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Tale of the Nine Tailed: Episode 8

We’re in for some noble idiocy this hour as our lead uses the revelation orchestrated by his estranged brother to take a step back from our heroine for her supposed protection. Of course, that leaves her more vulnerable when an unwelcome visitor arrives to wreak havoc. Naturally, our heroine finds herself in danger again, but there’s more than just her life at risk. This puts our supernatural hero in a bind since he can’t be everywhere at once and must choose where he’s most needed.

 
EPISODE 8: “Reincarnation”

We jump back into Ah-eum’s memories, starting with a picturesque scene of her and Yeon under the red umbrella in the rain. She worries about what he’ll do once she dies and remarks that it’s impossible to make time stop. Yeon takes her hand and briefly does just that, water droplets suspended in the air.

He levitates them up to a sturdy tree branch and states he’ll live fine without her, so she should live normally and forget her patricidal plans. Ah-eum asks him to promise his feelings won’t change. Yeon jokingly tells her to shoot him if he betrays her.

Her servants – Sae-rom and Jae-hwan’s past selves – anxiously tell her she’s been summoned to the palace. A man’s voice says it’s a royal command. Ah, it’s the CEO. He claims the king is in critical condition.

Ah-eum hasn’t seen her father in years, and he’s looking rough. He comments on how she’s grown and asks about life outside of the palace. She seethes as she remarks that his subjects are starving. He reasons that the nation is in chaos, but she disagrees. “The king’s mind was in chaos because something evil is possessing him.”

The king laughs, and we see the imoogi scales. His health suddenly seems to improve as he remarks he should’ve killed her years ago since she’s the only one who’s caught on. Ah-eum whips out her bow and trains an arrow on the king.

She orders the imoogi to come out and shoots a warning shot by his head. The imoogi taunts her to go ahead; this body will die anyway. He reveals that she was a sacrifice to him from birth, but her father gave his body to save her. If she brings him Yeon, he’ll release her father. Otherwise, her father will die within three days.

Ah-eum lowers her bow and agrees. However, Yeon can’t leave his mountains. She offers to let him possess her instead of her father. She thinks to herself that she’ll get him out of the palace and trust Yeon for the rest.

Now we’re back in the forest where Yeon holds a sword to Ah-eum’s throat. Yeon asks scornfully if the imoogi thought it was using Ah-eum as bait. Did it never consider Yeon was using her to lure it? They begin to fight.

Jia whips off the glasses to regain her composure before continuing. Ah-eum is now on the ground, begging Yeon to save her. He promised his feelings wouldn’t change. Yeon rushes at her, yelling for the imoogi to come out. He thrusts his hand into her chest. Presently, Jia gasps and cries in pained shock.

Yeon arrives, and Jia accuses him of using her to catch the imoogi from the start. “Is that really you?” He says it is and admits he killed her with his own hands.

She tearfully asks why. Yeon thinks of Hyun Eui-ong warning that history would repeat and one of them would die. He responds that it’s just who he is. She yells at him for playing with her heart and not even making up an excuse.

Jia hits his chest and cries. He lightly pushes her off and says he chose to sacrifice one person to save the world. She wonders why it hurts so much and why she was worried about him even as he killed her.

Yeon sighs and wipes her tears. Those feelings are Ah-eum’s, not hers. She calls him a jerk which he acknowledges. She should live long and not have feelings for a jerk like him. Yeon walks out, and Jia sinks to the ground, sobbing.

Rang saunters into the Snail Bride to meet Yeon who’s playing baduk against himself. He begs to know what Jia said after seeing the past. Instead of answering, Yeon asks what Rang would choose to be if he were reincarnated. Rang doesn’t much care but says maybe a shrimp. Pfft.

Yeon shares that he’d like to be human. Rang thinks that’s pathetic, but Yeon wants to experience all the firsts and lasts. Rang is weirded out by this conversation, wondering what’s up with his brother. Yeon comments it’s been a while since they talked like this.

He asks where the imoogi is, but of course, Rang won’t spill. Yeon figured as much and states with finality, “So this is your decision.”

Yeon asks him to play a round of baduk like old times. Rang claims Yeon is no fun to play against since he always loses, but he plays anyway. We flash back to happier times when they played baduk while little Rang ceaselessly asked questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” Yeon got frustrated and rapped him on the head. Little Rang smiled and said he just liked hearing Yeon’s voice.

Presently, Rang smiles non-menacingly for once, but his smile drops when Yeon starts winning. We flash back again to see Yeon letting little Rang win, smiling at his excitement. He constantly supports Rang quietly from the sidelines, urging the wind to fly his kite and ensuring he doesn’t get hurt.

Now, Rang realizes the truth before Yeon says it: he let him win every time. Embarrassed and angry, he sends the baduk pieces flying as he tells Yeon to shut up. Yeon warns that he no longer intends to let Rang win.

Rang declares it’s truly over between them if Yeon walks out the door this time. Yeon turns to him and apologizes. He’s sorry he saved him after his mother abandoned him. They wouldn’t have lived as brothers were it not for that. Oof, the look in Rang’s eyes – I think Yeon just crushed his soul.

Alone, Rang thinks back to after his mother abandoned him and that creature found him in the woods. It bit him, but he managed to get away and hide. A noise from above. Little Rang looks up to see another creature scurrying down the tree toward him. He closes his eyes, but the creature is felled. Yeon walks up, asking if he’s the half-human progeny of his father.

Yeon declares him nothing special, disappointed in his weak survival instinct, and goes to leave. The creature groans, still alive. Yeon tells Rang it’s an agwui (hungry ghost of a person who starved to death) and can’t be killed.

Rang can decide whether he’ll live as a human or fox, “but there’s no salvation for someone who doesn’t save themselves.” Little Rang makes up his mind and runs after Yeon. “Let’s go, hyung,” Rang says as he takes his brother’s hand, and they smile. Now, Rang stands alone, blinking back tears.

Yeon lurks outside Jia’s house, staring sadly. Inside, Jia sits despondent on her bed. At the Snail Bride, Rang drinks alone, depressed. It’s a broody night, one and all.

The following day, Jia arrives at work and blinks back tears at the sight of the empty lobby where Yeon had waited the day before. Unbeknownst to her, Yeon hides around the corner.

At the mansion, the CEO sounds like he’s having an asthma attack. He laboriously makes his way over to the Chinese lantern tree and plucks a piece of fruit. He sniffs the evil-looking vapor emanating from it and recovers.

Rang is lounging on the sofa and jokes the CEO will live longer than he will. The CEO offers him the world’s most evil inhaler, but Rang doesn’t like the smell of human souls. The CEO agrees about the unpleasantness, especially since their memories seep into you. But they’re both alive thanks to it.

Rang asks to see the imoogi, but the CEO wants to talk first. He’s worried his “precious guest” will get hurt. Enraged at his audacity, Rang flies forward and grabs him. Does he think him weak because he’s been agreeable? The CEO laughs when he sees the imoogi who forces Rang to let go. The imoogi says pleasantly he’s been hoping to meet Rang.

Elsewhere, Shin-joo ambushes Yoo-ri in her car since she won’t reply to his messages. She notices the bruises on his face but says nothing. Shin-joo wants her to name the dog since she’s its mom.

