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.