Tale of the Nine Tailed: Episode 7
Our lead’s recent discovery about his lady love sends him into protective mode. He sticks to her side like glue, afraid to leave her vulnerable. Although he hopes to keep her blissfully unaware of her reality, not everyone wants her to remain in the dark. As she’s pulled deeper into the web of the past, our heroine draws closer to the truth and will have to decide what it means for her future.
EPISODE 7: “The Trap of the Cycle of Death and Rebirth”
Jia wakes up from her dream meeting with the imoogi boy, incognizant of the scales that briefly appear on the back of her neck. Elsewhere, Taluipa tells Yeon that a fragment of the imoogi is on Jia’s body. He’s horrified to hear that his fox bead disappeared, allowing something in Jia to awaken.
He cries as he says it took 600 years for her to be reincarnated, and all Jia wants is to live a normal life with her family. Yeon is angered when Taluipa passes it off as Jia’s fate, and he surmises that she’s known all along. That’s why she didn’t want them to meet.
The price Yeon has been paying these 600 years feels worthless, and he demands Taluipa repay him. The glass in the room shatters as Yeon advances on Taluipa. She stills the shards with a wave of her hand and ends their standoff when Hyun Eui-ong intervenes. Before Taluipa throws him out, Yeon vows to destroy every world if Jia’s life is shortened.
At the mansion, the imoogi boy tells the CEO that he felt like crying when he saw Jia in his dream. He came after all these years just to meet her. The boy knows the CEO finds him strange now, but he counters that he’s changed along with the world. The CEO worries about him being discovered, but the imoogi is hoping for it.
Hyun Eui-ong comforts Yeon, saying Taluipa loves him like a son no matter how harsh she is. He counsels Yeon not to play with fire and just keep living, but Yeon isn’t willing to stand by while Jia gets hurt. Hyun Eui-ong cautions that one of them will die if Yeon gets involved.
Yeon stubbornly claims that he’ll make sure Jia doesn’t die; he promised her she’d live a normal life. He walks through the city, watching families play and thinking of how much Jia longs for her parents. He ends up at her place.
Jia admits she traded the fox bead, and Yeon struggles to stay calm in the face of her nonchalance. She forthrightly confesses she didn’t have the confidence to lose him. Jia is hesitant when he wants to stay at her place, but she gives in when he suggests it’ll put him less at risk of having to go save her.
Yeon stills when she tells him about meeting a boy in her dream. At first, she was afraid, but then she felt glad to see him. It was like meeting an old acquaintance.
Meanwhile, Rang drinks away his feelings upon hearing the fortune teller proclaim Yeon is his most precious thing. Yoo-ri joins him and marvels at the tiger’s brow which allows the wearer to see people’s past lives. She clocks Rang’s melancholic mood, but he says he’s angry.
Rang wonders if his blood is “dirtied” by his half human side – he still has remnants of a human heart from his mother. When Yoo-ri excitedly asks if his mother held him and did normal mom things, Rang slams his glass down in anger.
Yoo-ri’s curiosity about what it’s like to be loved triggers a memory of walking with his mother in the forest. She’d told him to wait there, but he was scared. She screamed at him to stop making her life difficult – she couldn’t even die because of him. While the scared little Rang obediently waited for his mother, a zombie-looking creature found him.
Rang tells Yoo-ri that being loved makes it easy for people to prey on you. He amusedly notes that Shin-joo did a number on her, making her talk like a human. Yoo-ri assures Rang she’s on his side no matter what.
At his clinic, Shin-joo is ecstatic when the relationship compatibility test he does comes out to 99% for him and Yoo-ri. Yeon and Jia only got 25%. Pfft. He chats with the now healthy-looking abused dog.
Jia is getting fed up with Yeon who insists on creepily staring at her as she sleeps, afraid to let her out of his sight. When she suggests he stay in her room, he hops right in her bed. And he’s still staring. He says he can’t sleep, so Jia shares what her father told her to do: think of things that make you happy. They take turns naming a few of their favorite things, and Jia drifts off to sleep. Yeon stares (again) at her sleeping face.
Rang almost gets run over by a moped, but a little boy comes running and pushes him out of the way. Aww, it’s the adorable little boy who offered to be Yeon’s friend! He’s all proud of himself for being like Spiderman, ha. Rang thinks that this is the type of human he hates and grumpily walks away. The little boy picks up the tiger’s brow he dropped. Oh, snap.
Yeon attempt at cooking breakfast the next morning is a disaster, so Shin-joo takes over. Jia wakes to a meal and is surprise Yeon cooked. Then Shin-joo pops out and begins nagging her about her level of cleanliness. He brought Yeon some clothes over and is now cleaning since Yeon is a germophobe.
Jia gasps at all the food Yeon burned earlier and picks dried pollack out of his hair and clothes. Ha. After breakfast, Shin-joo finds Jia in her room. He begs her to stay safe so Yeon doesn’t suffer. Jia smiles to see how much he cares for Yeon and promises to do her best since Yeon is precious to her too.
Yeon is waiting downstairs in a suit, ready to accompany Jia to work. When they arrive at her station, everyone greets him at the door like he’s one of the execs. Yeon says he’ll wait in the lobby until she gets off work, so she fixes his tie and thanks him before heading to her office.
Yeon recalls Hyun Eui-ong’s warning about getting involved in Jia’s fate. As Jia happily waves goodbye, Yeon thinks this life isn’t so bad, even if it’s his last.
At the CEO’s, Nanny 2 arrives. Like before, he instructs her to make sure the boy eats. The CEO thinks to himself that this is the last day of the imoogi’s growth before he changes into a new form.
Jia mulls over the mysterious man who caused her parents’ “accident” and researches the sinner’s mark. She discovers that, during the Goryeo era, a group of exiled traitors were branded with that very “Seokyung” mark the Magistrate saw on his forehead.
Meanwhile, Yeon has Shin-joo tail Rang to find the man with the sinner’s mark. He’s sure Rang is involved. Shin-joo watches Rang frantically dig through bushes and hears him tell someone on the phone to find the glasses.
When Jae-hwan comes into the office, Jia checks his forehead without explanation. He and Sae-rom ask Jia about Yeon, and she wonders how much they bet on it. Ha. Jia sighs that she’s like to define her and Yeon’s relationship too.
Sae-rom says Jia should check her pulse around Yeon, using Jae-hwan to demonstrate. He wrenches his hand out of her grip when she notices how fast his pulse is. Team Leader Choi interrupts as they try to get info out of Jia on how far she and Yeon have gone. Of course, Jia checks his forehead too.
At the mansion, Nanny 2 tries to run, but the imoogi boy calmly drags her back to his room. Her body withers as he touches her. He steps out of the room a fully-grown young man.
Elsewhere, Shin-joo continues tailing Rang and sees him meet with Yoo-ri. She shows Rang a photo of the little boy who took the glasses. We cut to the now bespectacled little boy cheerily walking through the city. (Where are his parents?)
Shin-joo watches Yoo-ri leave and looks disappointed in himself. He slams the car window in frustration and lowers his head. When he looks up, Rang is gone. Abruptly, his car window is smashed. Rang smiles at him. “You thought I didn’t notice, didn’t you?”
Jia and her team eat at the Snail Bride while Yeon sits nearby, of course. Hye-ja brings them some dishes on the house for the “special guest.” She smiles at Jia, but Team Leader Choi thinks she’s referring to him.
Jae-hwan spots Yeon, so Sae-rom invites him to eat with them. Yeon shameless says he’s there because of Jia and explains that he’s pursuing her one-sidedly. He raises his eyebrows when Jia corrects him that it’s not one-sided. They smile at each other.
Meanwhile, Rang tries to beat info out of Shin-joo, reminding him that he’s no longer the kid he used to be. Shin-joo knows he could kill him, but he refuses to tell him why Yeon wanted Rang followed. He’s lived for and thanks to Yeon. “Even if I die here, you can’t harm him.”
Rang hits him again and wonders why he’s going so far for Yeon. Shin-joo claims to protect Yeon for the same reason Rang can’t kill him – they both like him. Livid, Rang knocks Shin-joo unconscious.
At the Snail Bride, Jia’s colleagues grill Yeon about his job, his family, and his age. Jia jumps in to provide excuses and smooth things over when Yeon gets too honest. Sae-rom marvels that he’s like a fantasy drama lead. Heh. When Yeon receives pictures of the badly beaten Shin-joo, he rushes out.
Outside, Sae-rom and Jae-hwan run into the bespectacled little boy. He comments that Sae-rom is pretty – he sees her in a hanbok – and calls Jae-hwan a eunuch, although he’s not sure what that means. Ha. When Jia walks up, the boy begins to cry. “It’s scary. Your face is really scary.” He runs away.
Yeon meets Rang at the junkyard and asks why it has to be the imoogi. Rang thinks having them reenact their past is artistic. Yeon guesses correctly that Rang paid a price for his collaboration – he made a contract. Yeon remarks that there are people you should never make a deal with and advises Rang to step away from this before he pays an even bigger price.
Rang grows serious and asks if Yeon would save him if his life were truly in danger. Yeon just sighs and tells him to save himself. Rang wonders if Jia would stay with Yeon if she knew what happened in her past life.
Yeon glares and tells him that he’ll really kill him this time if he touches Jia. They stare at each other until Yoo-ri calls Rang to tell him she located the kid. After he leaves, Yeon finds Shin-joo barely conscious on the other side of the junkyard.
Rang catches up to the kid, but he won’t give up the glasses. He gasps in shock when Rang materializes in front of him after he runs away. Rang picks him up by the shirt, threatening that he doesn’t let kids off easy. The boy starts crying, and Rang immediately lets him go. He says he hates the sound of crying, and he’s totally letting the kid off due to the low birth rate. Pfft.
Rang happily tries on the glasses and looks at the kid. Oh my gosh, is that his beloved puppy?! Yep, the kid is his puppy reincarnated. Rang begins to cry and stops himself from stepping toward the boy.
He hurriedly walks away, muttering to himself that he won’t get attached again. Nope. He turns and finds the little boy following him. He looks up at Rang with puppy eyes.
Annnd Rang takes Puppy Boy for dessert. The kid asks if he’s Spiderman since he moves so fast. Rang is horrified that his puppy reincarnated as a stupid human and claims the dessert is a debt repayment after which they’re done with each other.
That night, Jia and her team go to the CEO’s mansion for dinner. They’re amazed at the luxuriousness as they wait for the CEO. He arrives downstairs in time to stop Team Leader Choi from touching his special Chinese lantern plant. It’s one of his house’s two rules. The other is never to go upstairs (because that’s not suspicious).
At the clinic, Shin-joo takes advantage of his condition and orders Yeon around, even having him pour water into his mouth. Pfft. When Yeon accuses Shin-joo of using him, Shin-joo comments that his body and heart hurt.
Yeon comments that he warned him about Yoo-ri, but Shin-joo doesn’t want to hear her badmouthed. Yeon scoffs at Shin-joo’s supposed 99% relationship compatibility with her, but when he sees his and Jia’s is only 25%, he insists on a redo.
Jia and her colleagues chat over dinner with the CEO. He remembers being impressed with Jia’s gutsiness during her interview and telling her she had to join his station. Team Leader Choi brings up his past memory with the CEO, but the CEO doesn’t remember him at all. Womp womp.
Sae-rom asks if the CEO believes in the supernatural. He recalls a near death experience where he met someone who wasn’t human. He jokes that what he met was a miracle.
When Jia goes inside to the restroom, she hears a noise from the second floor. It’s the imoogi, using dead Nanny 2’s hand to rap on the door. Jia slowly makes her way upstairs to the gloomy hallway.
She gets ahold of herself and turns to head back. Jia steps on something and picks it up. It’s Nanny 2’s acrylic fingernail. The knocking resumes, so Jia cautiously follows the noise to the room at the end of the hall. From the other side of the door, the imoogi urges, “Come in.”
While the CEO comes inside to look for her, Jia stands with her hand on the doorhandle. She’s startled by a call from Yeon. After she hangs up, she’s startled yet again by the CEO putting his hand on her shoulder. He assures her the sounds she heard were just the wind and leads her back downstairs.
At the clinic, Shin-joo cries to see Yeon so happy and encourages him to live long and be happy with Jia. Back at the mansion, Jia is distracted during dessert. She shows the fake nail to her colleagues in the taxi, but they’re puzzled too.
Jia arrives home to the smell of freshly cooked rice – Yeon recalls it’s one of her favorite scents. He promises she can come home to it every night he’s there. She in turn hands him his favorite ice cream she bought on the way.
They sit awkwardly and decide to watch a movie. Yeon ignores the horror film and watches Jia instead, wishing time would stop. Jia wishes the same and leans her head on his shoulder. He smiles and tentatively places his hand on hers.
On what I think is the following night, Yeon goes out to buy Jia new sneakers (another of her favorite things), and Jia arrives home to find a box out front. Inside are the glasses with a note from Rang: “Wear them and look in the mirror. What you’re curious about will be revealed.”
Yeon goes running out of the shoe store after Rang calls to taunt him about sending the tiger’s brow to Jia, but he’s too late. Jia puts on the glasses and looks in the mirror to see … herself, as usual. But when she lowers the glasses, her image doesn’t follow suit.
The image shifts to reveal Ah-eum, and Jia watches as Yeon points a sword at her throat. “This woman is nothing to me. Did you think I wouldn’t use her as bait to wake you up?” We see Ah-eum crying and Yeon running, golden eyes flaring. Yeon shoves his hand through her chest. Whoa.
Jia yanks off the glasses. Yeon rushes inside to find Jia standing in front of the mirror. He turns her to face him, and her tears are enough to let him know she saw something. “I was murdered in my past life.” Yeon closes his eyes in pain. “You killed me,” Jia proclaims. “From the beginning, you made me a sacrifice to catch the imoogi, Lee Yeon.”
So that’s why Rang wanted the tiger’s brow which, hilariously, looks like cheap Harry Potter knockoff glasses. Although this wasn’t necessarily the best way for Jia to find out, I am glad she’s learning the truth. It’s about time she’s able to have some say in her own life regarding all this. Seeing that Yeon did kill Ah-eum, his decisions make more sense. I found Yeon’s unhealthy, selfish obsession with Ah-eum/Jia off-putting, but knowing it’s not just love but guilt that drives him contextualizes everything. Not that it excuses bad decision-making, but it helps give nuance to his character. I don’t doubt that he loves her, but it feels much more grounded that all the extreme decisions he’s made are not just out of some idealized eternal love. I can see how a mixture of guilt and love could motivate him to work for 600 years so she could be reincarnated. I’m kind of surprised he didn’t see this situation with Jia coming, though. Why did he think that her reincarnated life would automatically be good? Even if she weren’t doomed by fate or whatever, any matter of things can go wrong in a person’s life that could lead to tragedy. She could get hit by a bus or fall ill and die, so it’s not like his servitude is a guarantee that she’d have a long life.
Of course, here we’re dealing with the almighty fate that links Jia with the imoogi in all her lives, apparently. My current understanding is that Jia is basically a horcrux. She’s not necessarily the imoogi, but she does contain a fragment of it inside her that connects them. If that is the case, does that mean she has to die for the imoogi to die? Conversely, if the imoogi dies, does she die? I was hoping to see them meet this episode, but I guess we’ll have to wait for that. I’m really curious as to what the imoogi wants with her and what their dynamic is like. It’s interesting that Jia saw Ah-eum when wearing the glasses, but Puppy Boy saw her “scary face” which I’m assuming is the imoogi part of her.
On that note, the adorable Puppy Boy is back! I didn’t expect to see him again, and I definitely did not anticipate him being Rang’s beloved companion. That was a nice twist. No wonder his path has collided with both Rang and Yeon. Rang can feign indifference and irritation all he wants, but his tears at seeing his dog again spoke volumes. I think he might just have a new sidekick. But why is that child always roaming the streets alone day and night? No one seems to notice that he’s wandering around, meeting dangerous supernatural creatures and stealing magical objects. Does he not have parents or a guardian of some kind?
I was glad to learn a bit more about Rang’s background with his mother. From the flashback, she was clearly not the world’s greatest mother. They looked poor, and I imagine their life was difficult. But her words to little Rang were inexcusable. I’m presuming that was Yeon’s forest she left Rang in. If she abandoned him and entrusted him to Yeon’s care, that would explain Rang’s dependence on his brother. It also explains why Yeon’s abandonment, the second time he’d been left behind by a family member, traumatized him so much. I’m not sure whether to believe Rang’s implication that his human mother is why he’s so emotional and gets attached to people. Gumihos obviously have emotions too – Yeon and Shin-joo both are emotionally driven with strong attachments. They seem to bond sparingly, though, and have a more solitary nature than humans. Maybe Rang’s human side makes him need more social bonding in general.
I get that Yeon is over Rang’s destructiveness and childishness, and that’s fair. But it doesn’t seem like he ever apologized for leaving Rang to fend for himself as a child. That is on him, especially since it looks like he might’ve been more of a parental figure. His actions damaged a child who depended on him, and he should acknowledge that. And then there’s the whole almost-killing-him thing which traumatized Rang yet again. At the very least, I wish Yeon would be smarter in his dealings with Rang. He clearly just wants to feel loved, and Yeon pushing his buttons has repercussions for everyone. Yeon needs to be the grownup and take a page from Jia’s book by dealing with this head on for the greater good.
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