Arthdal Chronicles: Episode 7
Everyone has secrets, but some secrets are too big to be kept under wraps forever. One such secret is tired of being mistreated and decides to enact their own sort of revenge, though their motives are far from clear. As events in Arthdal start to spin out of control, it’s clear to see that the world needs a savior — or three.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
In the Fortress of Fire, Tanya escapes the fighting and finds herself in a tower room that perfectly matches Eunseom’s description of a dream he once had. There is a mirror on the wall and a bell on the floor, and when she picks up the bell, Tanya sees someone peeking at her from behind a curtain — someone who looks exactly like Eunseom.
Dalsae and another Wahan man, Buksoe, also escape the fighting and climb over the wall, only to run directly into Eunseom himself. They’re cornered by Yangcha, Tagon’s masked warrior, and Eunseom tells Dalsae and Buksoe to run. He nimbly dodges Yangcha’s chain whip, managing to get close enough to slice Yangcha’s mask before escaping.
Tanya slowly approaches the man in the tower to get a closer look. He avoids her eyes, but he doesn’t pull away when she reaches out to touch his lips, and the color he’s wearing to hide their purple tint comes off. “Who are you?” she asks tentatively.
In the main part of the fortress, Danbyeok’s men finally subdue Asa Ron. As he’s led out, he asks Tagon and Danbyeok if they’re prepared for the consequences of this. Tagon thanks his brother, but Danbyeok says he only did what’s right as a loyal son.
Mihol successfully escapes and makes his way to the bronze workshop, where he picks up a sword and uses it to kill the smiths. He leaves two alive, a man and a boy of his own Hae tribe, and tells them to escape. He reminds them that the Hae tribe traveled to Arth from a far land called Remus, and stayed because of “the fingers” — an engraving on the Great Gochiju rock.
He continues that a mysterious civilization using the same engraving on their shield has turned their homeland of Remus into ruins, and that he believes Arthdal is somehow connected. He tells them to remember that mission wherever they go, then sends them away with the admonition to survive no matter what.
After they flee, Mihol takes several hides marked with instructions on bronze-working from the table and throws them into the fire. Tagon and his men burst in seconds later, but it’s too late to save the writings. Mihol says that he’s the only one left in Arthdal who knows how to work bronze, but Tagon says that all he had to do was beg Taealha for his life.
Yeolson(who was an inventor in Iark) is captured and brought to the bronzeworks, where he asks incredulously if they’re melting stones in the forge. Tagon is impressed that a dujeumsaeng figured out even that much. Yeolson kneels for a closer look, and immediately works out how the bellows fans the flames to make them burn hot enough.
Tagon leaves orders to allow Yeolson to watch the whole process. He goes back to the fortress where most of the remaining Wahans have been caught, but he grows concerned to see that the door to Saya’s tower is open. One of his men has gotten to the tower first, and he sees Saya’s purple lips that mark him an Igutu.
Tagon walks in, and Saya calls him “Father.” Tagon curses and kills his own warrior, then throttles Saya, asking angrily, “How many of my brothers must I kill because of you?!” He lets go, knocks out Tanya, and carries her out of the tower.
Meanwhile, Eunseom is captured with Yangcha’s whip chains, which lasso his hands and neck then pull him into the air. With a scream, Eunseom wrenches the chains holding his arms from the warriors, then he swings up and over the pole he’s hanging from, landing near Yangcha and slicing his mask off.
We see Yangcha’s face for the first time — ooo, he’s pretty for a psycho — as he leads the other men after Eunseom. Eunseom loses them, so Yangcha motions to the others to split up (he’s still under a silence punishment). Eunseom huddles in a niche and notes that his knife has lost its point, so he sneaks inside a building and picks up a small, sickle-shaped blade.
He attacks Yangcha when he comes in, and Yangcha grabs the blade in thickly gloved hands and manages to cut Eunseom, revealing his purple Igutu blood. Eunseom lunges at him again, but Yangcha throws him through the wall and into the street, where he lands right at Moobaek’s feet.
