Tale of the Nine Tailed: Episode 13
Things are looking rather dire for our heroine and, really, everyone at this point. As our team learns more about the imoogi and its plans, they realize it’s time to go on the offensive. They’ll have to come up with a strategy fast if they want to not only save our heroine but also humanity as a whole. No pressure.
EPISODE 13: “The other imoogi”
Newly imoogi-fied Jia greets Yeon, asking how it feels to meet again like this after 600 years. The imoogi pleasantly states that Jia is screaming, trapped inside. Yeon asks what we all want to know: who is “Terry” then, and what exactly is the imoogi?
The imoogi explains that due to Yeon’s meddling, the imoogi was split into two at the well when Jia was supposed to be sacrificed. She smiles that they’ll be made whole again when they enter Yeon’s body. It hits him that the imoogi doesn’t only grow fast but ages fast too, which is its “curse.”
The imoogi claims it should’ve been the god of Beakdu Mountain had it succeeded in becoming a dragon. Taking Yeon’s body is about revenge. The imoogi taunts that Jia will soon fade away, and Yeon can’t kill them without killing Jia. And if he saves Jia, he’ll die. Will he choose himself or her?
Yeon doesn’t like either option. The imoogi attacks him, and Yeon can’t do more than hold her off for fear of hurting Jia. But he realizes they’re using Jia like a shield – being in her body makes the imoogi weak. “Terry” contains most of their powers as the body, while Jia is like the heart.
The imoogi angrily yanks a metal post out of the ground and stabs Yeon in the chest. He ignores the imoogi and speaks to Jia, urging her to come back. He’ll always be waiting. “I’m yours until I die.”
Jia finds herself repeating Ah-eum’s fate when she surfaces and stares in horror at what she’s done. Despite Yeon’s reassurances (after ripping the post out of his chest like it’s no big deal), Jia sinks to the ground in grief and begs him to kill her. He holds her while she sobs.
After saving Sae-rom and Jae-hwan, Shin-joo goes running when Yeon calls. Elsewhere, the crazed CEO drives with his precious lantern tree beside him. He’s terrified to find Hyun Eui-ong in the backseat and shoots him, but he’s even more frightened when that has no effect.
While Shin-joo takes care of Yeon, Jia sits outside the clinic staring at her bloodstained hands which now sport scales. Inside, Yeon shares that he let the imoogi hurt him so he could test its strength. Yeon instructs Shin-joo to ask Hye-ja about the fortune teller who has his fox bead.
At the Afterlife Immigration Office, Taluipa tells Hyun Eui-ong that they’ll free the souls from the lanterns who have life remaining. She waits for Hyun Eui-ong to leave before typing Jia’s date of death as 2020 in her record of lifespans. She can’t let the chaos continue, although she hesitates when she thinks of Yeon.
Meanwhile, Yeon steps outside to comfort Jia, more concerned about whether she’s hurt than anything. She’s scared to go home in case the imoogi surfaces and hurts her parents, so Yeon takes her to the beach. They reminisce about when they first (re)met, and he notes it was the first time anyone has chased after him. Jia regrets not immediately asking him out – they would’ve been able to enjoy more time together.
The now treeless CEO’s day gets worse when the imoogi shows up. He switches to subservient mode and begs for mercy. The imoogi demands to know how he could betray him after he saved him from execution for treason, and the CEO cowers in the face of his wrath.
The imoogi is done with him and gently places his hand on the CEO’s forehead. A rash appears when he withdraws his hand. He commands the CEO to turn himself into the authorities and live as a criminal.
At what I’m guessing is another of his apartments, Yeon suggests he and Jia roleplay as a normal, married couple. He’d rather her be the breadwinner, and he’ll be the homemaker who collects rent from his buildings. Heh.
Jia finds it ridiculous but plays along. She pretends to get home from work, and he immediately nags her about coming home so late all the time and sits her down to talk. She swipes the wine, “You just got sober!” HA.
Their little game of pretend just hammers home how unfair their tangled fate is. Jia angry cries at the fact that the imoogi exists, and they can’t be a normal couple. This leads to some bedroom sexy times, after which Yeon watches Jia sleep (again) and vows to protect her.
At the mansion, the imoogi has a self-pity session and monologues in the dark about how he’ll make Yeon feel his paaain. He calls Jia the following day to let her know there will be a “party” soon, and he’s not going to go so easy on her anymore.
Jia pities the loveless creature, which he doesn’t appreciate. He warns her that she’ll be taken over soon, and then she’ll kill Yeon herself. Jia scratches at the scales on her body, as if she can erase them. She cries and sinks to the ground (again).
Hyun Eui-ong angrily confronts Taluipa about her changing Jia’s lifespan record, but she justifies it by explaining that the true imoogi is in Jia’s body. He doesn’t think that warrants harming an innocent. And what about Yeon?
Taluipa retorts that Yeon won’t let Jia die, and it will be disastrous if the imoogi possesses Yeon’s body. Hyun Eui-ong still objects, making Taluipa shout that this is her job.
He reminds her that her changing their daughter-in-law’s record is why their son killed himself. She argues she stopped a plague, but Hyun Eui-ong yells back that their son can’t reincarnate. She hasn’t changed. This time, he’ll stop her. “If you change that girl’s fate, we’re over.”
Yeon wakes to a note from Jia that she plans to return to Seoul. No matter how far she runs, she can’t escape. She asks him to walk with her on the beach before they leave, likening him to a life vest that keeps her from drowning.
While they play on the beach, Yeon narrates that he’d promised to give her a normal, boring life. But on the beach, she told him she didn’t want to enjoy that life alone; they should live or die together. Yeon observes he might not be able to keep his promise.
At Rang’s, Puppy Boy hides in the wardrobe and eavesdrops on Yoo-ri and the imoogi’s conversation. Yoo-ri brazenly asks the imoogi to help Rang seeing as this is all his fault. He scoffs but notes that she’s truly not scared of him. What does he get out of this?
Yoo-ri thinks a moment and offers her life. She tells Rang to live long and well, softly stroking his hair as she asks him to be happy. Yoo-ri places her lethal hairpin in the imoogi’s hand and closes her eyes. He stops just short of stabbing her in the neck. He’ll grant her wish if she comes with him.
He places a lantern on Rang’s chest and issues a command: “When the imoogi inside her calls, you’ll be my soldier.” Great. He looks toward the wardrobe and drily tells Puppy Boy the dark will swallow him if he keeps hiding there.
In a trance, the CEO goes to the police station and turns himself in as the murderer of the mummified corpse and tells them his GPS history will lead them to four more corpses. He scratches at the rash on his forehead.
Yeon drops Jia off at her house so she can spend quality time with her parents. He’s worried, but Jia assures him the imoogi only surfaces when it feels threatened. She makes the connection that it happens when she bleeds. Jia remarks that the scales are spreading, and she might not have much time left as herself.
Meanwhile, Rang gasps awake. Puppy Boy is crying next to his bed and informs him Yoo-ri left with a scary man and isn’t coming back.
Yeon goes to see Hye-ja about the fortune teller. She shares a rumor she’s heard: one of the gods of the underworld sometimes leaves his post and wanders. At home, Jia finally gets to spend her paycheck on her parents and gifts them clothes.
While acting as the imoogi’s chauffeur, Yoo-ri asks for five minutes to stop by Shin-joo’s clinic. After walking in, she immediately kisses Shin-joo, and then says she’s dumping him. She bluffs that she tires of things quickly, but Shin-joo isn’t buying it.
Yoo-ri gets harsher and says she hates how he nags and smiles all the time. He tears up but calmly says he won’t do those things then. It’s too much for Yoo-ri who yells for him to stop and starts crying as she insists she hates him.
Shin-joo knows she’s lying and hugs her when she tries to leave, saying he won’t let go of her. When he begins to sob and apologize, Yoo-ri breaks free and walks out. He follows her outside, but in the end, there’s nothing he can do. The imoogi watches interestedly from the car.
Shin-joo cries it out with Yeon (who is terrible at comforting people) and says he even bought rings and planned to propose. Yeon thinks there must be a reason for the sudden breakup. “It’s the imoogi. The imoogi took her!” Rang announces as he rushes into the room.
Yeon’s face lights up and he jumps over the couch to grab his little brother in a hug. Rang pretends to hate it, of course. He explains that Yoo-ri saved him and the imoogi took her in exchange.
Shin-joo is frantic as Yeon tries to hold him back. Rang delivers a swift blow to the stomach that sends Shin-joo to the ground. “I thought you wouldn’t be able to hit him, so I did it for you,” Rang explains to Yeon. Ha.
Yeon promises to save Yoo-ri. Despite his worry, Shin-joo thinks to ask about Puppy Boy and is aghast that Rang left him alone. Rang thinks he’ll be fine since he bought him a mountain of new toys to keep him preoccupied.
The gang (including Jae-hwan and Sae-rom) gathers at Yeon’s to plan, although Jia and Rang continually butt heads since he thinks she’s a danger to them all. Yeon notes that attacking the imoogi physically won’t work, and only he and Jia are immune to the imoogi’s mind control.
Jia shares that the imoogi plans to ultimately spread a plague. Everyone is worried, save for Rang who plays a game on his phone like a bratty kid. Yeon ignores him and admits that he’s found a way to kill the imoogi inside of Jia.
He announces that the fortune teller is one of the underworld gods, which finally gets Rang’s attention. That god possesses the Euiryeong Sword, a weapon made by King Yeomra that slays sin. And now Hye-ja has it. Since it’s a wooden sword that only slays spirits, Jia will be safe. Yeon says they’ll use it the following day.
Yeon and Rang go for coffee, and Rang is weirded out by how nice Yeon is being. He even pushes his drink toward Rang when he says he wants to try it. “I only have to extend my hand. Why didn’t I do that earlier?” Rang scoffs that he’s talking like he’s dying. (Uh-oh).
When Rang playfully pushes him, Yeon winces. Rang pushes aside Yeon’s shirt and sees his wound. Yeon denies Jia did it, but Rang knows he’s lying. Rang frustratedly asks what happens to Yeon if they fail with the sword? “Rang, that’s why I need you,” Yeon admits.
The CEO raves in his jail cell and scratches at the chickenpox-like rash now all over his body. Nearby, a cop starts scratching at his neck. Ooh, it looks like the “plague” has begun.
Jia, Sae-rom, and Jae-hwan go out for tteokbokki. Jia tries to get them to stay away from her for a while, but they won’t hear of it. Jia observes that they can’t all take off work, but Jae-hwan informs her Team Leader Choi isn’t there.
She finds out the CEO turned himself in and calls Yeon while Jae-hwan tries (and fails) to get in touch with Team Leader Choi. He’s currently at the police station doing CPR on the officer who got the rash and is now unconscious. The officer vomits up some blood and an egg-looking thing.
With no time to spare, the team decides to enact their plan that night at the Snail Bride. Rang already created a rope fence with horse blood to (hopefully) contain the imoogi. Jia will cut herself to call the imoogi out, and Shin-joo will lock her and Yeon inside.
Rang asks what they’ll do if the imoogi takes over Yeon’s body, but Yeon assures him that won’t happen while he’s conscious. (But what if he gets knocked unconscious?) They have a snake that will serve as a body for the imoogi to jump into if it tries to escape.
Jia palms a safety pin (hmm) before she and Yeon enter the prepared room. The others board the door shut and cover it in talismans. Inside, Jia tells Yeon tie her to a chair so she can’t hurt him. Outside, Rang has a bad feeling as he, Shin-joo, and Hye-ja wait anxiously.
Jia is nervous and asks for a hug. She entreats him not to hesitate – she’s prepared to get hurt. Yeon assures her the blade only hurts things that can’t be slain, like an imoogi’s soul. Jia asks if that means it could slay Yeon’s soul too. When he says yes, she smiles. Looks like the imoogi is driving.
Yeon senses it’s not Jia, but she still manages to swipe the sword and slash him, knocking him unconscious. The others hear the thud, and Shin-joo has to hold Rang back from rushing inside and killing Jia.
Inside, the imoogi smashes a chair over Yeon’s prone body, but he doesn’t stir. The Jia imoogi rips a scale off Jia’s neck – elsewhere, “Terry” grabs his neck in sympathetic pain – and grossly puts it in Yeon’s mouth.
Yeon’s eyes shoot open, and he spits the scale out. Now he knows that the imoogi switches bodies using a scale. We flash back to when Hye-ja told Yeon the fortuneteller was AWOL. Yeon then instructed her to procure a normal wooden blade. Ah, it was always fake.
Even knowing it’s been duped, the imoogi isn’t daunted and vows to return to Jia no matter what body Yeon uses the scale to put it in. Yeon threatens to put it into the snake, but the imoogi warns him that it won’t leave Jia whole when it jumps out.
Yeon prefers this imoogi’s villainy over “Terry’s” weird romantic obsession. This imoogi sees Jia purely as a hostage, but Yeon remarks the other is more concerned with Jia than becoming whole. He asks if the imoogi knows what its other half is currently up to.
The imoogi looks concerned, but it suddenly grabs Jia’s head in pain. The body falls unconscious. In the car, the other imoogi’s pain finally seems to ease as Yoo-ri watches from the driver’s seat.
Taluipa, meanwhile, finally submits Jia’s death date: today. Hyun Eui-ong sees and says he’s no longer her husband. As he walks to the door, she yells that she’ll make him lose everything. He turns to face her.
“Terry” leaves a trail of bodies as he stalks down the street. Jia wakes and tells Yeon to hurry because she wants to be by his side as herself in the final moments. Yeon takes her hand. “Let’s end this sickening and tiring battle.”
I could’ve done without yet another fake out plan this hour. Sometimes they work really well like with Yeon and Rang switching identities, but they can start to feel trite when used too frequently. Plus, we’re so close to the end that I’d rather just be privy to what’s going on in full rather than be kept in the dark to be “surprised.” I did think their supposed plan was kind of simplistic, so I’m glad that they were being smarter than that. I was with Rang that it seemed risky to have Jia in on all their plans when she’s literally housing the enemy, but they wisely used that to their advantage. Or at least Yeon did – I’m not sure who all was in on the real plan. This time was all about figuring out how the imoogi switches bodies, which does seem a good first step. If they can get it out of Jia, they can go all out in trying to destroy it. Since it seems like the scale needs to be ingested, I’m guessing the imoogi spirit can only be transferred to a living body rather than something inanimate, for instance.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the imoogi, although we did learn more this hour. Most importantly, we learned the original imoogi split into “Terry” and the one in Jia because the ritual at the well went awry. It’s interesting that they’re so different despite being technically the same being. I hadn’t considered that they’re not working toward the same goal, but Yeon seemed to hit on something with that. I hadn’t realized the fixation on Jia is pretty much just a “Terry” thing. From the looks of it, his obsession with her could cause internal strife, and he may be going rogue. I wonder if the plague spreading was the original imoogi’s idea or if he’s acting solo. Also, how is he intending to use Yoo-ri? Is she his replacement for the CEO now that he cast him off? I’m curious how connected the two halves of the imoogi are – the imoogi in Jia didn’t seem to know what “Terry” has been doing judging from the look on Jia’s face when Yeon brought it up. Maybe our team won’t have to do anything, and they can just let the imoogi destroy each other.
I’m not sure what I think of the imoogi as a villain overall. The imoogi in Jia is much more consistently threatening, whereas “Terry” vacillates between threatening and laughable. I can’t take him seriously when he’s all smirky and giving broody monologues. He sometimes comes across like a wayward boyband member who’s going through a bad boy phase. I get what they’re going for with his gentle mannerisms and pretty facade, but it doesn’t always work well here.
On another note, it feels like we’ve finally started to flesh out Taluipa’s character these past couple episodes, although it’s a bit too little, too late. I really wish we were introduced to her backstory with her son and daughter-in-law much earlier in the drama since it adds an interesting dimension to her character and her relationship to Hyun Eui-ong. While I can understand how her family would find her decisions heartless, she is in charge of basically everyone’s lives. It’s hard to say she’s wrong for choosing to prioritize the fate of the world, but it might not make her the best wife and mother. That kind of job doesn’t lend itself well to family life, and it’s an interesting thing to explore. Even though I’m not a fan of her character, she is another example of how the women in this drama are varied and the characters in general are not gender stereotyped, which is greatly appreciated.
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