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Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 20 (Final)

It’s time to say goodbye, and the finale of Arang and the Magistrate ties up our ends in a nicely complete way. Truths are uncovered, tears are shed, and things come full circle to give us just the right dose of closure while keeping the door open for our future.

SONG OF THE DAY

10cm – “이제.여기서.그만” (Now. From here. Enough) [ Download ]

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FINAL EPISODE RECAP

Ejected from the body of Eun-oh’s mother, Mu-yeon runs straight for Arang. But Arang screams, “NO!” and by virtue of her rejection, Mu-yeon gets thrown back like there’s a force field around Arang. In a way there is, because the host body must be willing.

Mu-young grabs Mu-yeon, who struggles to break free and begs him to help her. He says with a pained expression, “I’m sorry to have left you to suffer for so long.” How fitting that he sees her mode of existing as suffering, while she’s desperate to cling to it as a mode of living.

She starts to shake her head no in panic, especially as he adds, “Let’s go together.”

Mu-young pulls her to him tightly and says, “Let’s cut our ties now.” He plunges the Jade Emperor’s dagger into her back, and her body vanishes into smoke.

He’s left holding air… and then stoically sticks the dagger into his own gut. Wow. I’m impressed.

Arang watches in horror and recalls the conversation when she’d asked him whether reapers died. He’d replied, “We don’t die. We just disappear.”

Then Mu-young turns into smoke too.

Joo-wal comes by to witness the rest of the scene, though nobody pays him any heed. Sobbing, Eun-oh holds his mother’s limp body, and the hairpin vanishes from her chest.

Mom’s not dead yet, and he runs carrying her on his back, urging her to hang on a bit longer. She gasps out his name, though, asking to be put down. They both known the end is nigh and Eun-oh cries, “I’m sorry.”

But Mom looks more at peace than she ever has and tells him, “Thank you.”

Mom turns to Arang and gives her a nod, which Arang returns; it rather feels like a father giving away a bride to her groom. Then Mom closes her eyes and dies.

Joo-wal walks numbly, telling himself, “She’s dead. What do I do now?” Such a strange thing, to be finally out from under her thumb. I wonder whether he’ll be liberated by his freedom, or strangled by it. I… am not hopeful.

A new memory surfaces: He sees himself carrying Seo-rim’s dead body—and throwing it off a cliff. Whoa. It’s a pretty chilling image, and it devastates him anew. He trembles and says, “Till the last, I threw you away so terribly and didn’t know. Saying that I didn’t know may not earn me forgiveness, but I truly did not know. How many more memories will come back to me? I’m frightened. How am I to live on?”

Gah! You poor, pititful man. I really hope he doesn’t decide he can’t live on, and not just because I don’t want to see him die. I think it shows more strength and remorse to keep living, bearing the burden of his crimes. Alas, we know strength of character is not his forte.

Up in heaven, Hades tsks-tsks that Mu-young ended up saving Mu-yeon after all. Jade Emperor says that it’s a shame that negating one’s existence is an act of salvation. I suppose it’s because that also negates the weight of her sins? Is this the math version of soul-saving, where zero value is better than negative value?

But he adds, “Mu-yeon might have preferred hellfire. Don’t you remember? She hated the tedium of heaven, where she wasn’t allowed any desire. So she would probably have preferred to endure in hell, holding on to pain and feeling.”

Hades muses, “Then negating her existence may be the cruelest punishment.”

Jade says that at least his human came through in the end, though Hades chuckles that their bet is not over yet, and that Arang won’t be able to solve this problem: “So get that body ready to swap.” Heh.

Eun-oh and Arang pay their respects to Mom’s grave. She notes that the Truth Bell hasn’t rung yet, indicating that the truth of her death wasn’t Mom. Still, she thinks to herself that it’s okay going to hell even without finding out that truth, “because I’d have to go to hell in order to remember him.” Now that’s what I call the lesser of two evils.

Eun-oh tells her that Mu-young tipped him off on a way to find that truth. In flashback, Mu-young instructs him to take a look at the record book of life and death, which should list the true culprit. So… the gods knew all along? Was this just some big wild goose chase for the poor dead girl?

A living person’s records are up in heaven, but the dead’s records are kept in a library in the forest of the afterworld.

The catch is, Arang can’t travel the path to the otherworld until her allotted days are up. Literally, she won’t be allowed near it. So, Eun-oh decides, “I’ll go.” Say what? You mean… you’ll find a way to go while remaining alive and human, right? You’re not entertaining some insane death wish, are you?

Arang balks for the same reason, telling him he’d have to die to get there. Eun-oh starts to argue that Mu-young told him a way to go without dying (phew!), but she cuts him off to tell him to forget it. “I don’t have to go to heaven.” She corrects herself: “No, I don’t want to go.”

Eun-oh’s surprised. What can that mean? We know it’s because she doesn’t want to go to heaven and forget, but who else is getting ideas of a perverse drama where Arang becomes Mu-yeon 2.0? It’s almost funny.

Arang leaves first and trudges through town glumly, telling herself, “Even if I go to hell, I want to remember him.” Oh, honey. I feel for you, I do. But sometimes I wonder whether god gave you extra guts to make up for your brain.

Eun-oh asks Bang-wool if there’s a way to pull his spirit from his body (short of death), so it can go to the Afterlife Forest. There is, but a separate problem exists: He doesn’t know the way. The reaper is the one to guide the souls there, and as we know, he just lost his only reaper contact.

Bang-wool suggests he ask Arang because she’s traveled that path before, but Eun-oh tells her about Arang’s temporary restraining order from the area. So Bang-wool offers up a theory that he might be able to take just Arang’s consciousness along for the ride, to guide his spirit.

Eun-oh tries to persuade Arang to comply with the plan, because it’s dumb sitting here waiting for hell just so she won’t forget him. “You’re somebody who can go to heaven and find a way to remember.” Yes, thank you.
He urges, “Think it over carefully, why you came here.” He asks her to go with him and win her future in heaven; they can figure out the rest when they get there.

Arang thinks back to the day she’d asked Seo-rim’s newly discovered body why she’d just died like a victim instead of fighting. She’d vowed to find out who did this to her—words that ring in her ears now.

Meanwhile, it’s time for Eun-oh to honor his deal with his ghost crew, which I find so cute. He hears them out and gets to work.

Ghost No. 1 left behind a pregnant wife who hasn’t been able to properly name the baby without him. He asks Eun-oh to let him give the child a prosperous name.

Ghost No. 2 drowned, and his corpse was never recovered. Ghost No. 3 worries for his elderly mother, who still waits for his return; he was mauled by a tiger while fetching persimmons for her.

Eun-oh listens to these grievances with sympathy, then turns to Ghost No. 4, who bursts out, “Please marry me off!” Pwahaha.

One by one, Eun-oh takes care of the ghosts. A name is selected, a tombstone is erected for the corpseless man, Mom is given her persimmons and informed of her son’s fate, and Bachelor Ghost… is married off to another ghost? That’s so cute, and strange.

It’s a light-hearted sequence, but still quite moving to see the ghosts beaming at him, souls finally at peace, as they fade away to the beyond.

Eun-oh thinks to himself, “I have done everything I can in this place.” Please tell me you mean this place Miryang, and not this place earth. If you kill yourself out of nobility, imma kill you, I swear!

Eun-oh and Arang take a walk along the river’s edge, where she says ruefully that once she’s gone, time will continue on. Eun-oh replies, “I hated to hear the saying that time is faster than an arrow, above all else. Because difficult times always passed by so slowly. But as I’m with you now, indifferent time keeps going, and I resent it.”

Arang thinks to herself, “Where a flower once bloomed, a flower will bloom again. Where the wind blew, a different wind will blow again. But I will hold onto that feeling forever. Even though if I go to heaven I will forget you, and if I go to hell you will forget me. Even though wherever we are, we will not know each other.”

Eun-oh thinks, “With this heart, I will find you. If a man passes by you and stops, and tears form and your heart races—recognize that it’s me.” He says aloud, “Arang, I love you.” They kiss.

In the dark, Joo-wal gets dressed, then blows out his candle. Uh-oh. This seems ominous. He heads outside, just as his faithful servant watches him go. The man says, “Young master, please be healthy.”

Joo-wal heads into the forest, telling himself, “Days were black even when I opened my eyes. Time stopped even though I lived. These cowardly steps that I took with a fearful heart, I will now end. The me who could stick a dagger in people’s chests and remain unmoved, I cannot forgive.”