Moobaek recognizes Eunseom as the man he saw riding what he believes to be Kanmoreu, the deity Aramun Haesulla’s horse. While he hesitates, Eunseom runs, and Moobaek asks Yangcha’s men what’s going on. They explain that Eunseom is the one (they believe) killed Sanung, so Moobaek joins their chase.
Eunseom makes it all the way to the woods, where he loses his pursuers again. Moobaek closes his eyes and just listens. He hears the sound of dripping and follows it, but all he finds is Eunseom’s vest, hanging from a bush dripping purple blood.
As he’s realizing that Eunseom is an Igutu, Eunseom sneaks up behind him and puts his weapon to Moobaek’s throat. Eunseom tells Moobaek that he didn’t kill Sanung, but he hesitates to tell Moobaek that Tagon is an Igutu for fear that Tagon will kill the Wahans.
Moobaek suddenly spins, knocks Eunseom down, and levels his sword at him, ordering him to finish what he started to say about Tagon. A short while later, Tagon’s warriors find Moobaek alone on the cliff, and he tells them that Eunseom jumped.
Tagon dumps Tanya on Taealha, explaining that she saw Saya. When Tanya wakes up, she’s alone in a room just off of Taealha’s, but her first thought is about Saya and how he might be Eunseom’s twin. That would mean that Eunseom’s dream wasn’t about himself, but Saya.
She overhears Tagon say they have to keep her alive until they catch Eunseom, but Taealha argues that this is a separate issue and suggests they cut Tanya’s tongue out to keep her quiet about Saya. Not having seen Saya in ten years, Tagon muses that Saya’s eyes look familiar.
Taealha pushes him for a decision about Tanya, reminding him that this is not a time to take chances. Tanya calls out, “If you kill me, that boy will die, too.” She throws caution to the wind, thinking This will be fun, Eunseom, and tells Taealha that she had a dream of the Great White Wolf, who told her that if she dies, Saya will also die.
Tagon chuckles that she likes to toss around prophetic dreams, but that Moogwang is still alive even after she predicted someone would rip his heart out. Tanya recalls a time when Eunseom told her he dreamed about a girl named Saenarae (which made Tanya grab him in a jealous headlock, ha). She says the name Saenarae to Taealha, who lets her go and asks how she knows Saenarae.
In Eunseom’s dream, he and Saenarae were going to run away together, then he saw himself calling her name and crying. Another woman had come along and given him a blood-smeared bracelet. Guessing that this was another dream about Saya and not Eunseom, Tanya tells Taealha to stop hurting Saenarae, and mentions the bloody bracelet.
Taealha reacts with horror as Tanya says that her and Saenarae’s fates intertwined when Saenarae died. She says her mission is to protect Saya, and at Taealha’s stricken expression, Tagon asks what Tanya is talking about. Taealha says there was an incident in the past that that Tanya can’t possibly know about it, because only she and Tuak know what happened.
In the morning, the town crier tells the people of Mihol and Asa Ron’s arrests. The people begin to pray fervently, frightened of a prophecy that calamity will come when Asa blood touches Arthdal soil. Chaeeun wonders why the plan to behead the Wahans suddenly changed.
Asa Ron’s priest and priestess demand his release, threatening Danbyeok with the wrath of their deity. Danbyeok says that there will be a meeting of all clan chiefs in three days, and that the truth of Sanung’s death will be revealed. The priestess snaps that the truth is that Tagon and the guards failed to protect Sanung, and nobody has managed to catch his dujeumsaeng killer.
Tagon walks in and says that they’ll catch him, after injuring and chasing him into a river last night. He tells everyone to trust Danbyeok and wait while Moobaek and his men catch the dujeumsaeng. But the people in the streets mutter unhappily whenever Danbyeok passes, and his men warn him to be extra careful.
