Arthdal Chronicles Episode 3 Recap
Part 1, The Children of Prophecy
Moo Baek and two other Arthdal warriors pursue Eunseom. They can’t get their horses to pursue at a fast-enough speed. Moo Baek can’t believe it…is the horse the mythical glorious horse that can’t be caught Kanmoreu? And if so, is the man riding him Araman Haesulla? Moo Baek tells his men to return and report that myth might be reality. He continues in pursuit.
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) stops his horse and dunks his head in a pond. He recalls Tanya telling him that his name is dream because he’s her dream. He wonders how he alone can save her and the other Wahan tribe members against a bevy of warriors.
His thoughts are stopped when he hears the hoofbeats of Moo Baek’s horse. He jumps on his horse and sees Moo Baek. The pursuit begins again. Eunseom ducks all of Moo Baek’s arrows. The horse pulls away again. Moo Baek is frustrated to lose sight of his prey again.
But Eunseom’s horse has an opinion in the matter. He turns and runs towards Moo Baek. He starts his horse for a head to head confrontation. Eunseom remembers being told that he’s different. Now Moo Baek’s horse has an opinion in the matter. He stops and Moo Baek falls off. Eunseom passes him and Moo Baek’s horse follows. Moo Baek runs on foot.
Flashback… Moo Baek recalls being told that enemy horses would follow Kanmoreu.
Moo Baek watches his horse follow and wonder if the horse really is Kanmoreu.
Loved that both horses surprised their respective riders…didn’t see that coming.
The current great mother, Cho Seol, struggles to keep the pace as the captured villagers are led across the boardwalk over the hot ground. She falls. The next great mother, Tanya (Kim Ji Won), helps her up. Cho Seol wonders if they are being taken that “that” place. Tanya wonders were Eunseom is.
Interesting that Cho Seol keeps her suspicions to herself.
Eunseom returns to the burning Wahan village. He sees the dead villagers cut down without warning. He finds Tanya’s headpiece. He vows to save them. He readies himself for the journey. He finds a living child, Doti, who cries out his pain over the attack. Eunseom tells the child he’ll go save the villagers. The child doesn’t want him to leave. Eunseom shares his horse told him to fight and he has a plan to capture the invader’s leader to gain the advantage.
Yaghca’s horse arrives. Eunseom asks his horse to talk to the other horse. Doti states Eunseom’s horse is busy eating. They smile. Eunseom studies the saddle and stirrup on Yaghca’s horse. He asks his horse if he’d like some new clothes.
Loving the exchanges between Eunseom and his horse. Nothing like an animal that matters in a story.
The Wahan village leader, Yeol Son, asks where they are being taken. He can’t believe it when he’s told they will go up the cliff. They are all stunned when they see the way up. Cho Seol is upset knowing this against their god’s will.
The Wahan are frightened as they are shuttled onto the elevator and it ascends. At the top they are led out of the elevator. They see the slaves that powered their ascent being whipped as they walk past. Moo Baek’s warriors debate whether or not to tell of the fast horse. They walk through the caves in the cliff and arrive at the next level. They ascend to the top. Tanya and Cho Seol see their homeland in the distance.
Moo Baek arrives at the village.
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) is all smiles when Moo Baek’s warriors arrive with the captured villagers. He declares today they return to Arthdal. Everyone is thrilled. Tagon is surprised to learn the villagers speak their language. Tanya sees him at a distance.
Gil Sun punishes tribe leaders and members. Before he’s beheaded, a tribe leader declares that Tagon was the one that wiped out the Tiger (Neanderthal) tribe. He screams that no tribe is better than another citing the words of Araman Haesulla, the founder of Arthdal. Gil Sun’s hears the crowds unrest rising. He goes to behead the man but is stopped by arrival Tagon’s father, Sanoong, leader of the Saenyeok tribe and head of Arthdal. He hears the man’s pleas and surprises all when he agrees to discuss the execution with Asa Ron, the high priestess.
Sanoong tells his right-hand man to kill all the tribe except for the leader. His man says the leader should die and the tribe members live. Sanoong disagrees stating the leader will be blamed for the tribe, not him. He shrugs that the leader isn’t wrong.
When Sanoong enters his quarters Taealha (Kim Ok Vin) demands to know if he loves her while holding a knife to his throat. She casually puts the knife away and shrugs into a robe. Sanoong says he’s fond of her. But his priority is figuring out Tagon’s next move.
Flashback…Sanoong recalls the priestess telling him even though a young boy, Tagon must be killed for he will kill his father and many others plus destroy Arthdal. Sanoong protests stating his guidance can curb Tagon. The priestess counters Tagon will hinder him and eventually his weaknesses will be exposed by the Hwinsan tribe.
Sanoong says he’s afraid of Tagon, that he’ll kill him. Taealha assures him that Tagon follows orders and isn’t ready to take the leadership role. Sanoong surprises Taealha when he asks her to marry him. She counters that their marriage would change the power dynamics and Asa Ron (leader of the Hwinsan tribe) would not allow it.
Asa Ron, leader of the Hwinsan tribe, learns that Sanoong’s lover is Taealha, daughter of Hae Mi Ho, leader of the Hae tribe. Asa Mot declares the Hae tribe’s ability to farm and work bronze makes them a threat. She points out a marriage between Sanoong and Taealha would shift the power dynamics.
Taealha reports the marriage proposal to her father, Mi Ho, who is pleased. He knows his foes are Sanoong and Asa Ron. Mi Ho points out the proposal helps Sanoong’s power base and hurts Tagon (because Tagon and Taealha have a relationship), two goals Sanoong always pursues. He tells his daughter her spy days are ending.
Taealha returns to her chambers. She’s reminded that her allegiance must be to her father. Taealha counters her allegiance is to herself and the goal of ruling Arthdal.
Tagon gives Hae Tauk two messages to be delivered, one for Taealha and one for the boy that lived in the cliffs.
The Wahan tribe survivors are exhausted and stand at attention. Tagon announces to his warriors it is time to depart. The Wahan tribe starts walking. Those warriors who raided with Moo Baek wonder what has happened to him.
Moo Baek finds Cho Seol sacred place and holy bag. He sees ancient writing on a disc (byeoldaya). He demands to know where it came from. The keeper of the sacred place says it was handed down long ago by their ancestor, the Great White Wolf from the Tiger (Neanderthal) tribe. Moo Baek is shocked.
Doti and Eunseom watch the men at the bottom of the cliff. Doti speaks. Eunseom decides to attack the two men. He does and learns that the Wahan tribe have ascended the cliff. Doti sees the wooden elevator. Eunseom stares amazed. He’s told Sanoong, head of Arthdal, ordered it built. He learns Sanoong resides in Arthdal.
The CGI of the cliffs and elevator is impressive.
The next morning the elevator goes up. The Arthdal warrior assume it is Moo Baek and his horse. They open the gate, Eunseom, Doti and the horse fly off. The warriors pursue.
Tagon’s emissary returns to the cheers of the crowd. Sanoong and Mi Ho learn Tagon will arrive in 3 days with 2000 slaves.
Hae Tauk gives Taealha Tagon’s message. She asks if Taealha will report was Tagon wrote or do as he request. Taealha is Tagon was humming/singing when he wrote the note. Hae Tauk recalls Tagon was humming. That gets Taealha’s attention.
Recall in episode one the dream with the warning not to not pursue the one that sings.
Taealha meets with Sanoong. She asks what happens if someone else other than the priest performs a certain ritual. Sanoong can’t believe what she’s implying. She states Tagon is done for.
Sanoong shares that Tagon has performed the ritual many times and this is not allowed. The choice is death or banishment after cutting off his feet if he’s found guilty. Sanoong guesses Asa Ron would banish Tagon. He smiles knowing he won’t be blamed for the outcry by the people at Tagon’s banishment, Asa Ron will.
Sanoong is into others taking the blame.
Asa Ron and Asa Mot learn what Tagon has done. Asa Ron calmly states the people will hate him and the tribe if he banishes Tagon. He asks the messenger who knows of the message. The messenger assures him no one else knows. Asa Ron kills the messenger. Asa Ron orders Asa Mot to find out who wrote the message. He murmurs this could be big trouble for himself and Tagon. He wonders if this is part of a plan.
Hae Tauk is surprised to learn Taealha has kinda done as Tagon requested. She shares that Tagon humming means he’s excited.
Tagon hums as his looks over the land. He recalls murdering someone. A warrior approaches and tells him the slaves will make the people thrilled. He’s told the slaves are being cleaned up. The Wahan tribe survivors/slaves eat and wonder what’s next. Doti’s mother cries for her son. Tanya worries about Cho Seol. She assures Doti’s mother they’ll find her son. Eunseom and Doti watch. He tells Doti they must wait and disable the Arthdal leader to free them. Tanya sees Eunseom’s horse. She looks for Eunseom. She thinks to Eunseom that he’s their only hope. Eunseom thinks he’ll free them.
Asa Ron order his followers to silence anyone that would know about what Tagon has done. He guesses that Sanoong has placed him in this position on purpose.
