Two Fates Entwined Together
Hell hath no fury like a mourning father; episode 11 of Bulgasal: Immortal Souls begins with Hwal seemingly distraught over the loss of his son reincarnate. With bloodied hands, he shakily tries to clean his palms but the pain runs deep. That inevitably manifests itself into uncontrollable rage, as he remains fixated on finding Eul-Tae and stopping him for good.
The thing is, Do-Yun isn’t actually dead. Despite what we initially thought last episode, he’s alive and after recovering from his injuries, awakens to find Hwal watching over him.
Do-Yun immediately drops another bombshell, revealing that Eul-Tae was the one who killed Hwal’s mother and son 600 years back. Hwal is shocked and while he contemplates what to do about his foe, he takes the painting of Sang-Un, the one he’s loathed for so many years, and burns it outside. He apologizes to Sang-Un for inexplicably hating her for so long and tries to come up with a plan for getting back at Eul-Tae.
Sang-Un chips in with a plan of her own, deciding to use herself as bait to get back at Eul-Tae. After all, she has her own bad blood given what happened with her sister and is determined to set things right. The first step of this sees the gang pack up their things and leave the safe-house together. Of course, that’s a bitter pill to swallow given the good times they’ve all shared together there.
Instead, Hwal takes them down to a lake-house that’s far more lavish compared to the “haunted house” they were in originally. With this new base of operations, a weight appears to be lifted from Hwal. He’s lighter, more focused and the sadness he had earlier in the episode has dissipated somewhat. At least for a while anyway.
The gang continue to get along well, although this feels like a last supper before the final fight. (I say final, there’s still 5 more episodes after this so maybe not!) Hwal agrees to let them all eat outside, but immediately interjects when he notices Do-yun about to be given alcohol. He refuses to let him drink, which leads to Kwon blurting out that Hwal is an over-protective dad. It’s awkward, especially as Do-Yun doesn’t know the truth, but it thankfully goes over his head.
The rest of dinner goes well, although in private Hwal takes Kwon aside and asks him for a favour. He wants him there to look after their little family, and admits he’s going after Eul-Tae. He’s not sure if he’ll return and is preparing for the worst.
Sang-Un and Si-ho end up having a heart to heart that night. They discuss Hwal’s demeanour, how he’s cold toward others and has a mysterious aura. Sang-Un has clearly grown affectionate toward him, and Si-Ho senses this. She smiles and teases Sang-Un about this.
That night, Sang-Un struggles to sleep and heads outside, where she finds Hwal sitting with her. The pair talk about their upcoming struggles, with Sang-Un teasing him and telling the Bulgasal to lighten up a bit.
Sang-Un remains optimistic that they’ll be better off once Eul-Tae is in the well but Hwal questions her resolve. As she asks him if she’s foolish, he smiles, a genuinely warm smile too. Sang-Un tries to convince him to smile again but he’s having none of it and it disappears as quickly as it appeared, replaced with the cold, harsh truth that they could both die horribly the following day.
While they pack up their gear ready to go, Sang-Un quizzes whether Hwal has spoken to Do-Yun yet. He hasn’t, as it turns out, but she encourages him to practice his speech on her. As he mentions he loves Do-Yun, Sang-Un freezes.
Hwal eventually makes a big decision and traps her in the storage room, looking the door and keeping her from getting involved with Eul-Tae. He’s going to face him alone. And not only that, it seems like he knows Sang-Un is more emotionally invested than he would like.
Hwal eventually meets Eul-Tae when the day breaks, by a secluded boarded-up tunnel. Hwal switches his phone off and prepares for what’s to come next. At the same time, Si-Ho helps Sang-Un out from her locked room and decides to join her in the hunt for Eul-Tae. After all, she wants to kill Eul-Tae too, with just as much at stake as Sang-Un does.
In order to do that, Si-Ho decides to use her powers of foresight. The pair sit together, cross-legged, facvng one another. Si-Ho closes her eyes, reliving the painful night involving Sang-Un and her sister, Sang-Yeon. With tears rolling down her cheeks, Sang-Un encourages her to look at Kim Hwa-Yeon instead.
Hwal and Eul-tae eventually make it to the well but the latter is too strong. He knocks out Hwal, leaving him with a dribble of blood from the side of his mouth.
While Hwal bleeds, seemingly passing out, Eul-tae lets his guard down and leans in close. As he does, Hwal pounces. Eul-Tae drops the lamp down the well and winds up stabbed in the very spot where his Dark Hole protruded from. It grows bigger, sending black veins rippling through his chest. As Eul-Tae tries to get away, Hwal follows.
Eul-tae then drops another bombshell about the truth involving Bulgasals. They’re not immortal because they don’t have souls. The only way to kill a Bulgasal is for both to be killed together, given they always arrive in pairs. “As long as one is alive,” Eul-Tae croaks, “The other will never die.”
Eul-tae tries his best to persuade Hwal to stop, even mentioning how Hwal allegedly asked Eul-Tae to turn him into Bulgasal. Eventually though Hwal has enough and grabs Dark Hole. With a knife pointed at his chest, he prepares for the killing blow, wiping out both men at the same time.
As they wrestle for dominance at the abandoned train yard, the pair tumble off the top of a high bridge and land hard on the ground below.
Sang-Un races to the scene, driven by a force even she can’t comprehend. Well, it turns out she’s actually grown real feelings for Hwal. When he steps out from the train-yard, bloodied and bruised, and sees her standing before him, Sang-Un confesses her true feelings.
The Episode Review
So Bulgasal returns with a collective sigh of relief; Do-Yun is okay after all and not dead. I’m not going to lie, I genuinely thought he was going to be killed off here; a symbol of how time is repeating itself and these characters are destined to repeat the same mistakes all over again.
Interestingly, this episode works to show how many people actually want revenge against Eul-tae. And there are a fair few of them, that’s for sure! I’d imagine it’ll take a collective effort for everyone to stop this guy. Only, that also means that Hwal will need to sacrifice himself too, setting up a Goblin-esque heartbreak scene when Sang-Un and Hwal do part ways.
With Sang-Un admitting her true feelings and everything left on an agonizing cliffhanger, thankfully we don’t have to wait too long to find out what happens next!