Yoo-ri repeats the word “mom” to herself and names the dog Anastasia. She gets all happy when he praises the name. Shin-joo wonders if she’s the same Yoo-ri he thought she was. No matter her circumstance or why she approached him, he vows to prove to her there’s good in the world.

She says she’ll make sure he regrets saying that, but Shin-joo counters he looks forward to it. Just like she did when they first met, Shin-joo startles her with a kiss on the cheek.

At the mansion, the imoogi asks Rang why he’s so sad. Is it his brother? Rang does not appreciate being analyzed and warns the imoogi he won’t wait for him anymore. He’s going ahead with his plans. The imoogi realizes Rang wants to kill Jia, but he can’t let that happen. She’s a sacrifice to him and will become his bride. Yikes.

Jia’s in a bad mood at the office, and Sae-rom guesses Jia fought with Yeon. Watching Sae-rom and Jae-hwan makes Jia think of their past selves. She smiles and tells Team Leader Choi she just thought of an item: past lives.

Shin-joo finds a gloomy Yeon sitting outside Jia’s office. He brings him lunch and hand feeds him when he won’t eat. Shin-joo asks why he won’t clear up the misunderstanding with Jia and tell her there’s more to the story.

Yeon thinks Jia seeing him as the bad guy will help prevent history from repeating. Shin-joo knows he’s worried Jia will sacrifice herself to save him like Ah-eum did, but he can’t believe Yeon is going to protect her from the sidelines after waiting so long for her. Yeon tasks Shin-joo with looking out for Jia and leaves.

Rang spots Puppy Boy and tries to sneak by to no avail. The kid comes running up, saying he’s been waiting for Rang. See, he’s been thinking about his career. He first wanted to be a triceratops (LOL), then an internet café owner, then—Rang tells him to get to the point.

Puppy Boy smiles and says he wants to be “handsome and courageous with superpowers” like Rang when he grows up. Rang says the kid can’t be like him if he isn’t a fighter. He sees the bruise on the boy’s face and asks if he was hit at school or at home. Aw, is that why he’s always alone? Rang reluctantly shares Yeon’s advice about saving yourself and walks away. The boy runs after him.

At the mansion, the imoogi tells the CEO he was “touched” by Rang’s pain and suggests trying something out – perhaps it’ll be another weakness for Yeon. “A guest is on their way,” he announces.

While Team Leader Choi tries to chat up Hye-ja at the Snail Bride, she’s alerted to the arrival of a guest. She’s not happy to see the woman and tells her to leave. The woman threateningly asks if Hye-ja has forgotten who she is, but Hye-ja claims she could never forget the woman who took her husband from her.

“Are you still not over that farmer?” the woman asks derisively. All she did was bring his trauma to the surface; it’s his fault his fragile mind couldn’t find its way back. The woman implies she chose him because of Hye-ja. She hates fairy tale heroines like Hye-ja – no one remembers her name.

When Team Leader Choi butts in, the woman asks what scares him most and grabs his hand. She observes he’s afraid of flying. “Oh, why is he here?” she asks in confusion. Hmm. Hye-ja pulls him behind her and tells the woman to leave. “Spring comes and goes again,” the woman proclaims cryptically.

Meanwhile, Yeon joins Hyun Eui-ong. It’s his son’s memorial. Hyun Eui-ong says Taluipa has shut herself away and comments the loss of their son is why she’s so hard on Yeon. She’s afraid he’ll lose the right to be reincarnated like their son did. Yeon declares he’s going to do everything he can to save himself and Jia. Inside, Taluipa cries at her son’s memorial alter.

Elsewhere, Jia meets a psychiatrist friend and tells her about her new project on past lives. She gives Jia a notebook with collected news articles about a boy in Syria who claims to recall his past life. Jia is stunned to hear her mother asked the same thing and even helped collect those articles.

Jia is confused why her surgeon mother would care about past lives. The psychiatrist is surprised Jia doesn’t remember undergoing hypnosis at her mother’s request when she was nine.

At the station, Sae-rom and Jae-hwan also discuss past lives. Sae-rom believes in the concept, but Jae-hwan isn’t sure. Either way, he hopes reincarnation isn’t real since you don’t know what you’ll come back as.

While Shin-joo very non-discreetly tails Jia at her station, she watches footage of herself under hypnosis. Little Jia smiles and begins laughing as she says seeing all the people in hanbok lying down is funny. The psychiatrist asks why they’re lying down. “Because it’s a mass grave.”

Appropriately disturbed, the psychiatrist wakes her up. Jia grabs her face and says it’s not time to wake yet. She claims to be Jia yet not. The being shares it was born on the mass grave of those who died from a plague. One day, a beast in human form emerged from a cave: the imoogi.

The being in little Jia says it needs to find the mountain god. It turns to the camera and begins reading the signs behind Jia in the video room. “So that’s where you are,” she says. Jia throws off her headphones and shuts off the video, terrified.

Rang is paid a visit from the woman who came to the Snail Bride. She’s posing as a saleswoman and asks him what he’s most afraid of. He shuts the door in her face, but she says in sing-song she already saw.

Inside, Rang hears children singing, “Doorkeeper, doorkeeper, open the door. I can’t open it without a key…” It’s coming from his wardrobe. He flings open the door and Narnia-style walks into his past.

He’s hit on the head by a villager who tells the crowd he’s the illegitimate child of a gumiho. They blame him for all the village deaths and begin beating him. An eye stares out at him from a hole in his house’s paper door.

Suddenly, the villagers are gone. Rang confronts his mother who’s hiding inside the house. “You saw, didn’t you? That day, you were looking at me.”

His mom tells him he never should’ve been born. She tried everything to abort him, but nothing worked. She calls him a monster who won’t die. Jeez. Rang’s hands shake. He realizes he’s bleeding – this isn’t a dream.

Now he’s in the forest where his mother abandoned him. The agwui attacks, and he sees a horde coming for him. Recalling Yeon’s words that he shouldn’t have saved him, Rang knows he’s on his own this time and begins fighting his way through the creatures.

At the station, Jia contemplates sending a text to Yeon. She’s interrupted by the fake juice saleswoman who asks Jia what her biggest fear is. “Would it be Fox Ridge?” That same children’s song plays as Jia follows the woman out the door … and into her parents’ car.

As Rang fights for his life in the agwui forest, the fake saleswoman appears. She warns him he dies for real if he dies here. To make things more fun, she’ll tell Yeon both Rang and Jia are trapped separately. Meanwhile, Jia begs her parents to stop the car, but they don’t respond. The streetlights wink out one by one.

The fake saleswoman presents Yeon with a choice: go through the door leading to his brother or the one leading to his girlfriend. If Yeon doesn’t play by the rules, Rang and Jia will be lost forever. Yeon guesses the imoogi sent her; she says they’re “partners.”

Yeon promises to repay her for this. He stands facing the two doors, contemplating. While Yeon walks forward, Rang trips and the creatures descend. Yeon opens a door.

Rang is dragged up a tree and set upon by the creatures. He scoffs that as expected, Yeon only cares about Jia. Rang’s eyes widen when Yeon calls, “Hey, little kid!” and comes running toward him, swinging his sword. Rang pettily swats his hand away as he tries to help him up, and they face the horde back-to-back.

 
COMMENTS

We got some more supernatural creatures thrown in the mix, which I like. One thing I enjoy about this drama is the way they take folklore and myth and put their own spin on it. This fake saleswoman who traps people in their worst nightmares is interesting; I wonder what exactly she is. Since the imoogi is involved in these latest shenanigans, there’s no way Jia is meant to die or get trapped forever. He made it clear he wants her alive. Maybe that’s why Yeon went for Rang – he knows the imoogi won’t let Jia die right now. That’s a stab in the dark since I’m not sure how much Yeon knows about the imoogi’s intentions regarding Jia. Alternatively, if Yeon isn’t the only one who can enter the doors, he could’ve sent Shin-joo in to help Jia. I can’t imagine Yeon just left her to fend for herself; we know how obsessive Yeon is about protecting her.

And, of course, what better way to protect someone you love than noble idiocy? *Groan* Just freaking tell her the truth about the situation! If Yeon is really worried about her sacrificing herself for him, does he think lying will change that? Jia already has feelings for him, so it’s too late on that front. In that case, he should’ve never gotten close to her again. He chose to be in her life even knowing that their involvement was dangerous and could lead to a repeat of their tragedy. Cutting her out now and pretending not to care is not the answer. In fact, it’s just making things worse. Jia is connected to the imoogi and will continue to be in danger regardless of what Yeon does. Thanks to his deception, she’s way less likely to ask him for help now. I will never understand the point of dramatically suffering alone as opposed to including the other person and making smart decisions.

Now Jia has to dig around on her own to figure out her past. It looks like there’s a lot about her early childhood that she’s forgotten. If Jia’s mom wanted her hypnotized, she must’ve showed signs of something unusual when she was little. It’s strange that Jia doesn’t remember any of it, but maybe she blocked it. Or like in her hypnosis session, maybe it wasn’t even her. It looks like Jia is close to discovering the truth about her connection to the imoogi as well, thank goodness. Then, she can put an end to Yeon’s misguided attempt to protect her, and they can work together to get through this mess.

Yeon was just hurting people left and right this episode. His comment to Rang that he shouldn’t have saved him made me mad. That was a low blow and uncalled for. There are some things you just don’t say, no matter the situation. It didn’t put Yeon in a good light, that’s for sure. If I’m being honest, I find Yeon hard to sympathize with in general. He makes selfish decisions in that I-know-best way that’s frustrating because it deprives people of their right to make their own choices. And all of Yeon’s suffering stems from his own decisions and being cryptic about his thoughts and feelings. I had hoped he’d become less stereotypical and more nuanced as we went, but that’s not happening. His character still feels flat to me, especially in contrast with other characters like Jia and Rang who are given more depth. I think this is a writing issue, not an acting issue. Lee Dong-wook is bringing the charisma and a sort of ethereal quality which works well, but that can’t fully cover a character that seems to be written to be cool rather than interesting or believable.

I find it kind of odd that the over-the-top Rang is somehow a more grounded and believable character. He’s written in a way that’s layered and elicits empathy, despite how awful he can be. His feelings may explode all over the place, but it’s honest and vulnerable. He experienced a lot of trauma as a child, and there was no one to help him work through it. And now he’s so, so broken. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dude more in need of a hug. It’s sad to realize how differently he could’ve turned out if he’d had stability and love as a child. While his childhood abuse and trauma doesn’t excuse his behavior now, it does make him easier to understand and sympathize with. It also helps that Kim Bum is killing it with his expressive eyes. That look like he’s dying inside every time his family rejects him … it just gets to you.

I’m not expecting Rang be completely won over because Yeon came through for him once, but I hope it helps him start to work through his issues. He’s like a tornado when he’s hurt, and nobody needs that destruction. We’re only halfway through, so there’s plenty of time for him to let his better nature win and redeem himself. I’m ignoring the sinking feeling that he might die and willing a happy ending for him into existence. Because he is definitely going to survive and adopt Puppy Boy and be part of a functional family for once in his life.

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I have to confess that the ending of Episode 8 left me scratching my head. Perhaps the most disturbing thing to me is the feeling that, despite all their knowledge and experience neither Yeon nor Rang seem to know what they are doing. Maybe it is just me but what I see is a lot of blindly thrashing around. In fact I think that Yeon needs to fully confide in Jia not just so that she can make smart choices- but so that she can help him sort things out so that he can make smart choices.

As for Fake Saleslady- WTF King Yeomra: You have a loose cannon here, gonna do anything about it? But I am curious to know if there is a figure like her in Korean Folklore- and what purpose does she serve?

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I wonder if we'll find her folklore counterpart too. But maybe we won't since she was all put-out that folktales only remember the names of heroines.

I wonder why Rang didn't sense that Fake Saleslady was a fake saleslady. She seems really powerful if she can trap a half gumiho into a dreamworld where he can die for real.

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Rang isn't a full mountain spirit, he is half human and that lady definitely seemed like a Diety of some sort

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Is Yeon's decision to save Rang and "abandon" Jia his way of trying to stop the past from repeating?

With Rang realizing that Yeon chose him and Yeon maybe being able to now realize the trauma Rang has, is it too much to hope it's the turning point for the brothers to finally team up?

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We can only hope so.

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I thought it was a rational gamble to save Rang, since the juice lady was sent by the Imoogi and Ji-ah appears to be important to the Imoogi's plans so it was unlikely that she was going to killed off. Whereas Rang is a nobody to the Imoogi. The Imoogi and the juice lady are playing with him, expecting him to sacrifice Rang for Ji-ah and torture himself with the decision. I'm glad he went to save Rang. I hope this means Rang will realize what an eff-up he has committed by releasing the Imoogi and work with Yeon to fix things.

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Yes, I think that's it. Yeon's betting on Rang's help in the future if they team up at this point - a debt to be repaid. Not sure if Yeon genuinely thinks he needs Rang's help or if he's just trying to seduce Rang away from working with the Imoogi at this point.

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I'm not saying that Yeon didn't make some calculations here, and maybe it's the influence of my bleeding heart, but I still believe that Yeon does love his brother. The line about wishing he'd never saved Rang felt incongruent to me - I didn't believe it and thought it was a stupid line. I think Yeon cares very much, and I think Rang broke his heart, too.

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Gah, am feeling like a bleeding heart, but the first thing I thought about Yeon going for Rang instead of Ji-ah is because he trust Ji-ah will be able to save herself form the fear/nightmare trap. Maybe because this is a mind game and the Ji-ah he knows has a strong and devious enough mind. Well, at least the early episodes one and not the one at the ghost episode...

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Curious if Rang is still tied to Imoogi as it looks they have a deal or debt...and i mean life tied...remember seeing a chain or something conecting him...

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If he saves Rang, doesn't mean Rang owes him a favor? So Yeon could redeem the debt later?

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Thanks for recapping. I love that you succinctly captured the issue with Yeon as a character. I think that Jia and Rang are the most compelling characters in the show because they are both grounded in childhood traumas that have shaped the people they've become. But all we know about Yeon is that his life was mostly awesome until he fell in love at 400 years old. So for me, there's nothing to explain his pettiness and nonchalance and indifference to the feelings others in a way that makes me care.

And I always felt kind of uncomfortable saying it, because I'm hardly saying that Rang is innocent or a clear victim, but to be honest, Yeon's emotional cruelty towards his brother sets my teeth on edge. And what really gets me is, like you said before, Yeon is ultimately in control of the situation. It's obvious to literally everyone, that Rang is practically begging for love and affection from his brother, and the ball has been in Yeon's court for ages to put a stop to Rang's rages by simply giving him the emotional support that he desperately needs. If Yeon was smarter, or less petty, or prideful, not sure which, he would have reasoned that the amount of danger Jia is in is directly related to how volatile Rang's emotions are. So just swallow your pride and give the kid a hug for heaven's sake. But instead, Yeon seems to take a petty sort of pleasure in breaking someone who's already close to shattering.

Like that scene on the docks, when he easily pinpointed Rang's pain as caused by abandonment and a lack of affection, and then when Rang was on the verge of tears Yeon simply taunted him with that knowledge. And then later, when they were in that rooftop, and Rang was asking to be killed (seriously fam, your kid brother is suicidal, does that not disturb you?) and opening up about the pain caused by the fact that his big brother almost killed him, Yeon's reaction is to...pretend to kill Rang again, and then tell him he needs to grow up? Not to mention the scene in this episode, were he went out of his way to break Rang down by revealing that he's always had the upper hand, then twisting the knife with that final remark. It's like he never leaves until he makes his brother cry and it's kind of off-putting.

Cause you can argue that Rang was cruel first, but clearly Rang is reacting to events his older brother set in motion, and it's Yeon's responsibility to own what he did and make it right. Not constantly make matters worse by hurting someone over whom you have the clear emotional upper hand. I completely agree with what you said in the last episode. Yeon needs to be the grown-up and take responsibility for the pain he's caused, because it's hard enough to sympathize with him as it is, when his character is so thinly sketched. But without an explanation as to why he's so emotionally cruel towards his brother, when he clearly holds the power in their relationship, it's kind of hard to stomach him as a character.

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Yeon definitely has character flaws, but I wouldn't be so hard on him for his attitude towards his half-brother. A hug isn't going to fix Rang. We saw that in the flashback to when Yeon came to kill Yeon. Rang was overjoyed to see his brother, but he had already changed. He wanted Yeon to join him in taking revenge on the humans. Honestly, I think Yeon doesn't know what to do at this point. He told Rang "No matter how weak you act, I know this isn't your true self." He was supposed to kill Rang a long time ago, but he hasn't, hoping that one day his little dongseng will come around. As for "I'm sorry I saved you, then we would never have been brothers," I think Yeon is regretting the pain in their relationship. If they hadn't met, they wouldn't have gotten close, and then they wouldn't be going through this pain. Yes, Rang wants and needs love. But Yeon simply apologizing won't cut it, and Yeon knows that. As for it being Yeon's fault in the first place... yeah, Yeon should probably apologize anyway. But we can't deny the fact that Yeon DID try to come back for Yeon. But it was too late. We don't know all the circumstances surrounding what happened when Yeon left the mountain, and I think more will be revealed soon. What people keep referring to as "emotional cruelty" is pretty common in Asian culture (saying things they don't really mean), so I guess I'm just more used to it.

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I agree. Yeon definitely has things to apologize for but Rang's violence and murder sprees can't be laid at Yeon's feet. As Yeon says, Rang needs to grow up and stop acting like a child having a tantrum. If we accuse Yeon of being emotionally cruel, then we have to accept that Rang is, too. He's literally telling his own brother that he's going to kill the woman he loves. He loses no opportunity to taunt him with that. But Yeon should just give him a hug and say sorry?

I really, really enjoy Rang's character, and I'm fascinated by his arc and story development. I think I like him so much because I see the good that's still laying dormant within him. I'm not saying some of Yeon's choices weren't questionable, but Rang had and has choices, too.

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As much as I agree that Yeon is treating his brother in a hurtful way, I'll still give him leeway because show hasn't exactly revealed what happened between them after the sword disaster. What if Yeon did try to reconcile with him but Rang paid back his effort with more atrocious act? Maybe Yeon's attitude now is an accumulation of 600 years of trying but never getting there...

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I'm with you here.
It's easy to criticize someone's attitude when you don't have all the facts. I don't agree with quirkycase regarding Yeon's cruelty.
That was certainly not nice, but since we don't have all the elements, we can't really judge. I think quirkycase give Rang a little too much leeway. Being a victim doesn't give you a free pass to hurt others also why Yeon should always be the understanding party in their relationship is beyond me.
I'll withhold judgment until I know everything.
You know, kids are often angry at their parents for having done this or that, not putting themselves in their shoes. It's only when you grow older that you realize how much they've done for you even if wasn't in the best way at some point.

"Maybe Yeon's attitude now is an accumulation of 600 years of trying but never getting there..."

I very much agree with that as well. I'm seeing Yeon more as a parent than as a big brother. And I can tell from personal experience that some time parents forgive time and time again things that they shouldn't and there comes a time when they snap. If that ever happens after having pushed their buttons for years, the "injured party" is going to act like they didn't deserve it when they're actually responsible for their own doom.

For me, that game they played was the moment when Yeon said, this is enough. No more cuddling you and trying to spare your feelings since you don't give a shit about mine: Try to put yourself in my shoes for once.

Also let's not forget that Rang being hurt means that he brings others who have nothing to do with him in their brotherly feud. Best way to earn your big bro's affection is to add to his problems. Really?
Ah and best of all. The fox's bead. Ji Ah lost it because of Rang ultimately... This will come back to hunt all three of them at some point but the most guilty in here is Rang.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't hate Rang... But I don't think he deserves the amount of "understanding" and forgiveness I've read so far. Everything comes with a price, he's killed countless people, hurt others, stole talents and whatnot... and basically we haven't seen him getting punished for it. This is very strange when a single life taken from a crazy serial-killer woman cost Yeon, crossing a bridge with thousands of knifes thrown in his face...

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the reason Rang could cause mayhem without any consequences to him, came from the fact that Yeon has been cleaning after his brother's mess.

Also Yeon being the one with all the cards, it's obvious plotwise that we're not given access to all that he knows and feels. That would spoil the fun.

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Also, how awesome was that scene where Jia was watching her child- imoogi-possessed self? That moment when baby Jia started reading the sign behind adult Jia's head was so incredibly creepy and layered and dark.

And I just really like the idea that our heroine's story is so (theoretically) self contained (pardon the pun) that one of the drama's best moments can happen when she's in a room by herself, watching footage of herself. She has a complicated internal narrative, and a really dark twisted one to boot, without Yeon even being directly involved. And I just really want her to be able to explore that in a compelling way that doesn't reduce her to being the object of Yeon's affection/obsession.

In fact, is it terrible that I'm hoping they'll drop the romance entirely and resume the story about two supernatural brothers reconnecting, and a possessed woman finding her long lost parents while fighting the evil force within her (I know it won't happen, but a girl can dream, right?)? Because both of those stories are quite compelling, but mix in an underwritten romance combined with the vacuum of romantic chemistry between our leads, and then...well...we get a narrative that's only half as compelling as it has the potential to be.

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“ And I just really like the idea that our heroine's story is so (theoretically) self contained (pardon the pun) that one of the drama's best moments can happen when she's in a room by herself, watching footage of herself. ”

Very nicely said.

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I thought it was interesting that Yeon wasn't this openly affectionate brother. He took care of Rang and was quite fond of him, but he was still quite cool and detached. I'm also not too upset that Yeon said he regretted saving Rang. In the grand scheme of things, this one life took a lot of lives. And I think Yeon felt sorry for inflicting this pain of abandonment on Rang for hundreds of years, which then led him to lash out by taking many innocent lives. Pre-burning-mountain Rang would have been horrified that he grew into such a murderous adult.

That whole Ji-ah watching the video of herself as a child and then the child Ji-ah reading the sign behind adult Ji-ah was freaking scary! Loved it. The kid Ji-ah actress is really good!

Looks like the Team Leader Choi, with the crush on Hye-ja, may actually be Hye-ja's husband? Sort of excited for this since he has a crush on her!

I agree with quirkycase about Yeon's character being a little flat. Usually flashbacks shed new light on a character, but the flashbacks seem to depict Yeon to be the same as he always is. Is it because he's a god?

Shin-joo is adorable!

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A low blow and uncalled for? Really? Rang has been nothing but evil, torturing his brother for awhile now. Rang needs emotional support? Ok but going around hurting innocent humans is the way to do that? You could see the hurt on Yeon's face when he was ordered to kill Rang, who had turned into someone completely different slaughtering an entire village. I am in no way saying Yeon is without his flaws but you can't blame Yeon for Rang's actions actions. You want Yeon to give in to Rang, well we haven't seen Rang do anything worthwhile. Yes, Rang just wants his brother to love him but has he talked to Yeon? You know without trying to kill off Yeon's love or not trade Yeon for a mystical power. It seems there is a lot being expected of Yeon but Rang is seen as sympathetic. Rang is too old to act like a spoiled child and Yeon is over it. Rang is actively trying to kill Jia and beat Shin Joo almost to death but can't handle Yeon's cutting remarks?! Yeah, those words probably hit deep but I'm sure they didn't hurt as much as the beating Shin Joo got.

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Thank goodness someone said it. I do not find Rang's character to be written in a unique nor particularly interesting way. His character is almost a Korean drama cliche. "I have childhood trauma so I should be excused for any atrocities that I commit and should be given sympathy because my past excuses my present abhorrent behaviour." Korean dramas are filled with these characters and I'm frankly looking for better. I completely understand Yeon's words to him. Had he not saved his brother, many people would not have suffered, nor be presently suffering. It's like coming face to face with the realization that you raised a serial killer or a mass killer. Rang is not an innocent being. He has brutally killed innocent people. His "abandonment" is not an excuse. Especially since we actually have not seen his "abandonment". It was implied from his own version of events, experienced and interpreted through the eyes of a child.

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Thank you @thatstp !
Glad to see I'm not alone disagreeing with the comment in the recap :D

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Agree with this so much. I mean yes, the bad guy is always more attractive because "he'll change for the love of meeeee", but Rang intentionally trapped Yeon in a black hole and then sent Jia a gift which caused a schism in Jia and Yeon's relationship that puts Jia, Yeon's love, in danger. Yet, Yeon can't even be petty and utter a mean line? Where's the justice in that? It may have been a low blow but it was definitely called for.

I also think it adds wonderfully to the brotherly dynamic. No one fights dirtier than your sibling because they know where all your buttons are.

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Otherwise, her father will die within three days.

Always read the fine print. How long will her father live even if she does everything the baddie wants?

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I think this is a writing issue, not an acting issue.

You would have to be very brave or very foolish to say it's an LDW acting issue.

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YES LDW is killing it!!!!!

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I think this is why it's so frustrating when the writing is so clunky! He's doing the best with what he has, but it feels like he gets bare bones while everyone else around him is getting fleshed out with more and more meat.

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I loved this episode. That folk song sung by children at the end of the episode seemed really creepy. Good to see shows employ folklore and shamanistic culture to add to their supernatural and horror elements. I was sick of seeing excessive modern storytelling (Goblins eating Subway? Gumiho living in an apartment and eating icecream and relying on technology?), it's always good to bring back these stories.

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Agree, @quirkycase - I *hate* noble idiocy and this was completely uncalled for here. Several times Yeon has made decisions that are pretty unintelligent - it seems that despite being an ancient mountain spirit, he hasn't actually learned very much from all that experience. Why on earth he thinks distancing himself from Jia is a good idea is utterly beyond me. And I'm honestly disappointed that writers are *still* using noble idiocy as if we're supposed to be charmed by it. Sigh...

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I suggest laughing at such moments instead. It really does wonders ;)

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Noble idiocy sucks. I mean I guess for someone who is watched ng Kdramas for the first/second time it'll be like oooooo but for someone like me who has watched it in overabundance, I'm so bloody over it.

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The only silver lining I can find is that if they do it right now, perhaps we'll have checked it off on the To Trope list and we'll just have gotten it over with. Hopefully?

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The creepiness is really working for me. That turn in Kid Jia's scene was such a great scare, and Creepy Saleswoman, with her ahjumma cap, is an unexpected Korean rendition of Sandman. I'm usually a scareddy car, but I'm super enjoying the mythology here, and the way it's being used Arang-style.
I'm not yet sold on the romance, but I'm quite happy with the dysfunctional gumiho family dynamics.
And Rang breaks my heart, I'm also suspecting they're redeeming him just to kill him off. Dramagods, you wouldn't be that cruel, would you?

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I'll be sad if in the end we don't have all the foxes (and Puppy) living happily ever after

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I read this after I wrote my comment....
I'm here for foxes and puppy.
My heart will be broken if they're not happy.

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I find it interesting that so many people think Rang is going to redeem himself and then die. There are plenty of other ways to be redeemed, and I feel like everything I've seen so far is pointing to Yeon's sacrificial death. I see Rang turning a new leaf, fighting the Imoogi and getting outmatched, and then Yeon swooping in and dying to save Rang. Or, alternatively, Rang doesn't actually repent until the last moment when the Imoogi is about to kill Yeon and Ji-Ah. He betrays the Imoogi to save them, just in time to rescue Ji-Ah but not Yeon. Yeon dies either way, and then Rang pays restitution for his sins by becoming Ji-Ah's bodyguard while we wait for Yeon to come back to life. In one of the previews, Ji-Ah interviews Yeon, but it seems like Yeon doesn't expect her to know him. Let's say Ji-Ah's memory gets wiped out when the Imoogi goes out of her. Yeon dies (sort of but not really - you know what I mean), but somehow comes back to life at some point. Ji-Ah doesn't forget like she's supposed to (of course) and continues looking for him until that interview. Happy Ending. (thanks for staying with me through my bumpy imagination :)

Also, a random thought for anyone scrolling through who thinks that Rang went bonkers because Yeon was irresponsible: it's actually primarily the Imoogi's fault. Please accept this fact.

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... well... I for one laughed so frakking hard at the noble idiocy at the beginning I had to pause the show.

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I couldn't even muster the will to get upset, just kinda flapping my hands to usher noble idiocy in and shooing it off...

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Ha, I just had this image of a dismissive wave coupled with a rather bored, "Run along, now."

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Omo, yes, exactly this!

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Hum... Yeon loved and loves Rang but he didn't educate him properly. He didn't want this task, bein the cool old Fox, but he still took it and failed it. You can't let believe a kid that he always wins, that he's very strong when he isn't. Sometimes to cheer on him, it's good but not always. Like you could kill him, but he chose to not and it wasn't a mistake.

I wonder if Yeon chose Rang because Jia is stronger mentally. She could control longer her fears.

Yeon is a toy in the hands of other people with powers...

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So happy I'm not the only one thinking about mentally strong Ji-ah!
Also, the flashbacks so far feel like 2 separate lives of Yeon+Ah-eum and Yeon+Rang. I've been wondering whether Rang and Ah-eum ever met, wouldn't these two have good influence for each other?

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I was SO HAPPY when Yeon went in after Rang... Yeon knows that the Imoogi won't let Ji-Ah die. I'm super excited for the next episode, especially seeing the teaser with Ji-Ah's mom (or not her mom) and the graduation picture of Ji-Ah with her parents. Maybe the Imoogi is offering her a different past, one where her parents didn't disappear? And she refuses, saying that she believes in Yeon? I KNOW Ji-Ah doesn't believe that nonsense that Yeon said about himself. She's too smart for that. Look at how she was looking for him when she went to work! And texted him "I need you." She knows that Yeon isn't telling her everything.

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Yeon said, “save yourself” last episode, when they spoke in the parking lot, a call back to when he first met Rang, as the sassy, morally chaotic mountain spirit that he was, who said if he’s not strong, he won’t survive, and then leaving the choice up to RANG to follow him, ergo, supposedly “saving himself”...

I think there’s more to the brothers’ story than we’ve been told, just because I don’t think it makes sense for Yeon to be so dismissive all the time (which makes me laugh, but I’m irreverent so-), and Rang so hellbent on his extremely dark revenge (because it is, really dark, lol) without more to either motivation. There has to be more to how Yeon left the mountain, how Rang got embroiled with the Imoogi and the Cherry Soul Eating human; he said he’d eaten souls before, even been saved by that, he said he doesn’t like the taste.
I just think we don’t know everything yet. Much like how it has slowly revealed parts of Yeon and A Eum’s relationship.

Sure, it does absolutely nutty things sometimes, stupid things as well, and it’s tonally ALL OVER THE PLACE (that also makes me laugh tbh, the whiplash is so severe I can’t help but) … and regularly it seems like this thing doesn’t have a clear direction and just does whatever it wants… that’s almost certainly a bad thing, but I actually weirdly enjoy it at times, it just kinda keeps me on my toes.

Anyway, the preview said some INTERESTING things, about… abandonment for one (how much of Rang’s abandonment issues actually stem from his mother issues hhmm?) So I just think there’s more info to be had. And I personally find myself rooting for BOTH brothers despite the fact they’re honestly kind of absolute assholes to each other.

I like both of them. They’re the kind of morally chaotic jackass I enjoy, (Do Han, the Monkey King, Yi Heon, Gollum… ), with maybe a tortured past or two for good measure.
Yeon is scathingly dismissive of Rang, some might say cruel, like he thinks Rang’s actions are honestly beneath him, or pitiful.
Rang on the other hand doesn’t do a very good job of making it obvious he wants or would even accept his brothers’ love or forgiveness should it be offered (his revenge plan, throwing him in a bottomless void bag for the eyebrows, continuously trying to kill his lover, beating up his servant… ); all he does is bait him gleefully, and then get angry at Yeon for being angry, and then blame him.

One could argue they simply deal with their past in extremely different ways, both which happen to be damaging and hurtful to other people, especially themselves and each other…

I’m not really expecting much, if anything from this show though, least of all complex development and fitting resolution for any of our characters: I am personally just enjoying the ride without taking it too seriously. If I’m nicely surprised, well that will be wonderful, but also, lol.

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In a lot of Asian cultures, the deities are chaotic lol there are very interesting stories - they
were so chaotic that the people had to capture them and keep them in temples to stop them from wreaking havoc. It's very different from the perception of God in other societies. We don't morally learn from these deities either - they're just supernatural beings that are a part of our culture and we respect them for it. They're not the all-forgiving, righteous beings that god's are normally assumed to but they protect the people that worship them.

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I hope a show is able to capture these intricacies more (Thai supernatural films and Korean films are excellent at it). Although I do enjoy a very goodlooking chaotic Kim Bum without any context or reason hahaha

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I agree with you about not knowing everything about Yeon and Rang.
If Yeon "died" (as disappeared) when Rang was still a child and a his puppy died, then what happened all those years until Rang was the adult we know? Yeon told him when they met again that he had looked for him but he couldn't find him, and then it took years to come back (we've already been told that years in hell run different from years on Earth).
I also believe Rang was part of the price Yeon had to pay to the gods to come back as fox and not a god.
Something like that.
Or maybe not.

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The show has a very que sera sera style, and all of these good questions about prior events that you're mentioning, I'm not sure we're gonna get to it. They might too many ideas in the meantime about new cool random events. But at least it's an enjoyable ride!

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Ah, @quirkycase, you have finally put into words what I've been fearing for Rang since a few episodes ago. I can only envision his redemption arc where sacrifices himself to save Yeon.

If show does go this route I want it to be as heartbreaking and heroic as possible because Lee Rang and Kim Beom deserve as much.

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Was anyone else entirely overwhelmed by imoogi's orange lipstick? I... I just can't, it took over the entire scene with him and I can't remember anything he actually said or did. Why, make-up department, WHY??? And yes, the K-drama watchers are accustomed to boys with lip gloss and various shades of cherry, but this orange blossom or whatever looks like something straight out of a Loreal commercial. And it makes really hard for me to take imoogi seriously with it (as if the K-pop hair and shirt weren't enough).

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He also presented as very Idol-style to me. :-) It was hard to be afraid of him, but maybe that can make him scarier?

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Oh that lipstick really is scary for me, but I don't think it is the type of scary they were aiming for... :) Maybe I'm wrong. But no, really, I find it horribly distracting, and not in a good way.

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Lol I didn't even notice. Guess I'll have to rewatch. I thought his appearance was effective, so I guess it's as matter of preference

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I didn't notice it either, the barbie pink gloss on LDW's lips has got all of my attention.

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Lol!!

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the creepy lil jia and that no name green ahjumma, the best part of ep 8. the action at the end, i'm glad it happen.

after waiting for hundred of years, knowing jia is human and didnt have a long life like him (unless some deity works on that later) and knowing imoogi is alive again, our super old gumiho pull a noble idiocy? dude, you dont have time especially now imoogi already at his final form. i honestly laugh at that part cause it is so freaking ridiculous. they should make plan and square up to imoogi together. and now is the perfect time that we and jia get the whole story about what happened in past. ceo has been preparing his whole long life to welcome imoogi and noble idiocy is not gonna give them any advantage. i wish the earlier ep jia is here cause that person is better at strategic thinking that those fox brothers. do yeon even know why and how his past action failed to kill that creature?

rang is such a psycho but his backstory is tragic af. his abandonment issue started long before yeon left him but losing yeon destroyed him. but in the scheme of things, i dont see what is the benefit of hurting him like that...? so he can go crazy and torch the world earlier than he plan? yeon knows rang is after jia so do something about it. kill him, chain him, throw him in the magic well or hand him over to taluipa or whatever. you let him do whatever for 600 hundreds yrs, i think that is long enough. honestly, i'm so close calling yeon an enabler rn
i'm not blaming yeon on rang destructive behaviors but it seems that yeon and the power that be seems fine with it. double standard much?

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Thiiissss. Yeon is definitely an enabler, and I wish we knew why, because right now, he just looks indecisive and petty, and overly fixated on the wrong things. It would be nice if he took discicive action one way or another, regarding Rang, because the wait and see approach has benefitted literally no one. I can't help but think if he was just going to check out again, it would have been kinder to have actually killed Rang all those years ago. If he was screwed up then, what exactly did Yeon think was going to happen to Rang's psychological state if he thought he'd been left for dead by his older brother? Maybe we'll see something in the next episode to explain, because right now, I completely agree that Yeon's lack of action has been kind of frustrating.

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Why does the writers have to make the villains so sexy? Why, I mean why. This makes me very difficult to hate them! By the way, who is that good looking actor playing the Imoogi? He seems familiar. Which shows was he in previously?

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Lee Tae Ri. His last drama was Extraordinary You.

https://asianwiki.com/Lee_Tae-Ri

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O yes of course! He was good there. He plays supernatural mysterious charachter so well, I must say.

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Lee Tae Ri was also in The Moon Embracing the Sun, which is what I recognized him from. He plays the young version of the King's brother.

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"Why does the writers have to make the villains so sexy?" LOL. This is K-drama's formula 99% of the time. Making the villains so hot, that it makes us question our moral values haha.

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Lee Tae Ri. Before Extraordinary You, he was in Moon Embracing the Sun. It's interesting that he's not as popular as Yeo Jin Goo, Kim Yoo Jung, and Kim So Hyun (there were other child actors in the drama but only them four played the younger versions of the four main leads). He was also paired with Yoo Jung and So Hyun before Moon Sun as a child actor. The drama with Kim Yoo Jung was also a gumiho related drama in 2010 called Grudge the Revolt of Gumiho/Gumiho Tale of the Fox Child where KYJ played her first main role in TV (with Han Da Gam/Han Eun Jung second lead of Full House as her mom) while Lee Tae Ri played her love interest as a supporting character. Despite being only children/teens there, they had a heartbreaking love story (more heartbreaking than Moon Sun for me which is why I wasn't sold with KYJ's romance with Yeo Jin Goo). Him and So Hyun's pairing were on 2011 kdrama Thorn Birds (starring Han Hye Jin and Joo Sang Wook) where they played the teen versions of the main leads on the first episode.

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He was known back then as Lee Min Ho (because that was his real name and he had been using this since his debut in 2008). But most people only think of the older hallyu actor whenever he was cast that's why he had to use a stage name since 2018 (really weird for me since he started acting first before the older actor who debuted in the 2000s and he was quite known as a child actor especially on the show Soompoong Clinic which also starred Song Hye Kyo).

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Am kinda happy Rang is included in the must-have-after-noble-idiocy brooding session, he's confirmed the second lead for Yeon's affection ><

All those past lives reveal let us know that a lot of the souls existing 600 years ago are converging again in this same timeline. Is this the writer-nim's higher powers’ design? Maybe writer-nim does another borrowing and making Ji-ah's destiny as the one thing that will end imoogi once and for all, like Voldemort eventually ended by Harry, his accidental horcrux.

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I seem to get increasingly enthusiastic about this show every week, despite the fact that it can be a whiplash wonder. But it's my current favorite guilty pleasure, and by not taking it too seriously I'm able to enjoy every weird and campy element of it.

I love that Yeon went for Rang, and I don't really care what the reasoning behind it was. It opens the show up to the possibility that the dynamics between characters will reconfigure in some way that could be interesting and new vs a prolonged and stale war of "I'm angry at you, so I'm going to harass you and try to kill this woman" and a "I will die for this woman who needs me to protect her to make up for my tragic sin of failure." I still believe that Yeon loves his brother, and we know that Rang loves Yeon. I don't usually have a Disney heart, but I can't help but want literally everyone to band together to bring down the imoogi once and for all, and then go live happily ever after. (Because 2020 has kicked us hard, and what the world needs now is love, dammit.)

I'm rolling my eyes at the noble idiocy, made bearable by the show packing in the folklore and upping the creep factor. Let's hope we've gotten it out of the way now - the preview for episode 9 seems to indicate that may be the case. I realize as I write this that I genuinely have no idea how episode 9 will go, despite how tropey and transparent this show is in other ways, and I love that.

I still wish that they'd cast an actress with more moxy as the FL. JBA is plucky and intrepid, but Ji-ah sometimes feels a bit like Puppy Boy next to LDW who just...oozes presence. I think a more experienced actress might have the self-possession needed to add a little more tension and thus the snap-crackle-pop that feels somewhat missing from this OTP dynamic.

At some point, a reckoning is coming for our foxes, right? I dread this. I just dumbly want a happy ever after for everyone, but I don't see how Rang gets away without paying for all the murder on some level (and honestly he should have to face justice for that, as much as I love this character arc), and I don't see Yeon being done making deals with the devil aka the Underworld King probably via Taluipa.

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So true about the dynamics reconfiguring (who isn't pining for Yeon & Rang to be working together?) and agree whole-heartedly that the supernatural element really amps up the unpredictability factor, I think it's quite a big part of why I enjoy the show much.
Also, here's a toast for everyone's HEA!

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Whiplash wonder lol. See, Alice this is how you do filler scenes right! Sure they do drag, but at least it builds on other side/supporting characters. But yeah, sometimes a scene is humorous and fun, and then the next scene is spooky/horror stuff lol. Like what the heck haha??

No!! I want Yu-ri and Shin-joo to be end game, and have Yu-ri finally be in a safe/stable home with a kind man!!

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I was happy that Yeon chose Rang instead of Jia. His brother needs to be shown some love. Poor guy has abandonment issues and need attention from his only family left.
I don't have anything against Jia. Our girl is resourceful and hopefully she can overcome her greatest fear. I think someone else may help Jia since Yeon is busy atm.

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I disagree with Yeon pulled a complete noble idiocy. The core of mostly Asian, and probably Korean as well, is that if you can't fix a person with words, you either fix it with force, or leave it so it will either be 'erased' or fix itself on its own. It's toxic, but like I said, when you live too long, you started to become obsessive to tradition and habit, just like our little fake saleswoman.

Rang is basically that little psychopath/sociopath boy telling his parents to praise him because he has just gutted a cat, and this time he has gutted not just one 'cat'. I believe Yeon did try to help Rang in these more or less 1000 years, but to cure psychopathy/sociopathy the other party has to be willing in the first place. At that point in the scene, with Rang torturing Jia like that, obviously Yeon would be so disgusted with his little brother that just love isn't enough to prevent his rage from spilling through. And for reminder, aloof parenting style is the norm for ancient Asia. Is it toxic? Yes, but it's not irrational, nor is it badly written depends on the understanding of ancient Korean culture. Like, my fingers on both hands and feet won't be enough to count how many times my father said he regretted having me, but hey, I'm still here.

Just because Asian gods are generally depicted as more benign than western ones doesn't mean they can't be jerks. I mean, sure, burden the girl you love with the truth in one sitting, where does the road will lead? Yeon is already convinced one of them must die, so I think he just take the easiest path to make sure it is him who dies, evident from how he talks with Rang about reincarnation, and from old man death god saying that he hopes Yeon won't lose his reincarnation chance.

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I also disagree that Yeon pulled noble idiocy.

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I really appreciate this perspective, especially because I know I am interpreting everything through my default Western lens (even though I know better).

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“... All she did was bring his trauma to the surface; it’s his fault his fragile mind couldn’t find its way back. ”

This implies that those trapped in their worst fears realized *could* save themselves. It would be truly wonderful if our female lead saved herself from her worst fear through the strength of her mind. That would make a wonderful turning point for her part of this story where her agency becomes more and more important to the final outcome.

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I'm just here to say that I'm here for the distracting foxes and the puppy boy.
I think my heart will be broken by the end of the drama.

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Yeah, same.

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Perhaps the only feelings Yeon has for Jia is his long lingering guilt for using Ah-eum as bait to lure the imoogi out of the King to be killed by his own hand.
It is ironic that Ah-eum had the same decision but she balked at killing her father in order to kill the imoogi. Instead, she bet that Yeon, as the mountain god, could expel the imoogi and save her. Her assumption was wrong.
The one problem I have with K-drama reincarnation plots is that a reincarnated soul is a "new" human being, living a totally different life than their ancient past. But like with Jia, she is suddenly all consumed with her past life to forget about her current life. She should be more concerned that her parents were lured to the dead island to seed the imoogi spirit into her (which may have masked the fox bead). That she has a monster inside her ready to merge with the reborn serpent to perhaps create a fully powerful, evil dragon. That she is merely a pawn in a cycle of powerful game of chess between the gods.

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I'm really bothered about kid Jia/Imoogi reading that sign behind Jia. Does it mean the Imoogi sees into the future or maybe exists across several dimensional spaces at the same time? Or is his conscience imprinted on the old CD, horcrux style?

How are you going to handle this, show? Shaman style, quantum theory-related or Harry Potter-esque? Or let it fizzle out into the vortex of bygones....

Apart from this little conundrum, I truly enjoyed this episode and wasn't the least bit surprised Yeon chose to save Rang. The Imoogi sent the sales lady and has a clear interest in Jia, if not for the express purpose of tormenting Yeon as much as possible.

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Somehow, as some others here, I neither had a complete "noble idiocy" feeling. Or rather, perhaps at first, but then I thought at this point in the show our leads could use a little alone time. It gives our heroine some breathing time to find back to her own resources and hopefully show her agency by getting out of that nightmare scenario all on her own.
By the way, I LOVE the addition of that creepy saleswoman. She really is creepy and mean... but not in a dramatic way, just sneakily creeping up on the people and making their life miserable. I find it interesting that somehow those magical/mythical beings seem to be able to deceive each other (here seen when Rang doesn't recognize her at first), as seen before in the village when the blind shaman tricked Yeon.
And I also loved the addition of MORE ZOMBIES and the girl in the video suddenly turning to the audience and creeping the F out of everyone. I didn't watch the preview and I love that the show keeps up being unpredicable. I am intrigued what kind of wedding or marriage scenario Imoogi has in mind when he says Jia is destined to be his wife. Is he keen on reproducing some little snake babies with her? Is his souls inhaling human servant going to hatch their eggs?

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I’m only watching it for Rang at this point. To be honest I don’t care for Yeon and Jia at all and their relationship is really dull. And to the people who say that Rang killed a lot of innocent human lives, I mean yeah. But look at it this way. Gumihos traditionally eat human flesh. Just like humans eat animals. You wouldn’t say that a human is evil for taking away so many innocent animal lives right? I do agree though that the way in which he killed them was probably very sadistic and cruel.

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Sigh, such a long and stressful day, time to distract again!

Anyway, @quirkycase, thanks again for sharing your honest opinion on the Yeon character. It's extremely striking that halfway through the show, we haven't been provided with a compelling reason within the narrative to sympathize with our lead character. I felt for him by default when the show began, and assumed that he would deepen and become more complex as the story went on, and it's a bit strange that he hasn't. It feels like the production was banking on the actor's popularity and charisma to carry the character. But there has been too little in the way of nuance or emotional complexity in the writing of the character to draw in the average unbiased viewer. That being the case, it is quite striking when we have characters like Jia and Rang who do have layers to unfold, and are written in such a way that there is room for them to grow. We have a very concrete idea of where they have been, and there is enough emotional drive behind the writing of their stories to make us empathize with them, and want to see where they're going. But with Yeon, it's equally striking just how much the interesting elements of his character were probably not meant to be the focus. The fact that his romantic love, because of a lack of complexity, comes off as either obsession or guilt (which are both more interesting options than what we've been presented with) and that his tragic love for his seemingly psychotic brother comes off within the narrative as neglect and coldness. And I completely agree with what you said. You can tell from the character's framing that he's intended to come off as "cool" and likeable by default, but in the absence of compelling reasons why, he does look rather shallow and uninteresting when surrounded by characters whose narratives are have been developed, and whose emotional states are explicitly spelled out in the story. I just wish we could see where Yeon came from, emotionally. How was he raised? What were his parents like? How did he become the 400 year old whose life was defined by his first love? In fact, as much as I dislike this trope, I feel like this should have been the type of show that took the first two hours to develop the past storyline, so we would have a clear picture of how our protagonist became the way he is. Because at this point, since we're past midway, it feels like retrospective character development for the lead would feel a bit tacked on...but I digress.

Anyway this is definitely a show of questionable quality, but I find myself drawn into the mythological elements and the secondary characters, so I plan to stick with it, but never without criticism. So I do hope you'll continue to express your honest opinion, as it has been a pleasure to read. Thanks for recapping, as always!

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I've been diligently watching the drama without any clues what is exactly the story.
I mean I know the story, but I can't help the storyline is....important?
I don't exactly know how to explain but it just feels hollow for me.
Yes, I know that's just me.
I'm sailing on Kim Bum's ship since day 1.
This is the first time ever, I'm watching a kdrama solely because of 1 character/actor.
And I'm not even a biggest fan. Just feel like it.
I'm rambling I know. I will stop here.
.
Kim Bum's glorious mane is....glorious.
Ok I will really stop.

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*...not important?

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I watch this show like I would ride a roller coaster at an amusement park - easy fun, cheap thrill, some laughs, some gasps. Whether it's a classic toboggan, a corkscrew or a loop-de-loop, it doesn't really matter. It's just a good ride that only requires me to strap in and enjoy. :-)

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You nailed it!! This show has a lot of elements, some not perfect, but this show is fun, action packed, humorous, horror filled, and campy. It's aware of its tone, and plays around with it. Not a masterpiece but overall better than what people are giving it. Plus the scene at the end of Ep 8 with Yeon saving Rang was dope, it was sorta like The Matrix 2 with the doors lol. I loved that he saved his brother first.

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Yes, I loved the end of ep 8! And totally agree that one of the reasons the show works is because it's so self-aware; it knows what it is and isn't trying to be anything else. I love the camp. :-)

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Yep! I think it says a lot about their fractured yet strong family/brother bond. It's a really strong aspect in this show. Here's to finishing strong show!!

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Can someone advise if if should add this to my watch list, jaebal??
I miss Lee Dong Wook. The last I saw of Kim Bum was as an F4 member. I like the acting of that guy from Arthdal chronicles. I don’t know much about that FL.

With all these, do you advise that I start this drama?

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Anyone know the doorkeeper song exact name?

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