Tale of the Nine Tailed: 1938 – K-drama Episode 6 Recap & Review

The Corner Game

Episode 6 of Tale of the Nine Tailed: 1938 begins with the long-awaited reunion between Yeon and Moo-yeong. The pair trade blows and begin fighting, much to the shock of Hong-joo, who’s alerted by the sound of clashing blades and gets involved, begging them to stop.

A flashback in the middle of all this (and later in the episode too) is pretty revealing, as it shows Yeon, Moo-yeong and Hong-joo together as children, making a pact using Taluipa’s favourite comb. They each have a piece of it, which Moo-yeong presents right now in the present, much to Yeon’s shock. As the pair fight now, not listening to reason, Hong-joo clatters a mystical Mountain God sword straight through the pair of them, stopping the guys in their tracks.

Hong-joo ousts Yeon as a pretender in this time period, given he’s not addicted to opium, and proceeds to slice the sword out. While he dribbles blood from his mouth, Yeon admits that on the day of the Four Mountain Gods dying, he killed Moo-yeong’s older brother. However, he weakly retorts that he doesn’t regret it in the slightest. As Yeon passes out on the floor, big question marks remain over whether Moo-yeong will actually revive him or not.

Meanwhile, an unknowing Rang continues to spend time with Yeo-hee, eating food together. She promises to protect him, given he has plenty more wishes to fulfill, and when his back is turned, she gobbles down as many noodles as possible. After a successful date, she can’t stop smiling as she wanders back home. Rang though, watches her from afar on the rooftop, making sure she gets back to the boutique without incident. Despite seeming to be nonchalant, it’s very clear he does care about her and has a good heart.

Shin-joo is led into the heart of the rebellion with Eun-ho where he’s shocked to see some familiar faces there, including Hyun Ui-ong. He’s working within the Independence Volunteer Corps and they are due to receive an order from Manchuria soon. Of course Ui-ong is not supposed to get involved in human affairs and if Taluipa found out, she would not be happy!

Mu-yeong does indeed help out Yeon and revives him using his blood, He tells Hong-joo afterwards that he wants to use Yeon to rectify mistakes from the past. He keeps his cards close to his chest and doesn’t reveal too much more than this to them. Now, we know that he’s made a deal with that tricksy God from the Underworld, the King of Five Paths, and part of this comes from a red pouch, which has been placed up on the roof of Myoyeongak.

Yeon awakens after being healed by Moo-yeong’s blood and heads out into the courtyard. Yeon demands to know how Moo-yeong has come to find him, and tempts him with the golden ruler. Moo-yeong claims he doesn’t need it and actually came to him to find a cure to his petrification, showing off the stone disease spreading across his chest.

Taluipa’s curse doesn’t appear as if it’s going to be undone, and that comes from Moo-yeong’s wrath in the past, annihilating the forest he was summoned to rule. They’re interrupted by Hong-joo though, who decides they should head out together.

Elsewhere in town, there’s trouble with the gisaengs when they notice a new arrival wearing old straw shoes. It could well be an ill omen of something troublesome but the two workers shrug it off as nothing, even after their paste seems to have turned foul and putrid.

It turns out there’s a demon under the house and it tries to entice a young girl under, posing as Azulea (one of the workers). She manages to get away but that night, the gisaengs gather and decide to play the “corner game” to pass the time. Eun-ho is there too and she agrees to get involved.

As the girls take it in turns to tap on each other’s shoulders, something untoward happens. A fifth person suddenly jumps in and as the candles all go out, Eun-ho screams – and disappears.

While this is going on, Yeon, Moo-yeong and Hong-joo spend the day together. They go to the movies, hang out and even drink too. It’s just like old times and Hong-joo reflects on how good it used to be for them. When Hon-joo runs out of booze, Yeon heads off to get some more. In doing so, Moo-yeong points out how he’s been watching Yeon live out his best life in the present, doing well and having all his friends and family around him. As for Moo-yeong, he slumped into a depressive state, with little to say for his name.

The Gisaengs head off to find Hong-joo and warn her what’s happened with the Corner Game. Hong-joo and Yeon decide to head off and get Eun-ho back, believing it’s a simple ghost and not too powerful. What they’re unaware of, is that this is Moo-yeong’s doing, courtesy of that red pouch on the roof.

Well, Shin-joo, Yeon, Hong-joo and Moo-yeong all decide to play. When Rang shows up, the whole thing goes awry, as Hong-joo goes missing too. Moo-yeong’s plan has gone haywire and he even notices that the salt within the gisaeng’s room has turned black. This is no ordinary ghost.

Thanks to Shin-joo’s ability to talk to animals, he questions a cat that tells him this spirit disguised itself as a gisaeng and is actually the infamous Jang San-beom. When Moo-yeong finds out, he heads back to the King of Five Paths and pleads with him for an alternate play, deciding to break their pact. The God warns Moo-yeong that there’s endless darkness in his eyes and he’d be cannon fodder in this hellscape that Eun-ho and Hong-joo have been whisked off to.

Yeon and Rang find a way to get after Jang San-beom, using a stray cat, starting at 8pm sharp and tying a string to their backs, just incase they get stuck and can’t come back. After shutting the doors, there’s a rather creepy scene of Rang looking through the screen and seeing the glowing eyes of the cat before him. The string suddenly goes berserk, setting up an intricate patchwork all across the room. There’s no sign of Yeon or Moo-yeong though, who seem to have vanished.

It turns out the pair have actually been whisked over to Gwanghwamun, in the Joseon Dynasty. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack here, and the whole town appears to be completely empty. That is, save for a young girl who’s sobbing round the corner. She promises to take them to San-beom but after following the girl inside the house, strange dust swirls around the pair. And then suddenly, they’re outside in the presence of a bunch of women wielding swords They’re both killed and that’s the end… only, it’s not really.

As the camera pans out and around, it turns out the pair are actually bizarrely on a film set called Jang San-beom’s Bride.

The Episode Review

What a wildly imaginative episode! Tale of the Nine Tailed delivers an enigmatic episode chock full of humour, horror and mystery that actually works surprisingly well. The second half of this episode in particular is a real blockbuster and the Corner Game is a creepy way of introducing this new foe, and tying it into the story involving the three Mountain Gods too.

This looks like it’s going to encapsulate next Saturday’s follow-up with a meta look at filming K-dramas alongside mystery, horror and thriller elements, all wrapped up into one delicious cocktail of goodness.

The characterization has been great this season too and learning more about the three Mountain Gods has been a great inclusion. Although we know that everything is going to essentially “reset” once we get to the end and Yeon heads into the present, this has been a wild ride all the same and a huge improvement over season 1. Roll on next week’s follow-up!

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

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