Joo-wal arrives at the cliff from which he threw Seo-rim’s body. He stands there for a long moment, thinking of Arang, of Seo-rim. Oh, this is so sad.

Joo-wal: “If ever we meet again, if that life permits, I will just stay behind you. From afar, as a black shadow, just looking, just hurting. I will not dare… to love you.”

He closes his eyes, and falls.

The next day, Eun-oh speaks with an air of finality to Dol-swe and the Bangs, thanking them for looking after him and asking them to keep up their hard work in the future. They ask why he’s talking like a person about to leave, and he answers that he must, having done all he can do here.

His last act as magistrate is to post a notice in town stating that there is a royal order not to hold one’s status against a person serving the government. Those who serve the citizens well will be promoted. He gives the citizens the power to elect their magistrate.

Dol-swe leads Bang-wool through the village, urging her to stand beside him rather than trailing meekly behind, which is enough to make me love him (though I already do). He grabs her hand, which practically gives her a heart attack, but he doesn’t care if people see and intertwines their fingers for good measure.

Bang-wool softens, and says shyly that it’s amazing that the road she walked a thousand times now looks different because they’re walking it together. Dol-swe totally misses the comment but he does earn points for taking her to a street artist to have their pictures drawn.

Then Dol-swe pulls her over to a table of jewelry and asks what she likes. She says she’s not much for accessorizing, but gives a jade ring a longing glance. Oho, are we going jade to suggest marriage?

That night they puzzle over their portraits, wondering if that’s really what they look like. She tells him that his macho aura is spot-on, while he tells her, “You’re like a great big moon.” Which makes her wonder dubiously, “Well, it sounds like praise…” Ha.

Dol-swe presents her with the jade ring and places it on her finger, which it’s a perfect fit—he was taking note when he held her hand. Then he pulls out a second ring and holds it out for her to return the gesture.

She slides it on his finger, and he takes her hand to say, “Till now, I’ve lived thinking that being a man was all about being strong. But I found that’s not so. An ordinary man uses his strength for a woman, but a real man uses his heart for a woman. Will you accept my heart?”

Aw, that’s so sweet! You big lug. She tells him he can’t take his heart back, and they hug.

On to the Forest of the Afterlife. Eun-oh and Arang lie down while Bang-wool ties their wrists together with red string, and I’m gonna be honest, this is not how I envisioned them being tied up in bed. But okay, I suppose they’ve got more important concerns at the moment. Bang-wool explains that this way they’ll stay together in the forest, and she’s attached bells to alert them to come back.

She warns that they must leave the forest before the break of dawn—otherwise Eun-oh dies. Also, they may be tempted by visions, but must resist: “Just look straight ahead and run on.” Is anybody else having second thoughts about this plan?

Bang-wool begins the rites, and they open their eyes to find themselves in the forest. Arang leads the way and sure enough, the path is lined with dull-eyed ghosts reaching out to them. Eun-oh shakes them off and presses onward, until Arang spots a familiar face—Seo-rim’s dead servant. The old woman tells her to come with her (“I’ll take you, there’s something I must show you”) and Arang starts to follow.

Thankfully Eun-oh isn’t affected, but Arang follows the woman anyway, arriving at a scene from Seo-rim’s childhood: her mother’s death. This is a mental journey rather than a physical transportation, and Eun-oh shakes Arang awake in the forest, wiping her tears and urging her to get a hold of her mind.

On they go, until they arrive at a building in the woods, where a warrior stands guard with a huge scythe. Eun-oh asks to see the Book of Life and Death and is told he’s the first living person to ask to see the record of a dead person.

Eun-oh says that he has his reasons and asks to be let inside. The guard warns him that once he enters, he has a time limit—and if he fails to find his answer, he will be unable to return to his life. Eun-oh answers that he’s prepared for that possibility. In he goes, leaving Arang behind in the courtyard.

It looks like a tall order, because it’s a large library with stacks upon stacks of books. However, he doesn’t have carte blanche to look at everything; he can only seek one answer here. The guard instructs, “In your heart, ask yourself what it is you wish to know. Then the Book of Life and Death will answer you.” His time will be marked by the red dots that have appeared on his hand: He has until the last one disappears.

Eun-oh gets to work locating Arang’s records. Already he’s lost two of the five dots. He closes his eyes and chants to himself, “I will find it. I can find it.”

Something comes to him, and he heads in a particular direction. He locates Arang’s book, and starts flipping through it, all while repeating his request: Who killed Arang?

A page wipes itself, then the answer appears. Eun-oh: “The one to kill Arang… was Arang herself?”

Stunned, Eun-oh puts the book back and starts to leave… and sees another book right next to it. Kim…Eun…Oh?

He opens it and reads, “I died at six years old.” A flashback comes to him:

The Jade Emperor carries Eun-oh’s six-year-old body and tells him that he leaves him a debt, and his time is not his own. One day he would remember this.

Eun-oh wonders why the Jade Emperor brought him back to life. If he does not own his own time, then who does? He bellows up toward the sky, “JADE EMPEROR!” I’ve got a few choice epithets to add to that.

Suddenly, he’s somewhere else. Gasping, Eun-oh opens his eyes… to find the gods awaiting him in heaven’s garden. Jade Emperor speaks: “Speak up, Kim Eun-oh. What is it you want?”

Eun-oh asks why he was saved, and Jade replies, “You were the human I needed.” Eun-oh asks if he was the tool to capture the fairy, and gets back, “Yes, but not only for that.”

Glowering fiercely, Eun-oh informs him, “Know this: You may have started this plan, but the one to finish things was my own will. Plunging the hairpin into my mother’s chest was my choice!”

Eun-oh tells Jade what he’s discovered, that Arang was the cause of her own death, but as she is immortal the bell cannot ring. Hades chuckles: “That’s why I said she could never solve this problem.” Aw, so did you sadistic old fogeys purposely give her an impossible task? This is why we mere mortals have laws against entrapment.

Eun-oh is furious, accusing them of sending Arang on an impossible mission and cackling to themselves as they watched from their heavenly perches: “If this is your game, at the very least you should have given her a problem that could be solved! Shouldn’t gods be fair?”

Hades says that he’s relatively fair himself, but this other guy “is rather wishy-washy.” I’LL SAY.

Mr. Wishy-washy tells him, “From the start, Arang did not come here in order to go to heaven. She came to know her truth, and to know who she was. Thus I allowed her to know what she wished to know. If Arang were to realize on her own what you have found out, she will have been rewarded. The matter of heaven and hell comes after that. Now tell me, Kim Eun-oh. What is the real reason you have come here?”

I suppose god-maiming is off the menu? Next thing we know, Eun-oh is bursting out of the library to rejoin Arang in the courtyard. He grabs her hand and starts running back through the forest.

In the real world, Bang-wool frantically rings her bell and begs them to hurry back. But Arang trips and falls, and Eun-oh turns back to find she’s gone. Arang wakes up. Eun-oh remains asleep.

Arang pleads at him to wake up… as her body flickers and vanishes. Arang reawakens outside, in front of a gaping black vortex. The door to hell.

It starts to draw her in, all the while she looks back at the house and begs Eun-oh to wake up: “Tell me that you’re alive. Tell me you’re okay. Magistrate, be well. I’m the reason you can’t wake up.”

As she stares into the abyss, being pulled in, Arang realizes, “Everything was my fault. The one who caused my death was myself. That’s why you didn’t tell me, because I cannot die and am meant to go to hell in the end.”

Eun-oh’s eyes open, thank god. He bursts outside and runs for Arang, darting in front… getting drawn into hell instead…

A flashback shows us how Eun-oh had named his request: Since he caught their rogue fairy for them, he wants Arang’s bell to ring. Jade asked what he’d do in exchange, and Eun-oh replied, “I will give up my life.”

Only, Hades had said a life wasn’t enough: Could he go to hell in her place?

Now Eun-oh looks back at Arang as he’s pulled into hell, hand outstretched. Arang screams for him… the vortex closes… and a bell rings.

Arang sobs, and her body vanishes.

We reopen some time in the unspecified future. Dol-swe is dressed in the magistrate’s robes and assured by a happy Bang Trio that everything here is safe and sound, thanks to him.

Bang-wool gives a taste of her pork-and-kimchi wrap to a tavern mistress, who declares that they should go into business together. Soon they’re drawing crowds and raking in the compliments.

She hasn’t forgotten her roots and takes a few plates out to the ghosts in the yard (with Lord Choi in the mix, HA). What’s even better is that in the ensuing fight, Lord Choi’s minion gets it. Lord Choi balks but the minion is all, “So, whatchoo gonna do about it?”

But! All’s not lost for our main characters, as we find when Hades tut-tuts to Jade Emperor about Eun-oh’s whereabouts. He was going to offer Eun-oh a place in heaven for his sacrifice, but Eun-oh insisted on returning to the living world. He wonders why humans are so intent on living there, and Jade replies, “That’s why they’re humans.”

Hades is bummed at the close call, too, saying he really thought he’d get Jade’s body. To make up for that disappointment, Jade offers a gift, and calls out, “Mu-young!”

Pan to: a white goat. Aw, so he didn’t disappear from all existence after all? True, he has to live as a goat, but hey, he’s a heavenly goat. Hades chuckles that this is the best thing Jade Emperor has ever done. Jade says that it IS breaking the rules, but he couldn’t resist since Hades seemed to miss Mu-young so much. So he reincarnated him. Ha, and also, let’s hope Jade doesn’t set off a whole new chain of misfortune with his well-intentioned rule-breaking.

Hades figures that living out his days in heaven is adequate punishment for Mu-young being unable to cut his human ties properly, and declares, “I’ll have to visit often.”

There’s a new crop of reapers to replace Mu-young… and one of them is Joo-wal. Awwwwww.

Back to earth. In a field, a little boy comes up to a little girl in a field of flowers. Omo. Is this… what I think it is?

A voice calls out, “Eun-oh-ya!” It’s Bang-wool, his mother.

Eun-oh ducks out of sight and tells the girl she looks familiar. The boy’s a little player in the making, saying that he’s met loooooots of young ladies in his life (all five years of it?), but she’s the prettiest.

He asks her name, and she says, “I’m Arang.”

Then the girl bursts out, “Look here, magistrate! I told you not to drink from that well of forgetfulness! Did you drink it? *SIGH* This is too much. What are you gonna do?! What good is it if I’m the only one who remembers, HUH? Can you really not remember? Really? AHHH what do we do, you AMNESIA?”

Arang heaves an adorable sigh of long-suffering and starts her story about a long, long time ago when there was a ghost named Arang and a magistrate named Eun-oh… Her frustration is freaking hilarious, and uncanny.

The picture blurs, giving us a version with adult Arang and Eun-oh. She rants in frustration while Eun-oh stares at her, wearing a smile on his face that seems reassuring. You’re faking this, right? You’d better be faking!

Arang beats him on the arm in exasperation and reminds him he wasn’t supposed to drink, and he finally speaks up, “I know!”

He says, “In any case, for us, what’s most important is this moment right now.”

She smiles, and plants a kiss on him.

 
JAVABEANS’ COMMENTS

Ahhh, what a cute, heartfelt ending. The concept itself is a tricky one to pull off, because if conveyed clumsily I could see this being a real disappointment of a resolution—you create a world and a problem, then pull the plug on the whole situation and just reincarnate them? Sounds like a cop-out, right?

But this is a drama where life/afterlife/rebirth is a central conceit, so I have no issues whatsoever with this answer. I’m perfectly satisfied with it, and I think it directly addresses two major issues I had with two recent dramas, Rooftop Prince and Big. In the first instance, I thought our ending was lopsided, making me feel sorry for one-half of the pairing and less so for the other. And in Big, we also dealt with an ending image that wasn’t technically representative of the reality of the situation—that is, refusing to show us the characters as they really were, choosing instead to end on the illusion.

Arang and the Magistrate, on the other hand, completely works for me. The reincarnation is exactly what I would’ve wanted for Rooftop—they both missed their chances, so they both get new ones together—but in keeping personalities intact, I don’t get the letdown of thinking they have to start all over from scratch. It’s not as vague an ending as hinting that they’ll end up together because they’re Fated To Be, which is a solution that would have driven me nuts.

Instead, I really love this idea that these two earned their next lifetime together, and the fact that they retain their memories and meet as children. Because both lived fairly heartbreaking lives in their previous existences, and this way I get the assurance of knowing they would enjoy every single last minute together of the new ones. These kids get to have their cake and eat it too, starting off already in love and appreciative of it. They get to skip all the heartache they endured in the previous life, and ostensibly starting an ordinary, boring, and long life together. I guess that’s what happens when the great big god in the sky owes you a solid; you get lots of cake-eating.

I also love how the drama highlights that Eun-oh had autonomy, the whole way through. Yes, the Jade Emperor pretty much predicted everything that was going to happen, and he stepped in enough times to steer the situation into being. But he didn’t have the power to force anybody to comply, and Eun-oh still had to prove he was up to his burden.

It’s interesting that Arang and Mu-yeon are once again shown to be of similar mind in the way they both regard hell—that pain and suffering is better than nullity. Maybe that’s a lesson Jade could learn from, because one wonders what kind of place heaven really is if you don’t feel that conviction of emotion.

Joo-wal’s ending was a nice touch that took away that trace of disappointment at his suicide, even though I was in no way surprised he made that choice. All along I’ve felt very moved by his character—never supporting his decisions, but still understanding them. That character was really bolstered by Yeon Woo-jin’s affecting portrayal, because he drove home the desperation and vulnerability at every turn. I find Joo-wal to be pathetic and weak, but not unsympathetic. So even though his new incarnation as reaper is rather grim (hur hur), it eases my mind a bit knowing that he does get another existence. It’s not necessarily a bright future, but he will serve the gods whose rules he defied and have to do his penance in a way he can bear. Perhaps it’s also assuring to feel, as the drama tells us, that a continued existence of any kind is more comforting than just vanishing into the void. Perhaps that’s the best gift for his character.

All in all, the drama showed that it had its story and world well plotted in advance, which is a pretty effective argument against the live-shoot in my book. I’m sure there were aspects that were written as the show went along, but you don’t create this kind of intricate world with expansive rules and sprawling mythology on the fly.

I loved Shin Mina and Lee Jun-ki’s chemistry together, both in the cute romantic scenes and the more melo turns, and it’s thanks to their connection that I felt the pathos of their characters’ situation. I did miss the early comedy, but they sold the emotion so much that in the end it was just all about them earning their happy ending.

 
GIRLFRIDAY’S COMMENTS

Awww. Yay for an adorable ending. In any other show, I might have hated having the couple reunite in an afterlife (and was dissatisfied with the mixing of the two in Rooftop Prince, for example). But in this drama where life and afterlife, and the destinies of two lovers carrying on for multiple lifetimes is built into the universe, and both of them are reborn to get a fresh new start, it’s a nice satisfying conclusion to the story. And how much do I love that Dol-swe and Bang-wool named their son Eun-oh, and he’s actually Eun-oh reborn? So. Cute.

The thing I was most concerned about was the issue of memory, so I’m glad that it was the primary concern for Arang as well. That felt right to me, that she’d consider going to hell just to remember him. The well of forgetfulness (and Eun-oh being called Amnesia this time, heh) was a nice touch, but I also would’ve loved to see them fight to come back rather than just be told about it later. Mostly I’m happier that we end the series with the feistier Arang who started the show, because she spent a good long while making so many self-sacrificing choices that she began to lose her spark. It’s probably my biggest complaint about the late stretch of the show, because at some point, plot-wise, it began to feel like we were just biding time until the end.

It would’ve been nice if the ending had something a little more mind-blowing, like Eun-oh finding a loophole that completely turned heaven’s rules upside-down, or Arang discovering a secret that changed everything we thought we knew. This ending felt in tune with the series and the world they set up, but didn’t rock my world or make me go Ooooh, I never would’ve come up with that! That’s what I want to feel at the end of a fantasy mystery, so while the ending was satisfying (on the emotional front), it wasn’t totally awe-inspiring (on the story front).

Overall I did thoroughly enjoy this show from start to finish, because it really did feel like thought and care was put into the construction of an entire world, where mythology and rules were important (because they certainly are to me). And visually, I’m a big fan of this director. I did see a huge gap in quality between the earlier episodes and when the show began to catch up and shoot live, so I think it’s a show that benefits massively from the extra edit/CG pass, but it was certainly a show that cared to tell its story visually, which makes me a fan.

I thought the contemplative goodbyes in voiceover for each of our main characters was a nice touch, and reinforced the life-affirming, cyclical nature of everything in this world. I’ve always had a soft spot for the epic romances that span multiple lifetimes, but they can be tricky to pull off in a satisfying way. It might’ve worked even better for me if they had crossed paths again as adults, but I do enjoy the humor in having a pair of kids meet with their adult personalities and memories. The chemistry between the leads was so good that it actually transfers onto the little kids, because you can see their characteristics so clearly. I think at the end of the day that’s what made the show so compelling—the world was populated with rich, distinct characters, and they had a sparkling kind of chemistry. It was nice to come along for a ride with a planned story from start to finish, and a really successful balance of humor, action, mystery, suspense, fantasy, and romance. It’s not often genre shows can manage to do all that, with so much heart to boot. And I’m not even mad at the moon anymore.

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Yep, it's here! :) Thanks for recaps.

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I have to say, the ending was almost a close call for Arang to remember it was her who cost her own death. I'm glad they found eachother again.

I love the little girl. LOL She is sooo cute and how she rant her frustration out to Sato. ^^ Adorable! :)

Overall, I liked the ending but it didn't go out with a bang that will have me remember it. It was just like, oooh, okay. The end. Could have been worst so I'm not going to complain. :p

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Eun-oh ya ...what a little player, I love love love him. Could he be the playerest player that ever played lol. Little Arang.....sooooo cute cute cute. I want to adopt her. These 2 were my favorite <3.

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Yah Little Arang had shin Min ah's mannerisms and speech down to a T... hehehehe SO ADORABLE!!

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Little Arang so cute!

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simply adorable!

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I know, I could actually hear SMA's voice as Arang saying those exact same words, it was a great choice of child casting. Especially when she throws the old nickname right back at him ^_^

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Both are cute.

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Well, I think Kim Boong Do is still the playerest player who ever played...

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His kid version lol.

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I'm confused, the bell rings if she will find out who killed her. But in the previous ep, it was EO's mother who stabbed her, Jowal , throw her off the cliff and then she SURVIVES????, I mean Jowal jump off on the same cliff and he died and became a grim reaper. So i can't think
of a scenario of how she killed herself, you mean COST /CAUSE, so that's suicide when she put herself on the daggers way to Jowal. hmmmm...
and speaking of JOWAL, why did he become a grim reaper and be in heaven, I thought if you commit suicide just like Lee-Seo-Rim, you are definitely destined to be in hell. So grim reapers are actually souls destined to hell and they got the assignment to be grim reapers and be in heaven sometimes. hmmmm, I'm skeptical!

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You have to look at how she died the first time. How she died when she jumped in front of "mom" who stabbed her. Mom was not attempting to stab her. She jumped in front of the moving knife to save Joowal. So she caused her own death.

When Joowal threw her over the cliff, she was already a former ghost and could not die so that is why she didn't die that time. After her first death, her "real" death, he hid her body in the barn where they found it.

The bell would only ring if she killed the person who killed her which was herself which is why it wouldn't work.

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You did get it, yes, the migrates mother is the one who killed her but it's not her intention, it was arang who shield her body for Joo Wal that's why she is the one who is responsible for her own death.

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You did not get it, yes, the migrates mother is the one who killed her but it’s not her intention, it was arang who shield her body for Joo Wal that’s why she is the one who is responsible for her own death.

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JB and GF, thank you for the recaps. Thanks to those commenting. Another drama has ended but life goes on.

CV, I have to agree with you. It didn't end with a bang but it didn't disappoint me. I was not left frustrated, wondering why I spent 20+ hours staring at my computer screen, watching actors go through the motions while the writer/PD was not invested in rewarding the audience for their devotion. The characters were fun and the plot was interesting. The actors were superb. They kept pulling me back when I wanted out. Plus, I'm a sucker of Shin Mina's dimples.

About Jo-Wal. I felt it would have been better had he lived helping other orphans like himself, repenting for his sins. But becoming a Reaper was good because those memories would have ripped him apart sooner or later. This way he forgets and is still of service.

Little Arang stole the show. I could not stop laughing when she started scolding Eun-Ho. So cute.

Overall, on a scale of 1 to 5, I would give this drama somewhere between 3.6-3.9. Somewhere along the way, Arang the character lost her spark and the Arang the drama lost a bit of it fierceness and I wasn't as invested.

There were some things that could have been done better execution-wise. The first half was definitely better than the second half. It was more polished and engaging. Regardless, it deserves a solid 5.0 in the acting, writing and directing category.

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Show be more than 4 ... Considering junki best impressive facial expression & EO mother + joo wal good acting. Beside all the cast are good. Well, basically i like the ending here. Sweet & cute endings. The 2 cute kids add more color in this drama. I will give high score for this drama. 4.8 from 5 scale. Almost perfect. I wish this drama get many awards esp junki. Then EO mother ...she deserved an award too.

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What kind of flat beer have we just been served in this episode? And why does everyone in the drama cry, cry, cry? Sorry, but I cannot find any kind words for the wooden acting that everyone turned in for the final episode. And more deus ex machina, of course - no surprise there.

Yes, the last scene had a seed of an interesting idea - reincarnation and all. But was it well developed or executed? Your recap is way too kind.

In the end, this 20-episode drama played out just like the South Korean soccer team has done in the last two World Cup games: start out front-loaded with the right stuff, advance to somewhere in the middle of the pack (for sure, above average), then be happy and quit trying. Going all the way to the top, no matter the odds, or dying while trying, just is not in the gene.

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Flat beer. Lol, but my thoughts exactly. I anticipated 80 % of what has been given to us and as usual Joo-wal stole the show for me. Man, those tears... Can't they think a bit out of the box? Reincarnation, bla, bla... Also, the karma laws seem weird to me. If being punished means becoming a flower eating goat in Heaven, I'm ready to become a serial killer. And about those reapers? Something can't become nothing. I just don't buy it.

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I'm a bit bothered by Joo Wol ending too? That is unsatisfying for me. A bit lacking. I donno but I can't think other resolution for him. Out of the box, they should do something better with him, indeed.

However, I think the reincarnation is the best solution and the most necessary ending for them. If you asked me yesterday I wouldn't want them to be reincarnated but after what happen today after Eun Oh discover the truth behind Arang's death and she at the first place never be reborn to go to heaven then there is no other option than both of them or Arang herself go to the hell (after she killed herself by protecting Joo Wal) then reincarnation is the best possible ending. It is just suited with whole theme as living, love, death, memory and human desires.

Until yesterday episode I would prefer or thought that the writer will let Arang remain in the world but I dont think there is any other solution giving that she has an immortal body and the situation is complicated enough at that time.

I agree that it can be better in terms of the execution but I'm satisfied since this drama has lots lots of HEART, keeps surprising me and satisfactory in many ways. It is not epic nor it is technically perfect but it just stood there with lots of heart, zippy moments, and great fantasy horror saeguk. With lots and lots of love and mythological absurdity. It is a win in my heart.

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I'm not satisfied with Joo Wal ending too... I mean to good for him...consider he has killed so many innocent girls in the past.
Regarding ..the reincarnation ...I think it's fair enough & that is the best solution for Sato & Arang. JE granted EO to fulfill his wish...fair enough consider EO has done so many good things for him ( esp kill Mo Yeon). I'm satisfied with the ending. ESpecially those 2 mind remains intact. Both of them still remember their past. The 2 kids & the flower field are nice additional .... endings.

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I'm satisfied with the ending. Cute endings. Love it.

Regarding JooWal ...as human he has paid his sin by threw him self in the cliff. As human he has tragic ending - and then become a Grim-reaper is a good solution for him.

Basically I think reincarnation is Best Solution for Arang & Sato. And Jade keep their memory ....that's really Good. Jade is quite wise . Fair enough to reward Sato and grant his wish. Love it !.

So, I love the well written story. Love Sato and all the Cast. Many unexpected ....outcome but finally all secret has revealed. What can we asked for more ???

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Jumping on this thread late (I just finished the series about 5 days ago), but did no one else believe that they were going to put Arang's soul back into her original body at the end and have her live again? This was a body that was killed 3 years prior and had not decayed. She looked just as beautiful before her burial as she did when alive! The whole time I thought that they put her soul into an immortal body to fulfill the mission but, at the end when the mission was over, she would disappear. Then Eun Ho would somehow figure she was still alive inside the coffin and dig her out and they'd live happily ever after! That was then ending I'd imagined anyway.

I don't mind them being re-incarnated as long as they both retain their memories and can be together. But it WAS a little bit of a let down that somehow they didn't get the upper hand and make it work out another way in the end so that neither had to die or go to hell in the first place.

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I thought it was Mu Young who was reincarnated as a flower eating goat, and when was Mu Young ever a serial killer? Anyway in Chinese mythology, it is a punishment to be reincarnated as a animal, and the good guys usually get reincarnated as humans.

The non-existence issue is one of the premises set out in this drama's world and it was already mentioned right at the beginning (in Episode 3).

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But animal in heaven ...will not suffer anything. Different with animal in earth ...they will be slaughtered...

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Yaya, I was replying to the post above which commented that the punishment for being a serial killer is to be reincarnated as a goat in heaven.

Mu Young was not a serial killer. He killed his sister tor the good of the universe. Why would you want him to suffer?

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@ febe

No ...you miss understood . I didn't mean I want him suffer ...not at all ...I like the grim reaper though ( he is a general in chuno - and I like him since Chuno) .I mean as a Goat in Heaven ... is different with as a goat in this world...because in heaven he will not suffer anything. He will be loved & feed by JE & Hades. It's much better than he become extinct ....

And he is not a serial killer ...he just made a mistake for unable to control his feeling . I think ...Jade has thought about this too, his merit to kill Mo-Yeon ... therefore he made such decision.

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@ febe

No ...you miss understood . I didn't want him suffer ...not at all ...I like the grim reaper though ( he is a general in chuno - and I like him since Chuno) .I mean living as a Goat in Heaven ... is different with living as a goat in this world...because in heaven he will not suffer anything. He will be loved & feed by JE & Hades. It's much better than he become extinct ....

And he is not a serial killer ...he just made a mistake for unable to control his feeling . I think ...Jade has thought about this too, his merit to kill Mo-Yeon ... therefore he made such decision.

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Goat or not, he wasn't the one needing to answer to the million of pure (and not) young maiden souls lost. His sister was. She's now an existence that doesn't exist anymore. He for the deeds and other slice of pie served; the first being the side served by the protagonists -- is that goat in heaven. Whatever his original fate was, it certainly wasn't punishment. If anything, he chose his matyrdom.

Which bodes the question: She didn't like heaven and is said to have probably preferred hell to hold onto the feelings of passion, the memories and almost eternal longing. What of him? From a lover's point of view, many more stories have been made where one would rather die than live any longer in a world without the other. Sure he did live all those years, following instructions to the t with or without news of the beloved and deranged sister..

Curiously enough though, the gods of this 'verse didn't bring him back because they felt sorry for his plight but rather one of them missed him.
(It's perhaps more alarming that it's possible to un-negate his existence as he chose)(Wasn't that choice made because that's where he sent her so she couldn't be touched by them gods?)

"Something becoming nothing" is what happens all the time for humans in reality. If science holds true. At least the fantasy mojo lets for tragic black mists and gaping hell tunnels. There's a deal being made and one can see clearly what is happening and that it is even if they can't ever fathom why or how. Things unfantastical will just vanish and stop completely and abruptly. Leaving literally, that big nothing but good and bad memories.

As for the punishment for being a murderor -- isn't that what Joo-Wal is currently? Accepting eternal servitude catering to the higher laws of life. I wonder about his character though. Does he remember? He ended his mortal life to escape the memories. If there's an afterlife sentence for one such as him, it would be to "live" on with those memories intact. That is why, my opinion contrasts the below -- It is quite a fitting end and brings the character (and my argument) full circle.

There is one other question that entirely niggles at my conscious: Who else clearly remembers the Jade Emperor telling his stoic-faced fairy that her expressions don't call for many Reaper suitors? Clearly long term, such casual and fleeting moments won't be enough for love that spanned fate enough for several star crossed lifetimes. However, if fairies and reapers can and have flirt history, who's to say a true romance isn't possible? They clearly still do have desires and self, pleasure seeking interests..

Mu-Yeon clearly has more law-abiding traits in common with her "brother" than one could've guessed to have thought Heaven such a place. It's quite sad for a couple to reincarnate as siblings but retain and regain the feelings of another sort of fate. Sad that only the couple with heartbreaking existences out of having...

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Sad that only the couple with heartbreaking existences out of having the gods own them a solid get a new life with cake.

She's also quite dumb. Surely she knew them tricky gods wouldn't send bait without setting a time limit or some other thing on it to keep more devilish plans coming to fruition if the humans employed did, in some chance, fail? Say what would have happened to the two moons timed immortality if it had been seized unceremoniously?
Or was that just for "After that, you'll be punished to hell at hell."?

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I have a hard time getting mad about deus ex machina in a show where two of the major characters are gods literally playing around with humanity.

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Haha, very well put! It's kind of built into the premise, isn't it?

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My thoughts exactly! There is no deus ex machina when there are already gods in the plot from the get-go. And most of the finale has been hinted in the other episodes, so there has been no usage of deus ex machina.

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Yes I agree! In any other show it probably would've pissed me off but our gods weren't just fate pulling strings, they were characters who depended on other characters who each made their own choices.

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Great point!

Jade owns up to breaking his own rules all the time. What's the point of having gods in the show if they're just as helpless and rule-bound as humans are.

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IN Confucianism ...Gods have certain power to control humans. Give punishment or grants something to human. THis story is based on Confucianism Principal. Hope this give you some insight ~~~

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I see no deus ex machina in this episode. All that has happened had been hinted in previous episodes. That defeats the meaning of deus ex machina.
And...Why would you ask why everyone in this drama cries? Have you no sympathy? After all the hardships the characters have been through?

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I have to agree and disagree with you in certain points.

I have to agree on your part that the ending could be more well establish or well execute. However, giving the part that the last episode has lots to tied up and many plots to be wrapped I have to say i'm satisfied enough. If I want to complain not the ending but in the middle of the dramas where they should -writer & pd should execute several scenes neatly and tightly so that it will be a well executed drama as a whole in the end.

I disagree on the crying part. I dont know if one can't feel the torment, suffering that the characters went through. But each to their own.

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I find it strange to be so hung up on deus ex machina when in the first place we're watching a supernatural fantasy with gods, reapers, ghosts, demons, immortal bodies, borrowed time, heaven, hell, ghost-killing fans and generally, the unexplainable.

And what's wrong with crying when the characters are losing their loved ones? Or in such great despair at the wrong steps and actions they have taken? It is human to be able to cry, and only the cold-blooded who don't or can't cry.

Wooden acting? I think LJK, SMA and YWJ deserve acting awards for their performances in this show!

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EO mother deserved an award too. Lee jun ki is the best in portraying his role as Sato. They way he pulled our emotions with his sophisticated impressive facial expression is superb. He is the Best ...second best is EO mother / Moo Yeon. SMA & JW is good too. All of them are Good even Lord Choi & The shaman , Dolsoe + 3 Bangs.
Regarding awards I will go for LJK & EO mother. Both really deserved an awards.

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Ditto on the deus ex machina. If this was any truer to its story, we'd have a(n extrmemely) melodramatic horror genre on our hands. Starring the one woman show, Mother. Thanks be for romantic comedies. And cake is cake anyway you slice it.Too bad it might seem overly sweet at times. I ain't for mushiness (which is my romance flicks come with a large dose of com or preferably, not at all) but it was real cute. No idea about rewards for individual acting but the chemistry was definitely all there.

That purse-y face the nobleman "dad" makes.. So hateful! From the cringeworthy moments between shaman girl and the lovable lug of a servantsma, the redemption(?) of the murderous Bang, the death and resolution of the elderly waiting lady, the characters were rich and the acting well seasoned to match. Strong but subtle is something not easily pulled off. There really wasn't a single character wasted. Not even the little Big Bad guy's murdering minion.

If there's a deus ex machina to gripe about, I call on the hellholes occasionally appearing here or there to threaten reaper and ghost girl alike. The head whipping from mojo infested grandma that finally enlightened shaman-y Bong-Wool.. And the Jade Emperor. Of course.

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Sounds to me like you only have negative things to say whenever you leave comments here. Too bad.

I'd love to hear how you had envisioned for the ending to be. Perhaps we can discuss other possibilities that can tie up the whole story, make perfect sense and please the viewers at the same time.

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Everyone who is not Lee Min Ho is “wooden” for Dominique. And every not Lee Min Ho’s drama is bad. All her posts here is about this.

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Thank you for your info ^^

I'm sure all actors in A&M have no wooden acting. They're just too great, deserve many awards.

So, it's Dominique who doesn't know lee min ho is the real wooden actor, kkk

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Agree ~~~ All the cast here is Good.

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agree! everyone in this drama can really act..even the three bangs and Lord Choi's slaves..they all did well..

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One of the biggest troll on this board lately. /drives through.

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Yeah! Seriously, Dominique are such a troll~ LOL

Sorry to say but lee min ho is the real wooden actor! Huhu~*PEACE

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I know right? Dominique is the most pathetic kind of troll.
She/he too crazy about Lee Min Ho ! and Ahhh.. I have to say LMH acting is just plane awful though he looks so handsome.

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Totally agree...no offense , though.

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Absolutely .

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Totally agree Dominique is an unrelenting troll here !

But just coz she's such a fanantic LMH worshipper, there's no cause to deal such a blow to LMH himself....wat wrong had that charming actor committed ? He's NO wooden actor, period. In fact, his commendable acting in Boys Over Flower that's what made that drama watchable.

Both the Lees ( minho & junki ) have improved by leaps and bounds and both are so good looking, charming and charismatic, each in their own way. There's absolutely no need to run down the other just to push up the other.....we are all quite matured here ? right ?

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Yes, totally agree! There's no denying that LMH's gorgeous but I don’t think he is a good actor.

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@Mia we are adult enough, yes... to see who is good actor or not. In term of beauty, okey if LMH and LJG are handsome even for me LJG is away more handsome and natural, but I know that beauty is on the beholder's eyes, but in term of acting skill and talent, sorry to say but LMH is obviously not in the same level of LJG :)

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@mia, is it really necessary to bring Junki into this? Dominique criticised that everyone's acting was wooden, without any substantiation to support her criticism. By everyone, it can be supposed that she meant every single actor and actress from the leads and main supporting cast to the cameos and extras.

The commentors disagreed and said that ALL the actors & actresses in AATM acted well.

If you bothered to read the comments properly, noone in this thread ran down LMH to push up LJK. You are the only person who said or even implied this. In my humble opinion, LJK's talent is quite undeniable and has been widely acknowledged in Korea and internationally, so there is no need to run anyone down to push him up.

You mentioned that Dominique is a fanatic LMH worshipper, as a mature LMH fan yourself, maybe you should advise her to stop bashing other actors and actresses thoughtlessly, as a fan's bad behaviour will only attract negative feelings towards her idol.

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I didn't see lee min ho in this drama, then why are you dragging him out. i like both lee min ho and lee junki, but honestly i have to lee junki is the best both looking and acting, i put lee min ho to 2nd place. lee junki is so adorable charming actor, and very talented.

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Gosh, why are you always so harsh? :'(
I particularly love Everyone's acting in Arang and the Magistrate, and since you can't act any better than them, don't cha say stuff bout "wooden acting"

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Yes.... why don't we just be honest. Leejunki acting here is superb. But the mother & Joo-Wal is good too. All the cast are good. Even the villains like lord choi & geodol...they have their own charm. So Wooden acting is too much ...

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Well, there's always room for improvement for everything and everyone. What on earth doesn't? But if you compare this drama to others which also have supernatural theme, this drama is way better, and i'm not just talking about the finale. How about you come up with the better ending you're yapping about?

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Geeez. Why do you hate this world world so much? I've always seen your comments in every other drama with a negative attitude.

You had some points, yeah. But does not elevates all the harsh things that you've said in a drama. A drama where some people got inspired and moved. I know we are entitled to have our own opinion but that does not mean that all of our opinions is right and cannot hurt anybody else. I would be okay if you said it as a constructive criticsm. But, sadly, it is nowhere constructive. It is just criticsm.

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I don't see how being a Grim Reaper is a light punishment for Joo wal. Not to mention, he was a victim of the harsh life as a kid. I mean, any kid can be easily lured by the evil woman, given his situation with poverty and abandoned by society. The only reason he could kill so heartlessly, was because he thought he wont remember all his evil deeds and that he will forget them anyway. In the end, it all came back to him and he regretted.

I think anyone who had sincerely regretted deserved a better chance. God is forgiving afterall. :)

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Guyz Please i don't understand how did arang kill her self? and what year exactly? and it's also confusing the ending...did they really re incarnate as human..

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I seem to keep repeating this, but it's not so much that she killed herself as that she caused her own death by choosing to save Joo-wal's life, back when she was Lee Seo Rim.

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And it ends. Sadly. Can they simply have a modern spinoff of this tale...

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with both of them LJK-SMA as the OTP... that would be lovely...

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I agree! Would definitely want to see that :)

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yeah, if JAng Hyuk & LDH can be paired in 3 dramas why not both LJK & SMA?

make them happen, South Korea!

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Haha...btw do you know the 2 Janghyuk friends in Chuno in reality is Leejunki friends. The general is The grim reaper here. Hahaha ...but a Good thought . Support u'r thought !

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Ooh.. Please, please, please!

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But in Chuno ...LDH end up with Oh Ji Ho. That sad.

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it's very rare in kdramas for two leads to work together repeatedly as Jang Hyuk and LDH are doing......but I can still pray for an LJK/SMA reunion, can't I?

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Of course ...why not ??? Maybe the PD or writers read Fans comments .... Fans love LJK - SMA couple... so they will re-match them together . It's possible... I mean make sense.
I read netizens comments ...many fans praised LJK expressions ( 13 expression) esp in sageuk drama . But they afraid junki will only good in sageuk. Well I slightly disagree ...I think he is very good in TBDW too.
Therefore ...all our comments here will be read by the PD & writers ...so they will change their mind ...and made another drama with LJK & SMA as lead actor & actress. Kekekekkkk

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I'm confused... what is the difference of heaven and hell if they can both be reincarnated? Was this ever explained?

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Yeee it's here! I hope there's a happy ending<3 Thanks for the recap! :)

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Ahh I loved the ending, albeit being slightly confused by it but finally getting it after re-reading for the billionth time haha. I'm so glad they tied up all the loose ends (the parts with the ghosts and Joo-wal was especially satisfying) and also gave the OTP a cute sweet end :)

Does anyone know what drama airs after this?

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I still don't get it... Lol. Cuz didn't Eun Oh come back as human so I assume he and Arang are on Earth together. So I don't really get the little kids part... :/ and how that transitioned to the adult version.

And I believe it's Missing You starring Yoochun!! :D Drama comeback since Rooftop Prince. =)

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Eun Oh was reincarnated as Dol Swe and Bang Woo-Ri's son. Arang also got reincarnated on earth and they meet again as children. Arang remembers everything, but Eun Oh doesn't because he drank from the well of forgetfulness in heaven. The "transformation" of them from children to adults isn't an actual transformation--the show is jumping ahead in time to show that Eun Oh and Arang grew up together and then lived happily ever after.

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I am pretty sure Eun Oh didn't drink from the well becos he was just teasing her at the end... If not they wouldn't have shown the adult version of them lol

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Yeah ...the same here , I got some feeling ...he just teasing her.

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Arang must be such a beautiful INDIGO little girl then, kkkk

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Whose child did Arang reincarnate as? She must have another name, Sato gets his own back because of his servantsma overly affectionate mancrus--ahem. Because he has witnessed as well as she who bore him, the events that gave him his final fate. (Which uh, must make for some really awkward future family dinners)(A reverse of the dotting dad on daughter hahaha)(Also, did he talk and inform them of himself prompting them to name him as himself at his own birth? Or was it just more of Dol-Swe's love and worship?)

What of her? Surely, his magistrate(?) but ex-slave staus would create some discontent with the possible in-laws? who, by the way, seem rather well off with how little Arang is quite neatly groomed. (Still don't think the bang-less, all hair tied back look suits the adult character's facial features though. She's definitely one of those girls whose hair being down is a sudden and instant beauty)

As for the amnesia bit, the show implies he in actuality remembers but chooses not to reveal it, basking in the meanwhile, in the extra(?) attention.I once watched a show where one side of the loving couple undergoes such irrecoverable memory loss (not fantasy btw) but loves again regardless. It would be quite cute to have him love her despite all those formidable and pretty much unbelivable stuff about past lives and thinking that they saved the gods together.

A crazy girl spinning a crazy tale, having him really not believing in the existences of the supernatural this lifetime as he so pretended and insisted in his last -- yet he loves and adores her in this life despite all of it. For very normal, very non-last-life attached reasons.

