Tale of the Nine Tailed: Episode 14
Things move a bit slower this hour as the stage is set for the final battle ahead. Our hero desperately searches for a way to save our heroine and comes up with a daring plan to end this once and for all. Both of our leads are determined to protect each other, but will their efforts be enough?
EPISODE 14: “Dead end”
Jia comes to and feels guilty for not being able to keep the imoogi from surfacing. She still feels it in her head, so she tells Yeon to hurry. Jia wants to be herself at the end.
Outside, Yoo-ri watches in shock as “Terry” brushes past people in the street, and they drop dead. He gets in the car, looking weary. Yoo-ri wonders if causing all this chaos is his idea of fun, but he says no. It’s all just to get at Yeon.
At the Snail Bride, Yeon leads Jia to the table where the others are. Rang checks that Yeon is unhurt before threatening to hurt him for lying. It looks like Yeon didn’t clue in anyone else, although Shin-joo says he could immediately tell Yeon was bluffing about the sword.
Yeon shares that he discovered the key to how the imoogi transfers bodies. Not only will he get it out of Jia, but he’ll bury it so it can never return.
Meanwhile, Taluipa threatens to strip Hyun Eui-ong of his immortality and god status if he leaves. Exhausted, he says all he wanted was his wife and son. “Spending eternity with you is the biggest punishment,” Hyun Eui-ong proclaims as he walks out.
At work, Team Leader Choi isn’t looking so good, and he now has that rash on his neck. Jia hears from Jae-hwan that the police officer died of a heart attack and his body was covered in a rash. He also threw up an egg.
Alarmed, Jia tells him and Sae-rom to get away from Team Leader Choi immediately. Rang shows Yeon an article about mysterious deaths in the city where the corpses are covered in hives. Yeon rushes off, instructing Jia to stay with the gang. In the car, Hyun Eui-ong calls and tells him about Taluipa altering Jia’s death date.
Outside, Jia recalls that the imoogi told her he’d spread a plague and kill her loved ones. She starts to panic about her parents, so Shin-joo says he’ll take care of them. That leaves Jia and Rang.
Of course, they immediately start arguing about how each other is no better than the imoogi. Jia suggests they go their separate ways and heads home alone. Rang wonders what Yeon sees in such an intense woman.
Jia reaches a crosswalk, so you know there’s going to be danger. Sure enough, a truck comes barreling down the street (the brakes aren’t working). Rang watches from across the street as it heads straight for Jia.
Jia huddles, sure she’s about to die. She looks up to see Hyun Eui-ong has stopped the truck. Rang watches concernedly, knowing that there’ll be major trouble now that the gods are interfering personally.
At the Afterlife Immigration Office, Yeon confronts Taluipa, but she’s firm in her decision. Yeon loses his cool as he asks why it’s Jia instead of the being responsible for the plague. She states that Jia needs to die to kill the imoogi inside her before they can slay “Terry.”
Yeon vows that no one gets to take Jia. He steadies himself and materializes his sword. Taluipa invites him to come at her, so Yeon walks forward.
Hyun Eui-ong fills Jia in on the situation, and she takes it calmly. She’s mostly worried to hear that Yeon went to fight Taluipa. At that moment, Yeon puts down his sword. He asks for three days to catch the imoogi. If he’s unsuccessful, Taluipa can slay him.
Taluipa coldly rejects; she can’t allow more lives to be taken in the interim. Yeon’s tears fall, and he kneels. “Please save her,” he whispers. His pleas begin to test her composure, but she remains unswayed.
Yeon asks how she could do this to him. Taluipa bitterly replies, “I lost my child and my husband. Do you think I can’t stand to lose you?” When Yeon warns that she’ll regret it, Taluipa stays silent.
Jia is wracked with guilt and thinks she never should’ve been born, but Hyun Eui-ong comfortingly assures her she’s not to blame. She shares the imoogi’s claim that she’ll end up personally killing Yeon. Hyun Eui-ong reminds her that’s why she and Yeon are fighting so hard to protect each other.
Yeon sits outside the Afterlife Immigration Office all night, but he can’t find an answer. Taluipa comes outside to smoke a pipe and shares that she’s tried everything to quit, but nothing worked. “What would you do if the ending won’t change no matter what you do?” she poses, “If only one of you can survive?” He sighs to realize the ending is set.
At home, Rang wakes up covered in stickers. Pfft. He steps on one of the toys littering his living room, and Puppy Boy offers to blow on his wound. Rang is grossed out by his runny nose and realizes the kid has been wearing the same dirty clothes for days.
He hands over his card, telling Puppy Boy to go buy new clothes. The kid just keeps following him around, even trying to follow him into the bathroom. Ha. He crouches outside the door and laughs as Rang yells when he notices the stickers.
Jia’s parents sit outside and wonder where they’ve been all this time. It doesn’t feel to them like they’ve been missing for so many years. But they’re glad Jia has grown up well. Shin-joo sits outside their house in his car, looking at the ring he bought for Yoo-ri.
Meanwhile, Rang and Puppy Boy eat cereal which is all they have. Apparently, Yoo-ri usually takes care of food. Puppy Boy asks when she’s coming back, and Rang says he’s trying to find the right time because making a move will result in Yeon losing something.
Rang thinks back to when Yeon said he needed his help. He asked Rang to finish this fight for him if he doesn’t make it, but Rang had refused. He isn’t worried about protecting Jia or the world – he just wants to save Yoo-ri and Yeon.
Now, Rang smiles wistfully and says it looks like he can’t be the good guy. He heads out and leaves Puppy Boy to look after the house.
Team Leader Choi stops by the Snail Bride. Hye-ja asks after his health, but he says he’s totally fine. At work, Jae-hwan and Sae-rom worry about him and whether they’ve been exposed.
As he eats, Team Leader Choi suddenly looks like he’s about to choke. Hye-ja finds that his skin is freezing, and he’s covered in those hives. She does the Heimlich on him, and he spits out an imoogi egg.
At the station, Jae-hwan and Sae-rom find one of their colleagues dead in his chair. Sae-rom runs out to get help and finds everyone on their floor dead. The news reports the plague is spreading rapidly throughout Seoul.
The imoogi is in a benevolent mood and encourages Yoo-ri to go see Shin-joo. Elsewhere, Jia shuts herself in the bathroom and commands the imoogi to come out. She holds a knife to her throat and threatens to kill herself. When Jia pierces her skin, the imoogi surfaces.
The imoogi says it’ll take her over completely soon, but Jia counters that it’s taking quite a while. The imoogi claims that it’s an after effect of being suppressed by the fox bead for so long. Soon though, Jia will be the one put to sleep.
Jia takes this to mean the imoogi’s condition is unstable and wonders what would happen if she died before it could take over. The imoogi doesn’t think she can do it, but Jia replies that humans can do crazy things when they have something to protect.
The imoogi tries to scare her by saying Yeon will die, but Jia just tells it to focus on its own relationships – “Terry” is going to kill them both. She shares that her death date has changed due to his actions. Jia’s dad knocks on the door, so Jia pushes the imoogi back down.
Shin-joo runs up to Yoo-ri, relieved she’s unharmed. She asks about Rang and smiles to hear he woke up, but when Shin-joo says they should go see him, she resists. Neither of them can leave. “I’m stalling you.” She thinks of the imoogi’s threat to kill Shin-joo if they cross paths.
Jia gets a call from her dad, saying her “friend” came over – the one who had him write that message on the carnation. The imoogi takes the phone and reminds Jia that he can destroy everything she loves. Her parents finally catch on that he’s decidedly not a friend.
He looks at them and issues an order: “I want to hang myself.” Jia screams, but Hyun Eui-ong stops her from leaving. In a trance, her parents walk to the prepared nooses. Right as they reach for them, Yeon comes in for the heroic last-minute save.
Yeon accuses the imoogi of getting Jia’s death date changed and wonders what he’s really after. Jia dying would hurt the imoogi too. He calls the imoogi a “cursed existence,” and suggests there could be a better way than obsessing over him and Jia. What if he could have a position higher even than a mountain god? “God of the gods.”
That gets his attention, although he’s skeptical. “Let’s attack the owner of Samdocheon [Taluipa] together,” Yeon offers. The imoogi is surprised at this betrayal, but Yeon argues he’ll do anything to save Jia. So long as the imoogi lets her go and leaves them alone, he’ll join hands with him.
Even though it looks like a trap, Yeon is confident the imoogi will agree. They’re both in danger of losing their other halves and going to hell together. “Terry” asserts he’s been hoping for that. Yeon gives him until sunrise to change his mind.
Elsewhere, Shin-joo thinks Yoo-ri has been threatened or mind-controlled, but her callous assertion that “mere humans” don’t matter angers him. He accuses her of using his feelings to lure him out. She tries to justify her actions, but Shin-joo stops her before she can say something to make him regret liking her.
Jia flings her arms around Yeon when he arrives home. He assures her that her parents are okay, and he erased their memories of meeting the imoogi (…so this can happen again?). Shin-joo hangs his head and apologizes, but Jia doesn’t blame him.
They’re shocked when Yeon says he plans to join hands with “Terry.” Hyun Eui-ong assumes it’s because Taluipa failed him, but Yeon says she unconditionally gave him two more days during which Jia will be safe. Yeon’s smile drops when he walks away, and Hyun Eui-ong seems to know something’s up.
In his room, Yeon thinks about how Taluipa said the ending won’t change. He’d decided he’d just ingest the scale and house Jia’s imoogi, and then jump into Samdocheon with “Terry.” He’ll lose his chance to reincarnate, but it will stop the imoogi from ever resurrecting.
At the Snail Bride, Hye-ja cares for a very sick Team Leader Choi and begs him to hang on until the fight is over. Hyun Eui-ong pops in and stares in shock at Team Leader Choi. He waves Hye-ja out of the room and asks if she knew he was her past life husband (Aha! I wondered…). Hye-ja is stunned.
At the police station, the CEO begs Detective Baek to take him to a hospital, but Detective Baek says it’s of no use; he’ll die either way. The CEO notes his oddly pristine shoes, and Detective Baek shifts into Rang who munches on popcorn while enjoying the CEO’s misery.
The CEO tries to convince Rang he know the imoogi best and could help if Rang frees him. That’s not enough for Rang. The CEO catches on, “That’s why you came. So your hands won’t be stained with blood.” Rang (in the form of Detective Baek) releases the CEO.
Elsewhere, Yeon and Jia go out to eat. Yeon just stares at her with hearts in his eyes the whole time. She lists several things she wants him to promise they’ll do together, and Yeon only hesitates a moment before agreeing. She whispers something to him she wants him to buy for her birthday, and he agrees to that too. Jia prompts him on how he’ll keep these promises. “Live long,” he replies, and they pinky promise.
Jae-hwan buys Sae-rom flowers and a cake for her birthday. Uh-oh, she has the rash on her neck. They both try to keep things light, but she does ask him to adopt her fish. Aw.
Over drinks, Jia laments that she only has two days left, according to the imoogi inside her. Jia thinks her dying would solve all their problems, but Yeon says he would live blaming himself for failing to protect her. Jia feels the same and says they need to protect each other.
Jae-hwan calls her about Sae-rom, and she goes running to her friend. She ignores health safety protocol and grabs her infected friend in a hug (Disclaimer: do not try at home).
In Rang’s car, the CEO pockets a gun and prepares to assassinate someone, it seems. He wonders if Rang can handle the aftermath. Rang knows Yeon won’t forgive him and might not see him anymore, but it’s worth it to save his life.
At the Snail Bride, Hye-ja cries and laments that she didn’t recognize her husband sooner. Hyun Eui-ong worries about the implications of all these interconnected people and past lives surrounding Yeon and Jia.
They set Sae-rom up at Yeon’s place, and Jae-hwan refuses to leave her side. Privately, Yeon explains to Jia that the egg Team Leader Choi vomited contains a baby serpent that eats people’s insides. Yeesh.
Jia is terrified for Sae-rom, but Yeon promises the imoogi will take the bait soon. Yeon waits anxiously by his phone all night while Jia and Jae-hwan care for Sae-rom. It’s light by the time the imoogi calls. They meet at the mansion where he agrees to join hands. They even shake on it and smirk at each other.
Rang hears Yeon’s bold plan from Shin-joo and immediately understand that his brother is going to essentially commit suicide and take the imoogi with him. The imoogi thinks to himself that Yeon will be caught in his own trap while Yeon gives a dramatic internal monologue about how they’re entering the stage now and won’t exit alive.
At Yeon’s, Jia stares down the barrel of the CEO’s gun. His hand shakes as he says she must die for him to live. We hear three shots.
We flash back to one day when Yeon picked Jia up from work. They’d walked to her place in the rain under his red umbrella and stopped for some kimbap and ramyeon, contentedly eating and talking.
He’d observed she looked happier than she had in a while. She smiles that she had him and her parents – her dreams came true. He wondered what it’d be like to be human, but Jia thought the important thing was that they were together.
There’s no way Jia is actually dead. We’ve got a whole week to go, and that would be a massive letdown of a showdown if that wishy-washy CEO took her out. I’m expecting Yeon to burst in and work his hero magic of dramatically saving the day at the very last second, although I hope something a bit more unexpected happens. Even if she survives, this could put a serious dent in the gang’s teamwork. Rang and Jia have been at each other’s throats from the start, but this takes things to a whole other level. I’m not surprised Rang tried to get the CEO to off Jia – he’s made no secret of the fact that he finds her a liability – but Yeon is not going to be happy. Although at this point, so long as Jia lives, Yeon probably won’t have much time or energy to spare for his brother’s misdeeds.
Yeon’s plan to transfer the imoogi to himself before dragging “Terry” with him to Samdocheon is no surprise, but it seems like a really risky plan. If Yeon fails in any way, the imoogi has the body of a god which is pretty much the worst outcome here. I get that Yeon is desperate, but I hope he has some sort of failsafe in place to make sure he doesn’t accidently facilitate the destruction of the world and whatnot. I’m frustrated that Yeon is lying about his ultimate plan and shutting the others out (again). It’s not fair for Yeon to unilaterally decide given that they’ve all been affected by the imoogi and have been fighting side by side. Plus, Jia has consistently told him she wants to fight this together. But he’s a former god, and I don’t think teamwork is his strong suit. At least Rang immediately caught on to Yeon’s plan – I doubt he’ll let this slide.
Speaking of secrecy, I can’t believe they’ve kept Jia’s parents in the dark about everything! That seems unwise given that they’re in explicit danger. And why in the world would Yeon erase their memories of the imoogi? The fact that they just let him in and accepted the imoogi’s word for it that he was friends with Jia shows that they’re not exactly the overly cautious type. Even if he doesn’t come after them directly again, what if he were to mind control someone else into attacking them or something? It’d help if they knew to be vigilant. Also, I thought for sure something was weird with them, like that the imoogi had made them sleeper agents or they weren’t actually her parents. But if that’s the case, the imoogi going directly to them and ordering them to kill themselves seems like an odd move. Even so, I can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right with them.
Regardless, there’s a lot more to worry about now. We’ve reached the final week of the drama, and everything has been leading to this showdown with the imoogi. With how much buildup we’ve had, I’m expecting the drama to give us something epic, and I hope it can deliver. But really, I’m more interested in how the drama handles this question of fate that’s been central to everything. Yeon and Jia have been pushing against the idea that they can’t control their own destinies and trying to fight against their fates. If they’re successful, fate is more of an influencing than determining force. If they’re not, fate determines a person’s life (or lives) completely. Rather than questioning the existence of fate, it’s more about the degree of control fate has. Fate is a frequent theme in dramas, and I’m not always fond of how it’s utilized. But I like how it’s been framed here, and I’m hoping we get a good resolution for this question that’s been driving our characters from the start.
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