The Merging Of The Tribes
There’s been a lot of talk about Arthdal Chronicles’ dwindling ratings this week and it’s a shame really because this third part has been really good in tying everything together. However, I also feel like the 8 week gap while Hotel Del Luna was on hasn’t helped this show one bit, especially given how amazing that Korean drama has been. Still, part 3 leaves plenty of questions unanswered ready for next week’s finale and finally we get more screen-time for Eunseom here whom we see for a good chunk of time.
After the dramatic events that occurred in the throne room, Tanya asks Taealha if she can go back to Iark with the Wahans. She declines, of course, prompting Tanya to ask just why they can’t go given how much they’ve given to Arthdal. Unable to get them to change their ways, it’s here she shares a meal with the Wahan Tribe themselves and sees how much they’ve all changed. Especially Moong-Tae.
While they eat, she suggests they move back to Iark but when they refuse, she goes on to tell them about the harsh punishments Tagon has in store for them. Moong-Tae stands up and tells them the teachings are pointless now as he’s loyal to Tagon. Tears running down her cheeks, Tanya heads to the Mountain with Saya who gives her a matching emblem, prompting her to immediately think of Eunseom.
As the lone survivor from Harim’s slaughter, the lone Daekan warrior returns to Arthdal while Tagon and the others address the people. Tanya is to conduct the Sacred Trial and she tells them that Asa Sakan, the Great Mother, is to be imprisoned while she embellishes on what Taealha originally told her to say, instead informing the people that the original plan was for everyone else to be torn to shreds.
However, she spins the story into one of mercy on her part and because of this embellishment, it’s enough for the people to rally to her cause. As they cheer and praise her, Tagon smirks in admiration at her defiance. Afterward she throws down her jewels and materialistic possessions, thinking back to how much the Wahans have changed. She doesn’t get long to think though, as she’s confronted by Taealha. Asking about her defiance, Tanya simply brushes her aside, telling Tagon that the land she’ll stand on will be the hearts of the people.
After speaking to Tanya, the Daekan tell Tagon about Moo-Gwang’s death, including his heart being ripped from his chest. Given Tanya’s prophetic message to him, Moo-Baek begs her to conduct an ollimsani for her brother, which she agrees to do. As he leaves, Tanya speaks to Saya and as their conversation turns to Eunseom we return to the tribal village.
As the slaves arrive at a makeshift village, they’re made to huddle together while an assassin fires an arrow into the fray, prompting an entire group of warriors to attack the Ago Clan. However, as the tribes fight they contemplate their role in selling slaves to Arthdal. The clan members bicker infront of the Chief, while the slaves eat their food, prompting Ipsaeng to watch them suspiciously. As day turns to night, the Momo Tribe continues to press closer to Eunseom’s whereabouts while the Chief hears that Ipsaeng is actually a direct descendant to the Tae Clan.
Agreeing to their terms for bringing back one of their own from the Taes, he heads off but en-route he goes it alone and laughs to himself about how gullible the clan members are to trust in him. As his laughing subsides, he clutches the amulet, thinking back to Eunseom alone with them. Back in the village, Eunseom is forced before the others where he gives them an impassioned speech about how oblivious they’ve all been to their predicament, telling them they’ve committed a sin – weakness.
It’s here Ipsaeng returns empty handed, keeping up the facade momentarily as he tells them he was unsuccessful in bringing the clan member back. As he looks at Eunseom, he tells him he’s a moron and laments his own weakness in returning. It’s here he reveals the painful truth. Before the tribe grabs him however, he points to Eunseom and tells them to hear him out. Keeping up with the lie, Eunseom proceeds to spill the details of what he’s dreamed and mentions the Momo Tribe.
Before he can continue however, Eunseom is questioned by the village elder who asks probing questions about their God before telling him to look in her eyes. In doing so, she tells them all he’s lying. As the others prepare to pounce, Eunseom dances their sacred ritual and declares that the Elders will make their decision over whether he’s telling the truth or not.
Eunseom’s punishment is one of doom and disaster. As part of their ritual, the fractured Ago Tribe decide he’ll be thrown over a waterfall to see if he survives. Tied up to a makeshift raft made of bamboo, the echoing words of the tribal leader rings out as the Momo Tribe learn of Eunseom’s fate from afar. As they hurry over to the waterfall, Eunseom tries to free himself as he braces himself for the worst.
Managing to break free, Xabara and the others charge into the water after Eunseom while he plunges to his doom. As he falls deeper into the water, he apologises to Tanya as the tribe rush in and, as quick as mermaids, grab him and bring him to safety. This simple act unites the Ago Tribe together.
Arthdal Chronicles continues to weave its narratives pretty well and this week continues that with a progressive episode of character development. Seeing Ipsaeng give up his selfish ways to save Eunseom is a really satisfying conclusion to his arc although give Arthdal’s reluctance to kill many characters off thus far, I’d be surprised if we see him meet his fate.
If there’s one downside with this drama it’s just that. The lack of killing of main characters has really hurt the overall tension with this one and given the staggering number of characters brought into the fold, seemingly increasing every week, it’s a bit of a missed opportunity that Arthdal hasn’t delivered more on this front.
Still, despite those minor grumbles the show has done well to maintain its intrigue and quite where this one will go next remains to be seen. There’s two more episodes left and quite how this one will wrap everything up in that time-frame remains to be seen, especially given the reluctance to bring second seasons to these illustrious Korean dramas. Time will tell of course but I feel the ending will either make or break the show. Let’s hope it’s the former!