The Lonely and Shining Goblin Episode 15

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I appreciated this episode much more because I’m getting a clearer sense of where the series is heading in this final stretch. It is, and has always been, about our characters exercising their will to free themselves from the control of deities and the fates determined for them.

Watching this episode I was reminded of Shin and Reaper’s encounter of the man who barged into the tearoom just to use the toilet – which prompted Shin to realise that the power of the human will was strong, and that he’d keep finding ways to open doors and change the tragic fate between him and Eun Tak. In fact, Park Joong Won’s entry was a detour from the Kim Shin’s bigger journey which was to find a way of growing old together with Eun Tak, the Goblin’s wife.

His simple act of going to Quebec in an earlier episode to buy the necklace for her gains greater significance in this episode, as the shopowner remembers the man who came to buy the necklace for her 10 years ago. We learn that the necklace symbolises “a match made in  heaven, a destiny outside of man’s boundary”. In getting Eun Tak that necklace, Kim Shin was already subtly asserting his claim on this relationship as something ordained by Heaven, rather than something that Heaven wants to tear apart.

This also ties back in to Kim Shin’s decision in the previous episode to stay in the space between life and afterlife, where there is no god – so that he can be both the rain and the snow, and fulfil his promise to Eun Tak. Although this decision is painful and torturous, and ultimately also means he’ll not have God watching over him, at least Kim Shin has the freedom to decide to be with Eun Tak.

Eun Tak certainly also wasn’t a passive figure in this destiny as well, because she also quickly scribbled down notes in her own notebook about Kim Shin before her memories of him were erased. These notes served as useful triggers that slowly helped her to remember who he is.

One has to wonder what the deity was thinking about he said he was being kind by removing the memories of Kim Shin, because we clearly see that Eun Tak has suffered because she would cry uncontrollably whenever it rains. She’s suffered psychologically, so much so that she’s sought medical help. Even when Kim Shin finally appears and they have plenty of happy moments, the trauma and pain of losing him still remains raw, and she can’t believe it’s true – she wakes up from her sleep, trembling in fear that this joyful time with him is merely a dream, asking him to appear within less than 3 seconds. While Eun Tak may be successful in her career over the 9 years, we get hints that her mental state may have been rather unhinged, because while the memories of Kim Shin are gone, the emotional experience has left an unremovable mark on her – a mark that even the deities cannot remove.

At the end of the episode, when Kim Shin asks her to be his bride and she agrees, it is a mark of triumph for them. Previously, the identity of Goblin’s bride was thrust upon Eun Tak and both of them had to play by the rules set by the deities, i.e.removing the sword kills Goblin, Eun Tak must remove the sword or she will die. However, they have now set their own rules by creating a binding contract between the two of them. The marriage between them is something they both make a choice to do, rather than something bound by the deities.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Sunny and Reaper who aren’t living such a happy life. It was a great development to see that Sunny hadn’t forgotten anything and still held on to all her memories. I’ve always found her to be a strong character, but this illustrates her strength even more as she’s made to hold back her emotions, even in front of Wang Yeo, when she clearly remembers him – and she knows he remembers too!

Sunny’s ability to hold on to her memories are due to her headstrong nature and her will to fight against the deities. In a very telling scene with the young boy that Shin saved from bullies in ep13, she displays her complete disdain of the deities/God, calling him a jerk and saying that she has the right to speak ill of him, because of all she’s gone through. She claims the right over her life and her memories, and says that the deity has no right to interfere.

This is not the first time she has held on to memories that were meant to be removed – even when Reaper tried to remove memories of himself from her, she held on to them. Here, the deities attempt to remove the memories of Goblin fails once again, because she’s resolute and refuses to allow the deities’ interference. It’s an interesting twist that while she was the last to find out about Goblin, Reaper and Eun Tak’s identities previously, she’s currently the one who’s identity is the most “hidden” from three of them because they all think she has forgotten them. Even though she doesn’t believe in a deity, Sunny’s hope and faith remains strong as she writes in a letter addressed to Reaper and sent to the radio station that she believes they will find a happy ending together, perhaps in the next life.

As for our poor Wang Yeo, he continues to suffer in pain and in silence, as a means of repenting for his previous sins. While we do not see him proactively trying to change his fate, unlike the others, his act of staying away from Sunny and not trying to restore her memories of him is also an act of strength, because it goes completely against what he really wants to do.

On the other hand, he is not completely down in the dumps because the deity has been kind and allowed him to retain his memories of his friendship with Goblin, which also allowed them to pick up from where they left off 9 years ago. They continue to be a delight together and I’ve really missed their antics and bantering – the scene where both of them tried to show off to Deok Hwa was truly fun! Goblin bringing Eun Tak back into the house restores the family once again.

Even as lots of good things happen to Eun Tak and Goblin, we know that something bad is on the verge of happening as Eun Tak starts seeing ghosts again and Reaper recalls what he told her about how she will meet a Reaper when she’s 29. Even as I write this entry, I know that my interpretations may be influenced by what happens in the finale, yet I am glad to see how the show’s pulling pieces together from all over to ultimate build towards a grand story about fate, destiny and will power. It’s not necessarily a worldview that I hold personally, but I appreciate the efforts taken by the show to explore this issue in such a deep and compelling manner.

4 thoughts on “The Lonely and Shining Goblin Episode 15

  1. Bea January 22, 2017 / 6:18 am

    Thanks for your wonderful review and perspective, I always look forward to reading them.

    Here is some of mine

    1) beef is big in Korea? I was watching weightlifting fairy and that seem to be big in that show too?

    2) memory erasure without consent
    I share the same disdain for the dieties on the show as does Sunny. It seems the dieties lack humanity and would allow, first , sunny suffer in this incarnation with painful emotional imprint from goryeo. Then allow et to suffer from painful emotional imprint of losing Kim shin. What can’t the almighty erase the emotional memory if they think it will ease human suffering. I would think there is more to work with to resolve conflict when memory is intact. Also for example, with the death of Kim shin Deok kwa made the resolve to work harder in life, and all the benefit were reversed with his memories erased. Deok kwa seemed to have reverted to his former irresponsible self.

    2) fate
    why must dieties present “fate” when fate can present themselves without the dieties. It seems the dieties refused to take responsibility for what they’ve done. Just because they are Almighty doesn’t mean they are doing the right thing.

    3) body possession.
    Can’t get over Almighty possessing everyone from little boy to Deok kwa, and even punishment for speaking against the almighty.

    4) I don’t understand Sunny’s need to separate from the GR anymore, especially after GR and Kim shin had already reconciled with each other. I understand if the memory is painful that she is not ready to move on. But …

    ****Spoiler*******

    She made the decision to go to the next life with Wang Yeo, why can’t that be done now?

    ***** End spoiler *****

    5) I love the fact that Kim shin and et are taking responsibility for their relationship. From et admitting to Kim shin that he’s the type of man she likes to getting a new marriage contract. I don’t understand why it takes 9 years. They could have spent 9 years together.

    It’s a bit hard for me to adjust to the change of pace and focus from ep13 to ep 15.

  2. Bea January 22, 2017 / 7:36 am

    Arrg, I got my answer to 4 & 5

    4) it’s not that sunny doesn’t want to forget, she wanted to forget in her own terms. That’s why she didnt get back together with GR because she couldn’t get over the past

    5) it just happened to be 9 years, she’s blowing out the candle and it happened to be first snow. Per contract goblin returns

    • heroonthebeach
      heroonthebeach January 22, 2017 / 10:38 pm

      Hey Bea, thanks for your questions. Like you, I also struggled to adjust to the change of pace, even though I could see where the show is heading.. I’ve shared more thoughts in my post on the finale.

      For point (4), I’m wondering why she couldn’t get over the past in this life. We needed to see more of Sunny’s process of dealing with her memories from the past… what about it was so difficult to overcome, if Kim Shin was able to do so? Sometimes I feel like Sunny still remains largely a mystery to us.

      For points (2) and (3), I find that the show’s portrayal of the deity/God rather unclear and muddled… as a Christian, I am personally uncomfortable with the way God is presented. also, ever since it was revealed that the deity possessed Deok Hwa, we haven’t really had further exploration about that. I would have actually appreciated more scenes between Goblin and the deity, beyond just that one encounter they had.

  3. Ea February 18, 2017 / 10:04 pm

    Om… im just curious, just want to know your insight on these:

    1. Why does Eun Tak’s birthmark disappeared?
    2. Then, Why does she can see ghosts again?

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