After building up our anticipation for an entire episode, the episode ends off with Eun Tak not being able to grasp the sword at all and thus not being able remove it from Goblin. In any other series, that would have been a frustrating turn of events because it would seem like the writers are simply delaying the inevitable or using the episode as a “filler”. But that’s not the case with Goblin.
Before that final moment in the buckwheat fields, Kim Shin keeps procrastinating, telling Eun Tak “tomorrow” when she asks to pull out the sword. In the meantime, he takes a walk with her, picks her up, looks at her. Before she pulls the sword, he tells her:
Every moment I spent with you shined. Because the weather was good, because the weather was bad, and because the weather was good enough. I loved every moment of it.
In delaying the pulling out of the sword, Kim Shin learns not to focus on that final moment, but to treasure life itself and every moment it has to offer, good or bad. Unlike the start of the episode where death brings tears in his eyes, his final moment before she pulls out the sword is one where he is at peace, because he’s had the chance to savour life in its very simplicity.
In some ways, this is how the show calls us to respond to it. There are no big fall-outs, surprising catastrophes or fast-paced sequences. For a show that’s supposedly about the supernatural, our characters spend a lot of time doing very normal, everyday things, like eating in cafes or at home, reading, walking, peeling garlic. Yet these everyday moments are all imbued with a certain shine because of what our characters bring to them and how the scenes are crafted. Unlike many series where the camera often switches quickly between different characters’ expressions, the camera dwells much longer on every character’s face, even when their expressions do not change. Because of that, there’s an intimacy that’s being established between us and the characters. Attention is drawn towards the characters, their expressions and their emotions.
The result of such attention on our characters is that we also flow seamlessly with the emotions that they are feeling. This show has a genius way of moving from serious to funny within a split second and there were many such moments in this episode. The sequence right at the start with Eun Tak questioning Shin about whether he was a criminal and the significance of the sword is a masterful example of that. The scene starts off lighter, with Eun Tak simply questioning Shin about the sword, but as he recounts his painful past, the emotions get more intense with both of them tearing and Eun Tak wiping the tears off Shin’s face, telling him that he’s loved now. All of a sudden, as emotions are building up, Shin asks her to make him “prettier” now, and she turns him down and suddenly the mood takes a 180 degree turn as Shin looks upon Eun Tak with surprise. It’s hilarious, but more importantly, it’s also natural as we wouldn’t have expected Eun Tak to agree too. On that note, it’s also so characteristic of this show that something as grave as removing the sword becomes referred to as something so trivial as making Shin prettier.
There are many more moments like this where the humour emerges so naturally and we just smile along with our characters. Shin’s solemn reading of his deed to Reaper becomes a funny moment when Reaper responds that he can’t hear him, then proceeds to fiddle with his smartphone in order to get better reception. That final sequence in the buckwheat fields also manages to meld humour with seriousness, as Eun Tak shows Shin her wish-list and asks him to sign it and also asks if he’ll become a broom.
As a result of this episode, there will be countless questions about the sword, Eun Tak’s status as the Goblin bride and even about Reaper and Sunny. However, I’m willing to go along with the ride and appreciate every moment that the show offers to us, big or small, as I know the journey will certainly be an enjoyable one. Nonetheless, if I may have a small request, it would be to have more substantial developments for Reaper and Sunny because they have had so little screen time so far.