Arthdal Chronicles – Season 1 Episode 12 Recap & Review


Tanya’s Final Dance

The finale to Arthdal Chronicles boasts an action packed, politically charged episode, one that ends on a tantalizing cliffhanger. With Tanya’s journey nearing its climax and Eunseom making his move, the finale does a great job topping off what’s otherwise been a turbulent second half to this fantasy epic.

We pick up right where we left off from before, with the Neanthals confronting Tanya and the others. They tell them there’s only 5 Neanthals remaining and as they contemplate their own future, Tagon and Saya come face to face. Saya is furious, attacking his father as he realizes he was tricked the entire time. However, the solitary guard remaining stationed at Tanya’s informs Tagon that Mi-Hol has taken Tanya captive. Mi-Hol himself refuses to tell Asa Ron about Tanya’s whereabouts, deciding on his own agenda.

Mi-Hol decides to call out Taealha’s bluff when she tells him she doesn’t know Tanya. As the two come face to face, Taealha caves, telling her Father that Tanya will be able to lead them to the star bell. At the same time, Tagon prepares his Daekan Warriors to storm the Great Shrine, tasking 5 of his most nimble soldiers to rescue Tanya and Taealha in the process.

Eunseom plans his escape from Doldambool, still kept in the depths of the pits with the other prisoners whilst those above deliberate over what to do about them. Syoreujakin descends to the bottom of the pits while Eunseom and the others say goodbye to their friend in a touching farewell. When the guard reaches the bottom however, all of the slavers pretend to be dead. With his defences down, they capture him and hold him up at knife-point. Here, Eunseom strikes up a deal, telling him if he can help them escape then Syoreujakin can have all the jewels they’ve collected. After some deliberation, he agrees to help them.

Back in Arthdal, it turns out Mi-Hol has actually betrayed Taealha. He tells Asa Ron all about Tanya and the star bell, prompting them to come to a compromise together. However, this is also a deception as Mi-Hol is working on his own. Tied up, he makes Tanya drink a strange liquid that sends her into a drugged state. Here, Tanya admits she has no idea where the star bell is prompting Mi-Hol to decide Taealha must testify against Tagon at the Sacred Trial as agreed.

While the White Peak Mountain Hearts come to Arthdal and begin praying, Tagon is notified that his Daekan warriors lie in wait, ready to strike on his command. 

The Sacred Trial then begins. Tagon falls for the bait set by Mi-Hol and he sticks his neck on the line for Tanya. Asa Ron decides he’ll find our whether she’s truly the heir or not and allows her to try and find the Star Bell. She initiates the tribal dancing she learnt in episodes past, twisting and turning whilst whistling and calling forth the prophesied azure bird. This leads her to finally find the Star Bell, hidden in an obscure part of the ceiling. Tying way back to the first few episodes, her rock throwing trick for catching birds comes in handy, allowing her to break the seal and release the bell, where it drops in the shallow water with a splash. As the people fling themselves to the ground and begin worshipping her, Tanya and Eunseom vow to find each other as the episode, and season, ends.

Say what you will about Arthdal Chronicles, the finale itself really pulls out all the stops and delivers one of the best episodes of the season. The way Tanya’s flashbacks and learning the ways of the tribal mother play into the prophecy itself is beautifully written and props to the writers for this, it’s easily one of the highlights of the show. The constant triage of scheming between Mi-Hol, Tagon and Asa Ron continues this episode too and with all three of them still alive and little in the way of climactic fighting at the end, most of the episode rests on the political drama and fulfilling Tanya’s side of the prophecy.

With Eunseom now presumably free and Saya watching on in stunned disbelief, who knows what will happen in the next season. I personally can’t wait and have thoroughly enjoyed watching Arthdal Chronicles over the weeks, flaws and all. It hasn’t always been the best drama across the weeks and at times, the story has felt in danger of careering off track, but for the most part Arthdal Chronicles has done well to consistently deliver entertaining and well written episodes.

Quite what will happen next season remains to be seen but with the prophecy coming to fruition, who knows how the other residents of Arthdal will react to Tanya or what Eunseom will make of this when he eventually makes it back himself. In the meantime, Arthdal Chronicles delivers an impressive finale, one that rounds things out with a impressive slice of fantastical drama.


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