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Arthdal Chronicles: Episode 13

After a brief hiatus, we’re back with (what Netflix calls) Season 3 of Arthdal Chronicles. We pick up where we left off, with the Wahan Tribe’s promising saviors learning how to wield power. Ascending to the Great Shrine, Wahan’s Great Mother, Tanya, proves that she deserves the power that her ancestor granted her, and she learns that power can promise liberation. Our protagonist, Eunseom, also learns more about the meaning of power, and although he doesn’t realize it yet, he’s amassing power through his relentless generosity.

Before we dive in, let’s do a quick tl;dr recap of parts 1 and 2 (obviously includes spoilers): Arthdal is a kingdom built by three tribes that created a union after defeating the Neanthals, the blue-blooded native beings who were brutally massacred for their land. A handful of Neanthals and Igutus (half Neanthal/half human) survived, but they live in the shadows. Three children were born on the day of the Azure Comet, supposedly an omen of destruction. Two of them were Igutu twins, one of which (Eunseom) ends up joining the Wahan Tribe in a faraway land. The third child, Tanya, is the future Mother of the Wahan Tribe, and as the direct descendant of Asa Sin, Tanya is the rightful High Priest of the Asa Tribe.

The Wahan are eventually enslaved by Tagon, the glorified hero and eventual union leader of Arthdal. But Tagon has a secret: He’s an Igutu, and he raised an Igutu (the other twin, Saya) after saving the baby from slaughter. Tanya meets Saya, a member of an illicit group called the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts, who preserve the rituals and beliefs of the original Asa tribe. After loads of political turmoil and tension, Tanya is brought to the High Court and must prove that she is the direct descendant of Asa Sin.

 
EPISODE 13 RECAP

Wahan’s Great Mother, Tanya, identifies the location of the mystical star bell and breaks the shell her sling. She picks up the bell and announces to the crowd at the High Court: “I am Tanya of Wahan, breaker of the shell, descendent of Wahan’s Great White Wolf, who is Arthdal’s Great Mother.”

Tanya delivers the message from Asa Sin, that life and death are determined by greater beings. We see that she practiced in the caves with Taealha and decided that she would end with the words of the Wahan people about living in harmony, without claims of power or conquest. She says that just as the gods have provided the world’s first crops, they have provided a cause for seemingly meaningless things.

Tanya rings the bell, and the crowd bows in reverence. Tagon thinks back to the written message from Taealha and the imprinted nail marks that changed the message. Beyond the written ink, Taealha communicated that Mihol didn’t know that Tanya knew where the star bell was. Saya remained suspicious that Taealha could be lying, but Tagon also found an encrypted message of laughter — a sure sign of confidence.

In the hearing, Taealha smiles at Tagon and announces herself to Tanya. She recounts that Asa Sin sent the union god Aramun Haesulla and asks when the god will make his promised return. Tanya says that Aramun already passed by, but they did not recognize him. Then, Tanya summons Tagon, the one who recognized and protected her, and announces that he is Aramun Haesulla.

As the crowd at the hearing lays prostrate in honor of Aramun Haesulla’s return, a soldier runs out and delivers this message to the guards outside. The guards deliver the message in synchrony (with choreographed actions), and the White Peak Mountain’s Heart followers erupt in joyous exclamations.

Among the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts, Moobaek takes off his hood in relief and thinks to himself in confirmation that Tanya was indeed the bell (of the three omens of destruction: the bell, mirror, and sword). Then, the guards announce that Tagon was identified as Aramun Haesulla, and Moobaek looks dubious.

The Daekan warriors on standby are notified of Tanya’s confirmation as Asa Sin’s descendant and of Tagon’s appointment as Aramun Haesulla. The Daekan celebrate and tease Moogwang about hiding for the next new moon, which will be the day his heart gets ripped out, according to Tanya. Now that Tanaya has proven herself as a true mystic, her prophecy of the new moon carries more weight.

Tagon and Tanya exit the Great Shrine to greet the cheering crowd, and while Tagon readily accepts the adoration, Tanya looks overwhelmed. She’s surprised that all these people are shouting her name, and Tagon takes her hand to raise it in union. Realizing her power, Tanya ascertains that she can save Eunseom.

At the Doldambul mines, Eunseom hides under the hay mat, faking his death. Promised the stash of jewels, Syoreujagin plays along and secures his jewel bag to the post. Then, the Daekan warriors led by Yeonbal arrive and ask if Olmadae (the former rebellion leader) is also dead. Syoreujagin confirms this, but the Daekan warrior Yeonbal takes a closer look.

Upon closer observation of the “dead,” Yeonbal notices the breathing and slight squirming of the covered slaves. He approaches Syoreujagin demanding an explanation, and Eunseom emerges from his cover to attack their captors and seekers.

All the “dead” rise from their covers and charge at the enemy, and Seuchun (an ally sent by Moobaek) cuts the rope on Dalsae’s ankles so that they can also join the fight. They bust open the cage and untie the rest of the enslaved people. The freed slaves grab weapons and charge at the Daekan just as Eunseom is about to be outnumbered.

Dalsae saves Eunseom from slaughter and urges him to get a head start on the escape with Olmadae. Everyone fights for their freedom except for big-mouth Ipsaeng, who stays hidden under the cover, still pretending to be dead. A fellow coward, Syoreujagin, escapes the mines and climbs up the hill to safety. He’s torn about risking his life to return for the jewels and ultimately chooses to continue his escape.

Mine mate Badoru leads the charge in breaking the gates while Dalsae and others fend off the guards who’ve caught up with them. As the enslaved people escape through the broken gate, the Daekan warriors arrive behind them. Yeonbal notices that Olmadae is missing and orders his warriors to search for him. Dalsae defends the fleeing slaves until the end and gets captured by the mine guards.

Eunseom carries Olmadae on his back, and they come across a pond with corpses piled up around it. They hear the slave guards close behind, and Olmadae insists that Eunseom leave him behind to save himself. But Eunseom doesn’t plan on abandoning Olmadae and seems to be brewing up an idea.

When the slave guards catch up to the pond, they find that Eunseom and Olmadae have disappeared. They stick their swords into the corpses to check if they’ve tried to blend in, but they come up empty. Once they pass, we see two pieces of hay — used as snorkels — sticking out of the water. Eunseom and Olmadae resurface onto land, and Olmadae once again insists that Eunseom abandon him. Eunseom asserts that he’s not leaving anyone behind and smiles in reassurance.

At the Arthdal marketplace, the merchants happily chat about seeing the direct descendant of Asa Sin. The Wahan people wonder what all the chatter is about and presume that any happy news for the Arthdal people wouldn’t be good news for them. Then, Arthdal guards arrive looking for the Wahan people and escort them away.

Tagon enters his ruling chambers with Tanya now a part of his entourage. The tribe leaders all bow to him in reverence, and Tanya looks intently at Asa Ron, who shifts uncomfortably. Nervous about her new role, she trips on her dress, but masked Yangcha catches her and guides her to Tagon’s side.

As agreed with earlier with Tagon, Tanya announces that she will conduct an important ceremony to reach the gods. She orders Asa Ron to prepare for this ceremony with Asa Sakan at the White Peak Mountain, and Asa Ron can read Tagon’s intent to take over the Great Shrine while keeping him preoccupied at the White Peak Mountain.

Then, Tagon commands that the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts be invited into the Great Shrine to help Tanya learn more about the union. The tribe leaders are hesitant to accept this, since the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts and Wahan have caused unrest in Arthdal, but Tagon determines that by boiling a potential descendant of Asa Sin (Eunseom, who was framed as the killer of Sanung), they’ve settled their debts with Wahan. In her head, Tanya asserts that her vengeance has just begun.

Regarding the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts, Tagon reminds the tribe leaders that their forefather banished Asa Sin, and now the descendant stands before them, the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts also deserve to return to their rightful place. Tagon manages the persuade the tribe leaders to reluctantly follow his lead. Taealha suggests that Arthdal host a week-long celebration of Asa Sin’s return, and Tagon approves.

After the meeting, Tanya follows Tagon into his base and demands that he execute his promise to free the enslaved Wahan people in Arthdal and Doldambul. Yangcha notices Saya in the room and looks alarmed by the familiar face, thinking back to his fight against Eunseom. Tagon tells Tanya that she can make the order herself, and Yangcha opens the door for Moobaek.

Moobaek bows to Tanya, and she realizes that this was the person that Chaeeun mentioned as her savior. But Tanya also recognizes Moobaek as the lead conqueror of the Wahan village. She steps closer to a kneeled Moobaek and relays her order almost like a request, as she’s still unfamiliar with how to command as a leader.

As Moobaek leaves, he also freezes at the sight of Saya. He does a double-take, and Tanya notices Moobaek staring at Saya with a confused look. Outside the room, Moobaek wonders is Saya is Eunseom or just someone with a similar face.

The White Peak Mountain’s Hearts’ leader, Momyungjin, leads Tanya to the High Priest’s quarters, and Tanya’s eyes widen at the extravagance. Asa Mot kneels in greeting and gets Tanya fitted for High Priest’s gown. While getting her measurements, Tanya thinks back to Moobaek’s suspicious look at Saya and urgently asks to meet with Moobaek.

Moobaek paces as he puzzles over whether Saya is Eunseom, and he orders Kitoha to send their fastest horse to Doldambul to release the Wahan people, per Tanya’s orders. Kitoha worries about the consequences for Moogwang, who sold the Wahan people, but Moobaek dismisses these concerns.

At the Hashi Mountain, Badoru and the other Doldambul fugitives scramble into hiding when they hear someone approaching, but it’s Eunseom with Oldamae on his back. Badoru and Seuchun embrace him in relief, and Eunseom asks about Dalsae. When he learns that Dalsae got captured while fending off the guards, Eunseom decides to return to Doldambul to save him, and Badoru joins him.

Then, they belatedly realize that Ipsaeng is missing and wonder if Ipsaeng ever left. Turns out, Ipsaeng never shed his corpse disguise, ha. He remembers Syoreujagin tying the bag of jewels to the post and tries to retrieve it, but Syoreujagin had already secured the jewels. He clumsily runs into hiding, and he peers inside the shed to see a badly beaten Dalsae.

Ipsaeng sees another prisoner being dragged to the shed — it’s Syoreujagin, who joins Dalsae in the torture shed. Scared for his life, Ipsaeng flees Doldambul and gets caught by Badoru and Eunseom. Badoru scolds Ipsaeng for his cowardice, but Ipsaeng shamelessly justifies his hiding as self-preservation. Ipsaeng decides to leave the heroism to Eunseom and Badoru, but then he remembers his jewels with Syoruejagin and decides to join them on their mission to save the Wahan people.

The trio first take down the guard outside the torture shed, and Eunseom takes the guard’s outfit before entering the shed. Once he’s inside, he starts to untie Dalsae, but he hears Ipsaeng’s whistle, the signal that someone is approaching. Syoreujagin quickly directs Eunseom to hide in the corner just as the Doldambul mine keeper, Goldu, enters.

Goldu takes his knife from the fire and approaches Syoreujagin, who begs for mercy. Full of malice, Goldu commands Syoreujagin to declare that he’s a piece of shit, and Syoreujagin desperately follows orders. Goldu burns him with the knife anyway, and Syoreujagin whimpers the belittling phrase again. In hiding, Eunseom looks at him sympathetically, recalling how Syoreujagin demanded the same disparaging remarks of him.

Daekan warrior Yeonbal decides that they need to strategize a new plan to capture Olmadae and summons Goldu. As soon as Goldu storms out in rage that he’s being ordered around by the Daekan, Eunseom frees Dalsae and hesitates upon seeing Syoreujagin.

Eunseom ends up also freeing Syoreujagin, and they carry the weakened bodies of Dalsae and Syoruejagin to safety. While Badoru and Eunseom patch up Dalsae, Ipsaeng demands the jewels from Syoreujagin, but Syoreujagin says that Goldu took them all. Ipsaeng offers to treat Syoreujagin’s injuries if he relinquishes the jewels, but Syoreujagin insists that the jewels were stolen.

Badoru helps Dalsae up and says that they’ll be leaving Syoreujagin behind for the next leg of their escape. Ipsaeng curses Syoreujagin for taking his jewels, and Eunseom stays behind to confront Syoreujagin. He knows that the jewels weren’t taken by Goldu and asks why they’re so important that he’s risking his life for them.

Syoreujagin explains that these jewels can determine his power, defined by how many followers he leads. With the jewels, he can lead his own forces. He further explains that it doesn’t matter how great of a warrior you are — it’s the number of people you lead that determines power. He uses Moobaek and Asa Ron as his case in point.

Before Eunseom walks away, Syoreujagin asks why a dirty Igutu bastard like him saved his enemy. Eunseom grabs his collar and seethes that when Syoreujagin comes to wield such power that he speaks of, he mustn’t forget that he owes his life to a dirty Igutu.

Eunseom catches up to his fellow fugitives, and Ipsaeng has a fit about their plans to go to Jubinol to fulfill their promise to Sateunik. Ipsaeng insists that they should alter their plans to prioritize survival over a promise, considering their circumstances. Badoru threatens to tell the Momo tribe that Ipsaeng didn’t keep the promise, and that seems to convince Ipsaeng to follow their original plan. Ipsaeng knows that the Momo Tribe always pay their debts, whether it’s revenge or kindness.

Dalsae’s condition gets worse, and Eunseom determines that they need to get him to Seuchul for treatment. Ipsaeng volunteers, but Badoru yells at him to accompany Eunseom to the Momo tribe, since he knows the Momo language.

At Doldambul, the guards manage to beat some answers out of the prisoners and find out that the fugitives are headed to Jubinol to give Sateunik’s locks to his wife. Eunseom and Ipsaeng walk through the freezing cold, and Ipsaeng insists that they need to go this route to avoid the Ago Tribe, who are considered a lowly people. Eunseom remembers Ipsaeng claiming to be a part of the Ago Tribe and accuses him of lying, since nobody would disparage their own tribe.

Eunseom and Ipsaeng hold each other tightly, trying to stay awake and keep warm with their body heat. Eunsoem asks why the Momo Tribe are so loyal to repaying their debts, and Ipsaeng explains that their god punishes them severely if they don’t repay their debts. Shaking Ipsaeng awake, Eunseom then asks about the Ago Tribe’s god, and Ipsaeng responds that theirs is the god of judgement in the form of a waterfall created by Inaishingi.

Tanya asks Moobaek why he saved Eunseom, and he responds that the night is too short to explain the full story. He simply explains that too many unfathomable events have occurred since then, and Tanya agrees with this sentiment. Moobaek says that the most unbelievable one happened today, and Tanya correctly identifies this occurrence: Saya, the one with the same face as Eunseom.

Moobaek asks who Saya is, and Tanya agrees that the night is too short for a full explanation. He later relays Tanya’s suspicions that Saya and Eunseom may be twins to Yangcha and tells Yangcha to feign ignorance. Yangcha shakes his head in dissent, but Moobaek asserts that the truth will cause utter chaos. He decides that it’s not the right time yet to expose the truth.

The Arthdal soldiers cheer on the two arm wrestlers, and the winner turns out to be a familiar Wahan face — Mungtae, the traitor that sold Eunseom into slavery for his own freedom. He’s pulled aside by Gilseon and sent to the Great Shrine, where the other Wahan people have gathered.

The Wahan people timidly walk into the majestic shrine, and they jump with joy when they see Tanya. They can’t believe that Tanya has ascended to power as the descendant of the Great White Wolf, Asa Sin. Mung-tae enters the shrine, and the Wahan people welcome him warmly. Tanya asks Mung-tae if he escaped Doldambul, and he briefly explains that he managed to escape and became a solider.

Tanya assures the Wahan people that the rest of their people at Doldambul will also return, and Mung-tae’s smile fades. Then, Yeolson arrives at the shrine, and Tanya immediately tears up at the sight of her father. They embrace each other tightly, and Saya watches their tearful reunion with a smile.

Mookwang drinks heavily as he recalls Tanya’s prophecies about his death at the new moon and the last words he’ll hear. Moobaek enters his room, and Mookwang blames him for bringing back the byeoldaya and sparking this chain of events. Then, Mookwang degrades these events as a part of Tagon’s ploy, in which Tanya is just a disposable pawn. He vows to kill Tanya when she’s discarded.

Tanya tells her father that he’s free from enslavement, so he doesn’t need to be stuck doing his current work. But Yeolson says that he wants to remain working with the Hae Tribe, since he enjoys studying and inventing. Then, Tanya lowers her voice and discloses that Eunseom is alive. She also shares that Eunseom’s twin is in Arthdal and warns her father not to show any sign of familiarity.

In Jubinol, Sateunik’s wife, Tapien, tells her guest, Xabara Karika, that she will continue to wait for her husband there as promised. Shabala tries to convince her to return to the Momo waters, but Tapien stays resolute in keeping her promise. She tells Karika that she should return to the waters and not make such a long voyage to see her, especially with the royal baby, Hotau.

Then, they hear a commotion outside. It’s Eunseom and Ipsaeng, who’ve finally arrived after their treacherous journey through the snow. Ipsaeng struggles to communicate with the Momo Tribe guards, and Eunseom saves them from further suspicion by yelling Sateunik’s name.

Eunseom gives Satuenik’s hair to Tapien, and she falls to the ground in mourning. Outside, Tapien thanks Karika for finding her at the end of her long wait for Sateunik, and Karika comforts her by saying that Sateunik is with their god now. Behind them, we see the guards nodding at each other. Hmm, that’s unsettling.

Meanwhile, Eunseom and Ipsaeng stuff their face with a warm meal. Eunseom asks why Ipsaeng lied about how Sateunik died, and Ipsaeng explains that Sateunik’s wife would have to seek revenge for her husband’s death and risk her life in the process. Then, Ipsaeng wonders who the child belongs to and approaches the baby. He asks the baby in the Momo language if the fur coat lady (Karika) is his mother, and he interprets the baby’s incomprehensible movements as a nod of confirmation.

Ipsaeng tries to recall what the world “Xabara” means, but he can’t seem to recall the meaning of this seemingly title of reverence. The Daekan and Doldambul captors head toward Jubinol, splitting up on their way to their destination.

Karika enters the home to thank Eunseom and Ipsaeng, and she asks if they’re from Arthdal. She notices Eunseom’s purple lips and asks if he’s an Igutu. Eunseom covers his mouth cautiously, but Karika assures him that they don’t care about his status as an Igutu. She claims that the Momo Tribe always pay their debts and hands Eunseom a gift — a coin or medallion of sorts. Ipsaeng internally celebrates their success in gaining their promise of repayment.

Later that night, Ipsaeng rejoices in their full repayment package, including a meal, lodging for the night, and new clothes. Eunseom asks him about the water jugs that the Momo Tribe always carry, and Ipsaeng says that they aren’t water jugs. Ipsaeng then suggests that they sell the medallion in the market and split the profit, but Eunseom decides that they need to share use the medallion to treat the injured fugitives.

Eunseom wonders how Ipsaeng resorted to using the medallion for themselves, and he explains that he wasn’t taught to think this way. He slips the medallion in his pocket and goes to sleep. Meanwhile, the suspicious guards inform Karika’s guard that she is sleeping in her quarters and nod at each other.

Ipsaeng wakes up and quietly puts on his new vest. He then carefully reaches for the medallion in Eunseom’s pocket and manages to take it without waking Eunseom. He sneaks outside and says that Eunseom will get himself killed with his generosity and starts to make his escape. But then, he sees the Momo Tribe guards killing the Karika’s guard, who was at the well.

The traitor guards scurry up the stairs to Karika’s quarters, and Ipsaeng hesitates for a moment, considering whether he should fetch Eunseom, before he runs off on his own. Eunseom wakes up to the sound of the fight, and we see Karika fleeing with her baby. When Eunseom climbs up to the attacked room, he finds Tapien badly injured and desperately calling for Xabara.

Karika runs through the woods and ends up surrounded by the attacking guards. She lays down her baby and condemns the guards for attempting to kill her child. She asks if Guika is behind this attack, and the guards simply respond that they will pay for their sins after death.

Karika defends the baby and fights the traitors, but she’s clearly outnumbered. She incurs an injury on her arm, and one of the guards attacks the baby. Then, Eunseom appears and saves the baby from slaughter. He and Karika run away from the attackers and find a hiding spot.

Eunseom notices the gash in Karika’s arm and rips apart his clothes to make a bandage for her wound. He finds a log and wraps it in a similar cloth to create a decoy baby, and he slowly explains to Karika that he’ll lead the captors in the opposite direction of her escape. Karika nods in understanding, and as she watches Eunseom slowly walk away, she notices the markings on his back.

When Eunseom finds the traitor guards, he waves them toward him and runs away. He notices the Daekan search party heading toward him, so he trailblazes through the woods to escape. The Daekan later arrive at Jubinol and find the body of the killed Momo Tribe guard.

Ipsaeng sets up a fire and cooks some food, and then a familiar name calls out to him accusingly. It’s Eunseom, and Ipsaeng asks how he survived. Ipsaeng’s reaction informs Eunseom that he not only ran off with the medallion but also witnessed the betrayal of the Momo Tribe. Ever the coward, Ipsaeng offers the medallion back to Eunseom before he takes another threatening step forward, and Eunseom readily takes the medallion.

At Jubinol, the Daekan warriors find Tapien and ask if she knows Sateunik. She pauses in recognition, but before the Daekan warriors can interrogate further, they’re interrupted by an oncoming army of the Momo Tribe, led by Karika.

Ipsaeng remembers what “Xabara” means and shows Eunseom by giving up a thumbs up. Eunseom assumes it means something expensive because of Ipsaeng’s positive reaction, but Ipsaeng clarifies that Xabara is the chief of the Momo Tribe.

Karika demands to know why the Daekan warriors have ventured to Jubinol, and they explain that they’ve been chasing fugitives. She demands that they leave, and the Daekan warriors obediently follow her command. Upon their leave, Karika orders for the beheading of the captured traitors, and they’re punished promptly.

Xabara Karika announces to her tribe that she’s greatly indebted to her savior, the one who saved the future Xabara of the Momo Tribe. She regrets not asking for his name, and her only indicators of his identity are his purple lips and the markings on his back. She commands all of the Momo Tribe and their descendants to find this savior to repay their debt.

Then, Karika grabs her sword and makes a blood pact to repay this debt. The rest of the Momo Tribe follow suit and vow to find this purple-lipped savior. Karika announces that until they find this person, they will wave the flag with the markings on Eunseom’s back.

As Eunseom and Ipsaeng navigate their way through the woods, Ipsaeng asks about the ripped shirt. He accuses Eunseom of eating his shirt because he was so hungry, and Eunseom warns him to shut up before he beats him up. The cropped shirt reveals the markings on Eunseom’s back, now the symbol of a tribe’s mission, unbeknownst to him.

 
COMMENTS

Power can be a difficult concept to comprehend, and I think this episode did a great job at portraying how this idea of power is taught and learned. Tanya’s experience with garnering power is more intentional, and she understands that power is the key to her liberation and to saving Eunseom. But Tanya’s realm of power is more abstract and therefore still uncertain to her. Since Tanya’s power relies on her ability to prove the intangible divinity of her existence, she carries a sense of doubt and urgency with her actions, almost as if she’s afraid that her time will run out. Her first affirmation of power was when she greeted the crowd outside the Great Shrine, and I think this was the tangible evidence she needed to lean into her new role.

Meanwhile, Eunseom is completely oblivious to the power he’s collecting, but his power seems to be more secure and obvious. He’s earning people’s trust and loyalty through his unmeasured generosity. He gives without calculation, and that innocence of his spirit is what has earned him a team, a community, and a growing band of followers. I appreciated the confrontation between Eunseom and Syoreujagin, in that they were essentially facing each other as equals. By witnessing Syoreujagin being demoralized with the same tactics that he experienced, Eunseom must have felt an equalizing force bring them to the same level. While Syoreujagin’s definition of power was a bit one-dimensional, I like how it foreshadowed Eunseom’s accumulation of power in ways that he couldn’t recognize. Little does Eunseom know, his iconic crop top/back tattoo look is going to bring him the power he needs to seek revenge and execute his fate.

Moobaek is an incredibly underrated character, and I’m hoping that this episode was hinting at his greater involvement in future episodes. He’s the sole person with the understanding of the bigger picture — the fate of destruction and chaos when the three Azure comet children join forces — and his foresight will be crucial in the upcoming episodes. I thought it was interesting that Moobaek was brought up as an example of an unsuccessful run for power. He’s a great fighter, well-respected, trusted, but not a symbol of power in Arthdal. He does pose a huge threat with his potential to wield power, and in that way, Eunseom reminds me of Moobaek. I’m hopeful that Moobaek will have his own breakthrough as a character, a shedding of his shell of sorts.

I had forgotten how long and detailed these episode were, and that’s both good and bad. Good because the world-building is very comprehensive and thoughtfully creative, in the creation of tribes, languages, and societal dynamics. Bad because the hiatus was not kind to my memory of this show. I liberally forgot many names and subtle details due to the break, and I think the show partially lost momentum because of the Netflix season model. There may have been a better way to divide up the story or clearly delineate the phases of the story, but I think the spirit of the show survives thanks to the cast. Even with unfamiliar characters and a seemingly meandering plot, the cast does a great job of anchoring the story with an emotional and purposeful direction. At the very least, we’re able to resonate with Eunseom’s experience as he navigates the strange complicated world around Arthdal and the simple universal joys he finds in the familiar.

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I find «Arthdal Chronicle» way more harder to get back in if you, like me, enjoy the show fill in between the hiatus of this show, I.e. «Hotel del Luna»: the story about that hotel is way too memorable, thoughtful and touching for me, and I'm still way too emotional to follow another drama, although «Arthdal» did do an amazing job on storytelling, and mind you, I do love history.

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Agreed! Also, Hotel Del Luna was more succinct. I keep up with Arthdal because I'm curious about the characters' arc in general but some parts are too meandering to sustain interest in the world itself.

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Thanks for the recap @dramallama! I was hoping Part 3 would finally get the story moving and episode 13 did not disappoint. I absolutely LOVE Xabara. When she appeared I sat up and said “whoa, who is this lady with the commanding voice?!” I hope to see more of her... and hopefully she doesn’t mistake Saya for Eunseom! Moobaek will need more than one night to tell his story if that happens.

Speaking of Eunseom discovering power, I like that he is amassing power unknowingly by caring about others; I don’t like that the show insists on explaining what terms like “power” or “king” mean. Like they can’t be powerful or rule without having the term. Usually in history concepts develop first, and then they are given names. But whatever, it’s a minor point.

Random observation: Is it just me or Yangcha is suddenly very nice to Tanya? Did she just gain a supporter? It would be weird coming from the one who dragged her into slavery. And Mukwang better be afraid of the full moon.

Question; I forget why the Daekan forces are trying to capture old man Olmadae. Does anyone remember?

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I noticed a change in Yang Cha also. If they're going to share some characters' thoughts, maybe they should share some of his so we understand why he's changed.

I'm still waiting for Magic Horse.

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I'm trying to find that scene where we hear Yangcha's thoughts for the first time (!) I don't remember if it was in this episode or the next one though.

Magic Horse must be sitting at the top of the mountain watching all these people scurrying around like headless chickens.

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Yangcha OBVIOUSLY has a crush on Tanya, Toki. :P

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Obviously. We can see it in his eyes, since there's nothing else we can see because it's always dark in this drama and he's wearing a mask.

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@wishfultoki,
I'm seriously frustrated with this character. And even more frustrated that I cannot find The Commercials' 1980 new wave ditty "Chains for You" from the Compare and Decide LP. It would have been so apropos for Yangcha. Grrr.

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I was hoping maybe the recap can tell us why they’re trying to capture Olmadae too but it seems we all forgot and can’t even bother to rewatch the previous episodes 😁

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@esther95,
I did rewatch all the previous episodes, and I still don't remember Olmadae. I suspect that the rebellion he led was before the Wahan were brought back to Arthdal in chains. And he may be just a plot device to require the dispatch of Daekan forces to the mines. I'm frankly surprised that he wasn't executed with great cruelty, which seems to be the national sport in Arthdal.

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If I'd have been drinking something I would've choked at your last line *cackles*

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I love that nobody, not even @pakalanapikake who watched the whole dang thing again (I salute you) remembers who Olmadae is or why the Daekan forces are after him.

Here's my take on it, if I recall the hazy plot details: Olmadae was the previous leader of the White Mountain Heart, or a rebel leader of some sort. If the latter, he should have recognised Eunseom's little necklace thingy, which he didn't even though I was screaming at the screen for him to just LOOK UP at Eunseom after their corpse diving excursion. Shucks.
In any case, if he was indeed a rebel leader, this means Eunseom has another ready-made fanbase because he saved the old man's life, for Olmadae has followers back in Arthdal.

As an aside, I do think Tagon needs to invest in messenger pigeons if he ever wants to be a strong leader. Since the Wahan and White Mountain Hearts have now been rehabilitated, it does not make sense for the Daekan to be trying to kill/capture them.

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@wishfultoki,
Alas, my retention isn't what it used to be.

I agree with you on both counts: Eunseom's rescue of Olmadae should endear him to at least one batch of rebels, and Tagon needs to get on the stick with his communications. At the very least he needs some hilltop signal beacons. But carrier pigeons can convey much more specific messages.

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@pakalanapikake No, no, I don't think it's lack of retention. It's the show's tendency to feed us tidbits of information about a character every 3-4 episodes.

Beacons is the way forward, I agree. Maybe Mihol can tell Tagon about communication systems back at Remus *snickers* sorrynotsorry

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@wishfultoki,
Good catch that Olmadae didn't recognize Eunseom's necklace from his Mom, Asa Hon. I wonder why that is. Maybe he didn't know Mom?

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@pakalanapikake This is where my powers of retention are lacking. I am sure that when Olmadae was first mentioned and Tagon ordered him brought back to Arthdal I felt some surge of hope that Olmadae would recognise Euseom as part of the Asa Clan through his necklace. Maybe I am confused though, since it has been a while and the details are hazy.

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Also noticed YC was suddenly attentive towards TY. He is either smitten by her or he could be trying to make amends for being rough to her during the capture on ep 2 - his chain caught her ankle when she was on the horse and she was roughly dragged down by him - that scene still sends me shudders

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Yes, it was a horrific scene!

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It's finally back! (will return with more detailed comments later but it's good to see Eunseom finally out of the mines and actually working towards freeing his people...his way ofc).

The one thing I do question is that the Wahans seem to be assimilating into Arthdal now - wonder where we're going with the part where Tanya cursed the entire civilisation to dust (a fact we keep getting reminded of).

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@pogo1,
I don't think the Wahan are assimilating into Arthdalian society so much as serving as the restoration of the earlier stage of that same society. The joint went to hell in a handbasket after the future Wahan left with Asa Shin. (Or did she go alone? I'm not clear on that.) At any rate, the Wahan have retained the original spiritual outlook that has since been supplanted by materialistic greed, cruelty, and fakery. Asa Hon, unknowingly sent on a kamikaze mission against the Neantal, transmitted the same good old-fashioned values to her Igutu boy, and he'll be returning to teach decadent Arthdal a lesson, too.

Now that Tanya has upset the balance of power, I expect a shark frenzy to ensue. Methinks it's a good thing that Yangcha is apparently smitten with her, as I expect Asa Ron and his minions to go after her. He and his boss Moobaek, along with Saya, will have to protect her.

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Restoration makes sense, because I don't understand why Koreans would write a mythical prehistory of their civilisation turned into dust. Unless the destruction of Arthdal means that faithful remnants will emigrate and found a restored Arthdal= Gojoseon.

I'm still wondering about that prophecy that Tagon is the one who will save Arthdal, while the Azure Comet Children will bring its destruction. Are the Arthdal gods not in agreement and fighting it out through our characters?

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Someone bribed the spin doctor prophet.

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Arthdal will become Korean Atlantis, legendary civilization destroyed by natural disaster - Azure Comet.

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Aha!

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@shach,
So that's why the Momo tribe are seafarers. They'll save the Wahan and other good folks when the Azure Comet triggers Arthdal's subsidence beneath the waves. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake, ha! yeah, they'll jumpstart new civilization based on Wahan's socialist values.

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The gods can’t even agreed on one thing, smh for them😒

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Very on brand for gods ;)

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@wishfultoki, @shach,

I've been thinking about the alleged prophecy that the Azure Comet Children will bring destruction to Arthdal and that scene at night when Tagon is standing atop the dias halfway up the outdoor staircase. (It may have been after the execution of the fake Eunseom.) Fireflies begin to swarm around Tagon.

But the fireflies are azure.

Having recently seen the firefly festival in LOVE AFFAIRS IN THE AFTERNOON (and a similar scene a couple of years ago in MAN OF THE VINEYARD), fireflies are normally depicted as yellowish. The ones in Arthdal are definitely on the blue-green side.

So my question is this: Did the seer bungle the message, and say "azure comet children" when it s/he should have said "azure fireflies"???!

I still cannot figure out what that scene of fireflies swarming Tagon was all about. It must have been there for a reason, right?

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But the said to Mubaek that Tagon is Arthdal Saviour while the rest are destroyers?

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Arthdal fireflies are blue from what I’ve seen (and tend to appear around Neanthals and Igutus?) They appeared at Ragaz’s death scene. I think they also appeared in that forest scene where Tagon and Taelha discuss their love life.

I think the fireflies were just there to enhance the theatrical effect of Tagon’s Aramun claim. They could be fake for all we know.

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Taealha gave Tagon the white robe before the ollimsani. I think the robe has a chemical that made the fireflies be attracted to Tagon knowing that the Hae Tribe has a lot of scientific knowledge.

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@AnonSeptember 17, 2019 at 7:02 PM

Thank you! I hadn't thought of that possibility. Just as bees and wasps are often attracted to perfume, the same might hold true for fireflies (although I thought the whole reason for their luciferase-mediated light show was to attract mates). You're right that it could all be part of Taealha & Tagon's "shock and awe" propaganda campaign.

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And also remember, someone deliberately opened a box full of those fireflies when Tagon was performing the Ollimsani moments after Asa Ron arrived at the scene and you can see Taealha smiling from afar when Tagon declared that he was Aramun. You can see later on how this plan between them becomes obvious when they used Tanya to confirm that Tagon is indeed Aramun.

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@Anon September 19, 2019 at 12:24 AM

Aha! Someone opening a box of fireflies completely eluded me -- thanks to the infernal darkness of this production. I guess in this case, it was actually realistic because it was nighttime, and the only illumination was provided by torches and celestial bodies. I realized that someone was skulking behind the curtains draping the dias upon which Tagon stood, but I couldn't figure out what they were up to. Your explanation makes perfect sense. Thanks again!

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The is BACK!
- I'm losing my nerves because of Ipsaeng kept using Eunsom and "betrayed" him because of his greed for the jewels and gold (materials).

- Moobaek is my favourite character... He's quite, observant, and doing his own things with cautious (or maybe I just like the actor who plays the role Moobaek. I've seen him in the two previous Kim Won-seok's drama. He's Manager Chun in "Misaeng" and the monk in "My Mister." I love him in both roles). Unfortunately, he looks like a lone ranger even tough he's the leader of the Daekan. His character is underused in part 1 and 2. I hope he'll have greater roles in the part 3.

- I don't think Asa Ron the religious scam will just stay quiet for the power that has been taken from him. Wondering what will he do with him became powerless...

- On Sateunik's wife: she looked like she's badly injured during the attack, but the next day, she came along with Xabara's looking fine. I hope in the future, Momo Tribe will be able to help Eunsom on whatever he will be doing as he needs power if the wants to ruin Arthdal and freed his people.

- Poor Mugwang seemed so scared with Tanya's curse. He never thought that never happened (when I'm sure, it will happen soon).

- Eunsom top's cut is the highlight of the this episode.... :)

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Eunseom’s cropped top was basically saying “Nice tattoo you gat there”😆

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HAHAHAHAHA... soon will become a trend in Arthdal during the summer... :)

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Not just you.

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LoL.. that looks EPIC!!!

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@csmith CS,
ROFLMAO! Manseh Wild Stallions! That's your cue, Helper!

And now I cannot get their recitation of "Dust in the Wind" for Socrates out of my mind.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvKbbHKpwnU

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Ha ha, good to have this show back and see that it never changed, still the same meandering plot. I wonder if Eunseom have a chance to go back to Arthdal before finale? I hope introducing new characters won't be ruse and we will have more of Xabara and Momo Tribe in the future.

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My Dramalist had Xabara listed as a guest appearance in the same category as Eun Som's mother.

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Buuu :/

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Yeah, I was really disappointed when I saw that.

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I don't think Netflix is responsible for the 3rd season. They needed time for post production. I think the main issue is that 18 episodes are not enough to tell this kind of story. They didn't take the time to develop the story and let us the time to integrate it. There are so much characters and they still added the Momo tribe...

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Exactly what I've been saying. 18 episodes is too short. Why do the daekan warriors fear the momo tribe and also the ago tribe. We need to know the baackstory

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Yeah, I like Momo Tribe but I'm afraid that we don't see them until finale, I hoped for tighter editing in the second part, but we still have the story seemed for twice amount the time given. I have doubt that with all the detailed adventures Euseom will not make it to the Arthdal before finale :/

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Part 3 was confirmed to be aired later than the first two before the premiere. Maybe it was a joined decision?
I think this show was meant to continue for multiple seasons. The spent millions on building their own set and the story seems to be stuck on introduction mode for how many episodes now?

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There is a difference when Netflix is the producer like Kingdom and Love Alarm, and when it is the distributor. For the second, Netflix doesn't choose the format like One Spring Night, Rookie Historian GHR, etc.

Like I said, I think they needed time for the postproduction of the third part, it's why it was delayed.

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Makes sense ty :).

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Thank you for your recap of ep. 13 of ARTHDAL CHRONICLES, @dramallama. I knew that I'd never recall all the details and characters, so I marathoned parts 1 & 2 a week before this episode aired, and I'm glad I did. I had live-watched them during their initial release, and really needed a refresher. It paid off, as I had no trouble following this week's events.

At long last, Eunseom is coming into his own again. His kindness and fidelity towards Sateunik, and later protection of Momo paramount chiefess Xabara Karika and her baby, has led to an unexpected twist. It gives me hope that this good-guy Igutu will no longer finish last. I got a kick out of how Eunseom protects the Xabara and her child with exactly the same trick his Neantal father Ragaz attempted to decoy the Arthdalians away from his twin brother's hiding place. In a drama that places so much store by observance of ancestral traditions, Eunseom and Tanya, and now Xabara Karika, are just about the only folks with ancestral traditions worth following. 99.44% of "civilized" Arthdalian bigwigs are despicable wastes of oxygen, so I'm anticipating their comeuppance with glee.

