Tale of the Nine Tailed: 1938 – K-drama Episode 12 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

Joseon’s Last Mountain God

Episode 12 of Tale of the Nine Tailed: 1938 begins in Manchuria with Yeon of this time period receiving a letter from Gyeongseong. This happens to be our Yeon, who’s messing with his younger self but also pointing out that he needs to be there for Rang. He doesn’t have much time left and Yeon needs to look after his brother. Oh and also that “she” is back home.

This is enough for Yeon to pack his things and get ready to go back to Gyeongseong. And as we soon find out, this occurs 9 hours before the eclipse.

What is Kato’s origin story?

Jae-yoo and Yeo-hee are still alive but the latter has lost her voice. This means her beautiful singing could be a thing of the past but at least she’s still alive. The thing is, we have a wedding to prepare for. As Kato heads to the Snail Bride’s shop, he runs into our Yeon who happens to be waiting. He learns that Kato is actually what they call a Daitengu, a demon that’s worshipped as a mountain god of Japan. In other words, we have another mountain god here among the trio!

Kato wants the stone because apparently it can create the greatest barrier and it’ll solidify Japan as the greatest nation. Yeon is not budging though. However, he has a decision to make. Either he hands over the stone or the prisoners are going to be killed.

With less than 6 hours to go, Hong-joo and Rang are also given the same ultimatum and it certainly tests their loyalties to Yeon. With everyone gathered, Yeon tells them all that they need to rescue the two hostages and put a stop to Kato and his cronies before the end of the Lunar eclipse at 7pm that day.

To turn things on their side, Yeon uses the skills of the Bandit Boss and his men, alongside Shin-ju’s abilities to talk to animals, to track down and find the hostages. When Kato finds out, he doesn’t intend to move the hostages, and in fact actually gives Saito instructions to thwart their efforts.

Hong-joo heads off to visit Taluipa, who is apparently expecting a guest. That won’t deter out God though, but it’s too late. Ho-gyeong (or at least the demon pretending to be him) sneaks in, blows out the candles and controls her. Unfortunately, as a result of his arrival, Taluipa loses her thousand-miles eyes, which have fallen into his hands.

Where are Yeo-hee and Jae-yoo being kept?

With the wedding starting soon, they find out the prisoners are being kept at a prison but Yeon is worried that this is a bit too easy. Still, he lets them go and speaks to Rang plainly. Just before telling him he loves him, Rang skips out before he can complete the sentence, not wanting to hear it.

With 2 hours and 10 minutes left until the pivotal moment, both cars set off in opposite directions. Yeon decides they need to set up the bombs in obvious places, but that may actually come back to bite them. Detective Jung is on the case at the wedding, and when he notices one of the girls’ hands shaking by a flower pot (that holds an explosive inside), he grows suspicious.

In the basement, our two remaining Mercenaries are given needles holding material from a gwiso tree. They’re supposed to inject this into the prisoners but when Jae-yoo fights off Oogama and smashes the vial, he buys himself crucial time. Unfortunately, time is not on their side, as Rang shows up at the prison and notices Yuki holding Yeo-hee up at knife-point.

Does Rang save Yeo-hee before it’s too late?

Hong-joo serves as the perfect distraction, and it’s enough for Rang and Hong-joo to save her. She’s not fast enough to save Jae-yoo though, who’s injected after all and when he’s united from a tree, starts hearing piercing whistling that controls him. He can’t stop it, and as a result he decides to stab himself in the stomach.

Oogama returns to the cell, as he and Yuki work together to taunt and antagonize Rang. With Rang on his knees and powerless to help, Yeo-hee tries to stop Yuki and ends up being choking. With everything hanging in the balance, Rang powers up and manages to tap into his Fox powers. His eyes change, he easily thwarts Oogama, besting the mercenary’s strength and blasting him across the hallway. In fact, he ends up beaten and killed. As for Yuki, she races after him but as she does, ends up stabbed in the chest by Rang’s newfound powers, moving an axe to stab her, followed by a killing blow across the face.

With Rang proving himself, he’s in for a shock when this time period’s Yeon arrives, carrying the pisali flower, which helps ones blood flow again. He shows up to see Hong-joo next, hands it over and allows Jae-yoo to live to fight another day.

With less than an hour to go, the big wedding looks set to take place. As the vows are spoken, Eun-ho interrupts the whole affair, telling them all she hopes they rest in peace, given she’s got explosives set up everywhere. Only, the lady in front of Kato is not actually Eun-ho, it’s Yeon in disguise! What a tricksy mountain god!

What happens during the final fight in Bando Hotel?

All hell breaks loose, as gunshots rain down over Bando Hotel. Shin-joo, the real Eun-ho, the Bandit Boss and a litany of other guys and gals all get involved in the action, taking out these henchmen and turning the tide of battle. But then, what of Kato?

Well, he and Yeon end up trading blows, sending the pair flying across the building and destroying columns as they do. Eun-ho fights off guards in the hallway, and eventually kills the Governor. Her father is not happy but Eun-ho points out that she’s an independent activist and walks away. As she does, her enraged father shoots Eun-ho in the back. Shin-joo protects her though and hurries away. As he does, soldiers mistake Eun-ho’s father as the one to kill the governor and shoot him down. Outside, Eun-ho and Shin-joo part ways with a handshake.

Back inside Bando Hotel, Kato outsmarts Yeon and blows the explosives up right by his feet. Using his powers, he manages to choke out Yeon but it’s only a prelude to Yeon levelling up, using his powers to stop Kato. With Hong-joo’s help, they turn the tide of battle. With little time left, Yeon and Hong-joo hug goodbye.

Does Rang say goodbye to Yeon?

Yeon is delayed from reaching Taluipa’s place thanks to guards outside, but out of everyone who should show up, it’s Moo-yeong who does! It turns out Yeon actually helped revive him at the end of the previous episode, thanks in part to the returning fortune God. Remember the little baby? Well, she grants Yeon’s wish and revives the God. He helps Yeon, and as the latter drives away, Moo-yeong thanks his brother and uses his fire powers to stop the rest of the guards.

Yeon does eventually show up when expected and with only two minutes left, Rang issues a heartfelt and teary goodbye to Rang, admitting he can now make it on his own. As they both go their separate ways, the door to the past shuts and both Rang and Yeon make it to the present.

When Hong-joo returns to Myoyeongak, she finds that Yeon has left her a gift. It’s an embroidered daenggi. This stretches back to their past, as Yeon writes that Hong-joo has always had older sibling syndrome that he owes her a lot. Yeon asks her to forgive him for being shameless and doesn’t want her to feel hurt, hence this bribe!

How does Tale of the Nine Tailed: 1938 end?

As Hong-joo walks through the streets, she’s joined by Jae-yoo who’s now fully recovered and loyal to her. Eun-ho is in the process of building a new Korean school, while Moo-yeong is helping others too. The Snail Bride gets a whole bunch of gold bars from the war chest to help with her crusade, while Rang helps out this timeline’s Yeon with his withdrawal habits.

That night, the three mountain Gods stand together, ready to take out the new Governor-General and their guards, prepared to show who’s the real boss here.

So what of Yeon and Shin-joo? Well, we returns to 2023 as Yeon heads out with his familiar red umbrella. As the rain starts pouring, Yeon is reunited with his beloved.

The Episode Review

This finale had serious Angel vibes and for those who enjoyed Joss Whedon’s spin-off series back in the day, there’s lots to like with this one.

The final episode has so many moments that feel reminiscent of how season 5’s finale of that show played out. Angel and Connor finally fighting together, the shocking death of Wesley (which is kinda similar to Jae-yoo except, y’know, no follow through), the heart-wrenching goodbyes, and the surprise return of Moo-yeong popping up and kicking ass. Oh, and a big fight between two sides that ends on a cliffhanger.

I hope we get a third season though, and while it has felt a bit rushed at times, there’s enough here to enjoy all the same. There’s been a lot of action sprinkled in this series and learning more about the Gods and how they function in this society alongside humans, is definitely one of the stand-out parts of this show.

While it’s far from perfect, and there are definitely some loose ends here, there’s enough in this to make for an enjoyable series all the same.

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

  • (4.5)

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