Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 15
The truth comes barreling through town today, and flattens everybody in its path. Eun-oh comes face to face with Mom, Arang starts to regain some crucial memories, and Joo-wal… oh Joo-wal… He breaks my heart even more, and… is possibly way more evil than we imagined. Or not! He could not be, right? Riiiiight? *whimper*
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Eun-oh follows Mu-young down into the lair… and finally comes face to face with Mom. She doesn’t seem to recognize him, and despite the fact that he calls out, “Mother!” she looks at him curiously.
But before Eun-oh even has a chance to wrap his head around the moment, Mu-young takes out his knife, determined to attack. Uh… do you think maybe if you were going to do that, you should’ve warned your buddy there, and maybe walked him through the emotional trauma you knew was coming??
Mu-young just lunges with the knife, and of course, Eun-oh rushes to defend Mom. So then Eun-oh and Mu-young are just fighting each other, because grim reapers are bad planners.
Eun-oh stands between Mom and Mu-young with his fan pointed at him. Mu-young finally says, “Kim Eun-oh! That is not your mother!” Eun-oh doesn’t understand, but Mom’s about to help him along, because she starts to raise her demon army behind him. Oh crap.
The demon reapers attack, but Mom gasps to realize that her minions are losing this fight. She makes a break for it, and Eun-oh runs to stop her…
And she raises a dagger at him. Oh no, the puppy eyes! He looks at the dagger and then at her, so distraught and confused, and she either changes her tactic or not even demons are immune to the puppy eyes, because she softens. “You are her son.”
He searches her face, and then Mom drops the dagger, as she starts to convulse. Suddenly Mom’s soul starts to materialize, struggling to get free. She cries out, “Eun-oh-ya!” Oh noes, as if it wasn’t going to be hard enough for him already!
Mu-young sees his opportunity to strike while Mu-yeon is weakened, and pushes Eun-oh out of the way to attack with the dagger. Mu-yeon gasps and trembles, and Mu-young declares that getting rid of her is the entire reason for his existence (aw sad) and he presses the dagger into her heart.
But… a mystical force creates a barrier between her and the knife, and both of them look at it in shock. Whaaaaa? He struggles to stab using all his strength and both his hands, but it won’t budge. She starts to smile.
Eun-oh jumps back in between them, and Mu-young tells him again, “That is not your mother!” He asks what that means, but Mom acts first, pushing them both down with her black smoke of doom.
She then raises more jar demons to keep the boys busy while she makes her getaway.
Joo-wal is nearby, and comes to check out the commotion. Mom stumbles out of the lair gasping for him to help her, and he hears Eun-oh’s voice screaming from down below, “Mother!” Ruh-roh. She urges him to hurry, and he leads her away.
Eun-oh and Mu-young fight off the demons, and Eun-oh goes running out to look for Mom. Mu-young stays behind to collect all the demons in the jars. Well yay for that. At least she’s one demon army short now.
He vanishes, just as Lord Choi comes down in his search for Mom. He reels to discover the dungeon that’s been sitting under his estate all this time.
Eun-oh runs through town screaming for Mom, but Joo-wal has led her up to an abandoned house in the mountains, where he hides her away.
Arang paces in her room, thinking over that demon’s request for her body, wondering what she is and why they’d want it if she’s just meant to go back to the afterlife. She fixates on Eun-oh’s fan, and searches her memory for why it looked familiar to her…
Finally she remembers that symbol – the same one that Bang-wool took her to when they were searching for a portal to the hereafter. She darts up and heads to Eun-oh’s room.
She’s surprised to find that he isn’t home, and roots through his room looking for the fan. She finds his mother’s hairpin instead, and remembers that he said his teacher gave him both the fan and the hairpin.
She thinks it through now, realizing that it all began with that hairpin: If she hadn’t been wearing it, Eun-oh never would have saved her. Ah, so maybe the purpose of that hairpin was to connect them to each other, and nothing more.
Eun-oh stumbles into the room in a daze and sinks down to the floor. Arang asks what happened, and he can barely say the words: that he met his mother. But then he sighs that he needs to rest, so she leaves him alone, tucking the hairpin away in her hand so it doesn’t stir up more grief.
She wonders what happened to make him react that way, when he’s been wanting to meet his mother more than anything all this time.
Eun-oh’s head swirls with questions—why his mother was down there, looking that way, and could she… could she be the one raising those demon reapers? Why? What happened to her?
Joo-wal is asking the same question, and Mom spits back that this is all his fault for not bringing her the girl sooner. She then decides that it’s “that woman” – if she hadn’t forced herself out like that, she wouldn’t feel this weak. Hm, interesting.
Joo-wal asks, his voice shaking like a leaf: “I heard… the magistrate call you mother…” He wonders a little too hopefully if he heard it wrong, but she says if he said it, it must be true.
Joo-wal asks hesitantly, “Who are you? No… what are you?” I can’t believe it’s the first time he’s asking this. He asks what her true face is like, and she says that she’s a being that a human could never fathom. “My name is Mu-yeon. And I am a fairy from heaven.”
Mu-young returns to heaven and reports that the Jade Emperor’s knife didn’t work. Hades reminds him that a reaper can’t kill a human. Oh right. Wait, so that dagger was useless to begin with? WTF, Jade?
Mu-young asks the same (with fewer expletives), and Hades says Jade gave it to him as a test of his will. Grar. Damn fogeys. He does offer up the real use for it though: it can be used to kill Mu-yeon, once she’s outside of a human body.
He figures that Mu-young would’ve figured out by now why the Jade Emperor has kept Kim Eun-oh on ice.
That night, a mysterious figure creeps into the magistrate’s compound. All we see is the edge of a skirt floating by in the dark. Arang stirs awake at the sound of an eerie voice calling her Lady. Eeeeeeee.
And with her nerves of steel, she gets up and follows the sound. I know you were once a ghost, but aren’t you a little scared? She follows the creepy voice all the way to Seo-rim’s room, where her maid is standing in the dark, her face to the wall. Gah, I don’t like this one bit.
The maid turns around… and her face is pale and ghostly. They recognize each other, and then Arang looks down to see signs of a bloody knife wound. She asks what happened, and the maid says it was Lord Choi.
He had her brought here to confirm Arang’s identity, and then had her killed. His minion did the stabbing, and she snatched his identification tag, which she shows to Arang.
The maid asks what she’s doing here and what happened to her, and Arang says she’s lost her memory. “Then have you forgotten Master Joo-wal as well?” She thinks that’s perhaps a good thing.
Arang wonders what she means, shocked to find out that Lord Choi’s family broke the engagement. Her maid says that Seo-rim wouldn’t eat or sleep, and went to that spot where she first saw Joo-wal every single day, hoping to see him just once.
“I learned then that if love is deep it is also painful.” She muses that even a man she loved that much is nothing when memories are lost.
Arang promises to avenge her death, and the maid tells her where she can find her body. They share a warm, tearful goodbye, telling each other they’ll end up in heaven. And then she turns to go and disappears. The tag in Arang’s hand vanishes with her.
In the morning, Dol-swe continues his officer training and the Bangs complain about the noise. One of them says he had a nightmare where Dol-swe was wearing the magistrate’s uniform and ordering everyone around, and they all shake that thought away. I hope for your sakes it comes true.
Eun-oh wakes up, still sitting in the same spot since last night. Arang comes in and gasps to find him still there and asks what happened and why he didn’t bring his mother with him. Did something bad happen to her? Tell her!
She urges him to tell her, but he refuses, and rushes back out. Argh, why aren’t you telling her?
We hear his inner thoughts as he walks away from her, saying that he promised to solve her murder and send her to heaven… but why is his mother the one at the end of that road?
Lord Choi decides that he’s earned enough in this bargain and it’s time to cut ties. He burns a talisman and then drinks the ashes. Eun-oh returns to the lair and finds it empty, but Lord Choi comes in just behind him. Eun-oh grabs him by the collar and demands to know if he’s the one raising demons here and who that woman was.
Lord Choi says he didn’t know about this place, and all he did was let that monster live at his house, and nothing more. Oh yeah, that’s super convincing. What, did you have a demon sublet special?
Eun-oh fixates on the word monster, and Lord Choi picks up on his reaction—what, didn’t he know she wasn’t human? He adds that come to think of it, Eun-oh doesn’t exactly seem like a regular joe either.
Lord Choi admits that he let her stay here in exchange for curing him of his illness. Ah, so that must’ve been his deepest desire that she answered. But he’s washed his hands of it now, and tells Eun-oh to take care of her, since he’s the magistrate and all.
He growls that he’ll do just that, swearing to uncover the truth, and storms out. Each of the men mull over what they just learned from the other: Eun-oh found out that Mom is some kind of monster, and Lord Choi was told there were demons being raised in that place.
Lord Choi orders his minion to burn and bury Mom’s lair and post guards at the house.
Bang-wool wakes up from a nightmare covered in sweat, and wails at her ancestors for letting her be beaten up by spirits that she can’t even see… and then the ghost of her mother appears.
She can see ghosts now? Bang-wool’s eyes widen, as her mother nags her to put out better food for her memorial. But then we realize that in exchange for seeing ghosts, she’s lost the ability to hear them. Ha. Poor girl. Always half a shaman, never the full deal.
Arang comes by to witness the moment, and comforts her to perk up—she’ll get there eventually. She searches through a book and finds the same symbol they used to make the portal and confirms her suspicions: it’s the symbol of the Jade Emperor.
Up in heaven, the Jade Emperor smiles as Hades asks if he’s been using Kim Eun-oh. Jade doesn’t answer, but assures Hades that he’s got another move left to play.
Hades guesses that the move is Arang and Eun-oh meeting each other, “But we’ll have to wait and see, if that’s a good move or a bad one.”
Eun-oh goes to see Bang-wool to ask if a being were strong enough to break the divide between this world and the next, could it inhabit another body? She figures with that amount of power, why not?
Trembling he asks, “Then the body’s original soul… what happens to it?”
She consults her books, and finds that the soul must remain inside for the body possession to remain intact. Ah, that explains why Mom is weakened every time the other soul tries to leave the shell.
But then she reads on to find that the soul isn’t exactly alive either—it’s neither alive nor dead. He asks if there’s a way to save the soul in its original body, but she doesn’t find anything in the books to indicate that there’s a way.
The Choi men share some info, or rather Joo-wal shares some info and confirms his suspicions that Lord Choi doesn’t know very much. He says that Mom is actually a fairy, and Lord Choi laughs at the reversal, having expected her to be some kind of burrowing hell-beast. You and me both.
Joo-wal says she’s also Eun-oh’s mother, or her body is, and Lord Choi is floored yet again. He in turn asks about her condition in a threatening tone—she must be weak after missing her last full moon meal, no?
Joo-wal calls his servant in, and says there’s no one else he can trust with this task, and asks him to stop in and take care of someone who’s ill. The servant surprises him by asking if he means the woman who lived behind the house.
The servant says he knows about everything, even what Young Master does every full moon. Eep! Joo-wal tenses up, but the servant assures him that he understands—he grew up just as poor, and knew the day Joo-wal entered this house that he would protect him as his own.
He adds that he’s the one who let that woman into the house in the first place, though back then she was called Seo-sshi. Flashback to her entering the house as a servant, just to find the opportunity to poison Lord Choi’s food. So this is definitely human Mom on her revenge mission.
She was caught and faced certain death… but then a day later, the servant was shocked to find that she had become the woman who lived behind the house. Mu-yeon must’ve used that opportunity to claim her body somehow.
Joo-wal says that the woman is the magistrate’s mother, and the servant gapes.
Arang wanders through town trying to puzzle out the Jade Emperor, and runs into Joo-wal. They both freeze in their tracks for an awkward moment. They sit down for a drink, and she finally answers his proposal for her heart. She shakes her head and says it’s not a request she can say yes to.
He doesn’t seem surprised by her answer, and says, “Then promise me one thing: in any moment, that you’ll never give yourself up in order to gain something that you want.” Aw, he breaks my heart.
Also, this confirms our suspicions about the extent of Mu-yeon’s powers of possession: she cannot possess without consent, hence the deals in exchange for one’s deepest desire.
His request surprises Arang, but she smiles and says he doesn’t know her very well: “I don’t know about anything else, but I won’t ever give up on myself.” That seems to reassure him a little.
Arang: “You’re a good person.” Oof. That’s actually worse than if she called him a rat bastard. He looks at her with pained eyes.
She says she has something to give him, and he waits outside her room. She comes out with Seo-rim’s journal and hands it to him. Aw. She says it was his fiancée’s and she came across it, and there’s a lot about him in it.
Arang: “You said that the two of you didn’t know each other, but that wasn’t the case for her. I didn’t accept your heart, but I hope you’ll remember that there was someone who liked you deep within her heart.”
That’s so beautiful and heartbreaking. I love that she cares that someone will remember Seo-rim with love. She adds that it’s a relief that Joo-wal is a good person, which just twists the knife even further.
Eun-oh trudges home, barely standing, and finds his least favorite picture waiting for him: Joo-wal walking away from Arang’s room.
He scowls and prepares for a confrontation, but Joo-wal is so lost in his own emotional turmoil that he just walks right past him and out the door without a word.
Eun-oh storms over to Arang, who’s sitting on her stoop and sighing. He asks what he was doing here, and she says she gave him Seo-rim’s journal, because he should know how she felt.
Eun-oh sits down next to her and sighs with his head in his hands. Aw, it actually seems like he’s trying to keep his conflicted brains from spilling out of his head. He asks if she really felt that was necessary, and she says yes—it was never hers to keep.
He asks if she’s done now, doing everything she needs to do as Lee Seo-rim. She nods yes. He lets out a little sigh of relief.
She looks up at the sliver of a crescent moon, and he looks up too.
Eun-oh: “It feels like the moon is playing with us.”
She agrees. He shuts his eyes and leans toward her, until his head rests on her shoulder. She turns to him in surprise, and he just says with his eyes still closed, “Just for a little while, let’s stay like this, just a while.”
She looks at him, and thinks to herself, “There were so many things I wanted to say to you today…”
They sit like that without a word, and she lets him rest.
Joo-wal braces himself and then opens up the journal, and starts to read.
By morning, Lord Choi has reinforced security at his house, and Eun-oh storms out in uniform, convinced that he has to begin again at Lord Choi’s house. He has to figure out how Mom got there in the first place.
Arang paces in the yard with the hairpin, going over it again and again. Suddenly something strikes her. A memory?
In flashback, Seo-rim walks through the woods at night, intending to take another peek at Joo-wal. But what she sees is Mom wearing the hairpin, and meeting Joo-wal on that bridge. He greets her and they walk away together.
Arang puts together that it was Eun-oh’s mother that Seo-rim saw that night. But why would Joo-wal be with Eun-oh’s mom?
Eun-oh goes back to first place where his mother stayed when she came to town, and the woman apologizes for not telling him the whole truth last time—she didn’t know he was the magistrate.
She says that his mother asked about Lord Choi while she was here, and swears that’s all she knows. She and her husband both quake at saying anything against Lord Choi, and Eun-oh counters that he can’t help people if they don’t tell him what’s going on.
The man asks if he’ll really do something about it, and Eun-oh smiles and promises that he will. He tells Dol-swe to send a courier to his father, because he’s sure that Mom came to Miryang because of Lord Choi. He also tasks him with finding out Lord Choi’s list of crimes in this town, directly from the people.
Arang wanders to that bridge in her memory and wonders over the connection, when Joo-wal walks up, on his way to see her. He hands her the journal, saying that he can’t accept Seo-rim’s heart, because he doesn’t deserve it.
She looks down at the diary in her hands and asks if he wasn’t curious to find out how Seo-rim died. He says that’s part of why he doesn’t deserve her feelings, because he just believed the rumors and figured she ran away with another man, never once giving her the benefit of the doubt.
I don’t belieeeeeeeve you!
He says that maybe if he had known her heart, he might’ve acted differently. Arang asks where he was on the full moon, and he guesses here, since the view of the moon is quite nice from this bridge.
Arang remains on the bridge long after he’s gone, pacing back and forth. She decides that there might not be a connection between Joo-wal and Eun-oh’s mother after all, because he doesn’t seem like someone who would lie or hide anything from her. Oh honey. You’d think a girl who’s been to hell and back (or at least its front door) would know a thing or two about lying bastards.
She decides they could’ve walked together by coincidence, and then starts to walk away… when something strikes her.
Another memory? This one sends a chill down her spine.
Flashback to Seo-rim calling out, “Don’t leave!” as she pulls the pin out of Mom’s hair. Mom walks away from her, and the background comes into focus…
It’s Joo-wal who leads the way out.
Eep! This is the discovery I’ve been waiting for, more than the Mom-is-possessed-by-an-evil-fairy one. And it comes at just the right time, when Arang is convinced that Joo-wal is a good person who just missed his chance at love. The best part is, Joo-wal is such a conflicted character that even though I know he’s a killer and I’m dying for Arang to find that out as well, my heart still breaks for him and I want him to have the chance to do something right. It won’t make up for his choices, but that character arc is still really satisfying, even if he remains a tragic figure till the end.
Joo-wal so chilling in that flashback too—suddenly cold and in control, the very opposite of the heart-on-his sleeve young man who confessed his feelings and has a hard time finding his words every time he’s with Arang. It’s probably worse that I find him adorable after seeing him stab people, but there’s something so simple about the things he wanted, like a mother and a home and food in his stomach, that it’s hard not to find him pitiable. Especially when he’s now in love with Arang and stuck between having a mother and following his heart, which means facing his conscience.
Eun-oh’s arc in this episode was a little frustrating, in that we’re already a step ahead of him in knowing what he finds out, and what we want is for him to talk it out with Arang. But he’s keeping his trap shut, which is making me crazy. I understand it’s because he’s scared to find out how the two lines intersect, but they’re actually starting to impede each other’s investigations, which is counterproductive and just dumb. I’m pretty sure there’s no time for secrets when you two are just starting to chip away at the real evil around here.
There’s something about the way Arang treats Seo-rim—respectfully, as someone who deserves to be remembered—that really speaks to my heart. Her quest has shifted from simply finding out how she died to finding out how she lived, and better yet, trying to find some remnant in this world that says Seo-rim was here. It’s such a universal wish as a human being, to leave a mark in the world no matter how short or long your life is, and I love that Arang thinks it important to make that mark now, and seek Joo-wal out so that someone can know and remember that Seo-rim loved him. There are about a million reasons why Joo-wal is right that he doesn’t deserve to accept Seo-rim’s feelings, even now as part of the past, but my heart still sank when he returned the journal.
And then the last memory flash she has throws everything into question. Is he unable to accept Seo-rim’s feelings because he murdered her after all? Is he the world’s best liar and is loving Arang a con too? Say it ain’t so Young Master!
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 14
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 13
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 12
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 11
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 10
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 9
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 8
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 7
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 6
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 5
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 4
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 3
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 2
- Arang and the Magistrate: Episode 1