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Hwayugi: Episode 5

With romantic feelings growing, magic-induced or not, the question becomes more pressing of what is real and what isn’t, and if something that has its roots in falseness still has value. I’m not sure I know the answer to that, and it’s too bad for our perplexed heroine that she doesn’t either.

 
EPISODE 5 RECAP

Mawang donates a valuable 1930s film to a museum and brushes aside the praise with false modesty (while basking in it internally). It’s another good deed in his efforts to amass points toward immortality, and he enjoys the attention it brings him.

As he and Secretary Ma leave the meeting, they see employees moving a display for a famous general’s sword, and Secretary Ma calls the hero an outstanding person for saving his country. Mawang points out that it’s not the general who saved the country, but the ghost trailing the exhibit—a woman who greets Mawang with a bow.

Secretary Ma supposes that if people knew that it was a nameless woman who saved the country and not the lauded general, people wouldn’t be so precious about that sword. Mawang says that there are a lot of historical artifacts here whose true stories will differ from what is widely believed.

He supposes that some artifacts may hide terrible secrets, and in a nearby room, the ghost of a young girl in a kimono looks up and smirks.

Sun-mi and Han-joo arrive at a motel whose owner has been so spooked by strange happenings that he’s put the place up for sale. Han-joo explains that the rumors involve unsettling happenings that interrupt couples in the throes of passion.

As they look around, Oh-gong appears and joins them, making himself comfortable in the cushy room. Han-joo wonders why Oh-gong has been following them around recently, still put out from when Oh-gong rudely told him to get lost (not knowing he was in danger of a zombie attack).

Sun-mi says that Oh-gong is protecting her, and Han-joo assumes her agency assigned her a bodyguard. Then as Oh-gong plays with various amenities, Han-joo wonders if they gave her a deficient bodyguard since she’s not famous yet, haha.

When Han-joo steps aside to meet the owner, Oh-gong admires the comforts of the room and wishes he could live here. Sun-mi snaps that this place isn’t for living in, so he asks innocently what it’s used for, bouncing on the bed and saying he’ll have to sleep here tonight.

Sun-mi calls him out for pretending he isn’t being suggestive and asks if it doesn’t embarrass him to talk like this. Oh-gong says it does embarrass him, but whips out the bracelet and says he can’t help it because he loves her. “It turns out love is like that,” he shrugs. “So what if I’m a little embarrassed, when I could sleep here tonight with you?”

Sun-mi snaps that she’s embarrassed by all his love talk, just as an idea hits. Suddenly dropping the annoyance, she approaches Oh-gong, leans in close, and grabs his shoulders while he gulps at the change in attitude.

She tells him that lovemaking is what draws the demon out, but Oh-gong points out that they’ll need a stronger display than this, indicating the bed. So Sun-mi timidly pushes him down and lies down next to him, and Oh-gong inches closer, asking what they do if the monster doesn’t appear. She gets shy as he leans his face toward hers, and closes her eyes.

Just then the demon pops up, and Oh-gong hilariously tries to motion it away so he can kiss Sun-mi. The demon refuses, so Oh-gong tells Sun-mi to wait just a moment and pops up, quickly defeats the demon, and then returns to bed saying that there’s more than one demon and they ought to continue.

Sun-mi sees through the ruse, and Oh-gong stamps his feet in disappointment, crushing a tissue box. Then he notices a hole in the box—inside which is a tiny camera, pointed at the bed. So it was the dirty greed of the filmer (who shot unsuspecting couples and sold the videos) that drew the demon here.

Han-joo returns with the motel owner, and when the man sees Sun-mi holding up the hidden camera, he bolts. Sun-mi orders Han-joo to catch him, and Oh-gong blows a bit of magic dust that throws Han-joo into a tackle.

Afterward, Sun-mi says hopefully that given the way they caught both the bad demon and the bad human today, it should be possible for her to prevent the worldwide disaster she saw in the jar of misfortunes. Oh-gong doesn’t much care about the bigger picture and says he only cares about protecting her because he loves her. Holding up his bracelet again, he says he’s not concerned with the things she loves, just that he loves her at all.

That reminder deflates her spirits a bit, and she dismisses him, intending to go for a walk enjoying the air and her favorite music. Oh-gong says that she ought to enjoy the walk more with him at her side, but at her non-response, he realizes that’s not true. She points out that he may love her, but she doesn’t return the sentiment.

Now his mood is soured too, and he tells her to go off alone, taking the opposite direction. Seeing Oh-gong leaving makes her remember his words about how he’ll eventually leave and she’ll be alone again, and she tells herself to pull it together.

That night at the museum, a security guard finds his way to an ornate vanity chest and mirror. He senses a presence behind him, and turns to see the little girl in the red kimono. In Japanese, she asks if he’s trying to find out who she is and declares that nobody can know, but he doesn’t understand her words.

She vanishes into a cloud of smoke, and the guard doesn’t see her flitting by as he walks the hallways. Suddenly, she reappears and zooms up to his face, frightening him badly with her death glare.

Meanwhile, Mawang is pleased to see that he’s made the front page of a portal site for being awarded a presidential medal for the rare film donation. Heh, I love how he pretends he doesn’t love being praised while clearly loving every second of it. Secretary Ma offers to alert the group chat room of his achievement, but tells her not to, since they’ll have seen the news online.

When he arrives at home, the security guard congratulates him on the medal and also gently chides him for taking up all the visitor parking spots—there are multiple cars parked, all apparently here for him. The guard suggests that they’re here to congratulate him on his medal.

Mawang carries in a couple packages addressed to zombie girl Buja (grumbling at her home shopping fixation), but today he’s too happy anticipating a celebratory party to be annoyed at little things.

But it turns out Buja only cares about her packages, which litter the living room, and PK’s bottle of champagne is meant for himself. Mawang tries to bring up his medal in conversation, but Buja and PK are more interested in her purchases and ignore him.

Mawang finds CEO Sa cooking up a storm in the kitchen—all side dishes for Oh-gong. CEO Sa offers to make Mawang his favorite dishes too, but Mawang grumpily declines, and then is put out even more when CEO Sa accepts his answer right away.

Next he spots Oh-gong using up Mawang’s skincare and launches into a lecture on house rules. Oh-gong barely listens, but he does congratulate Mawang on his award, and suddenly Mawang is all generosity, even showing Oh-gong how to use his products.

Oh-gong is in a lousy mood because Sun-mi doesn’t like him. Mawang points out that he already knew that, but Oh-gong says he didn’t realize that one-sided love would hurt so much: “It feels like I’m always on the losing end, which sucks.”

Sun-mi drops by the bar, where Summer Fairy suggests she call Oh-gong for company. Sun-mi declines that idea, since he’d only come because the bracelet forced him to; his feelings aren’t real.

Summer Fairy wisely notes, “You’re disappointed that it’s not real.” Sun-mi denies it, saying merely that she’d be a fool for taking seriously something that’s fake.

“But you shouldn’t ignore it, either,” Summer Fairy tells her. “In any case, he loves you, and will feel pain because of it. It will hurt for real.”

The next day, Oh-gong visits Frosty’s ice cream stand and learns that Sun-mi visited the bar last night, and is glad to have another place to wait in hopes of running into her. When he spots a group of fangirls huddling in the cold, hoping to glimpse PK here, he scoffs at their foolishness.

Frosty, on the other hand, feels sorry for them and says they wait because they love PK, even though PK finds it burdensome. Feeling the parallel, Oh-gong thinks PK should like being followed around out of love, rather than finding it burdensome. Oh-gong decides not to take ice cream to Sun-mi after all, insisting that he won’t put himself out to give her gifts or seem pathetic. “Why would I give her things like this?” he scoffs.

“Because you love her,” Frosty replies. Oh-gong asks if he truly seems like those fangirls, and Frosty avoids his gaze. “Even so, I’m the Great Sage, Equal to Heaven—shouldn’t I be a little different?” Oh-gong asks desperately.

The fangirls erupt into squeals when PK arrives, and Oh-gong realizes with horror that he’s just like them and swears.

At the real estate office, Han-joo informs Sun-mi that a mountain of hidden camera files were uncovered at that motel. He puffs up at the thought that he took down a criminal and brags about how he was so intent on catching him that his body flew of its own accord.

Then he comments that her bodyguard sure didn’t do much to protect her and suggests she request a replacement. Sun-mi says she’s not in a position to, adding that the bodyguard isn’t with her of his own volition. Han-joo teases that she’s just susceptible to his pretty face, hee.

Sun-mi steps into her office to find an ice cream bag floating in the air, controlled by a dour-looking Oh-gong. He takes issue to Han-joo wanting him replaced and barks that she should replace Han-joo instead. Sun-mi points out that she’s worked with Han-joo much longer than Oh-gong, who isn’t in a position to demand things.

“So you don’t like me, but Han-joo is valuable?” Oh-gong complains. Sun-mi opens the ice cream container and points out that Han-joo would know she doesn’t like peanuts in her ice cream. Oh-gong asks if she likes Han-joo, and Sun-mi reminds him that he doesn’t care about what she likes.

“Then if I cared about what you liked, would you tell me?” he asks. “Even if I tell you I love you, to you they’re just bothersome words, and no matter how I hurt, you don’t care. I realized that.”

Sun-mi remembers Summer Fairy’s advice, and Oh-gong tells her he’ll care from now on, asking for things she likes. He notes her preference for strawberry ice cream and FT Island (ha), to which he comments, “I thought you liked pretty faces, but they aren’t.”

Oh-gong lights up when Sun-mi says she likes the color green, because he likes it too. He finally makes the connection that it’s important to know what she likes, and asks what else there is.

Sun-mi stares into his face for long moments, and her unspoken answer seems to be “you.” But she shakes it aside and lies that she can’t think of anything right now.

Arriving home, Mawang is pleased at the lotus-scented candles that Buja burned to cover up her zombie stink. She says that Oh-gong advised her to do it because Mawang has a sensitive nose, which is surprisingly thoughtful of him.

Mawang notices she’s watching his audition show and approves of the choice. Buja says that the show made her recall something, and sets out to demonstrate a dance. It’s partly zombie lolling, but also partly trained dance moves, and Mawang is impressed.

Unfortunately, she gets stuck in the splits after dislocating a joint, and Mawang is forced to drag her out in a bag to his car. Once again the security guard catches him, so Mawang exposes his armpits and flaps them in the guard’s direction, sending him running off holding his nose.

Mawang takes her to the Lucifer building and feeds her another energy ball, harvested from the 2002 World Cup, which should help her recall some of her memories from before she died.

He accidentally opens his wall panel revealing the painting of his beloved, and explains that she is an immortal who fell to the human world as punishment for a sin. Asked what punishment that is, Mawang says, “Living in misery, and dying in pain. Having to live a cruel life over and over.”

Note: The show hasn’t identified her yet, but we can call her Princess Iron Fan now; it seems the show expects us to draw that conclusion. In the original story, Princess Iron Fan is Bull Demon King’s wife, whom Monkey tricked in an effort to take her magical fan.

Mawang thinks back to her being shot in her Occupation lifetime. In Fairy’s bar, Patriarch fills in the rest: That was the last time she was seen, but she’s destined to live miserably forever. The only thing Mawang can do to help is become an immortal and break the cycle of rebirth. It should be possible, Patriarch says, so long as Oh-gong doesn’t interfere. Well, that’s a big if!

Summer Fairy finds it promising that Oh-gong has been quiet in recent days because of the bracelet. Patriarch says that makes him nervous, because Oh-gong is not one to remain quiet.

At home, Oh-gong notices that Buja’s voice is sounding perkier, which she attributes to the energy ball. Noting that Mawang shared that energy with her, Oh-gong says, “We should share things and live harmoniously together.” Why do I feel like whatever he’s planning, Mawang won’t consider sharing?

Secretary Ma meets with the museum director regarding the film donation and museum display. She suggests that Mawang’s contribution be displayed in a different area, indicating the area containing the Japanese girl’s vanity.

The director explains that the spot is reserved for a different display; the vanity was donated by the family of a well-known independence fighter and founder of a national foundation. Secretary Ma accepts this, and when she steps aside, another employee nervously brings up the rumors swirling online regarding that foundation—that it was actually in support of Japanese colonialism.

The director warns him to shush, dismissing the rumors of a ghost. But he peers into the mirror curiously… and glimpses that Japanese girl in the glass. When he whirls around, she’s gone. Ack!

Suddenly she reappears, and asks angrily if he’s trying to find out who she is. She declares that anybody who finds out her identity must be done away with. Overcome with shock, the director faints.

Secretary Ma returns and orders the girl to stop, then wonders why a Japanese ghost would come out of an artifact belonging to a Korean independence fighter. The girl’s face hardens as she glares, then vanishes.

Secretary Ma walks through the museum halls in search of the child, and arrives in the screening room where the donated film plays. The girl appears onscreen, and Secretary Ma realizes she’s escaped into the film.

Secretary Ma takes the film reel back to Mawang and reports what happened. With the film scheduled to screen tomorrow, he can’t have the ghost girl popping up unexpectedly, and decides to go inside to get her himself, and to take Sun-mi with him.

Sun-mi and Oh-gong are, at the moment, at a different theater to catch one of her favorite movies (Won Bin’s Ajusshi). There’s some time before the movie starts, so she asks if Oh-gong wants to watch anything else, and he gravitates to a risque poster, saying that fewer clothes means a warmer movie. Psh. (It’s Jung Woo-sung’s Scarlet Innocence.)

But they get called over by Mawang then, and head to Lucifer Entertainment (with plenty of grumbling from Oh-gong). Sun-mi suggests canceling the screening and burning the reel, but Mawang points out how terrible it would look for him to donate something, get a medal for it, and then burn it to a crisp.

Sun-mi agrees to enter the film to catch the ghost, but tells Oh-gong to stay out of it. She reminds Mawang that he’d trapped “our Oh-gongie” last time, so this time she wants Mawang to accompany her.

Surprised but pleased, Oh-gong tells her to be sure to be done within an hour so they can watch their movie.

With that, the reel is set up and the two enter the film world of 1930s Gyeongseong (now Seoul). Watching from the screening room, Secretary Ma says they’ll have to find the ghost within the hourlong screening time, and Oh-gong says confidently that they will, since “our Sam-jangie” has to see a movie with him.

Inside the picture, Mawang cautions Sun-mi to be careful not to damage the film while they’re here, and she pauses in front of a movie poster. He offers to stop by a theater, but she’s in a hurry to finish this task and Mawang notices that she seems quite into the idea of her movie date. She just says it’s because she likes that movie.

Referring to Secretary Ma’s crude drawing of the kimono ghost, Sun-mi deduces that the garment was pricey and suggests looking for a kimono shop. But as they wait for the trolley, Mawang recognizes someone across the street: Iron Fan. He sends Sun-mi on without him, telling her to call for Oh-gong if she encounters danger.

He loses sight of Iron Fan, but spots the matchbox on the ground that she left behind. He also confirms the date, which puts them a year before she died.

PK takes Buja to a practice studio to jog her memory of her past life, although she can’t recall much beyond a vague feeling of longing. PK steps out to get another energy ball, and as Buja looks around, a snippet from her past life flashes in her mind: her rehearsing a dance in a similar studio.

A girl enters the studio and wonders who Buja is, and Buja doesn’t quite know how to answer. She’s Alice, the girl who’d attracted the diet monster, and she snaps at Buja to leave and complains that she’s “annoyed to death.”

Temper piqued, Buja warns that saying things bug her “to death” could get her really dead. Alice just shoves her and orders her to leave.

Buja falls straight back to the ground, stiff as a board, eyes glassy. Alice worries that she’s dead, and runs up to PK when he joins them. Before he can say anything, Buja swings back to her feet without changing her rigid posture, floating up like a vampire.

Alice screams, and PK does the only thing he can think of and knocks her out with a blow to the neck. He chides Buja, who sniffs that Alice is “rude enough to anger a dead person.” Can’t really argue with that.

PK takes the unconscious Alice to Summer Fairy’s bar, deciding that they’ll just say they were drinking and made her memory spotty. Buja shares her memory of dancing in the studio, and PK offers to look up whether any dancers went missing.

Buja wonders why she died, and PK warns her that she was murdered and thus the answer won’t be pretty. Is she prepared to face the truth? The thought makes Buja teary-eyed, and she excuses herself for some air.

Summer Fairy tells PK that was mean of him, but he replies that sometimes coldness is needed.

Buja paces outside, telling herself not to cry. In the distance, she sees a man exiting a building, and it triggers a memory—he’s one of the hit men hired to dispose of her body. The man bows to a man in a car, then seats himself in the passenger seat, and Buja watches the car drive off.

Oh-gong takes a look at the haunted vanity and tries to puzzle out the relationship between the young girl and the elderly Korean lady in the display picture. This time, Secretary Ma notices the mole on the grandma’s cheek—which is awfully similar to the mole on the ghost girl’s face. If the girl lived to be a grandma, what’s the deal with the ghost?

In Gyeongseong, Sun-mi arrives at a large mansion, where a nanny chases around a young girl named Akiko (aha, our ghost). Sun-mi is mistaken for the daughter of Count Nakamura, who received a medal from the Japanese emperor, just as Akiko’s father did. The maid is proud of this fact, since it’s quite unusual for a Korean person to receive a medal from the emperor (though most Koreans wouldn’t consider that an honor).

Sun-mi is shown into a gathering of Japanese sympathizers. The sight fills Sun-mi with distaste, and she avoids joining the group by excusing herself to the bathroom. A girl goes running by, and Sun-mi starts to follow, calling Akiko’s name.

In the city, Iron Fan waits outside a club with a dagger hidden in a shaking hand. When a Japanese man called Boss arrives, Iron Fan lurches at him with dagger outthrust, though it gets deflected easily.

Iron Fan accuses him of killing her husband and child, then attacks a second time. Again, he blocks her and sends her flying into a cart. But before he can do more damage, Mawang appears and grabs the Boss by the throat, throwing him through the air.

The Boss’s men jump in to fight Mawang, but are no match for his strength or his superhuman powers. He flings them through the air one after another, and when they’re all downed, he turns to Iron Fan and extends a hand to her. Tentatively, she takes it.

In a cafe a short time later, Iron Fan asks if he knows her and warns him not to intervene: “I have to kill that bastard.” When she feels around for her matches, Mawang hands her the box he retrieved, then clasps her hand in his, pulling off the scarf she wrapped around her scrapes.

He gently rewraps her hand in his scarf and tells her, “In the end, you’ll kill that Japanese man. Then you’ll be chased, and be killed.”

“I know,” she says. “I’m doing this because I want to die anyway.” She tells him to drop by her shop later, then pulls her hand from his grasp and gets up to go. She pauses to look back at Mawang with a smile, but his expression is stricken as he watches her go.

In the mansion, Sun-mi comes upon an empty room containing that vanity chest, and stops to take a look. That’s when Akiko appears to tell her not to touch it, because she’s hidden her family’s treasures inside.

Akiko zooms up to block the chest, and Sun-mi asks why she’s pretending to be Japanese when she’s Korean. She demands Akiko’s real name, which angers the ghost, who growls, “Our family is no longer Korean!”

The girl calls her stupid and disappears, just as the telephone rings on the vanity. Sun-mi answers, and it’s Secretary Ma, telling her that the ghost isn’t actually the ghost of a dead person—it’s the soul of a living person. We see that the grandma from the museum display is indeed alive.

Secretary Ma instructs Sun-mi to meet Mawang where she entered the world, and Sun-mi heads outside. But as she walks away from the house, a gunshot rings out. Sun-mi freezes, struck.

Akiko stands with her family, pointing an accusing finger at Sun-mi. An officer aims a rifle at Sun-mi’s back.

Sun-mi falls to the ground.

In the screening room, the film comes to an end and clicks off. As Sun-mi lies on the ground, the world around her starts to go dark. With a smirk, Akiko’s spirit vanishes.

Sun-mi thinks, “This can’t happen. I have to leave. I have to see the movie I like… together…”

Through her blurred vision, she sees Oh-gong stepping into view toward her. He calls her name, but despite his orders to open her eyes, they slowly fall closed…

And then, suddenly, she snaps awake with a gasp.

She’s in a movie theater with Oh-gong, watching Ajusshi, an ice cream cone in hand. She wonders what happened, and Oh-gong simply says that he told her he’d give her all the things she liked. He points out the strawberry ice cream in her hand, the green dress she’s wearing, the movie: “…and me.”

Back at Lucifer Entertainment, Mawang explains to Secretary Ma how Oh-gong was able to save Sun-mi after she was shot. Oh-gong didn’t burn the film in this reality—he went into that world and burned that up.

Back in the film world, we see Oh-gong picking up Sun-mi’s prone body. The world had stood still as he’d carried her away, erupting into flames behind him.

“He burned the world in which Sam-jang was shot and died, which is how he was able to bring her out safely,” Mawang explains. “For her sake, Sohn Oh-gong destroyed one world.”

In the movie theater, Oh-gong watches Sun-mi watch the screen, and smiles to himself.

As for the destroyed film, it’ll be explained away as lost in a museum fire. Mawang thinks back to his encounter with Iron Fan, and how she’d invited him to visit her shop. But now he won’t be able to, he says forlornly.

Mawang arrives at the award ceremony to receive his medal, and is surprised to see another recipient arriving: the grandma formerly known as Akiko, now Kang Myung-ja, wheeled in by her grandson. Mawang grimaces in distaste.

It’s worth noting that the grandson is a familiar face—he’s the well-liked politician Buja recognized from the gym, suggesting that he may have something to do with her murder.

Later, Grandma Myung-ja looks at her medal, a sinister glint in her eye. She pulls out another medal from its box—the one her father was given by the Japanese emperor.

Then young Akiko appears in Grandma Myung-ja’s mirror, and granny spells it out in case we haven’t put it together: She was once Akiko from the family honored with a medal by the Japanese empire, but now she’s Kang Myung-ja, recipient of a medal of honor from the Korean government, and nobody will ever know she was once Akiko.

The hateful little girl points out, “But you know! Everyone who knows Akiko must disappear.” Oh shit. Well that’s what we call a fatal loophole.

Grandma Myung-ja gasps in horror as Akiko zooms up to her, and sometime later, she’s discovered dead in her wheelchair.

Han-joo is awarded a certificate of honor for capturing the criminal, and offers to treat Sun-mi to dinner. Sun-mi requests a raincheck since she has plans to see a movie tonight, and Han-joo tells her to have fun with her boyfriend.

Sun-mi says she doesn’t have one, but Han-joo names her bodyguard, saying the interest was obvious. Sun-mi concedes that he does like her, but Han-joo asks, “It wasn’t you who liked him? It looked like you liked him a lot.”

He figures Oh-gong must know this too since it was so evident, and Sun-mi worries, “That can’t happen.”

The thought puts a damper on Sun-mi’s mood, and she broods on her usual bench outside. She recalls Oh-gong describing falling for her as disastrous misfortune, and saying he’d leave her eventually because his love is fake.

She calls his name, and he appears before her with a smile. She says she doesn’t want to see a movie together after all, and he asks why.

“Because I like it,” Sun-mi replies. “I like being with you, who says he’ll do everything for me. You say you love me, and I think I’ll come to like you. But you’re fake. I’m such a fool that it’s painful.”

Since he said he’d do everything she liked, she tells him to never do what she hates. “I truly don’t want to like you,” she says. “Don’t ask me to like you.”

“If that’s what you want, I’ll do that,” he says.

When Mawang comes home that night, he’s pleased to find no coat on his bull statue, and lotus-scented candles filling the house. Oh-gong congratulates him on his medal and offers him a glass of his best wine.

Explaining that he has more to share, Oh-gong says that because of the bracelet, he feels pain—but so does Sun-mi. “Then shouldn’t you feel pain, too?” Oh-gong asks. Mawang looks at him quizzically, not quite understanding.

“Let’s share our pain,” Oh-gong says. It dawns on Mawang that Oh-gong has done something, and guesses that it was the wine. Oh-gong confirms that he put something in it: “Sam-jang’s blood.”

Mawang calls it a bluff, saying he’d be able to smell the monk’s blood anywhere. Oh-gong reveals that that’s why he filled the house with fragrant lotus-flower candles—which happen to be what Sam-jang’s blood smells like.

Mawang realizes he’s been tricked—and that the blood drop he’d saved in his ring is now gone. Mawang’s eyes flash red as his temper rages, and Oh-gong says that when Sun-mi arrives, he’ll be able to feel the full effects of not being able to have something he desperately wants.

The front door opens, and Sun-mi steps inside the house. The closer she gets, the more pain Mawang feels, trying to hold in his reaction, while Oh-gong grins devilishly.

COMMENTS

Muahaha, now this wasn’t a twist I saw coming, but it does seem exactly the clever and mean sort of thing I’d expect of the Monkey, binding the source of his predicament to the predicament himself. I don’t know if binding Mawang to Sun-mi does anything to help her, but I can see how it irked Oh-gong to be the only one suffering like this and gave him satisfaction to force Mawang to feel a bit of that struggle. I don’t know exactly how this shared pain will affect the dynamic going forward, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it changes things, since the team is really in it together now.

I thought this episode was quite good at advancing the relationship quagmire, because Sun-mi’s developing feelings certainly make things extra-murky and difficult for her and I found that really engaging as a dilemma. I didn’t really love the story device we used to get there, although my quibble is more of a tangential point; I just felt vaguely uneasy at the crudely painted anti-Japanese storyline. I don’t take issue with anti-Occupation sentiments in Occupation-era storylines, because that’s entirely believable and of its time, but I feel like the writers oversimplified the evil here. I could see Akiko’s motivation stemming from the desire to remain unknown, but grown-up Grandma kind of seems to be evil for no reason, and thus I didn’t find her that compelling (though I did love the stylish trip back to Gyeongseong).

I know the argument isn’t as simplistic as painting Japan as the source of all badness; the baseline argument is more that Koreans who turn their backs on their own nation to personally profit from siding with their oppressors are traitors of the highest order, which is a more nuanced and credible argument. But I would have liked a better depiction of evil in this story, although I don’t think the Hong sisters are particularly great at giving any of their supernatural forces much of a layered portrayal. That’s something that could really elevate their supernatural stories to be even better, because even though I’m finding this drama plenty entertaining, I feel like we could do more with the demons and ghosts than flitting them in and out of scenes. Not every demon has to have an emotional backstory, but I’d like some of them to! Or at least draw emotional threads out of our main characters’ storylines. Mostly I consider it a missed opportunity. I know, you can’t have everything.

I’m not quite sure the logic of Oh-gong’s rescue fully clicks with me, but I did like the display of fire, since I’d been wondering if fire would come into play at some point. (The title Hwayugi is a play on Seoyugi, which means Journey to the West; subbing hwa for west suggests a fire element.) I don’t know if this will be it for fire imagery, but I found it a vivid way to impress upon us how he literally set a world on fire to save his love from death. Even if that love is forced. Sorta, kinda, temporarily. Because that’s a line that’ll be blurred soon enough, if it isn’t already.

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Just as I was checking Viki to see if the subs are in... a recap is up! You are quick!

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And I write a comment before reading the recap. Thanks for the recap 😍

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“For her sake, Sohn Oh-gong destroyed one world.”
SQEEEEEEEALL, I MEAN COME ON. That much swoon is not allowed!
I love that Oh Gong realized he was a Sun-Mi fanboy hahaha. He now unwillingly sympathizes with fangirls.
And there was nothing "innocent" about the way he bounced on that bed, hmph. Innocent my ass.
They're starting to call each other "our" oh Gongie and "our" Sam Jangie, which is just adorable.
I really like the film worlds that they can go into, it's so vintage and pretty (does that make sense?).

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This drama is so good right now, Lee Seung Gi, for me at least is just hitting every note right at the moment.. actually everyone in the cast is on point!

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I completely agree. Seunggi is the reason I'm so excited about this drama because I know he won't disappoint. He's so THERE in every scene (especially with his eyes), it's amazing. And yes the rest of the cast is doing awesome too!

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I loved him in 'you're all surrounded', but there is just something so extra about him in this drama.. a couple of years in the military did him the absolute world of good.. he's mesmerising hahah

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It brought out a lot of hidden charisma for sure ;D , my first drama of his was My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (and then after that I watched all his dramas lol except Gu Family Book).

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This episode felt all over the place and unorganized. At least the ending peaked my interest a bit to try and continue *sigh*

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I’ve been keeping up with all the recaps and this honestly seems like a very engaging show to watch... I love the forced love plot line as well. But I really can’t get past the ghosts (I watch dramas alone and at night, mostly) because I’ve an insane imagination and anything remotely horror-based is a big no-no for me.

But reading all the recaps makes me really really want to watch!! 😭 it doesn’t help that Journey to the West has always been a huge childhood favorite.

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@lezah—I avoid horror stories like the plague. Honestly, the first episode was the worst in terms of creepiness (I'm talking tottering little bride dolls. Ugh.) Since then, the demons are more on the campy side or cartoonish.

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Me, too! Horror stories are the worst for me because I know that I won't be able to sleep at all after watching them (I don't see the point!). I read the recaps and even seeing the description of the bride dolls gave me the chills, ugh. X_X I hate such commonly used "ghost" tropes, with the brides, and little girls (like Akiko), they creep me out so bad.

But maybe I'll give it a try with my mum (she only watches after the entire show is completed) so I won't feel too scared... hopefully LOL.

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way! I'll just continue to read the speedy recaps :).

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Thanks @javabeans for the speedy recap. Haven't even watched this episode :)

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Maybe I shouldn't read this recap when I havent even started watching an episode.. >.<

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It's ok. I haven't watched the episode yet but I've already given in to temptation and read this entire thing.

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Don't feel guilty. The recaps of this show are better than some other shows are when watching.

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Thank you @javabeans for your speedy recap!

I'm enjoying the complexities of Oh-gong and Sun-mi's relationship. To paraphrase Summery Fairy, the source might be fake but the pain is real. Our Oh-gongie's naughtiness at the motel was hilarious and kinda sexy—he pushes to see how far he can go but he never overrides Sun-mi's boundaries.

And I barked with laughter at Oh-gong's appreciation of "warm stories with little clothing" — that was Scarlet Innocence starring BTIOFL's Esom!

The introduction of the collaboration storyline intrigues me. If handsome Kang Dae-sung (Akiko's grandson) is eyeing the office of president, being a descendent of a collaborator isn't necessarily the end of his career. However, as a historian, he's practicing academic fraud, preserving the story of his family fighting for independence. Was the threat of exposure what led to our Zombie's murder? What if she's the descendent of a real independence fighter?

Who knows how this all ties to the end of the world. At any rate, I'm really enjoying the weird blend of slapstick, quirky romance and grit. Lee Seung-gi makes it all a delicious confection. I'm even skimming All the Butlers, my first Korean variety show because he's in it! I'm such a dork.

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question is: is the story warm because they're wearing little clothing or are they wearing little clothing because the story is warm. chicken and egg.

I feel like the politician was one of those kdrama politicians who prey on young, vulnerable women. I'm betting Buja was trying to run away when she was killed. She looked like she was either run over by a car or had fallen off a building. I don't believe evil is inherited, but I think the drama was trying to hint again that this politican guy is bad news because his grandma is bad news.

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This is what I was thinking too. And she is somehow linked to the world disaster, especially as he is a politician, and being linked to Bu Ja links our Demi-god-Scooby-gang to the politician and will allow them to bring him down, and stop the gates of hells from opening? I hope? No sacrifices needed? Please?

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The whole city is about to get destroyed.. doesnt happen without dirty politics and selling one nations to profit

Maybe joind hands with north korea ir us funding chinese or isis

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@asianromance it looks like you called it re. Buja's death!

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Ooh I like your Buja theory. That would be an interesting twist. I had imagined she was someone who had unfortunately found out something she shouldn't have and was killed for it. :(

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I knew SOG was up to something with all the candles and the lotus-scented cosmetics...but tricking Mawang into consuming Sun-mi's blood just feels really mean. Mawang is actually not a bad guy and has been flexible in the face of SOG's bad roommate habits. But if SOG was willing to burn down a world for Sun-mi, it isn't a stretch that he would torture Mawang for inadvertantly torturing Sun-mi. But wouldn't this stunt put Sunmi in danger, or has he already calculated Mawang's even stronger desire to save Iron Fan into the equation?

I really like how they're continuing this theme of human weaknesses and perfidy being the forces that are attracting these demons. And there seems to be two major endgames - Sunmi and co. getting rid of the evil spirits and Buja's murder mystery and in this episode, we see the convergence of the two - with the politician who likely murdered Buja being the grandson of the Japanese sympathizer lady.

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I'm so very intrigued at the thought that human weakness is the source off all evil. It creates evil beings or summons them. Making humans the ultimate evil and demons and ghost merely a weapon they lost control over. What you really need to fear is therefore no supernatural being but your own unchecked weakness that can destroy you. The seven deadly sins are in this sense really deadly! This thought is so interesting. For now we have witnessed pride, gluttony, lust... so exited what will come next.

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I agree. I think that while there are hijinks and comedic moments in this drama, it also presents a very serious look at the human condition and the ills that it brings. In the previous episode, the glutton baby monster came about because of man's vanity and obsession with weight loss; the lustful monster came about because of one man's obsession with sex and his scrupulous greed to make money out of the videos he took secretly. This drama has more demon and monster characters than humans, and ironically, some of them are there due to man's greed, pride and lust.

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He just knows he is powerful..than any ither monster so he will save sun mi from mawang

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This is true but—damn—isn't it cruel and risky to play with Sun-mi's life?

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I really like how they're continuing this theme of human weaknesses and perfidy being the forces that are attracting these demons.

Oh my God—perfidy? @asianromance, I love your brain!

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Because Oh-gong tricked Mawang into drinking Sam-jang's blood, then doesn't that mean Mawang will be unable to enter heaven? That seems even crueler since that is his only goal, so he can meet with Iron Fan Princess again.

Also, is it heavy-handed foreshadowing that "For her sake, Sohn Oh-gong destroyed one world"? Is the overall disaster predicted by the pot that Sun-mi saw, the result of Oh-gong reacting to her death in our world?

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Oh dang, that'd be a very interesting foreshadowing. O.O

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I was thinking that....or is drinking her blood not a big deal because its pretty much the same as sniffing her blood, where he's just absorb ing the essence of it and not actually eating her?

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I doubt it will prevent him from entering heaven. I think this would only happen if he were to kill Sam-jang now that his body is lusting for her blood. He basically turned him into an addict, who has to battle his temptation and this can be really painful on body and mind.

I do love your thought on the foreshadowing! For now his gesture of destroying a world seemed romantic and swoony (I mean who doesn't want to be loved by someone so completely, that they would literally destroy worlds if they were to loose them), but in actuality this is something that super-villains do.

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More points for battling real temptation? Otherwise, it's like being celibate on a deserted island.

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I think this tied in with what SOG learned about love today: you have to learn what the other person likes and care about what the other person cares about. Sunmi likes the world enough to want to live in it. And I'm sure she would be devastated if he just burned down the world with all these people in it because she died. And i think this could be a test for SOG. If he could stop himself from acting out this way with our real world, then he passes.

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Ohh that is an interesting foreshadowing twist! What if the "apocalypse" was SOG reacting to her death?? Nice catch!

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Wow..thats fast...
Thank you

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A recap out before the subs!!!! For this, I am soooo learning Korean!

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"For her sake, Son Oh Gong destroyed one world"
That's a scary and sad impending event.. sigh

The deeper he fell in love with her, the more he won't let her die... but she is a human being and she has one mission =to protect the world with her life

This drama is so good and creative
Welcome back Hong Sisters

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I really love that this is the crux of the matter. There are so many love stories between a powerful supernatural being and a human and this show deals not with just the acceptance on falling in love part, but with the likelihood of a terrible ending. In this case the ending would not just mean death (like in Twilight for example) but literally the end of the world. This ups the stakes considerably and while we root for the heroes love story we are also dreading it because it would mean the death and destruction of everything as soon as she dies. From the point of view of any other character Son Oh Gong is a villain, who already destroyed a whole world. The Hong Sisters created such a wonderful conundrum, that I really need to keep watching and at the same time I'm really worried.

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I find it very interesting that the drama made it a point of duty to have Mawang tell us that for Sun-mi's sake, Oh-gong burned that one world. I see it as a foreshadowing of the fact that Oh-gong who burned down one world to protect Sun-mi will burn down the present world to protect her as well, should there be a reason for it. It would make things even more complicated because it would turn out that Sun-mi, who is meant to be the protector of the world, might end up being the one to lead to its destruction, which then ties in into last week's question of someone's death possibly leading to sun-mi's vision coming through. If for some reason, Oh-gong thinks that Sun-mi's dead, there is nothing saying he wouldn't burn down the world in his grief, and this episode has given us a nice precedence of that happening.

Great job Hong sisters! Great job!!!!

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YES! Been waiting for this recap. Hwayugi has to be the best onair Romcom right now.

SPOILER:

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In the movie and the novel(?) the monk sacrifices his life for an evil spirit. Why do I have a feeling that Zombie girl will be that evil spirit in the show?

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What an interesting twist? But I love that character!

And yes I agree, the best rom combat the moment. It has pulled me viciously (like as if I had a choice) out of my drama slump.

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Isn't it? This is why they are building up everybody's relationship with that character so much. It'll give such an emotional impact later on. But I am sure the writers will give an interesting twist to get us a happy ending.

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I've read Journey to The West several times and watched the entire original 1986 TV series (the one that is still considered the best adaptation of the novel), and Xuanzang (the monk) never died??? He and his three disciples managed to find enlightenment and received sutras after going through 81 dangers??

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I wrote the movie and "maybe the novel". Not the TV series.

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Mwahaha, it's happening. The feelings are slowly becoming real and blurred. I love it!

That moment when Oh-gong's in the theater with Sun-mi and sighs before he looks over at her with a smile. My heart can't handle it. I know it's been said before but Lee Seung Gi is HOT in this drama, had no idea he could have this effect on me.

Also I ended up ordering the first volume of Journey to the West translated by Anthony C. Yu and it's more than 500 pages. And there are three more volumes all of which are similar length. O_O

Anyways, thanks for the recap! I couldn't sleep and woke up at 3am but I'm glad I did. Can't wait for the next episode. :D

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I can’t deal with the O Gong watching Sun Mi moments!

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I always thought LSG was hot (probably because i only saw him in K2H at first, and THEN watched his baby stuff), but it is SO FUN watching everyone go through a LSG puberty lmao

Also, this makes me want to read the book, too, but I can't make that kind of commitment...over 1000 pages??

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Haha yeah, I first saw him in Brilliant Legacy when he was definitely still a baby and then I saw My Girlfriend is a Gumiho after that. So I haven't seen him acting in almost 10 years lol. It's also definitely has to do with the genre and character he's playing, but I am SWOONING.

The introduction alone is 100 pages. This is going to take me a while. T_T

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@lunarshin
You've GOT TO watch The King 2 Hearts if you haven't already! And read the invigorating, intelligent and funny comments from the Hearties. That drama still remains my most memorable drama - not just the drama itself, but the discussion and the wonderful friends it gave me .... it was the whole experience!

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I'll add that to my list of Korean dramas to watch! Thanks!

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I found him quite hot in the K2H but I couldn’t finish the drama. It was just too political for my taste. But he’s just really sexy in this!

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@sammm—There's also Monkey, Arthur Waley's abridged 305 page translation.

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Yes. That's the one I read in college. Still have my copy.

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I haven't worked this episode properly yet but reading the recaps before the subs reminds me of the days when I use to have to wait weeks for subtitles which is how I ended up finding dramabeans and started reading recaps.

The development is getting more interesting and I'm glad that we were made to think that Oh Gong was too busy being in love to be his usual self because I for one wouldn't have seen that twist at the end.

Although, question: what is the real relationship like between Oh Gong and Ma Hwang? Because I only know the story based on the Hong Kong Drama Journey to the West and those two were good friends (Princess Iron Fan included). Ma Hwang and Princess Iron Fist even had a child together so I'm curious to why in this version she died.

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Thank you girlfriday the recaps are so fast recently. Thumbs up to you all👏👏👏

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Sat is javabeans n sun girlfriday

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Great episode and recap! I loved every swoon worthy moment, and thought the period costumes looked beautiful. Cha Seung-won especially looked dapper.

Can't wait for Oh-gong to really fall in love with Sun-mi. And I'm glad Buja is sticking around a while. I wonder how her story will intersect with all the other storylines, if at all? Can't wait to find out!

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I am completely hooked on to this drama. I’m loving the campy ghosts, the forced love line, and our over the top characters! I don’t understand why people find this so difficult to watch, I’m finding it quite the opposite! I have been looking for a laugh-out-loud, adorable rom com with just the right amount of melo thrown in (cant deal with the heavy stuff, probably the reason I won’t be watching JBL). I’m really enjoying seeing Seon Mis struggle with knowing his feelings aren’t real (at the moment) and trying to clamp down on her own. And I like how honest she is with him. And also she is wearing more colours now! Yaaay! A small representation of character development?

I also love how O Gong is the one doing skin care, and his eyes are wide open when Seon Mi kisses him, not the girl doing those atypical drama moments. I also love the minute details, like secretary Ma’s terrible drawing of the ghost and how it looks (to her) just like the older counterpart. I also adore how all the characters drop truth bombs!

Cha Seung Won is amazing here, he has brought everything I loved about him in Best Love as well as another deeper, darker layer folded in. And don’t even get me started on Seung Gi. He is so perfect as the monkey, it kills me. This is a side of him I’ve never seen. And he is just- yum. Like I’m actually struggling with his new sexiness.

And can I just rave about the OST? Especially the one by Bumkey? It’s killing me and it’s just so perfect for all those moments that make me swoon!

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I will have to agree with Javabeans that the emotional connection in this show is definitely less. We get ghosts without any such significance, I remember even ghosts in Master's Sun had some significance and would lead to the development of story and characters. However, something is definitely missing in Hwayugi, a lot of the scenes feel like filler and are either there for ppl or just for the sake of extending time. At this point, I hardly have hope that it will improve in this aspect of creating an emotional beat but the least hope I have for it is to prove me wrong because I feel so disconnected with this show.

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I think that the ghosts/ demons in this drama serve a different purpose than the ones in Master's sun. In Master's Sun, they were ghosts who could not depart to the after-life because there was something that held them back - and Gong-shil's purpose was to help them. The ghosts were people who have died and have a history, albeit a troubled one, which needed fixing. In this drama, the supernatural beings are not ghosts. They are demons and evil spirits. Demons have an evil intent, and these demons feed off the obsessions and ills of man. They have no history, cause they were never alive. Hence, they do not need to be significant.
If we want to compare the 2 dramas, then let's do it with understanding. If not, it's like comparing a broccoli with an orange, and wondering why the broccoli is not juicy and sweet.

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I think it's hard not to make comparisons with Master's Sun since Master's Sun is also a Hong sisters drama. They've only done like 2 other fantasy ones and at the start, Master's Sun was the most recent and was more similar to Hwayugi than MGIAG. The ghosts' stories made me bawl in Master's Sun and really got to me, and while I loved that approach of tell human stories featuring ghosts (and the Hong sisters totally nailed it), I'm glad the Hong sisters went with a different approach so as not to be accused of rehashing Master's Sun. Instead of highlighting sympathetic emotions and finding the romantic humanity in the supernatural beings, this drama has a more cynical and pessimistic attitude towards both the supernatural and humanity. Altruism is a rarity and relationships can be boiled down to transactions.

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I also feel that you are disconnected with the show may be because you are focussing on the 'demons' that appear in each episode and thinking that this drama is like Master's Sun. But that is not the writers' intent. Their focus is on the main/major demons and gods - Mawang, Oh Gong, PK and of course our key human being, Sun Mi, and how they, especially, Sun-mi and Oh Gong will save mankind by defeating the demons that man has conjured up. How ironic.

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Well infact I am not focusing much on the demons but the main characters. I had a hard time telling someone what story an episode had because I believe it isn't put together properly. It feels like they are telling too many stories in an episode but none of the scene occur in a chronological order and I can't make sense of what really happened overall in continuity in an episode. I think another reason is that I cannot feel the emotions of the characters, I wonder if its the writing or acting. They have tried to make Seon mi sympathetic but that doesn't hit hard the way Eun Tak did (I hate to make comparisons specially with Goblin but the shows lie in the same vein so its inevitable). Or it is the fake love of OG that deprives me of any emotional connectivity with the characters.

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one thing that i am missing is
the man who was caught secretly taking the video is also the owner of the motel? i didnt seem to get it. If yes, then why is he is in hurry to sell it? i think i am missing something here..

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The motel owner would secretly take videos of his customers, then he would sell these videos. But this attracted a lustful demon who kept popping out and freaking his customers out. So of course, they couldn't go through with it, and he was losing money. Hence, he wanted to sell the motel.

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i see, thank you for enlightening me on this. i guess i have a lot of gaps in understanding some of the presented characters in both episode 5 & 6 .

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Thank you for the speedy recap and comments, Javabeans! I've watched it raw, and now will take a gander at the subtitles. And I'll understand what's happening after reading your write-up. ;-)

The image of the film world in flames looked like a parallel to the mushroom cloud in the bad omen jar.

A barely-audible scrap of background music caught my ear in the scene in the cafe after Mawang rescued Iron Fan from the occupation-era yakuza who killed her husband and child. A Victrola plays a song by a female vocalist. I recognized the music as the waltz "Danube Waves" by Romanian composer Ion Ivanovici. Knock me over with a feather. The tune was used for "In Praise of Death" [Saui Chanmi, 사의 찬미; 死의 讚美], recorded in Osaka by Korean soprano Yun Shim-deok 윤심덕 in 1926. The piece is arguably the first Kpop song. Alas, Yun Shim-deok fell in love with a married Korean student in Tokyo, and they both committed suicide by jumping overboard while sailing back to Korea.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yun_Sim-deok

Here's the waltz performed by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. It also appears on the LP Hearts in 3/4 Time (a terrific collection of waltzes).

Arthur Fiedler & Boston Pops - Danube waves
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_S_cjJp880

*off to watch the subtitles*

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As long as we're keeping score of worlds being destroyed, Monkey King isn't the only destroyer. Mawang already torched the world in the picture in his attempt to trap Oh-gong.

Smokey Bear must be flipping his lid with all these supernatural firebugs running around. ;-)

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But dat was a fake world created by monster and was limited to monsters imagination... this film is abot a real world from the past

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Thank you for enriching our experience with your music history notes, @pakalanapikake!

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So much knowledge. Thanks :)

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Here's another version of "Donauwellen" since the link above is now kaput.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bME0yvDcCzY

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The whole story is so interesting, I really LOVE the mythology here especially because I only know bits and peaces about Journey to the West through Dragon Ball. Really makes me want to read it. But can we just talk about how freaking beautiful the world in the movie was? Ever since watching Chicago Typewriter I'm so interested in this setting, the fashion and the politics. It always is depicted so very stylish and it is just so much fun to look at all the costumes.

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Heads off to the Hong sisters to have the PPL be so incredibly useful! At first the candles and beauty products seemed so very on the nose, but they actually served a great purpose in the story. I'm impressed!

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LOL Hats off not Heads off ;) I'm not trying to imitate the Queen of Hearts.

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this is the second time reading the review, first time in the morning many hours ago , javabeans is that quick with recaps ,it makes waiting for subs less of a torture, i only watched raw, but even without subs my heart was aching for the otp they being in so much pain even before officially loving each other is def foreshadowing that even if oh gong falls in love they won't get their happy ending without pain, sacrifice , in their either world wide doom or one sacrificing for the other. i'm glad we are at angst before the swoon, though it's illegally swoony oh gong basically torching a world down without much ado to save her, he is not in love yet. even samjang is just attracted to him at the early stage of falling head over heels for him . mavangs love is next level tragic T.T , WHERE is she now? she was last seen at 1938 . is she reincarnated again?

can we discuss when oh gong was like i should know what you like tell me what you like, and you can see in her eyes and face saying it's you i want. gahhhhh and whats more, he got it right? > oh gong knew she wanted and liked him, so multitasking while burning everything on his way he got everything she liked including himself.

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i know .. that was aha! moment for me.. i honestly had no clue..or lets say wasn't expecting drama to show it at this point.. that HE GETS IT.. he KNOWS she likes him..wants him :)

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I'm actually preparing from now for the possible bittersweet or sad ending that might come as he is an immortal and sooner than later she will die and he will be left all alone suffering and maybe waiting for her to reincarnate again and again,yet again i hate that reincarnation troupe as the new person won't be the same...

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Nice catch there @sunny !

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Thanks for pointing out that "hwa" means fire in the drama title. Some websites translate "hwa" as flower in Chinese, and I wonder where the flower reference is in the drama ^^"

I am glad to see the drama touches on evils in modern society like indulgent eating and obsessiveness of being thin (in the previous episode), and in this episode, voyeurism, which are both related to Buddhist teachings. However, it would be nice if the drama portrays the demons and human weaknesses in a more meaningful way. Back in episode 1, Seon Mi drew the starved trainee out of the scary demon and fed her before sending her off. That was more emotionally satisfying than having Oh Gong beating the lustful demon away in this episode.

Another thought regarding the original novel, Journey to the West. Some historians interpreted the whole novel symbolically, as the author lived in an era of a weak king with lots of political infighting. Simply put, Samjang was the weak king whom every demon wanted a piece of. Demons were the bloodthirsty politicians who tore the kingdom apart. Son Oh Gong was the all-powerful deity the author wished to have in his time, in order to help Samjang save the world. Just as JttW was a bold and clever attempt for the author to address the dire political situation in ancient China (mid-Ming Dynasty), perhaps Hwayugi could be interpreted in a deeper way in relation to the present time in Korea.

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I think the episode 1 demon was really just a ghost who needed to tie her hair back (similar to the boy ghost at the intersection and the ghost with the sword...), but the one SOG beat up in this episode was a legit demon.

There are as many different kinds of demons/ghosts/deities as there are cities in the real world and no one has played exposition fairy to really explain their powers, weaknesses, and place in the supernatural hierarchy...because there are just so many.

Thanks for the note about the original novel! It could be because I'm more jaded now (and the political situation in the US the past 1.5 years hasn't helped), but part of me is definitely seeing the drama through a political lens and a social lens (that is driven by current politics).

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Maybe they think because of the Samjang's lotus flower scented blood?

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Oh yes :) The lotus flower. In ancient Chinese literature, lotus flower represents persons with a noble character, as the lotus flower grows out of the dirty mud but does not get tainted. And this seems to fit Samjang perfectly ^^"

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I want Oh Gong and Seon Mi to realize their love is real sooooo much...

I hope I don't sound (too) sadistic, but I do think the existence of Geumganggo is to teach an important lesson to Oh Gong about love and pain. Geumgang means strong and powerful, as in the Diamond Sutra. What is strongest and most powerful is not physical strength, but love. Seems like Oh Gong needs to go the painful way to learn about empathy =P

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I really want to watch the episodes before reading recaps but the subtitles for Hwayugi are late than usual. My love for it outweighs my patience, unfortunately.

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Full disclosure: I’m not watching this drama, but enjoying the recaps thus far. However, I did just watch “Age if Shadows” with Gong Yoo and Song Kang Ho, which is set during the same time period as the 1920’s-30’s vignette in this drama, about Korean resistance fighters and a decorated police chief working for the Japanese and switching alliances. It’s too bad that the grandmother’s backstory wasn’t more compelling. One of the most gut-wrenching scenes of the movie is when the police chief (after pledging his loyalty to the resistance) has to torture those same people when they are caught bound to the fact that his superiors are still Japanese. Koreans torturing and killing other Koreans were commonplace and that’s what made those people abhord, even today. How many movie and idol stars have been chastised and their careers affected when it came out that their families were Japanese sympathizers? The writers could have showed some of the internal and external struggle these families go through after the fact. I’m wondering if the politician tied to the grandmother will play a greater role in the storyline. Maybe they’ll get back to this.

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Sidenote but I’m really glad that Bora is still around and I hope she joins their ragtag band of followers at some point. I find her character really funny

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The good boy "Lee Seung-gi", being the bad boy "Oh Gong" is the best thing ever! :D

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was eagerly searching for the english sub for ep 5 til i came here and gosh thanks for the summary :) will wait for ep 6 tho ☺😉👌🏼

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I absolutely love how backhanded both of their confessions were. And the apparent hurt on both their faces made it so much better. I cannot wait for this monkey to fall for her hard and for real, if he hasn't already.

And the twist at the ending. I did not see that coming. And I love it all the more for it.

Also, isn't the Princess Iron Fan what Ma Wang sent Sun Mi to retrieve from the house where Oh Gong was trapped? Does Oh Gong have it still? I'm really curious about how everything will play out.

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I am going to have to just stick with recaps for this one. I find the episodes too long... and as petty and horrible i may sound, which i do apologize for, i am bothered that the main actress's facial expressions seem always the same... i think she had some botox done on her forehead. I am not against cosmetic procedures, i do not care if someone does them at all... but to me it makes her acting a bit stiff so the acting itself bothers me.

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Ooh, the artful monkey is back with mischief! Glad they stepped up the relationship dynamics, since I was also rather confused with all these random supernatural beings. I hope the backstory for our resident zombie girl is worth the build-up.

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That preview of Episode 6 is at the Namsan Tower, and that has only been filmed recently. Wow they're doing live-shoots now?

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Thanks for the recap!!

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Thanks for the recap, it really helped to make sense when the subs were missing.

Found it hilarious that Ma Wang, for all his caution and paranoia about Oh Gong, managed to miss the warning signs about the lotus scented candles earlier (Buja's explanation).

Oh Gong's passive-aggressive yoyoing in relation to Sun Mi is a little puzzling though.

Watching episode 6 without having read a recap and some parts don't make sense. Plenty of funnies though. Looking forward to your recap 🙋

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Must say my heart really feels sad for Mawang's supposed wife's tragic fate...Curious what capital sin did she commit to deserve such a cruel punishment,was that she lost the fan to Oh Gong and escaped or is something more?
Also curious about Oh Gong's sin...
i guess the aweful genes indeed pass down in that family(Akiko's) making the grandson a killer...

Fell somehow sad for both Oh Gong and yet for Sun Mi as well as i understand both perspectives and even if i want to punch him more than one time or everytime he says cruel things with that dazziling smile i understand him...I laughed sooo much at him and the fangirls parallel...

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First off i am super grateful that this recap is up because waiting for the subbed episodes are excruciating! So thanks so much, saranghe!!!
I'm still trying to still my palpitations when OSG was genuinely smiling, dimples in full force when SeungMi told him her favorite color and whatever else she likes. Ommo! I missed seeing that LSG smile on my screen! Its the first time in the series that we can see him smiling so sincerely and happily. Its usually a smirk mocking someone or with derision. So yup, that smile certainly lit up my screen and my heart. How much do i love this show? ok, ill be back after watching! Thanks again!!!

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I’m finding Lee Se Young very, very funny in this role. I never really noticed her before although I remember her from Wolgyesu Tailor Shop but she’s great in this show.

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You know what, I have only watched this ep for 12 minutes, but I understand the total sh*t hole Great Sage is in. I mean, he is THE Great Sage. He has this enormous power to set heaven on fire, and he is trapped with the bracelet to love the person who keep rejecting him and follow her around like a lost puppy? Yeah I'll get mad at the situation too.

Plus, just like what the fairy said: the heartache he is experiencing is real, albeit the cause (love) is genuine or bracelet-induced.

A real disaster!

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So is this how they introduce the essence of a love triangle? Son Oh Gong's smiling now, but I'm sure he won't be soon. But yay for more jealousy.

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I really loved this episode. The trip to the 1930s was very stylish.
In my opinion Oh-gong burned the world down so that the rules of it would not matter anymore hence Sun-mi's demise would not be real anymore. lol
The grandma is related to the guy that zombie girl pointed out on NYE, right? So maybe we will learn a bit more about the evil lingering in her family and what horrible things they did/still do to get to the top?
Ma Wang knows Monkey had the iron fan and if he really did trick his wife he would not be so kind towards him, no? Or maybe he does not know all the backstory yet?
Oh-gong sharing his pain with Ma Wang was a clever move. He cannot do anything about his situation and he does not really blame Sun-mi for giving him the bracelet. He blames Ma Wang and at the moment there is no other way for him to make him pay. ahahaah
I love all the supporting characters...really a hilarious group!
Have to catch up on episode 6 tonight!

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This is the only show (I can think of) where we actually 'love' the zombie!!! This show is such wonderfully weird fun, I swear, LOL.

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SOG is like Joker savin' his Harley Quinn

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Fun fact: Kim Sung-oh, who plays Lee Han-joo, is in Ajusshi!

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Thanks JB!

Secretary Ma supposes that if people knew that it was a nameless woman who saved the country and not the lauded general, people wouldn’t be so precious about that sword. Mawang says that there are a lot of historical artifacts here whose true stories will differ from what is widely believed.

It occurred to me before that it's strange that the character of the monk, traditionally a male role, has been given over to a woman. And this comment by Secretary Ma raises the question of the status of women. It's a far cry from the past attitude towards women, that Sam Jang is perfectly accepted as a woman now. Although unfortunately, still in need of male godly protection, she did start off as a child, fighting a whole bunch of ghosts on her own before the demons came. So yay for a greater respect for women!

The dead unnamed warrior woman is so cool!

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I’m a bit confused with regards to Oh-gong’s rescue as well; so he burned that world down...and somehow that let both of them out? Why didn’t he do that in the haunted painting as well then? It’s a little annoying, as it lowers the stakes in my mind; I’ll be waiting for a nonsensical loophole to every situation from now on. But putting that aside, I still absolutely love the show! It’s always one step forward and two steps back with Oh-gong and Sun-mi though. *shakes head disapprovingly*
I took the fact that he put her blood in the cup to mean that he’s tempted Mawang into eating her, which is a pretty risky thing to do... especially since he’ll have to defend her from Mawang anyway because of the bracelet. Obviously, it’s the perfect way to vent all his frustration though, especially for his mischievous character. I’m glad Sun-mi came straight out with it towards the end of the episode; she’s not an idiot, she knows she can’t have him but she also can’t deny that she’s human and she’ll fall for him eventually if they continue like that.
I don’t really have the same complaint as the recapper about the ghosts/demons though. Living in a world where their sight is natural, a common occurence, I think I’d find it strange if every ghost had some sort of emotional backstory that our heroes were intent on uncovering. We’ve already got Zombie Girl for now anyway. One of the best things about this drama is the rapid pace of the plot, with something new and unexpected occurring every episode. Fingers crossed it continues to be this good! 🤞

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