Arthdal Chronicles Episode 8 Recap
Part 2: The Sky Turning Inside Out, Rising Land
Taealha (Kim Ok Vin) asks Saya to confirm he interfered with her plan. Saya (Song Joong Ki) chuckles, now they are even. Saya says his father will marry into the Asa tribe and she will lose the man she loves.
Moo Baek, Harim and Chae Eun hear that Dan Byeok has collapsed and the request they return to the city.
Saya points out that all is not lost, unlike him his love Saearae is dead (killed by Taealha’s orders). Furious she pushes items from the table and declares she apologized. Saya admits one day he might feel bad about his actions. Saya confides he thought the moment would be more satisfying. But at least his feelings have been resolved. He suggests she’ll need his help and they should work together. Taealha cannot believe the situation. Saya’s new maid, the Wahan great mother, Tanya (Kim Ji Won), watches the confrontation. Taealha shuts the door in her face. Taealha tells Saya to call her mother. Saya laughs. Taealha reminds him she raised him at the risk of her own life. Saya calls her mother and blocks her hand. Saya points out that she understands about getting revenge on those that betrayed her as she was turned spy and had to sleep with Tagon’s father. Then her father ordered her to kill the man she loved. Saya encourages her to get revenge and join the club.
Wow, Saya likes to stir the pot.
Taealha pours herself and drink and reflects on her father’s mocking words that she could never have Tagon. As she cries, Taealha murmurs it’s her turn now.
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun), Harim and Chae Eun stare at Dan Byeok’s body. Harim and Chae Eun promise to escort Dan Byeok’s spirt to the afterlife. Tagon leaves them to it. Moo Baek enters. Harim says that Dan Byeok is clinging to life on a thread. Moo Baek wants to get Dan Byeok out of Arthdal and certain death.
Tagon assumes Asa Ron (leader of the Hwinsan tribe) poisoned his brother. He orders Hae Mi Ho (Taealha’s father) be released. He gives two scrolls to be delivered, one to Mi Ho and one to Taealha. Tagon scolds his brother’s guards for failing to protect his brother.
Mi Ho (leader of the Hae tribe) is shocked to learn Dan Byeok is dead. He reads the scroll from Tagon. He returns home. Taealha is there. She praises her father for the brilliant scheme. Taealha declares her father can rest while she takes the reins.
Hae Tauk smirks and tells Mi Ho’s aide, Yeobi, that she might need help as Taealha rules the tribe. Yeobi spits in her face. The women fight with knives until broken apart.
Yep, deep seated anger is bubbling to the top.
Mi Ho defends his choice to use Taealha as a spy. Taealha retorts using a child like that should void the tribe’s chance at power. Mi Ho is sure Tagon killed his father. Taealha snaps; of course Tagon killed his father and she wanted him to. She reminds her father when he ordered a beautiful dress for her that Yeobi sewed for her. She remembers that Tagon’s father was the one that dressed and undressed her in that beautiful gown. Mi Ho counters that Tagon will destroy the union of the tribes. Taealha agrees and declares she’ll be Tagon’s puppet master. Taealha says the tribes must merge. Mi Ho can’t believe his daughter would let the Hae tribe be assimilated. Taealha yells that she and Tagon will rule together. Mi Ho asks if Tagon will marry her. Taealha declares Tagon will marry her. She’s done with doing other’s bidding, now she will take control and guide her own fate. She yells that Tagon will be King!
Don’t feel sorry for Mi Ho at all, you reap what you sow.
Moo Baek and Gil Sun tell Tagon the time has come.
Tagon’s warrior pull the tongue from an unfortunate man and put him in similar garb and face paint that Eunseom wore when he kidnapped Tagon’s father.
Dressed in robes, Tagon is ready for the next ceremony.
Asa Ron gives Tagon the Arthdal sword.
Tagon holds it high and the crowd goes wild calling him the union leader. Tagon takes Asa Mot’s hand to announce their betrothal to the crowd. Taealha watches stony faced.
