The Lonely Shining Goblin: Episode 4
I find it endlessly entertaining that our goblin is a mercurial god who feels so many feelings—you’d think that a millennium would give a guy some perspective, but he feels everything so acutely, making for some hilarious highs and gloomy lows today. In a meta sense, the character is perfectly in step with a drama that swings wildly from wry comedy one minute to melancholy soul-searching the next, and I enjoy the unexpected emotional twists of starting a scene in a dark mood and undercutting it with humor, or starting with light comedy and suddenly dropping a two-ton weight of emotion on the scene. You never know where you’re headed, which is the fun.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Thunder claps and lightning strikes, as Eun-tak points at the sword embedded in the goblin’s heart. She admits that she’s seen it from the start and asks, “What am I now? Am I still not the gobin’s bride?”
Shin stares at her in wonder for a long beat and says, “I think you are.” She can’t help but smile, not really understanding what it means to be the goblin’s bride, and asks cheerily if she’s become useful now, and if this means that Shin won’t leave. He says he won’t leave for the time being… “Because I might have to prepare to go someplace farther away,” he finishes. Nooo, not the death talk already!
Shin asks why she didn’t mention the sword before if she really saw it the whole time (yes, suspicious that), but Eun-tak says she was trying to be polite at first, and then got scared about the consequences later. “What if you ask me to get married right away? What about college? Do I become a goblin?” she asks.
She wants to know her first order of business as the goblin’s bride, and Shin suavely tells her to wait right here… and then ruuuuuuuns into Reaper’s room flailing like a big geek. “She sees the sword! She pointed at the sword, like this!” he shouts, unnecessary demonstration included.
Reaper tells him to get out, but Shin is freaking out: “She can see the sword! She’s my bride! I’m going to die!” Naturally, Reaper is unfazed by death and counters, “So what, isn’t that a good thing? Weren’t you looking for the bride in order to die?”
Shin deflates and stammers, “I… was… nearly my whole life.” Reaper asks if he’s happy or scared that he found the bride, and Shin starts pacing around the room saying that he is relieved at the thought of ending this immortal life, “but I’m not always sick of it either…” Ha. He admits that part of him wants to live, and Reaper jumps on that to say he’ll just take Eun-tak then.
Reaper complains about the paperwork involved, but he figures that she was meant to die, and Shin quickly starts backpedaling. Eun-tak gets sick of waiting outside and rings the doorbell, and Shin turns into a drama queen and declares, “Death is calling me.” Ha. Reaper: “If it’s ringing the doorbell, it’s a kind death.”
Reaper points out that it’s not like Shin said terrible things to make Eun-tak resent him and want him dead, and Shin sighs, remembering all the cold things he said to her, “I’ll just die. That’s cleaner.”
Reaper and Goblin head out to answer the doorbell together, and Eun-tak launches into a rehearsed sob story about her sad life, now abandoned by Aunt with nowhere to go. She’s hilariously bad at it, but Reaper takes her side, especially when he hears that Shin plans to stick around.
Eun-tak asks to live here, even if Shin has to adopt her (oh because THAT’s going to make this less icky), and swears that she can grow up quietly on her own, like a cactus. Reaper consents immediately, and Shin glares.
She continues her comically bad sob story, and Reaper whispers into Shin’s ear, “I know this story. I saw the drama!” Eun-tak concludes that once she was abandoned by Aunt, she knew there was no god, looking pointedly at Shin. She begs him to save her.
He rolls his eyes and asks how a girl wanting to be saved could knowingly ask to live with a grim reaper. Thinking quickly, she says that it’s always darkest under the lamp, “so you be my lamp from now on, so this ajusshi can’t take me.” Reaper starts to say that his friend Shin is going to let him take her, but Shin interrupts him and sends Eun-tak inside. She doesn’t need to be told twice, and gapes at her surroundings.
Goblin and Reaper bicker about outing each other’s secrets, and Shin gets mad at Reaper and says his friendship lasted for all of five minutes before threatening the poor girl. Reaper counters that Shin is the one who left her out there in the cold.