Aha! Now I know what one of the designs encircling the mirror in the opening montage is: it's the pattern left by Eunseom's dorsal scales after they fell off. To think that a gazillion Momo tribesman are carrying Igutu-purple flags emblazoned with his vestigial Neantal markings – because they want to honor him. It's a far cry from being hunted and mistreated because of his purple blood. Excuse me for a moment as I savor a potential future scene in my mind's eye: Xabara Karika's Momo legions under Eunseom's dorsal scale banners entering Arthdal en masse – with him accompanying their chiefess in the vanguard.

Just what is it that Momo warriors carry in those flasks on their belts? Gojoseon-era Molotov cocktails?

I agree that Moobaek has been vastly underrated. On the other hand, he is smart enough to recognize the ruthlessness of everyone else in his orbit, in particular Tagon, his horrid father, Taealha, and Asa Ron. He keeps his privy knowledge to himself, and never lets on that he saw the true reincarnation of Aramun Haesulla aboard Magic Horse who outran him and his subordinates in Wahan territory. Now that he knows that Eunseom has a Doppelgänger, I can't wait to see what happens.

Moobaek’s realization that Tanya is the personification of the omen’s “bell of destruction” caught my ear. That makes me think that one half of the “mirror” has already been in Arthdal for a long time: Saya, the identical twin of Eunseom. I really wonder what his true name is. I just hope that he hasn’t become totally warped by having been raised in captivity by Taealha and her sadistic maid. Here’s hoping that his reunion with Eunseom has a redemptive effect on him.

I'm still waiting to see what the heck gives with masked man Yangcha. Is he another Igutu?

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Paka- he was never destined to finish last eVER. He's the CHOSEN ONe! dUH!

dorsal scales- now THAT'S going in the next shitpost.

Just what is it that Momo warriors carry in those flasks on their belts? Gojoseon-era Molotov cocktails?- it's the blood of their enemies I'm calling it now.

Uhm excuse me! I have never underrated Mubaek, ma man, ma homie, my brother in arms and all that is righteous! *join the Mubaek Fanclub today. Application is FREE!"

I feel like "They're just giving the bloody title away now"- Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End
is an accurate quote for a) how many people are igutus, b) how many people I just willy nilly call vampires, c) how many people suddenly know Elf Boy EXISTS (and looks like Carrot Boy) and d) how many people are Aramun Haesula...

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@sicarius,
Silly me, I forgot all about Eunseom's requisite Hero's Journey. Having to dive into a pondful of eau de corpse must be the gods' way of keeping the Chosen One humble.

Glad you liked dorsal scales. Knock yourself out. ;-)

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The most historically unrealistic thing about this show is the lack of people dying from disease. *coughs*

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And mortality from starvation -- and infected wounds from all the beatings and physical abuse. Not to mention tuberculosis. But there was one fatality from a "blood disease."

Everyone is just too darned clean, too. The miners were way too clean for folks basically living in a wet, muddy cavern.

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Shocking really it's taken 13 episodes to get another episode where mass amounts of people die...

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pondful of eau de corpse

ROFL, good one. I couldn't stop thinking about how he didn't get sick or worse from ingesting that nasty water.

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@loveblossom,
I was imagining the stench.

Consider the ingestion of eau de corpse to be an "immune challenge." What doesn't kill him makes Eunseom stronger. And since the armed search party would have assuredly killed the escapees dead on the spot, he wouldn't have thought twice about entering that groady water if it meant living to fight another day.

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Me me, I sign up for the Mubaek Fanclub! Our motto is "Magic Horse for President".

And also "Knowledge is Power." Moobaek is the only one that knows everything. He has already upset the political game by finding Asa Sin's little relic and raising Tanya up as high priestess. So that slave dealer who loves jewels is wrong to say that Moobaek isn't powerful. He just doesn't want the destructive power that Arthdal worships. Even Tagon fears Moobaek because half of the army is loyal to him.

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MAGIC HORSE FOR PRESIDENT 2020

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A Carrot in Every Feed Bag.

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Love the idea about Yangcha being potentially an Igutu.

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Man I got WORDS to say about Tagon's character writing next episode but in the mean time:
How dare this show come back with episode 13, in its third season, make all the same mistakes and have me actually enjoy it for once. How dare it!

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I have things to say about Tagon and his portrayal but it'll wait for next recap.

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Sp0iler Alert: they're not good things... -_-

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I have to say . . .

"We will find the man with the purple lips and repay his kindness!"

. . . is not a line I'd expect to hear in Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings.

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Heh but Eunseom is starting to remind me of Frodo lol.

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I'm so excited that this is back and at the same time sad that it will end soon. only two weeks left.

I really wish there were more episodes 😭

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Eunseom and his adventures are far and away more interesting than what is happening in Arthdal. I look forward to each episode because of him. Also after this there are only 5 episodes left, right? How is that going to work.

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I feel like we are still in the middle of the story, maybe they'll hit us with the news of extension and seasons 4,5 and 6 next year ;)

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Netflix shows only Season 1 and number of episodes. I'm not sure where season 2 and 3 are at?

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Sorry, I meant parts.

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I kept reading season 2 and season 3 here and there so I'm confused.

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Please no. I aim to finish Part 3 and no more XD

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I'd watch a whole show of Carrot boy and his adventures. I could care less what goes on in Arthdal and everyone there.

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saaaaaaaame

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I'm in it for Eunseom too. And still waiting for his horse to take him back.

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On another note, I wonder if Tanya will lose her newfound mystical powers by using them to gain political powah. Naming Tagon as Aramun Haesulla was a a lie, although ironically her words could be applied to Eunseom also: "He already passed by and you did not recognise him" (This adds further weight to the Eunseom=Chosen One motif).

She was just starting to understand that she can read minds at the end of Part 2, but she didn't hear anyone's thoughts this episode. It would be very useful if she overheard Moobaek's thoughts, or the traitorous Wahan who left Eunseom & Co to die as slaves, Mung-tae.

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Re: "He already passed by and you did not recognise him" -- that's exactly what I thought.

I'm wondering what the conditions are for Tanya to do the mind-meld. Does she have to have some kind of emotional connection with the sending party?

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And what the conditions are for Eunseom to use his super human strength as well.

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@ndlessjoie mugyuljoie,
In the past, didn't we see his eyes flash purple? Was it when the Wahan were being dragged off to Arthdal in chains and he came to rescue them? Methinks that under extreme duress, or when needing to rescue or protect someone, he gains access to his augmented Neantal powers.

I think it may end up being similar to the way Gil-dong in REBEL accessed his inner Tiger when his eyes turned green as he was protecting his little sister from the baddies.

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That makes sense. I want it to be something he has control over though 😞.

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@ndlessjoie September 12, 2019 at 6:30 AM

Same here. I think that so far, Eunseom hasn't known about his Igutu/Neantal powers and how to use them simply because there hasn't been anyone to enlighten him. Mom apparently didn't tell him much about his father.

I can well imagine that Neantal parents would train their offspring from the time they were little. But I also suspect that the shedding of the dorsal scales signals physical maturation in Igutus, which may be somewhat different from full-blood Neantals. Ragaz would have figured out how to help his boys master their powers. I'm hoping that he had the opportunity to do likewise for his rescued sons, who could pass the knowledge along to Eunseom.

Carrot Boy can run fast, but I don't think he has had any basis for comparison with other people. He was so downtrodden in Wahanville that he disowned his powers. His ability to dream got him in hot water with the Wahan, who couldn't wait to kick him out despite his being so helpful to all of them.

That's why he has to meet someone who can clue him in -- his Neantal "uncles" for instance. Or Doc Hae-rim, who knows enough about Noon-byeol's Neantal physiology to sever the meridians so she doesn't pose a threat to the paranoiac Arthdalians. Sheesh. Instead of blocking or cutting her meridians, why not train her to control her strength the way a martial artist does? She's supposedly accomplished with her swordsmanship. That means she must have developed significant self-control. Duh.

The Xabara of Momo, who was not at all fazed to meet an Igutu, might know something about their powers (or someone) that would be helpful to Eunseom.

Saya is probably just as in the dark as Eunseom, but I have the sense that Tagon consciously uses his Igutu/Neantal physical strength.

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@Paka-
Carrot Boy's "powers" seem to have gone dormant since his enslavement. I am wondering what it will take to bring them back and I am constantly reminded that we don't have time for all of this to be resolved, and certainly not well.

I kept wondering/hoping that the Doc would send Nunbyeol away with The Moon Children, for safety, and also for a chance of bringing back the Neanthal race, since they offered the opportunity to her. But no.

Absolutely on your last note.

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@sicarius September 13, 2019 at 1:52 AM

Yep, there's no way any of these questions are going to be properly answered in the remaining time. It frustrates me, after all that gratuitous goofing around in Arthdal. Harumph!

As for restoration of Eunseom's powers: I think that being underground is a big part of the problem. Methinks he needs exposure to starlight as well as sunlight. Wind and fresh air. And food. And rest. Plus his spirit has been broken. The gratitude of the Momo tribe, on the other hand, went a long way toward restoring his self-confidence.

Eunseom is an empath, so being around haters and jackasses has probably weighed heavily on him. Not to mention the betrayals by various parties.

Eunseom reminds me of the legendary bird (bi ik jo) that is born with only one eye and only one wing; in order to fly, it needs the company of another bi ik jo that complements it. There's a beautiful instrumental track in the CHUNO / SLAVE HUNTERS soundtrack ("Lovers / Bi-ik-ryun-ri") that takes its name from the bird.
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/874534/

I see Eunseom and Saya as two halves of a whole that need to be reunited, as are Eunseom and Tanya. It's possible that Saya and his first love who was killed by Taealha were another such pair.

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Ooooh! I like that illustration. But really alas, again, simply all it did was remind me that the connection between the twins, the symbolism thereof, and the fufillment of the prophecy, despite being a prophecy, could've been so much more interesting, had so much more weight, and could've come to fruition much more richly and vibrantly and that this show just won't do any of its good aspects justice and now I'm mad and frustrated again!!!
Thank goodness I've only enjoyed about 3 or maybe four episodes of this entire thing; it's not like I didn't see the trainwreck coming.

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I think she is more in danger of losing her life because white robes tribe won't gave up on their power that easy. And I wouldn't calling it using her powers when she was keeping her part of deal with TaelHa?

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@shach,

I'm concerned, too, that Asa Ron and his clerics will attempt to bump off Tanya. I'm hoping that Saya will preemptively strike them and they never see it coming.

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Yes, I understand she proclaimed Tagon as Aramun Haesulla to save her skin and her people, but she also has a revenge agenda. She is the real priestess but she is going along with Tagon's great show for now. What I'm wondering is if losing the "purity" of only obeying the gods will come back to bite her at any point.

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That's interesting but I don't remember there were requirements for having "gifts" or maybe I ff'ed that parts in earlier episodes?

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Well, I thought Asa Ron was always a fake, but in ep. 14 he says he lost his ability to truly communicate with the gods, and I wondered why. There are no requirements that I know of. It's just me wondering how in tarnation this mythical religion works.

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@wishfultoki, I thought he said he can't communicate with gods without artificial stimuli - ekhem, anymore?

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@shach, @wishfultoki,
I seem to recall that the previous Wahan Great Mother admitted to Tanya as she was dying that she didn't dream, either. Am I misremembering that?

Asa Ron has been faking his dreams and dream interpretations all along. Asa Ron could only get some kind of "reception" with chemical assistance -- hence that nice big pot of opium poppies in his office. Does he maybe need to now use a lot more of the stuff to see visions? Or does he have to be careful not to appear stoned in public? IIRC, priestess Asa Moo looked quite bleary-eyed when she danced around in the water, so she seems to have been hitting the poppy latex herself.

As for Tanya's falsely proclaiming Tagon to be Aramun Haesulla, she prefaced it by saying that no one recognized the true AH when he arrived earlier -- which I took to mean Eunseom. I consider her trickery to be step #1 of throwing the moneychangers out of the temple, so to speak -- as part of her restoration of the true ancestral spiritual practices. She is giving her adversaries all the rope they need to hang themselves with their arrogance, vanity, and lust for power. Tanya has admitted all along that she does not dream, although I expect that she'll never say that in front of Tagon, Taealha, Asa Ron -- or any of the other Arthdal bigwigs. (I just hope that all the other Wahan keep her earlier public admission of not being able to dream a secret.) I have a feeling that Tanya may get a mind-reading & dreaming jump-start from Chae-eun's sister Noon-byeol the Neantal, for whom I expect it comes naturally, or from Igutus Saya & Eunseom. Or maybe Magic Horse will do an equine mind-meld and communicate with her through images.

BTW, I thought Tanya used a naming spell to tie Helper to Eunseom, but Magic Horse has been MIA for what seems like months now. (How the heck can he properly eat with a bit in his mouth all this time?! He's going to end up with mange or something since he's been saddled up all this time as well. Yikes.)

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@pakalanapikake Magic Horse will use his magical powers to remove the bit and saddle. Or maybe he doesn't need to eat because he's magical.

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I like Moobaek. I didn't think I would. I was a bit biased against the actor because he played a bad guy the last time I had seen him. But here, he's an interesting character. Smart, thoughtful. Investigates when he's suspicious of something or someone. He's more on the good side now.

Tanya's reunion with her father and the Wahan people was really nice and touching.

Karika is a cool, charismatic character. Excited to see more of her. =D Hopefully sooner than later.

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Why did Tanya tell the Wahans not to react to Saya’s resemblance to Eunseom? Also, why did Tanya not tell Saya about Eunseom?

What is the name of the actress who plays Xabara Karika? She is beautiful!

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Because Eunseom is known as a killer of Tagon's father in Arthdal plus he was "executed" for that crime, and Saya is now officially presented as Tagon' son.

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Shach, thanks for the reply which makes complete sense 🤓🙏🏼

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@boomer22,

Xabara Karika is portrayed by Japanese actress Erika Karata:
http://asianwiki.com/Erika_Karata.

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The characters make this story! Moobaek's silence often speaks wonders. Saya's haughtiness, merged with his spirituality and anger. Taelha's cunning. Tagon's seething anger and grief. Eunseom's nobility of character, Tanya's deep intention to learn and understand everything around her! It's true the drama lost some steam with that hiatus but these characters keep me coming back.

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I agree, @scifiwritir CaroleMcDonnell, although some of the characters have been such bastards that their day of reckoning cannot come fast enough for me. Some of them have behaved so abominably that, in my book, they are beyond redemption. (I'm looking at you, Tagon and Taealha.) Don't even get me started on Hae Mi-hol, Asa Ron, and their ilk.

I can't wait to see what happens when Eunseom and Saya meet.

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Me too! I think we need some ore development for Saya so the meeting will go well. Saya is so darn unpredictable and kinda stuck skulking around being Tagon's son. I should go look at this week's episode to see what's up but...all this house stuff is keeping me busy.

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I agree with you about Saya needing more development as a character, @scifiwritir. He has spent his whole life in confinement while walking on eggshells around Dear Old Dad, Taealha, and her horrid servant. It infuriates me to see how he has been warped because of the way he was kidnapped and mistreated. At times, I see echoes of the young Tagon in him when he flashes that crafty smile, and it does not bode well. Perhaps his fate was sealed as soon as Daddy Ragaz hid him in the undergrowth and tried to decoy the Daekans away from his hiding place. In Arthdal, even innocent children are given no quarter by the overlords and their minions drunk on temporal power and material wealth.

I'm beginning to wonder if ARTHDAL is really meant to be some kind of commentary on Hell Joseon dolled up in Bronze Age finery. On another level, it looks to me like a version of the transition of human consciousness from the earlier intuitive communion with the other kingdoms of nature and the unseen realms, along with the development of abstract thinking and technology, and the shift from hive-mind to individuation. I may be giving it more credit than it deserves. But there do seem to be correlations with the developmental stages of civilization.

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It's probably a little bit of this and that. When a writer is in the zone, he/she is only aware of some of the themes or resonances in the story being created. I remember someone doing an analysis of a story and telling the author (a very famous screenwriter whose name escapes me now for some reason) all the influences/themes/issues in the play. The writer replied, "Oh, that's in there? I get to take credit for that?" I can attest to that. Sometimes folks see stuff in one of my stories that i didn't consciously put in.

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@scifiwritir September 16, 2019 at 7:46 AM

Truth to tell, I am biased towards metaphysics, and tend to see traces of it wherever I look. This occasionally leads to frustration when a drama that seems like it should deal with such issues actually does not (as was the case with ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND), or botches the subject (I'm looking at you, ANGEL'S LAST MISSION: LOVE).

I seem to recall hearing a similar story about a writer being surprised about inadvertently including stuff in a piece of writing. That could be the collective unconscious at work, with archetypes popping out of the woodwork. ;-)

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Oh yes, this is why i tend to like the story writing itself instead of writers sitting down with some aim to get some spiritual, emotional, or social point across. When writers allow for pure story, they hit so many wonderful things they hadn't even thought of. If a viewer has eyes to see a certain thing, they will see it if it's there. And maybe even if it isn't there. (We all can hope.) But when writers aim to teach, we end up with unequal polemics and stuff being left out.

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Speaking of characters @scifiwritir and @pakalanapikake, a word about Ipsaeng (Kim Sung-cheol). When I finally got caught up to episode 13 and we are down in the mine with Eunseom and Ipsaeng is cozying up to Eunsoem I kept thinking, “how do I know this guy (ie the actor)? Especially with his distinctive voice.
Then it hit me, he played “Jailbird” in PRISON PLAYBOOK! In a way in AC he is playing a similar character. He is not mean but he’s always looking out for number one.
I enjoyed the Eunseom/Ipsaeng “road picture” part of this episode. I will watch episode 14 tonight so I don’t know how long the E/I team will be together but I enjoyed their adventures in this episode. Great pic of them huddled together.
Note to Ipsaeng: “Learn from your bro, do the right thing”!

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@marcusnyc20 bong-soo,
I didn't see PRISON PLAYBOOK so I don't know about the Jailbird character. But you're right on the money about Ipsaeng's looking out for #1. At some point, even Eunseom is going to question the wisdom of altruism.

LOL at the Eunseom & Ipsaeng "road movie." ;-)

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I haven't watched any of this yet and am hoping for some opinions from Beanies. Those of you who have been watching do you think the drama has been worth your time? Would you watch it again ever? I've hesitated because the photos do look dark and I am not sure I would want to struggle through a drama where I was barely able to see what was going on. Are these characters worth "knowing" or is this a drama you will forget soon?

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i have this exact question!

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A good editor could have done wonders for this one. Not sure yet that I'd recommend it unless you like meandering stories.

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Ah, I see. That's what I was afraid of. Thanks.

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It's been worth my time, i think. If you like fantasy and if you read a lot of fantasy, it'll seem familiar. The characters will always be memorable. The story is a bit like a Chinese drama scrunched into smaller episodes. It needed to have more episodes. Maybe 24 episodes for instance. But it seems to be aiming for action-packed. This makes things a bit confusing because they didn't take their time to help the viewer. But i really do like it. No work of art is perfect.

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that's a big help!

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I certainly think it's worth the watch, for one simple reason - it isn't predictable. That's a rarity in kdramas, and I'm willing to forgive its flaws in the pacing and CGI/styling departments for that alone.

Yes, the plot might have spun its wheels in the early episodes, but the characters are certainly engaging and the acting is top-notch and I really appreciate the effort that went into worldbuilding here. I'm not normally a fan of dramas that take till week 3 to really get going, but Arthdal hit its stride in a big way there so if you get as far as ep 5/6 and don't find it interesting, it's fine.

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Thank you! :-)

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My 2 cents.
Since last weekend I had to catch up from episode 8 and finished episode 13 tonight. In answer to your questions:
1. Worth my time-affirmative;
2. Watch again-negative;
3. I think the characters have been worth knowing.
Sidebar. AC is my first Song Joong-ki drama and I think he is giving a great performance in a dual role. I am glad Eunseom is back in the story. Some of his scenes in captivity been heart wrenching. SJK’s portrayal of Saya has been quite interesting and a bit gutsy especially going with an almost feminine look.
3A. I am sure I will forget a lot of the characters but I don’t think I will be forgetting Eunseom/Saya too soon.

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Thank you for that informative post! I've watched Song Joong-ki before but not for awhile.

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@zzthorn, cc: @anothernicole, @scifiwritir CaroleMcDonnell, @marcusnyc20 bong-soo, @pogo1
I've rewatched the first 12 eps. (see comments above), and it was better the second (actually more like the 3rd or 4th time around!) because I could marathon it. Remembering all the details from week to week was a challenge for me. There is so much going on that for me a single pass is not enough.

Although I am cranky about certain aspects of ARTHDAL CHRONICLES, by and large I'm glad to be watching it. The cast is great, and I look forward to the new episodes.

I'll have more to say about the problematical / underwhelming aspects in the Ep. 14 recap thread.

I heartily agree with @ndlessjoie mugyuljoie that a good editor could -- and should -- have whipped ARTHDAL CHRONICLES into shape.

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this is helpful--thank you <3

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Thank you!

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I had thought if the series continued without interruption it would gather more audience as it was gathering pace but it turns out the break had zero effect. The high ratings of the previous show did not help at all but the anticipation of the previous viewers did not dissipate either. The ratings stayed more or less the same. From a watching experience though the break didn’t help me. A series with so many characters and motives and unfamiliar names isn’t easy to follow in multi season format. I couldn’t remember many things like and who and how or why. For example who the heck was Olmadae and why was Tagon looking for him? What did Dalsae do to Eunsom that he stayed behind to make up for it?

Unfortunately after the high of that finale episode 7 was a dud. Mostly I felt Saya’s absence. I’m glad for the existence of Saya as a character for Song Joon Ki’s sake because Tagon and Taelha are the interesting characters in this drama. Tanya even plots and plans. But Eunsom is the straight character, frankly I find him quite dull. Furthermore as soon as the story hits the mines and slaves and escape plans it gets boring. So I didn’t like episode 7.

Interesting. When Tanya was presented to the crowd I interpreted her expression not so much as overwhelmed at such reverence but her feeling the weight of what she did by declaring Tagon to be Aramun Haesulla to gain power when she knows full well he is no such thing. But Tanya’s inner musings revealed later that she is not aware of what she did yet. Of course, she doesn’t know that Eunsom is the real Aramun Haesulla.

The only interesting points of the episode related to people’s (Yangcha, Mubaek) reactions to Saya’s resemblance to Eunsom. Also Saya appeared out of the blue as Tagon’s son and nobody wondered how or when but just accepted it at face value.

The other thing I noticed was how the drama made it really obvious that Eunsom is making a number of people owe him (Syoreujagin, Karika). That will surely come in handy when he needs help during his final showdown but not really as a surprise.

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I am just confusing that Inaishungi and aramun harseulla the same ? Or Who is Aramun and who is inaishingi??

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I’m finding the subtitles too few and too swift to read. Can Netflicks improve that?

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