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Arthdal Chronicles: Episode 4

Our half-human hero has always been different than those around him, but now he finds himself in a situation beyond anything he’s ever imagined. But our focus shifts to the antihero Tagon, who’s spent most of his life trying to please his father and be allowed home. Just as it looks like he may get his wish, discontent among the Union leaders comes to a head, and Tagon finds his very life on the line.

 
EPISODE 4 RECAP

Eunseom and Doti make their way into Arthdal, astounded by all the noise and bustle. Doti is mesmerized by a statue in the middle of a square that’s covered in what they call Hard Stones, the same kind of stone that took Eunseom four months to make a necklace out of.

An angry scream alerts Eunseom to the fact that Helper is eating again — this time he’s demolishing a cart full of valuable medicinal herbs, hee. The vendor raises a hand to hit Helper, and suddenly Eunseom’s eyes glow purple. Quick as a flash, he jumps on the vendor and slams him to the ground.

He looks around in surprise at the crowd that’s gathered. Chaeeun shows up and pulls Eunseom away, telling him to leave Arthdal immediately. He says he will when he accomplishes his task, and grumbles that Arthdal is a weird place.

Eunseom is distracted when a man steps out of a nearby building. He follows the strange sounds to a room full of small children working machines, grinding Hard Stones into smooth shapes. The longer Eunseom stares, the worse it gets — the children are filthy and underfed, and every last one of them is in leg shackles.

The man returns and shoves Eunseom out. In a haunted voice, he asks Chaeeun who those children were. She explains that they’re war captives, and that captives were likely used to built the lift at the Great Black Wall as well.

Eunseom is distraught that the huge lift and the Hard Stones in the statue were made by slaves, like the chickens he saw in cages at the market. He says he’d never seen anything so cruel, until he realized that it was slaves like his own people that made all these “great” things.

It renews his determination to save his people, and he tells Chaeeun his plan to take Sanung hostage to exchange for the Wahan captives. She leads him to a spot overlooking Arthdal and says that even if he gets in, he’ll get lost.

Little Doti pipes up that Uncle Eunseom has a good sense of direction (awww, his smile), but Chaeeun says that you can’t navigate inside corridors where you can’t see the sun or stars. Eunseom just says she’ll wait for Sanung to leave the city so Chaeeun argues that he’s always heavily guarded, but Eunseom says he’ll fight, and she gives up.

Back in the city, Chaeeun joins a meeting of the Bachi (merchants’) Guild already in session, where the main topic of discussion is Tagon and his upcoming trial at the Sacred Court (for performing death rites without being a mystic). They think Tagon is a hero for all he’s done for the people.

Asa Ron hears that the Bachi Guild is against Tagon being punished. He tells Asa Mot he can’t figure out if Tagon is communicating with Sanung, or when and how, so he tells Asa Mot to prepare the sacred smoke so that he can ask the gods.

Taealha is also nervous with worry about what Tagon has planned once he returns to Arthdal. Tuak lays out the facts — Asa Ron thinks that Sanung is scheming against him, while Tagon actually plotted the whole thing, and Taealha only did as Tagon asked her. Taealha snaps at Tuak to stop yapping and asks if she’s visited the tower yet, so she goes, complaining that Tagon has a kid when he’s not even married to Taealha yet.

Sanung takes Danbyeok, his younger son, to pretend to pray for Tagon to a statue of Aramun Haesulla. Danbyeok confirms that Sanung has “prayed” enough that the people are talking about his devotion, ha. Sanung figures that Tagon will raise his sword against Asa Ron, which will get rid of both of them without dirtying his hands.

But Danbyeok asks, what if Tagon goes against Sanung? Sanung thinks that Tagon is too smart for that, since he won’t be approved as leader of the Union if he kills his own father. Danbyeok argues Tagon’s side, that he only wants their father’s validation and has made every possible sacrifice. But Sanung argues that those “sacrifices” are just Tagon satiating his own desires to hurt other people.

Danbyeok reveals that before she died, his mother told him about the shaman’s prediction that Tagon would kill Sanung and destroy the Arthdal Union. He also knows that Sanung refused to kill a child that was born of his own mistake… and Sanung cuts him off, saying that that decision was a mistake.

He snarls that Tagon killed his own mother out of greed for power, but Danbyeok doesn’t believe it. Sanung interrupts again to say that if he doesn’t get rid of Tagon and Asa Ron, he’ll never get out from under their thumbs and the Saenyeok people’s position in the Union will be in danger. He tells Danbyeok to get rid of the sympathy he feels, and not to trust anyone, not even his brother.

Tuak runs into a little trouble with the tower guards, but her swift, strong fighting moves prove that she’s not the weak lady she appears. But she runs into Mihol, and soon after, Mihol goes to his daughter Taealha’s room and slaps her to the ground. He has an unconscious Tuak brought in, whom he drugged to talk, and learned that Tagon planned the whole scheme.

Taealha begs forgiveness, but Mihol calls her a fool for falling for Tagon. He tells her to find out Tagon’s plans and correct things, giving her a small bottle of poison to kill Tagon, saying that he doesn’t care why Tagon would devise a plan that ends with his own death.

Mihol says that if asked, he’ll just say his foolish daughter fell in love and made a mistake. Taealha’s attendant, Yeobi, says that they can claim Tagon took his own life after being falsely accused, and Asa Ron will take the blame.

Danbyeok travels to meet Tagon on the road to Arthdal, and they seem to have a very close, loving relationship. Danbyeok came to warn Tagon that he’ll be standing trail for performing the death rites without qualification, but Tagon already knows. Danbyeok wants Tagon to hide, but Tagon says that if he runs now, the past twenty years will have been for nothing.

Where the Wahans are being kept, it’s noticed that one of the villagers, Doldol, has grown very sick. Mugwang has Doldol untied, and the Wahans thank Mugwang, but he pulls his sword and calmly kills Doldol right in front of them.

When Mugwang spots Mother Choseol, who’s been hiding a stab wound, Tanya pleads with him to let them care for their great mother, promising absolute obedience in return. Mugwang enjoys making the Wahan people scream, pretending several times that he’s going to kill Mother Choseol and stopping at the last second.

But Tanya bites her finger then paints her eyes with her blood, and when Mugwang is about to really kill Mother Choseol, she calls out: “I am Tanya of the Wahan tribe! The one who breaks the shell. I am the next great mother of the Wahan tribe. I am connected to all the awoken spirits and the spirits that will wake. I am the shaman of the Wahan tribe.”

She continues, “I, Tanya of the Wahan tribe, put a curse on your people. Your stone walls will crumble and your homes will turn to ruins.” Mugwang stalks towards her, sword raised, but she growls, “The first one to touch me will die the most brutal death. The blue fire will sweep across your land like a deadly storm. Your corpses, and those of your parents and children will form a mountain. Their blood will form a river and coagulate!”

As Tanya continues describing how the living will be forced to eat the dead, Mother Choseol thinks weakly, “Could she be… ” She sees a vision of the Great White Wolf standing beside Tanya as she speaks. Mugwang and the other men begin to look frightened by Tanya’s vehemence as she asks the Great White Wolf not to forgive her for ending the Wahan tribe, or to forgive those who harm them.

Tagon arrives and calmly asks Tanya what they must do to avoid her curse, so she asks him to allow them to give Mother Choseol a proper send-off when she dies. Tagon orders his men to allow it, figuring that it doesn’t hurt to to be cautious with everything they’re facing.

Taealha shows up and teases that Tagon is soft on Tanya because she’s pretty. He goes off with her, leaving Mugwang to untie Tanya and Mother Choseol. Mugwang tells Tanya to make it quick, and when he grabs her by the head, she snarls that a hand will rip his heart out under the crescent moon.

He leaves, and Tanya turns back to Mother Choseol and asks tearfully if she’s dying because Tanya was cursed by being born on the day of the Azure Comet. Mother Choseol gasps that this has been in the stars for a long time, and that it’s all up to Tanya now. Tanya confesses that the dream she told Mother Choseol about when she was young, the dream where something called her to the forest, was a lie — the fact that Eunseom was there was just a coincidence.

But Mother Choseol has a confession of her own… she’s never dreamed, either. She believes it’s possible that no great mothers since the Great White Wolf have ever dreamed, and that the gods have abandoned them. Tanya argues that Mother Choseol can hear her innermost thoughts, but Mother Choseol replies that all mothers can do that for their daughters.

She continues that when she saw the lift at the Great Black Wall, she realized that they were headed to the place the Great White Wolf came from. She tells Tanya to find the Great White Wolf’s byeoldaya (the carved relic that Moobaek found at the sacred tree). She draws a symbol in the dirt and says that this symbol will be carved on the byeoldaya, and that it, and everything she’s ever taught Tanya, will come in handy one day.

Her voice growing weaker, Mother Choseol says that the Great White Wolf appeared beside Tanya when she cursed those men, so she may be the Wolf’s chosen vessel. The Great White Wolf appears to Mother Choseol again, and Mother Choseol tells Tanya not to grieve for her… and then she’s gone.

Tagon takes Taealha to his tent, where she gives him a bottle of his father’s favorite wine. Before he drinks, she asks what he was thinking. But first, he asks Taealha why she told his father he was performing death rites as he asked, knowing it would lead to his death.

He says she should have reported his plans to her father, since she’s a spy. Taealha freezes, then grabs her knife and swings, yelling at Tagon for knowing the truth and deceiving her. Tagon wrestles her to the bed and says that even though he knew, he still asked her to take care of the Igutu baby.

Taealha drops the knife, and Tagon says that hiding the Igutu child is punishable by death, yet he trusted her with his secret. Taealha asks why, and Tagon says it was to stay alive — his father wants him dead and Asa Ron sees him as an enemy. To stay alive, he needs Mihol’s help, so he trusted her.

But Tagon points out that Taealha didn’t tell Mihol about the Igutu child. He asks why she kept a secret that could ruin him, hoping that it’s because she loves him. He starts to drink the wine, but Taealha knocks it from his hand.

He immediately figures out that the wine was poisoned, and he takes Taealha’s actions as proof that she has feelings for him. He says that he wants her, too, but Taealha retorts that if she’d been more mature, she’d have told her father everything years ago. She says she was a foolish girl who developed feelings for him.

She admits to loving him, but says that she can’t commit to him because he’ll never be able to kill his father, because then nobody will acknowledge him. She tells Tagon that her father expects him dead by sunrise, but she saved his life, so whatever he’s planned bad better work. “If you fail,” she croons, “I’ll end up dead, too.”

She leaves Tagon’s tent, ignoring Tuak’s questions and wondering why she’s suddenly gambling her life on ridiculous feelings. She sees Mugwang leading Tanya back to camp, and she seems very interested in the girl, but doesn’t say anything.

Tagon recalls an unwelcome memory of a child being choked, and this time we see that the person looming over the child is Sanung. Tagon calls for Yangcha, his masked warrior, and tells him that he’ll be leaving camp secretly.

In Arthdal, Asa Ron breathes the sacred smoke as an oracle dances. He wonders why the gods never come to him, but then he sees a vision of Tagon. A priest tells him that an urgent message has arrived, and he correctly guesses that it’s from Tagon, wanting to speak to him.

He finds Tagon, who wordlessly bows to him. Asa Ron asks why he’s here when he’s summoned before the Sacred Court tomorrow. Tagon pleads for mercy and forgiveness, saying that he only performed the sacred rites out of pity for his dying warriors. Asa Ron thinks that Tagon just doesn’t want to die… but then, neither does he.

Tagon continues that he’s devoted his life to Arthdal and the glory of Asa Ron and Sanung, and that he doesn’t deserve punishment. Asa Ron says there’s only one way out of it, and he offers Tagon a chest full of gold to leave and never come back.

Tagon sincerely thanks him, but says that there’s a way he can stay and save Asa Ron from the Union’s wrath. Asa Ron must accept his plan, because at sunrise, Tagon rides into Arthdal as the people cheer. The Wahan tribe members look around them in shock and amazement, and Tanya wonders if the Great White Wolf truly came from here.

Tagon is stopped by one of Asa Ron’s priests and officially summoned to trial at the Sacred Court. Tagon removes his weapons and armor and follows the priest obediently (though there’s a flash of defiance in his eyes), and the people yell angrily that he was framed.

In the crowd, Chaeeun also cheers her (fake?) support for Tagon until she spots Eunseom and realizes that he never left the city as she told him. Meanwhile, Eunseom gets a good look at Sanung, and notes that, just as Chaeeun said, he’s always got six guards with him.

Sanung leads his guards, including Danbyeok, out of the city. Danbyeok says he hasn’t heard from Taealha, and that Tagon met with Asa Ron last night. Sanung asks if it’s possible to sneak weapons into the Great Shrine (where Asa Ron and his priests pray, and where Tagon’s trial is being held).

The trial begins, and a priest utters a spooky chant as the oracle dances and Asa Ron spills his own blood into the sacred fire. The chanting turns to maniacal laughter, then screaming, then suddenly the oracle collapses and everything stops.

Isodunyong, the goddess that never sleeps, speaks through the oracle: “When the great spring dries up and the white beast collapses, the scorpion hiding among the flowers shall go to sleep.” The oracle points to Tagon and continues, “When you meet your brother, where there is alcohol, shall be covered in blood.”

Sanung thinks to himself that what matters isn’t the words, but how Asa Ron interprets them, believing that Asa Ron has been fooling the Union for years. Asa Ron shocks everyone by announcing, “Tagon has been gifted with the psychic ability of the gods.” Tagon smirks — this was his plan to save himself and Asa Ron, since a person chosen by the gods can perform the sacred death rites.

Sanung fumes, fully aware that this is a scheme that Tagon and Asa Ron concocted when they met last night. Danbyeok warns his father to remain calm, so Sanung says it’s a great honor to have his son declared chosen of the gods.

But Asa Ron says he’s not finished, and he asks Sanung if he reported his own son to stand trial because he’s jealous of Tagon’s achievements. Sanung barely holds in his temper as he denies it, but one of Sanung’s men blurts out that Sanung ordered him to report Tagon for blasphemy.

Sanung swears before all the gods that he never issued such an order, and Asa Ron wonders which of them is lying in the Great Temple. He says that neither may leave the temple until the truth is determined, but Sanung refuses to be locked up. His guards draw their swords, and Tagon tells Asa Ron that if Sanung leaves the Temple, it will spell war between the tribes. A priest tells the shrine guardians to stop them, and the killing begins.

Outside, Eunseom prepares for his own battle to abduct Sanung. He’s gotten hold of armor and weapons, and he paints his face into a ghastly death mask as inside the temple, priests are being murdered by Sanung’s guards.

Chaeeun has brought the herb vendor to stop Eunseom, but she’s too late. She sees him thundering towards the shrine on Helper, killing guards as he passes them at full speed.

Sanung and his men make it outside the temple, but they’re intercepted by Tagon’s warriors. The two groups fight until a strange voice calls out Sanung’s name. It’s Eunseom, who aims Helper straight at Sanung. Believing that Eunseom is here to save him, Sanung jumps on Helper’s back, and Eunseom rides away with him.

At the temple, Tagon tells Danbyeok to summon the White Mountain warriors to Arthdal, to fight with the Saenyeok warriors. Mihol asks Danbyeok who rescued Sanung, and by Danbyeok’s description, they guess that it was someone from the Asa clan. Suddenly it looks less like a rescue and more like a hostage situation.

Danbyeok says he can’t start a war with his father held captive, but Mihol says he must take control of the Great Shrine before the White Mountain warriors arrive so he’s in a position to negotiate.

All over Arthdal, people hear the sound of a war horn, but only Chaeeun knows that this is the result of Eunseom succeeding in abducting Sanung. Tagon is with his men outside the Great Temple, waiting for the White Mountain warriors to join them, and he wonders who Eunseom is.

Word finally gets to Tagon that his father is being held in the marketplace. Eunseom draws a crowd as he bellows at the top of his lungs, “I am Eunseom, dream and warrior of Wahan. Do you wish to greet the dead body of your father by becoming Wahan’s enemy? Then I will gladly kill this man.”

Eunseom continues to shout his demand to return his people as Danbyeok returns to Arthdal and sizes up the situation. Danbyeok tells his men to bring the Wahan people, planning to negotiate, but Tagon says he’ll go up to the balcony to talk to Eunseom.

He calls to Eunseom, introducing himself and promising to return his people. He drops his sword and armor in a gesture of good faith, and Eunseom agrees to speak to him. Tagon climbs to the balcony, and on the way up, he carefully takes a spear down from the wall.

But Eunseom is listening with his acute Igutu hearing, and he knows the moment Tagon arms himself. He readies his own knife, and when Tagon is finally in front of him, the two men rush at each other and strike.

 
COMMENTS

I can’t believe that Eunseom got his hands on Sanung so easily! Talk about being in the right place at the right time. That last scene was great, full of tension and suspense. We didn’t see much of Eunseom in this episode, so we don’t know what he’s been able to teach himself in regards to his Neanthal skills, but he certainly looks a lot more confident then when he first entered Arthdal’s gates. He’s inexperienced when it comes to battle, but I have no doubt that he’s going to give Tagon a fight to remember.

I find Tagon an intriguing character, primarily because he’s so hard to read. I know he’s Eunseom’s enemy, but whenever Tagon is onscreen I just find him sympathetic and earnest. I was nearly convinced that he’s either not the villain I originally assumed, or he’s just very skilled at hiding his true goals and convincing everyone that his intentions are good. Most of my confusion is surrounding Tagon and his plans and motivations, because he’s very convincing as the well-meaning guy who just wants to win his father’s approval. But then he colluded with Asa Ron to accuse his father and use him as an excuse to begin a war, and it’s clear what a greedy mastermind he is.

Then there’s Eunseom on the other end of the spectrum, who wears his heart on his sleeve and whose innocent experience of the world is being systematically crushed with every moment he spends in Arthdal. His disillusionment and heartbreak over the realities of the world Iark are so hard to watch. If he was crushed to see chickens in cages, how much more must it have hurt to realize that his own loved ones are bound for a much crueller fate? He’s never lived among people — the first ten years of his life were spent in isolation with his mother, and after that he’s lived with people who didn’t like him because of his oddities, but who also gave him a reluctant place among them.

This show is visually lovely and very exciting, but it’s also very intricate, with so many people and so much going on. It’s definitely impressive how much information each episode manages to convey, but on the other hand, I’m definitely confused about some things. I’m sure they’ll be explained in time, though, and my confusion isn’t the bad kind caused by sloppy writing or haphazard editing — it’s just the way the story is being laid out. Otherwise, the show is doing a very good job of doling out information, especially considering how much information there is to impart to the audience and how many characters there are with their own schemes, secrets, and loyalties.

I agree with @dramallama that it’s kind of fun to watch Eunseom discover his true abilities, and the fact that they aren’t just quirks but the result of his mysterious parentage. With the Wahan in Iark, he never had much of a reason to explore his super strength, incredible speed, or even to really think about why he has purple blood — I think that everyone just assumed that he was different because he’s not from Iark. But now he’s learning that he’s not even fully human, and it’s one more thing breaking him down. But a hero has to be broken down so that he can be built back up into a savior, so this is a necessary step for Eunseom, no matter how difficult.

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The only reason I am watching this is Eunseom and Tanya. This genre is not my cup of Tea, but i just wanted to check it out.

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Did anyone notice how eunsom got alert when tagon was on the other side of the door? I am so excited to see eunsom exploring his other side and I bust out laughing in kidnapping scene. No idea it was intentional or ended up being funny😂😂😂 Overall I enjoyed this episode,Though that choppy editing is all over the place. Looking forward for the next episode.

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I was constantly hearing a snake sound when he entered as well and it didn't look like the door,'em i the only one?

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Oh,I was also laughing at the kidnapping scene,it was hilarious...I am quite curious how EunSeomw ill rise and become a hero and the one everyone will follow and i'm also curious who was the person in robes that signaled Tanya...

For me the highlight was Tanya cursing them,such a powerful scene..Call me twisted,but i hope some of it comes true...

ah,that double posting...

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I decided to drop this drama halfway through the episode (reasons being the already confusing politics and over-complicated naming system), but dang I didn't expect Eunseom to actually get to Sanung so quickly. Respect for Eunseom. I thought the action would come much later. Maybe I'll pick it back up.

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4th epi is really good. By far better than the first 3.

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Is Chae Eun Arthdal's tourist guide? She knows everything about everybody it seems so far.
And the story certainly has issue with editing, this long ass scenes of "oracle" writhing and wailing could be cut without any loss for story telling, same with all the long scenes of characters walking or horse riding.

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Glad someone echoes my thoughts. I have to fast forward all those horrible oracle scenes. All the writhing and moaning is quite hard to watch.

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This drama for me is weird. I look forward to it every week, but not for the plot, which is bad, even for an epic being told in too-few episodes. This is bad writing, period. But the cinematography is wonderful, as are some of the characters, and so I keep coming back instead of dropping it.

For me, the character of Eun-seom is the worst in this drama. And I do not understand how he hasn't been killed by a mob or an arrow or something by now. Or the kid too. I don't fault the acting, but Song Joong-ki has been given so little to work with, it's a bloody travesty having this shambles of a character. And his half-assed ideas working beggar belief in an already unbelievable drama (I could go on and on about all the points that don't make sense in this drama, but issokay).

What I do like, is the character of Tanya. Love everything about her, especially.how fearless she is. Now if SHE was the pre-destined leader, I could whole-heartedly believe and get behind. And Kim Ji-won is killing it!

This is my first time seeing Jang Dong-gun on screen, and I am captivated. He's probably the best thing about the show at this point. But while I am entranced by the actor, I don't care at all about the character - I don't care about the humanity and motivations and fears of genocidaires and ethnic cleansers, so everyone in the Saram portion of the show doesn't do it for me. They can all die horrible deaths. They *should* all die horrible deaths.

So yeah. I am a grudging viewer.

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How's he not dead? Because he's a god and the chosen one. Duh :P

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Hahaha. Then they need better deities and the deities need to pick better chosen ones, because he's doesn't have enough sense to fill a thimble.

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But he's cute! And he has a magic horse! Hahaha I love how they conveniently make him smart by going "he can copy ANYTHING if he sees it Once!!!"

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According to Tanya they will all die horrible deaths.

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Cannot believe this kid and his stupid Kidnapping idea WORKED BUT LIKE OKAY DUDE. Good thing you have a Magic Horse.

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LOL! Yeah, i was like..okay, the gods must be helping him. But his naivete is so gonna backfire against him.

One thing we learned so far is how damn sneaky the gods are -- at least Aerum Haesalloa (?). So it is also possible that the gods who prophesied that Eunsom would be imprisoned and would read some weird document is leading him toward that imprisonment. If the god could deceive one of his priestess/shaman, he could also....(wink emoji here) deceive himself. ;-)

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Personally I'm just going with Carrot Boy IS a god :P

Dunno if you frequent the wall posts but I just feel like you would appreciate my shxtposts of this show.
The latest one:
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/sicarius/activity/799360/

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off to look.

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He has to be a god, right? If not, does he just have incredible luck with timing? I expected to at least see him use some tracking skills to capture his target.

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Right?! I mean, he just kidnapped a dude in broad daylight in front of all his guards. I'm not sure it was supposed to be funny, but it cracked me up. The way he just swooped him up onto the amazing horse. 😂

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Hahaha, I already lost it as soon as Sanung raised his hand, all "Yo I'm over here!", as if they're buddies. Like, okaaaay. We're making it this easy? Great. Better for my enjoyment!

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I guess sometimes the siple things work in a complicated world...The situation was indeed by his side,with 'when two fight the third wins"...I think the idea was also to show that he is still naive about the world and human nature...He is quite simple and innocent and didn't really see the ugly of the world so i expect him to grow a lot from here on....

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I am so loving this drama. Am not sure what is the primary reason. I think a part of it is vicarious pride that the writer is attempting to do a mythic prehistoric epic. I love when writers challenge themselves, and putting tribal fantasy into drama form is challenging and...well, epic. Another reason is that i seriously love this particular genre. I've read, written, edited, and reviewed tons of stories in this genre and i will read, edit, write, and review more in the future. It's part of my blood. Also, there's a part of me that loves theme and variations, adaptations, and good old fashioned creative play. I loooove meta. I could watch a zillion versions of snow white and never get bored. So I'm totally here for this story. I will, of course, excuse much of the drama's fault because few stories are perfect and so far nothing ridiculous has happened to make me feel as if I've misplaced my hope and joy. So it does bother me when folks say "I dislike this story because it's not my genre." If something is not your genre, then stop watching it or be more open-hearted and attempt to jump into the playfulness of a hitherfore unexplored craft.

At this point, i am loving Tagon. In a historical kdrama, we would already know whether to hate him or love him, because we would know what faction he belongs to. Noron or Soron? Confucian or Buddhist? But in this case, we are at a loss and it is quite possible that Tagon is the best case scenario for this world. The extreme techno-sarams mirror earth history. The patriarchal overtaking and usurping the feminine, the powerful enslaving the weak. It seems pretty likely that with their technology they will triumph. The Wahan, like any first nation tribe, have little chance of conquering the imperialists or even returning the world to Eden, which would be the only thing Eunsom could offer them (as things now stand.)

Tagon -- if he merely wants to rule-- doesn't seem to want to conquer out of bloodlust. He conquers and uses slavery as a means to some end but he respects everyone equally. He's weirdly democratic and could create a golden society that destroys the underpinnings of everything the techno-sarams value. If he doesn't go full-on megalomaniac. I keep thinking it's about the murder of his mother (father's wife?) One of those vengeance born of youthful anger kind of thing. I will only say that his scene with Taelha showed us a tender side that i always suspected he had.

Right now, we have three possible outcomes for this story. First: A world like ours where power, patriarchy, manipulative priesthoods, and dehumanization of others rule. Second: A world where the goddess, nature, spirituality rule and joy and perpetual childhood abound. Third: A world where there is equality and the "best" of both worlds. It's fantasy, so i'm hoping for the third...which means either Tagon rules and gets his humanitarian act together, or a world with a more enlightened Eunsom. We shall see.

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I put my money on Eunsom. There is no way the murderer of his father and his people will remain alive at the end of this but it will be a long battle.

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Am thinking Tagon is the type to have someone else do the evil deed. Or else, he'd be known as both a mother-murderer and a father-murderer. That would cause so much self-loathing and feelings of rejection and paranoia that he would go over-the-top evil.

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I don't know about his mother but with his father it's an issue of survival - kill or be killed. I donİt know how much he would blame himself for that one.

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I love your opinion on the show because it sums up all the impressions we could get on it 😊
I find Tagon a complicated character too and we don't really see much that kind of characterization in Korean dramas.
I think differently about the motive behind Tagon's fight for power. To me, I consider that it started the moment his father tried to kill him. I interpret that this was the factor that made Tagon believe his father hates him so he had to depend on himself to survive, and thus power will keep him alive. However, Sanwoong thinks greed was something that was born in Tagon, and he validates it with the fact that Tagon's mother died at his birth (I think Sanwoong said that Tagon killed his own mother, and I interpreted she died in delivery).

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I wondered about that but there was that scene where Tagon's dad was strangling a woman and a terrified kid was looking on. I thought that was Tagon watching his father. Did i miss something or misinterpret the scene? As has been said, sometimes the story is so confusing. But i can totally see that in a culture like that, a child whose mom died giving birth to him would be cursed or in need of a killing. Why do the folks in Arth say that no one knows who Tagon's mother was?

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Hmm I only remember two flashback scenes of a child being strangled by an unknown man, and the second confirming it is little Tagon and his father, Sanwoong.
I find flashback scenes in Korean dramas confusing when I don't know the people in the flashbacks as they are shown in the eyes of a third party.
I missed the scene when they mentioned the mystery of Tagon's mother. Lol this drama can be so out of place at times. Maybe it's due to the editing and the portrayal of scnes? 😁

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True. Mercifully, there is the replay button, which i use a lot in confusing dramas. I became really skilled at replaying whole scenes when i watched Ever Night.

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Sharing here a poem by Esther Belin, a Navajo poet. The poem is entitled: "I hope to God you will not ask."

I hope to God you will not ask
Me or my People to send
Postcard greetings: lamented wind
Of perfect sunrisings, golden
Yes, we may share the same sun setting
But the in-between hours are hollow
The People fill the void with prayers for help
Calling upon the Holy Ones
Those petitions penetrate and loosen
The binds you tried to tighten
Around our heart, a tension
Blocking the wind, like a shell
Fluterring inside, fluttering inside

She wrote it based on what the Navajo headman, Barbancito, said in his speech to General Sherman.

"I hope to God you will not ask me to go anywhere except my own country. If we go back, we will follow whatever orders you give us. We do not want to go right or left, but straight back to our own land."
—Barboncito

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I am still finding this drama interesting but surprisingly don't have that much to comment on.

Regarding lovelines at this point I am finding Taelha and Tagon’s relationship more compelling as they are trying to kill each other one minute and confessing their feelings the next.

Rather than the romance between Eun Som and Tanya I am more interested in their individual destinies regarding the future of the Wahan tribe. How awesome was Tanya’s curse? We know whose hand will rip Mugwang ‘s heart out under the crescent moon. It doesn't really matter whether she is gifted or not, she showed leadership when her tribe needed it the most.

I really dislike the heads of all three tribes. I did like Danbyeok and Tagon together but I’m afraid their father’s greed tainted his elder son and will drive a wedge between the brothers.

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Chae-eun's character is so confusing to me. She didn't show immense shock when she saw how Eunseom killed the farmer, supposedly justifying it as a consequence of Eunseom's parentage (I would still be shocked even if I was informed, because come on, somebody just died!). Yeah I would call her sympathetic to the Neantals and Igutus because she apparently knows about her father's contribution to the Great War, but then I see that she is quite indifferent to Arthdal's conquering motives and seems to support Tagon?...
Oooh Tanya's curse was so satisfying because though I knew her calling, I wanted her to show some development because she was the most tepid out of the leads (in the episodes we have seen so far).
The relationship between Tagon and Taealha is so interesting. They are using each other for their own motives, still there is some sort of love and trust between them. At first I thought it was thoughtless of Tagon not to suspect of Taealha's assassination plan when she repeatedly stopped him from drinking the wine for her questions, but after his confession to her, I understood why he has some blind faith in her. I don't think this is entirely true but I assume that Tagon and Taealha's ambitions come from their weak position in the beginning. Tagon probably came to the belief his father hates him and wishes for his demise following the latter's attempt of killing him, so he wanted to become stronger to fend for himself but greed overtook him during the way. Taealha wants to become queen because she and her clan's stance is still weak in spite of their contributions because they are outsiders and they need validation and support of the stronger tribes in order to remain.
The people of the White Mountain tribe disgust me because they are schemers who only care for their sovereignty and not their divine service to the people. I wonder how Asa Hon managed to preserve her purity in such environment. Frankly, I think that the Sea Tribe are the only ones who support peace and unity because that's where their survival depends as foreigners.

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I saw Chae-eun as nothing but a clumsy plot device to provide Eun Som the information he needs. She acts or reacts the way she does because the plot requires her to do so to move forward, not because it makes sense in any way.

I don't think the writing is good in this drama but at least the subject is fresh and different, therefore interesting.

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Yep, Chae-eun did pop up at one of those appropriate times. And it's also convenient that she has a sister who also uses the herb to shade her lips. I think i just kinda accept the coincidences as par for the course for kdramas, just as i accept Taelha's servant/companion/handmaiden/spy as "fat so she is always eating." It's a kdrama thing we can't get around. If i gave up on dramas because they use clumsy plot devices, i would have to give up a lot of my faves. On the whole, the writing is okay though. Not great but okay.

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It's a pity because I find that she has the potentials to be a strong character on her own in spite of not being the main 4.

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She may yet be. As long as we don't get any love triangles.

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It is either an apparent plot device or something else. We still haven't met the other Igutu. Maybe she has something to do with the mysterious other we have not yet met.

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I find Chaeeun also totally weird char. When she first appeared and give not even a speck of surprise seeing Eunsom killed someone, i was like ?????????????? I think she is the daughter of the physician (?) that finds the disease that killed the Neanthal.

But I still love the drama, mainly for SJK. Yet they give KJW the most dramatic and emotional scenes, (shw nailed it tho).