Shin comes up with an idea to get rid of Eun-tak, and slides her an envelope of money. It’s the 5 million won she’s been praying for, but she slides the envelope right back and says it’s too late—she’s already seen his house. She calls it perfect for raising children in, and asks what type of wife he wants, doing her best to be coy and flirty.
He reminds her that she doesn’t like him, and she takes it all back, and then thinks in her head that he’s handsome and cool and his eyes are like stars. She assumes that he can hear her, and Shin admits that he was lying about that. He doesn’t know exactly how he heard her when she was kidnapped, but he thinks it might have to do with her birthmark.
Eun-tak immediately drops the sweet act and calls him a con artist, angry that she spent so much energy trying not to think of him, and making herself think other thoughts just to justify thinking about him all the time.
Shin: “Why are you sneaking in a confession that you were thinking of me? It’s confusing.” She doesn’t really get his meaning and asks if she’s supposed to unpack her bags or not, and Shin tells her there’s another solution.
Cut to: Grandpa showing Eun-tak her new suite room in the hotel where Deok-hwa lives, just one floor down. Deok-hwa is surprised to run into Eun-tak again after the bookstore, and Grandpa doesn’t ever explain why he’s speaking to Eun-tak in jondae and offering Deok-hwa’s services like he’s a butler.
Deok-hwa argues that Grandpa has an army of secretaries for that, but all Grandpa has to do is offer to maybe unfreeze a credit card, and Deok-hwa is at her service with a bow. Grandpa says that Deok-hwa isn’t trustworthy, and hands Eun-tak a business card so she can call him if anything happens.
She gapes to realize that Grandpa is a chairman, and Deok-hwa happily adds that this makes him a third-generation chaebol. Grandpa drags him out by the ear and bids her goodnight.
Eun-tak takes in the giant suite in awe, and then runs around screaming, “Daebak!” and trying everything out. Her fun doesn’t last very long though, and she realizes how lonely and scary it is in that giant room all by herself.
Downstairs, Deok-hwa asks who that girl is, and Grandpa just says to treat her well because something very important is in her hands. When Deok-hwa asks what, Grandpa says it’s Deok-hwa’s credit card.
Deok-hwa stomps over to Uncle Shin’s house to complain about Grandpa, but finds Shin sitting glumly in front of a row of pill bottles, for everything from depression to insomnia. He’s back to speaking in sageuk tone, and says he’s become very sensitive, and his mood keeps changing from happy to sad to lonely to shining. As if it’s a deathly affliction to have feelings.
Shin pops the pills and shuffles away, and then Reaper shuffles over to take the same pills, saying that he has the same symptoms, and wonders what it means when you cry the instant you meet a woman.
At work the next day, Eun-tak folds napkins while listening to a TV program about mental health, and the guest expert is none other than Samshin Granny, talking about the telltale signs of manic-depressive disorder.
As she describes the symptoms—sudden shopping or bouts of over-confidence—we cut to Shin buying everything he sees on the home shopping channel, and then suddenly flexing in front of Deok-hwa and Reaper, challenging, “Who wants to go to the sauna with me?” Pfft, so that’s the source of your confidence, is it?
Samshin Granny says the biggest sign is obsessing over ailments like a hypochondriac, and we see Shin complain to Reaper that he might have stomach cancer. Reaper is unsympathetic and says he still wouldn’t die even if he had no stomach, and says that the bride is supposed to pull out his sword anyway.
Shin’s mood flips instantly and he screams, “Oh, so I should just die? I’m the bad one, I’m just being sensitive and I should just go and die because I don’t deserve to live! Why don’t you go and tell her that?! Tell her to go pull out the sword and kill me!” Reaper asks if he’s going to cry, and Shin whimpers back in a broken voice, “I’m barely holding it in.” LOL. Depressed goblin is hilarious.
Eun-tak heads out to go to school and pauses at the gloomy weather and sudden downpour, wondering if Shin is depressed. He’s sitting in his garden staring at the maple leaf she gave him, and Eun-tak stares up at the sky and gets a little huffy, assuming that he’s unhappy about her being the goblin’s bride.
She’s doubly annoyed at the inconvenience of rain on her way to school, when Deok-hwa rolls up in a fancy sports car and offers to give her a ride. She asks him to speak in banmal, but he refuses (still actually using half banmal anyway, as is his habit), knowing that he’s being watched. Sure enough, Grandpa’s secretary is on his tail.
Deok-hwa makes a big show of rolling up to the front door of her school and opening Eun-tak’s door in front of all her classmates, while she makes futile attempts to hide. He threatens to do it again tomorrow if she doesn’t get out of the car, so she complies.
The mean girls sneer and talk about her, and that’s the first time Deok-hwa hears her name. “You’re Ji Eun-tak?” he asks, remembering her name from the background check he did. He realizes now that the goblin book she bought wasn’t a coincidence, and that she knows his uncle.
Deok-hwa is dying of curiosity to know about the punishment [beol] gold [geum] that Shin inflicted on Aunt, but Eun-tak doesn’t know what he’s talking about and assumes that her aunt had to pay a fine [beol-geum].
Aunt and her kids take those gold bars to a jeweler to exchange for money, and they’re so cagey about where they got them that the jeweler calls the cops, who say these gold bars were stolen.
Aunt swears to the detective that they didn’t steal them from the bank, and that they belong to her niece. But when asked for this niece’s name or their home address, they can’t seem to remember, like that memory has been wiped clean. Well that’s satisfying.
Deok-hwa is lightning fast on the uptake, as usual, and asks Reaper why Eun-tak is the goblin’s bride. Reaper just muses that it’s a joke of the gods, and Deok-hwa interprets that to mean that Shin’s depression is caused by Eun-tak not being his type.
Reaper is plenty depressed himself, and Deok-hwa points out that the plate he’s freezing with his bad mood is one that his uncle particularly cherishes, but at the mention of Louis XIV, Reaper breaks the plate out of spite.
Deok-hwa gulps and says he won’t tattle, and suggests that Reaper try talking to the woman who made him cry. He figures that maybe it’s not their first meeting at all, and even though Reaper doesn’t remember, that woman might remember him.
But Reaper says it was definitely a first meeting, reenacting her hair flip and her puckered lips. Deok-hwa is riveted by the lips and wants to know where the story goes, but that’s all he gets. Afterwards, Reaper goes back to the bridge where he met Sunny and stands around hoping to run into her. But don’t you have her phone number? Do you not know how to use it?
Elsewhere, an elderly man dies in a hospital bed, accompanied by a woman who holds his hand until the very end.
Shin gets dressed in a black suit and ignores Reaper’s teasing about whether he’s headed to a wedding or a funeral. (“Is that why they call marriage digging your own grave?” Reaper wonders aloud.) Shin asks Reaper how his English is, and says that he needs his help today.
Eun-tak heads home to her giant suite and looks around, hoping to see Shin. She tries to focus on her homework but can’t stop wondering why he’s suddenly cut off communication, and finally ends up on his doorstep, demanding for him to stop avoiding her and let her in.
She threatens to light the ginormous candle she’s carrying with her, as if the size will somehow give the summons bigger impact. She doesn’t light it though, and wonders in a shaky voice if she’s still supposed to do nothing but wait, and how long.
The old man who just died approaches the Reaper’s tearoom, but it’s Shin who sits there waiting for him. As he comes through the door, the old man transforms into a young boy—the same boy that Shin helped in Paris in the sixties. Shin says it’s been a while, and the boy marvels that Shin hasn’t aged a day.
Shin asks why he didn’t write down the answer that he gave him for the math test he was taking the day they met, and the boy says that no matter how he tried to solve that math problem to get the answer, he came up with a different one every time. So he wrote down the wrong answer anyway, saying that it was a problem he couldn’t solve. Shin replies, “No, you solved it well. Your choice alone is the answer to your life.”
The boy smiles to finally realize what that meant, and Shin praises him for becoming a lawyer and helping lots of people in need. The boy says he wanted to repay Shin for the sandwich, and says simply that he didn’t really have another choice once he knew that Shin existed.
Shin counters that he gives lots of people sandwiches, but very few progress the way he did. He says most people just linger in the miraculous moment and demand another miracle once they know he exists. “You are the one who changed your life. And because of that, I always rooted for you,” Shin says warmly.
The boy smiles and says he always knew, and then asks where he’s going next. Shin instructs him to go back out the way he came: “The afterlife is a U-turn.” The boy reaches out for the door handle and turns back to look at Shin one last time, back in his old man form. And then he walks through to the other side, where a staircase that stretches up into the heavens is waiting for him.
Shin thanks Reaper for the help today, and Reaper asks why he bothers doing stuff like this, when it’s not like someone makes him do it. Shin says, “Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be cool.” Ha.
Shin stands around waiting in what looks like Eun-tak’s lobby, when his hands start to smoke. Eun-tak puts down the candle she just blew out in her suite and asks where he’s been and why he’s avoiding her. “Am I an abandoned wife?” she asks. He insists that he was busy, but she calls him out on being avoidy, and tells him to go ahead and try to run away. “I’ll blow all of these out!” she cries, pointing at the hundreds of candles she’s got lit behind her.
Shin just asks where she got all these candles without money, and she says Deok-hwa oppa bought them for her. He grouses at that. She asks why she can’t live in one of the many empty rooms in his house, admitting that Deok-hwa oppa told her they were empty. He grouses again, and I can’t tell if it’s because of what Deok-hwa did, or the fact that she keeps calling him oppa.
Eun-tak argues that she’s been waiting for days, and asks if the rain was because she made him depressed. He lies and says no, but she says she’s prepared herself to hear anything from him. He counters that he’s the one who needs to prepare himself, not her.
He pops open a beer and asks if she’s eaten dinner. Eun-tak ignores him and muses, “I said I can see the sword, and now I can’t see you. This isn’t why I told you.” She asks if they can’t prepare for whatever is coming together, but again he changes the subject and suggests room service.
She finally relents and agrees to dinner, though she turns down fancy room service in favor of convenience store snacks. He finds it adorable and offers to buy her everything in the aisle, looking tipsy after a second beer.
He insists on walking her home afterwards, and Eun-tak asks about her wish to get a boyfriend—can she not date other men if she’s the goblin’s bride? Still drunk, Shin says that he’s not really behind the idea, and tells her not to expect a boyfriend in this lifetime. Lol, that’s mean. Eun-tak: “Why not?” Shin: “Because I don’t like it.” Oh, I like drunk goblin.
She gets mad and asks why: “Do you like me?” He hesitates and gives the world’s most half-hearted “no” in response, and Eun-tak counters, “Your no is quite often not a no.”
She asks how he’s lived up until now, and he says, “I lived waiting for you.” Taken aback, Eun-tak changes the subject and wonders if it rains when he’s depressed, what happens when he’s happy. Perhaps his good mood makes flowers bloom, she wonders, but he quickly denies it. He confirms that he can fly though, and promises to show her next time.
Eun-tak asks how many brides he’s had before her, and he stops to look at her and says, “You’re the first and the last.” She says that even if she were the first, how would he know that she’s the last? “Because I’ve decided that you are,” he answers. Swoon.
She asks what happens to him if she decides not to be his bride, and Shin says he won’t be able to pull the sword out, because only she can do that. “I have to pull the sword out in order to…” he can’t say the truth, so he ends with, “To be pretty!” You want to be prettier than you are now? Also, should you be telling her this stuff?
Eun-tak says it must be like all those old fairytales, where the prince finds true love and so the frog becomes a prince, the beast becomes a prince, and the goblin becomes… a broom. She doesn’t like that one, and decides they’ll wait until they need a broom to pull out his sword.
Shin bursts into laughter and says that he’s crazy for laughing in his current situation. He agrees not to pull out the sword just yet, and to spend today laughing with her. She suggests the first day of snow (of course, because this is a drama), since you’d need a broom when it snows. He grows a little somber at that, but agrees to have her pull out the sword on the first day of snow. Noooooooo.
On her way to school the next morning, Eun-tak sees people milling about taking pictures, and looks up to see her street lined with unseasonal cherry blossoms. Ha, that liar, he totally blooms flowers when he’s happy!
Deok-hwa greets Shin with a stack of morning papers, all announcing the bizarre spring bloom in the middle of autumn, and says tauntingly, “Something good must’ve happened in the night.” He guesses that Shin was drunk, and yells at him for causing yet another inexplicable weather change.
Shin is embarrassed and hungover, but covers up by arguing that Deok-hwa is still using banmal, and snarks that they should just be hyung-dongsaeng from now on. Deok-hwa doesn’t mind that at all and steamrolls ahead, “Hyung, who were you with last night and what did you do?” Shin bellows in his god voice and blames his actions on the sedative, not the beer, and hides in bed like a coward.
Deok-hwa takes him out for hangover soup and leads Shin to an empty table at a restaurant, not realizing that Reaper is sitting there (wearing his hat, making him invisible to Deok-hwa). Reaper says he’s here to catch the last episode of his morning drama, a typical makjang that’s playing in the background.
As they eat, Shin suddenly asks Deok-hwa if he bought him snacks last night. Dude, do you not remember anything? Reaper asks if he forgot everything after two cans of beer again, and Shin yells, “It was the pills, not the beer!” scaring Deok-hwa, who thinks he’s talking to an empty chair.
The morning drama ends on a shocking birth secret, and everyone in the restaurant except for Shin turns to the TV in unison, jaws on the floor.
Deok-hwa sips on a yogurt on their way out, and sight triggers a sudden memory for Shin: Eun-tak sipping on her milk last night as they were walking. He screeaaaaaams like he’s seen a ghost, and Reaper asks if he’s just now reacting to the birth secret in the drama.
It starts to come back to him in little bursts, and Shin remembers telling Eun-tak about pulling out the sword. He grabs his hair and goes into a flown-blown panic in the street like a crazy person, and tells (still invisible) Reaper about the drunken sword-talk.
Reaper says he can’t do anything about it now and that dying now would still be considered a reward, and Shin flips his lid, yelling that he’s going to light Reaper’s hat on fire.
The whole time Deok-hwa only sees his crazy uncle talking to nobody, and starts to worry after his mental health. A man passes by and gives them strange stares, and Deok-hwa whispers that Shin is a stranger. Reaper goes on his way with a chuckle, and Shin is about to light his hat on fire when Deok-hwa interrupts. Shin gets petty and asks, “Do you know me?” and walks away, and Deok-hwa is amazed that he heard that and trails after him.
Sunny gets her makeup done by her friend, who asks if she’s got a new boyfriend to get pretty for. Sunny sighs that she’s hoping to snag a new boyfriend, and is getting pretty to wait for his call, except he’s not calling. The friend guesses that he’s playing push-and-pull, but Sunny wonders why he’s been pushed when she made sure to pull. She hangs out waiting on the bridge where she first met Reaper, but he isn’t there today.
Reaper clearly has Sunny on the mind though, because he walks down the street and every single woman he sees has Sunny’s face. Even the blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman he passes is her, and he gasps.
Sunny and Eun-tak sit in the empty chicken shop just staring out the window, and Eun-tak asks why she’s always looking out there. Sunny says she’s waiting, though she doesn’t know for what: “I’ve spent my whole life waiting for someone.”
Eun-tak asks if it’s a prince on a white horse, and Sunny says she doesn’t like younger men, and would prefer a king on a white horse. They look out the window together, both waiting.
At school, Eun-tak contemplates Grandpa’s business card and thinks back to all the graves she saw Shin visiting in Quebec, all with the surname Yoo.
The mean girls snatch the card out of her hand and ask if that rich guy who dropped her off gave this to her, or that ajusshi from last time, accusing her of sleeping around. While the bully is talking, someone slips a cigarette between her fingers, and she doesn’t even seem to realize it when she brings the cigarette up to her lips.
The teacher catches her red-handed, and the bully swears that this is Eun-tak’s, and she was trying to get her to stop. Thankfully the class president speaks up in Eun-tak’s defense, and after the bully gets sent to the office, Eun-tak looks up to see her four friendly neighborhood ghosts waving at her with a pack of cigarettes. Ha, that’s cute.
The ghost girls follow Eun-tak out after school, proud of themselves for a successful revenge plot. At first it seems like Eun-tak is trying to ignore them, but she finally turns around and whispers, “Thank you for earlier!”
Suddenly the ghosts freak out when they see a car approaching and vanish, and Eun-tak turns around to see Shin pull up in his car. It’s not a white horse, but it’ll do. He gets the whole slo-mo treatment as he gets out, and Eun-tak tries hard not to smile.
She asks why the sudden car, and he says simply, “I wanted to brag about having a car.” He asks if he made any mistakes last night, though he seems to already know the answer to that. He agrees to dinner and suddenly pulls the car over in the street.
He comes around to open her door, and when she steps out, they’re magically transported back to Quebec. She jumps for joy, and he says it’s to thank her for the maple leaf she gave him. She asks, “Is this our honeymoon?” and he orders her to get back in the car, so she quickly takes it back.
At dinner Eun-tak picks up her steak knife and waves it in front of Shin, calling it a sword. He backs away, and she enjoys teasing him. He brings up his sword and tells her not to misunderstand, and asks her what his sword looks like.
Eun-tak guesses that he’s doubting her and stabs her steak for emphasis. She says the hilt has a tiger on it, and Shin says proudly that it’s a white tiger and it’s super cool. Well I guess that takes care of that doubt.
Eun-tak says she did some reading about him, but nowhere does it say anything about that sword of his. She asks how it got to be there—did he stab himself, or was it someone else? “Someone I never thought would do so,” he answers.
She withdraws the question, realizing that it’s a painful story, and then asks how old he is. He says he’s 939, and she feels bad for asking that too, since it’s another sad story. She figures it’s nice to have a long life and not age though, and he asks if she’d like to live a long time, “Even if you stop in place and everything passes by you?” “You’d be there,” she points out, “You’d still be there, so I think it would be nice to live a long time.” The answer surprises him.
As they go for a walk, Eun-tak says he seems cheerful for someone who’s lived so long, and Shin says he can’t very well be sad all the time, for a thousand years. He calls himself a strong goblin who accepts his fate and lives well, and she chuckles at that.
He figures that there’s no such thing as ten-thousand-year-old sadness, or ten-thousand-year-old love either, hence no reason to be sad for a thousand years straight. But Eun-tak says she thinks there is, and he asks which—sadness or love? “A sad love,” she decides, and asks if he wants to wager on it.
She tells him all the things she learned about goblins in her “research,” like the fact that he gets lonely easily, is ill-tempered, quick to change his mind, and likes dank and dark places. He pouts and wants to hear some positive traits, and she says he gives humans blessings, and wrath, and doesn’t ever make a family for himself. She thinks that’s why he neglects her in the hotel, and he counters that it’s to give her a chance to think things over.
He tells her that she could still choose not to be the goblin’s bride, and Eun-tak gets hurt all over again, thinking that he doesn’t want her to be his bride. She asks if maybe he has another woman lined up, or dislikes her so much that he’d rather have no bride than her. “I’ll just pull the sword out and prove that I’m the bride then!” she declares, and reaches for it. Ack, no!
Shin jumps back in alarm and she chases him around and around, and demands gold with his goblin club instead then. He says he doesn’t have a club, which she finds suspicious since all goblins have one, so he reaches his hand into the fountain behind him… and a sword materializes in his hand. Ah, so that’s how he does it.
She’s so thoroughly impressed at his coolness that he gets all puffed up like a giant dork, and he explains that the sword is his club. They get into a cute water fight at the fountain, and she gets annoyed when he keeps poofing away just out of reach. She asks how come she doesn’t have any powers like him, thinking it unfair. She wishes she could make gold appear and asks him to do it, and he lies that he can’t.
Eun-tak says she has something to do because she doesn’t know when she’ll ever be back here, and leaves him with a book of poems to read called The Stars Might Take Your Pain Away. She goes to the hotel to write a letter, and sends it down the mail chute, hoping that it gets delivered.
Shin reads the book of poems and sees that Eun-tak lovingly transcribed her favorite ones, and when he sees her calling out to him from across the street, smiling so brightly, he thinks of one of the poems and begins to recite it in voiceover.
As she crosses the street, Eun-tak notices the yellow paint in the crosswalk turn to orange whenever she steps on it, and he smiles to watch her light up and run to him.
He has flashes of dying in that field a thousand years ago, then Eun-tak smiling back at him. She runs up and asks if he made that red carpet crosswalk just for her, but he’s still lost in thought over the poem as he looks up at her, mesmerized. A single maple leaf falls on the page.
“The Physics of Love”
by Kim In-yook
The size of a mass is not proportional to its volume
That little girl as small as a violet
That little girl that flutters like a flower petal
Pulls me with a mass greater than the Earth
In a moment, I
Like Newton’s apple
Mercilessly rolled and fell on her
With a thud, with a thud thud
From the sky to the ground
Continued to swing dizzyingly like a pendulum
It was first love
It’s nice to finally get some truthy confessions from the goblin, never mind that it takes an ill-advised cocktail of sedatives and liquor to get him there. I did crack up to see that the goblin’s changing moods have been reduced to modern-day bipolar disorder, which is actually pretty fitting once we see his mood swings, complete with changing weather forecast. I could’ve watched that for days. But then we get the complete flipside of the goblin when he’s with that boy in Paris who grew up to be a good man, and when I saw the goblin’s deep respect for humankind and a life well-lived, it reminded me again of how much he’s lived through, and how much his humanity is a part of him, despite being a god.
I didn’t expect him to be so hesitant about death from the start, namely because he’s been searching for his bride his whole long life, which made me think he was desperate to be rid of this mortal coil. But I found it so endearing that he was scared and doubtful from the start, and debating the pros and cons of staying alive the minute that the bride became a reality within reach. And of course it’s all the funnier when you give him a grim reaper as a sounding board, making the goblin seem petty for wanting a little more out of life. I just love this bizarre combination of real gravitas, fake gravitas, neuroses, ego, and childishness in the goblin, who somehow makes it believable that he was once a war god who spends his days punishing evil humans, but is more sensitive than a high school girl and cares a great deal what other people think of him. He seems human in so many ways that it seems natural for him to want to live, and I’m saddened every time we’re told that he’d wanted to die for centuries.
Obviously love will change that, which is the point, but I like that he’s conflicted already and that he’s actually a well-adjusted goblin, like he said, who lives well and has pretty normal reservations about dying. I thought that Eun-tak might have more of an uphill battle to convince him to live—she still might, given his moodiness—but today we already saw the stirrings of first love, which makes me think he might just choose to live a little longer all on his own. I mean, what’s an eternity with a giant sword through your heart, right? Speaking of which, I’m glad the show finally made it clear that the sword stuck in his heart isn’t he same one he uses to smite people and summon gold with. We still need to know so many more rules, and I sincerely hope they’re not going to wait until the last minute to give us the complete picture in drips and drabs. We could be angsting with you if we knew all the rules! Just sayin’!
I’m warming to Eun-tak’s character, who’s always been easy to like, but often hard to take seriously. But the more we see her through Shin’s eyes, the more she becomes lovable and thoughtful, and her brightness in and of itself becomes something to admire. It’s almost too simple that the sunny character is the perfect foil for the gloomy one, but when we see just how much sunshine she brings into his life, written all over his face like that, it’s hard not to think that there’s something magical about the marriage of darkness and light, sadness and love.
- The Lonely Shining Goblin: Episode 3
- The Lonely Shining Goblin: Episode 2
- The Lonely Shining Goblin: Episode 1
- Love in the time of immortality in the Goblin
- Food fights and cuddling in posters for The Lonely Shining Goblin
- The otherworldly couples of The Lonely Shining Goblin
- The Lonely, Shining Goblin goes from ancient warrior to modern man
- The odd roommates and seductive chicken shop owner of The Goblin
- The fateful rainy day when the Goblin meets his bride