On cue, Tagon’s warriors drag the Wahan warrior in declaring they’ve captured the man that murdered Tagon’s father. The crowd demands the man’s death. The poor man is lifted above a caldron of boiling liquid. Tagon order the crowd to silence. They hear the man’s screams. Tagon gives the signal and the man is dropped to his death. The crowd goes wild with blood lust. Tagon rises and accepts the accolades from his loyal subjects. Saya watches from the crowd.
And so the rule of Tagon begins…
Tagon tells Asa Ron he wants to build a coalition of tribe leaders just like Araman Haesulla (initial ruler of Arthdal) built. Asa Ron agrees that Tagon can do what he wants.
Tagon communicates his idea to key people. They are enchanted with the idea of returning to their roots for their ruling system. Taealha loves watching Tagon charm and win support. Asa Ron seals the deal with his approval. New minister positions are distributed. Dan Byeok’s daughter is given a leader role. She’s a bit sassy. Taealha is the bronze leader. Asa Ron is the ritual leader.
Asa Ron isn’t excited about the demotion and lack of status of the new role. He finds Asa Mot and mother of the white mountain, Asa Sakan, in his chambers when he storms in.
Taealha approves of Tagon’s handling of key leaders. She asks if he’ll visit his son, Saya, soon.
Hae Tauk decides what robe Saya should don. Tanya and Hae Tauk retreat when Tagon enters.
Tagon tells Saya he’s grown up. He surveys the room. Tagon orders Saya to remove his robe. Tagon sees the blue scabs are gone from Saya’s back. Recall Eunseom has an identical imprint on his back. Tagon tells Saya he may go outside. Saya compliments Tagon’s bold move in declaring himself the vessel of Araman Haesulla. Saya recommends that Tagon push for more and become King of Arthdal. Tagon points out he is the union leader. Saya counters that isn’t the absolute power of a King. Says urges Tagon to stop trying to be liked and seize the power. Tagon asks why. Saya slits his palm and declares that Igutu are superior beings. He will be Tagon’s heir. Together they will become gods. Tagon yells that Saya is naïve. Those that learned he was an Igutu died in the past and those that learn what he is in the future will also die. Tagon tells Saya to learn how to wield terror on his own or Tagon will teach him the hard way, just like his father did to him. But Saya can’t hold his tongue and asks why Tagon won’t use his Igutu status to dominant…is he ashamed? Tagon glares. Saya backs down and promises to do has his father has ordered.
Tagon replays Saya’s question.
Flashback…a young Tagon hopes eating red berries will make his blood red. It doesn’t work. He cries.
Tagon admits to himself that he loathes being an Igutu.
Taealha orders Tanya to spy on Saya and report all to only her and tell no one of this assignment. Tanya agrees. Taealha says if Tanya missteps her father will die. Thrilled to learn her father is alive, Tanya asks about him. Tanya states her father is in the Fortress of Fire. Tanya agrees to do as ordered.
The Wahan mourn Eunseom’s death (they assume the decoy dropped in the boiling liquid was Eunseom). Moo Gwang divides the remaining Wahan and sends them to their new slave jobs. Tanya’s father Yeol Son (leader of the Wahan tribe) is left behind much to everyone’s dismay. Moo Gwang gives him the assignment of spying on all activities in the Fortress of Father. Moo Gwang says if Yeol Son missteps his daughter will die.
Yeol Son is taken to the library. He’s ordered to report every detail of his tribe and the lands they occupied. He’s told they will write his tribe’s history from his words. Yeol Son is amazed at the concept of writing and his words lasting beyond his lifetime.
Tanya tries to understand using flavors in cooking.
Tae Hauk and Saya train in fighting skills.
Tanya gags when she tastes the flavors. Tae Hauk yells at her and the mess she made.
A cute moment, there aren’t many of them in this series.
Tanya goes outside and sees Saya is gone. Tae Hauk and Tanya search for Saya. Tanya sees a hooded man leaving and follows. She follows Saya into the woods. He comes up behind her and asks why she’s following him not running away. Tanya states she can’t run or Taealha will kill her father who lives in the Fortress of Fire. Tanya stares at the tree house. She recalls the tree house Eunseom had. Saya says he has dreams that he lives in a place like that, runs across fields, and is strong. Tanya realizes Saya dreams of Eunseom as Eunseom dreamed of Saya. She believes they dream of each other. Saya wonders if the woman he dreamed of is Tanya.
Saya takes her to a secret place. Tanya realizes all three of them (herself, Saya, and Eunseom) were born on the day of the comet. Saya holds her hand as he leads her. Tanya misses Eunseom. Saya shows her the entry into the Fortress of Fire. Tae Hauk is waiting from them. Saya states he’s going to show Tanya her father. Tae Hauk says no. Saya threatens to make a scene by stating “I’m an Igutu and son of Tagon.” Tae Hauk is shocked. Saya threaten to bite his tongue and reveal the color of his blood. Saya comes close and asks if Tae Hauk killed the woman he loved Saearae. Tanya is riveted by the confrontation.
Tae Hauk takes Tanya to her father who is studying the letters. It is a tearful reunion, both assuring each other they are fine. Her father shares two escaped and the others are scattered working around the city. Tanya asks about Eunseom. The look on her father’s face instantly alerts her that something is wrong. Her father tells her Eunseom is dead.
Eunseom dreams of Tanya cleaning in Saya’s room. He wakes and Chae Eun’s younger sister Nun Byeol introduces herself. Eunseom worries about the Wahan tribe’s fate. She explains everyone thinks he’s dead except the two Wahan waiting outside. They rush inside and hug Eunseom with enthusiasm. They don’t know where Tanya is. Eunseom is sure she’s alive because he dreamed of her. They ask Eunseom to join them when they attempted to rescue two Wahan. Eunseom agrees and puts on his lip balm to hide his blue lips.
Tanya, Saya and Tae Hauk walk back to the Fortress. Tanya thanks Saya for letting her see her father. She smiles. Tae Hauk can’t believe Tanya is chuckling when she just found out Eunseom is dead.
The two Wahan and other captives are handed over to Gil Sun to sell. The two Wahan see their friends in the woods. Gil Sun orders everyone up after the break. One of the Wahan pretends he can’t walk. He’s untied and pulled aside.
Tanya hums happily. Saya smiles.
The soldiers and slaves walk. Eunseom and his cohort are captured. The third escapes. Gil Sun laughs that their friend sold them out. They can’t believe it. The tattle tale explains they escaped without him or failed to save him and there is no escape. The third cries seeing his friends being taken away.
Gil Sun sells the slaves for good money. The soldiers beat the tattletale. Gil Sun asks if he’ll do anything to survive. The tattletale confirms this. Gil Sun asks if he’ll join forces with him. The tattletale confirms. Eunseom is too weak to escape the rope. The other Wahan says he understands the betrayal. The captured Wahan and fight. They are all beaten. Eunseom bleeds. The guards yell one of them is Igutu. They cut him and confirm. The new owner orders Eunseom beaten. Helper the horse isn’t impressed at Eunseom’s weak state and leaves.
I was surprised at the betrayal. I was surprised Eunseom was discovered to be an Igutu. But Helper leaving was the shocker.
Tae Hauk tells Saya about Tanya. He finds her cleaning and asks what she’s waiting for. He states that he waited dreaming about the future and then Taealha killed the women he loved. Saya doesn’t understand her happiness when her friend is dead. Tanya retorts that Eunseom isn’t dead. He’ll come and save her just like she asked him to. Saya declares he and many others saw Eunseom die. Tanya screams Eunseom isn’t dead. Saya yells he is and describes in detail what happened the crowd’s reaction. Unable to listen anymore Tanya tackles Saya to the floor and yells Eunseom is not dead. Tae Hauk pulls Tanya off Saya and punches her repeatedly.
Eunseom is dragged behind the slaves.
Tanya is tied up.
Flashback…The other children ignore Eunseom. Tanya takes the toys and gives Eunseom a turn. He smiles. She smiles. The others smile.
Flashback…Tanya finds Eunseom crying for his mother. She comforts him.
Flashback… Eunseom teaches Tanya to dance.
Tanya sobs over Eunseom’s death.
The next morning Saya brings food to Tanya. She says nothing. Saya tells her those with a reason to live, don’t care how they live. He asks if Eunseom was her reason to live. Tanya asks why so many have died cruel deaths. Tanya asks why her people were enslaved. Saya says they need slave labor. Tanya asks why they need the material things they crave. She points out sharing works. Saya retorts greed cannot be satiated. Tanya doesn’t understand greed. Saya states until she understands a desire that can’t be satiated and power, she won’t understand Arthdal. She’ll forever wonder why did this happen to me, my friend, my people. Saya leaves.
Outside her room, Saya worries Tanya might kill herself.
Tanya considers Saya’s words.
Eunseom is struck repeatedly.
Flashback…Tanya learns the correct size rocks to use to hunt game. She learns to use the nearest stone near her when attacked.
Saya doesn’t understand why he cares about Tanya.
Tanya apologizes to Eunseom. She’s decided to live so she can learn why this happened to her, him and their people.
Saya enters the room. Tanya looks at him. She thinks “He’ll be my stone, my first weapon.” She gets on her knees and apologizes to Saya citing her grief. She declares she belongs to him. Saya is suspicious. Tanya vows to serve him. She bows to him and calls him master.
But in her thoughts Tanya casts a spell on Saya and promises herself she will become his master.
Breaking spirits and betrayals were the focus. I enjoyed the flashback of the young Wahans. The children were perfectly cast so the adult versions we know were evident in their young faces and forms. Taealha and Tanya both shined this episode.
Saya (Song Joong Ki) was told to learn how to rule with fear. Writers Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yeon allowed Saya to boldly tell Tagon to reach for the ultimate power of being King not a leader that works for consensus. That didn’t go over well with Tagon. Saya did put fear in Tae Hauk when he assumed (probably correctly) that she murdered the woman he loved on Taealha’s order. But it was his interactions with Tanya that intrigued me. He’s drawn to her. He couldn’t stand her faith that Eunseom was alive and destroyed it. He suggested that she needed to seek power. Be careful what you wish for Saya, you might not like the results.
Asa Ron (leader of the Hwinsan tribe) is downgraded. Asa Ron saw Tagon become the union leader standing by Asa Mot per their deal that Tagon marry into Asa Ron’s clan to gain his support. Asa Ron wasn’t happy when Tagon downgraded his lofted position to minister. No sympathy from me. You play with fire, you get burned.
Hae Mi Ho (leader of the Hae tribe) was released from prison but his daughter replaced him as leader of the tribe. Taealha was angry and gave her father a verbal lashing then proceeded become the new leader of the tribe. No sympathy from me. Taealha treated her father like he treated her. Turnabout is fair play.
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) (Sanoong’s son) became the leader. Tagon is a natural showman. Give him a ceremony and he milks it for maximum effect and plays to the crowd. Tagon’s choice to return to the old ways of ruling, continues his not always subtle deception that he is the reincarnated Araman Haesulla. I hope this choice ends up costing him as other ministers will have a voice not just the three major tribes. Tagon’s interaction with Saya was harsh. He’s never going to win father of the year…like father like son.
Tanya (Kim Ji Won) decided to use Saya. Tanya had good moments. She was reunited with her father. She realized Saya is dreaming about Eunseom and vice versa. But her faith that Eunseom was alive became Saya’s target and he destroyed it. Then he gave her the advice to seek power and to decide to live for that. Tanya turned pragmatic and decided that living was her only option and Saya, dear Saya would be her first victim in her quest for power. I want her to own Saya. Taealha wants to own Tagon and Tanya wants to own Saya. May the best woman win.
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) got out of his recovery bed too soon. Eunseom couldn’t say no when his friends asked for his help to save two other Wahan. Little did he know that he would be betrayed, beaten, and sold as a slave along with his friends. But it was the reveal that he was Igutu and the subsequent beating to keep him down that surprised me. Don’t get me started on Helper the horse turning his back on Eunseom. In all fairness, Helper couldn’t have saved Eunseom, who was in no condition to perform with his usual strength and quickness.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as very good. My rating chart is below: