Rating:
Average user rating 3.5
120

Arthdal Chronicles: Episode 17

While a tyrant fights for his position as king, he’s rapidly losing control, and his attempts to wrest power from his opponents is earning him more enemies than friends. Meanwhile our humble hero finds himself gaining power he never expected, and he decides to use that power to further his cause. They’re drawing ever closer to a showdown, and it’s anyone’s guess who will win and who will lose when the victory lies with the hearts of the people.

 
EPISODE 17 RECAP

Eunseom is saved from dying during the Judgment of the Waterfall by Karika and her Momo warriors, who are inhumanly agile in the water. They get him to the shallows, where Dalsae tackle-hugs Eunseom and nearly drowns him in a few inches of water, lol. Eunseom blinks up at everyone, wondering if this is a dream, and then Badoru leaps on him and almost drowns him a third time. So cute.

Once everything is explained, Eunseom thanks Karika and her men for saving his life. Karika says they’re now “untwined” now that her debt to him for saving her baby’s life has been paid. She asks what he’ll do now, and Eunseom says he has to go back and save Ipsaeng.

Karika laughs and says that if he returns to the Myo clan, he’ll no longer live as himself. She offers Eunseom the chance to go with her, but he insists on saving Ipsaeng, so Karika extends the invitation to join the Momo tribe any time he wishes.

The Myo clan pray fervently for Inaishingi (in the form of Eunseom, for surviving the Judgment) to return to them, but the chief’s daughter’s intended, Tachoogan, sneers that they’re all crazy. He argues to the chief that Eunseom was obviously lying about dreaming of Inaishingi, but the female warrior, Miroosol, can’t believe that Ipsaeng, an Ago tribe member, would lie about such a thing.

Tachoogan decides to prove that Ipsaeng is lying, so he goes to the cages, ostensibly to bring Ipsaeng his last meal. He casually cuts the vines holding the cage together, which Ipsaeng immediately notices. He tries to run, but Tachoogan is lying in wait, and he lassos Ipsaeng before he gets more than a few steps away.

He yells to the chief that Ipsaeng wouldn’t be trying to escape if the Igutu had been telling the truth. Ipsaeng calls Tachoogan a fool for believing Eunseom’s claim of have received a dream vision from Inaishingi, and he growls for them to kill him now because they’ll all end up dead at the hands of the other Ago clans anyway.

Tachoogan notices that the others are listening to Ipsaeng’s warnings and tells them not to be tricked. Miroosol says that they believed Eunseom because they desperately wanted his words to be true, that they could help the other clans instead of selling them into slavery.

Tachoogan screams that that’s why they can’t afford hope, and that it’s ridiculous to wait for Inaishingi to return and save them. At that exact moment, Eunseom returns and pulls the sickle from the stump, the last act of his Judgment. The entire clan stare at him, dumbfounded, and Eunseom just gasps, “We’re good now, right?” HA.

He helps Ipsaeng to his feet and says that regardless of whether the message comes from Inaishingi or not, it’s still stupid to war with their own tribe. He’s ready to take Ipsaeng and leave, but Ipsaeng stammers, “I… In.. Inaishingi?” The rest of the clan take up the cry, “Inaishingi has returned!” as they hoist Eunseom into the air.

Eunseom is taken to the council lodge and told that he and Inaishingi are the only people who have ever survived the Judgment of the Waterfall. The chief believes that Eunseom is the second coming of Inaishingi, but Eunseom confesses that someone saved him. The Myo grandmother says that doesn’t matter — for all they know, Inaishingi also had help a thousand years ago.

Eunseom starts to say that he made up the dream, but Tachoogan grabs him and drags him out to stand in front of the other warriors. They vow to do as Inaishingi says and start saving the other tribes from slavery, and they even swear to die for him. Tachoogan whispers to Eunseom that whether or not he truly had that dream, he is Inaishingi now.

Pulling Ipsaeng into a storeroom for privacy, Eunseom asks what they’re supposed to do now. Ipsaeng says Eunseom can’t leave now, but Eunseom replies that he still has to save Tanya and the Wahans. Ipsaeng reminds Eunseom that he needs subordinates, and that if he accepts the role of Inaishingi, he’ll have all thirty thousand Ago tribe members following his orders.

Eunseom says it’s scary to take responsibility for that many lives. Ipsaeng counters that what’s really scary is failing to live up to the expectations of thirty thousand people. Good point.

Later, with Dalsae, Eunseom says that this is what Karika meant by saying he’d no longer be able to live as himself. Dalsae tells Eunseom that the Wahan tribe no longer exists, because they’ve all gotten selfish and only look out for themselves, even him. He admits that he felt like dying after he betrayed his friends, but now he knows that that’s just how Arthdal works.

He mentions the first time they went hunting at age twelve, and Eunseom recalls that Mother Choseol said, “If everyone is scared, there are no cowards. It’s just that your opponent is too strong,” and that the solution is to fight together, or run away together. Dalsae says that Eunseom will do a good job uniting the Ago tribe.

A little girl offers Eunseom her father’s clothes and says tearfully that her father was a great warrior. She asks Eunseom to wear his clothes and rescue their people, and Eunseom reverently accepts her gift. He thinks, “Tanya, my plan for saving you has changed a little.”

Back in Arthdal, Tagon enforces a new rule that when he’s carried through the streets, the people are to bow with their foreheads on the ground. Moobaek is disturbed by Tagon’s new ruthless demeanor, especially the way he killed Asa Ron without a trial, and Harim, who saved his life. Saya watches Moobaek, wondering what he meant by calling him “the mirror,” and who the bell and the sword might be.

A woman (cameo by Lee Mi-do) stands in the path of the procession and announces that she’s the shaman of the Bato tribe. She snarls, “I curse you in the name of our great hunting god, Mihaje! You killed the head of my tribe and our elders. Mihaje’s arrow will blind and deafen you. Your tongue will get stuck, so you won’t even be able to scream as you’re dying!”

Kitoha is prepared to kill the shaman, but Tagon tells her that her god can’t curse Aramun Haesulla. She screams that the thing he tries to destroy will instead destroy him, then she brandishes a knife and plunges it into her own heart.

Tagon continues to his destination, the library at Pilgyeonggwan, where he’s met by Taealha and Mihol. Mihol conducts a tour, stating ceremonially that everything under the sky now belongs to Tagon, which Moobaek finds odd. Tagon asks if Mihol truly believes that, and when Mihol says he does (after a marked hesitation), Tagon growls that it’s a good thing for both of them, and for Arthdal.

Later, Tagon asks Saya what he needs to do first to become king. Saya tells him to abolish tribalism, repeating Tanya’s words: “Your name ties you down.” He says that if they stop acknowledging the separate tribes by name, they will no longer exist, and they can encompass all the people under the nation of Arthdal.

Taealha points out that the people of the Union will also need a new name. Tagon tells Saya to ask Tanya to come up with a name, believing that a name she creates will have spiritual powers. Saya has also created an emblem to represent all the people, but when he stands to get it, Taealha stops him.

She strokes his head, proudly telling Tagon not to forget that Saya is the result of her years of hard work. She leaves, saying that she’s got a lot to do as the Hae tribe leader, but she thinks to herself, “No, that can’t be.”

Before Tagon leaves, Saya asks Tagon if he plans to let Mihol keep the secret of bronzeworking, when even Mihol said the king owns everything. Moobaek tries to excuse himself, but Tagon and Saya both say that he needs to hear this since his forces will be at the forefront of the uprising.

Taealha goes to Mihol and tries to reassure him that as Tagon’s queen, she’ll guard his secret, but Mihol doesn’t trust Tagon. He says that Taealha has changed more than Tagon, allying herself with whoever seems strongest instead of trusting her father. He asks angrily if Tagon would risk his life for her as she’s done for him, but Taealha snaps back that the world is changing, and Tagon will be its king.

Mihol says that she’s only heard of kings while he served one personally. He warns Taealha that Tagon won’t share his power with her or anyone else.

Meanwhile, Saya is telling Tagon how difficult it is to be a king when Tagon suddenly drops to his knees. He explains that his injuries from the night of the coup are still healing, but Saya seems very concerned.

Moobaek wonders if Saya is truly the mirror, fated to go against Tagon. He’s joined by Yeonbal, who tells him about the revolt at the mines, and Moobaek ponders Eunseom’s fate. Yeonbal offers his condolences on Moogwang’s death, but Moobaek just tells him to report to Tagon.

