Tale of the Nine Tailed: 1938 – K-drama Episode 3 Recap & Review

Saetani

Episode 3 of Tale of The Nine Tailed 1938 begins with Hong-joo confronting a Japanese General, who attempts to pay for sex from a gisaeng. When Hong-joo declares that she’s not a sex worker, the man is having none of it and points a gun at the poor worker.

Hong-joo offers herself up to dissuade him but decides there are rules to this engagement. Specifically, they’re going to entertain her in a drinking contest. Should he win, the soldiers can do whatever they want to her. Just to heighten the stakes more, the evil General proclaims that he’ll cut the girl’s wrist off too if he wins.

Meanwhile, Lee Rang overhears Yeon talking and learns that he’s going to disappear in a month’s time. He doesn’t say anything for now, as the attention turns across to the drinking contest. All the different soldiers are there, taking swigs one after another. Hong-joo is nonchalant to the whole affair, while each of the soldiers start to drop one by one. Naturally, Hong-joo comes out on top an the General leaves. But not before smacking the gisaeng in the face.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to be forgotten, so Hong-joo takes off and hangs him from the bridge, turning into a giant bird in doing so. While Hong-joo gets revenge, so too does Lee Rang, when he causes a huge ruckus in a club while a half-blood mermaid (her father is a human fisherman) called Jang Yeo-hee is heckled by a drunk crowd.

Rang is having none of it and after clearing the club, tells her to either be a singer or a spectacle, not both. She follows him out and passes one of her fish scales, telling him his tie suits him well before going.

When Rang shows up back home late, Yeon questions just what his brother has been up to. When he’s cagey about his reply, Yeon decides to instill a new curfew of 10pm for him.

Elsewhere, Moo-yeong shows up to find the gatekeeper, deciding to break a seal that’s been closed for 500 years. But what is this ancient seal? Well, in order to find out, Moo-yeong is forced to fight his way through a handful of warriors who appear to be ghosts, given the blade leaves no mark. So instead, Moo-yeong decides to cast fire to burn them all.

The Gatekeeper is not happy but he burns too, along with the soldiers, leaving the gate unguarded and the seal about to be broken. This happens to include a little girl who’s holding a bell and sporting a blindfold. Moo-young removes the blindfold and tells her to find Yeon and make him look into her eyes.

Now, this revenge is stemmed from the past and a flashback sees to shed a bit more light on what’s happening here, specifically regarding an oath that’s been broken between Yeon, Hong-joo and Moo-yeong.

Hong-joo meets up with Moo-yeong who comments that she knows he was turned into stone and was imprisoned. However, he survived thanks to thinking of Hong-joo and now he’s back. Hong-joo reveals the horrific truth regarding her family and after accepting his apology, tries to gauge exactly what Moo-yeong’s plan is here and what he wants with Yeon.

Well, Yeon is facing problems of his own, especially when he suddenly goes blind with a glazed look in his eyes. Moo-yeong shows with a sword and looks set to attack but when Hong-joo shows and stops this from occurring, he realizes Hong-joo still has feelings for the Fox and his suspicions are proven correct.

Back home, Shin-ju reveals that Yeon has lost his sight, and that all of this stems from the little girl. She actually showed up in his room that night, showing off her eyes to him. This is Saetani, which is a monster created by the Yeommae ritual. This ritual is barbaric, involving starving a child to practice divination.

This cursed monster is now unleashed across the town and this powerful curse has been dropped on Yeon, who is now blind, at least until this Saetani is taken care of. Still, that doesn’t stop Rang and Yeon from heading out into the courtyard and having a bit of fun, especially when Rang attempts to “help” Yeon walk about in his blind state and offers some “food” which happens to be dog poo!

Shin-ju shows and suggests they attempt an exorcism. While they gather up their gear, Yeon is left with Hong-joo, who feeds him grapes, while Shin-ju and Rang head out. Alone, Hong-joo tells him she knows who this masked guy is but in her attempt to persuade Yeon to play by her rules and align with her, not to mention lustfully trying to kiss him, Yeon pushes her off and leaves.

Unfortunately, this results in Hong-joo deciding the only thing for it is for Jae-yoo to spread rumours to the demons of Gyeongseong after Yeon’s blindness.

That night, Yeon is blindsided (no pun intended) by a whole bunch of goons that show up in the courtyard wanting a piece of Yeon. It’s all the demons and they’re here to get their revenge. However, Yeon fights them all off using his other Fox senses to best the group.

Hong-joo happens to be watching from afar. She decides to make matters worse by impairing Yeon’s hearing by playing music. Thankfully, Yeon levels the playing field by cutting out the lights and levelling out the playing field. Hong-joo has seen enough though and she leaves this entire endeavour with Moo-yeong as she knows Yeon is going to best these demons.

As the clock strikes midnight, Shin-ju gives Rang instructions for this exorcism ritual. Surrounded by a circle of salt, he’s forced to burn Yeon’s hair and gives strict instructions not to look back. As bells chime, Rang walks quickly through the streets, listening to Shin-ju’s instructions and making sure he doesn’t look back.

Moo-yeong sends a message to Yeon and after shooting an arrow at a tree, attached with items from both Shin-ju and Rang, informs Yeon that he needs to come to the hermitage at the east foot of Mount Bukhan. Both Rang and Shin-ju are being held captive there. He has to come there alone., and believes this is the masked man’s doing. Out in the woods though, he finds a young child whom he ends up giving a piggyback ride to. And awe quickly learn that this is Saetami.

Whilst there, Yeon is stalked by Moo-yeong, who begins firing arrows and following him through the trees. However, Yeon manages to best his foe with a well-timed dose of lightning crackling down and knocking him out.

While Yeon tries to find Shin-ju and Rang, the latter happens to be underwater at the bottom of a well. Rang helps prop Shin-ju up higher in the well, sacrificing his own air in the process. The scale in his pocket suddenly starts glowing though, alerting Yeo-hee that he’s in trouble.

Meanwhile, Yeon learns who Saetani is and is actually led to the gate where she was broken free from. With bells rattling, Yeon is told to remember who she is. It turns out the forest used to be owned by our Mountain God and she was taken away and imprisoned. She prayed for Yeon to come and help her but he never showed.  Of course, this resulted in her growing twisted and angry.

Yeon hugs her and apologizes for being late. He calls her by her real name, Lae, and as Saetani repeats her own name, the curse is lifted and Yeon can see again. He also destroys the box she was imprisoned in and tells Lea that she is no longer this monster and can live a normal life.

Meanwhile, Rang is saved by the half-mermaid. Shin-ju is freed from the well and Yeo-hee swims down and saves Rang, bringing him back with a kiss before lifting back to the surface. However, it seems like the pair are linked together, given we see some glowing invisible rings on their fingers.

Moo-yeong waits in the wings though and vows to destroy Yeon no matter what.


The Episode Review

So Tale of the Nine Tailed returns for more fantasy action, and there’s some nice pay-offs to earlier scenes, especially the action out in the courtyard, which comes into play later on when Rang is helping out our Fox with his blindness.

The show does a competent job of paying off these moments and the conclusion to the Saetani saga is similarly another stand out moment.

Despite what we thought before, Lee Rang’s kind-hearted nature shines he, given he was willing to sacrifice himself to save Shin-ju, but interestingly, it seems like he’s now indebted to Hae-joo the half-mermaid, in a similar binding contract that Rang had in season 1.

Understanding what happened with these three mountain gods and exactly how their friendship broke down is likely to be one of the more intriguing and enticing parts of the show and it’ll be interesting to see exactly what transpired at this time.

For now, we’ll have to wait for the future episodes but Tale of the Nine Tailed is definitely shaping up to be a better proposition compared to the first part.

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You can read our full season review for Tale of the Nine Tailed: 1938 here!

 

  • Episode Rating
    (3.5)
3.5

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