The Water Monster
Episode 6 of Bulgasal: Immortal Souls begins with Sang-Un and Hwal agreeing to an uneasy alliance. She’s desperate to save Si-Ho, while he wants to stop this other Bulgasal before it’s too late. Si-Ho is thankfully still alive, but she’s taken hostage by one of the monsters working for Dark Hole. Or Eul-Tae, as he’s actually known as.
Hwal uses Ho-Yeol’s connections and urges him to begin investigating the different reservoirs in the area. Specifically, he wants him to check out the location for the recent spat of drownings. The specific reservoir should be where the monsters are operating. So naturally, Ho-yeol butters up the Sergeant at the police station. It works too, and he reveals that all the victims had a dislocated leg before they died, almost as if they were puled underwater by something. Sounds like our monster!
Detective Kwon relayys this information to Hwal and Sang-Un. All of these attacks occurred at Dalmyeong Reservoir. Hwal and Sang-Un show up and, using Sang-Un’s monster-sensing skills, break inside a swimming pool.
Realizing that Dark Hole has deceived him, Sang-Un and Hwal burst in and find the monster working for Eul-Tae. He immediately drops into the pool and begins swimming at a frightening speed back and forth.
When Detective Kwon shows up, the monster rips his arm clean off; a throwback to when the general lost his life in the Joseon period is played over this segment. In truth, touching this monster has brought back painful memories of the past when he lost his arm in a previous life. Importantly though, none of this is real. The monster is gone and Detective Kwon is absolutely fine.
While this is happening, Sang-un finds Si-Ho and undoes her binds. Unfortunately the monster finds them and prepares to strike. The pair do manage to get away, with Sang-Un saving Si-Ho’s life to draw the monster out of hiding.
Given this monster thrives in the water, Hwal appears Sang-Un is pulled under and manages to save both Si-Ho and Sang-Un. In doing so, he fights with the monster underwater and ends up almost drowning. Sang-Un brings him up to safety and drives him home.
With Hwal kept with Do-Yun for now, Sang-Un decides to give delayed CPR, determined to bring him back. Of course, given Hwal is immortal, it doesn’t take long for Hwal to awaken. He’s safe, as are Si-Ho and Sang-Un as well. Hwal sports a broken leg for his efforts though, until he twists it back into place. As they talk, Hwal reveals the name of Dark Hole, the man whom she wants revenge against.
Detective Kwon is brought into questioning, given he’s the only witness to Kang Cheol-Yong (the water monster and Si-Ho’s kidnapper) being killed. Eventually news comes in from the autopsy, confirming that his death is being chalked up as a suicide.
It turns out this is Eul-Tae’s doing, who’s pulling the political strings from the shadows. He wants Hwal on his side and that involves manipulating the case so he gets in Bulgasal’s good books.
Speaking of good books, Hwal recovers from his injures, ending up involved in an impromptu dinner party. Hye-Suk appears with a bag full of meat, while Sang-Un, Si-Ho and Do-Yun eat together. The latter three all talk, with Do-yun pointing out that he’s not 30 (shocker!) but that he’s also a lot older for his age.
Detective Kwon shows up soon after, wanting to talk to a fully recovered Hwal in private. He wants to help catch Bulgasal (unaware that Hwal is Bulgasal) but wants to find out exactly who he is. Remembering Ho-yeol’s words in the past, he clings to the Dan Hwal name, embracing it as an old relic from the past.
Hye-Suk soon barges in, claiming that she’s actuallyy Hwal’s mum, stopping the questioning. In doing so, she pleads with Hwal to hand over some “allowance” to buy some meat.
Meanwhile, Eul-Tae breaks into Sang-Un’s place and finds her journal. Specifically he finds the references she’s made to finding the sword and stopping Bulgasal.
Back at Hwal’s place, Sang-Un shows up and notices numerous old photos of herself from past lives. Hwal points out she’s lived numerous times before, but Sang-Un is barely able to walk. She was badly hurt in her fight with the water monster and there’s some pretty gnarly bruising across her ankle and foot.
After helping to patch her up, Sang-Un understands how Hwal feels and agrees to lock herself up in the well once all this is over and he’s transferred the Bulgasal soul. In order to prove she used to be Bulgasal, Hwal confirms she should have a scar on her shoulder. Only… she doesn’t. Sang-Yeon did though. So it appears that Sang-Un is not actually the one Hwal was hunting after all, leaving plenty of question marks over exactly who Sang-Un actually is.
The Episode Review
What a great twist! The end reveal that Sang-Un isn’t the previous Bulgasal is a lovely curve-ball that throws the rest of this series completely up in the air. Hwal’s plan looks set to come crashing down now, while Sang-Un’s strange monster-sensing powers seem to hint that there’s more going on, especially if she’s not actually the one he’s after.
There’s also a good amount of work done to flesh out the trio of supporting characters here too. Detective Kwon has a decent amount to do this chapter, with a balance of comedic and dramatic moments to boot. Likewise, Do-Yun comes into his own here while Si-Ho continues to remain on the periphery of this series, seemingly destined to be more important in the episodes ahead.
The water monster fight is a nice inclusion; a light burst of much-needed action in what’s otherwise a dramatic, character-driven ride.
Bulgasal: Immortal Souls has been a solid watch and the ending hints that the story is about to take some seriously unexpected turns in the future. Roll on next week’s follow-up!