Hwayugi: Episode 10
Our latest plot turn necessitates a change in relationships, and there’s a lot of sussing out, dancing around denial, and self-protective lies going on as people work out how they feel. It makes for an ever-shifting set of dynamics, and cracks start to form amidst all that shifting around. Thank goodness for that!
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Sun-mi dreams that she and Oh-gong are back at that church, where she tells him that she heard a bell that made her think they might be a fated match: “But now I know it will never happen.”
She lies unconscious on the floor where her body dropped when the book demon took her soul. Slowly she comes to, and Mawang asks what happened.
Sun-mi explains how the book demon offered to take away her unhappy child self, and Mawang supposes that’s how she stole Sam-jang’s powers from her. Sun-mi’s startled to realize that she is now completely ordinary, and Mawang tells her that they’ll have no need to meet again.
To her face, Mawang congratulates Sun-mi on getting what she wanted, but to Secretary Ma he’s grim about what this means. Not only is Sun-mi no longer the monk, her contract with Oh-gong has been transferred to the demon.
Oh-gong discovers this as well, as he talks to the demon in her library lair. She tells him that she is the new master of the bracelet, and that his heart will now love her. Oh-gong mutters, “Dammit. I can’t hold back any longer.”
Mawang consults with Patriarch, speculating that the bracelet’s powers have been conferred to the book demon. Patriarch isn’t so sure, since they don’t know whether the bracelet was activated by Sam-jang the monk or Sun-mi the human. Mawang doesn’t think Sun-mi would have the ability to do that, but Patriarch says that only Oh-gong will know whom he loves.
We get the answer soon enough: Oh-gong looms over a frightened book demon and tells her she isn’t the bracelet’s master. Aha! He says if she were, she’d seem so beautiful in his eyes that he’d find it aggravating, but instead he feels irritated seeing her smile.
The demon warns that he won’t be able to destroy her because she still possesses that contract (to protect her). But Oh-gong scoffs that he’s a terrible guy who wouldn’t blink at breaking a measly contract (particularly since the bracelet doesn’t work with her).
She warns that he won’t be able to find the book containing Sun-mi’s soul: “If she doesn’t want it to happen, you’ll never find it.” Sun-mi asked the demon to take away her special ability—would she be happy if that were returned?
Oh-gong says she wouldn’t be, but he’s not here to find that book—why would he let go of this chance to break the contract? She’s shocked to hear it, but Oh-gong replies that he didn’t like her calling herself the bracelet’s new master, because that belongs to only one person.
He tells the demon he spared her life rather than killing her, and instructs her to hide that book well and not call for him. The book demon wonders shakily why she was able to gain the contract and powers from Sun-mi, but not her hold over the bracelet.
In the outer room of the library, Frosty finishes looking through the books and sees that none of the children’s souls are kept here. He asks the little girl ghost how she escaped her book, but without Oh-gong here, she won’t talk.
Politician Kang Dae-sung freaks out when Buja keels over in his arms, and takes her to a stairwell. He sweats bullets upon checking her pulse and finding that she’s dead. For a dude who barely acted guilty when he was, he sure is feeling awfully guilty when he isn’t.
He makes a call and gives his location, telling the person to hurry here. But when he turns around, Buja’s body is suddenly gone. Dun dun dun! All she’s left behind is one glove.
PK looks around the parking lot for Buja, while Dragon Prince Alice tags along and asks to join in on their evening plans. He rejects her flatly and starts to call Buja, only to hear her phone ringing nearby.
He finds her slumped next to his van, looking like death (er, more deathly than usual), and she tells him that something is wrong. Dragon Prince notes that she’s rotted more too, judging from the smell that’s returned.
Sun-mi returns to the real estate office, and Han-joo (who helped the boy escape) wonders how she knew to go to save him. He says that Sun-mi seems like a special person, but she answers that she won’t be anymore. Han-joo asks what her bodyguard was doing, since he wasn’t there to help her, and Sun-mi wonders the same. In the past he’d come even when she hadn’t called him, but now he’s nowhere to be seen.
She returns to her empty home, her newfound ordinary status weighing heavily on her mind. She calls Oh-gong’s name aloud, then again more loudly, looking around half-hopefully for Oh-gong to appear. But he doesn’t.