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I also think Tagon wants the validation of his father like it was mentioned some times,since he was young he did all those things to make his father "see" him and validate him aside for placing the stps for his future plan and now i think his desire is even stronger,if he is the King of Asdal more than sure he considers that his father will see and respect him...
I for one still think he enjoys among all his stuff the bloodbaths,the ones he takes part or he comands,it was already mentions he feels thrill when killing...And him being polite,kind etc is also part of his plan,like a wolf in sheep desguise for people to like and follow him...Who would follow a straight in your face psycho...But give them kindness,believe they are on the same positions and that u do it for them and the lot would follow... The same as he wants to become a God,the same reasons...

I guess that Shaman wasn't wrong on her prediction when she said he will destroy the Union and kill loads and i think the true calamity cursed child is Tagon...

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I've lost count of the amount of times I cringed while watching this show. Those ritual dances. *eyeroll* Tanya's "curse". It's been 4 episodes and I can't care an ounce about any of the characters or their lives. I think Song Joong Ki is miscasted here, heck even Kim Ji Won.

Everytime I look at KJW, I get snapped out of the moment as I get flashes of her as Aera in Fight For My Way. And as the hero, SJK is not very charismatic. Jang Dong Gun is the only one selling this. It's really a bad start when the protagonist is more charismatic than the antagonist.

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The highlight of this episode is TANYAS CURSE. I felt everthing about that scene. It was chilling and I was even afraid for the warriors.
Finally, the great white wolf apeared

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I agree! Jiwon did a great job on that scene. I'm looking how her story unfolds.

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thanks for the recap, very well noted...this show has definite flaws but still i look forward to watching more episodes...Tagon will (probably) be the main villain in the show but the way the character has been shown, his background, his past, the fact that his own father wants him dead because of a prediction at birth, him trying build an empire, it's all too much information, it's like they (writers) try to confuse the audience who is the hero, who is the villain in the plot, example for the people in Arthdal, Tagon is their saviour, there is progress for people & the land basis his actions but depending which group we are rooting for he may be villian for some...lol, not sure i can articulate this any better....i agree, the kidnapping scene was too funny and convenient...also the whole 'unit' vs 'union' scene with Doti, Eunseom & Chaeeun was fun...Tanya is one of the best characters for sure, i'm so looking forward to her growth...in the beginning of the episode, at the market area, they use another Asian language - Hindi i think, very briefly amongst the locals...i didn't think i had yet seen any of Jang Dong-gun's kdrama shows before but still he seems so familiar, and then i realized he was the lead in the movie The Warrior's Way, so that bit stopped nagging me...lol. It's so ironic, the other igut addressed Tagon as father in the letter, can't wait to see how this unfolds, considering that's Eunseom's brother and Tagon and Eunseom are about to become mortal enemies, i think.

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At this point, I'm finding Tagon a most intriguing character. Specifically, the whole situation with his father wanting him dead ...... which apparently is not a recent decision. It was a darkly lit scene, but I think we saw Tagon's father strangling him as a child.

My current theory is that there's a secret regarding Tagon's birth ..... perhaps that he is actually an Igutu.

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There is soooo much happening in each episode. Tagon is very intriguing as a character and he seems to be very skilled in scheming.

I actually started to wonder if the Neanthal kid that was with Eunseom when he was a baby is still alive.
The girl that helped him is connected to one of the man that was responsible in wiping out the Neanthal people but she seems to know a lot. I found it weird that she knew how to camouflage igutu lips so easily and that Neanthal people were beautiful. Maybe that kid managed to survive and that is why she knows so much? That would also be the only way for Eunseom to ever learn the truth about his father and brother.

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-I don’t know whether Eunseom is plain stupid or brave because he has got to know his plan will backfire on him. But then again he is naive to the world outside Iark so it’s understandable.
-I feel Tagon is going there just to kill his father and put the blame on Eunseom and then the Wahan people will suffer more.
-As for the Wahan, I feel they won’t last through the whole show except Tanya, Eunseom and maybe the kid(still skeptical about that one)
-I loved loved Tanya and Tagon’s scene after her placing the curse on Tagon’s people. I can’t wait for more scenes of them together ( I hope there will be more scenes 🙏🏽)
-I think Tanya will join the Asa clan sooner or later, their ritual dance is the same.

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My theory is that Tagon will use the kidnapping of Sanung, by Eunseom, as an opportunity to kill his own father and take him out of the picture. He'll blame Eunseom, since they're the only ones in the room, and therefor has a reason to not release the Wahan tribe. Tagon is a masterful game player who learned by navigating the politics of Arthdal, survival from from his own father, and his own amibtions. He's been patient as he is alo a master at the long game. And naive Eunseom has no idea what he's walked in to and now will play a pawn in Tagon's plan. (That is until he gets wise to the ways of Arth. He's still got a steep learning curve.) It could also be that Tagon killing his father and blaming Eunseom also may prevent, if temorarily, the war betwen the tribes. Tagon can say that Sanung caused the conflict himself by having his warriors attack the Asa Ron clan priests and lying about trying to accuse his son of blasphemy to get rid of him. I just have this strong feeling like Eunseom's "lucky" break in kidnapping Sanung isn't so lucky and he just gave Tagon an amazing opportunity to solidify his position and the live and sympothy of the people of Arthdal. He's like one of those politicians that smile to your face and tell you all the things you want to hear, but really is working for their own gain and will stab you in the back when it benefits their own agenda.

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I was surprised to see Park Byung Eun (Danbyeok). I’m actually watching him in another drama, but he looks completely different here (I’m liking his look too, hee). It’s nice that Danbyeok is not the kind of brother who fights against his hyung. He seems caring for now.

Tagon is one of the smarter characters. Sanung and Mihol did not analyze the situation deeply and instead, they went with the flow. Sanung didn’t question why Tagon risked his life performing those sacred rites and how he got revealed. Mihol didn’t care to know Tagon’s reasoning behind his plans. He just wanted to get rid of him.

There were some parts/scenes that were unnecessary and/or were too long like the flashbacks in the beginning and the dancing/chanting part of the ritual. And Mother Choseol’s send-off was also a bit too long.

I mostly understood what was going on with the politics while I was watching this episode a few days ago, but now after reading the recap and trying to think back to certain scenes, I may have forgotten some details. ^^”

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My guess is, if Sanung were to die, I think in the next ep, while the three of them are in that tower, Tagon could very well use that opportunity to kill his father, and then put the blame on Eunsom. Because in that tower, nobody else on the ground level outside could see what happens. Tagon can just kill his father and call Eunsom the murderer. Tagon is cunning enough to pull of that sort of scheme. This is his perfect chance to kill his father and making someone else (Eunsom) the scapegoat.

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I am so entertained by this drama. Honestly, it is a popcorn drama. Unfortunately the writing is suffering from being condensed, but the core of the story is still there so I am good. Thank God this is no Moon Lovers: Scarlet Ryeo otherwise I would be angry. This drama is my happy pill.

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Love the cinematography, it is breathtaking. The best part for me was Tanya's cursing them, pretty powerful!

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Gosh. Eun Seom is dumb. So naive and pitiful. I can’t deal with this. Hope Tagon gets what’s coming to him. I like the show overall, but episode 5 is thoroughly annoying.

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Tagon is the most complex so far, and JDG sells is well...BUT. That said, I hold no sympathy whatsoever. He made feel like a savior to some of the humans, the commoners in Arthdal. But the fact that everything is setup on genocide and ethnic cleansing... the drama hasn't done a very good job at "humanizing" (how ironic) the humans, the saram to me. In fact it just throws me in a fatalist depressing mindset where I think civilization is shit and for all the good we benefit today, humans are historically just terrible. Very extreme and I don't mean to start a debate, this is all based on feelings and not necessarily my true opinion on these topics realistically in our context today....but this show just brings that out in me. It just ends up setup so that I just hate everyone and everything about this and hopes that the fictional planet gets struck by a fiery meteoric ball of death, civilization gets wiped out, and the Neanthal crop back up to populate the land without any saram.

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I am here after ep 6, because there's no recap yet and I need to rant a bit. No spoilers, promise.

I love - love - LOVE Taealha's jewelry. Particularly that big-links-body-chain she wears on her black hourglass-naked-shoulders dress. Love it. I totally want such a body chain for myself. Spent a few hours searching for something similar in stores, haven't found it yet. I do hope there's going to be some Arthdal/faux ancient jewelry in plan somewhere. The earrings - even for the men - are spectacular too. But Taealha's the best dressed and has the most beautiful jewelry in the show - have you seen that ring-finely-chained-wrist bracelet yet? Loved that too. Of course it doesn't hurt Kim Ok-Bin is such a beautiful woman, but she's heads and shoulders over the rest of the feminine cast, so far, the MC included. I love her scenes with Tagon too - they're both sparking off each other, makes everything much better.

I also think that Asa Ron is completely miscast. In a pretty large group that's overacting (I mean, seriously the Wahan tribe really has to start wailing each and every time they're led somewhere else?! Even with shock and fear, they'd be bound to become used to their new fate in the long journey toward Arthdal the capitol, I don't know if it has a name) - well, Asa Ron feels like someone who's acting in a sageuk (the usual, politically boring kind) and not something that's at least supposed to be newish in take. And has the worst wig, too, lol.

But - the costumes, which I read many comments as lamenting - are actually pretty different for different tribes (obviously for the Asa tribe, but also for the other two main tribes), and I really like that the hair-dos are also different from tribe to tribe.

The story meanders a lot - IMHO ep 5 was the slowest, but as I said, no spoilers. I like Eunseom's change and I like that it's not instantaneous after he found Chaeeun (which reminds me, WTH is wrong with her?!! She meets this barbarian who just killed a farmer and her first instinct is to tell him indirectly he's pretty?! I mean, how many dead farmers has she witnessed so far, to not even bat an eye and start hiding the corpse?! That was really badly done, the lowest point so far, for me. I hope she has an explanation, some dream/vision whatever to make up for helping the enemy, when she's Asa, and definitely supposed to care about it.)

Buuut, pretty boys will swing pretty girls' heads all the time. I guess it's okay if she's instantly smitten. Probably. Maybe she's just a bit not all together in her mind.

So far, I like this show. It's the only one I'm actually following on the release date, after years of not really watching kdrama. I am very much into fantasy, and happily this doesn't remind me of GoT (and hopefully won't follow it into a similarly rushed ending) but somehow more of the Ancient Greece - Mihol's hair-do keeps reminding me of Agamemnon. Well, if the pirates are supposed to be...

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... but somehow more of the Ancient Greece - Mihol's hair-do keeps reminding me of Agamemnon. Well, if the pirates are supposed to be the Atreides, Taealha being somewhat like Electra would make so much more sense lol.

I hope Tagon keeps being ambivalent (you can only say he's trying to survive his way into power about him, and doing it rather sneakily, which bodes well for an anti-hero making it to the top), and that Eunseom goes from naive and easy-going to hard-eyed and violent god that's supposed to end Arthdal Union (which now that it discovered slavery, should have it's days counted anyway.)

Looking forward to this show's OST, too, there are some themes there that are worth listening to.

If only the CGI was better, or the acting of some of the characters did it better credit!

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