Arthdal Chronicles: Episode 10
I’m so excited to be back in Arthdal, because things are getting exciting! Secret societies, unexpected alliances, and a birth secret threaten to shake up our antihero’s plans to rule Arthdal, and for the first time, he’s running scared. What chance does he have against an invisible enemy when all he’s ever known is the straightforward brutality of war?
EPISODE 10 RECAP
As Saya participates in the secret ceremony, he prays to Aramun Haesulla, an Igutu. Tanya unwittingly hears his thoughts, and she asks if it’s true that Aramun Haesulla was an Igutu. Saya stares incredulously as Tanya repeats his thoughts word for word out loud.
At the same time, Moobaek informs Tagon that Asa Sin went to Iark, and that Tanya is her direct descendant. As proof, he shows Tagon the byeoldaya that he found in the Wahans’ sacred bundle, and we see that one of the carvings on the disk is the symbol that Mother Choseol told Tanya to look for.
After the ceremony, Tanya is stopped by Chaeeun and Nunbyeol, who were at the ceremony, and they ask why her face isn’t painted. Tanya says this is her first time, and Chaeeun smiles and tells her to wear face paint next time because both Asa Sin and the progenitor of the White Mountain Tribe wore face paint. Tanya wonders if her people’s Great White Wolf was truly Asa Sin.
Later, Saya tells Tanya that the bloodline was severed two hundred years ago when Asa Sin disappeared, making today’s Asa tribe indirect descendants. He says that nobody ever saw Asa Sin again, but she did send an envoy — Aramun Haesulla.
He wonders if she knows that she read his mind when she asks again if Aramun Haesulla was an Igutu. He says he doesn’t know, but that what he’s been taught saved him, and that the people from the ceremony don’t know he’s an Igutu.
Tanya realizes that if the Great White Wolf really was Asa Sin, then she’s Asa Sin’s direct descendant. She asks Saya what would happen if a descendant came to Arthdal, and he says that person would be made High Priest by Tagon.
Tagon summons Tanya and questions her about the Great White Wolf. She tells him that the day Mother Choseol was supposed to tell her everything was the day his people came, and Mother Choseol was killed, so she never received Wahan’s sacred bundle.
He draws the mysterious symbol and asks if Tanya knows what it is, and she lies that she’s never seen it before. Recalling what Saya said about being made High Priest, she asks Tagon if she can come to him if she remembers anything, and he gives his permission.
When they’re alone, Saya asks Tanya what his father talked with her about. She tells him, though she doesn’t know why Tagon questioned her. Saya asks why Tagon saved her life and Taealha made her a maid, so she says that it’s because the Great White Wolf told her in a dream to protect him.
Still suspicious, Saya says that she wouldn’t have planned to kill herself if she were under orders from the Great White Wolf. Tanya just says that that’s why she didn’t go through with it, and she hears him think, “I saw you in a dream, too.” For a moment, Saya reminds Tanya of when Eunseom tried to kiss her, and she jumps to her feet nervously.
Saya says that it felt like Tanya knew him when they first met, and she claims that it’s because she saw him in her dream. He asks what kind of person he was in her dream, and she uses her intuition to make educated guesses. We see little Saya growing up alone and isolated, and Tanya says that Saya was someone who wanted to step into the light.
Awed, Saya takes Tanya’s hand and brings it to his face. He says that he wants to tell her everything now, and asks with a pleading expression if she’ll listen. Tanya wonders if she’ll really have the strength to use him to get what she wants.
Chaeeun goes home to find Moobaek waiting to ask her a favor — he wants to meet Hae Tuak’s servant, Tanya. Meanwhile Tagon gives Mookwang and two other warriors a grisly task, and that night they kill three commoners.
While hoisting a body with a noose, one warrior hears something behind him. He turns to see a hooded figure who speaks to him in the Neanthal language. The warrior goes on his guard, and the Neanthal’s eyes glow an otherworldly blue.
Saya tells Tanya how he Tagon found him as a baby and brought him to Arthdal a year or two after the Great Hunt, though he doesn’t know why. Hae Tuak sticks her head in to say that several men in town all died under strange circumstances overnight.
All of them had the clay figures sold by Asa Ron in front of their homes, and Mookwang says loudly that they didn’t actually protect the dead men from the vengeful Neanthal spirits.
Moobaek immediately guesses that Tagon is behind this. He asks Mookwang if he killed those men, and he’s furious when Mookwang confesses. Moobaek says that this is all a competition for power between Tagon and Asa Ron, and that getting involved will only get Mookwang killed, but Mookwang retorts that if Moobaek keeps saying such things, he’ll be the first to die.
Taealha comes to tell Tagon about the deaths, but he says he already knows since it was his doing. It had been Taealha’s idea, but Tagon had been against it, and she asks what changed his mind.
The news is a surprise to Asa Ron, and Asa Yon says that the people are blaming the vengeful spirits, though Asa Ron knows that he made the whole thing up. But he’s confident that the people won’t turn on him since he’s the only person in Arthdal who can speak with the spirits.
Taealha asks Tagon if he found someone to replace Asa Ron. He says cryptically that Asa Ron is Asa Sin’s indirect descendant, and Taealha connects the dots — he found Asa Sin’s direct descendant. Tagon tells her how the Wahans speak their language despite living far from Arthdal, and about Asa Sin’s byeoldaya that was found in their village.
He explains about the Great White Wolf, who was likely Asa Sin, and how her descendant knew about Saya and Saenarae without being told. Finally it dawns on Taealha who he’s talking about… Tanya.
In order to be recognized as Asa Sin’s descendant, Taealha says that Tanya will have to find the star bell of the Great Shrine. Tagon smirks that he’ll help Tanya find it, but that he wants to try spreading a rumor first, so Taealha sends the most skilled gossip she knows — Hae Tuak.
In the city, Saya and Tanya hear the whispers about the vengeful Neanthal spirits, but Saya recognizes Tagon’s work. Luckily, Saya spots Hae Tuak speaking to a group of women, then they all disburse. He listens as one woman says that she heard the clay figures actually summon the Neanthal spirits, and another claims that Asa Ron’s prayers didn’t reach Isodunyong because he’s not a direct descendant of Asa Sin.
Saya and Tanya leave the city, and Saya says that people will believe the rumors out of anxiety, but a mere rumor can’t displace Asa Ron. Tanya guesses that the purpose is for people to believe in Tagon’s calling from Aramun Haesulla.
Pacing in circles, Saya says that Aramun only became a god because the Asa clan acknowledged it — just receiving a calling doesn’t make one a god. He asks himself if Tagon found someone to replace Asa Ron, and he stares at Tanya. He asks her what she and his father know that he doesn’t, and although Tanya plays dumb, Saya knows she’s lying.
He advances on her, hissing that he didn’t believe everything she told him just because she called him “master.” He says angrily that she used him to get revenge for her dead friend, and that she’s only alive right now because he likes her and wants her, and he asks why she lied to him.
Tanya is scared, but she slaps his hand away, and her voice is strong as she reminds him that he told her that without power, she’d never learn why all this has happened to her people and why Eunseom had to die. She admits that she planned to use Saya to gain power, but says that now, she regrets it.
Saya demands to know what Tanya regrets, so she tells him, “Every time I see your face… I should have never met you.” They’re both crying as Saya asks again, gently this time, what secret she and Tagon know. Tanya tells him that she’s the direct descendant of the Great White Wolf, Asa Sin, and the full impact of the situation hits Saya.
While all this is happening, the slave traders deliver Eunseom and the rest of the captives to a place called Doldambul, where slaves mine for gems. Eunseom is sent deep into the mine, where he and other slaves fill a container with earth. The earth is then hauled to the surface where it’s picked through it for raw gems (one slave boldly pilfers a gem when a guard isn’t looking).
The mine slaves are denied food because they haven’t sent up enough containers of earth. The smallest and weakest slave, SATEUNIK (Jo Byung-kyu), apologizes softly to the others, but Eunseom ignores all of them and continues to work robotically.
One slave says angrily that as an Igutu, he should be doing more than the rest of them. His aggressive insults remind Eunseom of the way Teodae spoke to him just before killing himself, but he’s in some kind of shocked state and doesn’t react.
Slaver Syoreujagin is summoned by Goldu, the head of the mines, who’s curious about the Igutu slave. Syoreujagin says that he put Eunseom in one of the mines, but Goldu finds it strange that Syoreujagin didn’t kill Eunseom since his brother was killed by an Igutu.
A mouthy slave, Ipsaeng, gets excited when he finds a large red gemstone, and he stashes it in a small pouch with several other gems he’s collected. He has grand plans to live as a rich man in Arthdal, but the bully snaps that he’ll be in this mine for the rest of his life.
The slaves have been calling Eunseom “Purple,” and Ipsaeng asks his real name. But Eunseom remembers Teodae accusing him of caring too much about his name, and he stays silent as Ipsaeng chatters about his escape plans.
At night, without work to keep the memories away, Eunseom relives Teodae’s gruesome suicide. Eunseom had screamed in grief and horror, then he’d cried that his name is Purple and had repeated over and over the words the slavers had been trying to force him to say: “I was born to a filthy human who screwed around with a Neanthal! I’m the child of a monster, an Igutu!”
He recalls Mother Choseol saying that he would bring calamity to the Wahans, and Moongtae blaming him for the deaths of the tribe members. He hears their screams in his mind, and as he huddles in a ball of misery, a new vision flashes through his mind — Tanya saying to Saya, “I never should have met you… I regret it…” To Eunseom, it looks like she’s saying this to him, and he’s shocked at her rejection.
Back in Arthdal, Tagon and Taealha go to the Great Gochiju Rock, where a dead priest is positioned in the center of a banner, It’s in the shape of the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts’ secret symbol, on which is written “I know why Asa Sin has sent Aramun.”
Tagon tells Taealha that this isn’t his doing. Taealha wonders if it was the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts that Asa Ron supposedly wiped out eight years ago, and Tagon says that the group manages to survive despite multiple attempts to destroy them.
Taealha tries to think of a way to turn this to their advantage. She suggests that Aramun being an Igutu could work in Tagon’s favor, but Tagon reminds her that Aramun was a hero while Igutus are considered monsters. He says that Asa Ron will make a big deal out of the dead priest and try to bury the rumor that he’s not a direct descendant.
Asa Ron tells Asa Yon that if Tagon is responsible for the priest’s death, it’s a greater sin than performing the death rituals, but even if he didn’t, they can still turn the tables on him. If anyone doubts the Asa clan’s power after this, he gloats, they will be considered part of the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts.
Tagon’s plan is to capture the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. He orders his men to go to Doldambul and bring back Olmadae, the last member who was caught eight years ago. He notices that one of his men, Geomae, is missing, and learns that he hasn’t been seen since Tagon sent him with Mookwang to kill the three commoners.
Moobaek is also conspicuously absent — he’s in the woods, where he finds half of a broken sword. He follows a trail of blood to Geomae’s body, and the wounds point to a Neanthal being responsible.
Asa Ron tells his priests that the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts killed one of their own, and he also blames them for the deaths of the commoners. Meanwhile Chaeeun and Nunbyeol speak with an elder of the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts, who says it may have been one of them, or it may have been someone wanting to frame them.
Asa Yon draws a crowd by announcing that he’s come to relay the words of Isodunyong. He lays the blame for the priest’s murder on the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts, and says that to counter the curse on the Union, Asa Ron will pray for three days and three nights.
He issues three orders to the people: Don’t gossip, pray for peace in Arthdal, and report any known White Peak Mountain’s Hearts to him. He adds that anyone who believes that Aramun Haesulla was an Igutu and doubts the validity of the Asa clan is clearly a White Peak Mountain’s Heart.
He calls for any White Peak Mountain’s Hearts within earshot to come forward, but nobody moves. He walks straight to Nunbyeol… then shoves her aside to accuse the man standing behind her. The man insists he was only repeating a rumor, but the priests fall on him and beat him viciously.
The sight gives Tanya flashbacks of the Wahans being beaten, but before she does anything, Chaeeun tells her to leave, and to let Saya know that there’s an emergency meeting tonight. Suddenly, little Doti spots them talking and yells, “Tanya unni!”
A priest tells Asa Ron excitedly that after Asa Yon’s speech, the people are no longer talking about the dead commoners. Asa Ron snarls at him not to be so happy — they’ve just started a war. He says uneasily that he senses something else behind these events.
The priests beat the man in the marketplace almost to death, and Asa Yon announces that this is the fate of anyone who hides or helps White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. Doti finally reaches Chaeeun and asks where Tanya went, telling Chaeeun that she’s the girl that Eunseom was trying to rescue. Chaeeun recalls Moobaek asking her to find the Wahan named Tanya for him.
Saya calmly tells Tanya that he’s the one who killed the priest, and she’s angry, since he promised that they would make all decisions together. He reminds her that he wanted chaos, but Tanya retorts that a man who may have been in the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts was beaten because of him.
Saya just repeats that this is what he wanted. He says that Arthdal was built on a strong foundation, but that people on the bottom can’t move up without causing confusion and disorder. He tells Tanya that if she wants power, first they have to turn Arthdal upside down.
Tanya rolls her eyes and says that if that’s true, then she’d rather leave Saya and join Tagon. She’s halfway to the door, looking very serious about leaving, and Saya grows desperate to stop her. He begs her to tell him what he can do to make her stay, and when she scoffs, “You don’t know already?” he admits sheepishly that this isn’t in any of his books.
He says that usually, he can see all possible tactics in these situations, but he didn’t anticipate her reaction. Tanya caves in the face of his sincere confusion, so she says that whenever he wants to do something irreversible, he has to ask her first, and he has to value human life.
He nods and says he’ll obey, and he heaves a huge sigh of relief when Tanya forgives him. Saya asks Tanya why she’s so complicated, and she says that she learned certain things growing up in Iark but refuses to tell him since he’ll only dismiss her.
Asa Yon finds Taealha and tells her to follow him to the Great Shrine, backed up by a small army of Daekan warriors. On an errand, Tanya encounters the standoff, and luckily Saya followed her. They listen as Asa Yon tells Taealha that there’s been a report that she and Hae Tuak spread blasphemous rumors, and she angrily leaves with them.
Saya tells Tanya to come to the treehouse after her errand and not to leave until he arrives. He thinks to himself that Asa Ron made his move quickly, and now it’s Saya’s turn.
Tagon knows that Asa Ron wants him to go after him so that he can accuse Tagon of leading the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. The only solution is to track down the real White Peak Mountain’s Hearts to prove he’s not one of them.
As he’s pacing the hallways, he suddenly stops to take a closer look at a writing hanging on the wall. It’s a prayer to Aramun, stating that he was an Igutu, and it’s stamped with the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts’ mysterious symbol. Tagon frantically tears it down, wondering how they learned the truth about him.
Chaeeun follows Tanya to Saya’s treehouse and is relieved to learn that she’s found Eunseom’s Tanya. At his name, Tanya asks how Chaeeun knows Eunseom. Nearby, Moobaek tells Harim that a Daekan warrior was killed by a Neanthal. When they arrive at Harim’s hut, they find Nunbyeol in shock and the two Neanthals, YISEUROOB (Song Jong-ho) and a grown-up Rottib standing over her.
As Saya saunters away from Tagon’s quarters, he thinks, “Father, you must be very confused. Taealha has been taken to the Great Shrine and the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts are pointing at you. What will you do now? Who will you choose as your enemy? Are you still ashamed that you’re an Igutu? Enjoy the chaos — everything that is shaking is bound to come to an end.”
I’m so conflicted about the love triangle that’s forming between Tanya, Eunseom, and Saya (and I completely agree with @dramallama — Song Joong-ki is so good at differentiating the twins that I have to keep reminding myself that they’re played by the same guy). It’s pretty clear that Saya is falling for Tanya for all of the obvious reasons that Eunseom fell for her, and I think that Tanya is using his feelings (possibly subconsciously) to manipulate him. She’s got to be very emotionally conflicted, because she truly loves Eunseom but she’s been told by a reliable source that he’s dead, and now she’s spending a lot of time with this man who looks exactly like him. Saya is very different from Eunseom personality-wise, but he has the same magnetism and charisma as his brother, so I find their relationship fascinating. It’s going to make things very difficult when Eunseom eventually returns, because I don’t think Tanya would ever choose anyone else if she knew that Eunseom is alive, but the longer she thinks he’s dead the more she risks developing feelings for Saya.
Speaking of Eunseom, seeing him so utterly broken and helpless was so hard to watch. Despite his best efforts to save his people, they’ve still been nearly wiped out, and the worst part is that they blame him. No doubt he believes that the words Tanya said to Saya in his vision (“I never should have met you… I regret it…”) were meant for himself, because taken out of context and spoken to a man who looks exactly like him, they sound like a condemnation. As far as Eunseom knows, even Tanya hates him now, and that leaves him nothing to live for.
As for Saya, I find him equally intriguing, terrifying, and sympathetic. It’s no surprise that he grew up with twisted moral compass after being isolated and locked away his entire life — in fact, it’s shocking that he’s so good at reading people. His duality is so interesting… he scared me silly when he said in that calm tone that he killed a man just to create chaos, but just the threat of losing Tanya turns him into a meek little boy, desperate not to be left alone again. When he looked at Tanya with tears in his eyes after she said she regrets meeting him, it broke my heart. He craves love and acceptance, but he also wants to watch the world burn, and both are understandable given his circumstances. Saya is a wild card, which makes him interesting and frightening, because unlike just about everyone else in Arthdal, he doesn’t need a reason to do anything… he’ll do it just to see what happens. He really is the exact opposite of Eunseom, whose every move is driven with noble purpose. But I believe that Saya is teachable, at least when it comes to Tanya, so I can’t wait to watch her mold him into a better person.
In just a few episodes, I’ve gone from not really caring about the politics in Arthdal to being very curious about exactly who the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts are and how they will get in the way of Tagon and Asa Ron’s plans. They appear to be a secret society dedicated to Asa Sin and Aramun, but they follow the old ways and not the newer, corrupted forms of worship. It explains why their ceremony shares so many similarities with the Wahans, like the face painting and the prayers. They still believe that Aramun Haesulla was an Igutu (this explains why Chaeeun knows so much about them and wasn’t afraid of Eunseom), which makes them an enormous threat to the current Asa clan, who aren’t Asa Sin’s true descendants. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what happens next as Tanya joins them and reveals that she’s Asa Sin’s direct descendant — my hope is that she takes her rightful place as the leader of the Asa clan, because with her spirit, Eunseom’s strength, and Saya’s political savvy, I can finally see how the sword, the mirror, and the bell might overturn the tainted Arthdal and create a whole new world.
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