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Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 6

What I love about Arang and the Magistrate — aside from the obvious, that is, of a rich fantasy world with pretty visuals and funny leads and an intriguing score — is how deep its mythology goes. Already the initial premise is high-concept, but where most shows would stop and work with that single conceit, Arang goes on to twist its mythology further with every episode.

You think it’s about ghosts… until she comes back to life. So then you think she’ll remain human for the rest of the show… until she’s killed. The gods seem nice enough… but are they working their own agenda? Then there’s a missing mom… who’s alive… and evil. The baddie seems to collect women… because he’s a minion for Madam Evil.

Twist upon twist keeps you guessing; you can try to predict what’s coming, but chances are the show will outmaneuver you and leave you puzzling it out, in the best of ways.

SONG OF THE DAY

Arang and the Magistrate OST – “놀라요” (It’s surprising) by Kim Bo-kyung
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EPISODE 6 RECAP

Chez Choi, Joo-wal’s still stunned at recent events, namely losing his corpse at a crucial moment. His father’s voice cuts in to rub his nose in his failure; at least now we understand why these two men always seem to be sniping at each other.

Lord Choi says that the “wife” must be hungry since she didn’t get her soul — so he does know the whole story. He chuckles that she must be mighty angry, since now she’ll have to wait till the next leap month. (Fyi, a leap month occurs every three to four years; it’s an extra month inserted to offset the difference between the lunar and solar calendars.)

Even MORE interestingly, Dad offers up a bit of wisdom “as your sunbae who traveled this road before you.” OH OH OH. Has Mom been around for generations, then? What about her family’s “memorial” day — is it actually from a different lifetime? Is Eun-oh even her son? Now I have visions of Mom luring in scores of men and piling their decrepit bodies in a creepy warehouse somewhere, The Hunger-style.

Dad asks, “Do you know what the wife does when the hunter fails to bring in prey? It’s simple. She changes hunters.” Lord Choi laughs that Joo-wal probably thinks he’s different from old dad, but he’ll see soon enough. And then, Lord Choi is hit with a sudden, painful headache. Hm.

Joo-wal makes his way to the isolated cottage and kneels before the front door. Inside, behind her red veil, sits Worst Mom of the Year (also possibly ever).

Back to Eun-oh, who finds Mom’s hairpin in the serial killer hut on Abandoned Mountain and wonders why it’s here. Dol-swe alerts him to a strange discovery outside: a large trapdoor sits in the ground, fading into the earth around it. They get to work uncovering the door.

Up in heaven, Jade Emperor’s back at his gayageum. Hades is feeling smug, telling Jadey he seems to have lost his touch; he’s sure those humans will fail and therefore urges Jade Emperor to take good care of that body. He offers to rest up his own, in preparation for the switch. Aw. As much as I would love to see the confident Jade Emperor lose a bet for once, I’m pretty sure Hades would be insufferable were his personality to be paired with those hottie looks. Though it’s always possible he’d age Jade’s body too, and then they’d look like real twins. And that’s we’d call a Pyrrhic victory.

Back on earth, the men struggle to lift the trapdoor, not seeing the talismans laid across the entrance keeping it sealed. Eun-oh just about gives himself a hernia but manages to lift the wood, talisman be damned, and sends it crashing open.

It causes a supernatural disturbance, which is felt by Mom. As well as Jade, who decides he’ll have to call in Mu-young. Why, is somebody dying?

With the covering removed, the men look down into the hole below. Dol-swe calls it a well, but Eun-oh spots something strange at the dry bottom. Are those… bones?

Eun-oh leaps into the hole and begins frantically digging through the rocks. Eep! I know you’re worried it’s Mom, but gahhh. He pulls out what looks like a bony hand, and that spurs him to dig even more madly… until he uncovers a skull. Shivers.

And then another. Double shivers.

Eun-oh tells himself it can’t be his mother, and tamps down his fear to keep digging. Up comes a woman’s shoe, a bracelet, a ribcage.

Mom bursts out of her house and tells Joo-wal, who’s still dutifully kneeling at her front stoop, to go to “that place” immediately. It’s a race to get there first, because Dol-swe speeds to the village to call in police officers to the crime scene.

Joo-wal arrives to find a crew of men excavating the pit, led by Eun-oh. Jumping to the conclusion that Eun-oh must know more than he actually does, Joo-wal wonders if he also stole Arang’s corpse. “How did he know?!” The sheer volume of bones unearthed is enough to skeeve everyone out.

Arang finally wakes. Her eyes land on the dark silhouette looming above in the window — eep! Phew, it’s just clothing hung there, but the sight sends a shiver down my spine nonetheless. Such a simple thing, made so eerie.

She wonders what happened– who would stab her? “Why would someone kill me—” And that word stops her short, kill. Because she was dead, for sure, yet she woke up in that crypt gasping in pain: “Did I come back to life?! How could I?” Good questions all.

Stranger still is the fact that her stab wound appears totally healed. She grabs a long stick and contemplates it. Oh no, please don’t tell me you’re about to test this theory out yourself.

She digs a cut into her arm with the stick, and wipes away the blood… to reveal intact skin. She shouts up at the sky, “What the hell, old fogey!? You send me here to find the truth, then leave me to die. Then I thought I died but then I’m back to life. What do you want from me?!” Most importantly, she wants to know if she’s a person or not.

