Love Is In The Air
Episode 12 of Bulgasal: Immortal Souls starts with Sang-Un and Hwal trying to find Eul-Tae, determined to stop him. We know how this ends; both Hwal and Eul-Tae will need to die together. Hwal is weakened from his earlier fight though and as he sits down to rest, Sang-Un urges him not to kill the evil other, suggesting he lock Eul-Tae up in the well forever.
News of Hwal’s fate – and how both Bulgasals need to die together – is fed back to Si-Ho too, who in turn tells the dysfunctional family. When Do-Yun learns what’s happened, he’s certainly surprised, but the scene cuts before we can properly see his reaction.
We then jump back 1000 years ago to see a brief flashback play out. Hwal is bleeding, weakened and lost. Eul-Tae is there and asks what he can do to help. Quick as a flash, Hwal, under the guise of the Bulgasal’s curse, grabs Eul-Tae’s chest and leaves a horrid Dark Hole in its wake.
Much like we’ve seen for a few episodes now, the drama involving stopping Eul-Tae takes a back seat for Hwal and Sang-Un grow closer together. There’s a few scenes here involving Hwal cooking for Sang-Un and the former confused by Sang-Un’s confession, given he’s never had anyone care so deeply for him before – not even his own wife.
Dropping a knife on the table, Sang-Un suggests sacrificing herself in order to save Hwal’s life. She decides to make him kill her, reverting back to their old selves to try and make things right. And that would, of course, include Bulgasal going back inside Sang-Un.
Hwal refuses, unsure how to live as a human anymore, and remains determined to press ahead with the original plan. The thing is, Hwal obviously has grown affectionate toward Sang-Un too and doesn’t want her to die.
When Lee Hye-Suk realizes what Hwal intends to do, she pleads with him not to do this. There’s a really nice moment here where Hwal holds out his hand and brushes her hair affectionately, as Hye-Suk changes to a child, reflecting how long Hwal has known her.
Back inside the house, Si-Ho uses her foreshadowing technique to jump back through time and see what happened to Hwa-Yeon.
However, Hye-Seok is there and she somehow manages to reach out to Si-Ho, who tells her not to look at past lives and return. It’s certainly a surprising turn of events and one that sees the prophecy surrounding everyone dying after retrieving their memories hold some serious weight.
Si-Ho is worried, and with a deep cut on her wrist from plunging her fingernails into her own flesh, things aren’t looking good.
Remember Hye-Suk’s possession several episodes back? Well, Si-Ho heads into the bedroom and finds her acting out of sorts. She scrubs the floor constantly, mumbling, while her eyes have the same, strange glassy-veil hanging over them. It’s certainly unnerving but she snaps out of it, unaware of what she’s been doing when Si-Ho shows up.
Meanwhile, Hwal heads to Eul-Tae’s where he finds the other Bulgasal’s pin-board, blood-soaked and full of clippings and pictures, including that of Sang-Un and Sang-Yeon.
When Eul-Tae’s lowly security guard head into the room, Hwal holds him by the throat and demands to know where Eul-Tae is. Well, it turns out he’s actually still at the mountains, having suffered from a lot of blood loss.
Eventually Hwal finds Eul-Tae, out in the woods and propped up against a tree. With white hair and nearing the end of his life, Hwal is ready to end it. Only, before that happens, Hwal wants to know what happened in the past.
The thing is, Eul-Tae refuses to say anything until Hwal kills Sang-Un and brings her to him. Hwal refuses to do so, which apparently is the same choice he made 1000 years prior. Eul-tae promises that she’ll ruin him and his deception (at least according to Eul-Tae anyway) will be his undoing. He’s going to kill everyone Hwal holds deal and gain his revenge.
While they’re talking, Eul-Tae uses his trump card. He’s going to kill Sang-Un while she’s on her own at the car, using that security guard we saw earlier on. Sensing something is amiss, Hwal races back to his car.
With blood staining the vehicle and a trail leading off to the side, Sang-Un sits holding her knees. The security guard was unsuccessful in killing her so in order to gain his strength back, Eul-Tae kills him. It’s hinted that he completely sucks all the blood from the man, especially with the way he wipes his mouth, but we don’t see that (mercifully!)
With Eul-Tae now back to his old tricks, Hwal takes Sang-Un and looks after her. He wipes blood from her face and as romantic music plays, it looks like we’re gearing up for a lovey angle to all of this. It seemed foreshadowed from very early on that the show would go this route and now we get our confirmation.
Hwal eventually helps Sang-Un with cleaning the blood off her. While in the bathroom together, she quizzes him about what Eul-Tae prophesied but Hwal shrugs it off, claiming it’s all nonsense. Sang-Un decides not to read too much into this, pointing out that Hwal has been helping her all this time.
However, a big revelation is made when Sang-Un looks in the mirror. She realizes the scar on her chest is in the exact same place as Sang-Yeon’s.
As she touches it, she’s thrust back in time to Hwa-Yeon where she notices Bulgasal killing. Only, it’s not Eul-Tae’s Bulgasal but actually Hwal.
When Hwal rushes into the bathroom to see her, Sang-Un grabs a pair of scissors and stabs him in the chest. “Who are you?” She asks.
The Episode Review
Oh dear, so it looks like the Bulgasal that slaughtered the village was actually Hwal after all. At least, that’s the way it looks anyway. It could be another trick but if not then this throws a big spanner in the works of the romance between Hwal and Sang-Un. It could also explain why the scriptwriters have pushed this so heavily.
The romance in this show is easily the of the weakest parts and while I’ve been onboard with the slower pace, allowing us to catch our breath from the crazy plot developments early on, things are now starting to drag.
This episode in particular feels a bit all over the place, with a few moments of action blanketed by a lot more family drama at the house. It feels like they’ve delayed this big plan for a while and with Eul-Tae weakened, they could have easily thrown him in the well and interrogated him there over what he knows.
Tonally, this makes Bulgasal somewhat of a mixed bag. The dark, gritty fantasy we saw early in the season seems to be squeezed out in favour of more romance. Whether that’s in reaction to those feelings of this being similar to Goblin and now embracing that much more, is anyone’s guess.
For now, we’re left with plenty of question marks going into next week’s penultimate double-bill of drama.