After last week’s dramatic episode, Arthdal Chronicles’ return couldn’t have come soon enough. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching this over the weeks and as both a fan of both epic fantasy stories and Korean dramas, this one has certainly hit the sweet spot. After the first few episodes helped set the foundation for what’s followed, now we’re really seeing the show double down on its plot and characters.
We return to the top of the tower as Tagon and Eunseom clash but the fight doesn’t last for long. It turns out Sanung played Tagon all along, striking up a deal with Eunseom and promising to free his people in exchange for luring Tagon to him. The cunning military leader then tries a different tactic, asking for forgiveness from his Father but being met with disdain. Sanung refuses his offer, telling him he won’t make that same mistake again. Eunseom listens to it all, caught in the middle of this familial feud.
In a flash, Eunseom and Tagon suddenly fight but in the ensuing chaos, Sanung gets his throat slit and dies in Tagon’s arms. This leaves Eunseom all alone and with no one to make good on the promise he was given, Tagon promises him that his people will be massacred. However, before Tagon can make good on his vow, Eunseom manages to escape and rides through the streets on Helper while Tagon’s warriors arrive and find Sanung’s body.
Mournfully, they take Sanung outside and present it to the townsfolk who weep for his death until that turns to anger when Tagon tells everyone, in the presence of the Asa Clan, that Eunseom is the one responsible for his death. This inevitably prompts the townsfolk to turn on the Wahan tribe, throwing things and beginning to riot as guards struggle to hold them back.
After a brief hiatus outside the city walls to catch his breath, Eunseom storms back to the city, determined to find out where Tagon lives so he can confront him. Given their earlier fight in the tower, Eunseom now knows his secret – Tagon is actually of mixed blood, making him an Igutu just like Eunseom.
We then cut across to the shrine of the White Peak Mountain where Mubaek receives a prophetic message – he must stop “The man who killed his father” and if he doesn’t, the world will end.
Back at Arthdal, Taealha’s father Mi-Hol has doubts that Eunseom was the one responsible for killing Sanung and approaches the leader of the Asa clan to discuss matters. Here, he learns Tagon made a secret plan with them the night Sanung was killed but things are more complicated than that. After a sibling squabble between Tagon and his brother, along with a unification being drawn up behind Tagon’s back, we finally see the funeral ceremony for Sanung. Just before the pyres are lit, Asa Ron asks him if he’s ever had a dream or heard voices. He tells Tagon he shouldn’t be performing the ritual, prompting the people to begin murmuring and questioning the validity of this.
However, Tagon seemingly puts on a ruse, pretending to be the founder of Arthdal as a higher spiritual being, while Eunseom snatches Taealsa up and holds her at knife-point. He gives her the bloodied cloth and tells her to relay the message on to Tagon that he wants to meet him at the place they met before. He promises that everyone will know Tagon is an Igutu while the people chant his name and fireflies dance around his body.
Arthdal Chronicles continues to deliver a thoroughly enjoyable, twisty plot and this week is no exception. We see a lot more of the political powers conspiring together here and with Mubaek seemingly aware that Tagon was the one who killed Sanung, who knows what this means going forward. Of course, given the sheer breadth of scope and ambition this series has, there’s a lot of characters and events here that are sometimes difficult to follow. If you do find yourself a bit confused with this one, I thoroughly recommend checking out the Asianwiki page on this. It details all the characters and their lineages, making things a lot easier to follow.
This intricate level of attention put into this show is ultimately what makes Arthdal Chronicles such an engaging prospect. Who knows what direction this is likely to take next but with both Eunseom and Tagon both sharing the same blood, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see these two square off again in the future. For now though, Arthdal Chronicles leaves things on a very tantalizing note after a very good episode and I for one cannot wait to see where this is going to go next.