Yeonbal is awed and confused by the changes when he enters the “throne room” and MT blocks him from getting to close to Tagon. He gets a shock at the sight of Saya, who looks so much like the Igutu who escaped from the mines. Tagon tells Yeonbal that it doesn’t matter that he couldn’t catch Olmadae and rewards him anyway.

Tagon notices how Yeonbal is staring at Saya and introduces him as his son. Saya also finds Yeonbal familiar, although he’s not sure why.

Kitoha talks to Yeonbal afterward, assuming that he’s acting strange because of the Doldambul mine revolt. Yeonbal starts to mention Saya, but Kitoha just squishes him in a big hug, wailing that everyone else but them knew about him, ha. When Yeonbal gets free, he tells Kitoha that Saya looks exactly like the Igutu who instigated the mine riot. Kitoha warns Yeonbal that saying that could get him killed.

Tagon has been looking increasingly unwell, and he stumbles again in his throne room. Kitoha worries that he’s suffering from the Bato shaman’s curse, but Yeonbal calls him stupid. Kitoha barks that at least he’s not going on about an Igutu who looks like Saya — who is, of course, listening nearby.

Tagon suffers convulsions, and when the news reaches the people, they say it’s the Bato god’s punishment for Tagon’s brutality. He’s taken to bed and Saya hovers over him, searching through a book on Igutu anatomy for a way to cure his father.

At the Doldambul mines, a new batch of slaves is being broken in when there’s a loud drumming at the gate. The guards yell for the drummer to knock it off, and he turns around. It’s Eunseom, who counts the number of guards then bids them farewell.

At a whistle from Eunseom, Myo warriors rain arrows down on the guards, then swarm through the gates. Eunseom himself attacks the leader of the guards, growling, “I told you that the day I return to Doldambul, you will be buried underground. Or whatever,” as he skewers him through the heart.

As the Myo warriors lead the slaves to freedom, Eunseom watches from a platform high above. He looks awed as he thinks, “It has started.”

Now that Yeonbal has returned, Tanya is notified that there was a riot at Doldambul and that so many slaves died or escaped, they weren’t able to bring back the Wahans as she asked. She tells herself that there’s no way Eunseom can be dead, and that he’ll definitely return to her.

Taealha considers what Mihol said about the way she risked her own life when she heard that Tagon was facing a coup. She admits to herself that she didn’t consider her own well-being that night, but when Tanya comes to the ceremony chamber at the Great Shrine, Taealha denies being worried.

She changes the subject to ask Tanya why she wants to gain power, when she’d have a better life than she did in Iark if she simply follows orders. Tanya says she’s aware that she’ll be discarded once she’s no longer useful, and Taealha marvels that Tanya’s already learned not to trust people.

Taealha comes running when she hears that Tagon’s fever is increasing. Nothing Saya does helps, so he rips open Tagon’s clothes to check the wound where Black Tongue stabbed him. It’s black and his skin is rotting away, and Saya realizes that it needs to be cut away and the wound cauterized.

Tagon hides his wound when Taealha arrives and says it’s nothing. But Taealha tells him that the people are already gathering at the statue of Mihaje, begging the god to forgive him because they believe he’s being punished.

Tagon insists on going out, against both Taealha and Saya’s warnings that it could kill him. Taealha tries to block him, saying that it’s too soon, but Tagon spits that Taealha is the one who never cared about being loved by the people.

The people praying at the statue assume that Tagon came seeking forgiveness from Mihaje. Instead, he attacks the statue, viciously striking it with his sword until it crumbles at his feet. He challenges the god: “Do your worst, Mihaje. Try to kill Aramun Haesulla if you can. We’ll see who’s the true god and who’s the first to be removed from the Great Shrine.”

With a roar, he cuts the head from the statue. He bellows to his Daekan warriors to burn every shrine to Mihaje and torch his sacred Nandal Mountain. Even the warriors look alarmed, but they obey.

Taealha stares in shock as the people wail for their destroyed god, alarmed at the drastic changes in him. She asks Hae Tuak who can make a hallucinogen, and Hae Tuak names Hae Yangu, so Taealha asks for her to be brought to her tomorrow.

Back in his chamber, Tagon denies Saya’s request to bring in a doctor, refusing to put his fate in the hands of a stranger. He tells Saya to perform the surgery himself, and when Saya says he’s never done it before, Tagon reminds him of his promise to make Tagon a king.

With no other choice, Saya tells Tagon to choose a Daekan warrior strong enough to hold him down. Tagon scoffs that Igutus can withstand tremendous pain, so Saya nervously brings out the tools. Tagon bites on a scrap of fabric while Saya cuts out the infection, and after a few minutes, he mercifully passes out.

Saya cauterizes the wound, thinking to himself, “It’s all clear now. This Igutu is my father, and Mihaje or any other god won’t be able to defeat him.”

When Tagon wakes, Saya is asleep next to his bed. He covers Saya with a fur, but Saya wakes up, and he sighs when Tagon says he’s feeling better. Tagon tells Saya that if he becomes a king who has everything, Saya will be his heir and successor, and that he’s decided to own it all, even Mihol’s secret.

Mihol is at the Fortress of Fire, where all the workers are made to turn their backs when he executes the secret steps of the bronzeworking process. Mihol is summoned to Tagon’s presence, but Yeonbal leads him to where Saya is very obviously preparing for his torture.

Now that Saya saved Tagon’s life, Taealha thinks, Tagon will be considered more powerful than Mihaje, and she knows that his next move will be to take everything from everyone. The second gift she commissioned for Tagon is finished, so Taealha wants to invite her father to see it, but she’s told that he went to see Tagon early this morning.

Just then, Tae Huak brings Tae Yangu to see Taealha, and Taealha hears everything everyone has said about how Tagon has changed ringing in her head. She leaves without a word and goes to Tagon, who says that Saya is getting the secret of bronzeworking from Mihol. He apologizes for not telling her, but he asserts that a king must have everything.

He asks how they’re supposed to make bronze if Mihol leaves Arthdal or dies. Taealha asks if that justifies torture, but Tagon just asks her to be reasonable. She reins in her fury and agrees that a king must have everything, but she says that torture won’t work on Mihol and asks Tagon to let her talk to him, showing him a vial of hallucinogen.

Kitoha is administering Mihol’s torture while Saya periodically asks for the secret of bronzeworking. Mihol merely gasps that they should have killed Tagon when they had the chance and that nothing will make him give up the secret. But Saya says that they’ll let him heal between torture sessions and won’t allow him to die.

Taealha arrives and insults Kitoha’s torture skills, and says that her hallucinogen will do the job quickly. She orders everyone but Tae Yangu out of the room. Mihol screams that he should have killed her when he realized she was in love with Tagon, but Taealha ignores him.

Once they’re alone, she asks what Mihol would do in her place. He begs her to kill him before he gives in, and Taealha lets him smell the vial, which he realizes actually contains the odorless bichwisan poison. He sobs gratefully, and Taealha apologizes to him for the first time in her life, admitting that everything he said about Tagon was right.

She promises him that she’ll get revenge, and she asks him to tell her the secret of the bronze before he dies. Mihol nods, and tells her to go to the Great Gochiju Rock where the symbols of those who caused the collapse of the Hae tribe are carved, and to take up the mission of the Hae tribe.

Tagon finds Saya and Kitoha outside the torture room and bursts in, but it’s too late — Mihol is dead. Taealha grabs one of the bone skewers from Mihol’s hand and stabs Hae Yangu in the neck, killing her. She tells Tagon that she gave Mihol bichwisan, and that she just killed the only person who knew how to make hallucinogens, so they will no longer exist in Arthdal.

She says that she’s now the only person alive who knows how to work bronze. She spits that she’s doing this because Tagon went behind her back and conspired with Saya after she helped him become a king, so it’s his fault if she’s changed. Tagon threatens to have Taealha tortured, but she just laughs and says she’d gladly accept death.

Leaning in close, Taealha whispers, “Be happy. I’m pregnant with your baby. I’m pregnant with Aramun’s baby. There’s a god growing inside me. What will you do, will you torture me? Kill me? If you don’t kill me now I can’t guarantee that I’ll keep my mouth shut.”

She says that Tagon doesn’t have the guts to kill her because he’s been lonely all his life, and he still suffers from loneliness. She smiles triumphantly, while Tagon turns red with fury.

 
COMMENTS

First things first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. At the time that I’m writing this, Episode 18 has aired, and while I won’t talk about how it ends — I can’t, because I haven’t watched the full episode — you’ve probably heard by now that it is not the ending to Eunseom and Tagon’s story. I find this both frustrating and disappointing, because so many moments I’ve been anticipating may never happen, such as Eunseom and Saya finally meeting and learning that they’re twins and have been dreaming each other’s lives, and whether or not Eunseom and Tanya ever reunite and rekindle their childhood love. But there’s still one more episode leading us to the conclusion of this chapter in the story, so I’ll just try to enjoy it as much as I can.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system (okay there’s more, but I’m saving it for the Episode 18 recap), I can talk about this episode. I haven’t ever cared for Taealha, finding her pretty flat unlike almost every other character except Tanya and Eunseom, who are meant to be entirely good. Taealha is pretty unambiguously greedy, sneaky, and untrustworthy, and I’d have liked her to be more like Tagon, whom I never know whether to trust or not. That said, I’m super impressed with how Taealha turned her father’s torture into a way of keeping herself alive by making herself the only holder of the bronzeworking secret. And whether or not she’s actually pregnant, it was a stroke of brilliance to claim to be. It buys her at least a few months of safety until she either begins showing or not, and by then she’ll have had plenty of time to come up with several more plans for saving her skin.

I love how Eunseom is growing and evolving from a timid though principled young man into a warrior and a strong leader, who still holds his principles while working within the “rules” of Arthdal. He’s building an army of faithful followers, and though he feels some discomfort for lying to the Ago tribesmen, he can’t argue that he passed their test and earned their loyalty. I’m proud that Eunseom’s first act as “Inaishingi” was to storm the mines and free the slaves — it felt like a small prelude to his (hopefully) eventual takeover of Arthdal itself.

Tagon, on the other hand, is losing it big-time. Between the stress of leadership, the disappointment at losing the love of the people, and his poisoned wound, he’s swiftly descending into true madness. Everyone around him can see it, but for now, they can’t do anything about it. It’s one thing to realize that he may not be able to secure the people’s love, but quite another to burn to the ground everything having to do with a certain god, including an entire mountain, just because you’re angry that some people think you did something needing forgiveness (especially after you slaughtered all their leaders). Part of me dreads watching Tagon become the tyrant-king he seems hell-bent on becoming, but the other part of me relishes the idea of watching him rise to the top, then be brought down by Eunseom and Tanya.

And guys, I’m ready for Moobaek to step up and do something. He’s been suspicious and discontented for a long time, and he’s deeply disturbed by Tagon’s newfound power and attitude, so I’m sure he’s going to defect to the other side at some point. Okay okay, so there’s not really an “other side” at this point, at least not openly, so I should probably cut him some slack. He’s spent his entire adult life in service to Tagon, whom he must have once felt was a leader worth following. It can’t be easy to realize that the man you’ve followed, trusted, and obeyed has become someone whose actions you can no longer support. I just hope that Moobaek gets an opportunity soon to do something about everything he’s seeing that’s going wrong, because I have a feeling that he could turn out to be the linchpin on which Eunseom will eventually be able to turn Arthdal around.

RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , ,

120

Required fields are marked *

I don't know if this is considered a spoiler or not but can someone please tell me:

Will there be a season 2 of Arthdal Chronicles?

1
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Read somewhere - maybe some comments in Netflix's Swoon, that they will come back June next year.. I don't know if it's true, we'll just need to wait the official statements from the production team.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

According to the writers, it is meant to have multiple seasons, but they said it depends on whether they have the numbers ( viewers) that would warrant the investment needed for the show. Soompi had an article on it.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

If they'd only tightened up their act at the start of the show, they would have had the numbers (I know the Korean ratings aren't terrible but also not anywhere near as high as expected, dunno about the Netflix viewership figures).

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Terrible for a show spend KRW54B/USD$45M, which is a record for a KDrama (last record is «Mr. Sunshine», which is KRW43B/USD$36M). Consider the highest rating for «Arthdal Chronicle» is only around 7% («Mr. Sunshine» 18%, and the filler between «Arthdal» Part 2&3, «Hotel del Luna» is 12%)

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

To answer your question: Yes, they were planning to have more than one seasons. According to one report I read, tvN signed contract with Netflix to have at least 3 seasons. I am not sure if you all realized that: in the end of Episode 18 there is an animated epilogue which Netflix have cut out, but tvN have included in their broadcast. I guess everyone should take a look at that (what's inside, I guess it is more suitable to talk about it when we are in Episode 18's recap):
https://youtu.be/QtLw1bPN6DY

I don't think cutting this season into 2 parts to air is not Netflix's fault, because they just follow tvN's schedule to air those episode. First of all, a lot of Korean dramas are not suitable to have multiple seasons, and I think Arthdal Chronicles is one of them. The screenwriters is good to write extra-long drama (think about «Dae Jang Geum», which has 70 episodes). They should be aired all in one time, because the dynamics of airing one long drama and airing a multiple-season drama are totally different. The first 10 episodes of «Arthdal Chronicles» seems like drifted away from the main theme, and sounds kind of boring, because the screenwriter is trying to develop the plot for the later date. I wonder, however, when season 2 is going to air, I would still feel the dynamic it built up in these 10 episodes, although we can always find a time to rewatch them all again (Do we have like 27 hours to do that?) ...

... Then, tvN are cutting the Season 1 into two parts, and fill the gap by broadcasting another drama (because they need time to work out the computer graphic). It is killing the dynamic even further. «Arthdal Chronicles» never reach the rating over 8%. tvN personally kills it. Now their statement states that they are still in discussion to do second season or not. I think they still have to do the season (they have contract with Netflix, remember?), but such mediocre rating really gave them pressure.

This is way more ironic that the filler of «Arthdal» is a much more memorable show called «Hotel del Luna», which has the highest rating of tvN show thus far (12%!!). If you look at GoodData survey, «HdL»'s discussion rate on internet during its air is over 30%, after its final episode, all the other drama's rates fall back to 10+%. If cutting a season in half killing «Arthdal», putting «HdL» in between deem «Arthdal» "unrevivable".

How stupid tvN has done.
(They really should ask for forgiveness from «Arthdal» cast and crew, and «HdL»'s as well: by pushing them to air 6 weeks earlier then planned, they need to work 7 days nonstop to catch up the schedule, as stated by non other but IU herself: https://youtu.be/hox6OpioFf0 ... and we all know «HdL» has lots of CG as well, how can «Arthdal» crew as well tvN not plan ahead?)

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Sorry, some typo:
1. "I don't think cutting this season into 2 parts to air is not Netflix's fault ..." The "not" should be cut out;
2. "...which has the highest rating of tvN show thus far [this year]."
3. "...by pushing them to air 6 weeks earlier then planned." should be 3 weeks.

Sorry.
(And by the way, I cannot just clear Jang Man-wol out from my head)

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Seems the ratings are the problem bc of the low nos. in tvn. People have commented on being ready to pay some money just to get another season so now, I think, it's possible they'd make a movie sequel instead of a full season as a ff up.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's sad but this drama make me feel nothing... I'm not worried for the characters, I don't really care about them except for Moobaek, I like him :)

I didn't find Eunsom inspiring. I know that all what happened is his journey to become a hero but nothing in his character is inspiring.

Taealha who hated her father cares about him now? She agrees with him? It's a joke? Neither her neither her father are better than Tagon...

11
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

"Taealha who hated her father cares about him now? She agrees with him? It's a joke? "

This kills me too! I don't understand why Taealha got angry and liked suddenly her father and agreed with him.

About Eunsom, I've got a big disappointed. I thought he would be something as his character was promising at fist few episodes but he's kept drag as prisoner all the 18th episodes. what a shame!

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

t's not that she agree with her father, but rather that she didn't trust Tagon for good reason. Tagon had already betrayed her at that point and her father just helped her realize that. Instead of questioning her mindset I am more inclined to question Tagon. Although according to their agreement their current behavior holds true.

Both Tagon and Taelha value power more than anything else besides each other. Unfortunately for them, they don't trust each other enough to realize that. Neither wants to put the other before power because they don't trust the other would do the same.

As for them not being any better than Tagon, that is the whole point and the problem. No one in power in Arthdal is better than the other whether it's Tagon or his family, Taelha and her family, Asa clan or whoever else in power. “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” sums this best.

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I found her new conscious of the fact Tagon is a bad guy and the fact her father was right not credible. She's smart, she knows her father and Tagon, the both are the same. And now, suddenly there is a bound father-daugther. She want to take revenge? I would have prefered she sticks to hate her father.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I agree. She could still torture her father or fake affection to get the bronze secret out of him and kill him anyway. That is more in character for her. But she sounded genuinely upset at how Tagon treated dad. That was a little jarring.

