We get a much-needed break from the sword-pulling business in this episode to focus on other key storylines and the Kim Sun-Kim Shin-Wang Yeo backstory is given much needed attention.
The Goryeon storyline revolves around the machinations of eunuch Park Joong Won, who decides to take control of the kingdom by controlling the young king. What throws a wrench in his plan is the previous king’s decree for the young king, Wang Yeo, to marry Kim Shin’s sister and his instructions to Kim Shin to protect Wang Yeo and ensure he grows up to become an upright man. In order to combat this, Joong Won decides to sow jealousy and eventually tells Yeo that there are two kings in this nation, two suns in the sky and that cannot be, because the people respect Kim Shin as much as the king. The king then decides to send Kim Shin away, bestowing the sword upon him. We also see conflict between Joong Won and Kim Sun as Kim Sun sees through Joong Won’s ploys and continually advises the Wang Yeo against following his advice. How this all ends is familiar to us.
Just as some questions are unanswered, several remain resolved, namely the role of the jade ring in all of this. Kim Shin has no idea what the jade ring is, so it must have been something private shared between the young king and Kim Sun. The final scene also confirms our suspicion all along that Reaper is the reincarnation of the young king, Wang Yeo. I hope we get more scenes between the young King and Kim Sun, especially since what we see in this episode suggests that he was enamoured by her and that the both of them were deeply in love.
Even as Reaper finds out about Sunny’s identity, what remains a mystery to himself is his own role in all of this – his memories still remain hidden from him, though the emotional connection remains as evident from the triggering of tears. The question remains as to why the deities are bringing these memories back. The bigger question is whether putting Goblin and Reaper together in the same house has also been something divinely arranged, which ties back possibly to the theory that Deok Hwa is a deity since he was the one who brought Reaper into the house.
It was nice to see the focus turned more on Reaper, though I still wish we knew more about Sunny to really care more about her. Reaper’s break-up with Sunny provide opportunities for much laughs especially the scene where Eun Tak and Kim Shin try to bring them back together and Kim Shin completely ruins it by commenting on their colour combinations and likening them to fried egg, then a beansprout. Eun Tak later apologises for bringing Kim Shin along, after which Reaper says in an annoyed manner that the look he was going for was an angel. Heh. Goblin and Reaper just crack me up!
And wasn’t that scene of them walking with such swag and style through the tunnel while holding leeks just so hilarious? It’s so refreshing to see the show continually undercut our supernatural beings’ illusions of grandeur in such fun, teasing manners. And who can forget Goblin teasing Reaper about being his sister when Reaper shows him the ring? These two are really the most fun thing about the show, never ceasing to amuse us and touch our hearts.
Things move ahead on the Goblin and Eun Tak front too, as Eun Tak hits 20 and gets her best present ever, which is a boyfriend. She also learns that her mum has been watching out for her through her friend Jung Hyun, who passes her a stack of bank books – the ones which the aunt accused Eun Tak of taking – so that she can use it to pay for her school fees. Just earlier today, I had been reminded of the scene between young Eun Tak and her mum in the first episode and how moving and touching it was. Once again, the scenes of Eun Tak and Jung Hyun manage to tug at our heart strings and she tells Jung Hyun to be her mum’s friend for eternity. Her mum may have left Eun Tak at an early age, but she certainly ensured Eun Tak was well provided for through providing the scarf, Jung Hyun and also, Goblin.
We also get our first genuine kiss between Kim Shin and Eun Tak and it was nice that it took place in such an ordinary setting at a street side restaurant – no need for sweeping snowscapes or buckwheat fields – because the kiss itself is beautiful and captivating on its own. They had to go through a lot to get to that moment, in terms of their emotional journey and coming to terms with their destiny and it was certainly an emotionally satisfying moment.
While the story moves backwards to the Goryeon era, we also move to the future in the Quebec scene with Eun Tak at 29. I’ve started to realise that the show’s tendency to repeat similar scenes is purposeful because each repetition does not just serve as filler to remind audience members of what happened – each repetition also reveals the renewed perspective that the character has when reliving that memory. This time, when looking back, Goblin realises that he may be able to influence the future and decides to take a trip to Quebec to buy her the necklace. The show isn’t exactly clear on this, but I’m sure we’ll return to that scene again and I’m almost certain that the person Eun Tak meets is Goblin – because who else can it be? I’m open to being surprised though.
While things are falling in place nicely, my hope for the series is that we can get more surprises in the episodes to come because things seem to be a little predictable so far. As viewers, we now know more than the characters hence we can foresee several key events, like Reaper realising that he’s the young king, Kim Shin connecting with Sunny, Sunny realising she is Kim Shin’s sister, Sunny realising Goblin and Reaper’s true identity and Eun Tak realising that she’s likely to die if she doesn’t pull out Goblin’s sword soon enough. While I have no doubt the show will be able to handle these key events in a poetic, beautiful and meaningful manner, it would also be nice to throw in some surprises or reveal some hidden connections that we’ve not seen coming.