Mawang drops in on the book demon to propose an arrangement with the new owner of Sam-jang’s abilities, presenting her with a contract for Lucifer Entertainment.
Sun-mi goes to see Oh-gong at home, who greets her in an offhand manner, congratulating her on becoming ordinary. She asks if he truly won’t protect her anymore, and he says she won’t need it since she’s safe from demons now, then wishes her a nice, normal life. Agh, are you faking, Monkey? I don’t know if that’s sweet or aggravating.
Sun-mi presses, “Do you not love me anymore?” Oh-gong answers blandly, “Maybe? You don’t seem all that pretty to me.”
Hurt, Sun-mi says that’s good and that she’ll have no reason to see him anymore. Oh-gong keeps his back turned as she leaves, though his hand clenches tightly.
Mawang is dumbfounded to hear from the book demon that the bracelet’s hold did not transfer to her. Back at his house, Oh-gong struggles with the pain of Sun-mi leaving and even sheds a tear. He admits to CEO Sa that he almost broke at the last second and begged her to stay, but managed to hold firm.
CEO Sa encourages him to keep strong, because this is his chance to free himself of the contract. Oh-gong agrees, saying, “All I have to do is resist this love.” Famous last words.
CEO Sa doesn’t suppose Mawang will let Oh-gong out of his contract with him (to amass points), but Oh-gong says he’ll have to appeal to him with sincerity.
Oh-gong asks if Sun-mi asked about him, and is disappointed to hear she left straightaway: “She must really not love me at all.” CEO Sa starts to say more, but Oh-gong cuts him off, saying, “Don’t talk about her. If it hurts more, I won’t be able to hold back.”
So CEO Sa doesn’t tell him of the tears he saw her wiping away as she’d left, and agrees not to mention her again.
Mawang visits Sun-mi using the excuse they still have a contract in place, and fishes for information about Oh-gong and the state of his bracelet. She says the bracelet must have released its hold, and now that she has no powers, she won’t be able to continue the contract with Mawang.
Mawang doesn’t let go that easily, however, and says that she still has some responsibility to honor the contract. She could pay a breach penalty, or give up her lifespan. He suggests they think about how a human can compensate for the rest of the contract terms.
Sun-mi asks what happens to Oh-gong, and Mawang replies that because he still wears the bracelet, he’ll be in love with someone. She asks if that’s the demon, and Mawang just says vaguely that maybe it could be.
Secretary Ma asks why Mawang didn’t tell her the truth, and Mawang snaps that he was annoyed with Sun-mi for complicating things. Secretary Ma wonders who the master of the bracelet is, and Mawang figures they’ll have to suss it out.
Mawang visits Oh-gong in his wine cellar and notices that he’s got a suitcase out. Oh-gong says he’s thinking of going away because it’s too cold here, bummed that the suitcase is too small to fit his car, his bathtub, and his monkey statute. Ha.
Testing for a reaction, Mawang asks what he’ll do about Sam-jang and the bracelet now. Oh-gong says they both know that Sun-mi isn’t the monk anymore, and tries not to react when Mawang says that she’ll be able to date and marry now. Could he just stand by and watch that?
Oh-gong admits, “I wouldn’t be able to, because I love her.” Mawang leans forward excitedly and urges Oh-gong to return things to how they were, insisting they’d die without each other.
Oh-gong concedes that if he decided to, he could stay with her and see her every day: “But Mawang, I’ve truly become strange. I want her to live as she wants, ordinary and happy. Even if it hurts my heart.” He finds it unbelievable, and yet here he is, packing his bags to leave for her sake, even though the thought rips his heart to shreds.
“You really are in love,” Mawang says sympathetically, blinking back his own tears. Oh-gong invites him to go away with him, but Mawang declines, though he’s happy to accept a bottle of liquor from Oh-gong’s collection.
Frosty remains haunted by the thought of all those children trapped in books, and tells Patriarch how he was unable to free them. He was only able to take the girl ghost who escaped her book, who now sits nearby and won’t explain how she fled. He adds that the humans who abuse and neglect children seem worse than the demon who collected their souls, and Patriarch notes that it’s those humans’ vices that create demons like that.
Frosty asks what happens to Sun-mi and Oh-gong now, and Patriarch seems fed up with it all. He says that if she wants to stop being the monk, and he wants to stop being the protector, they should all just go their separate ways already.
Sun-mi takes out the black bell and smiles to remember when she heard it ringing, thinking Oh-gong was her fated match.
Oh-gong, meanwhile, broods over how Sun-mi wished she’d never met him or become the monk. That makes him reach for his suitcase, resolving to leave… but then he also recalls that she said she was grateful for his love and he jerks away from it.
Sun-mi puts her bell away and tells herself she’s just ordinary Sun-mi now.
PK feeds Buja multiple energy balls, but they have no effect and her body continues to decay. PK assures her that she won’t rot away and disappear, saying that she’s his sibling now and that he’ll find another way.
He’s warm and calm in the face of Buja’s worry, but he shows his fear to Secretary Ma when she catches him trying to steal more energy balls. It’s now that he hears of Sun-mi returning to normalcy, and how that means Buja will return to her pre-awakened state—that is to say, a corpse.
Moreover, if she rots for too long, she could turn into a demon. To prevent that, Secretary Ma states that they must burn her.
PK’s eyes glow red as he demands that Secretary Ma hand over more energy balls, threatening to ransack the building. Secretary Ma tells him there’s no way to prevent a zombie from decaying once Sam-jang’s powers are gone. She advises that Buja be left here so that Mawang can burn her up.
PK asks to be the one allowed to burn her, and Secretary Ma relents, though she warns him to take care of it quickly. But as PK leaves, his face hardens as he says, “This is all Sam-jang’s fault.”
Sun-mi and Han-joo arrive at a haunted building that has been unable to retain an owner for more than several months. It was so frightening that Sun-mi declined to check it out before, but today she’s here to test out “just how ordinary I am.” (Han-joo, freaking out: “What’s so ordinary about coming to a place like this?!”)
With her talisman umbrella out, Sun-mi steps inside, looking for signs of haunting. To her relief, she sees nothing, although she admits that the place does have a creepy vibe. She’s completely blind to the family of ghosts in the room who stare at her with malicious smiles, and tells Han-joo that they can stop seeking out haunted buildings from now on and be a regular real estate company. He’s thrilled to hear that, and happily follows Sun-mi out of the place, neither of them seeing the ghost they walk through.
Oh-gong’s moving plans continue, and CEO Sa completes packing his things. CEO Sa is surprised Mawang let Oh-gong go (from his point-amassing arrangement) without argument, but Oh-gong explains that Mawang is weak to love, and accepted his explanation that he was leaving for Sun-mi’s sake. CEO Sa supposes it’s because Mawang understands, having endured a thousand years for love’s sake.
Oh-gong says that Mawang’s tendency to assume that everyone is like him is a dangerous one, but CEO Sa counters that it’s just as dangerous to assume you’re different from everyone. He advises Oh-gong to make sure he packed everything, so that he won’t miss something important.
Mawang informs Sun-mi of Oh-gong’s plans to depart for a warmer country, and she’s dismayed to hear that he’ll be gone a good fifty years or so, even if Mawang calls that “a blink of the eye” for beings like them. Mawang is willing to void their contract since she has no powers now, if she tells him how she activated the bracelet; he wants to re-enable and continue using it on Oh-gong.
She asks if reactivating it would make Oh-gong fall in love with the demon lady, and Mawang says that’s the plan. She gets upset at the idea of the bracelet working exactly the same on someone else, but he says he doesn’t care as long as he can collect his points.
Sun-mi does care, however, and declines to illuminate him. She tells him to ask Oh-gong directly and stalks away.
Secretary Ma offers to torture Sun-mi for the answer, but Mawang advises her not to, saying that Oh-gong still loves Sun-mi. Mawang just wants to know how to get the bracelet active, and Secretary Ma offers to pump Summer Fairy for information.
Sun-mi returns to her office and finds Oh-gong waiting there for her. He says he left out a proper goodbye, and when she asks if he’s going far away, he asks rather hopefully if she means to ask him not to go. She says she won’t, and he notes the difference between her child self (who begged him not to leave her) and the adult version.
She tells him to make his goodbye to the bookseller demon and asks whether he’ll be doing with the new master of the bracelet what he did with her.
“You mean if I love her?” he asks. “Why, would you rather I didn’t? Are you clinging?” Say yessss. Do it.
But she dismisses him, saying she’s tired. He figures as much, considering she’s got a ghost clinging to her, and realizes from her reaction that she can’t see them anymore. He warns that evil ghosts will tire her out, and asks if she wants him to help. Gah, he’s so desperate to hear that she wants him to stay but she’s determined not to cave, so she tells him that normal people ignore what they can’t see, and she’ll do the same.
So finally, Oh-gong goes, grabbing his monkey doll on the way out. That’s when Han-joo enters with Jonathan, and Jonathan steps up to introduce himself, holding out a hand to Oh-gong. Oh-gong just sticks the monkey doll on his hand and waves it, glaring sullenly.
They push past him to join Sun-mi in her office, and Oh-gong ends up stationing little monkey Yook-gong in the window to spy. Ha!
As they chat and eat, Jonathan asks Sun-mi to see a musical together—and suddenly a coffee cup falls over. Sun-mi looks around the room, looking hopeful, and repeats Jonathan’s invitation to see the musical. Her cup spills over next, and out in the hallway, Oh-gong thanks the boy ghost who’d attached himself to Sun-mi.
Sun-mi hurriedly excuses herself, running outside in search of Oh-gong. He appears behind her, but looks disappointed when she says she came to say her goodbyes.
When she merely wishes him well and starts to walk away, he asks angrily, “After all I’ve done for you, all you have to say is ‘Thanks’? After all the pain my heart felt, it’s just ‘See you’? You don’t even try to hold on once, and just say goodbye?”
He asks if she’s okay with all that love he showered on her just ending, and she replies that it was fake, and that he’s glad that their contract is over. He flings that sentiment back at her, saying she must be happy to be ordinary now.
She says, “Yes, I am. Thanks to someone I became special and lived miserably, and now I feel peaceful and glad,” not looking at peace or glad at all.
Oh-gong congratulates her on becoming so insignificant that she’ll have no cause to call an almighty being like him, and tells her to be happy with other insignificant beings. Gah, why don’t you two stop and see that you’re saying exactly the opposite of what you mean! Oh-gong storms off, leaving her hurt.
PK goes to the General Store in search of a solution for Buja, and the owner’s grandson shows him a jar of preservatives to slow down her decay. But there’s no cure to stop the decaying entirely, and even the preservatives won’t be effective for long. The grandson makes an offhand comment about feeding her a live human, and in a flash PK is gone.
PK feeds a preservative pill to Buja, who knows she’ll turn into a demon if she decays much more and asks PK to burn her. He assures her that he’s found a way, then lies that he can’t even smell her decay that well (because Monkey beat him up so much) to make her feel better.
Then PK turns to the task of feeding Buja a live human, telling himself that it’s Sun-mi’s fault this happened, so this will be her responsibility. Aw, he’s so sweet(ly misguided).
While at a cafe with Jonathan, Sun-mi recognizes the boy walking in front of the window—it’s the boy she saved from the book demon, whose sister got taken. Jonathan sees her distraction and tells her she can go, but she says there’s nothing she can do.
He notices she doesn’t have her umbrella with her, which she used to carry around regardless of rain or shine. She says it wasn’t for the rain, and he remembers that she once used it to protect him. He couldn’t see anything, but understands that she pushed aside her fears to help him and says she was his hero.
Noting the boy outside, Jonathan says it seems the boy is feeling a rain that Jonathan can’t see.
So Jonathan steps aside so that Sun-mi can talk with the boy, who asks for her help in saying something to his sister. She disappoints him by saying that she doesn’t have those abilities anymore.
Frosty continues to stay up watching over the girl ghost, not wanting to go to sleep (and change his appearance) and leave the girl without a familiar face nearby. Aww, Frosty. He needs a drama of his own.
He asks Oh-gong to try talking to the girl while he steps out, and Oh-gong sing-songs his refusal in a child-like tone. But that gets the girl to look up and smile at him, and Frosty is encouraged (“Your level matches exactly”) and makes a quick exit.
Mawang visits the book demon to let her know how to activate the bracelet, then launches into his contract propos: First she’ll release all the captured children’s souls, then swear never to do that again. Then she can work under him amassing points, just as the Great Sage does.
But the book demon has no intention of letting the children go, firm in her belief that they’re happier in these fairy tales than in their miserable lives. Mawang points out that they can’t be reborn into new lives if their souls are trapped here, but she asks, “Why make them live another life in this hellish world? The children are happy there.”
That won’t do, and Mawang decides that he can’t work with this demon, who ought to be eliminated. He wishes he could return Sam-jang’s powers and have things back the way they were, and Secretary Ma adds that this would save Buja too.
This is the first he’s hearing of Buja, and although Secretary Ma assures him that PK is handling it, Mawang remarks that it could be dangerous.
PK waits for Sun-mi at her office, saying he’s here to take her to Buja. He drives them to the agency building and leads Sun-mi to the van, and Sun-mi doesn’t realize that inside, Buja has started to convulse and go red-eyed herself. Oh no, is she about to turn into a demon?
When he hears a screech of tires, PK realizes Mawang is on his way to stop them and urges Sun-mi inside the van. Mawang pulls up in front of the van, which begins to rock, and PK blocks his path, saying that Sun-mi is no longer the monk and thus not Mawang’s obligation to protect.
He insists that Buja has to eat a human to live, but Mawang growls that that just ensures that Buja will become a demon.
A scream sounds from the van, and the shaking stops. Mawang approaches cautiously and opens the door…
And finds Buja cradles in Sun-mi’s arms, back to her (non-evil) self. Buja apologizes to Sun-mi, who holds her comfortingly.
The relocate inside the agency, where Mawang fills Sun-mi in on the situation. She’s surprised to hear that the book demon has no intention of letting the children free, and also that Mawang has no intention of defeating her—he’s content to let Oh-gong protect the demon, whom he’ll use for points. Moreover, he found out how to activate the bracelet without Sun-mi’s help.
Sun-mi is appalled, but Mawang tells her she has no business interfering.
Oh-gong bonds with the ghost girl (over dinosaurs, of course), and then asks how she escaped from the book. She asks for something in return, and requests that he protect her brother. It makes him remember how Sun-mi asked for his protection once, and he explains how he abandoned that girl because he found her request annoying.
“I regret that,” he says. “This time, should I do a proper job of protecting?”
Mawang’s conversation with Sun-mi was, of course, designed to manipulate her into going to the book demon of her own accord—that’s the only way to recover her soul. The demon had revealed the simple answer: “If they want it themselves, the children can always exit.”
Sure enough, Sun-mi arrives at the library and says that she’s here to find herself. The demon tells her to go ahead.
When Oh-gong arrives at the library, he finds Sun-mi searching through books. She guesses that he came to help her and thanks him, admitting that she was sad at the thought that wouldn’t come to her anymore. “I’m happy you came,” she says. “Now you’re mine.”
She leans in to kiss him, but Oh-gong intervenes before she makes contact. He tells her he’s familiar with her tricks, and shoves her aside—it’s the book demon, disguised as Sun-mi.
She’s disappointed that her attempt to hypnotize him failed, since she wanted to try out the method Mawang tipped her off to.
Oh-gong asks where Sun-mi is, and the demon leads him to the table where she sleeps next to the book her soul is trapped in—Peter Pan.
The demon states that the souls aren’t trapped in the books. Oh-gong points out that she entranced the children to get them into the book, scoffing at her insistence that she was saving the kids from a hellish life.
But Oh-gong tells her that the escaped ghost asked him to protect her brother so that he would never get trapped here. “Saving them is protecting them so they can live,” he declares. “You’re just a monster who stole away their chance to live. And that girl was able to leave the book by realizing you’re a monster.”
The demon insists she’s not an evil monster, but Oh-gong says her biggest problem is not realizing that she is. The demon looks genuinely upset at this, and she screams, “I’m not a bad demon! I love the children!”
Poof. The demon vaporizes into a shower of sparks, and the shelved books begin to glow with the souls trapped within. The souls float into the air, then disappear.
Sun-mi remains sleeping at the table, and Oh-gong tells her, “Come back.”
In a dream, Adult Sun-mi comes upon Child Sun-mi in a classroom and asks the child to come with her: “That trickster fairy is very late, but came to protect us. So you won’t be afraid or alone anymore.” She holds out a hand, and her child self takes it.
Sun-mi wakes and sees Oh-gong sitting in front of her. “I came back because I wanted to,” she tells him. He apologizes, but she tells him it’s okay.
Han-joo checks in on the girl’s brother that night, finding him cold and hungry. The boy says that he wants to follow his sister to where she went, but Han-joo tells him that those thoughts would make his sister sad.
He wipes away the boy’s tears and promises to help him: “I can’t lie and say I’ll do everything for you like a mom and dad. But grown-ups are going to help you grow up bravely.”
The boy starts to cry, and as Han-joo comforts him, a little ball of light—his sister’s soul—floats nearby before dispersing.
Buja awakens to find her body back to its healthier state, and Mawang’s body receives a jolt at the return of Sam-jang’s blood to his system. “Sam-jang has returned!” he exults, while twitching uncontrollably.
Sun-mi offers to cut herself to see if she really is Sam-jang again, but Oh-gong tells her he’s tired from dealing with the book demon. Sun-mi asks if it’s really possible for the bracelet to change masters, and he asks, “Did you doubt that? Did you worry? Did you feel clingy?”
“A little,” she admits. “It made me feel bad.”
Oh-gong smiles to hear it, saying, “Of course you should have. It’s yours. Why act like it didn’t bother you, making me feel bad? You’re the one master of my bracelet, Jin Sun-mi.”
She smiles too, and says, “Yes, I’m the only one who can call you.”
He gets up to go, but Sun-mi grabs his arm and asks, “Don’t we have to reactivate the bracelet?” Pwahaha! Yes, reactivate away! “This time, it won’t be a disastrous omen,” she says. She musters up her nerve, and then plants a kiss on him.
He barely has time to react before it’s over, and Sun-mi says, “Activated.”
Oh-gong tells her that won’t do it, and moves in for a proper kiss. And this time, more bells ring.
Aw, yay, and finally! I understood why both Oh-gong and Sun-mi pushed each other away today, but am relieved that it ended with a truthful admission, because I’ve been itching for some honesty for ages and it’s such sweet payoff to finally get it. And because it coincides with the loss of Sam-jang-ness, for once Sun-mi can have some certainty as to the sincerity of Oh-gong’s feelings. Today it was patently clear that his love was genuine, no matter how it initially got started, and I think by this point (after all this back-and-forth-ing) I needed that confirmation too.
More than the romantic acceptance, though, it was poignant to see Sun-mi get what she wanted before choosing to retake her special powers back. It’s not a perfectly poetic scenario where she didn’t realize she missed her powers until she lost them—in either case, the powers are a burden and a complication. They make Sun-mi’s life dark and lonely, and I don’t think the show is telling us she’s suddenly happy to be special. But I’m glad that she was given the choice to weigh the options and walk back into her fate.
Making it particularly meaningful is that while Oh-gong was the cause of her taking up Sam-jang’s fate both times, the circumstances are vastly different now. The first time she was tricked into it and rightfully felt betrayed when she learned that helping him is what gave her this unwanted life. This time, it felt like the idea that took her to the tipping point was Mawang’s cavalier attitude about Oh-gong being subjected to being a demon’s lackey. And I was super relieved that she admitted that it bothered her to think he’d love someone else, because Oh-gong has been studying her for the slightest sign, ready to cave the moment she sends the signal. I’ve been dying for that signal.
As a side story, I found PK’s devotion to Buja especially touching today; he just seems so sincere when he’s with her, and she’s got that wide-open, pure-eyed personality that makes their interactions really sweet. I know he keeps calling referring to her has a sibling where I want it to be romantic, but I suppose even if that dynamic didn’t shift, I would still find it gratifying to watch his protectiveness and devotion grow, given how normally he’s so reckless and devil-may-care. Surely there’ll be a way to give our Pig and Zombie a happy ending, no?
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