Arthdal Chronicles – Season 1 Episode 7 Recap & Review

 

Switching Places

Following last week’s dramatic cliffhanger ending, Arthdal Chronicles returns for episode 7, and a deeper look at some of our characters. Among these is the newest face to proceedings, and the big reveal of the third piece of the puzzle, Saya. With the prophetic trio now revealed and the fight over Union leadership in full swing, Arthdal Chronicles continues to deliver, with another good episode despite a fair amount of flashbacks dotted throughout.

We begin with Eunseom and Yang-Cha engaging in their fight whilst Tanya finds herself alone with Saya in Tagon’s room. As she gets closer, it turns out the boy has purple blood, meaning he’s an Igutu. Before we can see this narrative develop, we cut back to Mi-Hol whose convinced Arthdal is behind his own civilization being attacked years ago. In order to claim some bargaining chips with Tagon, he burns the plans for creating bronze weapons, making him the only one able to make them. Unable to kill him, Tagon takes him away instead.

Tagon then allows one of the Wahan tribe, Yeol-Son, to see the smelting process before hurrying upstairs where he finds Tanya alone with the boy. As he looks up and sees Tagon, he lets slip that he’s actually his son. After being forced to kill his own guard for fear of the secret getting out, we cut back to Eunseom running through the streets to escape the guards.

Unfortunately, he shows his Igutu blood during his fight with Yang-Cha but continues on, clutching his stomach and narrowly avoiding the soldiers chasing him. However his secret is now out – the soldiers know he’s an Igutu. On the outskirts of the city, he manages to get Mu-Baek alone at knife-point and tells him he’s not the one who killed Sanung.

Tanya is captured but home truths are revealed when she has a talk with Tagon and Taealha. This leads to Tanya being made a servant for Saya and the household in general. From here we then see a captured Asa Ron who tells him he thinks Tagon killed Sanung, not Eunseom. Tagon then blackmails Asa Ron, telling him he can continue to serve the gods and announce him as the union leader or die. He refuses of course.

Saya then talks to Taealha about the night’s incidents and his presumed abilities around night walking and dreaming. It also turns out that Eunseom’s necklace originally belonged to the Asa clan, meaning Eunseom is related to the White Mountain Tribe. From here, the episode then slows in pace as we see numerous flashbacks for different characters unfold, some of which retreading familiar ground and replaying segments from previous episodes.

As the episode wears on, we then see Taealha and Tagon meet in the forest they first made love together where he tells her she has to marry into the Asa Clan. However, Tagon will still be her lover. When she comes back however, she’a intent on killing Asa Ron herself, laying the blame on Dan-Byeok to avoid a potential war breaking out. Saya however, has heard it all.

In a bid to show the people they’re not afraid, Dan-Byeok and the others eat at a local marketplace. Despite initial concerns, and after feeding rice to the chickens, they believe their food hasn’t been poisoned. However, a cloaked girl hands him a vial with an antidote and a note soon after telling him he’s been poisoned. He decides not to take it until he’s checked on the chickens from earlier and lo and behold – they’re all on the floor dead. After drinking the contents of the vial, he heads to the steps of the podium and starts his speech, before vomiting blood and collapsing on the street.

As everyone scrambles to try and save him, Taealha learns that it was Saya responsible for this, having previously switched the vials over. In a cruel twist of fate, Dan-Byeok was not poisoned to begin with but the hooded figure was actually Saya who convinced him he was, feeding the chickens a separate bag of grains full of the poison. This is why he died on the podium. As it happens, this was all a big revenge ploy to get back at Taealha for killing his lover. The episodes then ends with us learning that during this big reveal, Tanya has heard the whole thing.

At the end of the last episode, things seemed unclear as to how these three core characters fit together in the grand scheme of the prophecy. While we’re still none the wiser on this front, despite a few drip-fed bits of information about Eunseom’s lineage, it’s the political intricacy that keeps this one ticking by. Seeing this new wildcard, Saya, enter the fight is certainly a welcome inclusion and the twist at the end is shocking and one that subverts expectations in the best way possible. It’s  also something that’s bound to have serious ramifications for our players going forward too.

Quite what tomorrow’s episode will bring is a mystery but for now, Arthdal Chronicles doubles down on its character-driven backstabbing and drama, much to the benefit of the show. Whether we’ll get any answers to some of the burning questions is still a mystery but with each episode clocking in at 80 minutes, there’s still plenty of time left to deliver a satisfying conclusion to this. Before we get there though, Arthdal Chronicles delivers a decent episode with some pretty shocking reveals, thankfully making up for the slowed pace and numerous flashbacks.

 

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  • Episode Rating
3.5

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