Mu-young arrives to see Jade Emperor, who remarks that it’s been 400 years since the last time there was a death that wasn’t “on the list.” What a headache, he sighs, dealing with a death where the body and soul simply just… disappeared. Innnteresting. So somebody (or -thing) managed to slip past heaven’s notice and get rid of a soul without a trace? What are you, Mom?

Mu-young blames it on his own failing. Jade Emperor tells him that bodies will soon come to light, and Mu-young will have work to do: “The time has come for things to be solved.”

Mu-young asks Jade Emperor if he was the one who freed Arang from her red ropes. Aha! Things are starting to come together…. Jade Emperor doesn’t confirm it, but his smile is enough of a tacit yes.

That evening, Arang ventures over to the room she’d been sleeping in when she was killed, and sees the bloodstained bedding still there. It’s enough to make her panic, and she turns away in distress.

Eun-oh orders all the personal items from the mass grave collected, and roots through the stash. He doesn’t find what he’s looking for, anything belonging to his mother, and calms himself with that thought. But that doesn’t answer the question of what the hairpin was doing in the hut, or what could have happened to her.

The Bang Trio is struck with new worries. This horrific case will put Miryang at the center of attention, and that means they’ll find their own interests in danger. ‘Cause they’ve been lining their own pockets on the sly, and if the world finds out, they’re dead. They curse Eun-oh for stirring up all this trouble.

Eun-oh drags Arang along, needing her to return to the serial killer mountain, showing her the hairpin he found there. Since she woke up as a ghost with the hairpin already in her possession, and the hairpin was in the shack, this means… Seo-rim died there.

Returning there might stir her memory, and he impatiently pulls her along. Dude, did you trade in your sensitivity chip when you got those supernatural powers? ‘Cause that seems the height of trauma-inducing.

Arang says she’s scared and refuses to go — it feels like she’d die again if she returned. He barks, “If you die, you’ll just come back to life, so what are you afraid of?” Gahhh, I want to smack him. She tells him he hasn’t died, so he wouldn’t know how frightening the moment of death is.

Arang: “Memory? Yeah, there’s one thing I do remember. That terrifying horror in the moment of Lee Seo-rim’s death — I remembered that! Even if the truth of my death lies there, right now I’m so scared I can’t go. When I want to know, I’ll go. Not you! When I want to know! That’s when I’ll go! But that’s not now.”

Joo-wal trembles before Mom and reports the grave’s discovery. She asks if the magistrate saw everything Joo-wal did: “Kill him.” Then he is to bring the body here, to prevent it being found as evidence. Then she’ll decide what to do with him afterward, keeping him scared and on the hook.

Lord Choi mocks Joo-wal’s predicament, beyond tickled that he’s mucked things up so badly. He says their connection will end here, and they can stop the fake father-son act. He repeats Mom’s pointed words, calling him useless.

Lord Choi enters Mom’s inner sanctum laughing, only to be struck with crushing pain. He falls to the ground and gasps a plea to the wife, who just stares coldly.

Arang runs off from the argument and stops in a meadow, where she talks aloud as though Seo-rim is another person, asking why she had to die in such a terrible place. And if she had to remember something, why did that have to be Seo-rim’s death and not, say, her murderer’s face?

But that starts the wheels turning in her head. If this is her first memory, does it mean she’s started on the path of discovering the truth? With renewed energy, she races off vowing to get to the bottom of things.

Mustering her nerve, Arang goes to the murder shack after all. She approaches the altar where she’d been lying in her death, trembling in fear but forcing herself onward.

Then she actually lies down on it, in the same position that her corpse had been. Yeeeek! It’s official, Arang has bigger balls than you or I.

She lies down and closes her eyes, waiting for…? A sign, a flash of memory, something.

Nothing happens. She yells up at Jade Emperor in frustration and gets up huffily — only to trip and fall. And that stirs a flashback, of standing behind a woman and pulling out the pin from her hair.

Joo-wal pulls out his killin’ dagger that night, in preparation for magistrate-hunting. He ninjas out and skulks off to Eun-oh’s home.

Eun-oh is still up, waiting for Arang. After spending the day brooding in regret, he paces the front yard and sighs, “Amnesia, I understand what you’re saying. So come back now.”

Eun-oh heads out to look for her, and Joo-wal follows. Eun-oh senses a presence lurking (oh thank god), but doesn’t see anybody since Joo-wol’s hidden up in a tree.

Joo-wal steels himself and tells himself this is the moment to strike… just as a voice calls out, “Magistrate!”

It’s Arang, running toward Eun-oh excitedly, which has Joo-wal reeling — didn’t he kill her?

Eun-oh does the faux-gruff thing of grumbling about her late hours, trying to hide his relief, though it’s patently apparent. Unprompted, he offers that he totally wasn’t waiting or looking for her, saying that it’s natural to be curious about the dog that hasn’t come home. Suuuure. Protest some more.

He brushes aside her attempts to tell him her big news, telling her to go home and sleep. She bursts out that she remembered why the hairpin was in her hand, and suddenly he’s all ears.

Arang tells him of taking it from “some woman’s” hair, and mimes the gesture. But she doesn’t know what the woman looked like, having only seen her from behind. And she can’t tell him why she took the pin, either. Or her emotional state at the time.

Exasperated, he’s all, Then what did you remember? She retorts, “Taking the pin out of someone’s hair!” Ha. They’re so cute when they bicker nonsensically.