And I still don't get why she feels so betrayed. She knew Tagon isn't going to share power with her. They made it clear from the beginning of their relationship. So, I don't get why she seemed to be extra upset at that.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I can't really coment on the father daughter relationship as love/hate is quite complicated for people of their mindset. On the other hand the change in Tagon was quite big and drastic. As soon as he decided to let lose his restrains, he abandoned everything in pursuit of power including Taelha. Imo that descition was odd.

Beside that, her anger was directed at herself rather than at Tagon. In her eyes Tagon did what she was supposed to do but she strayed from her path and got burnt for it. To add salt to the wound even Tanya didn't make that mistake.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was happy that Mihol died and we don't have to hear about that "king" nonsense anymore but here comes Taelha, le sigh.

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I dragged myself from the dungeons of fluff & music to say you all are commendable for finishing ep 17 & 18.
I'm ranted out.
See on next trash folks.

7
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This episode was pure torture for me. Seriously.

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm so READY for Moobaek too... Moobaek's character exists with a purpose, not only someone's Daekan respects for... I'm curious what the writers have him in store...

Highlights of this episode (and this season):
- Eunsom is gaining his leadership skill through traveling. I'm so proud of Eunsom now. He's been transforming from a naive boy into a thoughtful "leader" which could win other people's hearts, including Ipsaeng. I'm happy too, Dalsae has become one of Eunsom's loyal followers from a friend who used to be so jealous of him.
- With Mihol's death, it's the sign of the power re-generation from the old leaders to the younger ones. I didn't see Mihol's death was coming.
- The power is indeed scary. It's for the better or the worse. Eunsom and Tanya need power (followers) once to free the Wahan, then to take down the existing regime (Arthdal). While Tagon and Taealha, they want own the Arthdal for themselves where they can be remembered as the great of Arthdal...

5
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

People has high hopes for him because he walks through episodes looking mostly bewildred but it nevery led to anything really.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

He's prob like the char that represents the daekan forces, if he starts doubting tagon's leadership or kingly rights than the daekan forces might follow suit.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

thanks for the recap...will add comments in recap for ep 18:-)

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This episode gave me an existential crisis.

9
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comments are so brief that it seems beanies are ranted out lol. Poor us. Thank you @lollypip for the recap and best of luck in watching episode 18.

I’d like to point out one thing: Dalsae said that the Wahan tribe no longer exists, that even he’s become selfish, because “that’s just how Arthdal works”. His actions suggest otherwise, since he risked life and limb to find Euseom again and stick loyally by his side. All in all I’m sick of our good guys sighing that their principles are no good in Arthdal - they are just what Arthdal needs!

Also: I bet Tagon now feels sorry the doctor was killed. Doc Saya looked mightily unsure of what he was doing with those books and pointy tools. However, that touching father-son moment did nothing for me. I thought Saya had resented Tagon for keeping him locked up all his life, but he’s turned into his most staunch supporter, advisor, paramedic, and heir-apparent now. I liked Saya when he was the lonely prince in the tower. Not anymore. Not one bit.

7
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

I thought Saya was just helping his father to steal his power and throne in the future...

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Like Tagon and Sanung, I guess? Arthdal history repeats itself, father-son relationships don't seem to be straightforward or traditional there.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I considered that too, but he seemed to really admire (love?) Tagon in Part 3, calling him “father” as if he really were.
He doesn’t need to steal the throne because Tagon promised it to him. Of course that would change if he heard that Taelha is expecting a real heir, but so far I thought he was sincere in his support of Tagon.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Re: Dalsae - true, but then Dalsae himself hasn't been in Arthdal since Eunseom's escape. It's the rest of the Wahan who remained behind and got used to life there, and in one case (Mungtae) did worse ie betray his friends. Of all the adult Wahan in Arthdal now, Tanya seems to be the only one even thinking that they shouldn't remain there.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I thought it was odd that Dalsae would speak of the Wahan’s becoming used to Arthdal because he’s been gone just as long as Eunseom. I think he was blaming himself and referring to that specific episode where he escaped from the Fortress of Fire and didn’t take Mungtae and the other dude (who killed himself on the way to Doldambul).

Dalsae’s journey is therefore one of redemption: from animosity towards Eunseom back in Iark, to seemingly abandon his friends in Arthdal (which I would argue he didn’t, that was Mungtae’s warped view), and then doing everything he could to save them, going on a foolhardy rescue mission, getting captured himself, being the last man to escape from Doldambul, getting caught and tortured, and finally finding Eunseom again.

Dalsae and Mukgwang had the most logical and satisfying character arcs in this whole story, in my opinion.

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ah the tiny rays of sunshine that peak through the rest of this shitshow are indeed welcome.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Re: Saya - poor doc Harim died because of Taealha's orders, so that bit of paranoia at least is on Taealha's head (plus we have a newly-reawakened unstoppable Neanthal with a possible death grudge against Tagon and Taealha, thanks to that).

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm rooting for Nunbyeol.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

 I liked Saya when he was the lonely prince in the tower

Oh, he was that - vulnerable, starved of affection and freedom, and every bit of 'parenting' he's ever had has been to raise him as a tool for Tagon to use.

He was also warped, amoral and capable of casual cruelty even when he was in the tower, though - and he had a powerful capacity for holding grudges (the entire reason why Tagon and Taealha couldn't get married after he became union leader, was because Saya plotted and schemed to stop it as revenge for what Taealha did to his lover - that was our first clue he wasn't just Arthdal's answer to Harry Potter ie the boy in the cupboard under the stairs). And what his character arc has been consistent about, is that he kind of looks up to Tagon but also values the power - I feel like them both being Igutus leads to Saya being attached to him more than he is to Taealha.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

SIGH

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Looking at this episode on its own, just a few thoughts:

- the central conflict in Arthdal itself, following the father-son power struggle, is the conflict between religion (the Asa) and state (Tagon). I like that this drama went there with the politics, because there are so many real-life examples of it - and it's a different kind of authority and power from the usual 'powerful political factions' seen in sageuks.

- on that note, we have Tagon and the building of his unified kingdom with him as king..... to be achieved by outlawing tribal affiliations and likely customs as well. Also very relatable in real life, as the building of 'national identity' through this kind of cultural unification, usually involves erasing or sidelining minority cultures, down to forcing people to adopt new names, abandon certain traditions, and even, in some cases, accept a foreign language as the dominant one.

- speaking of which, Saya as the architect of that particular plan? Makes absolute sense. It's exactly the kind of thing his Machiavelli brain would come up with, and despite Tanya's sympathy for him and her efforts to get him to not see people as just chess pieces, he's basically amoral when it comes to anyone he doesn't know (this makes a lot of sense, given his upbringing).

- on that note, Taealha REALLY doesn't like Saya's break-the-tribes plan, especially not since it affects her own tribe too. And she doesn't like that he's coming up with it AND has Tagon's ear to this extent (though duh she doesn't trust Mihol, did everyone just forget her own father effectively prostituted her to Sanung for years? Luckily for Mihol, her tribe being threatened changed her mind).

Which is why the pregnancy announcement is a stroke of genius, especially if fake - not only does it buy Taealha time away from the torture chamber, it also directly threatens Saya's place as Tagon's heir. Because Tagon is exactly sentimental enough to be very shaken by the idea of him and Taealha having a child together, and Taealha was smart enough to keep it for his ears only - I'd bet money Saya would poison her if he learnt about the pregnancy, if only to secure his own succession.

8
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

Excellent points, @pogo1!

It is poetic justice that a couple of Igutus whose Neantal kin were annihilated by their various Arthdalian tribal kin are now in a position to eradicate those same tribes by changing their names and banning all culture associated with it. There go the local gods, too. Tagon started it all with his self-loathing-driven destruction of the Neantal. Now Saya gets to set Arthdal's own tribal heritage ablaze.

I totally agree that Saya would assassinate Taealha in a heartbeat if/when he learns what she is up to. If he can hear her thoughts, she's dead meat. (And I couldn't be happier.)

2
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh yes, the irony of Saya being the one to plot the ultimate undoing of the Arthdal tribes and Tagon supporting it, is delicious indeed. And to add to it, Eunseom - Saya's own twin - setting out to become the one to take Arthdal itself apart? I love it.

(Not really irl, because I live in a country where certain people have tried this 'one national language/one culture' business, and putting it mildly - the people at the receiving end? REALLY don't like being told to adopt another language as "their language".)

I actually enjoy Taealha - she's the female antihero of this piece, and she's done terrible things for power, but it's hard not to feel some sympathy for her considering the circumstances of her life - I get why she does what she does, even if I don't like it.

4
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

@pogo1,
All along, I've suspected that Saya as the Mirror has been reflecting Eunseom, not Tagon. Actually, he reflects both of them. It just hit me that, through his "dreams," Eunseom has actually been scrying Arthdal in a form of remote viewing. And Saya has been scrying whatever his brother has been seeing. Talk about a magic, two-way mirror. I can't wait for these two to turn that mirror against Arthdal, perhaps by focusing the burning rays of their will on the powder keg that the proto-nation has become.

Yes, that forced adoption of a dominant culture and language has ultimately turned out badly in so many cases. My own ancestors (Irish and Scots) got the same treatment. Interestingly, the Irish ended up co-opting the English language and becoming some of its finest writers. That revenge has resulted in great literature (e.g., Jonathan Swift's satiric Gulliver's Travels).

I hadn't thought of Taealha as being an antihero. I do understand where's she's coming from. I just cannot abide her callous ruthlessness any more that I can stand Tagon's. If I were more charitable, I'd consider them both victims of their families and the Arthdal system. But they don't give a darn about anyone else, and that gets my goat. Hrumpf!

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

@pakalanapikake - it never occurred to me to think of Saya as Tagon's mirror, I always went with the very literal interpretation since he is, after all, Eunseom's identical twin so it's Eunseom he mirrors.

The dream-scrying goes both ways - Eunseom's been seeing Saya's dreams too, which is how Tanya knew about his feelings during his captivity or Saenarae (his gf that Taealha killed). And it's the dream-connection through which Saya saw Eunseom's life and Tanya (and a large part of why he's so hung up on her, because neither twin realised their dreams were scenes of another person's life)

And now the mirroring is that Saya is the architect of a newer and crueller Arthdal nation..... which Eunseom is coming to take down, even if he only previously knew it as the union.

5
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

@pogo1,
It occurs to me that the baby Igutu who was named Saya in Arthdal was a tabula rasa who has been imprinted by two of the most damaged people in that benighted place. The Biblical phrase "through a glass, darkly" seems to fit the kind of mirror that Saya has become as he prepares to transform Arthdal into something much darker and more ruthless than what it has been, and that's saying something.

Yikes! It just hit me that since Tagon was off to war for years on end, Saya spent much more time with Taealha, whom Tagon delegated to raise him. Although he says he identifies with his Igutu adoptive father, Saya has really been most strongly influenced by the cruel, self-centered Taealha. Her heartless treatment of him and the girl he loved as already started to come home to roost -- with a vengeance.

I do think that Saya mirrors Tagon in the sense that he's the only father figure the Igutu has had. I can only imagine how he would freak out if he ever actually met the surviving Neantals and got a hint of what a selfless badass his real father was. Thus far his regard for Tagon is closer to Stockholm syndrome than filial love.

I can't help but wonder what Saya's original Neantal name was, and whether Roddib's calling it would exert some kind of power over him?!

3

Rottib is still in my bad books for walking off and leaving Eunseom (and us) hanging.

Sort of like the show. Humph.

4

... does anyone else wish there was more focus on the dreams of these two carrots in this show instead oh a random two second scene every third episode only put in to remind us that they are indeed still linked, in case we'd forgotten (we hadn't), and don't worry may have moved this story in a different direction for now! But we still remember!
*Sigh* *more on the 18 recap*

4

You're right of course.
I just find the execution of this so poor that none of this succeeds in having any weight or sparking any excitement in me at all.
I mentioned this last week with Tagon's character- by all means this show has all the pieces to be delicious and rich and complex and whatever else, but in every technical way in which it has been put to screen it falls epically short of what it actually needs.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you, @lollypip, for continuing to recap ARTHDAL CHRONICLES with your customary care and attention to detail. Alas, your talents far exceed the rambling wreck this drama has turned into. Thank you for your perseverance, not to mention insights and interpretations. I do still care about some of the characters and their arcs, and have been hoping against hope that there's some kind of positive resolution for them in this dystopian saga.

Maybe I've been watching the show all the wrong way, and should have been viewing it as a long string of vignettes that have little to do with each other. It's almost as if I'm seeing fragmentary bits of old crumbling parchment scrolls that give glimpses of reports of events – but they're all mixed up and out of sequence, and some scribes were better writers than others. Not only that, but the outlying tribes don't have writing, so the story is being told from the point of view of those who do – and have a strongly vested interest in putting forth their own version of events. History is written by the victors. Fat lot of good that's going to do the Hae tribe and their library now that Mi-hol has bitten the dust.

At least Eunseom managed to survive his trip over the falls. Given the white water that he traversed first, I'm amazed that he wasn't pulverized to smithereens on the rocks or drowned before he made the final drop into the whirlpool. The Momo skindivers were a hoot, practically turning into cormorants as they dove down to retrieve him. – I kind of wish the Igutu had take Xabarra Karika up on her offer to be her guest. His captors are an unpleasant bunch at best. If a showdown with Tagon ever comes, these guys with bamboo spears will be slaughtered by Arthdalians wielding bronze – or even iron – weapons and armor (cf. NOKDU FLOWER).

Taealha has always rubbed me the wrong way, and now she's outdone herself. I feel sorry for any kid that ends up with her for a mother. However, it wouldn't surprise me if she isn't really pregnant. It's just a great way to yank Tagon's chain and buy time. – And what the heck was that icky little fondling of Saya?! I expect a bid to drive a wedge between him and his father. – But with this latest baby bombshell, that's practically an open declaration that Tagon's adopted kidnapped heir apparent is going to be supplanted by his biological wonja. Methinks I smell Taealha's attempt to get them to kill each other so she can seize the throne herself.

Tagon's descent into megalomania and tyranny comes as no surprise – other than how long it's taken for him to go off the rails. Kudos to Saya for stepping up to become the Igutu Kim Sabu.

I cannot for the life of me figure out what Moobaek is doing in this story. He has been witness to so much, but has been left to languish. Now that his boss is officially bonkers, I fear for him. Arthdal is one place where it doesn’t pay to be an honest man.

7
22
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yessss, another one for the Taealha's-faking-pregnancy train! It absolutely makes sense, because she sees Saya becoming Igutu Kim Sabu (flashbacks to Rebel here, a truly great sageuk) and decided to kill two birds with one stone by both potentially undermining his status as heir and keeping herself out of the torture chamber.

Also please count me in on team Momo tribe. I know the Ago are important to Eunseom's eventual plans but they really are unpleasant, and Xabara was much more fun to watch than endless squabbling between people in a big room/hut. Ipsaeng barely even does anything, and he's supposed to be a tribe member.

Re: Moobaek, I think it's worth remembering that the Daekan, and Tagon as their leader, were beloved military heroes in the eyes of the Arthdal populace. Tagon made a great general, but generals - even heroic ones - don't always make good political leaders. Especially not in the kind of representative government system the Arthdal union has. Tagon going from war hero to tyrant is no surprise at all, and combined with his paranoia about being found out as an Igutu? You're right, we should have seen it coming all along even if he did have good intentions towards the people (not wanting bloodshed) he inevitably sets that aside when it doesn't work out for him.

(Also look at how many generals/military leaders in the real world end up becoming dictators, and how that works out for their own countries - including, at one point, South Korea itself).

2
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

@pogo1,
Oops! Perhaps I should have dubbed Saya the "Igutu Marcus Welby" for his solicitous bedside manner -- but went for Kdrama triple-board-certified ER doc ROMANTIC DOCTOR TEACHER KIM instead. Ahn Nae-sang's despicable old Neo-Confucian fanatic in REBEL was Song Sabu. Now that you mention it, Song was as delusional -- and ruthlessly cruel -- as Tagon and Taealha.

Oh, another Momo fan. Yippee! I got the feeling that Xabarra Karika might have taken a shine to Eunseom and his cool blue dorsal markings. They actually would make a cute couple, and he was Sateunik's loyal friend, even if that debt has been repaid. Plus, she specifically told him that he would not be able to live his own way among the Ago, but implied that he would have that freedom among her own people. He's also righteous, and got along well with Junior. I have a feeling that when push comes to shove, it will be the Momo, with Eunseon in the vanguard, who grind Arthdal into the dust, not the Ago.