That face though is one that knows his cake when he sees it. Sigh. Oh well. Still one cute ending. Face scrunch uh, squash and all.

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In the ending, kid Eun-oh was only teasing kid Arang making her think he forgot. But as he says how could he forget when she kept on telling him repeatedly not to drink from the well of forgetfulness. They must have had a meeting in the afterworld that we didn't see. Also some sort of negotiation must have happened with the Jade Emperor since he offered them heaven as a reward instead of going to hell but they opted to go back to being human.

Also, the transition from kids to grown Eun-oh and Arang is a scene showing us that in those kids are the souls of both Eun-oh and Arang with both of their old memories intact.

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That's a very interesting thought. Didn't notice that.. I also didn't think (of what an above comment said) that was precisely the reason why they showed the adult versions of the characters. That it was them, they met and both remember. Though,If they did get the chance to meet in the afterlife before reincarnation, they should've just stayed and wandered as ghosts together!

Would be funny to see Eun-Oh give up his high chair for the food fights with fellow ghosts. Guess it wouldn't be to comfy for an existence *and life) of cake together though. To fight endlessly for food. Even if there was no need to worry about Reapers, other ghosts could outcast them for the obvious preferences the higherups have for reaping privileges, defeating the whole point of ghost-dom. Wandering forever "without time that changes from day to day" wouldn't really work for anyone either, least a simple couple in love. Meh.

And.. unrelated: I finally realised there were these numbers on comments and what they stand for. Thanks site admins! This would make it much easier to track conversations and threads of replies from now on..

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ugly cake

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Ah...your name is donna too ? I use donna nickname too. I give comments since several eps . Nice meeting you.

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Jinny, after this is "I Miss You", with Micky Yoo Chun and Yoon Eun Hye.
I hope this will be good like AatM...;)

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Sorry, this is so random. But i hope YEH could be a guest in running man since she now has "something new to offer"^^

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Loved the ending. That little girl was so funny. By the way, thank you for the recaps!

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Love This!!! ^^

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Thank you for the recap.Won't write an essay except to say I was feeling surprisingly wretched for Ju Wal yesterday.Like was surprised to feel so bad for him.Sign of a good actor doing his craft well.
The ending-anything that gave me happiness at seeing them together was acceptable.The little girl though was the cutest thing.So young and making her try to nag was just the cutest thing.
Thanks for the the recap.
Forgot.Sato looking at Arang like that at the end *swoon*
Arang flashing her dimples *cute*
Now can I ship those 2 beautiful people together?

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i will join you in that one;) hehe

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yesss......please!!!!!!! them together will make the world a happier place...

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ck1Oz,
I waved to your name on my viki screen!
Thanks, Manager ck1Oz for your work!!!

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Haha I pointed at her and said oh! it's you! good job!

As for the ending I was pleased they got to be together but felt oddly unemotional about it. Strange reaction from me.

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Oh and as others have said-yes that little girl was GREAT-areal scene stealer

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I cried, I think in relief.

It was the stress of him running through the Woods of Zombies, and then, having those stupid dots on his hands disappearing!

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I dont remember my pw at viki so I'm glad you stopped by so I can say Thank U to you and team Marang <3.

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:-) * hi * to everyone. We had a great team over there, going to miss them. More than the drama. Oops.

Those 2 light up the screen, more than a painting. Pretty flowers, pretty boy and girl :-)

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What's your next project? More Power and Long Live Viki, truly powered by avid fans.

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Thks, ck10z & Thks to all Marang Team. I love this drama very much. Thks to all Marang team . U guys are the Best !!!

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Thank you, Marang Team! Hope it's ok to express my gratitude at another blogsite. But the Viki Apps doesn't really show as much as when you're on the pc.

You guys are like my lifeline or something. All the subbers are awesome!

Thanks again! all your hard work are much appreciated. Honestly, I'm a little envious of you.

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If I were arang, to see how Satto looks at me, I am not just loading him like that, lol!!! OMG, the way he looks can even make statue melted!!!

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I mean kissing, not loading, typo

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yeah me too, with that handsome face and see how he looks at me.. KISS HIM IS NOT ENOUGH AT ALL!! :))

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u mean for e.g. push him on to e ground n ... rawr muhahaha

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For some one as cool as Leejunki ...why not ??? Haha. I would die just to spend 1 night with him. Tell me... who would not die to spend just 1 night with him ? Right , joongirl ???

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Haha understand what you mean

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Thank you Manager ck1Oz... Just saw your name in viki and im grateful for all your hard work. Kudos to the rest of The Marang Team.

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Ah... remember your name at viki . Once again Thk you . Thks to Marang team too.
I love those scene you mentioned too. And I love when Sato ...said I love U ( my heart Flutter ) ...and kiss Arang. Hope will see Junki new drama soon. And don't forget to sub & support JUnki drama ck1Oz.

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thank you so much for your hard work and for bringing us this lovely drama <3

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Thanks for all of your hard work! Very much appreciated!

I could only watch Arang on dramacrazy.net not on viki since it's not permitted in our country.

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Thanks for the recaps, Javabeans!

What a great show! I love how this episode got back a lot of the fun that the show has been lacking for a little while and dealt some more with ghosts and the underworld. It's been some time since they introduced us to new elements like the books of life and death, etc.

Also very happy that they did the reincarnation ending right in this one!! I love that Arang gives EO shit for drinking from the well of forgetfulness and brings back the "amnesia" moniker. It would have been nice for them both to remember, but I am happy with this too. They still get to be together, and they obviously are just as crazy about each other regardless of memory. I love their relationship so much--they are so natural together. I am so sad I don't get to see more of them!

I did have one gripe with this episode and that was how quickly they resolved the whole Mu Yeon mess. They totally could have ended that in the last episode and still had plenty for us to be worried about in the finale without dangling possible possession in there. It ended up coming off as kind of cheap. But given how good the rest of the episode went, I can forgive them.

Man, I already miss this show! I hope we can see more dramas (and happy endings!!!) like this in the future!

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I agree that they got the reincarnation ending right with this one. I loved the ending...was laughing out loud at little Arang. So perfect. It's interesting: I was totally satisfied here, but absolutely hated Rooftop Prince's reincarnation ending. I'll have to go sit in the corner and think about it for awhile. Or maybe I won't. Instead I'll just be happy with Arang and her magistrate. Going to miss those two. A lot.

Thanks JB and GF for the wonderful and witty recaps! Loved every bit of it.

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Ohhh, I just read JB and GF's ending comments about Rooftop Prince and the reincarnation endings. And THIS is one of the many reasons I read DB. They are sooo smart. And I don't think they even had to sit in the corner to figure why this ending worked perfectly and RP's didn't. Hah!

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I also really disliked the ending of Rooftop Prince. I think it's because from episode 1 of Rooftop Prince they pretty firmly established two separate identities for the prince and his future reincarnation, so it wasn't satisfying for Pak-ha to get the consolation guy who looks just like her boyfriend but isn't actually her boyfriend (but is, kind of). They tried to drive home the idea that they were the same soul, if not the same person, by having him "transform" at the end, but I didn't really buy it. If they had started over with a completely new reincarnation of both of them, that would have been more satisfying in my opinion than what happened.

At least Arang and Eun-Oh got to start over again from scratch and it's made clear that they are quite literally the same people (same mannerisms, etc--no dopplegangers here!). It doesn't matter that Eun-Oh doesn't remember his past life, because Arang remembers for both of them and they have a whole lifetime to build new memories together.

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Hah, and I just realized that Arang did exactly what Eun-Oh said she would do, too. He said if she went to heaven she's the kind of person who would figure out a way to keep her memories anyway and that's what happened. She's a crafty rule-breaker, and because of that she gets to snag Eun Oh right from the start with her new incarnation.

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I caught that, too. Totally made me smile and say, "That's our girl!" Love her!

And you nailed it, Hooliah, about RP. Ugh, it brings back to mind how wrung out and hung out to dry I felt at the end of it. Really poor execution. What a world of difference with Arang. Just perfect.

Now I'm wondering what other dramas this PD has directed and the writer written. Hmmm...will have to go looking.

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I think he actually did remember, especially after she called him Amnesia as a little kid, and just kept up the running gag to tease her. So they both remember, and get to be happy - and that's what I want for them.

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After watching the show this morning (can't control myself) and before I start reading your recap (normally is the opp sequence), thnx JB for the fast recap and JB/GF for the comments. That's superb speed, thought I need to wait till my noon time before I can read it ;D Will further comment after reading the recaps.

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Good bye, Satto and Arang! Thank you for the recap! Thank you for a cute, happy ending, even if it's a little Come-What-May-ish. I'm satisfied. This will be one of my all time fave kdrama!

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That awesome moment when the show you've been following has happy ending~ ^^ **So Much Win**

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I enjoyed this drama so much. I am so happy I got my happy ending, rather that they got their happy ending BUT really at this point, their happiness is my happiness. All sappiness aside, I loved this ending. As you say, "They get to skip all the heartache they endured in the previous life, and ostensibly starting an ordinary, boring, and long life together...you get lots of cake-eating."

Even though the created world was beautiful and wondrous, for me the heart of the story was Arang and Satto. Lee Jun Ki and Shin Minah were really wonderful, in both their individual characterizations and as a couple. I loved how they brought in so much detailing of the characterizations from paper. I never thought, 'oh its Gumiho-esque' or 'Shin Minah being cute' or Lee Jun Ki being 'moody/sexy/a hero.' I only ever saw Arang and her magistrate! Hehe.

Heartfelt thanks for your wonderful recaps. I can be quite literal and so I am often in need of people pointing out the actual. Thank you!

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At some point, I did start to think it was getting a bit convoluted, but all in all, I rally liked the ending. Mom does seem to have ragequit though lol.
So eh... now that Shin Min-ah is free, how about we forget that whole Choi Kang-hee thing and just go with her?

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YES!!! I think I'd die of happiness from the dimples-overload. That'd be too cute.

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Haha. That what I've been dreaming about since I saw JB's article of SMA. Secret Agents War, could you please het her instead! PLEEEEEASE!

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Meh. I felt the reincarnation was a little cheap, myself. There were ways to get out of it. Felt inserted.

RTP I knew that it was coming pretty much from episode 1. You really had to be dense to not see it coming for all those episode (well, maybe that's rude... but highly intuitive me figured out the ending early).

Here it's almost like: Oops lost track of the hairpin. Oops... wrote myself in a corner *tack on reincarnation because Moo Yeon talked about it*

I sound like I'm griping. But really I liked the series overall. (and they allowed me to make jokes about the lack of Post Army abs Joonki to the end =P) For such a familiar storyline is had a lot of nice twists to it and there was a lot of imagination (particularly in the world building--I could see the research dripping off of it), but the follow through just needed a touch more work... just a touch. But I realize that writing like the Korean drama industry wants it is downright insane, so I give serious props and slack.

Other than that the acting was stellar, particularly on Kang Moon Young. She can so act. O.o; She made me hate her with one stare and then feel for her with another.

And for some reason the acting coordinated well with Im Joo Eun... the same crazed look... which isn't common either.

And the directing was very well done too.

So I really liked the series.

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Nah, I don't think the reincarnation thing was a way out of a corner. I mean, in a sense, it does sound a bit ridiculous. But let's be honest, this drama is a fantasy sageuk, with a mixture of mythology, gods, life & death. Reincarnation is definitely not something that is out-of-the-blue in this particular drama.

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Ahh... *shrugs* I consume a lot of fantasy... so I'm probably being picky. I prefer that the problems come from the fantasy, but that human persistence and work (you know those pesky Confucian things) are what solves the problems created by the fantasy. It's not quite as fun when the fantasy both creates and magically solves the problems.

But as I said these things are minor... and fantasy is a new sub genre to Korea.

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Well, the possibility of reincarnation was always there in this drama, as reincarnation seems to be one of the basic premises of the world that they built for the drama. Mu Young and Mu Yeon are the illustrations, they were reincarnated at least twice. And Hades had said previously that only with death can new life spring up in its place.

Imo, there was no other way to go but reincarnation if the couple wanted to stay in the human world. After all, both Eun Oh and Arang were already dead in the first place, and Hades, being a stickler for following the rules, wouldn't agree to re-writing the Books of Life and Death.

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I honestly felt contented with the reincarnation done here. This way, they get more years to be together starting at the age of 5! [or is it 6? lol]

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This gives me idea that this drama should have a season 2! Haha.

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I, too, expected a more clever ending from this otherwise superb drama. I kinda agree with Kim Yoonmi... reincarnation is one of the cheapest options for a happy ending: It's a reward for the characters but not necessarily for the viewers (emotionally yes, but not intellectually), because it just nullifies everything that has happened before. So, yes, it's "a way out of a corner" (as Yellow says) but it's the opposite of clever: reincarnation is just like breaking a huge hole into the wall behind you with a sledge-hammer, thus simply destroying the nice corner that was built around you.

I am also not sure I like how they created a happy ending for almost every character (goat, grim reaper, Dol-swe as magistrate, Bang-wool as mom of re-incarnated Eun-oh ...). That's too much sugar-coating for me.

That said, I am still content - because I didn't have to cry in the end. I wasn't sure they would give us the happy ending last week, thinking they might go for a dark, un-happy or at least not-sure-whether-happy ending. In a way, I was expecting it from these writers.

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Not all get happy ending ... Moo Yeon get the worst punishment ( even hell is too god for her ...). Moo Yong become a Goat ..though he is heavenly Goat.
LOrd Choi & Geodol become wandering ghost ( hungry ghost).

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Agree that not all got a happy ending, only the good guys did. Grim reaper is not a happy ending, it's supposed to be a punishment to have to work for Hades for eternity and not being allowed to have any desires.

Dol-swe's position as magistrate was something that he had to apply and work for, it was not served to him on a platter. It was clear that Dol-swe always had the heart for the people and wanted to serve them, and was given the opportunity to do so when the magistrate's post was opened to all regardless of status.

Getting Eun-Oh as their kid...I can already see little Eun-Oh-ah twisting DS and BW around his litte finger...

About human persistence and work solving the problems created by the fantasy, I think it was Eun-Oh's persistence, hard work and sacrifice which solved the problems.

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Messing around, here's an alternate ending that may work.

We back up to the hairpin.They put the two and two together, and figure out about the knife, but there is one other thing to solve.

In solving that one thing, they get rid of the fairy, solve the issue with Arang (or get a clue about it). I would prefer if this ties into Arang finding about Mu Yeon's past, her desires and ambitions (which would feed into the Buddhist/Confucian thing).

You still get Mu Yeon dead. She still dissapates, and you still have the ticking time.

Arang realizes that she was the one that killed herself *through the lost memory* (though I thought it was cheap that her saving someone else is killing herself.)

JW, on the way to kill himself, saves a young lady from being killed. He *earns* the right to go to heaven as a grim reaper to pay back his sins with the right to go back to the human world afterwards. (He would then be BW's son...)

MY still gets put into a goat.

So Arang and the Magistrate *marry*--because no time like the present. He abdicates the role of magistrate. Time is still running out though they don't know why after the bell rang the gods haven't followed through.

What to do? They think time is running out...

But EO's master comes back to him in a dream and tells him of a quandary... Arang is pregnant... and so he can't quite take her back (mysteries of the human heart/mind). They argue because his master still wants to take Arang back *after* the baby. EO asks how and why he would continue this sad fate.

Jade says he will allow it on a condition that they take Muyeon as their child, teach her properly, etc. Discipline her harshly and give her the life she never had. (Learn forgiveness, etc. Very Buddhist and Confucian...)

*Done*

=P A little funny at the end... and you can still have the reincarnation line, but it would be far more intellectually satisfying and heart satisfying. You can end with something on the order of "No matter how many lifetimes we have I want to be reincarnated as your husband on Earth with you." (thus closing the loop of grief for Mu Yeon)

Arang would then, agree.

It wouldn't be super closed because you can also insert Arang trying to find about her other memories and past events and about her father and EO swearing to help her do that.

kkut, THE End.

Just one alternate. Not quite clear what Mu Yeon's past would be that would set up for the final show down and the preciousness of life, but I would have liked the final riddle. I thought this episode rehashed a bit too much. I would have liked one final twist. Plus I like it because it emphasizes the human aspect of the heart, keeps up the tension, and you can still insert action into it. Also gives room for forgiveness, which was a smaller theme.

Sorry, impulsive writer thing... but I think the actual writer was sleep deprived anyway, so I give serious slack.

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BTW, you can shoot holes into this ending or try to improve it. =P I wouldn't mind. Or give better alternates.

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