He says she should’ve taken him with her since she was so scared, and she says he wouldn’t have been any help. He would’ve just pestered her the whole time, being the pesky Mama’s Boy and all.

On the road home, they run into Joo-wal, now dressed in his nobleman’s clothing. What, did you take costume changing lessons from Gaksital? He’s here to confirm she really is the same girl, and stares slack-jawed.

Arang greets Joo-wal cheerily (a fact that has Eun-oh frowning, hee), remembering him from the wall incident. Eun-oh pulls her along, leaving Joo-wal even more confused than ever. If Arang didn’t die, that means Joo-wal messed up… and messing up means Mom won’t keep him around anymore.

Joo-wal heads for Mom’s house, seeing Lord Choi’s shoes still outside. She tells him his father is ill, and dismisses him.

Lord Choi sits in a stupor, looking half-catatonic in this unnervingly empty way. She tells him she’s been thinking it over, deciding between saving either him or Joo-wal. Because there’s no need to keep them both around when they’re not useful, of course. She says Joo-wal is grown now and can fill Dad’s shoes… but there are still things Lord Choi must do for her.

Lord Choi pleads, saying he’ll do whatever she wants if she’ll cure his illness. Mom smiles. She should never do that again. It’s creepy as hell.

Joo-wal carries his father home. And even in this weakened state, Dad’s not above a little goading, telling Joo-wal not to let his guard down because he’ll have to face the same thing soon enough.

Arang sleeps in that morning, and in her sleep she sasses imaginary foes; I love that she uses “you peaches” as an epithet. It makes sense given the context, but it’s just so adorably silly.

Dol-swe sulks in bed, thinking of a recent conversation with Eun-oh, where he’d clung to him like a sobbing, slobbering puppy and had to be forcibly shoved away by an embarrassed master. Dol-swe had declared Eun-oh “like a brother, and lover, and friend,” haha. He’d vowed from the moment Eun-oh saved him from starving that he would protect this household, “Even if you are a son of a slave.” Eun-oh had given him the side-eye for that, and Dol-swe added, “Well, half of you is aristocratic so you’re not the same as me.” Heh.

Now Dol-swe gives Eun-oh the cold shoulder, pouting and turning away. Eun-oh wants company to the mountain gravesite but gives up when Dol-swe doesn’t answer — and the moment he leaves, Dol-swe leaps up, ready to follow his master after all. Then he stops himself. Then starts again. And stops. And starts.

Finally he decides he’s not going, and huffily climbs back in bed.

The Bang Trio brainstorm over what to do with the magistrate (admittedly, they’re not much of a brain trust), and bloodthirsty Hyung-bang proposes, “Bury him.” The other two stutter in fear, but he says that this’ll be what Lord Choi wants anyway. The more timid Ye-bang suggests they check in with Choi just in case, making Lee-bang the swing vote.

To Lord Choi’s it is, only to find that he’s ill and not taking visitors. Lee-bang runs into Joo-wal at the gate, who asks about the woman staying with the magistrate. He’s told she’s Eun-oh’s teacher’s daughter.

Arang counts off the days, tallying how much time she has left of the “three moons” allotment. She does some finger-math, which doesn’t work out so well, and is irritated that the gods sent her back just before a full moon (technically giving her just two months’ time).

The Bangs fear that Eun-oh might cause yet more trouble if they wait too long, and now Hyung-bang’s murderous tactic starts looking more appealing. He argues that they can’t even afford to wait till nightfall — they have to seize the first moment they find and off him asap.

Arang interrupts the powwow looking for Eun-oh, then darts off to ask Dol-swe. He can’t hide his rancor and has to force himself to tack on the polite jondae endings to his sentences, though she doesn’t take his pettiness personally.

She hears that he went off to the grave and grumps, “But we said we’d go together!” The word together has Dol-swe perking up in alarm, and despite voicing his very deep reluctance to go to that godforsaken place, he tags along behind her. Haha.

Arang ends up going alone, though, because the minute she asks Dol-swe if he’s going with her, he huffs that NO of course he isn’t! He storms off vowing to get rid of her somehow.

Hyung-bang declares that this is their chance — the magistrate is alone, and this’ll make it easy to just, you know, shove him in and bury him in the dirt. Lazy AND convenient!

Dol-swe finds Bang-wool in the marketplace, trying to attract customers. She grimaces — a third bad encounter bodes ill — but then he looks at her face to face and she’s smitten all over again. She tries to resist her attraction and squints extra-hard in concentration, but her lack of response just brings him even closer, getting nose to nose as he asks her for a talisman.

He gets her interest with a flash of coin, though, and clarifies that he wants the spell to get rid of a girl. Bang-wool assures him that she’s up to the task, and asks how far things got with the girl — it’ll cost 1 nyang if he’s given away his heart, but if he’s given away “other stuff,” then “that’ll get complicated and cost more.”

He’s all, Why would he give her anything? and gets offended — his young master is pure, got it?! Ha. He gets so worked up in his outrage that Bang-wool has to slam a pot lid into his head to get free of his grasp.

Eun-oh arrives at the gravesite and furrows his brow in confusion — he doesn’t feel any ghostly energy at all. If people were killed here, wouldn’t there be something?

He spies the flash of black at the edge of the pit — the talismans posted at intervals, protecting it. Eun-oh places them aside and feels the air for its energy, which leads him to uncover more.

He heads up the hill to scan the entire slope at a distance — but still, no ghostly traces. “Where did all those souls go? They won’t have all gone on to the afterlife.”

Looking around some more, he sees another talisman tied to a tree trunk. He pulls it off — and in her house, Mom senses the disturbance. Eun-oh must feel something, because he takes off at a run.

In heaven, the two gods and Mu-young gather around what appears to be a glass ball, looking intently into it. Waiting?

 
COMMENTS

The plot gets thicker and thicker. It’s exciting to have a drama so in control of a complex mythology, revealing clues at a speedy pace but spreading them out just enough to keep you tantalized. Sometimes you watch a show trying to figure out where it’s going — or, in cases of slow ones, seeing everything coming before it gets here — but it’s refreshing to have one that satisfies you to sit back and watch unfold at its own pace. Because trying to get ahead of it is a bit like trying to huff alongside a marathon runner when you can barely manage a mile.

I appreciate that all three leads have mysteries of their own, which are (seemingly) full-fledged enough to each stand on their own. They have intersecting points and getting to one secret reveals others, but we’d have three full storylines had these characters never met.

I was really pleased with where they took Joo-wal’s involvement, even if I was expecting something a lot more supernatural. Of him directly, I mean; he’s still inextricably tied to a powerful mystical being. I’m not sure we’ve seen the full backstory with him yet, but it made sense to see the way he grew up, and the way he latched on to the first person who promised to save him. I don’t think it mattered what she offered him, because I think he would have done it even without promises of riches and power.

When we see Joo-wal’s desperation and fear in front of Mom, I can’t help thinking he’s like an abused child. Heck, he IS an abused child. She’s withholding and charismatic, and she’s made him into what he is. I don’t know if he could find his way out even if he wanted, and I don’t mean because she wouldn’t just let him leave. It’s more like he both loves and hates her, and is as afraid of being without her as he is of being with her.

In fact, I wonder if we’re going to have Joo-wal confronting that later down the line — the inability to cut the strings because she has become the only mother he’s ever known. Since Lord Choi has always rubbed it in his face that they’re not really father and son, he got no semblance of a parental relationship there, either. So he’s been shaped by the Mother of All Evil, and she’s got some mighty powerful clutches.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’d justify his actions, because he still is responsible for the girls who died. Either at his hand, or by playing procurer and accomplice. After all, there’s a limit to how much you can excuse with a crappy childhood. It’s just that for being so far over into evil territory, I love the vulnerability we see from him and hope he’ll grow stronger, to at least struggle and show more conflict.

Learning Mom’s true nature makes Eun-oh’s desperate search for her sad and, at times, even funny — all things considered, he had the better fate in being left alone, his soul not corrupted. I do wonder whether Mom had a particular rationale for abandoning him (other than the “Eh, I just felt like it” that seems so prevalent in Dramaland, particularly Makjang County) — did she want to spare him? Did she pick up Joo-wal because he was an expendable street rat? Or is that giving her way, way too much credit?

But I suppose what this all really means is that it doesn’t matter if Mom is good or evil, because the love you feel is the thing that drives you. She was his mother, and therefore he needs to find her.

Arang, of course, is our key to everything, and I really like that the show isn’t letting us pin her down — we still don’t quite know what she is, aside from not-ghost and not-totally-human-either. What makes her so important? Why did the Jade Emperor pinpoint her to go free and start this whole chain of events? And why, if he’s so powerful, does he need a mere human-ghost-being to solve his mysteries?

Drama, why so full of secrets? Won’t you let me in on some of them?

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Thank you so much for the recap!
This drama is just sooo awesome, and I can't wait for the next episodes!^^
I really have a crush on the story, the characters, the way of filming, the whole atmosphere and mythology of it.
This is as creepy as awesome! xD Don't watch it at night!! hahaha

Anyway, I like more and more Juwal, even if, like you said, we can't forgive him everything just because he had a messy childhood.
Plus, I love Eun Ho because we all know he has a tender heart, but seriously, he's a little bit too much obsessed about his mother, especially when he just doesn't care about the skeletons of young girls he just found @[email protected]

I hope this poor girls's lost soul story will not be swept away.
Also, I wonder if Evil Mom is really...Eun Oh's mom? I mean, it's pretty hard to connect the story of the poor slave who had an affaire with the previous Minister and whom family has been all murdered......with the story of a Soul Eater who has been eating virgin souls for 400 years? @[email protected]

This drama gives me such a headache I can do nothing but loving it xD

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I need to figure out why Eun-Oh's running away!!! Darn, now I need to wait another week.:(

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I think he's running to free the trapped souls. To bring the pieces of the talisman together. That's why JAde Emperor, Reaper, and Hades are all standing. They're getting ready to receive a tonna souls.

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I don't think he's running away but to someplace
like that altar. As a rich son of a noble, how does he know about such things about sacrifices anyway?

They need to bring in shaman girl to help them. She has the little ghost-busting book.

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I was thinking...maybe mom's body is just a SHELL for the soul-eater demon. Maybe mom's a victim too and is trapped somewhere in this body while the demon uses it.

OMG sooo many possibilities!

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I was thinking ---uh, hoping-- that as well. So many hopes. I'm also wondering how old Joo Wal actually is. We weren't given a good idea of when she found him. Could be centuries before.

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That demon must have been trapped for a very long time then. Even when Eun-Oh was little, his mom looked... well, not normal.

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If mom gave herself up to evil that adds so much more to the storytelling. Her son cannot harm her but Arang....hmph. That's another story.

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You make a really good point. I think during the last stand if EO would have to face his mom in battle or something, I think his ties or "mama boy" ways will definitely be a hindrance. I do agree that I think it's only Arang who can really in the end stand up against her.

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The ultimate showdown between MIL against DIL. I want to see it (even if mom's possessed). ;)

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Yeah, I'm not sure that's true. I really think Eun-oh is Baba Yaga's true son somehow. In all the flashbacks, even when he was little, she's been standoffish and strange. I think Eun-oh could sense that she didn't love him somehow, which made him cling more. His desperation to find her is from unfinished business, a need to fix the inadequacies he thinks he has that made her not able to love him (in his eyes). That, or he just wants to confront her and ask what the hell. It also explains his mistrust of any kind of emotional involvement in the things around him, since his mom relationship burned him.

Either way, I really hope he is the demon whatever's son, because I always feel like possession is kind of a copout. The possessed person always ends up being virtuous and boring and one-dimensional, and the possessor ends up being just plain motivationless eeeevil and boring and one-dimensional. I want to see him deal with the dichotomy of his birth, dammit! And I want to see a villain with some weight, with feelings or a damn good reason for the lack of them.

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I think evil lady is EO's bm because she shook him during that fb showing us she had no concern for his pain living with his dad but was obsessive over her family members being wiped out by someone.

Mom was always looked numb and clinging to her hatred so she was no saint to begin with....Asking for a powerful demon to possess her may have been the reason for the mountain trip to worship at its shrine. Those signs on the door and at the altar represent something.

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shi kyung widow ??? perhaps, shi kyung of King to Hearts drama. wow! such devotion! I like it!

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yeah! I'll love him forever and ever =)

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Oh my gosh! I love this drama so much! I actually burst out laughing in cackling joyful glee at the end of this episode. I keep thinking of Oedipus. "Magistrate, please stop looking for an answer. You won't like it. Forget about solving the mystery. You're not gonna like where it ends up."

But he has that wonderful detective obsession! And the obsession works. I've seen so many stories where detectives are supposed to be obsessed...but nah!

Also, am loving the amnesia. Usually, I roll my eyes with the whole "I forgot my memory which holds all the clues to whatever" scenario. But this and Queen In Hyeon's Man actually do the amnesia bit proud.

So Joo Wal's Mom also is probably her possibly erstwhile lover as well? So what does she need the young pure soul for? Nothing bad seems to have happened to her because she missed a meal.

Am liking Arang a bit more. She still hasn't shown any concern for anyone else but she does have that super-heroine bravery thing happening. And, hey, who wouldn't be a super-hero when she realizes she can't die?

I really love the way Heaven and the Gods are dealt with. The Trio would-be-baddies are all "well, the gods are helping us murder magistrate." But Arang is the only one -- human, dead, undead, nearly-dead, formerly-dead-- who has a running theological conversation with the Deity. And I like existentialist ghosts.

But having major crushitude on the magistrate. Although the gods led Arang to trick him into the profession, he's dong his job with such passion. I like to see a character doing his job.

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Yesssssss, that's our super hero magistrate~!! ^^

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About shaman:

Is it me? Or does anyone else wonder if Shaman's fake false prophecy about magistrate fated to die really gonna come "true"??

Also, anyone else waiting for her and Arang to become friends? I almost expected them to meet but it was another "fated" encounter. No General for her alas.

Wonder what would happen if she had used her handy-dandy book of spells to get rid of Arang?

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I definitely got a sense of foreboding when she said that.

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Not trying to be a killjoy here and I know this particular expectation of mine will be thwarted but for once I wouldn't mind the main characters not falling in love...er, with each other. Not sure how the Korean viewing public would deal with that but.... one never knows. Joo Wal and Lee Seo Rim (Arang) were once items...engaged in fact. And she even gets the pitter-patter in her heart when she sees him. So, even if he never saw her, she obviously saw him. And not when he was killing her the first time, it seems. So, yeah, I'd be cool if Magistrate and Arang got together but I'd be even happier (thwarted expectations being my guilty pleasure) if they didn't get together at all.

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I don't think Arang's reaction to Joo Wal was a pitter-patter but terror. However she only recognized the physical reaction and mistook it for passion. Something in her felt the feer from her previous interaction with him.

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ooh, yes, that's a possibility..but the smile when he helped her over the fence. And the smile later when they met. No fear there. And seeing their meeting was so close to her almost-murder bad memories should have flashed back. So when she's up close to him she looks pleased to see him but when she is far from him peering at him over a wall, she gets the pitter-patter? Not sure.

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If they didn't get together and were just partners in crime solving I would've been okay with it, thrilled even, because for once the two leads weren't in a relationship. Many people would've liked their expectations to be thwarted. I know I love it.

But they had to go and tease us in the first two episodes(that measurement/dream scene dammit) so that would be odd and unsatisfying at this point. Presumably most people would not be hakuna with it either. No take-backsies for me but if it happen and you're okay with it then congrats :D

Her loving Joo Wal is definitely not okay though. Y'know the whole serial killer thing. "Nobody loved orphan me" is not an excuse for continual killing. He might get some sort of redemption in the end, and there's a possibility for one that I can only see in him dying or giving up something extremely important to repent for all the lives he's taken and help arang and eun-ho. Even so, I wouldn't want him with her. "I'm a changed man, I've repented" doesn't clear the slate, just make us forgive him for sullying it in the first place.
I love Arang as a character and if she were to fall in love with someone else the "I killed you once(most likely twice)" baggage isn't what I'd want for her. I feel like even if he's forgiven that would be a wall that'd be between them(and rightly so) in a relationship that was more than friendship.

Also I'm in the camp of first-sight fear for the heart patters. I don't think they would've continued afterwards because she knows his face and is expecting certain things when she sees it so the first time reaction won't come anymore. And her memories only seem to come back when the actions are repeated so no flashbacks after coming back from serial killer hut on creepy mountain makes sense in that situation. But this show is so mystery laden that she could've liked him for all I know.
-long response over-

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Agreeing with you here... I guess I just feel so sorry for Joo Wal, serial killer thing aside. I'd like him to stop, ya know, murdering. I, too, am waiting for his redemption -- the "I was evil because I came from a bad upbringing but there is redemption" trope. He's not a villain I totally hate. Heck, it's been ages since I saw a villain I really really hated. Most of the time the drama writers make us commiserate up the wazoo with Big Baddie. I'm thinking Big Evil is really NOT Eun-Oh's mom. Just a body she took over. Like maybe every leap moon she takes over a body. I have to see if Eun-oh's mother's soul is there when he releases the spirits.

I like love stories but I think the reason I don't think it's boring liek some other viewers is because I'm not waiting around for the love story. Folks don't fall in love that quickly. Even love-at-first-sight has to wait a bit if one is dead and one is searching for one's missing mother. So I'm thinking that passionate longing looks shouldn't happen so soon. Realism, no? Other than that, I figure you're right...the fact that he was attracted to her as she blew on his face the first night they met...well....it bodes well for romance....inkling of attraction at least.

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LOL true. It's been a while since I've seen a villian where I hate them. The worst it's gotten is that i chanted for their death when they came on screen.

I feel bad for him too, he's probably terrified of leaving the soul-sucker because she was the only motherly/caring-loosely used terms- figure he'd had in his entire life and doesn't know what to do without her. Boy didn't even have a name. He's showing internal conflict, so we know he doesn't want to do it. But from looking at him shaking in his boots when he failed and she got creepy enraged, (him losing the cold exterior was surprising and tugged at my heart strings) I can tell that he's terrified of going back to that "nothing" life. More so than he hates the killing. That's where I start raging at him to grow some moral fiber and brave the world instead of killing people for security, but alas it is too early for us to see that turn-around.

I was also wondering if she was possessed. Other people are theorizing that too. This is the first time in a long while where I can't be sure of my theories and have no clue what could be right. It's exciting :D We'll see if her soul is released.

Most viewers don't think it's boring i believe. Or I'm mistaken -shrug-. They just that there isn't enough romance, which i understand. It comes from a lack of screentime with each other. I myself know that it's going at a normal pace given their circumstances.
Arang is still growing and probably doesn't fully understand her feelings in the romantic spectrum. Fighting for food and running away from reapers for 3 years doesn't leave for much growth. Then we have eun-ho in denial-mode to his feelings because she was a ghost then a girl with a 3 moon life-span. And the mom chase takes priority to him and her finding out about her death is priority to her. And they're both strong characters on their own so they have no need to stick by each other for protection or anything and they(mostly arang) go off to do their own thing. So barely any cute bickering or time together and a progression that makes sense and is both sweet and agonizing because they have great chemistry and selfish-impatient me (and others) just want MOAR. I want more but not in the form of longing glances at this point(well...maybe from eun-ho soon) but just more cute indicators that they care for one another and more of them just together. That's all I ask for.

That being said my romance fix not being satiated is okay because, like you, I'm not sitting around for just a love story. This show has so much more to offer. It's still gorgeous and the mystery is enthralling and the show is funny. They're hitting pretty hard on 3 out of 4 quotas in the rom-com-mystery-sageuk premise and I love it.

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*i forgot to mention the fantasy element which is glorious. So they're 4 for 5 actually.

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I want a season 2 for JW and MS with Arang being the Magistrate's Damo; and BW and DS help them too with the investigations. :)

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*JK

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I think the next episode will bring them together - it's her turn to return the kindness. So next epi, Jowool will try to bury the Magistrate (he will get there first) and will try to kill him. Arang will intercept this and will somehow help Eunho. That will bring them closer and will let Eunho feel loved and cared for by a woman again.

Anyway, thank you for the food for thought and the fun recaps.

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Liking it but Eun-oh will kick Joo-wal's ass though.

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Just love murder mysteries. This one is like a onion which has many layers of mystery to be revealed as one peels one layer after another slowly. Who is this crazy evil demon Mom that the heaven is trying to track down via Arang?

I'm just wondering how did Jo Wool and Arang get engaged since he is such a psycho creep. How did he hide his dark personality from her since Arang is so sweet?

Not seeing much romance from Eun Oh and Arang. He treats her indifferently especially when he ties to drag her back to the bones tomb.I wish Arang and Eun Oh would get more romantic instead of bickering.

I like the fake shaman, Bang Wool and the obedient man servant, Dol Swe.Bang Wool is showing more romance than Eun Oh to Arang.LOL when Bang Wool hit Dol Swe in the noggin. Loved the SLO-MO of Dol Swe all wet and Bang Wool's drooling after him. So cute....

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how is it that Arang became a ghost if her soul was supposedly eaten?

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Her dead body was found by the waterfall so I'm guessing that she was stabbed and taken to the altar but she escaped and end up falling or dead by the waterfall. Kind of like what happen in the last episode.

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Probably because she was not put into the pit with the talisman to keep her spirit inside the demon woman.
Jade Emperor called the reeper and said he would be busy soon. Maybe he knows they were captured and could be released somehow.

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I love love Jade Emperor, Seung Ho (so impressed by him) and ahjussi are doing a might fine job up there. When their characters were first introduced i figured i'd be fast forwarding all their scenes but wow! My fav scenes r def up in heaven!

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I loved the gayageum music while they were uncovering the tomb; so exciting and suspenseful and a great connection to Heaven.

Then the ending had me holding my head in excitement. WHAT'S ABOUT TO HAPPEN?!

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If Lee Soe-rim's soul was eaten by Eun-oh's mom then whyyyyyyy was her soul was fooling around??

If her soul was served to Eun-oh's mom then it should've just disappeared like any other soul that was eaten by her.

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Exactly. I think Mom became the sacrifice three years ago, and Arang was somehow involved, leading to her death. Although it's Mom's body we see, it's not actually Mom.

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of course Joo Wal learnt how to snappily change from everyday clothes to secret identity kit & back again without breaking a sweat from good ole Gaksital, in another dimension (ok, another Show) they were cousins, its in their blood, there's like a super gene for that kind of talent...
woah! mixing OB, Arang & Gaksital is blowing my mind right now!

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With the way the mother is going now, she is depicted as truly the source of evil and sparing no sympathy. I feel that even IF she recognized Eun-oh as her son, they might play the card that she's actually evil and ruthless enough not to even spare any mercy on her own son. During the flashbacks it was as if she was never emotionally attached to EO as he was to her in the relationship.

Regarding Joo Wal's character. Yes they did downplay the mystical supernatural element quite a bit. In the end, he's just a human. But I find this more exciting because the mother is brought into this grand scheme of things. Although kind of cliche that the "real" power has helpers to do her bidding, he is still very interesting in the plot line. I'm still secretly rooting for his attraction to Arang to surface. ;D

And oohhh the Shaman and Dol Sae. Can I just say I love these two and their interactions? Whenever their scenes pop up, I am TOTALLY engaged, even more so than the scary ones. The Shaman's crush/attraction to him is so adorable. :3 I'm glad they went there! hahaha

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Our four main leads remind me of Scooby-Doo with the Magistrate as Fred, Arang as Daphne, DS as Shaggy and BW as Velma. Hey, Scooby-doo, where are you in this mystery?

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Okay, translation clarification, since the DF subs differ from your summary: it definitely says that there was just one soul, presumably Baba Yaga/Maleficent/Blood Countess Bathory, that was lost 400 years ago? Not that there have been numerous souls and bodies since then that have slipped away? Because that would explain why those bones in the woods have no ghostly energy around them, and why the case might be so difficult for Jadey to figure out. If there are no ghosts to draw the reapers in, maybe he has no access, since it seems like the Death Angels only find the ghosts when they bother humans. Also also, my guess is that Ma Evil is a rogue Death Angel, and that Death Angels are vengeful ghosts of a specific kind. I also thought Arang's peach epithets were her talking about eating/killing peaches, rather than actual opponents.

Anyway, WANT MOOOORE. This is so good! I love pretty much everything you guys have said- the mythology, the music (such a blessedly small amount of annoying pop music!), the adorable bickering, the awesomely evil baddie, and the complex characterizations for Joo-wal and Arang's nature.

And I'm glad the royals have plenty to do, but without overloading us with them. It's great how much they can intrigue us with just a little bit of the immortals every week.

Oh, and the Joo-wal/Lord Choi relationship is giving me serious Let the Right One In vibes, which is awesome.

Fingers crossed! Keep up the amazing, Drama!

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I just finished watching this alone, at night, in the middle of a huge lightning storm. Creepy. But I love it! So much more than I was expecting. It's CSI-meets-Le Dame Sans Merci-meets-Joseon.

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This drama is definitely keeping me on my toes. There are so many 20 ep dramas that should be much shorter, but if the first six is any indication, it should have at least 20. With most Kdramas, I am usually hooked on the romance; but here, it's the mystery and suspense.

I want to give up speculating but giving up chocolate is easier at this point. This drama is so unpredictable and so hard to figure out . The writers are knocking my socks off. Kudos to the cast and visual team as well.

As always, great recap and awesome insights. Thank you, JB.

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Whoa! My guess regarding Joo wal's father is right! I kinda remember the vampire movie, 'Let The Right One In' wherein the vampire replaces her old lover (caretaker) to the younger kid, and the former killed himself to keep her secret.

I think the reason why Jade Emperor let Arang and the human do the deed for him even though he is the almighty, is that, well he just want it that way.

Arang wants to find out how she died, so he allowed her to. Eun Oh wants to find his mother, so let him be. Maybe for the Jade Emperor, the 'process of solving' the mystery is much more important than the mystery itself.

(Didn't the Jade Emperor and Hades once said that 'her death is not that important.')

Aand, in most scenarios regarding Gods, they usually let humans solve the mystery themselves (so that it's more meaningful ne? Hehehe).