Thanks for the reminder about Moobaek and the Daekan. I'd kind of forgotten about their war hero status. It's been a long spell since their glory days -- which weren't all that glorious when one recalls that they were really just purveyors of genocide under the command of their self-loathing leader. Tagon could be viewed as Arthdal's answer to Julius Caesar, who turned into a dictator and was eventually assassinated for it. General George Washington is one of the few military commanders I can think of off-hand who remained righteous to the end.

Still MIA, with only one episode to go: Magic Horse! We still don't know what the heck gives with Chain Boy Yangcha. Or the Wandering Neantals, whom Nunbyeol may want to join up with after all.

4
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

oop my mistake re: Kim Sabu! lol. But both do fit.

I totally thought Xabara Karika had gone a bit starry-eyed for Eunseom too, over the whole defending-her-baby-from-assassination thing. But if she's got a baby, then presumably she's already got a partner who's the other parent of that baby? Or not, considering she was at the mountain with no sign of any baby daddy around. It's a shame, because I like her decisiveness and unambiguity - it's a breath of fresh air when every other character is unable to make a choice, or watching and waiting to see what choice to make.

The Daekan were absolutely purveyors of genocide and slavery to the peoples they killed and subjugated, but that doesn't matter to the Arthdal people - to them, these guys were heroes and protectors of the borders. But obviously, they don't like it so much when that particular brand of murdering energy is turned on them!

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@pogo1,
No biggie about Kim Sabu. ;-)

I got the impression that the father of Xabara Karika's child had been killed by political rivals. I think she's widowed, which is why she is free to make eyes at Carrot Boy, unless her tribe is polyandrous. (I seem to recall her getting a message while at Tapien's lodgings and gasping a name, which I think was of a traitor who led an uprising after she set out on her journey. Unless that was Daddy's name.) I also think that the way Eunseom gently played with the baby sealed the deal for her. I suspect that the chiefess has to return to Momoland to visit retribution upon whomever killed Daddy.

I, too, am a fan of badass Warrior Princess Karika. All she needs is a chakram and a palomino named Argo. ;-) She is a woman of action as well as intelligence and patience. None of that "paralysis by analysis" for her. She already has a good heart and strikes me as fair-minded, and I can imagine her forming a powerful and effective partnership with Eunseom. It's a major plus that the Momo aren't hung up about Igutus.

As for unleashing the Daekan against the people of Arthdal, it has been happening all along to individuals, but the few who protested were brutally treated if not killed outright. Now the Daekan will be "pacifying" whole tribes. At some point, they may end up being deployed against their own families, and that's when all hell will break loose. Or a rumor to that effect will be circulated by Taealha, mark my words. I can easily imagine a mutiny erupting. Oh, wait. #2 War Hero Moobaek's cooler head may prevail.

Dang, despite all the cruft, ARTHDAL has so much potential that has yet to be realized. It could have been formatted like a normal 45-50 episode weekend drama and would have worked out just fine. Considering the investment in sets and the initial CGI, I cannot believe it was intended as a single season of 18 episodes. More on that later.

3

@pakalanapikake - oooh, that makes a lot of sense actually! If she'd already seen an assassination at work, it's not hard to see why she's so decisive in dealing with traitors once they're caught (and may have well been the target of previous attempts, given that she travels with bodyguards, only it went pear- shaped when they turned on her and she only survived thanks to Eunseom). I do agree she'd make a badass partner for Eunseom though, I thought he and Tanya were cute together but it's Tanya and Saya who have that 🔥Kylo Rey chemistry, no matter how guilty I feel for noticing that.

You're right that the Daekan have been unleashed against individuals (on various pretexts) before the current purges started, but it's the potential wipeout of groups of people that gets everyone's attention now. Though the Daekan seem to be all Saenyeok tribe members (Tagon's tribe) and the purges are against other tribes now, it's only a matter of time before some Daekan offends him and the scenario you envisioned, plays out. In fact, that's what happened to Taealha - she was loyal to Tagon to the death.....until he started following Saya's advice to extract the secret of the bronze, and threatened the primacy of Taealha's tribe as a result (I sincerely believe she wouldn't care this much if Mihol alone was affected).

I join you in dearly wishing this drama had got the 'long sageuk' treatment at least in the production stage, and just filmed as a 30, or 70 or whatever-episode drama like Jumong or Rebel. But yeah, episode counts are maybe a thing we should save for ep 18 recap.

3

I'm on the Karika Eunsom ship!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@pakalanapikake I I like your metaphor of this show as a series of vignettes taken haphazardly from crumbling scrolls. It shouldn’t be our job to make sense of the scrolls, but we have what we have. I wonder if the drama would have worked better had we actually had a character (or narrator) who found the scrolls much later.

I do think I watched the show in the wrong way but I’ll save that for episode 18.

4
14
reply

Required fields are marked *

@[email protected] the only other kdrama that's had me this invested, only to frustrate me so repeatedly, is Moon Lovers. Which, despite my near-constant state of lowkey annoyance with it, had me very, very interested in the main characters and their fates. What is it about these dramas?

I also agree with WishfulToki about the 'string of vignettes' feel, that's been very strong in part 3 with the tribe stuff. Part of my issue with the Ago tribe's screen time is that we've literally never seen them before and there are so many characters we saw in the first half and then hardly at all - magic horse? Neanthals? Hell, even the remaining Wahan. And here we are with a whole new tribe.

3
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

The whole problem is that this show clearly was meant to be a story of 54 episodes and the whole flow would have made sense if it was left and made at this scale,of 54 episodes in one go...The writers clearly had a big picture with complex and rich backstory but with Netflix stupid cut in said "parts" or "seasons" it took a down on the story line and also the idea of making Seasons of a full fledged kdrama and release it based on the response as well. or whatever cluase they had in their contract but u don't take a script of 54 eps and say lets film 18 eps and we'll see based on ratings if we continue the story if not let it be as that..What we get is an UNFINISHED PRODUCT....I actually lost a big respect for tvN for delivering us an unfinished product,if u respect the viwers u don't do that no matetr what(and we know it's all about ratings aka money)...If they didn't want to buy a 54 episodes drama they shouldn't bide for it and let it for others but not butcher the story like this and make a fool of us...Even the hard work of the writers and the cast for delivering us just a part of the whole picture...

4
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's a real shame, because I think this drama has interesting points to make and the cast is fantastic - not one of them fumbled it.

Also a word of appreciation for the music, which has thankfully stuck to instrumentals and not devolved into 2010s kpop songs like so many sageuks use for background music.

But damn tvn and Netflix for not doing this properly (as in, shoot all the episodes first!)

2

@miky88,
Your explanation of a drama plotted for around 50 episodes is the only one that makes sense to me. Heck, for a US TV show like NCIS, that would be a bit more than 2 seasons' worth of episodes (@24 1-hour episodes per year). When viewed from the vantage point of a 54-episode production, most of the frustration I had over the pacing evaporates, although I still think they spent too much time on excessive, repetitive cruelty towards the Neantals, Wahans, etc.

I suspect that rather than presenting its viewers with the daunting prospect of a 54-episode drama, Netflix may have aimed for (3) 18-episode "seasons" to make it more palatable. But making the continuation of the series contingent upon the ratings performance of the first "season" is bad news. Especially since so many longer Kdramas feature lengthy stretches of exposition at the beginning.

3

But it is possible to take a long epic and tell it in part where the parts are pretty good stories stand alone, and all together, the whole story becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Favorite example being The Lord if the Rings.

6

@hebang FlyingTool
September 25, 2019 at 12:29 PM

Indeed, it is possible to tell an epic saga in parts. Lord of the Rings set the standard, and I think that's the source of some of my frustration with ARTHDAL. Having read The Hobbit and the trilogy long ago, I didn't immediately rush out to watch the LOTR films because I'd already seen them in my minds eye. That was before STAR WARS revolutionized special effects.

In a Korean vein, JUMONG was a well-done epic, and I loved all 81 episodes of it.

3

Part of this show's problem is this yes.
But even then the part of the script they took of the much larger script (if it indeed exists, and they didn't just write this separately in hopes of putting it all together later), is written incredibly poorly.
No matter what comes next, the pacing and structure and technical aspects of these 18 episodes alone do not well support itself as a running and comprehensive story, let alone a bigger project.
I will talk more about the technical failings of this thing next recap though.
This whole production is a mess and Netflix's meddlings are only the tip of the ice berg.

