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Bulgasal: Immortal Souls: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread

Our sorrowful tale continues as our immortal hero searches for the woman who stole his soul and destroyed his life. As our hero is discovering, though, fate looks very different in the present day. Those who he thought he knew as friends and enemies in the past take on new and different roles in their most recent reincarnations.

 
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP

I’m glad I’m not the only one that enjoyed Bulgasal’s opening week — and yay, I liked the drama even more this week as it settles into the present-day storyline and returns to our hero and his quest. All the backstory we got in the premiere week comes in handy. Indeed, it’s necessary as our hero meets and re-meets the characters of the past, and finds himself in an unexpected position when it comes to the ex-bulgasal woman he’s been waiting to exact his revenge on.

But first, we learn a little more about Sang-eon and her little sister and how they’ve lived on the run from the monsters ever since the night their family was murdered. Sang-eon is at a huge disadvantage, though, because not only is she missing all the memories of the past (that her twin had), but she also can’t seem to remember the final guiding words of her sister before her death. It’s a great little catch in the story, that her whole mission to stay alive and slay the bulgasal relies on only fragments of memories. Sang-eon remembers the phrase, “a sword to kill the bulgasal,” and has been searching through artifacts for the right sword, but never gets any closer.

Speaking of getting closer (literally), Hwal is finally able to locate Sang-eon thanks to them both being at the apartment where her family was slaughtered 15 years ago. (Yeah, it’s improbable that the murder scene would look exactly the same 15 years later, but we’ll let that one slide).

Sang-eon’s story seems to be one of all these minor trips and hiccups that keep her in danger. For instance, at the apartment, she accidentally leaves behind a hair tie, and that’s comes in handy for Hwal.

When he finds her at her remote laundry facility job, though, she’s already being hunted by one of the reincarnated monsters who’s been following her scent for years. Props to Sang-eon for being super brave in the face of circumstances she’s not even close to understanding, and these monster chase scenes are nail-biting! Lucky for Sang-eon, this time Hwal is there to step in and save her life.

As all of this is unfolding, we get a lot more context than we had in our first week, and a whole score of flashbacks that more fully cement what is at stake for Hwal. The story’s logic is pretty cool: the monsters that existed back at the dawn of Joseon are now reincarnated as humans, but they’re all insane psychopaths that still kill humans. And as for Hwal, he’s been keeping busy doing what he says is the only thing he knows how to do: kill monsters.

Those monsters are after Sang-eon’s soul, which is actually his old soul, and the monsters can smell it and that’s how they hunt her — but interestingly, Hwal can’t (since it was his) — hence the disadvantage he’s at. We also learn that he has indeed kept his promise to his father, and hasn’t fed on human blood in all these centuries. Instead, he’s provided animal blood (by the shaman who’s reincarnated and helps him) to stay alive.

In a great Hwal moment (and there are many), he says that he’s still chasing after the woman that stole his soul for one reason: atonement. And though a little heavy-handed with the frequent flashbacks, we see Hwal really mourning for the life he once had — his wife, his children, his father, and the way they were all pulled into his fate. Similarly, we get this deep dark quest feeling as we follow Hwal along, and it only adds to the epicness.

With all of that under our belts, we’re in for a fantastic reveal. Hwal saves Sang-eon at the laundry facility, and she’s been simultaneously trying to get in touch with her little sister who turns up at the scene. Whammo! It’s MIN SI-HO (Gong Seung-yeon)… but it’s also his wife from the past. Si-ho gets the creeps, Hwal just stands there in shock and agony and longing, and the girls soon run away. I probably should have seen this coming with the way they were being kind of cagey about Si-ho, but I literally gasped at this reveal. So fun!

Hwal is turned upside down by this: not because he didn’t expect to run into her reincarnation, and more because he can’t believe the twist of fate. His wife is now the sister of his sworn enemy. Hwal remembers (and then remembers again) the fated words of the shaman: “As long as the retribution continues they will be intertwined with you either as enemies or as friends.”

This whole concept of intertwining fates and characters popping up in different roles in the present day is so fun and satisfying to watch play out. Among the monsters and other baddies, we also meet General Dan again — he’s now DETECTIVE KWON, and it looks like he’s now positioned as Hwal’s enemy, instead of his savior and defender. It’s all so emotional!

We also meet a new character NAM DO-YOON (Kim Woo-seok from Up10tion) – although honestly, I’m reluctant to call him a “new” character because he’s likely (maybe?) to also an important reincarnation going based on the logic of the show so far. But for now, gets saved but also locked up by Hwal, and later taken by Detective Kwon.

After so many cool character moments and important intersections, things get even more wild as Episode 4 progresses. Si-ho is pregnant and thus the pressure on Sang-eon to protect her little sister and the future baby from the bulgasal increases tenfold; she’s desperate for the “sword” and trying to remember and get the woman that took them in as kids to share some sort of clue with her.

Simultaneously, Hwal is well aware of all the monsters after Sang-eon’s soul and winds up protecting her in order to keep the soul safe. Things escalate fast when a new character appears on the scene: the true bulgasal that killed Sang-eon’s family: he’s a rando character played by Lee Joon and he’s terrifying (omg, I love Lee Joon).

So much action and plot movement as the episode ends! The Lee Joon bulgasal is chasing Sang-eon and he has a sword she expects is the one she’s been searching for. She’s saved just in time by Hwal, and oh boy I love these two characters finally onscreen together some more – it’s as violent and desperate as most of the encounters in this show, but lots of character ground is covered.

By the time the Lee Joon bulgasal gets himself together and locates Hwal and Sang-eon, she’s on the run, and Hwal is ready to fight him. This doesn’t go well, since his strength can’t match the bulgasal who’s been feeding on human blood. Interestingly, the Lee Joon bulgasal has a huge scar on this chest and his fate is also entangled with our crew (as is the sword, which seems to have a huge affect on him when handled by Hwal).

The bulgasal’s bloodlust puts Sang-eon on her deathbed, and it’s super nail-biting. But this near-death moment also serves to trigger her repressed memories: she finally remembers what her sister told her. The only way to kill the bulgasal was with another bulgasal, and that a man with a scar on his right hand (Hwal) was in fact “the sword to kill the bulgasal.”

It’s absolutely bloody and chaotic, but ends on an awesome and chilling moment. Despite the terror that Sang-eon feels, and the rage that Hwal feels, it seems like their fate really is tied together. And though they were enemies in the past, it seems clear they’ll have to be allies now over their common enemy. At any rate, Sang-eon has found her sword, and we’ll have to see what that truly means.

Just like last week, I’m wishing there were more episodes at the ready! The drama is such a fun balance of blood feuds and fantasy, horror and high adrenaline, and my favorite bit, which is how all the characters are intertwined in the different timelines.

And we can’t ignore the little bit of humor we saw this week — Sang-eon in her crazy laundry garb dropping rugs on repeat. It was nice to see the drama take the opportunity for a chuckle and show its sense of humor. It certainly didn’t have time for that last week.

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There were scene where Lee Joon and Hwal met for the first time and having confrontation, why did i felt some sexual tension between them? Maybe because the camera angle or something, but it wasn’t unpleasant tho. Lee Joon looks dark yet sexy(?) on that scene. And i ship Hwal with Min Si Hoo instead of Sang Eun.

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Same i prefer Hwal with SiHo. I think there is more to the story though between Sang Woon, Dark Hole and Hwal. I wonder if SiHo has the same powers as Sol. It would be interesting if she has it. It would explain a lot that weird look she gave him after he touched her.

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I am glad that I wasn't the only one who thought so when I saw that scene 😌

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Lol, you are not the only one. I was thinking, are they about to kiss...instead of fight?

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I liked episode 3 and 4. The stand out part for me was when Sang Woon touched Hwal's cut in his face and he started to have flashbacks and the fact that Sang Woon hurt the reincarnated monster in a trance before Hwal showed up. I think its pretty evident by now that Hwal is missing memory of the first lifetime when he originally met both the Second Bulgasal and Sang Woon. It was nice twist that Hwal's wife turned out to be Sang Woon's doongsaeng. The pregnancy was out of the blue but it doesn't seem like an accidental plot. So, we now know that Hwal's curse is connected to Lee Jun's Bulgasal and Min Sang Woon. But how? So many unanswered questions. I am so looking forward to this.

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I think the pregnancy is the daughter that was still born in the last lifetime. I'm sure it ties in with the atonement and lifting the curse so that the daughter can be born alive and healthy this time.

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I like this theory. It really fits nicely into the theme of atonement. I keep wondering if Lee Joon's Bulgasal is a father of Si Ho's unborn child. She sounded really peeved when she informed her sister of the conversation with her boyfriend over the phone. And Lee Joon has the looks and his character has all the evil to do just that, break a girl's heart...is all I'm saying.

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Can it be Joon? She can feel when something isn't human like she did with Jinwook. The new bulgasal is tracking Nara so why would he date her sister for months without going after Nara? I think the boyfriend is the real big bad who won't be revealed before EP10.

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Very interesting! I do too want to know more about "boyfriend."

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@gem28 "I think its pretty evident by now that Hwal is missing memory of the first lifetime when he originally met both the Second Bulgasal and Sang Woon."
That would be an interesting twist. Especially since Eul Tae said that he is older than Hwal and that he escaped the monster purges.

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Things just got exciting with the introduction of Lee Joon and Gong Seung Yeon's characters. Honestly I was losing interested in this show. The leads relationship is too complicated. I am more invested with Hwal atoning to his family through their reincarnation. If he can be a better father, son and husband to them in their current lives much better.

Lee Joon was charismatic onscreen despite his character being eeevil. I think that was a big part on what made his introduction electrifying since he is the big bad.

Gong Seung Yeon does not have much scenes yet but I can feel her chemistry with Hwal. I can already see yhe parallels with their current lives from their past. I do wish they wil create a juicy arc with SiHo and Hwal.

Nam Do Yoon is the teenage version of his son. His clingyness and frenetic energy is annoying in a good way. Being an orphan gives him a good reason to hero worship his "savior" Hwal. I do wish Hwal will treat him better soon. The poor boy has gone through a lot with the last monster and now Hwal.

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Same, I’ll check back in on this (though likely in a month when I can do a blend of binge and FF) because of GSY and LJ. I hope they boost GSY’s screen time considerably, and I would like to see her character interacting with that teenager, since we all suspect he’s her past-life son. LJ is just good and entertaining to watch, and I like that his character seems to be operating on a timescale even longer than Hwal’s.

I just don’t care about Nana’s character at all, she’s a Candy thrown into a much more atmospheric show. And I think my overall indifference to both her and Hwal is because when the scene focuses on them, there’s a high chance we’re going to have to endure a drawn-out artistic flashback to a scene I have already watched repeatedly. (Yes! Still dead in a marsh, very sad! Much sunset, so tragic, moving on now Hwal!)

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@haruloves I also believe that Do Yoon is Hwal's reincarnated son. We never got to see what he looked like as a teenager so it is definitely a possibility. Also, I wonder if the focus on his eye injuries is supposed to be a clue to his previous incarnation?

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Good point. I hadn't thought of that. The eyes.

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The eye injuries can be the clue. So I hope they stop hurting the poor boy.

I am looking forward to hi scenes with SiHo though. But maybe DoYoon sticking with Hwal maybe the point. Since Hwal`s son was starved for his father's affection and attention so maybe the atonement will start with that.

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Blonde boy is 100% reincarnated son. Jinwook needs to atone for being a bad father in his last life and this is his chance. He can only "die" after he atones for all the bad karma from his previous lives.

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To be completely superficial, can I say Lee Joon-wook is exceptionally attractive as Hwal?

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I don't think you'll get any pushback on that opinion :)

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He is very handsome! Every time he is on screen I am struck by how attractive he is 😍

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YES.

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Coming back to the question of who is the original Bulgasal I now think there is a 4th yet unintroduced character. All 3 of our leads were once human and possibly friends tied in a love triangle. Something caused Nara to turn into a Bulgasal and she then turned Lee Joon and Jinwook into Bulgasal by turn. From Joon she probably didn't get the soul that she needs which is why they both went after Jinwook for their own purposes.

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I have another question who was the child with younger version of the reincarnated father in law? Why do they get nosebleeds only with the new bulgasal and not Jinwook? Is it because the new one is stronger? Another thing is it possible Jinwook isn't a full bulgasal since he never drank human blood? Based on the preview for EP5 I'm not fully convinced Joon is the main big bad. He feels more like a grey character that could change sides but if that is true then who would be the real big bad? It has to be someone more scary and powerful than Joon. I'm also curious who the boyfriend that Seungyoon broke up with and whose child she is expecting. There must be a bigger reason why they never showed him. Could he be the real big bad? I'm not fully convinced yet she is on anyone's side except her own. Her character is a wild card.

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Love how the show is still ramping up and getting more interesting.
And really loved the carpet scene, for a moment Hwal was just a nice guy helping a lady out.

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That was such a cute moment :)

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Our "new" character is 100% his son. I knew Si Ho was his wife, so since all people have come to roost except the son, this definitely his son. The drama has definitely settled and the story begun, so I appreciate that.

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Yes, my suspicions too.

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I was starting to lose interest about halfway through episode 3, but then things really picked up and the ending sucked me back in. I, too, was surprised that I hadn't made the connection about the younger sister actually being the reincarnated wife. However, I'm glad I was genuinely shocked as it made it so I could feel Hwal's stunned disbelief along with him.

I also liked the development of Sang Woo's character as she has seemed like a cipher up to this point. But in episode 3 she was genuinely kind but not wishy washy, and her sense of humor was pretty cute.

Although I think we're clearly headed towards Hwal and Sang Woon as the main loveline, I'm curious about the relationship between him and Si Hoo. In the first episode, it seemed like their marriage was largely unhappy and neither really loved the other, but his flashbacks are highly romanticized when it comes to her. So it'll be interesting to see how things develop.

I admire anyone who is keeping track of the mythology as I just gave up early on. I still don't really understand the purpose of the twins and who has whose soul exactly. But I'm not one to be fussy on the details when watching fantasy dramas, especially if I like the characters.

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There is a part where Jinwook tells her that her married her because she is a monster like him. I think his feelings towards her are empathy or like seeing himself in her. It didn't feel romantic per se more like a close friendship which is later tied in with guilt and remorse. Nara and Jinwook definitely have the fated love line from their original past life which none of them remembers at this point.

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I actually liked Hwal and Sang-eun (Sang-woon? or Sang-un? not sure why the spelling is all over the place) story better than Hwal and his wife. I couldn't stomach Si-Hoo's past-self being so openly hateful and so accusing toward Hwal, like, girl, it's not his fault he's cursed. Yet, of course, I agree that "busy dad" should have spent more time parenting his disabled son than out there killing monsters. But I'm still not convinced that his profound sense of guilt stems from being a "bad" dad and a "bad" husband. The lady said some monstrous things in his face too. I really don't want them as a couple, they were pretty ugly toward each other in the past, why try again. So it's all very interesting to see where the writers are going to get us with this.

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A Big Bad coming in and being responsible for all the deaths, paving the way for Hwal and Sang-eon to fall in love was predictable. I love Lee Joon though, and he brought some much needed energy to the scene. I think Hwal and Si-ho is the much more interesting story, but I'm not the writer.

The teenager is definitely the son reincarnated.

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Still not totally in love with this show, but still watching and trying to put pieces together.

Also, still sad they left the past behind so quickly to jump to the "now", but it seems we have more flashbacks in the future. So it seems I'll get to see more so fantasy historical garb and maybe manes of glory--so I'll still try to be patient in the hopes I'm right and more is to come? 🤭

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I was just thinking back, and i believe the Bulgasal that was killing people in the village when he was a boy was "dark hole" we saw "Sang eun" bugasal touch the marks on the tree when she first arrived in first episodes. I believe she was the "good one" come to kill the "bad one". that is why she saved Hwal's life. As for why she killed him and stole his soul i do not know, mabey she was just protecting herself? i also don't think she killed his family either. we will see how this plays out.

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I agree with you. As you said, I think the Female Bulgasal and the Male Bulgasal are and have been enemies. I think she deliberated created Hwal the monster killer and turned him into a Bulgasal to create a “sword that can kill a Bulgasal”.

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I like this show. It sustained my interest up till episode 4 (a rare feat these days) but I do wish the episodes were shorter -- it gets draggy sometimes around the mark 40-50 minutes, and many things could have been edited out without sacrificing the "tone" and "atmosphere" of the show. I liked how the cinematic "palette" is kept consistent within each time period. The past is absolutely magnificent with colors and stupendiously beautiful shots of the landscapes, and the present is dark, muted colors, with overexposed scenes that gave me a bit of claustrophobic feeling. While the present steals the oxygen, the past flashbacks (even if painful) provides with a gulp of fresh air, and I found it very consistent and interesting. The plot is substantial but gets muddled with the length of the episodes...but what can you do. I found Kwon Nara adult character to be rather candy-esque but I'm choosing to ignore it (for a time-being) because in her present situation one better be overly optimistic and fake than paranoid and scared, better for mental health aspect of knowing all your life that someone is out there to kill you. Though if she suffers from PTSD witnessing her family's murdered in front of her eyes, it's still super-hard to believe her overly candy-girl character interpretation.

My question is who's sister's boyfriend? Could it be Lee Joon, and he's a father of her unborn child? That would raise interesting questions and complicate the story then.

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I like your suggested twist. That would complicate things nicely.
Re Kwon Nara, I'm still getting over her character in Itaewon Class, so I'm giving her some leeway, but I do get your point.

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I totally agree with the Kwon Nara thing.
I mean, she is beautiful but looks unhappy somehow. So that fits the character but I keep thinking some other actress would have done so much better job.
Like Shin Hye-Sun, Ko Sung-hee type of actress who is more believable, and doesn't show obvious perkiness and prettiness...

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I liked these episodes. More action, thrills, and emotional moments. Some of the flashbacks were a bit much, but still. Hwal's sadness was so palpable when he thought of his family during his quiet car scene.

I should have known about the twist with his wife's reincarnation, but it was revealed well. I hope there isn't a loveline between Hwal and Sang Eon. There doesn't need to be one just because they're the two big leads. I'd rather see something positive happen regarding Hwal and Si Ho's relationship.

Lee Joon made quite an impression. I haven't seen him in so long!! He was good at being evil.

Many viewers already knew Hwal was not the culprit behind the family murder. I'm glad that Hwal and Sang Eon are more aware of their situation now. We still have a lot of mystery left. How did Sang Eon become a Bulgasal before she transferred it to Hwal back then? Was she the original? Was it Lee Joon? I feel like it could be someone else entirely. On the other hand, Sang Eon seemed to have some supernatural powers because she had attacked the creepy monster stalker and freaked him out. Who knows if she turns out to be the big bad.

I liked the bit of humor too! The carpet scene was cute.

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I have a feeling that Si-Ho is a Big Bad one. But might be an entirely different person, true. Or even Sang-eun. But Sang-eun saved Hwal as a boy, so. I hope the writers don't go the route of shapeshifters, and reveal that bulgasal can change their faces, because then it would just confuse the viewer.

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Lee Joon... He is phenomenal.

I love the interactions between Hwal and the reincarnated shaman lady.
So funny and cute.

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I agree that Hwal and present Shaman lady was funny and cute. She is always helping him and stand by him through past and present life.

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I was cackling when she was tugging around those huge "urns" of animal blood. It was like, well, the lady gotta feed this lonely sad wolf of hers.

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I knew that Si Hoo was the younger sister of Min Sang Eun and Hwal wife. I was not surprised at all. I think Kwon Nara is the weak link. I like the younger version of her being a twin sister was much better.

Lee Joon of course was fantastic as being a villain. Like others, I do agree he might be the boyfriend of Si Hoo. However, I think he is not the main villain. I think there is some one else that is more powerful and that person is original Bulgasal. Do Yoon is his reincarnated as his son. I just hope he will not go blind like in his past life. I also hope Si Ho will be reunited to see her son. Even though, he is a teenager in the present life.

I love the soundtrack/ost of the drama. Does anyone know the link of the playlist of the ost music. Looking forward to watch it this weekend with the Rose Parade too.🖤🖤

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I do think Do Yoon is Hwal's reincarnated son too.
That's why so clingy and worry about Hwal.
And yes, Kwon Nara is very pretty but the weak link and definitely a twin sister was much much better. More interesting character and better acting.
I really hope there is no romance between Sang Eun and Hwal.
If there has be to a romance, it should be between Siho (Sol) and Hwal.

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Idk if the OST has been released yet, but I'm liking it too! Very atmospheric.

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Coming late… the first ost by ‘4men’ was released last week. I don’t know about the rest since I haven’t checked.

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Before we get to the meat of the story, I have some complaints for the director. First, I don't despise the use of flashback for an impactful story telling, especially for a tale that was tied in layers of reincarnation and carryover karma. But here, the director seems a bit too trigger happy to use it, and not even to highlight a different perspective and new tidbit of information. It certainly doesn't help that the duration for each episode is that long (you know, editing is actually thing, tvN, use it please). Second, I agree that the drama needs humor for some levity after all that darkness. But there were some instances when I wasn't so sure how to take those humor. I mean, I understand dark humor, but to insert it in a scene where Hwal committed some unnecessary act of violence, or put it as the undercurrent mood as some characters gave blase reaction after witnessing violent or terrifyingly supernatural act is just weird. Or maybe that's just me?

Now, on to the story. I have to admit I'm not emotionally invested in any of the characters here (and I don't think I'll ever feel that), not with the amount of violence (necessary or casual) that almost every character has to partake throughout the story. But I'm very much invested in the complex and intricate world building the writer offered to us. The repeated reincarnation of characters put such a deep layers of emotion even in the most mundane scene, and I really appreciate that. Even more so that Hwal is the only one who remembered each and every encounter for the last 600 years. It was a perfect recipe for delicious angst even when the other party doesn't understand the significance of their reaction or words (that first meeting between Hwal and the detective and Si-ho is just perfect).

Some people have raised the possibility of romantic subplot happening especially after the ending scene of eps 4. But personally, I'd rather Hwal has the oportunity for a romance do-over with Si-ho than with Sang-un. Hwal clearly loved his former wife in his own way, and he never got to experience uncomplicated happiness with her before. This reincarnation seemed to be a perfect chance for their romance to rekindle. As for Sang-un, I always feel that Hwal is only obsessed with meeting her. 600 years waiting for the same person will twist your emotion, I guess, which was why his reaction at the end of eps 4 seemed a bit odd. But even then, I honestly couldn't sense any beginning of love, or even the possibility of that happening. Guy is so fixated on his revenge that Sang-un has become the end goal of his life. Definitely not a healthy recipe for anything approaching romance.

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I forgot the name of captain/leader who looked down on Hwal in the past. I have a feeling he could be reincarnated. Maybe he would be another foe.

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Pretty sure that orphanage boy is his reincarnated son 👌

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Came pretty late, most of the theories have been discussed. Hence, I have nothing much to add, but I’m quite glad I’m not the only one rooting for the ‘Hwal-Si ho’ ship.
At least, a shared heartbreak won’t be so bad after all😂
Now off to watch 5&6.

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