Bulgasal: Immortal Souls: Episodes 9-10 Open Thread
As all of our players start to get a little more desperate, it leads to more action on all fronts — sometimes rash, sometimes reactive — but either way, it’s pushing our characters closer to the truth about their lives, as the knot of fate continues to play out.
EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP
Well, we were right! Hwal’s story does begin earlier than the first lifetime we saw at the dawn of Joseon. We get a piece of his story, and the fates of all the characters around him, in a new flashback — but first we open up with the crazy scene where we left off. Sang-eon shares her new knowledge, which leaves Hwal incredulous, and Eul-tae desperate.
Ok Eul-tae lunges for Sang-eon despite the consequences to himself, but Hwal swoops in with the poison syringe and saves her. Sang-eon takes one of Hwal’s arms over her shoulders, Detective Kwon takes the other, and everyone hobbles off. I love these three. I’m firmly convinced they are all good guys, and always have been.
Now it’s time for the flashback, which takes us 1,000 years into the past. Eul-tae and Hwal are brothers (!!) to Detective Kwon (!!). Eul-tae is sickly and evil, and will lose his birthright to Hwal. In jealousy and rage, he beats Hwal to death with a boulder. (Important to note: This is witnessed by bulgasal Sang-eon.)
Wow, so fratricide is the start of this tale?! Mind blown. It’s right out of the Bible and the story of Cain and Abel, actually, how jealousy and rage and longing for a father’s love brought about the first murder on Earth. Eul-tae blames the bulgasal on his brother’s bloody death, and this is sure to be hella important later. But for now, that’s all we get.
After the present-day encounter in the field, Hwal and Eul-tae are even more at odds — Hwal desperate to confirm whether Eul-tae is indeed the murderer, and Eul-tae desperate to hide the truth (whatever that may be) from Hwal, and separate the trust that’s forming between Hwal and Sang-eon.
Hwal’s first idea is to talk to Grandma Kim — Sang-eon tells him that’s where she heard the story — but when they go to visit her, she freaks out seeing him and his scar, and they don’t get much of anywhere. His next idea is Si-ho. He nonchalantly asks her if she’s ever tried to remember her own past life, but this leads to another dead end. (Still, spot on, because confirming how Dan Sol died from her own memory would be a ticket straight to the truth.)
I can’t quite wrap my head around Hwal and Si-ho together in this timeline — I mean, I can, it’s just so interesting to see how differently he treats her compared to her sister. He’s standoffish and maybe even a little reverent around her (if that’s the right word?), and this only gets magnified when the whole household finds out that she’s pregnant.
That household has really transformed into a wonderful found family, it’s just sad that by the time they all start trusting each other, that trust gets broken. Hwal is reeling from the pregnancy news, and wants Si-ho to be able to live a happy life with her child in this lifetime… but all this talk of her child pulls Do-yoon’s story in even tighter.
Ok Eul-tae uses his psychotic gaslighting ways to get Do-yoon to bring Sang-eon to him — again, desperate to separate her from Hwal. Do-yoon goes through this whole moral dilemma, poor boy, and we learn about his past, and how he and his hyung were orphans and taken in by Eul-tae. Eul-tae even paid for their medical treatments, which included surgery for the blindness Do-yoon was born with. YES FOLKS!
I think this was the one past connection we all saw coming, but it was satisfying nonetheless, and it shakes Hwal like nothing else really has. Suddenly, the narrative shifts, and Hwal regrets banishing Do-yoon from the house, whether he was a mole for Eul-tae or not. Saving Do-yoon is now his main concern, and it becomes everyone else’s, too.
After a terrifying visit to the house from Ok Eul-tae, and Sang-eon barely saved, all of our main players wind up joining forces to save Do-yoon. He’s been captured as leverage by the still-alive duoekshini monster, who’s as ruthless as ever.
There’s something about this story that makes all of this work for me. Between the inexplicable ties that these characters feels towards one another (for those that don’t remember the past), and the love and regret that spurs them on when they do remember the past, the interconnected fate is the best way to explain everything in this story. It binds everything together. It’s why Detective Kwon will still get in the car with the terrifying Ok Eul-tae, and why Ok Eul-tae can say things like, “I will never kill you” to Detective Kwon — and have us believe him 100%. So many storytelling layers here; it’s just a joy to get sucked in.
The culmination of this week’s episodes is the search for Do-yoon, the fight with the duoekshini, and the aftermath of that. I loved Hwal and Sang-eon in the field hunting for the monster, and witnessing how they are beginning to balance each other so well.
Hwal fights fearlessly, and despite winning this battle, it still ends up as a loss for our team. Do-yoon safely escapes and he’s set to be rescued by Hwal and company when the duoekshini taunts Eul-tae. She says that she’s told Do-yoon something about him that Hwal should never know. And to protect that secret, Eul-tae finishes the duoekshini, and does the same to little Do-yoon. It’s a heart wrenching scene. Do-yoon is embraced by a teary-eyed Ok Eul-tae, and then stabbed in the back by him. Blegh!
By the time our crew finds Do-yoon it’s too far gone, and this is one show where I don’t expect to see him recover and be fine in the next episode. Interestingly, when Do-yoon is stabbed, Si-ho (who’s back at the house with Aunt Lee) feels a stabbing pain. This is hinting around that student Do-yoon was/is indeed connected to in utero Do-yoon, and I continue to love how deep this rabbit hole goes.
Jury’s out on where this story treads next week, but I’m all for more of these twists. Eventually the twists will have to untwist something, right? But until then, things are just getting twistier.