3

@pogo1,
Please don't remind me of MOON LOVERS: SCARRED HEART RYEO. I'm still peeved at the way it ended. ARG. There goes my blood pressure.

The Ago tribe showed up because the drama is still in exposition mode. See my comments below.

4
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah,but the case for Moon Lovers is way better,u get the full content delivered and an ending,liking it or not that is another problem....Here we got an unfinished product...They basically took a full fledged script and filmed a part of it and said" Hey,if the ratings are good(the ones we expect) we'll continue with the rest of it till the end of the whole script if not,sorry!"
Imagine getting a book and finding out it had only 100 pages out of 300...
Netflix and Kdramas are another thing that don't match together and yet nobody from up there doens't say it otherwise in their meetings...Kdramas are mostly done for ONE season of 16~50 eps lets say yet Netflix always comes up and says,let's cut this drama and say it's part 1 of 2 or Season 1 and 2 when it is just ONE drama(i mean OCN can brag of having seasons in their dramas)
Here they gambled on it based on ratings or whatever and filmed beforehand leaving the show as it is...
They should have taken their time,film the whole 54 eps or the lenght of it in one go and after,let's say cut it into 3 said SEASONS to make Netflix happy...This is pure disprespect to viewers,us fans who liked and wanted to see the full content,writers who got their story untold and downgraded like this and actors who did their best...
Imagine having SBS doing the same with Six Flying Dragons and leaving it at ep 18 for ex.
When u take this kind of gamble u consider the good and the bad and decide before,not doing something so low as this...

3

Also,they even TOLD US in the synopsis of the grand picture aka Eunseom uniting all the tribes and creating an Empire under his rule and yet they did such a low move,that's what makes me at least more mad,the way it was done and no media points it out as if it's normal...

2

@wishfultoki,
I don't think it's a matter of watching the drama in the wrong way so much as not having a handle on how it is structured -- and what exactly is meant by the term "season." It wasn't clear to me from the very start that ARTHDAL was apparently meant to be a show in the American multi-season format. The marketing departments at tvN, Studio Dragon, and Netflix don't seem to have been on the same page about this. I guess it also says something about how accustomed I've become to Kdramas that the limited-duration single format has become second nature to me. LOL.

If a departure from the usual Kdrama format of 16, 18-20+, 30-50 or more consecutive episodes was in the works, to be spread out over x number of calendar years, they should have said so up front. And named each segment meaningfully. The first 18 episodes are set-up, thus, "Beginning." Will there be 18 more episodes apiece of "Middle" and "End"? I hope we get to find out.

It is unfortunate that the first actual "season" was in turn broken into "parts" for no apparent reason. The airing of "Part 3" was delayed for two months, presumably to accommodate post-production. Um, why didn't they just wait until the whole thing was finished before premiering it? That hiatus sapped the momentum, just when it looked as if the plot were going to finally get into gear. And then, even more characters were introduced as uri Carrot Boy languished in the mines and went on walkabout.

Just as an aside, I'm old enough to have watched the first 3 STAR WARS movies in the cinema, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. It was frustrating as heck to have to wait years for the second and third flicks. After the third or fourth movie, I kind of lost interest. Life took over, and trying to keep the cliffhangers and characters in mind became too much of a hassle, especially when the beloved original characters were no longer involved.

4
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Erratum, end of paragraph 1:
I guess it also says something about how accustomed I've become to Kdramas that the limited-duration single season format has become second nature to me. LOL.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I agree. And on top of the not-so-well structured "seasons", the characters often inconsistent behaviors/thought process aren't helping either. Exhibit A: Saya in part 2 vs part 3. Taelha's feelings/affection for dad. Watching part 3, I had a lot of those ?? moments that needed clarification, but I just don't want to rewatch.

And I am sort of amazed at Eunseom (lack thereof) sense of urgency. Isn't his first priority is to save Tanya? Why wander around Momo and Ago territory? 🤷

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

One of the many reasons that Magic Horse ditched Eunseom.

3

She's playing the fake pregnancy game, just like how consorts do in harems.
Except she's doing this to yank Tagons chain more than to secure her position, even though her move is 2 fold.

Moobaek is telling us about things from the starting, so it's a safe assumption he lived to see the end too. Though why he'd be spared from Saya's machinations I don't know.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

The scene were Tachoogan yelled saying that it was already time to toss the useless hope that someone will come and help them was quite sad...It showed how eager many of them were over this long years to get out of the hole Tagon tossed them,that they truly wanted a person to lead them,fake or not and how brilliant and cruel Tagon was in what he did to them...And the hint of how different the world that Eunseom vs Tagoon would create...

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I remember I laughed a lot during this episode, though now in hindsight the joke is on me. But anyway, to recall the moments that were worth a chuckle (or scream, depending on your point of view):

1. Eunseom almost getting drowned in a few inches of water after surviving a waterfall.
2. The Momo Tribe walking off because their debt is paid. I was howling “Nooooo don’t gooooo!”
3. Eunseom pulling the sickle from the stump, and everyone’s stupefied faces.
4. The Ago dude who was most against Eunseom as Inaishingi is the one who stops Eunseom from confessing he really isn’t. *scratches head* The power of wanting to believe something so badly?
5. Eunseom stabbing the Doldambul thug while saying “I promised I’d bury you underground. But whatever.”

I honestly enjoyed the first half and wish we had seen more Eunseom becoming a leader sooner.

Now onto Arthdal Doom and Gloomland:

6. Yeonbal (oh that’s his name?) apologising to Tagon for failing to bring Olmadae. Tagon replies “whatever, no worries.” So I never found out why Olmadae was important. 😂
7. Tanya getting all of two minutes screentime.
8. No Yangcha. He must be with Magic Horse.
9. Tagon’s bloodshot eyes and red face. He looked like something out of a @yyishere zombie Candy story, with bristled fur but impecable hair.
10. Tagon again. Decapitating a god’s statue in a fit of fury reminded me of Xerxes having the sea whipped. He’ll just look like a crazy man in the long run, even if he instils fear for now.
11. Well yeah, the irony that the doctor who could have treated Tagon is dead.
12. Saya looking nervous while operating on Tagon. Lol I wouldn’t trust Doc Saya. I actually thought Tagon might die on us, in fact I hoped he would go out without any glory (sorry Tagon fans).
14. Mihol making everyone turn around while he climbs the ladder to pour the ingredients for bronze in the cauldron. Tanya’s dad can follow the process even if doesn’t know the exact proportions.
15. Baby news boom! I thought it was clever in a totally makjang way.

8
19
reply

Required fields are marked *

This episode just added to my dislike of who Taelha and Tagon's Characters are written.
We go from madly in forbidden love, to do anything for each other, to almost dying for each other, to turning on each other in the space of a few episodes.
All the while still pushing this whole Tagon Didn't Want To Be A Tyrant narrative, and now we still have a "The Crown Corrupts" type thing as well?
And I'm still supposed to care about both of these people...

7
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Tagon did look kind of like a vampire just for you in this episode though.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Bless his heart, he remember my obsession last minute and donned the purple eye shadow.
You know this show would be better if everyone were all vampires. Would it make more sense? No. Would it be better? Yes, because I said so.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm so with you on 6! I was too embarrassed to ask you guys why Olmadae was important because I (assumed I) didn't pay attention - and now it turns out I'll never know? But whatever!

2
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

Nobody knew why Olmadae was important... lol

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Maybe by episode 36 we'll know why Olmadae was important? Someone will have to let me know, because my patience is totally gone. Where is he now? Sitting alone in the cave, or did I miss something (which I'm sure I did, because I'm really only paying attention to Doti, the twins and Nunbyeol at this point).

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Not only do we not remember why Olmadae was important, but we lost track of him too! 😂 I think Dalsae sent him somewhere to recuperate (Jubinol? Is that a place?) but it beats me how the old man dragged himself there.

Also, how come the monk returned to Arthdal? I thought he was with Olmadae. I had forgotten he was sent by Chaeeun to find Eunseom.

Is it even worth trying to understand this now? 😩

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I guess we have to give it up 😒 but it's annoying as hell.

2

Here is what I managed to gather.
Olmadae is elder of the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. He was sold to Doldambul (aka slave mine) where he met Eunseom.
And Ep. 10 Recap told us why he is important:
"Tagon knows that Asa Ron wants him to go after him so that he can accuse Tagon of leading the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. The only solution is to track down the real White Peak Mountain’s Hearts to prove he’s not one of them."