Regarding the mom, I kinda remember Lady Mi Shil from Queen Seon Doek. She took her son for granted, abandoned him, fought him, but still in the end she cared for her son in her own way. Maybe it's the same for Mom with Eun Oh.

And that's it for my overanalyzed thoughts. This show is really interesting!

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Yay Let the Right One In! I got vibes from that, too.

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I know who Arang is ... she's the cheerleader! Save the cheerleader!

Also, someone mentioned that Arang does not show any concern for others & I again have the answer. It's because Arang is like a child without parental guidance. Like a toddler, she has not learnt empathy or manners yet as there has been no one to guide her or even show her much kindness and love. 3 years fighting other ghosties for ritual food? It's a wonder she is not rabid. Also, like a child, she lives in her own self-absorbed world where everyone and everything exists only in relation to her. That is why the question of "is she human" is so important in this drama.

It is less of what species she is but how she will grow to be truly human. I liked the symbolism of Eun Oh offering her the peach like a reverse of Eve offering Adam the apple (sic) and thus the start of humanity. Her first taste of humanity ... and what a journey it is going to be!

Anyone thinks Lord Choi was originally a young bloke like Jun Wol but after "servicing" Botox Mum from Hell, he aged prematurely and became ill?

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The contrast between the beautiful colors of our characters costumes and the darkness of the story must be intentional. It is so striking at the end of the episode to so those vivid colors in a deadly place.

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Couldnt find preview for episode 7 anywhere...

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Same here. If anyone knows of a preview, please send a link or provide a recap, please! I'm dying to find out even a smidgen of what is to come!

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Eunoh being jealous of a serial killer is hilarious. Thanks for the recap.

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I'm really hoping that the payoff is awesome when it comes to Eunho vs. Mom, as I feel like that's where the story has to go. I don't think she is unfeeling toward him. To Joo Wol, I believe that she's only using him and has no particular regard, because in the flashbacks it was never a relationship that showed affection. With Eunho, I feel like she must have shown him some sort of love as a child if he wants to badly to live with her and be with her. That or his father is (another) monster.

Two things I take as a sign of this:

(1) She accepts the hairpin that he gave to her. If she was so unfeeling would she have taken it and worn it? It's not like as a powerful shaman she needs mortal things to hold up her hair, haha.

(2) She wishes him to live with his father because she knows she is something of a monster and doesn't want to pull her son into it. Considering who she is and what she does, he was probably better off with dad. And along with that, she has shown, even in her craziness, that family is very important to her since she has been trying to avenge them for 400 years.

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Has anyone mentioned that his supreme adorableness - the jade emperor - and Joo Wal have the same rings? Except one is red and one is yellow? Does Hades have black one?

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Since that past episode in which Arang first saw Joowal and felt her heart pound, I thought that the pounding might be due to fear from her body remembering that it was Joowal that killed her, and not love/attraction. Now it seems more concrete...

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Why CAN Eun-ho see ghosts? Why does human-ghost-human Arang bleed but not remain injured? And what are the gods up to? I think Arang is strong because she doesn't have anyone on her side 100% but she thinks for herself. Everyone else has his or her own agenda and where Arang falls in that can change with the circumstances. Eun-ho's sidekick is annoying; I am not liking him and he gets a lot of air time. Eun-ho is vague with his interactions (feelings?) for Anrang, and she deserves better. So I am somewhat annoyed with him. But the mythology and goings on in the spirit world are enticing enough to keep me watching and wondering how things will play out. What part does the evil missing mom have in Arang's story? In a way, Arang's otherworld persona reminds me of her Gumiho role too. I like the grim reaper - he is troubled and is left to ponder the first-time-ever chance that Arang has to return as a human. Even in the spirit world, nothing is written in stone, so it seems.

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First reaction when Joo wol's dad had a headache was "Jar Fetus!" LOL. Dr Jin, you have ruined many things for me.

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Seo Rim must have been the only one who managed to run away from the soul eating, since she still have a soul in Arang. Maybe that's why Jadey let her escape.
This one is getting creepy, but I love it.

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A preview has been posted for Wednesday's episode. Can anyone translate to English for those of us who cannot understand Korean?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evH8sIljcCc&feature=player_embedded

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I just started watching Arang ... what a breath of fresh air from all the other dramas that are airing right now. I am so done with the going back in time formula, the lame girl disguised as boy or vice versa, ... Really enjoying Arang, script is pretty good, humor and lots of plot twists, wonderful mix of intensity, suspense and lighthearted banter and romantic tension. I agree with blended carrot - more interesting to slowly develop romantic line .

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Why hasen't Eun Oh asked why, if Arang died in the same place as the owners of all those bodies, she wasn't buried there? Why she had a ghost while none of the others did?

This is an intriguing story and I like that it's an interesting mystery. I liked episode 5 better b/c all the mysteries evolved at once, while in episode 6 they're being built up, but not to the same degree of excitement. Hoping episode 7 will be awesome; I'm going to watch.

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What id like to know is, what happened when lord choi went into demon lady's room and asked her to heal him? She smiled and said she still needs him to do stuff for her. And then she UNDID THE RIBBON OF HER HANBOK.

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I'm a little late to the party, but I have been searching endlessly and come up with no answers... you know the, "Up in heaven, Jade Emperor’s back at his gayageum" part? Does anyone know what the name of that piece is, or is it too obscure?

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even in the dreams our memory loss loves peaches

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