The cat is out of the bag when people fall at Asa Ron’s feet begging forgiveness for Tagon. Sanoong also falls to his knees and begs forgiveness for his son’s actions. Asa Ron is furious that he can no longer pretend the infraction didn’t occur.
When his horse takes a break to eat grain growing in a field, Doti then Eunseom notice the neat rows. A farmer tells them to beat it and not steal grain from his land. Eunseom recalls being told the Arthdal warrior were there to steal land, a conquest not embraced by the Wahan. The farmer declares he sowed the seeds. Recall Cho Seol told Eunseom that one could learn the wisdom of seed but don’t plant them. The farmer sees Eunseom’s necklace and changes his tune stating he didn’t know he was a member of the Asa Clan. Eunseom doesn’t understand the term. The farmer guesses Eunseom is an Igutu. Eunseom recalls the Arthdal warrior calling him an Igutu when he saw his blue blood. Eunseom asks what an Igutu is. The farmer flees shouting he’s found an Igutu. Eunseom tackles the farmer and assures him he won’t kill him. The farmer says an Igutu is a mixed blood person that is part Saram and part Neanderthal. The farmer says Neanderthal are monsters. That surprises Eunseom who muses he’s a monster’s son. The farmer lunges to stab Eunseom. Reflexively, Eunseom ducks, grabs the knife, and slits the farmer throat. Doti is shocked. Eunseom is shocked. The farmer is dead.
A woman who heard the farmer arrives. She assures Eunseom she won’t hurt him. Eunseom declares he’s a monster. She counters that is a lie spread by the Hwinsan tribe. She sees the blue blood from Eunseom’s cut. She warns Eunseom to move with more stealth. Eunseom demands to know what a Neanderthal is. She smiles and states a tribe with better abilities than anyone else.
Asa Ron is stunned to see the mother of the white mountain, Asa Sakan, arrive. She doesn’t care about Tagon but maintaining the order of who can talk to the gods, and it is the Hwinsan tribe. She tells Asa Ron he cannot allow this. She declares it will destroy Arthdal.
The woman gives Eunseom clothes to cover himself and a lip salve to hide his blue tint. She says this is a one-time deal and she may kill him next they meet. Eunseom wants to meet more Neanderthals. She informs him they were hunted and killed and he’s the last one.
Eunseom and Doti arrive at the gates of Arthdal. Doti is scared of the swords the palace guards have. His tears earn them entry without comment. Doti complains that Eunseom pinched him and made them cry.
That was a smart move by Eunseom.
Eunseom and Doti walk around amazed at the marketplace…they’ve finally arrived at Arthdal.
The leaders of the tribes were concerned about maintaining their power base. None of them seem like decent human beings, their priority is their positions and themselves.
* The Arthdal leader, Sanoong (leader of the Saenyeok tribe) wanted Tagon to be sentenced to banishment. He remembers the prophecy that Tagon would kill him and destroy Arthdal. But Sanoong pretended to care and begged Asa Ron to spare his child.
* Asa Ron (leader of the Hwinsan tribe) was placed in a no-win situation. The people adore Tagon. If he banished Tagon, he would be blamed. He must have been dismayed when Asa Sakan arrived uncaring about Tagon’s life but maintaining the order of those allowed to commune with the gods.
* Hae Mi Ho (leader of the Hae tribe) was pleased to hear of the marriage proposal but realized Sanoong wasn’t doing only for political posturing but also to hurt Tagon.
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) knew exactly what he was doing when he sent the admission of his illegal activities. I assume he knows his father is out to get him. Does he know that his father is in a relationship with the woman he loves? Taealha (Kim Ok Vin) seems just as scheming as the men, her goal appears to be power. She knows Tagon has what it takes to rule and wants to align with him, if he manages to ascend to the leader of Arthdal.
Tanya (Kim Ji Won) is now a slave. At least her mother and father are alive and with her (for now). You’d have to assume they will die or be killed as this series progresses. When she saw Eunseom’s horse, she was right to assume he was nearby. She calls to him in her mind. Will he be able to hear her thoughts one day?
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) managed to make it to Arthdal, no small feat. He’s clueless but learns quickly. He finally understands that he is mixed blood. It must have been shocking to learn he’s the last one of his kind alive. I shake my head at the odds that are stacked against him.
Is it the eyes? Anyone else caught themselves thinking of Ji Chang Wook (Warrior Baek Dong Soo) when watching Song Joong Ki? Song Joong Ki looks young in this series.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as very good. My rating chart is below: