There’s lots to love in episode 9 of Goblin, which sees fascinating developments on several fronts – Kim Shin’s will to live grows stronger and he realises he needs to persistently open doors so as to change the deity’s plans; Kim Shin and Kim Sun finally meet and Reaper gets more clarity on the historical connection shared between him, Kim Sun and Kim Shin.
Eun Tak decides to leave the Goblin household after learning the truth that pulling out the sword will result in Kim Shin’s death. She no longer feels like she belongs in the household, because she feels that Goblin never genuinely cared for her, and only brought her in to pull out the sword and end his immortality. When he first meets her, she tells him she won’t pull out the sword; subsequently, when in the forest, she asks him again if he had ever loved her. She recalls how he said he loved her in such a cold manner when she asked and sees that his plan right from the start was just to convince her that he loved her, so that she would pull out the sword.
In a touching sequence, Kim Shin confesses that to Eun Tak that he’s so fearful of loving her, and instead, he wants her to say she needs him, so that it will serve as an excuse for him to keep on living. She does exactly what he says later when she’s freezing, telling him that she needs him, to do that too and that she loves him. Later when he meets her at the top of the mountain, he tells her, “I too” – a much delayed response to her expression of love, but it’s a genuine expression of his love for her and thus she decides to return to the Goblin household. Well, that and the fact that Goblin pulls his connections to get her sacked from her job at the ski resort. LOL. I guess he more than makes up for it by paying for her course.
What we see for Kim Shin is a quiet overcoming of his fear of attaching himself to life again. He’s detached himself after living so long, because he’s witnessed so many deaths that he’s grown numb to it. However, Eun Tak has given him reason to love again and be bold enough to even confess that love – something that isn’t easy for him. The real awakening for Kim Shin comes when both Reaper and him see a man barging into the tea room to use the toilet out of desperation. He sees the power of the human will and how it can change their fate and realises that he too should be able to change his fate of the deity. His response to Eun Tak’s question of whether he wants to live with her or die with her is to live with her, even if it means wrestling with fate and the deities.
And the best part of all is that Kim Shin isn’t fighting this battle on his own, but with Reaper, who partners with him in this episode to help save Eun Tak’s life. The bromance is truly strong between them and they’ve gone beyond bickering and teasing to develop a genuine bond and partnership. Reaper informs Goblin when he receives a card with Eun Tak’s name, putting his own job in jeopardy and giving himself more work. Reaper cares for Goblin and is unafraid to tell him that he told Eun Tak the truth because he’s on her side, and doesn’t want him to die. I loved the moment when Eun Tak returned and Reaper hears Goblin’s happy thoughts about Eun Tak calling him hers. It’s hilarious and Lee Dong Wook just plays that scene so perfectly.
Things get even more exciting for the Kim Sun storyline in this episode as Kim Shin realises that she may be the reincarnation of his sister after Reaper mistakenly calls her Kim Sun. Following a brief confrontation outside, she grabs his hands which triggers a vision in Reaper of their historical connection. He starts to put the pieces together and realises she is the woman in Kim Shin’s painting and that both her and Kim Shin have an important role to play in the memories that he has lost. It’s also touching to see that Kim Sun and Eun Tak have developed a bond, and that Eun Tak does not just have a home in the Goblin household, but also in Kim Sun’s restaurant as Kim Sun plays like an elder sister role to her, telling Goblin off for hurting her and chasing her away. The final scene with our four main characters sitting together at the table is a significant one, because we know that the characters have taken significant steps in their own lives to reach that point. It’d be interesting to see what happens from this point on.
There’s a lot that this show has to intertwine – past and present, real and supernatural, life and death, joy and sorrow – and it does such a masterful job that it’s really a pleasure to watch the storyline slowly unfold. Nonetheless, I still wish that the show could tighten its storytelling by reducing its product placements and being more concise in its flashbacks. I also find the back and forth about pulling the sword to be getting dreary, since this has been going on since Episode 4. Nonetheless, it’s still a great show and I’m really looking forward to the next episode where we finally find out more about what happened in the past.
Some miscellaneous points:
- Is there more than meets the eye for Deok Hwa? Is he a deity? Sam Shin asked him out for drinks after she walked out from the bookshop. Also, after he tells Goblin that he has his ways of finding Eun Tak, we see a scene of a butterfly flying from the sky and landing on the ski resort, the butterfly being a symbol of a deity.
- The scene with secretary Kim dancing like the various pop groups was hilarious, especially when he even tried to mimic what a digital camera may look like.
- Cheesy as it is, I found the scene of Deok Hwa taking photographs of Goblin, Eun Tak and Reaper in their home extremely sweet and heartwarming. They really are such a weird yet wonderful family.
- The editing and cross-cutting in the tearoom sequence. Perfectly-timed to emphasize each character’s reaction.
- Costumery. We saw subtle changes in Eun Tak’s dressing as she graduated from high school, and shed the duffel coat for the silver parka for her part-time ski chalet job (although I’m still unimpressed by the product placement). Is it me, or was her acting less perky, more vulnerable and conflicted? Definitely preferring this.