When Moobaek reports to Tagon, Tagon asks if Eunseom said anything before jumping into the river, but Moobaek says there was no time to talk. One of the men tells Tagon that Eunseom is an Igutu, and later Tagon wonders how he didn’t figure that out himself.
Danbyeok visits Mihol and shows him the note that’s supposedly from Taealha and references someone named Saehanmanop, who Danbyeok believes is Asa Ron. Mihol says it’s Tagon’s scheme, but Danbyeok asks if Tagon also schemed with Taealha to poison himself.
At the same time, Tagon talks to Asa Ron, and although Asa Ron talks a brave game, Tagon notices his hands shaking. Asa Ron asks if Tagon is worried about the panic that will spread if Asa blood is spilled in Arthdal, then says that he’s sure the dujeumsaeng will turn up dead since he witnessed Tagon kill his own father.
Tagon says that he’s also a witness — he was there, and saw his father’s neck cut… with the sword in his own hand. He boldly admits to killing Sanung, and he asks Asa Ron if he’s afraid Tagon will kill him now that he knows. Then he grins and offers another alliance, one where Tagon leads the Union and Asa Ron serves the gods, but he makes it clear that turning down this offer means Asa Ron’s immediate death.
Asa Ron hisses that Tagon is devilspawn, and warns him that killing him now means he’ll leave this room as an enemy of the Union. He says that he’ll happily die if his death will stop the curse Tagon would bring on them all. Tagon agrees that either they both live or they both die, and asks what Asa Ron chooses.
He must choose life, because Tagon leaves the room and meets up with Danbyeok, who tells him that Mihol insists this is a setup and demands to see Taealha. Tagon is still pretending that he hasn’t seen Taealha, and Danbyeok asks permission to kill her when they find her.
As Taealha stews over Tanya’s prediction that her and Saya’s fates are entwined, Saya apologizes for being too flustered when Tanya broke into his room to get rid of her himself. Taealha asks if he still thinks about Saenarae and he freezes, but he tells her that he doesn’t think about her anymore.
He kneels to place his chin in Taealha’s outstretched hand, and she apologizes for what happened. Saya thinks about how he’d planned to run away with Saenarae and had given her his bracelet as a promise. But as he was preparing to leave his tower room, Taealha had come to check on him, asking where Saenarae was. Saya had lied that she went to bed, but before she left, Taealha had given him back the bracelet he’d given to Saenarae, covered in blood.
In the present, Saya says again that he’s fine. Taealha says that she regrets what happened to Saenarae, then has Tuak bring in Tanya and tells him that she’s his new maid. Tanya doesn’t even know what a “maid” is, and Saya gives her an unreadable look.
Tagon instructs his men to say that they found Eunseom dead, since his wounds were too severe to survive anyway. As nobody’s seen Eunseom’s face, he tells them to find a body and pass it off as Eunseom.
While fleeing, Dalsae and Buksoe run into little Doti, who cries to learn that her mother is likely dead. Vowing to kill them all herself (awww, so tiny and fierce!), she grabs her small package of belongings, and drops Eunseom’s mother’s necklace. Chaeeun looks alarmed to see the pendant, which she identifies as the Asa clan crest, and she asks Eunseom’s mother’s name.
Moobaek is still out in the woods, piecing together the clues — if the Wahan are the descendants of Asa Rin and Risan, how can Eunseom be an Igutu? He wonders if Eunseom could be the first of the sacred objects, the Child of the Sword. He comes upon a hut where a girl is practicing with a sword, and ohmygosh, Helper is there, too.
Moobaek and the girl, Nunbyeol, clearly know each other, and she tells him that Eunseom is inside. Harim, the guild member who was distrustful of Tagon’s lies, is taking care of the badly injured Eunseom, and he says he’s not sure if Eunseom will live since he’s never treated an Igutu before. He asks Moobaek’s plans, but Moobaek isn’t sure what to do, more than aware of the way Igutus are viewed by humans.
Chaeeun joins them and shows them the pendant. Moobaek, who knew Asa Hon, recognizes it as hers, and Chaeeun tells them Eunseom’s name and that he’s Asa Hon’s son. The pendant is broken, which reminds Moobaek of a day he found Asa Hon in the woods — he’d pointed out that it was broken, but she’d run off nervously. He’d been responsible for guarding her during the attack on the Neanthals, but he’d lost her and been ordered not to waste time looking for her.
To her annoyance, Tuak is tasked with training Tanya. Having no concept of things like serving or masters, Tanya tests her patience by glaring and grumbling through her lessons. Eventually she refuses to obey, so Tuak starts to storm off and whine to Taealha, but Tanya stops her with a rude, “Hey!”
She breaks a pot and throws the shards at Tuak, who surprises Tanya by grabbing them out of the air and throwing them back. She shoves Tanya and pulls back a fist, but Tanya says calmly, “You win.” At her limit, Tuak punches her anyway, while Saya watches (and seems to laugh at Tanya’s cheekiness) from his hiding place.
Taealha gets a message from Tagon to meet him in the forest, and on the way, Tuak wonders why Tagon chose this specific place, where he and Taealha first became lovers when they were young. When she arrives, Taealha asks Tagon if he spoke to her father. He says it’s not necessary, because as of tomorrow, Taealha will be the head of the Hae tribe.
Taealha figures out that Tagon struck a deal with Asa Ron and asks his terms, and Tagon tells her unhappily that in order for Asa Ron’s support as leader of the Union, he has to marry into the Asa clan. Taealha draws her knife and aims it at Tagon’s throat, then asks why he’s not stopping her. Tagon just says there’s no other way to avoid civil war, but Taealha snarls that Risan ran away with Asa Rin no matter what it cost their people.
Tagon asks if Taealha would follow him if he did that, and she lowers her knife, tears falling from her eyes as she sighs that he knows her too well. Tagon says that she’s not the only one whose heart is breaking. Taealha asks if they can still be lovers, and Tagon says he hopes so.
They fall into each other’s arms, and as they kiss, Taealha takes one of the cups of wine and pours it over Tagon’s head, making him chuckle. She asks how he’ll manage to sleep with the ugly woman slated to be his wife, Asa Mot, and he jokes that he’ll have to do it in the dark with his clothes on. Taealha says she hopes Tagon is caught as an Igutu one day so that he can kill Asa Mot, then saunters away.
Although seeming to have accepted Tagon’s plan, when she gets back to her rooms, she reveals her true plan to Tuak — she’s going to poison Asa Ron and blame Danbyeok for the murder. She’ll turn Danbyeok over to the enraged Asa clan, then she and Tagon can marry, and there will be no war.
Saya overhears Taealha, but he gives no sign that he knows anything when she sees him. He figures out that for her plan to work, Asa Ron has to die but Danbyeok has to live.
Taealha summons one of Tagon’s generals and asks how much he’ll sacrifice for Tagon. He agrees that he’ll do anything, so she gives him the poison and says she wants Asa Ron dead.
Asa Ron’s priestess is still arguing with Danbyeok regarding Asa Ron’s imprisonment, warning that soon the Asa troops will march on Arthdal and regardless of who wins, the Union will collapse. Danbyeok decides to make a speech, telling his generals to be ready since it will be dangerous.
Taealha’s hired general makes his way to Asa Ron’s room, drops the poison into Asa Ron’s food, then takes the meal tray to Asa Ron himself. Asa Ron is a nervous wreck, and the general promises him that Tagon will be here soon as he watches him drink the poison.
Danbyeok decides to eat a meal in the marketplace to prove he’s not scared of the people, though his general feeds some of his porridge to the chickens to make sure it’s not poisoned. Afterward, Danbyeok walks through the street, and a veiled woman slips a vial into his hand.
The vial says that Danbyeok has been poisoned and tells him to drink the antidote inside. Danbyeok’s first instinct is to ignore the warning, but he goes back to the place where he ate to make sure, and finds the chickens dead.
He makes his way to the center of the marketplace and announces that Asa Ron has been arrested for conspiring to kill Sanung, their leader. An Asa clan member in the audience screams that they’ll be cursed for this.
The people start to murmur worriedly — not because of Danbyeok’s words, but because of the blood gushing from his nose. Danbyeok starts to have trouble speaking, then coughs up blood and collapses. The people wail that it’s the curse as Danbyeok struggles to breathe.
Asa Ron, however, appears to be fine as Tagon visits him. Taealha’s general runs in to tell Tagon about Danbyeok, and he’s visibly shocked to see Asa Ron alive and well. He hurries to Taealha to report that something has gone terribly wrong — he saw Asa Ron drink the poison, yet it’s Danbyeok who collapsed of the symptoms.
Taealha rushes to Saya’s room, where she finds him sitting placidly. With wide-eyed innocence, he asks Taealha what’s wrong, and furious tears well up in her eyes as she asks, “Was it you?” Saya maintains his innocent expression for a minute… then bursts out laughing.
With a mischievous grin, he says, “Of course, it was me!” We see him switching the poison Taealha planned to give Asa Ron, and instead slipping it to Danbyeok in the vial claiming it to be an antidote.
Saya looks triumphant as he tells Taealha that they’re even after what she did to the person he loved. He says that now, “Father” will have to marry the Asa woman, which means that Taealha has also lost the person she loves.
This was actually a pretty good episode as far as clarity and editing, but I was especially hoping that this episode would tell us a lot more about Saya. While we did learn a bit enough him, I want more. We do know that he’s been locked away his whole life, but despite his outwardly shy demeanor, he’s not willing to sit back and accept his situation. He once tried to run away with Saenarae (who I assume was his maid before Tanya) and now he’s actively working against Taealha. That tells me that at the very least, Saya doesn’t care for his carers/captors or their politics, but that he’s learned a lot about subterfuge and secrecy from them, which proves that he’s every bit as clever and brave as his twin. But at the moment, he’s working on his own desires for revenge, so I’m very eager for Saya to meet Eunseom and to see if they’re willing to work together, or if Saya is too tainted by his upbringing to care about Eunseom’s cause.
I’ve liked Tanya from the beginning, but I’m absolutely smitten with her now, in a “she’s so smart and clever and I just want to be like her” sort of way. She may not have the gift of dreaming herself, but she’s got a seriously detailed memory, and she’s figured out how to successfully use Eunseom’s dreams to save herself and others. That takes brains, intuition, and courage, and whether or not she ever learns to dream, those qualities are what will make her a legendary leader if she and Eunseom (and Saya?) manage to complete their calling.
I know that Arthdal Chronicles isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m one of the ones who mostly enjoys the story (and I absolutely love the visuals). But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my interest increased about two hundred percent when Saya entered the picture, and we realized that Eunseom, Saya, and Tanya are the three “sacred objects” — the sword, the mirror, and the bell, respectively. My interpretation of the legend is that the three “objects” are sent to destroy the world as it currently exists, in other words, the way things are isn’t working because cruelty, slavery, and selfishness are running rampant. I think that the rules in Iark are more what the gods had in mind, because they kept the people close to the land and focused on harmony, not personal advancement and conquest.
So I believe that Eunseom, Saya, and Tanya were all born on an auspicious day and eventually placed in the same location at the same time so that they can “destroy” the world as it’s come to be, and create a new world that’s more in line with what the gods intended. Interestingly, the three of them, while inextricably linked, all have very different backgrounds — Tanya lived her whole life with the Wahans, Eunseom started out living alone with his mother then joined the Wahans, but was never fully accepted, and Saya was raised in luxurious captivity in Arthdal. I’m very interested to see how their backgrounds influence them and their relationships with each other as the story goes forward.
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