Episode 14 of Bulgasal: Immortal Souls begins with Sang-Un and the others still shocked over Hye-Suk’s death. After laying her to rest, they turn their attention to finding Si-Ho and Do-Yun. Kwon is okay too, minus a fractured arm, but he claims to have recognized the assailant’s face.
Through Captain Han and Kwon’s resources, Hwal manages to obtain a photo of Min-Su and information to help guide them to the monster’s whereabouts. Sang-Un is incredulous over Hwal’s cold attitude toward Hye-Suk.
Hwal claims she’s already dead and decides to leave her on the ground while he heads out to find Do-Yun and Si-Ho.
Well, Si-Ho and Do-Yun bide their time and manage to break their binds, slipping away from Min-Su. Unfortunately, he soon gives chase, stalking them through cornfields. Realizing that hiding is futile, Si-Ho sacrifices herself to let Do-Yun get away.
When Hwal and Sang-Un show up and charge through to try and save Si-Ho, the camera cuts back to Sang-Un’s sister as a single tear falls from her face. Do-Yun screams out.
Hwal races up to their location and finds Do-Yun left a bloody mess on the floor. He’s still alive though. As for Si-Ho, she’s been taken by Min-Su, slung over his shoulder and knocked out.
Of course, all of this was just bait for Sang-Un, and with her left alone with this monster, he drops Si-Ho and begins stalking her. Sang-Un slashes wildly with her knife but it’s no good. Thankfully Hwal shows up and holds him down by the throat.
Looking him in his monstrous eyes, Hwal realizes this guy is Yeongno, a monster that ate 100 people in the past. Min-Su strikes back though, seizing the opportunity to slash Hwal across the eyes with Sang-Un’s blade. Hwal strikes back, beating him to a pulp.
Min-Su tells Hwal that he’s just like Eul-Tae, something we’ve heard a lot recently. Anyway, Min-Su is killed and for now, the threat thwarted. However, Hwal is injured and has his eyes bandaged up.
The gang head out to the spot where Captain Han happens to be tied up. Hwal removes the tape from his mouth and demands to know how and when Han started working with Eul-tae.
Obviously we know he’s an innocent party in all this so it’s a pretty uncomfortable chat to witness. Hwal recognizes Han from the station (along with his own past life) and threatens to kill Han’s family if anything untoward happens. So Hwal throws him a burner and demands he ring if Eul-Tae gets in touch.
When Sang-Un learns about the morally grey area Hwal is treading, she worries that he’s becoming more like Eul-Tae. “What sets you apart from him?” She quizzes, but in truth there’s not really an answer for this.
In the aftermath of this attack, both Do-Yun and Si-Ho try to tackle the after-effects of Hye-Suk’s death. The house is eerily empty without her presence, while Sang-Un sits with Hwal outside, who’s looking more and more like Daredevil every scene.
Hwal heartlessly claims they “have no time for the dead” right now and continues on, claiming she’s never been family. Sang-Un sees through his words and believes he’s lashing out because he’s affected by her death. The way his nose flares up and he moves slightly is a great bit of acting, even if the camera keeps jumping back and forth between him and Sang-Un.
Hwal decides that Sang-Un should leave with Do-Yun and Si-Ho. He goes on to mention that back 1000 years ago, Eul-Tae and him were willingly Bulgasal and blood-lusting together. He wants the others to leave now the final fight is approaching, claiming they’re a “nuisance” and wanting to end this fight once and for all.
Hwal is clearly just trying to protect them but it’s still hard to watch him push everyone away, who all get in their cars and leave the safehouse once and for all.
Unfortunately, Hwal’s decision is massively dangerous for all of his friends, especially Kwon who’s approached by Eul-Tae later that day. Eul-Tae admits he just killed to provoke Hwal and goes on to reveal that Kwon’s father is actually a monster. And because of that, this explains why he was killed that night… by Hwal.
Eul-Tae continues to deliver the pained truth, admitting that Hwal only cares about revenge. Now, Captain Han is actually driving Eul-Tae around, on the promise that he doesn’t harm Kwon – hence why he wasn’t killed. Eul-Tae cleverly spins his promised mercy as part of his character.
Eul-Tae has stuck to this promise but when he enters the car again, he remains adamant that everything will return to how it once was. Specifically how everyone will completely abandon Hwal.
That night, it all becomes too much as Hwal experiences a vision of all those he’s lost and pushed away in the past. He feels suffocated, with his chest tight and clearly struggling with his own emotions. And as he grabs a knife, preparing to stab himself, Sang-Un shows up.
Hwal reflects on what’s happened as he admits he’s stuck in perpetual agony. He also saw Hye-Suk as a daughter to him but he’s been trying to keep it together all this time.
Sang-Un throws her arms around him and urges Hwal to allow them to help. As he hugs her back, our fractured family are seemingly starting to stitch up their differences again. But is it too little too late?
The Episode Review
The ending with Hwal makes the previous hour or so that much easier to stomach now that we know our Bulgasal’s true feelings. Hwal does obviously care about Hye-Sul and her death has hit him hard.
Lee Jin-Wook has done a great job showing a restrained stoic look through most of these past few episodes, teasing just a hint of emotion while simultaneously remaining cold and difficult to work out.
The irony here is that Hwal believes pushing everyone away is the right thing to do. Only…it’s very clearly not. In doing so, he’s pushed Kwon right into Eul-Tae’s path and worse, the other members of his makeshift family are overcome with grief and unsure what to do next.
Thankfully, Sang-Un is there to talk Hwal around. I’d imagine we’ll see larger themes play out here linking back to how there are strength in numbers.
There’s a good amount of action during the first part of this episode too, before everything inevitably slows down. We’re clearly prepping for the end-game now and this drama has remained consistently enjoyable, even if the later episodes have delved a little far into romantic comedy territory.
Nonetheless, Bulgasal has been a solid K-drama and everything is set up nicely for a dramatic final two episodes. Will we get a happy ending?