arang asks if he has anything to start a fire with, and suddenly the man’s voice changes and he snaps that she’s being annoying. Uh…
He gets up and says he’s always prepared to start a fire. “I don’t like raw livers.” AAAAH! *shivers* Are you a gumiho? Wait, no… what are you?
He smiles, extra-creepy, and says he likes the cooked ones best, and then his other personality comes back and he slaps himself in the face. Uh, you’re crazy AND you eat livers?
He giggles in glee at the luck of chancing upon two livers at once, and Arang backs up, terrified. She asks what he is and he says he doesn’t know either, and backs her up against the wall and demands her liver.
He sniffs her and then licks his chops, “You have a really delicious liver… like a newborn baby’s… how is it possible?”
He opens his mouth, ready to take a bite, and she screams…
And Eun-oh drops the man with one thwack of his own walking stick. Nice. He’s barely standing, but he says he knew something was up when he showed up completely dry despite the rain. He points his finger at Arang, “See, you move and it’s an accident!”
Liver Man murmurs, “Do you know who I am?” Eun-oh says he doesn’t much care, and he can have her liver, but not his. He gathers up all his strength and socks him, and they both go down. He yells at her to run, but she refuses to go alone.
She pulls him up and they make a run for it, and she complains that he offered up her liver. He’s like, you’d just grow a new one! She’s not a starfish. Let’s not test her powers of regeneration with such vital organs.
But Liver Man isn’t down for the count, and comes back, pounding Eun-oh into the ground. He goes down bloody, and then the creepy creature goes for Arang’s delicious liver…
He reaches in, and then trembles in terror, “You’re not… human!” He looks at her closely and says she’s not a ghost either. She head-butts him and screams, “I AM a person!”
He shakes like a leaf and asks what she is, and she insists she’s human. But he gapes, “Are you… perhaps…” His eyes open wide. Omg, what? WHAT?
His fear turns into delight, as he realizes there might be something more valuable to eat than just her liver, and goes in for the kill… and suddenly stops. He turns, and there’s Mu-young. Woot! Are you here to save her?
Liver Man freaks out—what’s a reaper doing down here? How could he know about this place? Mu-young just silently draws his sword.
Arang asks what Crazy’s deal is, while he jabbers cryptically that if she’s really “that” then she’s in for big trouble. Before she can ask more questions, Mu-young slashes him with his sword, making a black cloud seep out.
He then draws him in with his soul-reaping stick, and all that’s left is a heap of clothes. Cool.
She gapes—what was he? He disappeared like a ghost, but he had a body. Mu-young says he was a soul, sealed away for centuries and twisted so that even he didn’t know what he was anymore.
Oh interesting. Is this what happened to all the souls in the mass grave? Maybe she doesn’t eat them, but harnesses their power, and now they’ve been freed?
Arang says she’s never heard of such a thing. How could a soul end up that way? Mu-young: “If you lose yourself, no matter what you are, ghost or not, you become a demon.”
She asks why someone would seal this place, and he says it’s not this place that was sealed. And then he disappears like mist, leaving her shouting after him with all her questions.
She runs over to Eun-oh and shakes him, “Are you dead? Are you dead?” He finally comes to and ekes, “Not… yet.”
Dol-swe waits and waits, and decides he can’t just stand here till the rain stops. He says even if his master dies he’ll die with him (lovable, but not the brightest bulb) and runs out in search of Eun-oh.
Mu-young returns to report to the kings that he found a demon. He calls it a result of the rift in the seal (Did the break literally cause the demon into existence or just free him?) and worries about what else is bound to show up. Count me excited. Yunno, in a creeped-out way.
Hades wonders how the baddie got to be so strong, and worries that perhaps it might even have developed the power to create demons to call forth at will. Whoa.
Jade Emperor says that might be true, but not to worry. “We have that child—our final weapon.” (It could also mean more pointedly, ultimate weapon. Innnnnnteresting.)
At least with the appearance of the Liver Demon, they have his clothes and stick to burn for a fire, and Arang sits with Eun-oh, asking what he would’ve done if she hadn’t found him. She nags that she’ll see how he treats her after saving his life.
He asks how her stab wound is, and she says it’s okay, more concerned with catching the bastard who stabbed her. “You’ll catch him too, right?” He says sure, and they’ll start with catching the guy who killed Seo-rim.
She lies down next to him and asks what he thinks it means, that when you lose yourself you become a demon. She figures he thinks all spirits are the same, evil or not. But she says there’s a big difference between ghosts and evil liver-eating spirits.
She swears that she’ll go to hell if she has to, but she’ll never become one of those. She rethinks it—she won’t go to hell or become a demon at all, and then finds that he’s already asleep.
She watches him sleep, remembering their first night together, and can’t help but smile. She says goodnight.
But then she asks one more thing—did Seo-rim’s fiancé come to her funeral? She was so frantic that she didn’t check, but she guesses that he must’ve. She sighs, wondering why she didn’t appear before him instead of Eun-oh, because then she wouldn’t be suffering like this.
“Good night. Don’t die!” Why so cute?
She wakes in the morning all alone and screams for Eun-oh. He comes hobbling out from one side of the cave, and says they need to find a way out. She says she’ll look that way, and he says sure, “but that side’s starting to collapse…”
The cave literally starts to cave in, and they end up back out on the ledge where they started. They argue about where to go from here, when a rope suddenly appears. It’s Dol-swe!
He sighs in relief that he found Eun-oh after searching all night, and then makes sure to scowl at Arang. Ha. Eun-oh tells her to climb up first, but Dol-swe actually yanks the rope back up, insisting that he will not let her go first. Pffft.
So Eun-oh goes up and then it’s Arang’s turn, and he keeps saying jinxy things like the ledge might collapse along with the cave, or that the rope might break…
But the rope is actually fraying with every pull, and I’m with Arang—stop jinxing it!
As he pulls her up with all his strength, still bleeding from his arm, he says that if the rope does break and she happens to fall, to just take a deep breath and it’ll be over in an instant. Eeep, stop saying it! But of course, because he friggin’ jinxed it, the rope snaps, and she falls.
Aaaaack, the fall makes my stomach lurch. He screams, “ARAAAAAAAANG!” as she falls backward all the way down…
And lands on a rock. She dies instantly, and then her body falls into the river. Eun-oh frantically gets up and starts running to her… and then collapses. Noooo! This is not the time to faint!
Mu-young reports the latest, and Hades asks angrily why the cave collapsed. Mu-young says it must’ve been the seal break, and all the escaping energy. Jade Emperor asks if he found any trace of the one they’re looking for, but nothing yet.
He says she’ll have to show herself eventually. (I’m adding the gender because I’m assuming they’re talking about Mom, but they don’t specify at all, so it’s possible they mean someone or something else.) Hades gets impatient. He blames Jade Emperor for breaking the rules in the first place: “I said we should throw her in hell!”
Hm, did Mom get a free pass from the Jade Emperor once upon a time? This must be why he apologized for his part in all this, if it was his mercy that led to centuries of mayhem.
Hades reinforces his stance, that they follow rules for a reason. Jade Emperor says that the grave has been uncovered, and Arang’s identity known, so she’ll be targeted next. Hades tsk-tsks his brother’s concern over mortals, and says at least it’ll mean fewer needless deaths for the time being.
Joo-wal is still kneeling before Mom, in the same position all night and day. She finally smiles and says that they’ll have to keep Arang alive: “Keep her close.”
Okay, that’s creepier. I’d rather you guys just try to kill her. She tells him to keep Arang and the magistrate alive for now, and to find out what it is she wants most. Joo-wal doesn’t understand why.
She lifts the veil and motions for him to come close. He sits in front of her, shaking, and she caresses his face, “Did it hurt a lot?” So. Creepy. It’s so much worse when you’re being nice and momlike!
She leans in close and whispers in his ear, “No matter what anyone says, you are the most precious thing I have, my son.” Dude, she is so playing him like a fiddle. I mean, obviously, he fears her, but she lures him with what he really wants—love. So wrong. So, so very wrong.
She sends him away with his new task, and then goes down into her secret underground lair. Another creepy altar, this one with two jars. She caresses them and says the time has come for them to come out—she doesn’t trust humans, and “You’re the only ones who can protect me.”
She releases the black demon energy… and two reapers appear before her. Wait, were they reapers you trapped, or reapers you made? And can she do that?
She tells them that she was worried when her seal broke, but then she discovered Arang. “I knew that something like her might exist…” she relishes the thought of having her, and never needing a disgusting human being ever again.
Oh my gaaaaaah. YOU SENT ARANG DOWN AS BAIT?! You mean old fogey! Is that what she is?
Lord Choi finally wakes up feeling better, and his servant comes back after doing his background check on Eun-oh. So, is he the powerful Lord Kim’s son, as they say?
The news makes Lord Choi happy: Eun-oh isn’t a legitimate son, but the son of a concubine, a slave woman who was the daughter of a traitor no less. But Lord Kim hides this fact for reasons unknown, and lets people believe he’s a legitimate son.
What’s more is that he found Eun-oh’s reason for coming to Miryang. But Lord Choi doesn’t even let him finish because he’s cackling at Eun-oh’s illegitimacy and hatching a plan. He tells him to gather up some strong men.
Joo-wal goes looking for the magistrate, but the Bangs tell him he’s dead. He asks about the girl and they realize they haven’t seen her either. Things aren’t looking up for you.
But then Dol-swe bursts in with a bloody Eun-oh on his back, and the Bangs gaaaaasp. Is he… alive? Dol-swe yells at them to send someone down to the river too, because Arang fell.
We see her body wash ashore, and the bones in her broken arm reset themselves. *shudder*
The Bangs continue their round of I didn’t kill him! and Yes! Keep saying that! Their faces fall at the news from the doctor: Eun-oh lost a lot of blood, but he’ll be okay.
Dol-swe wails and wails by master’s bedside, and Eun-oh wakes long enough to gasp, “A…rang!” But Dol-swe just collapses on his chest like a puddle, crying that he’s right here.
Thankfully Joo-wal has a reason to find Arang and keep her alive, and goes searching for her.
He finds her lying on the riverbank, and approaches warily, remembering the way her corpse looked after he stabbed her.
He checks and she’s breathing. He looks up at the cliff—how could she be alive?
He holds her up, and she comes to. She recognizes him and wonders if he’s real, touching his face to see. It feels warm and she says he must be real. “Not a dream.”
She asks how he found her and he says he just happened by. She thanks him and gets up to go. She falters and he runs to catch her, and she says she’s okay and keeps going.
He runs after her and scoops her up in his arms and carries her to his horse. Omo. Is the bad guy allowed to be this swoony? So confusing!
As they ride away she leans back and falls asleep on his shoulder. Eerily like when you killed her and rode off with her corpse…
Eun-oh finally wakes up. Hurry! The black knight is white-knighting your girl!
And the love triangle begins. But what a great triangle—’cause one of them is a freaking murderer! Talk about adding a twist to a common trope. Why have a daddy long legs sap as a second lead when you can have a minion of even-the-gods-don’t-know-what? Hellspawn is definitely way more exciting as romantic competition. Even though… I guess technically… Eun-oh is her actual spawn… eeep! But playing the triangle for the life-and-death tension is far more interesting and adds a great layer to every interaction. I’m looking forward to Arang swooning over Joo-wal, making Eun-oh jealous, and then Eun-oh getting to say his big I told you so! when Joo-wal tries to kill her again. It’s suspense AND comedy! I love it.
I guess Mom isn’t exactly your average demon, soul-sucker, or shaman on a power binge, because if she can create evil… that’s another realm entirely. I guess they’re taking her Mother of All metaphor all the way. I’m curious to know how this demon business works, because you’d think that Hades would have a better grip on the evil spirits in the world. But she’s sort of trapping souls that ought to move on and letting them fester and twist, until they lose themselves and become something unrecognizable. So were her two jar-reapers once agents of Mu-young who got trapped and festered for centuries? Because reapers are scary enough as they are, but two crazy ones? And I’m worried for Mu-young; if Mom turns out to be his sister, then what?
It’s seeming more and more that whatever they made Arang into was purposefully something that Mom would covet—either as a source of life, power, or both. I’m curious to know if “that child” the kings keep talking about is really Arang (and she has some sort of supernatural power she has yet to uncover), or if they’re actually talking about Eun-oh. We have yet to have any direct reference to Eun-oh from them, but if he really is Mom’s bloodline, they must know who he is. Is Arang the key as we’ve been led to believe, or is it actually Eun-oh? I assumed it was Arang, until Eun-oh broke the seal that ended up being a giant supernatural dam that unleashed a horde of unknown demonic beings. (I guess that’s the upside-downside: you weaken the Big Bad, but you unleash hell on earth as a side effect.) But the interesting thing is that Eun-oh was the agent of that change… so is he the weapon?
I do like the clever reason to unleash a panoply of odd creatures into their world, which means loads of fun and interesting bad guys for them to fight, and hopefully each of them brings another piece of the puzzle along with them. So far we know that Arang’s got organs like a newborn and lacks body heat, even though she feels human. And her ability to regenerate (besides creeping me out on a regular basis) suddenly makes her Target Number One. Damn, can’t a girl just enjoy her humanness for like a day? She breaks my heart every time she insists that she’s a person, because she screams it louder as she believes it less. What’s great about her conflict is that the circumstances are crazy and outlandish, but her angst is so simple and primal. She just wants to be alive. What simpler thing could anyone ask for in this world?