Tale of the Nine Tailed: Episode 6
Thanks to an old friend, our couple gets some new leads on our heroine’s missing parents, but their investigation raises more questions than it answers. Our heroine makes a major decision to protect what matters to her, and it may put her in more danger than she realizes. Everyone keeps warning our star-crossed lovers that there will be dire consequence should they remain together, and fate seems to be proving them right.
EPISODE 6: “The Four Pillars of Destiny”
We pick back up with Yeon kissing Jia on the bridge. After a moment, Jia lightly pushes him away. “Is the woman you just kissed me?” Yeon’s silence confirms Jia’s guess. “I am not the shadow of your past.” Jia tells him he can either live in the past or with her in the present.
At the station, Sae-rom spams Jia with messages asking who Yeon is. She could tell they had some relationship, but she’s surprised because Jia is infamous for bombing dates. Ha.
Yeon and Jia take a walk through the forest by the village. Jia is so awkward she can barely look Yeon in the eye. When Yeon points it out, and she’s all, “Look at the fish!” He grins while she acts super interested in the lake, finding her awkwardness cute. Yeon stares unabashedly at her, making Jia regret her words from earlier that he should “look carefully at her.”
Back at the station, Jae-hwan thinks they’ve seen Yeon somewhere before, but Sae-rom insists she’d remember that handsome face. Team Leader Choi comes up, berating them for not working. Then he asks if Jia has replied yet. Pfft.
At the traditional village, Yeon tells Jia that they’re there to find the Magistrate who knows about her parents. He lives like a human but is one of the four mountain gods. Jia is wowed that they’re meeting a god, making Yeon petulantly remind her he was also one of those gods. Jia recalls he was expelled, but Yeon bluffs that he totally quit on his own and boasts that he was the strongest of the four gods.
These nostalgic villages are the best places for spirits to hide. Yeon doesn’t need to search for them since he knows they’ll come to him. Sure enough, a group of performers gather and stare at Yeon.
Jia and Yeon go to a fortune teller’s for fun and have him read their past lives. He whips out his cell phone and snaps pictures of their faces. “Are you using an app?!” Yeon asks incredulously. Ha. Yeon is impressed when the fortune teller correctly surmises that Jia was a princess in her past life, but then he says (after peeking at his app) Yeon was an industrialist who died building the Han River Bridge. Pfft.
Things turn more serious as he claims one of them will die if they stay together. Yeon glares as the fortune teller says their destinies never should have intertwined.
Rang dramatically makes his way to the fortune teller’s shop in an open palanquin as Yeon and Jia leave. In the middle of their conversation, Yeon catches an arrow midair heading for them. Attached is a message from the Magistrate with a meeting place.
Rang enters the fortune teller’s and tells him to cut the act – he knows who he is. The man lowers his sunglasses to reveal cataracts on both eyes. Rang is surprised to hear another gumiho was there and realizes Yeon must be around.
He asks for the object that lets you see into the past: a tiger’s brow. The man fishes through a bag and pulls out … a pair of glasses? Huh. Rang flashes a briefcase full of money, but the fortune teller declares that mythical objects can’t be bought with money.
Meanwhile, Yeon and Jia meet the Magistrate. He and Yeon go back and forth about their perceived misdeeds, and Yeon asserts that they’ve chosen different paths. The Magistrate’s answer is to lock them in and have his men surround them, weapons drawn.
At the fortune teller’s, Rang threatens to take the items by force. The fortune teller informs him he’d be sucked into his bag if he tried. We see what looks like a swirling, mythical black hole inside. His price: Rang’s most treasured possession.
Yeon pulls a worried Jia aside and tells her to wait five minutes. He proceeds to fight the guards, but one of them goes after Jia. Yeon spinning kicks a spear toward the guard, which the Magistrate catches midair. They both agree to have a clean fight, and the Magistrate offers Jia a seat on the podium with him.
The fight recommences, and Yeon whips out his sword when archers join the fray. Jia jumps up in fear as she watches him fight alone. When the Magistrate asks if she loves Yeon or has been seduced by him, Jia responds that she’s using him.
She put Yeon in this dangerous situation because she’s using him to find her family. But now she just wants him to win quickly so they can go home. He’s always getting hurt because of her.
The Magistrate notes her road isn’t lined with flowers either. Jia practically reasons she can sprinkle some flower seeds along her crappy road then. Jia is startled when he laughs that she’s as interesting as the rumors say. But she’ll regret meeting him.
Yeon wins the fight with only minor scratches. Elsewhere, Taluipa has another temper tantrum, this time over someone bringing their cell phone to hell. Hyun Eui-ong quickly gets out of the warpath.
Back at the Magistrate’s, now that Yeon has defeated the guards, it’s time for the gods to go against each other. Jia watches as Yeon and the Magistrate battle it out. They seem pretty well-matched. At one point, the Magistrate uses some mystical mirror to redirect Yeon’s sword toward Jia.
Yeon accuses him of using something meant to protect as a weapon. The Magistrate in turn accuses him of using his fox bead to save one instead of many. They agree to fight bare-handed. As they beat each other up, the Magistrate tsks at Yeon for falling for a human again.
Again, Yeon wins and Jia rushes over to make sure he’s okay. Yeon extends his hand to pull the Magistrate up, suggesting they go for coffee. Jia is confused, so Yeon explains that this is his best friend who was originally a bear.
At the Snail Bride, Hyun Eui-ong ignores a call from Taluipa. He complains to Hye-ja about the anxiety his wife causes him, and she reasons that every couple has trying times, especially ones that have been together thousands of years. Hye-ja encourages him to talk to Taluipa, but he’s too scared.
At the next table, Shin-joo treats Yoo-ri to a meal. He’s worried he’s been misunderstanding her – he’s never seen a true villain pitying a weak animal. Shin-joo is unfazed by Yoo-ri’s proclamation that she doesn’t like him and makes her angry when he likens her to an abused, abandoned dog that attacks because it doesn’t know how to accept love.
Meanwhile, Rang is still puzzling over what is most precious to him. He calls Yeon, but Yeon ignores it while he catches up with his stoic bestie. He recognizes Jia’s parents from the photo and divulges that a man came to him earlier that year to say he planned to cause an “accident” on March 3. Since the Magistrate doesn’t involve himself in situations where people are harmed, he wouldn’t lend him his subordinates.
The strangest part is that the middle-aged man was human. (Ooh, could he be the CEO?) The Magistrate remembers he had a sinner’s mark on his forehead that read “Seo Kyung” (West Seoul). Jia realizes that mark means he lived prior to the Joseon era. The Magistrate speculates he’s still nearby and clarifies that the accident wasn’t targeting her parents – it was targeting her.
Hyun Eui-ong finally answers a call from his perpetually angry wife and agrees to rush over there in a conciliatory tone. After hanging up, he tosses the phone down and screams that he wants a divorce. Having no idea who he is, Yoo-ri rants that no one cares, so shut up.
Hye-ja stares in shock, and Hyun Eui-ong sputters in disbelief and anger. Shin-joo tries to hide under the table but jumps up to respectfully bow when Hyun Eui-ong glares. Even after learning who he is, Yoo-ri doesn’t see why it should matter.
Shin-joo brings up the injured dog, and Yoo-ri says he should raise it. The person who saved her from the zoo doesn’t want it. Shin-joo is surprised to hear her “savior” killed people to get her out and asks who he is. Yoo-ri smiles and says he’ll meet him soon.
As Rang continues trying to call Yeon, the Magistrate cautions Yeon not to keep Jia near. That man said she has “the king’s scales.” Yeon turns to him in surprise as he asserts that she has the king’s energy.
Yeon glances concernedly at Jia and recalls that weird incident in the woods where Jia’s skin looked scaly and she seemed possessed. Now, he wonders, “Was that Ah-eum? If not …” Elsewhere, the imoogi boy picks up a dead bird and cups his hands around it. Moments later, it revives and flies off.
Jia racks her brain trying to think of who that man could be. What is she that her family had to suffer like that? And why does Yeon keep protecting her without telling her anything? Yeon looks at her compassionately and says he doesn’t want her to get hurt or do anything for his sake. He hopes she can trust him.
Yeon suggests they start with catching that man and finally answers Rang’s call, figuring he’ll know something. Rang snaps at him. Did he not see the 22 missed calls? He claims he’s not up to anything and asks to meet.
Yeon plans to let Rang lead them to the man. He borrows a calligrapher’s brush and dips it in water. He writes a charm on his shoe that will take Rang to that man. This is their only chance, so they can’t lose Rang.
Jia goes inside to meet Rang while Yeon presumably switches their shoes. Rang finds Jia’s irritation amusing as she repays his compliments with barbs. When Yeon arrives, Rang brings in the fortune teller, calling Yeon an idiot for not knowing he’s the real deal.
Rang tells the fortune teller to “appraise” Yeon, muttering that he’s not sure if this is a valuable item to him or not. After examining Yeon with a magnifying glass, the fortune teller declares his brother is indeed the most precious thing to him. HA! Rang closes his eyes and sighs in embarrassment.
The fortune teller hands over the tiger’s brow and Rang leaves. Jia wants to follow, but Yeon holds her back. Outside, Rang can’t believe Yeon is childish enough to steal his shoes and wears Yeon’s instead.
The fortune teller stops Yeon from leaving, claiming he’s his property now. He raps him on the shoulder with his cane. Jia watches in shock as Yeon turns to energy and is sucked into the fortune teller’s mystical bag. Jia is torn between following Rang and helping Yeon but ultimately chooses Yeon.
To get Yeon back, Jia must also trade her most precious item. He gives her until that 9:00 that night to return with it. She rushes home, struggling to determine what’s most precious to her.
When she returns, the gates are closed. Thankfully, the Magistrate recognizes her voice and lets her in. Jia makes it right in the nick of time and hands over her musical carousel, the reminder that what happened wasn’t a dream and her parents might be alive.
While he appraises her item, Rang makes his way to the CEO’s house in a trance. He comes to with no idea why he’s there. He looks down at Yeon’s shoes and scoffs when he sees the charm lift.
The fortune teller declares Jia’s item lacking for the trade. He gives into Jia’s pleading and uses his magnifying glass on her to see what she can do. He jerks back in surprise at what he sees in her eyes and asks to see her hand.
He excitedly discovers that she has a special fate and recites:
Water and fire are at odds, and the earth is dense. Gold will temper it. Even if you are surrounded by darkness, the moon rises in your sky.
The moon refers to her fox bead. He breathlessly asks for it, saying her future is full enough without it. Jia doesn’t hesitate to make the trade. He smiles and says their deal is complete. Jia watches as a new palm line appears on her left hand, changing her fate.
The imoogi boy looks up from his game of chess and notes that the fox bead has disappeared. He smiles. Yeon, on the other hand, is not so happy once he’s released. And he doesn’t even know about the bead yet.
Jia assures him she didn’t trade years of her life and calls the price “cheap.” She says he’s hers now, likening him to the genie in Aladdin. They drink at her place, and Jia explains that she did waver, but in the end, she decided to give up their lead with Rang and trust in Yeon.
Jia gets a far-off look and reminisces that there are lots of times when kids need their parents. For her, it was being the only one without homemade kimbap at school picnics or when kids would threaten to tell on her to their mom.
She used to feel resentful that her parents left her, but now she’s learned it’s her fault their lives were ruined. Yeon encourages her to cry, but Jia would rather eat spicy chicken feet and let the tears come that way. Yeon is relieved she’s not pretending to be fine. When he tries the chicken feet, he about dies from the spiciness but pretends the tears are from something getting in his eye.
We get some ominous shots of the imoogi boy staring out his window in the dark, and Taluipa staring into the distance. Back at Jia’s, Yeon drapes a blanket over Jia who’s falling asleep on the couch. She stops him from leaving and asks him not to treat her too well since it’ll make her want to lean on him. She worries it’ll make her weak.
Yeon wipes her tears and promises the sleeping Jia that she’ll live a peaceful life. It’s okay if she one day needs to forget him and his world. He just wants her to live an ordinary life.
Yeon then confronts Taluipa about the imoogi. It didn’t die, did it? At home, Jia looks feverish and dreams that she’s standing in the imoogi boy’s talisman covered room.
Taluipa reveals that Jia is the one who woke the imoogi. She warned Yeon not to find her. Yeon scoffs and wonders what he fought for and why Ah-eum sacrificed herself. Taluipa won’t tell him where the imoogi is and again issues the stern warning that a fox and human can’t be together.
As Yeon yells at Taluipa to tell him where it is, Jia approaches the imoogi boy who turns and greets her. Jia wakes up gasping in fear. Taluipa explains it was hidden, “but I just found a fragment of him.” The back of Jia’s neck is now covered in scales.
Oooh, so this is interesting. I had assumed that incident in the forest was Jia getting possessed temporarily, but there’s much more than that going on. Is Jia also imoogi or does she just have a connection with it? The yet-born Jia “luring” her mother to the island where the imoogi slept makes way more sense now. Taluipa’s mention of a fragment makes me think it’s possible for the imoogi to be split into pieces, so to speak. If so, the imoogi boy and Jia could be aspects of the same imoogi. That would explain her dream link with the imoogi boy. On the other hand, her blood was used in the ritual to wake it up, so maybe the connection with the boy is from that. Whatever the case, I’m assuming the fox bead suppressed this aspect of her, and it could only express itself once the bead was gone. I wonder if she has powers like the imoogi boy who can apparently bring things back to life. You know, when he’s not sucking the life out of them instead. Now that she’s possibly a mythological serpent, I think Jia’s chances of living a boring, ordinary life are slim.
I’m not a fan of Taluipa, but I feel her frustration with Yeon is warranted. She’s warned him again and again about the dangers of his obsession with Ah-eum/Jia, and he just flagrantly disregards it. Putting yourself in danger willingly is one thing, but this won’t stop with just him. Or even the two of them, probably. All the more reason why Yeon needs to stop “protecting” Jia by keeping her in the dark. This is seriously one of my pet peeves because when has that ever worked? It’s always more dangerous if someone doesn’t know what they’re walking into or what to expect. She’d be safer if she were more prepared, and I think Jia has proven that she’s not someone who needs to be coddled. Plus, Jia has explicitly told Yeon she’d rather him not hide things from her.
Jia isn’t someone who likes to be sheltered from hard truths or avoid confrontation. She’s the type that’d rather take charge and face something difficult head on. I love that she addresses things right off the bat, like with the kiss. She immediately made sure Yeon sees her for who she is and isn’t confusing her with Ah-eum. Jia isn’t about to be a stand-in for his dead girlfriend and knows she deserves to be loved for who she is. I think Yeon does see her as Jia most of the time, but he has moments where he conflates her and Ah-eum. It’s understandable but not fair to her, and I’m glad she brought it up early on.
So I’ve decided I like Shin-joo and Yoo-ri together. He definitely brings out the sane in her, and they have a cute dynamic. She seems really damaged, and Shin-joo may just be empathetic enough and patient enough to coax her out of her extremely spiky shell. She and Rang are so similar in that way that I can see how they connected. Are all of our villains just broken and in need of love? I’m pretty sure Yoo-ri and Rang could both be lured from the dark side if Shin-joo and Yeon tag team it.
How amazing was Rang’s utter embarrassment that his most precious thing is Yeon? It was bad enough for him to admit it to himself, but then the fortune teller announced it to the room. Even if Yeon already kind of knew, it’s another thing to have it stated as fact like that. Any chance of Rang’s “hatred” being taken seriously are shot now. If Yeon is like most any sibling ever, he’ll never let his little brother live this down.
I missed the horror elements this week. It’s almost like we’re watching two different dramas that are spliced together – a fantasy romance and supernatural horror. I don’t dislike the contrast per se, but I do wish they were blended a bit better. This applies both tonally and visually. Some scenes are intensely bright while others are so dark you can barely see. Balancing that out a little without eliminating the contrast could make the shifts less abrupt while still changing the atmosphere. With the reveal about Jia and the focus on finding her parents, we seem to be moving back toward the supernatural horror side. Now that most of our pieces appear to be in place, I’m looking forward to seeing where the plot is headed.
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