Becoming an adult
Episode 4 of The Sound of Magic begins with Ah-Yi shocked and unsure what to do about her predicament. The Dean decides to talk to her parents… but of course they’re not around so that just makes it all the more awkward for her.
After school, Il-Deung is picked up while Ah-Yi starts to put her trust in magic. Unfortunately, this has the knock-on effect of Ha-Na and So-Hee bullying her. Interestingly, the lEtter she places in the letterbox (and saying Annara sumanara after) disappears.
When Ah-yi skips home, Ha-Na decides to set up some hidden cameras in the theme park to catch Ri-Eul in the act. However, she’s caught red-handed by the returning magician and confronted. In her hand happens to be his locket, which he menacingly tells her to put back. He also points out she’s being disrespectful toward magic.
The thing is, Ha-Na has actually managed to drop one of the cameras, which is still recording at the time, unbeknownst to Ri-Eul.
Back home, Ah-Yi’s father returns after an extended absence. He’s there with her sister, and eventually they head inside for something to eat. Whilst there, Ah-Yi asks her dad to drop by her school in the morning.
Unfortunately old habits die hard, and her father receives a call asking for money in the middle of the night. In the morning her father has gone – and so is the money. It turns out he only came back to take the notes she had.
With Ah-Yi’s life hanging in the balance, she eventually snaps and opens up to the Dean, admitting the truth about the deal she made with Il-Deung. On her way home, she receives a call from her dad who promises to pay her back for the money he’s stolen. He tells her she’s going to make it through fine but Ah-Yi calls him a coward and admits she’s sick of all this.
The next day at school, Il-Deung receives a grand prize for good conduct. This is a special award for helping students in need – something that outs Ah-Yi for being poor and also sees Il-Deung realize that she’s betrayed him. Ah-Yi is seething with anger in the auditorium, clenching her fists tightly as she comments how immature and awful these grown ups have been.
After class, Ah-yi admits to Il-Deung that she told the truth to the dean and this is how they’ve spun it. She’s embarrassed and angry but glad she didn’t get expelled.
Ah-yi admits that if she doesn’t graduate, her life is over. It’s not like that for Il-Deung, who obviously has rich parents and a lot more influence than she does. Eventually she walks away, having spoken enough about this.
Ah-Yi even gives up learning magic too. Before she leaves though, Ri-Eul hands over a pack of cards. Cards that were used when he first started learning. However, on his white sleeve happens to blood stains, which Ah-Yi points out.
He hurriedly pulls his hand back and hurries inside. Interestingly, just prior to this he speaks about magic and misdirection, which is an interesting and somewhat foreshadowed feel the second half of the series to come.
Meanwhile, Il-Deung heads home and finds herself at logger-heads with his mother, who has all of his magic gear in a garbage bag. Il-Deung is not happy and eventually confronts his mum about the choices that have already been laid out for him. Eventually he slams the door and leaves.
Ha-Na heads back to pick up her camera but finds the parrot there. It calls her a thief, but Ha-Na scrambles away before Ri-Eul can show up. Back home, she checks over the footage and is shocked by what she finds. On the footage spots someone running from Ri-Eul. All will be revealed, dear readers!
Ah-Yi heads home but finds her sister has gone. Yoo-Yi is nowhere to be found. It turns out she’s just over a friend’s house and hasn’t run away, which was Ah-yi’s initial thought. Her mini heart attack is over… at least for now. When she speaks to Ri-Eul about this, she reveals she was saying those magic words the whole time – annara sumanara.
Ri-Eul inexplicably manages to cart Ah-Yi back to her past, where she speaks to her younger self and instils some words of wisdom into her. Ah-Yi tells her younger self not to give up and to keep trying to excel. And just like that, Ah-yi is back to the present again after using “time magic” to comfort herself.
The next day, while Ah-Yi is practicing with her ping pong ball, a police office shows off footage of the magician. Ah-Yi becomes spooked and runs away, claiming she doesn’t know him. However, her fears are only compounded by Ha-Na who speaks to her and Il-Deung at school. She hands over the flash drive and suggests the pair watch it together.
That night, the two students watch the footage together and watch as Ri-Eul stabs someone in the chest, right in view of the camera. “I’m a real magician.” He rasps.
The Episode Review
Well, that took on a dark turn. The idea that this fantasy, magical man is actually a fraud may seem like a misdirection on paper but if it is true, and this man isn’t really magic, it’ll be a deliciously sinister and dark misdirection for this show as a whole, that will have fooled many people.
The Sound of Magic has constantly flirted with this question of whether Ri-Eul is really magic or not, and so far the series has done a good job keeping that at arm’s length. However, it does look like we’re about to get some answers.
Likewise, the show manages to add some pretty deep character work for Ah-Yi and Il-Deung, with the latter standing up to his mother while Ah-Yi grapples with her familial issues.
There’s far less magic in this episode, although we do still get a couple of somber musical numbers, which keeps with the consistent theme of this show going.
While some will be put off by the lack of magic and fantastical elements, personally I think the show works to almost feel like a lifting of the veil of sorts, understanding that there’s more to Ri-Eul than first meets the eye. What secrets could he be hiding?