There is enough story in this single episode for at least two episodes of a typical kdrama. You are in for ride!
Goblin: The Lonely and Great God Episode 12 Recap
Eun Tak is talking to the ghosts and someone enters the room dressed in garb from the past. We see The Grim Reaper, Wang Yeo (Lee Dong Wook) explain that there are souls that room the earth that are not afraid of grim reapers. The man lifts his face. OMG! It’s the EVIL MINISTER!! He holds out his blackened hand for Eun Tak! He creeks creepily. He says he’s pleased to meet the Goblin’s bride. The lip lick was effectively creepy. We see a flashback of Kim Shin taking revenge. Eun Tak says it’s nice to meet him too. She asks everyone to leave. They do. She avoided an incident this time. But fate is gunning to kill Eun Tak.
At home, Eun Tak is grossed out thinking about that ghost who was one like she’s never seen before.
Kim Sun / Sunny (Yoo In Na) drinks and recalls Wang Yeo telling her he’s a grim reaper.
Wang Yeo asks his co-worker if he ever wishes he could remember his past. Wang Yeo longs for the return of his memories. He admits he’s scared what may be revealed but he wants to know his past.
Wang Yeo surprises Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) when he says the Sunny knows he’s a grim reaper. Wang Yeo doesn’t understand where Sunny got the fresh flowered branch to hit him with. Kim Shin knows his magic did this but feigns ignorance. Kim Shin’s interested in Wang Yeo touching Sunny’s hand again to see her past one more time. Wang Yeo claims seeing the past is taxing. He wasn’t impressed by the young King. Kim Shin calls the young king an imbecile.
Eun Tak wants Wang Yeo to look at the love letter Kim Shin wrote his first love but Kim Shin intercepts it. He tells her it’s not what it seems. Eun Tak counters that Duk Hwa read her the note so she knows it’s a love letter. Kim Shin can’t believe this. Duk Hwa can’t read what he didn’t write. We see the words what Kim Shin thought after his encounter with the lady in red who told him either he dies or Eun Tak does. Wang Yeo asks Kim Shin if he told Duk Hwa that he could erase memories. Kim Shin did not. Wang Yeo wonders how Duk Hwa knew this. Eun Tak recalls that Duk Hwa found her maple leaf that she thought she’d lost forever.
They stare at each other. Kim Shin wonders why he didn’t see the truth before. We see fascinating flashback of Duk Hwa manipulating situations and understanding more than we knew. For example he meets with the lady in red and tells her that it was fate that the Goblin and his bride met. When she asked why he put the person that was stuck with a sword (Kim Shin) with the person that stuck him with the sword (Wang Yeo) together, Duk Hwa states it was another fated encounter. Hmm, Duk Hwa has a different more manipulative definition of fate than I do. The lady in red chides Duk Hwa for continually punishing Kim Shin. Duk Hwa calmly states that’s the weight of the life Kim Shin must bear. The lady in red scolds Duk Hwa for manipulating situations and just let things play out. But that’s boring Duk Hwa’s face says.
Duk Hwa waits for Wang Yeo and Kim Shin in a club. He senses when they arrive. They approach Duk Hwa. He stares at them. Kim Shin moves closer but there’s a invisible barrier. Everyone in the club freezes. Kim Shin realizes Duk Hwa is more than he realized. He asks that they introduce themselves. We see the scene of Kim Shin dying and complaining that God wasn’t listening to him. Duk Hwa repeats Kim Shin’s words to him. That gets his attention. He does the same to Wang Yeo. That gets his attention. Duk Hwa tells both of them that he’s always listened to them. Wow, the rumor that Duk Hwa is god appears to have validity. Duk Hwa tells Kim Shin that he’s even provided him with a chance to die. He asks Kim Shin why he’s still alive. Duk Hwa tells Wang Yeo he didn’t erase his memories, Wang Yeo chose to have them erased. Duk Hwa says that god always listens. He tells them their fate is their own path. He asks them to say goodbye to Eun Tak. He tells them he’s leaving. He closes his eyes and a kaleidoscope of butterflies exit his body and fly away through the ceiling. Duk Hwa’s body topples to the ground.
The freeze of the club stops. Duk Hwa wakes and asks why Kim Shin and Wang Yeo are there. Kim Shin goes to hit him but Wang Yeo holds him back. Duk Hwa doesn’t understand the hostility. Kim Shin calls him butterfly.
That was fascinating. God used Duk Hwa’s body to muck with the fate of our guys. It seemed that he had a grudge against Kim Shin for speaking ill of God when he was dying. I’m glad that our sweet Duk Hwa is really our sweet Duk Hwa though his body was used by god. Simply fascinating, the mind of this writer.
Sunny startles Eun Tak that she knows Wang Yeo is a grim reaper. Eun Tak admits that she met him as a child so she’s known this for a while. Sunny states that if Kim Shin is her brother then he must be around 1000 years old. Sunny asks if Eun Tak is the Goblin Bridge. Eun Tak admits she is though she says it is a technically. Sunny surprises Eun Tak when she says she knows that Eun Tak is going to ask her to reduce her work schedule now that she is in college.
A group of grim reapers eat at Sunny’s eatery. She knows who they are which unnerves them.
The female grim reaper runs into the evil minister and she’s taken aback by his lack of fear. The evil minister says he knows who she is. He encourages her to take Sunny’s hand if she wants to find out about her past life. He tells her that what she sees will involve him too. He disappears. Wow, seems like direct interference is the name of the game today. 1000 years hasn’t dissipated his evil ways.
Wang Yeo can’t stop thinking about God’s statement asking if Wang Yeo choosing to wipe his memory was God’s plan or God’s mistake. Wang Yeo wonders if God gave him a statement or a question.
Wang Yeo receives the death card for Grandfather. Eun Tak returns home to find Wang Yeo telling Kim Shin that it will happen in three hours. Kim Shim says that he won’t go to Grandfather, he’s said everything and he doesn’t want Grandfather worrying about him at the end. He tells Wang Yeo to see him off and tell him his next life he must live freely and not be tethered (like he was tethered to Kim Shin). Kim Shin asks Wang Yeo to tell Grandfather that he’s thankful. Kim Shin walks away. Eun Tak ask Wang Yeo what is happening. Wang Yeo tells her that Grandfather will die soon. He asks Eun Tak to take care of Kim Shin.
Eun Tak hears Kim Shin crying in his room. It rains.
Grandfather’s assistant fetches Duk Hwa at work.
Kim Shin writes the gravestone engraving for Grandfather. He cries.
We see the gravestone and the writing.
Eun Tak offers Kim Shin beautiful words of comfort.
Kim Shin offers a distraught Duk Hwa beautiful words of comfort.
Touching, beautiful, lovely.
Wang Yeo, Eun Tak, and Kim Shin try and cheer up Duk Hwa. The apples shaped as bunnies stole my heart. Duk Hwa appreciates their efforts and says he must go do something.
Kim Shin finds Duk Hwa tidying the house. He says he didn’t want his Grandfather to worry. He tells Kim Shin that Grandfather’s assistant will take over as CEO. He says he’s not ready for the responsibility yet. He promises Kim Shin that he’ll become a confidant and supportive entity just like Grandfather was. Kim Shin is touched. I’m touched too.
Grandfather’s assistant find an envelope with Duk Hwa name on it. Inside is a credit card. Perfect! He also finds an envelope addressed to him. Kim Do Young, where Grandfather wrote “If someone whose last name is Kim and first name is Shin, meaning “belief” comes and says “I’ve come to claim what is mine”, give him everything. Everything I’ve left behind is his. He will walk through the rain and disappear with a blue spark. If he does that, you will know the man is Kim Shin.”
The lady in red passes Duk Hwa on the bridge. He doesn’t recognize her. She asks if he’s left. That confuses Duk Hwa who asks if she knows him. She smiles and says his a kind young man that brightens the world. She tells him he will be blessed through his own kind heart. He asks her to have a drink with him. She declines and leaves.
Kim Shin and Wang Yeo make dinner for Duk Hwa. Kim Shin has flashes of the young king when he looks at Wang Yeo. OMG! He asks Wang Yeo how long he’s been a grim reaper. Wang Yeo says 300 years. Kim Shin says that just know he saw the face of another on Wang Yeo that he never wants to see again. He looks grim.
Wow, that is huge!
Kim Shin sees a resume of Kim Woo Shik who is applying for a position on sales. Who is that?
Eun Tak is dressed and ready for her first day of college. Kim Shin says that Duk Hwa will drive her. Kim Shin says he’s got something for her. Eun Tak assumes it is a kiss and closes her eyes and purses her lips. Kim Shin smiles and puts the necklace that he bought for her in Canada around her neck. Eun Tak is thrilled. She asks the significance. Kim Shin says it means “a fate is decided by the heavens” in french. Referencing a fate that humans cannot change. Kim Shin reminds her that men are not allowed within a certain radius of the necklace. They smile.
At college, Eun Tak admires her necklace.
Kim Shin, who looks fabulous in the blue suit with a gray double breasted trench coat, goes to the interview for sales associates. Kim Woo Shik, the man from the resume, is waiting for his interview. Kim Shin sits opposite the man. The man doesn’t recognize Kim Shin. The flashback shows he’s the warrior that put the sword in Kim Shin (with his approval). Kim Shin says to the man that he went down a different path because he’s still alive. He remarks the man must have been lonely. Tears form in his eyes. The man is called into the interview.
Kim Woo Shik is thrilled to learn he got the job. His wife and daughter are thrilled. Grandfather’s assistant (I know he’s CEO give me a minute to adjust) offers Kim Woo Shik company accommodations and a car plus a bonus. Kim Woo Shik is gobsmacked. Kim Do Young introduces himself as Ceo. Kim Woo Shik is even more gobsmacked. The answer to why is because he saved the country in a former life. The man is stunned. From afar, Kim Shin watches, satisfied to repay the loyalty. In a perfect moment, Kim Woo Shik spots Kim Shin and with tears smiles his gratitude.
Another beautiful, touching moment in this episode. The depth of emotion this episode is evoking in me is surprising.
Eun Tak calls Kim Shin to a photo booth for some cute pictures. She asks Kim Shin to pay back her boss ASAP. She turns to leave for work and he stops her. She tells him that Tae Hee is going to the states to play ball. She gives him quick kiss and leaves. He kinda digs the photo booth.
When Eun Tak takes the trash out, she sees the evil minister ghost. He introduces himself as Park Joong Heon. He asks if Kim Shin told her that he killed him. He says that Kim Shin’s punishment will be lengthened by the lives he took. The evil minister says he there to share an interesting story. He says that Wang Yeo commanded Kim Shin be pierced by the sword. That’s big! He says the beginning and ending of the story is with Wang Yeo. But Eun Tak doesn’t react as expected. The evil minister asks if she knows who Wang Yeo is living with. She doesn’t. He says that Wang Yeo is living with Kim Shin. Wow! Blunt is in! Eun Tak is stunned but she doesn’t reject the information. The evil minster smiles and states the nameless grim reaper is Wang Yeo. He wonders what will happen when they figure out who the other is. He stares at Eun Tak. He understands the she has control over his death and Kim Shin’s death. He says a child controls death. Eun Tak retorts that the grim reapers name is Kim Woo Bin. She goes inside. The evil minister laughs. He vows that he wants Kim Shin and Wang Yeo to die.
Shaken, Eun Tak can’t believe what she just learned.
Wang Yeo visits Eun Tak and tells her that he doesn’t know the crime he committed to become a grim reaper. He admits he fears that he’s involved with Kim Shin and Sunny’s past lives. He states three people committed crimes – Wang Yeo, Kim Shin, and Park Joong Heon. Wang Yeo says he’s either Wang Yeo or Park Joong Heon. Wang Yeo says either way he’s Kim Shin’s enemy and can’t be with Sunny. Eun Tak says nothing.
The female grim reaper startles Sunny as she’s closing the eatery. Sunny tells her to come back tomorrow. The grim reaper offers her hand. Sunny takes it. The grim reaper sees that she’s a court lady that the king knocked the medicine out of her hands. She overhears the evil minister telling the king that Kim Shin is revered as a god among the people. Hmm, what was her crime that made her a grim reaper?
Wang Yeo calls Sunny and asks to meet. He’s in front of her house and she hurries to see him. She says she still wants the jade ring back. He stares at her. He tells her that he may not know who he is, or his name, believes that walking away from her is the right thing to do. He says a grim reaper’s kiss makes a person remember their past life. He says he’s afraid to know his connection to her past. He kisses her! OMG! Wow, everyone is being bold this episode! Sunny sees her past as the Queen and the King. She sees the King’s ultimatum of choosing him or her brother. Then he demands the Queen’s chest of brought and dumps it on the ground. She tells him the evil minister is his enemy. He finds the jade ring and swears he’ll kill her brother. He shoves the ring on her finger and tells her to greet her brother with the dignity of a queen. OMG!!! We now see Sunny as the Queen!!! She sees Wang Yeo (the grim reaper) as the King!!! He demands to know if she ever loved him. She slaps him and cries. He tells her NOT to side with her brother or she’ll die. She must decide to live as his Queen or sister of a traitor. She says she’s the sister of a traitor. The kiss ends. She’s crying. She can’t believe what she just saw. He tells her it was her past life. He asks if Kim Shin was part of her past life. She nods yes. He asks if he was past of her past life. She nod yes. Tears stream down her face. He asks her to look into his eyes. He tells her to only remember that happiness and forget the sadness in both her present and past life. Tears brim in his eyes as he tells her to forget about him. Awk! I’m crying! Tears stream down his face as he gently cups her face and wishes a happy life. Awk! I’m sobbing! He walks away. She grabs her heart and sobs.
That was a stunningly effective scene. We could end the episode there. I’m not sure I’ve got the strength for more.
The next day Sunny opens the eatery and Kim Shin is there. He pays her back for the sweet potatoes. She tells him that was her treat. She asks him if the King said she was ugly. He stares at her. She says you may been busy fighting but is was rude never to answer her letters. She cries. He stares. He asks if this is real. She apologizes and hugs him with tears down her face. He cries. Awk! I’m crying too! She thanks him for the gifts. He hugs her back. She pulls back and tells him to visit often. He agrees. They smile the smile of long lost relatives that have found each other again.
Another touching moving scene. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced that many in a single episode of a drama before.
Duk Hwa asks Wang Yeo to play a game with him. He grabs his heart. He recalls when he first felt the pain. Duk Hwa says it couldn’t have anything to do with Kim Shin because he was visiting the Buddhist temple. But Duk Hwa doesn’t know that Kim Shin wrote Wang Yeo’s name with vigor and hatred. Duk Hwa tells Wang Yeo that Kim Shin remembers Kim Sun and Wang Yeo every year without fail. That gets Wang Yeo’s attention.
A ghost realizes that Eun Tak can no longer see her.
As Kim Shin drives her home, he notices that she’s distracted. She says he looks happy. He shares that Sunny remembers him. She’s thrilled for him. She asks how Sunny remembered. Kim Shin doesn’t know.
She asks that he stop the car and just hear her out. She tells him that she meet Park Joong Heon as a ghost. She admits that she knew the name because she overheard Kim Shin telling Wang Yeo about Park Joong Heon. She thinks he may be the reason why Sunny remembers her past life. Kim Shin thanks her for telling him.
Kim Shin stares at the city.
Park Joong Heon is attacked by Kim Shin. The evil minister utter that he’s avoided him for 900 years, but it was all in vain. Kim Shin promises death will be quick. He asks why he’s here now. The evil minister says that Kim Shin’s enemy is right by his side while he’s enjoyed watching it unfold, he couldnt’ pass up the opportunity to tell Kim Shin the truth. Kim Shin says the minister will die by his sword now. He strikes the evil minister BUT NOTHING HAPPENS. The evil minister smiles and says that it isn’t that easy. He disappears. He appears down the street and says that just because Kim Shin has helped people, his sins aren’t erased. Kim Shin walks towards him declaring he’ll kill him. The evil minister says he died in a stupid way then he rotted in the field for 20 years before becoming a goblin. The evil minister says that Wang Yeo was a great king. The evil minister asks if he knows the real identity of the grim reaper he lives with. The evil minister says it was him that made him put down his sword, then ordered the sword plunged into him. The evil minister says the grim reaper is Wang Yeo. Kim Shin doesn’t believe him. The evil minister says that his sister fell for Wang Yeo again in her present incarnation. The evil minister smiles and says that Kim Shin will never have his revenge.
Kim Shin takes a moment and thinks it through. He recalls Wang Yeo crying over the painting of his sister. He recalls seeing the King’s face instead of Wang Yeo’s in the kitchen. He remembers the jade ring and how his sister wore it when she died. The realization comes. The evil minister leaves.
Kim Shim bursts in the house. He goes to Wang Yeo’s room but he’s not there.
Wang Yeo is at the buddist temple. He sees the markers for him and Sunny made by Kim Shin.
As Sunny leaves the eatery Kim Shin asks if the grim reaper was part of her past. She isn’t happy that he startled her. Kim Shin asks if the grim reaper is Wang Yeo. She can’t / won’t answer. He stares at her and says that just like before she’s willing to protect that idiot. He leaves. Sunny is troubled.
Wang Yeo stands at the stairs of the buddist temple. He wonders if he is really Wang Yeo.
Kim Shin goes up the steps of the temple. Just like he did in the past. The intercutting between past and present is perfect. My compliments to who ever storyboarded this episode. Wang Yeo realizes that Kim Shin can hear his thoughts. Kim Shin comes up the steps and says he can hear his voice. Wang Yeo watches Kim Shin comes. Flashback to the past. Present day Kim Shin grabs Wang Yeo’s throat and says “Your commanding General Kim Shin is here to see you, your majesty.” They stare into each other’s eyes.
The most jam packed episode of this series. You almost got whiplash from everything that happened in this episode. The writer must have plenty more to come because there are 4 more episodes. This episode could have ended multiple times each with stellar cliffhangers. So much to say. But I’ve said plenty in the recap and won’t repeat myself too much.
Here’s my stream of consciousness looking forward. I believe that the fate that is banded about in the series isn’t created by God (who by the way took over Duk Hwa’s body) but controlled by the individuals at play whether they are ghosts, goblins, grim reapers, special cases, or humans. Because the writer, Kim Eun Sook, revealed so much this episode that tells me that she’s working towards a non-tragic aka happy ending. The revenge and hatred will play out but friendship and love will prevail. Back to fate, Eun Tak is driver for changing fate, she’s the key. She will change tragedy into triumph. In four episodes we will know if this is correct or wrong or somewhere in between.
Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) learned that the Grim Reaper was the King that killed him. He tried but couldn’t kill the evil minister. That surprised me. He heard the evil minister’s declaration and didn’t want to believe it. But he examined what he knew, what he felt, and the puzzle pieces fit. The grim reaper was Wang Yeo. He went to his sister to see if she knew. And even though Sunny’s memory was wiped, she couldn’t deny the truth of his conjecture because it felt correct. What happens next? Kim Shin is mad. Wang Yeo is repentant and doesn’t look like he’ll defend himself. Then we’ve got the little matter or Kim Shin needing to die or Eun Tak will die. Yes, there’s plenty more to come.
Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) learned the Grim Reaper was the King that killed Kim Shin. The evil minister was the creepiest ghost yet. He told her. She didn’t want to believe. But it made sense too. Was I disappointed that she didn’t tell Kim Shin? No. I wonder if she still unconvinced what the evil minister told her was true. If so, then telling Kim Shin would be spreading rumors. Instead she offered the truth that the evil minister had appeared and she was worried that he was mucking things up. Why couldn’t Eun Tak see the female ghost anymore? Is she losing her ghost seeing abilities? She could see the evil minister. He must be in a super ghost category.
Wang Yeo (Lee Dong Wook) kissed Sunny so she would remember her past and he would find out his. I respect his bold approach to answer the question – who was I in the past? Even though he suspected he was an evil force by either being the King or the evil minister, Wang Yeo had to know. And when he found out, he kindly wiped Sunny’s memory telling her that she would only remember the good not the bad. Wang Yeo is so sweet and repentant for a past he can’t remember. In no way am I angry with him. I understand why Kim Shin is, but I’m not. In fact, when we watched the first episode, didn’t we all think that Kim Shin was stupid to approach the King knowing that he would likely die and others would too?
Kim Sun / Sunny (Yoo In Na) remembered her past. The most effective moment of that reveal was when the present day actors swapped into the past scene. That was perfect production.
The 10th song of the OST is titled “Wish” by Urban Zakapa. I loved it on the first listen. The Goblin OST is stellar. Reddit post states the song depicts the endless love between the lovers who have separated. It features a piano melody with many emotions as well as vocals from Urban Zakapa.
After a tired day
When I came home
I feel strange, strange
I feel dizzy
Stuffiness, I don’t know why
Is it okay?
Time goes by
A day or two a week
I only see the sky
Like a fool
For me and myself
I’m poor without you
I want you so desperately
When you can’t expect more
In front of many feelings
What to do?
Time goes by
A day or two a week
I only see the sky
Without any thought
I miss you again
Even if you close your wet eyes
I thought of you again and again
Do you feel like I feel?
I don’t wanna love you
As much as I desire
I’ll do it again and again