Arthdal Chronicles Episode 4 Recap
Part 1, The Children of Prophecy
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) and Doti walk through Arthdal wide eyed. Eunseom’s horse breaks the moment when he eats herbs from a vendor’s cart. The vendor goes to strike the horse. Eunseom’s powers activate and he’s by the vendor in a flash throwing him to the ground. He stops himself from striking the vendor. The crowd murmurs their displeasure. The woman that helped Eunseom with the farmer appears and yells at him. The vendor calls her “my lady”. Eunseom looks at her confused.
Chae Eun tells him to return to his homeland. Eunseom declares he’ll return after he’s accomplished his task. Eunseom steps into a rock processing room manned by children that are slaves. The owner tosses them out. Eunseom asks about the children. She tells him those children are spoils of war. Eunseom realizes that slave labor built the elevator up the cliffs and other magnificent things he saw. He shouts he must save his people who are now slaves too. She asks how he’ll save his people. Eunseom states he’ll make a deal by taking the leader Sanoong hostage. She points out Sanoong is guarded by 6 men at all times. Eunseom states he’ll defeat the guards. Frustrated, she can’t alter his path, she walks away.
Chae Eun joins her father Hae Rim at the Bachidoore meeting. They discuss an inaccurate history portraying Tagon that devised the plan to wipe out the Neanderthal. Hae Rim knows he used a disease to infect that unsuspecting Neanderthal using Asa Hon as the unwitting bearer of the infected “gifts”. Hae Rim leaves.
Asa Ron, leader of the Hwinsan tribe, learns that sentiment is for Tagon. He doesn’t understand what Tagon’s strategy is. He decides to ask the gods.
Taealha (Kim Ok Vin) and Hae Tauk wonder what Tagon’s strategy is. Hae Tauk is told to go to the tower. But she’s stopped by guards. Hae Mi Ho, leader of the Hae tribe, arrives.
Sanoong, leader of the Saenyeok tribe and head of Arthdal, prays to his god (statue of Araman Haesulla riding Kanmoreu). His right-hand man (and son), Dan Byeok, reports the Bachidoore meeting. Sanoong asks if enough have seen him praying and assured public sentiment sees him as a concerned father. Sanoong stares at the statue and wonders what is the meaning of the fingers Araman Haesulla‘s engraved. Sanoong believes Asa Ron is stuck and will bear the blame if his son Tagon is banished. Dan Byeok worries it will backfire. He points out Tagon has met every challenge. Sanoong counters that conquering and killing thrills Tagon. Dan Byeok references his mother’s prophecy that Tagon would kill Sanoong and destroy Arthdal. Sanoong retorts that Tagon killed his own mother to further his goals. Dan Byeok can’t believe Tagon would do this. Sanoong declares no one does, but he knows that Tagon’s bloodlust and need for power must be stopped before he dies or the Saenyeok tribe won’t remain the ruling authority. Sanoong warns Dan Byeok not to trust his brother Tagon.
Does Sanoong want to kill Tagon to secure his own power or for a legacy of power for his tribe? If Tagon is so loved, how would his leadership diminish the Saenyeok tribe?
An unconscious Hae Tauk is tossed at Taealha’s feet. Mi Ho, her father, slaps her angry that Tagon devised this latest scheme and his daughter didn’t tell him. Angry that her loyalty is to Tagon, he forces her to kneel in front of him and orders her to find out Tagon’s plan ASAP. She made this mess; she has to clean it up. He orders her to poison Tagon. Taealha points out that Sanoong needs to be told if Tagon will be killed. Mi Ho warns to keep quiet and do as told. Everyone will believe Tagon killed himself, upset at the upcoming inquisition by Asa Ron.
No “father of the year” in this series.
Dan Byeok rides out to meet Tagon. He shares their father is worried that Tagon will have to stand trial. Dan Byeok claims their father wants him to flee and come back when he sends word. Tagon appreciates Dan Byeok’s lie but knows their father didn’t suggest this. Tagon refuses to flee stating running would nullify everything.
One of the Wahan is sick. The others ask the Arthdal soldiers for help. The soldiers take the sick man to the side and kill him. The Wahan are horrified. The soldiers notice the current great mother, Cho Seol, is sick. They declare she’ll die anyhow. The next great mother, Tanya (Kim Ji Won) and others beg them to let her live. The soldier takes pleasure in their screams as he brandishes the sword. Tanya sees they enjoy cruelty. She grows resolute and declares she is next great mother, a shaman, and connected to all spirits. She puts a curse on the Arthdal tribe. Their cities will crumble. She warns the first that touches her will die a horrible death. She declares a blue fire will sweep their land like a deadly storm. She yells their dead bodies will pile as high as a mountain. Cho Seol is stunned and believes her daughter has the goods to take the reins when she dies. Cho Seol sees the spirit of the great white wolf behind her daughter. Tanya heaps it on declaring their mothers will eat their dead children who will come back to life and eat their mothers. Tanya cries to the great white wolf not to forgive her for ending her tribe and NEVER forgive this cruel tribe that has captured them.
WOW!!! Tanya slayed that speech. Undoubtedly the blue fire is a reference to Eunseom.
The soldiers are freaked out. Tagon approaches Tanya. He says no tears should be shed after that fierce curse. He asks what they can do to avoid the curse. Tanya asks for the right to properly send off the great mother. Tagon agrees taking his men by surprise. Tagon tells his men they have much to accomplish and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s Tagon’s turn to be surprised when Taealha and Hae Tauk arrive. Taealha asks if he was lenient because the girl is pretty. Tagon smiles and leads her away.
Moo Gwang gets the assignment to watch Tanya send her mother off. He grabs her head and tells her to keep it quick. Tanya reminds him she warned no one to touch her. She states under the moon; a hand will rip out his heart. Moo Gwang backs away.
Taealha pours Tagon wine and demands to know what he is planning. She won’t let him drink until he answers.
Assuming the wine may be poisoned.
Tanya asks her mother if all this happened because she was born on the day of the comet (which signifies death). Her mother tells her this has been in the works for a long time. She tells Tanya her job is done and she passes the baton to her. Tanya cries she’s never dreamed, doesn’t know the dance, and not worthy. Cho Seol tells her she’s never dreamed either. She muses that since the great white wolf dreams aren’t among the tribe. Cho Seol tells Tanya that the elevator cued her that they are heading to where the great white wolf comes from. She tells her daughter this land tames animals and sows seeds. Cho Seol tells Tanya to the great white wolf’s byeoldaya (sacred coin with ancient writing). She draws a symbol that will be on the coin. She says the totem with the symbol should be kept close to her heart and come into play later. Cho Seol says this is her calling. Cho Seol tells her the spirit of the great white wolf appeared when she cursed the solider. Cho Seol declares she has been chosen by the great white wolf (who appears). Cho Seol touches Tanya’s cheek and tells her not to feel sorry for her but let her heart feel for herself. Cho Seol dies. Tanya sobs her grief.
Tanya lays her mother to rest and asks the spirits to take care of her.
Tagon asks Taealha why she followed his directions when she knew he would be killed. Taealha claims to trust him. Tagon points out that Taealha should have reported his directions to her father or his father first. After all, she is a spy. Upset Taealha welds a knife and slashes. Tagon pins her and declares that even though he knew she was a spy, he trusted her to care for the Igutu baby. She drops the knife. Tagon points out hiding the Igutu baby is another crime he could be killed for. He claims he did so to stay alive. Tagon points out his father wants him dead; Asa Ron hates him and therefore he needs her father’s help to stay alive. Tagon asks why she didn’t report the Igutu baby. He asks if she cares for him. He goes to drink the wine. She knocks it away. He asks if it was poisoned by her father. She doesn’t deny it. Tagon believes she cares and admits he cares for her too. Taealha declares if she were more mature, she would have told her father all. But his faith in her, touched her. She wants to commit to him but knows he can’t kill his father, who is necessary for him to be acknowledged. She grabs her cape and tells Tagon that his plan better work or they’ll both die.
Great scene! Is there honor among these two?
Hae Tauk asks Taealha what happened. Taealha can’t believe she just gambled her life on Tagon. Moo Gwang brings Tanya back. The two women glance at each other as they pass.
Tagon recalls his father trying to strangle him when he was a child. He calls to his masked and silent warrior Yangcha and states they will leave in the morning.
Call me crazy, but I felt a glimmer of empathy for Tagon.
Asa Ron gets a message from Tagon wanting to meet outside the gates. Tagon and Yangcha arrive. Tagon kneels and begs for mercy. He explains he did the act because warrior was dying and needed to be sent to the gods in peace. Asa Ron states there is only one way to avoid the courts and sentence, he offers cash and tells him to run away. But Tagon refuses the money. He says he knows of a win-win solution for both of them.
Tagon arrives at Arthdal. The crowds go wild. The slaves enter behind the soldiers. Tanya wonders if the great white wolf really came from this place. Asa Ron’s aides meet him and order him to surrender his sword, boots, armaments and come with them to the court. The crowds yell that Tagon has been framed. Tagon does as Asa Ron’s aides request. Tagon’s father watches from the castle. Eunseom watches him. Tanya wonders if Eunseom is nearby. Chae Eun worries that Eunseom is stalking Sanoong.
Sanoong and Dan Byeok wonder about the meeting between Tagon and Asa Ron. Who instigated the meeting and what was said? Sanoong wonders if they can smuggle weapons in.
At the mystical court, Tagon kneels, Asa Ron prays, and Sanoong arrives. The ceremony takes place. Asa Ron declares he will declare what the goddess told him regarding Tagon’s behavior. Sanoong knows Asa Ron is doomed with either decision he must make. Asa Ron announces Tagon has been gifted with psychic powers from the gods. Sanoong can’t believe it. The room buzzes. Tagon smiles.
Flashback…Tagon tells Asa Ron while he didn’t have psychic powers from the gods when he performed the ritual, he could be retrofitted by Asa Ron now. That doesn’t go over well with Asa Ron. Tagon points out IF he’s granted psychic powers from the gods by Asa Ron, they both sidestep this mess.
Sanoong stares at Asa Ron and wonders if this is the scheme he discussed with Tagon last night.
Asa Ron repeats the claim…Tagon has been gifted with psychic powers from the gods. There performing the sacred ceremony was acceptable. Dan Byeok tells his father to keep a grip on his emotions. Sanoong announces this is an honor that Tagon has been gifted. Asa Ron states he’s not done with his statement. Asa Ron states parents taking care of children is the natural order. He asks if Sanoong reported Tagon to force the court to take action. Asa Ron asks if Sanoong is jealous of Tagon. Sanoong ’s control starts to slip, then he pulls his anger back and asks how Asa Ron could imagine he’d do such a thing. A witness comes in and declares Sanoong ordered him to report Tagon. Sanoong swears he didn’t do this. Asa Ron declares someone is lying and they have to find out who. Asa Ron tells Sanoong he must go with them. Sanoong ’s men draw their weapons. Everyone is aghast, weapons are forbidden. Tagon tells Asa Ron they must stop Sanoong ’s departure or war between the tribe will be the result. Tagon nods to Gil Sun who exits. Asa Ron’s disciplines tell Sanoong ’s men to drop their weapons. Sanoong ’s men start slashing the disciples.
Eunseom applies war paint.
It’s a blood bath. Sanoong departs with Tagon and Asa Ron watching.
Chae Eun arrives to see Eunseom on horseback dispatch the guards waiting outside for Sanoong.
Sanoong and his men go outside. Tagon’s men cross their path and state they cannot leave. Dan Byeok declares this is insolence. Tagon’s men charge. Sanoong watches the melee.
Eunseom calls “Sanoong, leader of the union”. Seeing an escape, Sanoong answers.
The men resume their fighting.
Sanoong runs to Eunseom, who pulls him onto his horse. They flee.
Asa Ron and Tagon are stunned to hear that Sanoong escaped with an unknown horseman. Asa Ron demands to know what Tagon will do. Tagon declares they must go to Arthdal. Asa Ron doesn’t want to fight Sanoong’s men.
Dan Byeok doesn’t know where his father is. Mi Ho advises that Dan Byeok take his men and see if Asa Ron’s men took his father and seize the mountain location Asa Ron lives in. Dan Byeok issues order for his men to mobilize.
The Arthdal citizens hear the sound of the mobilization. Doti finds Chae Eun.
Tagon learns Dan Byeok issued his men to mobilize. Tagon wonders who the horseman was that just showed up unexpected. Tagon declares he will negotiate with his father.
Dan Byeok learns Sanoong is at the marketplace.
Tagon learns Sanoong is at the marketplace.
At the marketplace, Eunseom yells that he has Sanoong. The crowd murmurs disbelief. Chae Eun stares in disbelief. Eunseom states Sanoong will die if they elect to keep the Wahan.
Dan Byeok and his men arrive.
Eunseom demands the Wahan be brought to the marketplace and he’ll return Sanoong.
Tagon and his men arrive. The crowd goes wild.
Tagon declares he’ll negotiate for his father. He calls to Eunseom and states he is Sanoong’s son. He claims he will return the Wahan. He promises to come unarmed. The crowd goes wild.
Tagon strips down to his clothes.
The Wahan arrive.
Tagon declares he will go up to meet. Eunseom declares he will meet Tagon.
The Wahan can’t believe their ears or eyes.
Tagon heads up to Eunseom and his father. He has a knife.
Tagon enters the room. Eunseom assesses that Tagon has a knife. The two men lunge towards each other.
Wow! Fabulous episode. I’m thrilled to learn writers Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yeon can deliver a riveting script. Can they do it again and again?There were so many pivot points in this episode. It was NEVER boring. I’m loving that Eunseom is the reincarnation of the greatest leader known, the creator of Arthdal. He must face and defeat the establishment which is corrupt and set in their ways. That is a tall order for someone that doesn’t understand politics or the players…yet. I appreciate the way the writers are gradually introducing the supporting characters. They aren’t identified initially but named in a later scene once we know their face.
The Arthdal leader, Sanoong (leader of the Saenyeok tribe) was livid when Asa Ron and Tagon came up with an alternative plan that avoided punishing Tagon. But even worse, he was accused of framing Tagon. His men sliced down unarmed priests and split. But then his men faced Tagon’s men in a hand to hand fight. Sanoong decided an unknown rider on a horse offered better odds and willing went with Eunseom. I can only imagine how irked Sanoong was when the crowd went wild when Tagon arrived and declared he’d negotiate for his father.
Asa Ron (leader of the Hwinsan tribe) wiggled out of his no-win situation thanks to Tagon’s plan. I enjoyed the reveal that Asa Ron has no visions unless he’s under the influence. Yep, nothing like a fake priest. Even though he’s a fake, he knows how to use what he’s got and he was smart enough to realize declaring Tagon had been gifted by the gods would exonerate Tagon and himself.
Hae Mi Ho (leader of the Hae tribe) was livid to learn his daughter supported Tagon even though she was a spy for him. He ordered her to poison Tagon but she couldn’t do it. She could hardly believe it, but she chose love over her own survival.
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) (Sanoong’s son) is a master chess player. He is smart. Evil guys that are smart make for good series. Call me crazy but I felt empathy for Tagon when he recalled his father trying to kill him as a child. Tagon surprised me when he agreed to Tanya’s demand to help her mother die in peace. Tagon was surprised to learn Taealha chose him over her father or his father. He had to admit he cared and trusted her citing her secret care of the Igutu (assume this is Eunseom’s brother).
Tanya (Kim Ji Won) laid a curse on Tagon’s men that would make anyone pause. I was utterly impressed with her bravado and details of what would happen to Arthdal – mothers eating children and the children returning from the dead to kill the mothers – was only one part of the riveting curse. The reference of the “blue fire” had to mean Eunseom. Her mother saw the great white wolf when Tanya delivered her scathing curse. She knew her daughter had “it”. The death scene was well done. I liked that Tanya’s mother admitted she had never dreamed.
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) took the direct path. He figured out good timing to snatch Sanoong. He lucked out that Sanoong’s men and Tagon’s men were fighting leaving Sanoong to want an escape that Eunseom provided. I can’t believe the Wahan will be sent home with Eunseom’s plan. But you got to give it to Eunseom, he has gotten farther than expected. I look forward to his smarts matching his brawn.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as terrific. My rating chart is below: