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Arthdal Chronicles: Episode 3

With the Wahan tribe held captive by an unknown enemy, our hero Eunseom sets forth to find out who he’s fighting and journeys toward the land of Arthdal to save his people. Eunseom isn’t the only person headed to Arthdal with big ambitions — antihero Tagon prepares to make a big homecoming entrance and starts making some bold moves to instigate power struggles amongst the Arthdal union leaders. We learn more about a certain mysterious woman’s role in between Tagon and his father and how she may wield significant influence on the power shifts within Arthdal.

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EPISODE 3 RECAP

As Eunseom speeds ahead on his horse, Helper, Moobaek wonders if this horse could be the legendary Kanmoreu, which would make the rider Aramun Haesulla, the god of union. Moobaek orders his men to return to the captives while he continues to chase after the runaway.

While riding Helper, Eunseom’s eyes flash purple as he thinks back to Tanya being dragged away. He rolls off Helper and dunks his head in the water, remembering Tanya’s plea for him to save himself so that he can one day save the Wahan tribe. His purple eyes fade, and he cries in despair: How will he overcome the stronger enemies?

Then, Eunseom hears a rustling behind him and quickly scans his surroundings. Moobaek emerges from the forest, so Eunseom hops back onto Helper. In pursuit of the potential legendary horse, Moobaek realizes that he may never be able to catch up, so he begins to shoot arrows at Eunseom.

Just as Moobaek draws his bow for another shot, Helper stops and turns around, and Eunseom panics. As Helper runs toward Moobaek, Eunseom remembers Dalsae (the Wahan tribe member with a particular distaste for Eunseom) accusing Eunseom of not being human because of his too fast vision. He trusts his fast instincts and avoids the oncoming arrows as he rides straight at Moobaek.

Moobaek draws his sword to attack Eunseom as he passes, but his horse suddenly stops. Moobaek falls off his horse, and his horse runs after Eunseom. As Moobaek chases after his horse and Eunseom, he remembers Saenyeok Tribe leader Sanung anointing him as a Kanmoreu-like warrior — a strong and fast leader. Sanung retold the legend that even enemy horses followed Kanmoreu.

Recalling this tale, Moobaek slows down and watches his horse run off. He wonders if this could really be Kanmoreu.

Meanwhile, the Wahan tribe captives walk through the Sea of Tears on the enemy-built bridges. Wahan’s current great mother, Mother Choseol, collapses, and Tanya worries that she’s overheating. But Mother Choseol stands back up and continues to walk. Tanya asks who these people are and where they’re taking them, and Mother Choseol seems to have her suspicions.

Eunseom returns to the pillaged Wahan village and grieves the loss of children, fathers, and mothers. He finds Tanya’s flower crown and holds it tightly as he proceeds to scavenge for any weapons. Then, he hears a whimpering voice call him name, “Uncle Euseom!”

Eunseom turns around to find little Doti, who runs into his arms. Doti cries that the strange men killed everyone, and Eunseom tightly hugs Doti, trying to comfort her. Eunseom tells Doti that they’ll save everyone, but Doti doesn’t want to meet the scary men again.

Putting on a brave face, Eunseom reminds Doti of the great mother’s advice during difficult times: Listen to the song of the spirit. Eunseom claims that he heard the voice of the horse’s spirit saying, “Turn around and run head on.”

Doti is still scared by the prospect of being outnumbered by the scary men, so Eunseom then reminds her of Uncle Dalsae’s strategy to capture the enemy’s tribe leader. They may not be able to defeat all their enemies, but they could trade the enemy’s tribe leader for the Wahan people. Doti finally smiles hopefully.

Then, they hear the enemy horse approach, and Eunseom lifts his weapon defensively. He slowly walks toward the horse with Doti and sighs in relief when he sees that it’s only the horse. Confused by the extra horse companion, Eunseom tells Helper to ask why the enemy horse is joining them. Helper continues to munch on grass, and Doti notes that the spirit only eats.

Eunseom begins to walk away, but the saddle on the enemy horse catches his eye. He examines the saddle and asks Helper, “Do you want to try on some clothes?”

As the Wahan tribe continue to cross the Sea of Tears, tribe leader Yeolson informs the captors that there is no path through the Great Black Wall. The captors respond that they’re going up the wall, and the Wahan tribe gasp when they finally see the lift on the side of the wall.

Mother Choseol trembles at the sight of this unnatural machine and says, “All the spirits have stopped, and all living things will lose vitality.” Tanya listens to the great mother’s words with concern.

The Wahan tribe tries to resist, but they’re forced onto the lift by their captors. They yell in fear as the lift ascends, and they’re instilled with even more fear when they reach the top of the first lift. The Wahan tribe witness the cruel treatment of slaves, who are whipped to turn the wheel for the lift.

The Wahan tribe are pushed through a cave to the next lift to reach the top of the Great Black Wall. On their way up, Tanya and Mother Choseol look out at the beautiful view of Iark with a sense of wonder and doom.

At the top of the wall, Mookwang (one of the Arth warriors) advises his fellow warrior not to tell Tagon about Kanmoreu, since they can’t confirm if it was truly the legendary horse. When they greet Tagon, they boast about their successful capture of 2,000 slaves and celebrate the official order to return to Arthdal.

The warriors point out that one of the tribes speaks their language, and Tagon looks at the Wahan tribe curiously. The warriors seem delighted that these slaves will sell for a higher price in Arthdal. Speaking of Arthdal, they wonder about Gilseon (the smug White Mountain warrior), who stayed in Arthdal instead of joining their conquest.

In Arthdal, Gilseon mercilessly sentences the farmer clan leaders to death for stealing crops. As the clan leader is dragged to his beheading, he yells about the Asa tribe’s unfair treatment of the farmers, who cultivated the soil of the former Neanthal lands.

Gilseon reminds the people that the crops are not for the Asa tribe but for the gods. The farmer argues that the god of the White Mountain did not help cultivate the lands, and the current Asa tribe are not direct descendants of the Asa god.

At this accusation, Gilseon questions if the farmer is part of the White Mountain Hearts, a rebel group that was annihilated eight years ago. The White Mountain Hearts used to claim that the god of union, Aramun Haesulla, is an Igt and that the Asa tribe are not direct descendants of the Asa god.

The farmer makes another bold claim that the Asa tribe has done nothing for the people. It was Tagon who conquered the Neanthal lands and Hae Mihol of the pirates who brought irrigation to these lands. The surrounding crowd murmur in agreement, and the farmer quotes Aramun Haesulla’s terms of the tribal union — that no tribe would be superior or inferior in Arth.

Gilseon angrily pulls out his sword and prepares to behead this criminal, but he’s ordered to stop by Sanung, the Arthdal Union Leader. The farmer acknowledges his crimes but continues to argue that the Asa tribe has done nothing to deserve the crops from the Moon lands. Sanung says that theft is a crime and that he cannot forgive the farmer for cursing the Asa tribe, but he will postpone the punishment until he can discuss with White Mountain tribe leader Asa Ron.

The farmer and the punishable people thank Sanung for his mercy, but he has something up his sleeve. He orders his son, DANBYEOK (Park Byung-eun), to kill all the people except for the farmer. Danbyeok looks confused and tells his father that this will only worsen the animosity for the Asa tribe, but that’s exactly what Sanung wants. The deaths will be blamed on the Asa tribe, and the surviving loudmouth farmer will spread this false news.

When Sanung enters his room, he’s held from behind with a knife at his throat. The woman asks if he likes her or not. It’s Taealha, and when Sanung recognizes her voice, he scolds her for this dangerous prank. She puts on her robe and asks again if he likes her or not. He pulls her into an embrace and says that he more than just likes her. Then, he asks about Hae Tuak and Tagon’s whereabouts.

Taealha walks away and accuses him for only being interested in Tagon. She asks why he hates his son so much, and Sanung denies this. He remembers a shaman’s warning that Tagon will kill many, including Sanung, and destroy the Arthdal Union. The shaman advised Sanung to kill Tagon before the White Mountain tribe discovered this weakness to ruin the Saenyeok tribe and their followers.

Sanung tells Taealha that he doesn’t despise his son; rather, he’s afraid that he will kill his son. Taealha assures Sanung that his son isn’t as great as he seems. She says that while Tagon is popular and widely admired, he’s still a naΓ―ve child following orders from the Arthdal Union.

Sanung looks intently at Taealha and proposes that they get married. Taealha looks back at him stoically, and he asks if she doesn’t want to. She walks away and says that her father would be happy with this arrangement, but their marriage will pose more complications with power shifts. The union of the Saenyeok and Hae tribes will not sit well with Asa Ron.

White Mountain leader Asa Ron observes a spiritual ritual while a woman dances in shallow water — a dance reminiscent of the Wahan tribe great mother’s spirit dance. He’s interrupted by his advisor, Asa Mot, who informs him that Taealha met with Sanung privately in his room. Asa Ron simply responds that the bright light will soon go dark.

Asa Mot says that they should have denied Mihol when he first reached out with his pirates. She identifies Hae tribe’s farming and bronze metalworking skills as threats, and she fears that Mihol has gained too much power since settling in Arth. She worries that the Hae tribe and Saenyeok tribe will join forces against them, but Asa Ron simply smiles.

Mihol commends his daughter for securing a marriage proposal from Sanung, and Taealha admits that it hurt her pride that it took months for Sanung to come around when it took Tagon only four days to propose. Mihol says that Sanung is a more difficult opponent, since he’s a leader within the union, and he’s satisfied with the implications of this proposal.

Mihol interprets the proposal as an indication that 1) Sanung is siding with the Hae tribe; and 2) Sanung plans to eliminate Tagon. Mihol presumes that Sanung must have known about Tagon and Taealha’s relationship, but Sanung proposed anyway. Taealha’s spying groundwork has finally come to fruition.

Taealha immediately pours herself a drink when she gets to her room, and she tells herself that Sanung and her father have made up their minds to kill Tagon. Her servant enters the room and tells Taealha not to waver — that Taealha isn’t abandoning Tagon but rather Tagon is getting disqualified.

Taealha looks at her servant incredulously and assures her that she isn’t wavering one bit. She’s spying on Tagon and Sanung because she intends to rule Arthdal, not out of obedience to her father. Her only concern is with Tagon, who won’t be eliminated so easily.

Tagon orders his companion, Hae Tuak, to deliver a wooden scroll to Taealha, and Tuak looks alarmed at the contents of the message. Tuak warns Tagon that he may be banished from Arthdal if the message is discovered, but he doesn’t seem concerned. He hums a familiar tune as he prepares to leave for Arthdal.

Tagon exits his hut and orders his warriors to start their journey back to Arthdal. As the captives are ordered to march onward, Tanya worriedly looks at Mother Choseol, who seems to be growing weaker. Tagon’s companion warriors note that Moobaek hasn’t returned yet, but they’re confident that Daekan’s (the allied Arthdal tribes) greatest warrior can fend for himself.

In the woods, Moobaek notices the curious animal skulls hanging on the trees and finds the shrine of the Wahan tribe. He wades through the shallow lake and approaches the sacred tree, but he doesn’t find anything. Then, he notices a bundle hanging above and shoots it down.

A woman frantically runs out to protect this bundle, and Moobaek deduces that this bundle holds the tribe’s sacred relic. As Moobaek goes through the bundle, he recognizes a carved round object as a byeoldaya. He asks the woman where this is from, and the woman answers that it was from the Great White Wolf, the first great mother of Wahan. He can’t believe that this relic would be found here.

Two Daekan warriors remain at the lift waiting for Moobaek to return, and Eunseom spots these two warriors. Doti tells Eunseom that she’s scared, and that noise alerts the warriors that they’re not alone. As they slowly approach the source of the sound, Eunseom worries about what to do. Eunseom remembers Tanya claiming that he can memorize anything he’s seen once, so he takes a leap of faith and tries to mimic the Daekan warriors attacking on horseback.

On Helper, Eunseom rides at the two Daekan warriors and successfully knocks down one of the warriors. He’s surprised at himself and turns around to attack the other warriors. He lassoes the other warrior and demands to know where they took the Wahan tribe.

The warrior points to the lift, and Eunseom looks awestruck by the sky-high column bolstered by strong rope. This was what his mother had longed for when they were searching the caves for a passageway. He asks the warrior who made this lift, and the warrior responds that it was the order of Arthdal union leader, Sanung.

Eunseom asks how tall Sanung is and wonders if this leader is as tall as the Great Black Wall (lol). He demands to know where Sanung is, and the warrior responds that he’s obviously in Arthdal.

The next morning, the Daekan warriors whip the slaves to raise the lift, assuming that it’s Moobaek riding up. But it’s the hostage Daekan warrior with Eunseom and Doti covered on Helper. Eunseom holds a weapon to the warrior’s back, and as soon as the lift arrives at the top, they ride away. (Is that another enemy horse following Helper aka Kanmoreu? Ha!)

The messengers from Iark arrive in Arthdal, and the Arthdal citizens cheer for Tagon’s successful conquest. The warrior reports to Sanung that Tagon will arrive in a few days with thousands of Iark slaves, and Sanung awards the warriors with food and drinks. Sanung asks if the warrior came alone, and the warrior responds that he was accompanied by Hae Tuak.

Tuak delivers Tagon’s message to Taealha, who’s astonished by Tagon’s suicidal imperative to reveal a secret. Tuak shares the same bewilderment and asks what Taealha plans to do. Taealha asks Tuak if Tagon sang something when he gave her this message, and Tuak confirms that Tagon did hum a tune. Huh, curious.

Taealha meets with Sanung, who greets her as if she’d just arrived in Arthdal. He dismisses his son and their entourage so that they can speak privately, and once they’re alone, Taealha calls out his fake formal greeting. She ponders how she’ll package this message — whether she’ll deliver the truth as is or say that Tagon told her to deliver the message — and decides to reveal that Tagon has officiated the delivery of final consciousness to the gods, which shocks Sanung.

Sanung tells his son Danbyeok that his older brother Tagon performed the final consciousness conjuring not just once but multiple times. The Asa tribe is fiercely protectively of their exclusive mystic abilities to officiate the final consciousness conjuring to the gods, and this could land Tagon in the Sacred Court.

Danbyeok knows that this will mean death or the slicing of Tagon’s feet that would leave him crawling. Sanung knows that Asa Ron wouldn’t kill him, so Tagon would likely be banished. Danbyeok notes that the Arthdal union will be outraged by this, but Sanung sees an opportunity for this anger to be directed at Asa Ron.

Since Asa Ron decides the outcome of the Sacred Court, he will also face the consequences of the outraged people. Sanung smiles that Tagon dug his grave along with Asa Ron’s grave, and Sanung will stay out of this hearing because he has a conflict of interest as Tagon’s father. This is the perfect situation for Sanung.

Asa Mot reports to Asa Ron on a young untrained mystic, who was banished because he tried to prematurely inhale the sacred smoke. They’re interrupted by an urgent message, and the surrounding servants are ordered to leave the room.

The messenger reveals that Tagon summoned the gods to deliver the final consciousness of his men, and Asa Mot immediately offers to prepare the Sacred Court for Tagon. Asa Ron knows this is a trap — that he’ll be the target of outrage if he punishes Tagon. Even with the crop thief, the Arthdal people side with the farmer and curse the Asa tribe, so he can imagine the consequences of slicing Tagon’s feet.

Asa Mot insists that there must be some punishment for dishonoring the Asa tribe, but Asa Ron orders that they cover up this crime. He asks the messenger who else saw this message, and he assures Asa Ron that he brought it to him as soon as he discovered it. Asa Ron nods and then proceeds to slit the messenger’s throat.

Asa Ron orders Asa Mot to find the person who wrote this message, and he throws the wooden scroll into the fire. As he wipes the blood off his hands, Asa Ron wonders if he was framed or if this was just a coincidence.

Tuak catches up to Taealha and asks what she decided to do with Tagon’s message. Taealha says that she did as Tagon asked, and Tuak wonders if Taealha has chosen to take Tagon’s side. Taealha clarifies that she’s not necessarily taking sides, but Tagon humming indicates that he’s excited. She knows to trust Tagon’s excitement.

Tagon continues to hum as he overlooks the hills on his way back to Arth, and he thinks back to a vague memory of a child being choked. He’s interrupted by a Daekan warrior, who says that Tagon’s arrival in Arth is sure to cause an exciting commotion. Tagon says the real commotion has yet to begin.

As the captors allows the Iark slaves to wash up in the river and eat food, the Wahan people wonder why their enemies are keeping them well and alive. Tanya tries to comfort Doti’s mother, who cries for her lost child, and urges Mother Choseol to eat something.

Eunseom and Doti watch their tribe cry in their misery, and Doti cries at the sight of her crying mother. Eunseom assures Doti that they will capture the union leader and save her mother. Through her tears, Doti tries to correct Eunseom’s incorrect word for “union leader,” but he insists that he’s right, ha.

As Tanya holds back her tears, she recognizes the horse across the river. It’s Helper, and she looks around for any sight of Eunseom. She pleads for Wahan’s dream, Eunseom, to help them, and Eunseom watches Tanya, promising to save her.

Asa Ron rushes into his quarters with the discovery that the initial messenger was a Saenyeok tribesman, the leather merchant. Before figuring out who’s behind this scheme, he orders Asa Mot to contain the rumor about Tagon’s mystical conjuring by whatever means.

As Asa Ron walks towards Sanung, he wonders if his fellow union leader is behind this scheme. When he meets Sanung, people rush to his feet and beg for Tagon’s forgiveness, and Sanung does the same. Sanung dramatically begs for forgiveness and accepts the punishment for his dishonorable son. Asa Ron is trapped.

Eunseom and Doti fall off Helper, who stops to eat once again. Eunseom suggests a name change to Devourer, if all Helper wants to do is devour food and not help. Ha! Doti notices how the crops are strangely growing in a straight line, and Eunseom wonders how this could have happened.

Then, a farmer yells at them for stealing and tries to attack Eunseom, who quickly avoids the swing. The farmer claims that these are his crops on his land, and Eunseom thinks back to the dying tribesman who warned of the men who take land. He wonders how people can own and steal land, and he’s further intrigued when the farmer claims that he planted and cultivated these crops.

The farmer grabs Eunseom but suddenly loosens his grip when he notices Eunseom’s necklace. He apologizes for disrespecting an Asa tribesman, but then he notices Eunseom’s purple lips. The farmer recognizes the characteristic of an Igutu and runs away, yelling that there’s an Igutu.

Eunseom remembers being called an Igutu by an enemy warrior and stops the farmer to ask what an Igutu. Trembling in fear, the farmer defines an Igutu as a child of a human and Neanthal. Then, Eunseom asks what a Neanthal is, and the farmer says that Neanthals are monsters.

Eunseom stands up numbly at the realization that he’s the son of a monster. From behind, the farmer gets back up to attack Eunseom, and Doti screams in warning. Eunseom dodges the strike and instinctively retaliates, killing the farmer. Doti looks shocked, as does Eunseom, who looks at the purple blood on his cut hand.

A woman approaches Eunseom and assures him that she’s not trying to attack him. She denies the claim that he’s the son of a monster and says it’s a fabricated rumor spread by the current Asa tribe. Seemingly part of the Asa tribe herself, the woman delivers the final consciousness of the dead farmer and gently approaches Eunseom. She observes the purple blood and confirms that Eunseom is an Igutu.

She tells Eunseom that he can’t reveal himself to others, as he’ll either die or kill more people. As she begins to cover up the dead farmer, Eunseom grabs her and asks what a Neanthal really is. She says that Neanthals are different from humans and bit more beautiful. I think I’m going to like her.

Asa Ron’s advisors argue about what should be done: Punishing Tagon will cause a riot, but showing mercy will also reduce the Asa authority. The argument is interrupted by the mother of the White Mountain, ASA SAKAN (Son Sook), who agrees with Asa Mot that showing mercy will disgrace the Asa tribe.

Asa Sakan cannot accept the implications that any person can communicate with the gods, and she reminds them that through the rare and selected mystics, people establish tribes and unions. If this selective power is destroyed, how will people come together? She warns that if humans are unable to unite, then they will devolve into their animalistic states.

Asa Sakan adds that if everyone has been selected, then no one has been selected. She warns Asa Ron that this equality will destroy the union.

Eunseom walks out dressed in more commonplace clothing, and Doti comments that he looks weird. Then, the helpful woman, CHAEEUN, approaches Eunseom and pats on some pigment to cover up his purple lips. She advises him to cover up any indication that he’s an Igutu.

Eunseom asks why Chaeeun isn’t afraid of Igutu and why she’s helping him. She warns him that this is the last of her help and that she could kill him in their next encounter. As she walks away, Eunseom asks where he can meet the Neanthals, and she responds that he can’t because the Arth tribes killed them all.

As Eunseom and Doti wait to cross the gate into Arthdal, they notice the strange rock structure. Eunseom wonders why people built such a useless structure on land. When they get closer to the gate, Doti recognizes the weapon that the warriors are using to inspect goods, and she trembles in fear.

When they get to the gate, Doti bursts into tears, and the warrior lets the two pass through without further inspection. As they walk through the gate, Doti accuses Eunseom of pinching her. Haaa, so Doti wasn’t crying out of fear but because Eunseom pinched her to make her cry.

As Eunseom and Doti walk through Arthdal, they look around in awe. The foreign merchants and bustling streets seem to amaze them, and Eunseom protectively holds onto Doti as they walk in wonder. “This place is Arthdal.”

 
COMMENTS

I’m enjoying the juxtaposition of Eunseom’s journey to Arthdal with Tagon’s homecoming to Arthdal, and I’m interested to see how their paths will align. Eunseom is clearly still figuring out what the world outside of Iark looks like and how he’s perceived by this larger world. Up to now, he’s simply accepted how others have negatively defined him, but he’s slowly discovering more about his identity. Eunseom’s curious encounter with the supposed Asa tribe Chaeeun seemed to mark the beginnings in redefining his identity, which has always been suppressed due to the unacceptance of his idiosyncrasies.

In contrast, Tagon seems to know exactly who he is, and he shows no restraint in capitalizing on his identity. He knows that he’s the son of the almighty Arthdal union leader, and he audaciously navigates that identity. Though Tagon is still hard to read, I can sense that we’ve only gotten a taste of his intelligence and strategic mind. Even while physically removed from the politics of Arthdal, he seems to be in touch with the power dynamics and his ability to manipulate those dynamics. My thoughts are also affirmed by Taealha’s trust in Tagon’s instincts. If I’ve learned anything in this episode, it’s that Taealha knows all. She’s fierce, deliberate, and has a steady read on the powerful leaders of Arthdal, so her trust in Tagon’s humming excitement also has me on board with Tagon’s slowly unfolding plans.

Every hero needs a sidekick, and I’m happy that Eunseom has both Helper and Doti along with him on his journey. I’m amused by Eunseom growing into his own abilities — super-fast vision, an incredible memory — without judgement, and I’m sure he’s not used to exerting these abilities, since he probably kept them hidden to blend in with his surrounding humans. It’s funny to watch Eunseom be surprised with himself — oh wow, I just did that! — and I love that he’s kind of winging it the whole time. Eunseom’s naΓ―ve and endearing commitment to his people are at the heart of his journey, and his little hiccups and timely pinches make it all the more endearing. Now that he’s made it to Arthdal in once piece, I’m looking forward to seeing how he clumsily navigates the novelty of this fated destination and his mission to save his people.

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Thanks for the recap! Will you also give a summary of the legend/lore that narrated after the previews?

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I'm honestly suprised how wobbly is writng in this show most of the time, I blame it on trying to fit story that would fill multiple seasons in kdrama format. It's a shame because I'm absolutly drawn into this world and curious how the story unfold, but for now I enjoy it for all the wrong reasons.
And after this episodes I can't shake off "Xena, the Warrior Princess" vibes, which i loved a lot in high school, I'll admit it without a shame ;)

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I agree, I wish they'd give this show a few more episodes, it would've made it easier for both the writers and the viewers to properly delve in it. For a writer team that's used to creating sageuks with over 50 episodes, fitting their most convoluted plot yet into 18 episodes is no easy task. Each episode feels choppy and sort of rushed (the fact that episode 2 was probably the smoothest so far says a lot). I'd like more room to get properly invested in the characters and drawn into the mythical world of Arth, instead of feeling overwhelmed by all the plot we're supposed to take in in 1 hour and 20 minutes.

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@moon rabbit I thought that the show would have the standard sageuk episode count, but divided into 3 seasons. So I was stunned and disappointed that it would be 18 episodes.

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I was disappointed too. I feel like this show would work out better with 30 episodes at least, 10 per 'season' maybe. 18 episodes is way too short for an epic sageuk about the building of an ancient empire, filled with detailed world-building and mythology. Which makes me sad, because, from the special videos tvN has been providing, it sounds like there's so much more that could've been explored and that we won't be seeing because of the insufficient number of episodes. I feel like the root of the problems with this show isn't the mediocre CGI or even the deplorable editing I've been mentioning, but the limited time they have to flesh the story out.

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There is no emotional depth to many scenes. Even that scene where they went up in the elevator and looked back fell so flat. It should have been a dramatic scene, a tribe that was supposed to never cross the cliff is actually crossing the cliff.

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@mayhemf
True, many scenes lack the emotional impact they need. Everything feels rushed and poorly executed. It makes me sad, because this drama had so much potential, with a talented writer-director team and cast and an intriguing premise. There's some great moments in between that give a bit of insight into what could've been, but as a whole the execution leaves much to be desired.

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Technically with its run time of 80 minutes it becomes the equivalent of a 24 episode drama, with a normal HR run time.
Maybe this is bold of me to say but I'd totally watch 30+ episodes of this thing.... Dang now I wish there was that!!!

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TWDR was only 24 eps so it's doable? 18 (80mins) eps is the same amount of time for a regular 24 eps drama.

My guess is that this series is meant to continue if it end up being successful.

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i could be wrong but i swear i read somewhere that arthdal has been given the go for 2 more seasons.

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It's 18 episodes in total for 3 seasons, with 6 episodes each. I hope I'm wrong because the premise is sure intriguing!!

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@sooyi

Season 1 is divided into 3 parts. That's how its also listed on Netflix.

@anglvue

I also read about a Season 2 and its supposed to be aired in 2020.
I don't think its set in stone yet. Things could change depending on the success of this season.

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@kiara and @sooyi
thanks for the clarification. this also means i need to tell netflix to stop messing with this whole one season is just 6 episodes deal and wait X number of months until the next crumbs we throw your way. it is completely ruining my viewing pleasure.

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I think TWDR had a lot less plot and characters than Arthdal, so it could be done in 24 eps. The writers kinda went overboard with all the characters and stuff in this show, idk how they wanted to do it properly within 18-24 eps.

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That's why I'm thinking that it won't end at 18 eps. I think they are looking at it long term.

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hahaha...i was a warrior princess fan too!!! woot-woot!! solidarity!!

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They are doing a pretty good job of world building. Although I have to ask myself, they did all of that for 2000 slaves, which are apparently worth money, but they are far too willing to kill their profits (literally).

Tagon's men as so bloodthirsty that it makes me wonder about his character. I guess you could say that they are a product of their times, but there is a lot of unnecessary bloodshed, which will make it that much nicer when they die...die...die.

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Hopefully what Tanya did in episode 4 works lol.

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I was surprised that they would kill the children when they would be the source of future generations.

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They needed strong adults for labor. From scenes of Ep4, they have enough children slaves and feeding/raising new ones way not be a priority.

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I like that the show is growing into its own. I think the writer has a tough job because s/he is trying to fit what should be 2 or 3 seasons into 1 season. I think s/heis doing a good job, considering. I'm enjoying the unfolding of the story. FIGHTUNG Writer-nim.

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YES!!!!!!!!!!! Someone else on writer-nim's side. Writing is hard work.

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The writers are two, one man and one woman. They're used to writing epic sageuks, but those usually have over 50 episodes (like Six Flying Dragons or Queen Seondeok, which are two of their previous works), and that's probably why they're struggling to fit all the plot they want to explore into such a limited number of episodes. In my opinion, had they been given at least 30 episodes, the story would've improved by a lot, and this show might've been able to live up to its potential. They seem to have prepared a lot, and it's sad that they'll never be able to properly flesh it out and are instead forced to rush through it.

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Okay, thanks for the info and that makes sense about being used to writing 50 episoders. I think they are doing a fine job.

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But they also wrote 12 ep Circle, that is also a world-building drama, with close to perfect pacing.

I’m not gonna blame the writers for the poor execution. I have a huge gut splinter feeling that investors were β€œreviewing” and adding unnecessary things, like contradicting narrations. (I’m not referring to Netflix which usually don’t care what the content is about)

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Hmmmm, you have a point.

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where is your source abt the same team writing Circle? i checked out asianwiki and the writers are different.

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I think the writer's world would be better explored if certain scenes were not lingered upon. An example would be the elevator scene were they lingered too long on the wailing when the director's emotional point was already established. I felt like I was being pulled out of some scenes or camera shots that lingered for too long. I haven't had a drama do that for me i awhile and I'm by no means impatient. I grew up watching old movies that weren't like todays fast paced ones.

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Totally agree and that's when I started dozing off.

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Im still liking what i see so far though at time is do just treat it more as a fantasy drama than as a historical sort of drama, I just need them to give up on trying to CGI massive scenes. They have a massive budget but its obvious most of it went to clothes and actual props rather than the CGI.

But i do like myself some power dynamics anytime of the day as long as at the end of the day nothing particularly stupid happens:)

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Tbh I feel like the farther they stay from the CGI the better this show looks. I think most of the budget went into building all those massive sets over anything else. They have no historical sites to shoot the scenes, unlike all those Joseon and Goryeo dramas. They had to imagine and design the sets themselves and then build them, which I believe took most of the budget, leaving less for the CGI.

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I read that they film on location in Brunei, and some of interiors looked sus Middle Easter (TaelHa's lair).

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Ah those power dynamics! I kept getting Joseon "old guys in flowing robes scheming" vibes. I can't see it as a historical drama either because it all takes place in prehistoric time and there are no actual correlation to any time or place in actual history. I was hoping it was an analog of earth so that when it all ended we would have a world where all is peaceful but i keep remembering what that narrator said (in that sad intonation of hers)...so am not sure there will be happy little goddess-worshiping natives in the end.

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What I learned from this episode (and the next one) is that Tagon is wicked smart and Eunseom is no match against him yet lol. Even his idea of capturing Sanung and exchanging him for the Wahan people came from Dalsae and not from his own. I guess it will make his growth as a character and his eventually defeating Tagon all the more satisfying.
I'm happy we got more of Taealha this episode, and that Kim Ok-bin got to do more. I was a bit unimpressed by her first appearance in episode 1, but I liked what she did during this one. I like that she has actual ambitions for herself as well as having some sort of genuine affection for Tagon, which makes her character more layered and interesting. I'm also hoping for more Tanya action, since all she did so far was to get captured and comfort her fellow enslaved people; I believe episode 4 was a step into the right direction.
For all the negative reception, I'm glad this show is at least getting solid ratings (episode 4 recorded their highest so far). The CGI isn't great but it doesn't bother me as much as the terrible editing. Like seriously, whoever is cutting and putting all the scenes together deserves to get fired. At least the music is fine, and isn't horribly and hilariously unfitting like the one from whatever I watched from Moon Lovers (that 'baby baby baby boy' still haunts me to this day). Thankfully they seem to be sticking to ancient instrumentals.

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Thanks for calling our the sloppy editing.. I am not even in the industry and I could tell how bad it was.
For instance, the whole plotting of bringing down Tagon and Asa clan together was shown in a single sequence. Really?
You had the note being revealed, and then immediately the king comes with his men and asks for forgiveness.. That whole sequence was comical to say the least.
We had no time to process that tension. If the whole reveal happened slowly while juxtaposing Tagon's movement atleast there would have been some curiousity as a viewer..

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True, but I feel like most of the blame should go to the limited number of episodes (which I mentioned somewhere above). As you said, we basically have no time to properly process what's happening and feel overwhelmed by the plot progression, which does a lot of damage to the show itself. The writers are probably struggling to fit all of their monumental plot into 18 episodes because tvN refuses to have dramas with over 20 episodes. Everything ends up feeling choppy and rushed, and the terrible editing choices only make it worse.

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Also the untimely interception of scenes seems to be a recurring thing in this drama. Without spoiling too much, in episode 4, there's this scene between Tanya and Mother Choseol that's supposed to be sad and sweet, but because they, for god knows what reason, decided to intercept it with a dramatic scene between Tagon and Taealha the impact both scenes were supposed to have was dimished. The editing does a lot of disservice to a drama that's already riddled with other problems.

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I was actually quite bored with the mother’s death scene. Yet she had so much secrets to pass on that they must give her a long slow death. I was quite ok with breaking that up with some tension from the other story.

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I wasn't too excited with that either, I just felt that the interception of the scenes made it way too tonally uneven. It kinda broke the tension from the confrontation scene for me.

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Thank goodness for the lipshade change!! yayyyyy!!!
LOL

This episode felt a bit weak to me.. I wanted to read more into Tagon's actions and we saw very little of him.
The Union Leader and politics also seemed a little too in-your-face.
But, am off to see episode 4. I hope Tagon arriving adds some interesting twists in the politics.
And am curious how EunSeum and Tagon will meet.

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We see other characters talking about Tagon more than Tagon himself lol. The plot progression lets us know that Tagon is supposed to be this wicked smart genius strategist, but it feels slightly unconvincing because we hardly ever see Tagon's perspective on his own schemes. There's so many characters that the main quartet gets less screentime that they should. Hopefully it'll improve since they seem to be done with most of the introductions.
Tbh I feel like this episode was more of a set-up for what will happen in the next one (just like episode 1). I do like that it gave us more insight into the themes that the writers are trying to explore through this drama (slavery, propriety, religion, etc.) and into the society of Arthdal, but episode 4 was more exciting to watch because most of the actual action happened there.

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That another thing that's irk me, there is too much of telling us things instead of showing, or overexplaining things like the whole story of magic horse through "internal thoughts narration", how ridiculous it was?

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I agree, the internal narration is one of the things that bugs me the most, it's just too unnecessary and feels ridiculous. I also felt like most of the flashbacks were unnecessary, especially the one when Eunseom saw the saddle and remembered Mubaek riding his horse with it; like, we get it, you don't need to spell out everything for us. They feel like poor strategies to compensate for the lack of time they have to explain things in a more subtle, convincing way.

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If they wanted to take inspiration from GOT, they should avoid to make the same mistake. There are too many characters to develop in a short time. They built a new world to understand. All feels rushed and I can't take time to connect to the characters, to understand them, their motives, etc.

Eun Seom reminds me Naruto : orphan, considered as a part of a monster, very powerful, very naive (kind of stupid :p) but with a big heart. Except he's an adult that makes things a little bit weird.

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Yeah, i got confused about all the clans and all the characters. It reminded me of watching Ever Night where i just was so confused about who was who and who did what or who ruled where. A lot of Chinese dramas are like that but Ever Night, although i totally loved it, was just confusing in the beginning. I was confused for about 30 episodes then it all came together. This drama is not really like GOT though. I hear a lot of people comparing them but the similarity is merely surface. GOT had many main characters, all with their different books and journeys. And GOT was based on history, the war of the roses. This is prehistoric. I do agree with you about all those characters. I kept saying, "Do you really have to introduce this character here? Is that character over there really needed?" I'm trusting it'll all come together...as Ever Night did.

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Oh I agree it's not like GOT at all. But some people talked about it and for now I just can see that the last season of GOT was really badly written, they rushed all the arcs and they mixed up a lot things. But the first seasons were great, when they were still based on the books.

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TRUTH!

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I agree, the writers created a world that's way too complex to be developed in 18 episodes, plus all the characters they added only makes it worse. I wish they'd gone for a simpler route instead of being so ambitious, since they had limited time, or that they'd been given more episodes to flesh out their story, so that it could live up to its potential. Either way, this drama would've turned out way better.
I'm not too sure if Eunseom's an adult tho. I got the impression he was under twenty or something. Maybe I'm wrong, it's not unlikely due to how much plot we have to consume per episode lol.

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I'm curious about Eun Seom's age. They chose Song Joong Ki who is 33 years old. I don't think the perm hair and the fact he pouts a lot make him looking much younger.

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It's also weird that Taealha is supposed to be much older than Eunseom, but Kim Okbin is actually younger than Song Joongki lol. Either way, I think they chose him because Eun-seom will eventually get older and they needed a younger-looking actor in order to portray all of those stages. I also got the impression that the writers created the character with him in mind.

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He's 20 at the moment. Like literally.
He was a baby in episode one, no more than a few months old. Then it took him and his mother 10 years to get down the wall. Then it took tHE uNION ten years to get down the wall... Voila. He's 20.
I've always thought SJK has never looked his age, so his face is fine for me. But his voice... Sounds way too mature for a 20 year old.
Not that that matters cos kdramaland constantly has 28 year olds playing highschoolers lmao!!!

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To be fair, so do American dramas. They rarely have teenagers to play teenagers.

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Because having teenagers play teenagers would just be too hard and too weird and too full of voice cracks :P (@sychotic1 yeah I know lol)

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I hope it's because they had planned a jump in time. Otherwise I don't understand the choice of actor.

For teenager, they can't ask for the same from a minor as from an adult. But 20 years old, they could find someone.

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I agree. Make it simpler with less characters. That way we can give enough time and depth to each of the characters and sub plots. As it is now, I'm having difficulty connecting emotionally to the story.

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One thing I always like about fantasy kdramas and Chinese wuxia are the gowns: Flowing silk dresses delicately embroidered, and veils that blow in the breeze. But Taealha’s dresses are so skimpy that they look modern. Or ancient Greek according to Hollywood.

In general the show is, I think, trying too hard to resonate with its Western audiences, for instance by making Taelha the seductress who displays a lot of skin. It also emphasises the evils of expansionism with the unnecessary cruelty of the Arthdal conquerors... I think it’s a valid political agenda, but it’s portrayed over the top here.

I did watch until episode 4, but since I’ve only liked these episodes 50% of the time I should apply my 4-episode rule. Usually I like palace intrigue but this time I find the schemes boring. I hope the rest of you keep enjoying the drama. Sadly, it is not for me.

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For me, one of the main problems of this show is the art direction, particularly the way they're dressing Taelha. She looks way too out of place compared to everyone else. People were complaining about the Wahan tribe's costumes, but I preferred them over Taealha's unrealistic ancient greek-wannabe attire.

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For a drama with a big budget, it looks like their costume/wardrobe lacked funding. They don't have originality and seems like they have taken some inspirations from other movies/series.

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I feel like they spent most of it with the building of sets and overseas shooting. That might be why the CGI and the wardrobe feel lacking. I personally wish they had ditched the CGI altogether (show looks better without it anyway) and focused more on the wardrobe.

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I agree!

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Agree. The upper-echelon techno-sarams wear clothing that is way too refined and which probably would not have been invented yet in all honesty. The clothing designer messed up this. There should've been a way of showing wealthy outfits while still showing the connection to the clothing style that everyone else wears.

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I wish they'd give a bit more of an 'oriental' feel to the clothing, and also make it simpler. I doubt people from 3000 BC would be wearing jewelry that looks like it came from last century or dresses that seem like a modern version of ancient greek clothing, no matter how rich and powerful they were. A few layers of robes would've done it, the contrast with the common folks wouldn't be a problem because of how poorly dressed they are.

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Arthdal + Historical Accuracy = ERROR 404 PAGE NOT FOUND

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At first, I didn't get Taealha's wardrobe because it felt too untimely but I think it's because her people (the Pirate tribe) are not from Arthdal. Her father was forced to emigrate because his country lacked food, I think.

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I don't know why but Taelha gives out modern vibe that feels out of place to me. I can't pin point why tho.

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My daughter often uses the phrase "they're trying too hard" and "it's over the top, in your face" - no subtlety. No subtlety is one reason I went from U.S. shows to Asian dramas, Asian dramas are usually more subtle. I wonder if the fact it's on Netflix has anything to do with appealing to more U.S. and int'l audiences. Hope not.
Come to think of it, now that I've watched several dozen C-dramas, their agenda and the "moral of the story" isn't too subtle either. Quite preachy at times.

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Most conquerors are usually unnecessarily cruel, though. Especially when they think another species/race is inferior to them. Am not sure they are trying too hard to get western audiences. This is the season where we have Rampant, Kingdom, Wandering Earth, Train to Busan. Western storytelling tropes have been around for a while, as have Eastern tropes. When western creatives use eastern/Asian tropes, we don't think they're trying to have things resonate with Asian audiences. Creative types just like exploring and they hit or miss. I remember seeing a documentary about a Japanese artist who used black and white a lot and then he decided to use the western idea of color. I watched as he painted and there was a point where i began cringing because he went one step too far. It was seriously bad to my eyes but he was so dang proud of his effort. I guess what i am saying is that the creatives might just be doing all this out of pure joy and pure committment to some internal truth about justice and/or storytelling.

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The tribe that Taealha is from, the Hae Tribe, they did come from most likely a European descent though. Mihol described that his tribe has experience from the time of Remus (and Romulus, the twin brothers who build Rome), about building a civilization. So it makes since that Taealha's clothes are somewhat more Western. She wears more metal jewelry, also because her tribe are the artisans and scientists who have the best technology... so most able to create some of the elaborate pieces that she wears. (Similarly, her dad, Mihol's clothes are also more western looking, with more ornamental pieces)

The Asa clan are always in white, and their clothes are always more like robes such as that of priests.
The Saenyeok, are always in black or armor, because they are the military tribe.

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That makes sense, thanks. I must have dozed off during that explanation.
Though if we’re bringing Romulus and Remus into the chronology that was around 700 BC (by Roman calculations lol). Rome was pretty insignificant then... a little village of huts. Experience with the Persians or Phoenicians or Greeks in Asia Minor would have made more sense- hey maybe they were at the fall of Troy. I’ll stop. This is not a show to be watched for its historical accuracy.

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The Hae tribe reminded me a lot of the Phoenicians too. Imho, influence from either of those three civilizations would make more sense than the Romans.

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"Loosely based on..."

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When did Mihol say that? I think I might've missed it. There's so much plot crammed into each episode that it's easy to miss important details like this one.

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They are described as pirates who came from overseas, but Greeks would be more historically fitting for ancient pirates.

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I'm a little bit lost...
- The fondation of Rome is 753 BC
- The neandertal disapeared in 35000 BC
- Gojoseon started around 2333 BC
How those 3 elements can be related ?

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Historical fiction? Legend? Myth? Poetic license?
The C-drama Imperial Doctress was a love story based on two people who were real, a woman who wanted to be a Doctor, and an Emperor. While nice, in reality the two lived in different centuries.
Obviously Arthdal is based on some mythology but seems to be a combination of Eastern and Western ancient history.

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Agree, it doesn't make any sense.

The only other people as far back as pre-Gojoseon that are mentioned by researchers were the Siberians from the north who were well advanced in bronze.

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Lol I think this was a historical TV series at first, but due to a lack of records, the writers decided to call it a fantasy, based on the BTS.

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I have nothing against fantasy but if you have to take some historic elements to anchor your story, taking so much events not linked, it's kind of stupid...

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I also got the impression that this is supposed to be a legendary/mythical retelling of the origins of Gojoseon, but the historical association with civilizations that didn't even exist during that time is way too much for me lol.

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I have a feeling their portrayal of expansionism mirrors the cruelty they (the writers) know of β€” shoguns in Japan. So I don’t think it’s over the top.

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I'm loving Eunsom on his hero's journey. His cluelessness is funny and sad at the same time. BUT, Tagon is my present passion. Eunsom's journey gives me goosebumps. Tagon's make my non-existent ovaries flutter. So far anyway. I loved kid Tagon (whom i now know was played by Jung Jae-Won who was in Room 9 and Her private life and i am now one of his fans) because he had that wisdom beauty thing happening. Older Tagon's got the Nimrod paradigm down: warrior/hunter, city builder/inventor, and god-in-the making uber-intelligent schemer thing happening. Add all that with a long lance and arrows. How can i not be smitten? I love it that power in this world is divided into military clans, ruling class, merchant class, priestly class, and that Tagon is beyond all that. But what does he want? Peace with himself as the head of state? Revenge?

The secondary characters are pretty neat as well. Taelha is smart and fierce. She and Tagon are perfect for each other. I'm liking Mubaek and Dan-byeok. Mubaek seems like a fairly decent warrior type, murdering innocent people notwitstanding, and I'm wondering whom he will give that Wolf token to. He is the only character who seems capable of changing his journey's path. And Danbyeok is a good brother stuck between a rock and a hard place. I'm glad our pudgy spy and is involved in important things but the prejudice against fat women in korean society is so ingrained that they are almost always showing her eating...non-step. Sheesh!​

I like the way the writer weaves folkloric aspects of Christianity with muism with anthropology and the female goddess. From what i can see the writer is differentiating between true religion and organized power structures that use religion to preserve masculine and class importance. The gods may be true, involved in human life, and prone to helping humans but the military industrial complex and the patriarchal religious complex are definitely getting in the way. I can only hope Tagon and Eunsom can both get their way without having to destroy each other.

Also, I know warrior heroes and mythic heroes are hot but am not down for any love triangles right now.​

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I’m kinda itching to see the dynamics between Tagon & Tanya though.

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I haven’t watched the next episode yet, but I guess this one was more of a setup for it.

It became clearer for me who was on what side when it came to the main Arthdal clans. Curious if Taealha has any genuine feelings for Tagon or is he just a step towards her own goal.

Doti is not much of a sidekick. I’m more worried about her safety and her being a hindrance. I would rather see her unite with her mother soon.

Not much humor in this drama, but I wasn’t expecting it anyway. I chuckled when Eunseom asked if Helper wanted to try some clothes though.

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I think the writers included Doti because they wanted to portray the relationship between a mother and her child; also, since they made the Daekan troops kill all the other children, it wouldn't make sense for them to enslave just Doti.
Yeah, this episode is more of a set-up for the action that will go down in episode 4 (and eventually episode 5), which was more exciting to watch and had more highlight-worthy scenes. They did the same with episode 1 and 2.

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thanks for the recap...i can't wait to watch more episodes...I'm so curious to see the story unfold especially how Eunseom will become a threat for Tagon...Tagon seems like such a mastermind, he has all the experience for political/power struggles, but Eunseom has lived such a simple life so far, but no doubt he is a super being by his birth itself and who knows maybe a God too...i hope the story achieving all this is done well, lot of potential here. i love Eunseom's expressions and wonderment...i'm really enjoying this show:-)

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I can't believe it took three episodes for me to know that doti is a girl.
Tagons expression when he saw tanya
I like this drama but i have to be honest to myself. Some scenes are damn boring

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Don’t mine son love triangle tbh. Tanya & Tagon has more chemistry than with SJK

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Magic Horse Lord for President 2020

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All I can say is, thank god for the horse. Poor Eun-som wouldn't have made it a day on his own. Clearly the horse is the only one in this show with his ish together.

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Magic Horse is orchestrating the whole thing. I'm calling it now. He's the true mastermind behind ALL of this.

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No doubt. He's obviously setting the stage for the incompetent (and frequently awful) humans to implode before beginning his reign.

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*nods* this is obviously an Uplifted Horse story.
I for one welcome our Equine Overlords.

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As do I. I'm excited to witness his journey.

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Eunsom will eventually (most likely) have to fight against his brother, that baby that was 'adopted' by Tagon in the forest and kept away in a tower. Clearly, there must be a purpose for that baby too. Eunsom will eventually have to fight against another Igutu.

I'm pretty sure Tagon raised that baby in a tower, and probably trained him up to become a loyal fighting machine. I'm sure he had his reasons for taking on an Igutu baby. He'll surely use that child (now adult) as a weapon.

I hope the story moves faster. Some scenes are interesting, but some scenes are dragged out, slow and boring. (like over-emphasising on those dance or prayer trance scenes by some of the tribes (mainly in white), etc).

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I’m just gonna throw my theory out there: the girl Eunseom met in the field is his twin.

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*they were both called brothers in episode one but SCREW LOGIC LETS GO WITH THIS ONE INSTEAD*

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I don’t recall the exact word they used but they could have meant sibling.

Why else would a young girl hold so much interest and sympathy towards an Igutu? Especially when her society is pushing the thought that they are dangerous beasts.

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It's sort of explained in episode 4. If I recall correctly, the subtitles for Rottib's lines in episode 1 referred to Eunseom's sibling as 큰아듀 (older son). Unless it was a subtitling mistake, I'd say he's pretty much confirmed to be a boy.

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Also, in the first episode, when Asa Hon was having her dream, Aramun said that he would take the life of Eunseom's older brother if he doesn't take his.

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I thought that twin/baby was adopted by Tagon,and kept away (up til now too)..? I don't think Tagon would want to let that person go out and about freely in public yet.

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He didn’t hide the baby. He only hid the fact that he/she is an Igutu. He gave the baby to that lady. Remember she said the child gone to play? It makes sense that she raised a pretty girl, rather than a fierce warrior.

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Hmm ok yea, that's true. Possible! :) Hope she would continue to be a good help / guide to Eunsom.

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Interesting article from Han Cinema "The Dark Ages of Drama", and one I personally kind of agree with and I've heard many comments hear that have noticed this too:
https://www.hancinema.net/the-dark-age-of-dramas-no-masterpieces-or-so-bad-it-s-good-works-130424.html?fbclid=IwAR2cwCAfFr3GGp4jRCRQlS8FZrNHm3PNj_IYNRoKSek5qVHetqcZjuYXWUo

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Fantasy, ancient history, magic and world building are story elements that usually appeal to me. And when I read about this show and heard how epic it was going to be, I was eagerly awaiting the premiere on Netflix. But, wow, what a disappointment. Yet like most awful things I just can't stop watching. Mainly in the vain hope that it will get better.

But after watching all the episodes so far I have two main gripes. One some scenes last way too long. Like Tanya practicing her dancing in the water, the endless horse chase and other things that happen in episode 4, that I won't say anything about so as not to spoil things.

My second gripe is that while I appreciate that there are other characters and story lines, Eunseom's story is the heart of it. And there are some serious chunks of time where Song Joong Ki is not on screen and when he is not, the drama falls a bit flat and takes way to long to get back to him.

For a drama with a strong cast and huge budget, I expected way better. And if the story is good I can overlook certain flaws in dramas. For example, one thing I always find amusing in Kdramas is how everyone seems to know everyone else's cell phone number even if characters just met for the briefest of moments. In this drama a big flaw for me, and I said this is another post, is that I find it hard to believe that in the ten years that Eunseom stayed in the village not one person in Iark ever happened to walk by the giant cliff and see the construction going on or the walkways being built over the hot springs. I get that the water is hot, the cliff is tall and that there are cultural reasons for not going near them. Still I find it hard that while all that construction was going on, no one in Iark saw anything. I know this is silly, but in a drama this bad, details like that just stand out.

I applaud the writer's attempt to write something grand and epic and hope to see other, better sprawling dramas in the future. But so far this is drama a bust. On the other hand there is a drama that I am really enjoying. Which is a surprise to me since I am not a fan of ballet or religious stories and now there is a drama with both of those things. Haha. I am really enjoying Angel's Last Mission: Love. Shin Hye Sun and L are great. I really look forward to new episodes of this each week. It is a reminder that a good show doesn't always have to be epic.

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I feel exactly the same (maybe apart from the Angel drama, which I'm not watching because I'm generally not a fan of romance dramas). I was expecting a lot since I'm a fan of the director, I've enjoyed some of the writers' previous works and the cast is talented. This kind of show is more disappointing than most of the really terrible dramas out there because of the knowledge that it could've been so much better. I'm still enjoying it because I find it exciting, but I can't help but cling to the hope that it will eventually get better. Who knows, maybe they'll actually get it together by part 2 or 3, since filming seems to be ongoing (pretty please?).

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These are my guesses for the show:
-Aramun is said to be the founder of the city Arthdal, so he is Dangun, the founder of Asadal, the first city. He is the offspring between Hwanung, the son of the Lord of Heaven (probably the leader of the Asa Clan in its beginnings) and a bear who turned into a woman (the Saenyeok tribe who supposedly became "civilized").

-The Asa Clan is held in importance, not just due to their divine role, but I think it's because they're assumed to be celestial origins and the first settlers because their base, the White Mountain, is similar to the Baekdu Mountain (literally "White Head Mountain") where Hwanung and his followers settled on earth and built the Sinsi ("City of God").

-It's getting obvious that the Wahan Clan are from Arthdal, but I'm thinking their founder, the White Grandmother Wolf, is from the Asa Clan because the dance performed by the Great Mother resembles the one performed by a priestess at the White Mountain. Also, I'm probably guessing that the White Grandmother Wolf is from the main branch of the Asa Clan because the Farmer Tribe was claiming that the current Asa Clan is not from the main branch.

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I really liked this episode. I was afraid it would took E longer to get to the city but he managed just fine. He is learning a lot in a short time and the fact that he is very smart helps.
The girl helping him out was a real surprise. I did not think anyone else would remember that the Neanthal were just a bit different and not monsters. I wonder if she is somehow connected to his mother.

The dance to speak with the gods that we see the Asa people perform are similar to what Tanya was learning. I assume this will be useful later on.

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I really, really, really, really need to know more back story on the child, now adult, that's in the tower. I'm assuming this would be Eunseom's twin???

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They said in the first episode that Ragaz had the older child but Koreans at least in dramas treat even the older twin as older. Otherwise I would have said he would be younger brother but even Eun Seom was a baby back then.

I presume we will meet him next week. I think Tagon entered the tower with him as his backup.

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Every time I see the wooden boardwalk on the Sea of Tears I cackle. Wasn't the cliff enough of a barrier? Why did they need this hot surface that would burn one's feet but miraculously be safe for wood?

I find Doti utterly adorable. I hope she will be around for a long time.

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