Although I have no idea why Olamadae is still important now that Asa Ron is dead and Tagon is the king. Maybe Tagon is just too occupied that he forgot to withdraw his order re: Olamadae. I guess we'll never know.

3
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you for helping us! Yep, I didn't remember any of that 🤦🏻‍♀️

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you for doing the research! It's a convoluted reason for Tagon to try to find Olmadae in the first place, so I think it was mainly a plot device to have the Daekan chase Eunseom around. He's no longer relevant to Tagon now that Asa Ron is dead, so he'll ignore him.

I still think Olmadae could rally the White Peak Mountain Hearts around Eunseom, providing more support for his eventual rebellion. The White Peak MH follow Saya for now, but they might switch to Eunseom if Olmadae comes back. Plus Chaeeun is on Eunseom's side.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

You're welcome.

Yea. I think it is just a plot device to tell us that Olmadae is important. In regards to White Peak MH, I always believe they are on Eunseom's side anyways, either through Chaeeun or Tanya. They are pro Asa Sin.

2

I was laughing and rolling my eyes when Mihol had everyone turn around. That's how they keep the big secret? This might be the most ridiculous part of the entire 18 episodes.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

He could at least send them all out of the workshop 😂

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

#4 he was just being the most logical one. He knew they were lying, and therefore didn’t want people to believe eunseom because he doesn’t want his people to have fake hope. But he also knows the symbolism of eunseom surviving the waterfall and so he knew at the point people already believe in him being the god and can unite the Ago tribe again. What’s the point to argue and say “he’s not!” when he knew it’s all lies but the fact is people already saw him surviving the waterfall? There’s no turning back and he can only make eunseom a better fitting leader. He’s just being logical and doing what’s best for his people lol I don’t think that was meant to be “he suddenly supports eunseom the most from being the one most against him”

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@wishfultoki,

1. Eunseom almost getting drowned in a few inches of water after surviving a waterfall.
I could have sworn that there was a large, light tan boulder in the water that Eunseon hit his head on when he fell backwards into the water. I was more concerned that he'd die of head trauma than drowning.

3. Eunseom pulling the sickle from the stump, and everyone’s stupefied faces.
ROFLMAO as Carrot Boy nonchalantly reenacts THE SWORD IN THE STONE. But did you pay close attention to that sickle/reaping hook? Its black color suggests to me that it is made of iron, not bronze. So who did the Ago trade with to get iron implements?

4. The Ago dude who was most against Eunseom as Inaishingi is the one who stops Eunseom from confessing he really isn’t. *scratches head* The power of wanting to believe something so badly?
That's because he's channeling Fox Mulder saying, "I want to believe."

10. Tagon again. Decapitating a god’s statue in a fit of fury reminded me of Xerxes having the sea whipped...
And this, boys and girls, is why we cannot have nice things. Or be left alone in peace in Iark.

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

1. Yes, I thought he bumped his head on a rock when Dalsae tackled him!

3. Interesting... The Ago look like a hunter-gatherer tribe with primitive weapons, but somehow they obtained a sickle (ie: symbol of agriculture, civilisation). Could it be a relic of Inaishingi?

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@wishfultoki,
Maybe that's not really a sickle, but some kind of weapon, tool for working bamboo, or instrument for butchering game, which would make sense for hunter-gatherers.

I was more surprised that it looked like it was made of wrought iron.

We don't really know what Tagon did to the Ago. Did he subjugate them to build the elevators on the Black Cliffs?

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hmm indeed, it's not easy to work iron into a sickle shape, so the Ago can't have done it, or anyone else in Arthdal for that matter. I guess it's another of those mysteries we will never be able to answer.

Oh yes, I forgot about the elevators. Tagon enslaved a whole lot of people to build them. We know he caused the Ago tribe to start a civil war and sell off their own people, so it's likely they were part of the manpower that hoisted the Wahan up the cliff.

2

Oh my gosh I just remembered that we spent 15 MINUTES OF THIS EPISODE ON SAYA WHIMPERING OVER SICK INJURED TAGON *goes into her corner and starts screaming again*

7
29
reply

Required fields are marked *

Dear God why didn't you fast forward? They were so bloody slow, we all know Eunsom has to fight against Tagon so ofcourse he wasn't going to die. Ff baby, but even that wasn't enough.
Eunsom scratching his head after not figuring out what little Aramun means was my chuckle moment.... (was that ep 18?)

2
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

You meant Saya. And yes, I think that was in 18.

Eunseom is no where near the vicinity. Just between you and me, I think he's in another drama. 🤫

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah I meant saya. I have the excuse of middle of the night lol
Right on chinguya, I'll keep it 🤐

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I did fast forward. It was still painful.

4
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

*Winces in sympathy*

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I didn't ff. I found it oddly reminiscent of birth scenes in dramas.

Of course Taelha is the one who might be giving birth to a half-Igutu in the future but I think I can claim the gift of foreshadowing. ;)

3
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ngl I'm kinda excited about pink bloods.

5

@maybemaknae LOL at the pink blood. So the baby will be a half human, 1/3 Igutu and 1/3 Neanthals?

I am going to do comments on episode 18.

4

@maybemaknae please let the blood be a fuchsia color.

4

@wishfultoki,
Given said offspring's homicidal parentage, the only color its blood could possibly be is PUCE. The fact that Marie Antoinette loved it speaks volumes.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puce

2

@ndlessjoie @trina yes let it be fuschia. Hi5

2

That part does not faze me at all. I was practically laughing at that scenes and roll my eyes.

4
16
reply

Required fields are marked *

Me too *giggles*

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Me 3. *snickers* 🤭

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I laughed at a LOT of this episode. Most of the supposedly sad and moving bits. The rest just made me weep.

4
13
reply

Required fields are marked *

This was not a weeping episodes at all. By the way, they did not even show Moobaek brother funeral. Tanya was supposed to do something.

3
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

No no you misunderstand. Not weeping because it was sad. Not weeping because I give a rats tail about anybody in this. Weeping because I had to sit through it. Weeping because I'm so freaking done with this show and everything related to it.

5

Yeah, Mukgwang got forgotten fast. Because those 15 minutes of father-son bonding where more important than Tanya scoring points with the Daekan warriors by “undoing the curse”.

*runs off before Sic starts screaming again*

3

*hands earplugs to @wishfultoki*

If those don't cut the mustard, don OSHA-approved hearing protection used by lumberjacks working with chainsaws.

2

@pakalanapikake @wishfultoki
😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
it's ok you guys, I turn into a whimpering pile of vaguely pumpkin smelling goop at midnight, so ye shall have your respite for my screaming then.

3

Pumpkin 🎃 goo is practically begging for a badass fairy 🧚‍♂️ godmother at this point 😂🤣😆

1
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Do I get a handsome prince/chaebol that falls in love with my dithering mess also?

1

But ofcourse, with smouldering stares since its dry skinship season in kdramalamd 😝🤣

1

Is this a seasonal thing? Like it's Chuseok time or something? No sex please, we're Korean.

1

I wouldn't be surprised LT.... I wouldn't be surprised 🤨

1

I only get to stare at him?? Gosh that might scare him off...

1

Nah he's made of sterner stuff. Loverboy has guts 😆

1

You don't understand- I have a TERRIFYING death stare...

2

Oh, I used the ff button a LOT in this episode....

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

First time seeing the discussion about the drama here. Actually disappointed at how many people dislike this show. Maybe I am more used to the type of relationships displayed here?

I thought it was clear that Taealha hated her dad because of how controlling he was and used her as a spy on the old man and throw her into doing dirty shit. Now that she’s becoming and thinking like the real leader of her tribe, being responsible for her people, she understands and sees how her dad might not be a good father but was doing everything he can to save his people. She doesn’t suddenly love her dad, but she now understands and agrees what he did in order to keep her tribe on the top. She felt sorry because she was the one pushed her dad to this point and her dad was right (being a leader, not a father). She might hate him as a dad, but it doesn’t mean her value and pride allows her to see her dad die being tortured. Plus it was her responsibility that her dad had came to this point.

Also she was counting fingers in the fire room before Tanya came in. I thought that was literally her counting how many days she’s late for her period. Don’t think it was a sudden plot twist.

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Execution is everything.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Consistent narrative & execution are key.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

If Taealha is really pregnant then Saya’s position as Tagon’s heir is threatened.

I’m so impressed with all the actors in this series. Especially Song Joong Ki. He’s so good at playing two completely different people with the same face. One is a mischievous outdoorsy type with a heart of gold and the other is quite frankly a psychopath

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *