Arthdal Chronicles Episode 9 Recap
Part 2: The Sky Turning Inside Out, Rising Land
Saya (Song Joong Ki) enters the room. Tanya (Kim Ji Won) the Wahan great mother, 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. Saya demands to know why she’s changed her mind. She declares she wants to live and is willing to help him achieve his goals. Saya asks what those are. Tanya knows he wants freedom and not to be locked up or watched. She shares that Taealha ordered her to watch Saya. She promises to relay to Taealha what he wants. He warns that Taealha can be deadly. Tanya declares she’s not like his former lover Saearae who was killed by Taealha’s orders. She envisions Eunseom. Saya knows she’s seeing Eunseom not him. He leaves. In the hallway he touches his heart, affected by Tanya.
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki), the other Wahan, and the other slaves watch their new masters eat. They taunt and beat Eunseom for being Igutu ((mixed blood person that is part Saram and part Neanderthal). They withhold water to the slaves when they won’t intone they are lowly beings. The next day, they whip the slaves as they slowly march to their new home.
In the morning Tanya watches Saya watch the bird outside his window. She recalls Eunseom dreaming of wanting birds. She offers to catch a bird for Saya.
In the woods Tanya calls to the birds. Saya is amazed when they come. Tanya uses a slingshot to down a bird. Saya and Tanya kneel next to the bird. Tanya thanks the bird for giving his life. She offers to teach Saya how to use the slingshot. The lesson commences. Of course, it isn’t as easy as it looks but with practice Saya gets the hang of it. They both smile and laugh. Later Tanya cooks the bird. Saya hesitates but eats it. Tanya asks about the Arthdal union and its government system. Saya explains. Later Tanya reviews what she learned. Araman Haesulla founded the Arthdal union. She wonders if Eunseom’s mother spoke of the same Araman Haesulla. Tagon and Sagoon are from the Saenyeok tribe. Asa Ron is leader of the Hwinsan tribe (aka white mountain tribe), etc.
You sense Saya could be a decent guy.
Eunseom is beaten again when he won’t speak the wrongs his captures want. But one slave decides to say what it necessary to receive water. The others follow suit. Wahan Teo Dae wants to cave but the Dal Sae won’t let him reminding that Eunseom came to save them and is now captured.
Moo Baek, Harim and Chae Eun watch Chae Eun’s younger sister Nun Byeol sleep (she fell ill after searching for the missing Wahans). They wonder what to do.
The next day, they whip the slaves as they slowly march to their new home. Dal Sae grabs and hides a pointy stick when he falls to the ground.
Moo Baek asks his brother Moo Gwang about the Wahan he sold. Moo Gwang relates that Gil Sun ordered them sold to a particular man, Syoreujagin. Moo Gwang asks his brother if he went to the white mountain to see mother of the white mountain, Asa Sakan. Moo Gwang warns his brother that supporting Asa Ron and betraying Tagon is a dumb choice. They don’t realize one of Tagon’s warrior is eavesdropping on their conversation.
On cue the warrior relays his suspicions about Moo Baek to Tagon (Jang Dong Gun).
Moo Baek learns that Syoreujagin loathes Igutu. He orders his man to follow and find out.
Wahan Teo Dae wants to cave but the Dal Sae opposes again. Teo Dae points out that Dal Sae is a die-hard supporter of Eunseom but didn’t support him when he needed it. Teo Dae takes the pointy stick and put it on Eunseom’s chest. Eunseom wakes and Teo Dae orders him to say what their masters want him to say. Eunseom tells Teo Dae to capitulate but he won’t. He cites Tanya and his mother named him and he won’t revoke that same. Teo Dae points out that Eunseom’s actions are effectively killing him and Dal Sae. Teo Dae stabs himself in the neck and bleeds out. Eunseom screams in anguish. Dal Sae watches Eunseom’s anguish.
I don’t want to be mean but Teo Dae is no loss other than the mental toll on Eunseom and Dal Sae.
Saya tells Tanya about books. She asks what story is the best. Saya tells of a general from the old days that wrote about his experiences and how to fight a war. Saya explains the strategy of war with stones.
Kitoha is assigned to guard Minister Kungtung and his home. The minister states his Bato warriors are sufficient. Kitoaha states those soldiers are banned.
As expected, Minister Kungtung asks Tagon why. Tagon orders him to join the other ministers. Tagon tells the ministers that a slave that infiltrated Arthdal killed his father. Tagon declares on his warrior will be allowed to carry weapons. The ministers don’t like it. Taealha (Kim Ok Vin) quickly states Tagon’s plan works for her and the Hae tribe. She asks if Minister Kungtung wants his own warrior for nefarious reasons. Minister Kungtung harrumphs his displeasure.
Asa Ron Niruha (leader of the Hwinsan tribe) tells Asa Mot (Tagon’s finance) that they’ll be able to expose Tagon soon. She isn’t so sure. She doesn’t like that Asa Sakan has ordered her to support Tagon. They wonder how to make the people turn from Tagon. Asa Ron states they can use Tagon’s accomplishments as a weapon against him.
Saya hits a bird, a paradise flycatcher, out of the sky with the slingshot. He and Tanya study the blue feathers in surprise. Saya shares the prophecy that when a paradise flycatcher wears another color a disaster is imminent. Saya wonders if Asa Ron has a plan in motion.
At the marketplace a possessed man screams the world will end soon. A blue tattoo is on the man’s chest. People freak. Another possessed man with a blue tattoo collapse. People freak. A possessed woman welds a knife. The people freak.
Moo Baek reports to Tagon that his brother Dan Byeok was transported with care to the afterlife. Tagon thanks Moo Baek and offers wine. Tagon asks about Moo Baek chasing Kanmoreu (Araman Haesulla’s horse). Moo Baek states it wasn’t the legendary horse. Tagon chuckles that if Moo Baek returned riding Kanmoreu then Moo Baek would be the reincarnated Araman Haesulla. Moo Baek is taken aback when Tagon asks if he went to see Asa Sakan about the horse. He wonders if his conversation with his brother was related to Tagon. Just as he’s ready to confess, Tagon gives him a new position as head of the military. Moo Baek agrees see what the position entails. Gil Sun arrives and turns to leave when he sees Moo Baek. Tagon tells him there are no secrets from Moo Baek. Gil Sun shows the paradise flycatcher with the blue feather and explains the marketplace incidents. But the worst news is that a tiger was found killed with blue blood on its paws. Tagon realizes the assumption is that an extinct Neanderthal killed the tiger. Tagon suspects Asa Ron.
The people turn to Asa Ron to save them. Mi Ho watches Asa Ron receive an oracle from the gods and smirks. Asa Ron’s right hand priest tells the people Asa Ron has a received an oracle. He declares the Neanderthal and Igutu that were supposedly eradicated are behind the recent incidents. The stirs up the people. He orders the people to post a gosal to ward off the evil.
Saya hears about it from Tanya. He guesses this is Asa Ron’s plan to get ride of his father, Tagon.
Tagon and the ministers gather. Taealha declares the incidents must be part of a conspiracy. Asa Ron’s priest arrives and declares that Tagon must atone for the attacks of the Neanderthal and Igutu. He’s ordered to participate in the ritual to soothe angry spirits. Tagon can’t say no. He’s livid to be cornered.
Asa Ron tell Mi Ho that Tagon must learn that his power can be superseded by the power of his clan. Mi Ho asks Asa Ron how he planted the fear. Asa Ron won’t divulge the details.
Tagon participates in the ritual to soothe angry spirits. He’s forced to kneel in front of Asa Ron.
Saya and Tanya find a spot. Saya has the mirror and plan to help his father. He states Asa Ron is smearing his father. He states Asa Ron is a gyetojjok (indirect descendant) which is lower status than a direct descendant. Saya says Asa Ron’s plan is an opportunity for him. Tanya is stunned to see that Saya has applied face paint to he looks like a Wahan. Saya tells her to wait for him while he goes to help his father.
It was jarring to see Saya look like a Wahan.
Tagon stares at the carved walls of the great white mountain.
Saya returns. Tanya wonders if Saya knew how to paint his face through Eunseom’s dreams. She wonders what Saya did while he was gone. Saya explains that Asa Ron’s action have made people afraid that the Neanderthals are back. Saya declares the most powerful god of Arthdal will make a move. Tanya asks if that is Isodunyong or Daraburu. Saya says rumor, the most powerful weapon will sweep through the people of Arthdal.
A group of men talk about Neanderthal and Igutu. They discuss if Araman Haesulla is part Neanderthal.
After praying all night, Tagon rises. Alone with Tagon, Asa Ron admits he planned this. He taunts Tagon that he has the power to control people’s hearts which makes him more powerful than Tagon. He chuckles that Tagon wants consensus rule but he can only rule with terror. Tagon promises Asa Ron that he’ll do whatever it takes to win. Asa Ron tells him to bring it.
Asa Ron basks in his success. He and his cohorts realize they incorrectly assumed the other killed the tiger and smeared blue blood on its paws.
We see a man staining his lips. Is he Neanderthal?
Harim and his wife are thrilled when Nun Byeol wakes from her illness. She tells her father she saw Neanderthal looking for the Wahan at the marketplace.
The Neanderthals, Rottip and Mr. N (don’t know his name), spot Moo Baek and Chae Eun walking in the woods. Moo Baek promises he’ll make everything right without a ripple effect against her family. Cha Eun believes to beat Tagon that you have to lie, cheat, or whatever is needed just like Tagon. Moo Baek walks away.
The Neanderthals aren’t extinct. That was a surprise but not shocking. Where have they been for the last years? Why are they back now?
Taealha learns how Asa Ron tricked others with the possessed marketplace people and the birds. She demands her support team come up with a plan to deal with Asa Ron.
Taealha implore Tagon to buck up and defeat Asa Ron. Tagon retorts he can’t beat Asa Ron on the religious plane and that’s the trump card that will beat him every time. Tagon is livid that an indirect descendant has more power than him. Taealha tells him to forget this battle and win the war. Tagon takes a moment, then he shares that Moo Baek met with Asa Sakan secretly. Tagon doesn’t know what it means but he knows he’s been lied to. Taealha reminds Tagon that Moo Baek is a power leader among the warriors. They must learn his plans. Tagon agrees.
Moo Baek meets with Tanya’s father who explains that the bloodline is passed down mother to mother. He states that great white wolf came down the great cliff years ago. Moo Baek learns the Wahan’s great mother is dead. Moo Baek asks who the successor is. Tanya’s father doesn’t want to admit Tanya is now the great mother of the Wahan. Moo Baek swears he won’t her hurt. He declares he’ll save her and then the world.
Moo Baek, I dig you, but that’s a bold statement and a promise that will be difficult to keep.
Tanya and Saya walk in the marketplace at night. The Neanderthals walk pass them. They sense what Saya is. They walk away. Saya turns and stares after them.
I’m a sucker for “sensing” others, something this series relies on.
Moo Baek considers that Tanya is the great mother of the Wahan. Yang Cha attacks him in the woods. Tagon appears and put his sword to Moo Baek. Tagon states they weren’t trying to kill him, but he needed to make do this before they spoke.
I’d need further explanation why a knife to my throat was necessary.
Garbed in Wahan warpaint, Saya tells Tanya to wait, this time his task may take longer.
Moo Baek is tied up and on his knees. Tagon asks why he hasn’t come by the war office as directed. Tagon asks why Moo Baek has been lying to him. Moo Baek admits he lied. Internally he wonders what to admit. Tagon asks for details. Moo Baek realizes that this isn’t the time for truth, he must deceive Tagon as Cha Eun said he must. Moo Baek hesitates then asks Tagon if he killed his father. He tells Tagon to kill him now if it is true. Tagon reels in surprise. Moo Baek yells for the truth. Tagon says Moo Baek saw the wound. Tagon lies that it was an accident. He claims the Wahan warrior was lightning fast. The three got tangled and Tagon’s sword went into his father’s neck. Tagon pretends to be upset that he couldn’t protect his father. Tagon swears it is the truth and asks Moo Baek to accept his word. Moo Baek swears he believes Tagon. Moo Baek tells him to untie him. Tagon believes Moo Baek will kill him.
Saya walks in the woods. There is a light in the distance.
Tagon asks why Moo Baek saw Asa Sakan. He asks if Moo Baek is plotting against him. Moo Baek thinks he must convince Tagon he’s on his side. Moo Baek states he went to Asa Sakan to confirm what he learned in Lark…a weapon to destroy Asa Ron. Tagon is immediately interested. Moo Baek identifies Asa Ron’s indirect descendant status as a weakness. Moo Baek believes Asa Sin settled in Lark and the Wahan are the direct descendants. Tagon is stunned.
I love to see Tagon surprised. He has the advantage most of the time.
Tanya follows Saya.
Inside the cave, Saya walks with Tanya following at a distant. She sees him praying with others in warpaint just like the Wahan wear. She’s stunned when a priestess enters with a banner and symbol that her mother told her about. Tanya recalls her mother’s firm belief that her calling as the Great Mother would always come to fruition. Someone puts their hand over her mouth.
Moo Baek tells Tagon the successor great mother of the Wahan may be a direct descendant of Asa Sin.
Saya asks Tanya why she disobeyed him and followed. She swears she was curious and nothing more. Saya believes her. She asks what this place is.
Tagon is shocked that Tanya may be Asa Sin’s direct descendant.
Tanya watches the ceremony. Says prays to Araman Haesulla….you came to us as an Igutu, became the envoy of Asa Sin and died. Tanya asks if Araman Haesulla is Igutu. Saya stares at her in shock.
Moo Baek says if Tanya is the direct descendant of Asa Sin, the psychic ability of the gods is hers. Tagon is not happy to hear this.
Direct descendants matter. In the beginning of this series the Wahan appeared to be slated for slavery or death, now we know they are the true heirs to Arthdal. And what about the two Neanderthals? Where have they been and why are they back? Any one not liking Moo Baek? He dug deep and effectively lied to Tagon by sticking close to the truth. I was surprised when he dropped the bomb of who Tanya really could be.
Saya (Song Joong Ki) worships with believers that follow Asa Sin’s ways. Writers Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yeon continue to give Saya nuance. He’s not totally evil or good. Is he worshiping because he believes his father or himself could be the reincarnated Araman Haesulla? I like that Saya isn’t a jerk to Tanya and was enjoyed learning how to master a slingshot. When the Neanderthals sensed Saya when he passed them, he in turn felt their pull too. He doesn’t know that the Neanderthals still live…yet.
Asa Ron (leader of the Hwinsan tribe) flexed his power. Asa Ron bounced back this episode and used religion and Tagon’s past mission to eradicate the Neanderthals and Igutu as a weapon against him. He planted evidence that a Neanderthal was in Arthdal. That stirred fear in the people. He pointed out that Tagon was responsible for hatred from the Neanderthals due to his eradication campaign. Tagon couldn’t refuse Asa Ron’s demand that he appease the spirits. I was a bit surprised that Asa Ron bragged to Tagon that he was behind everything, eliminating any element of surprise. Of course, Tagon was blunt that he killed his father with Asa Ron, but only to bind Asa Ron into the web of lies.
Hae Mi Ho (leader of the Hae tribe) was relegated to watching Asa Ron win a round. With his daughter as head of the tribe, Mi Ho has little power or not much of a storyline at this point.
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) must have the motto “trust no one”. Tagon confronted Moo Baek suspicious that he was working against him. Moo Baek decided the best defense was a strong offense and demanded to know if Tagon killed his father. Tagon lied and claimed it was an accident. But he got the shock of his life when he learned Tanya could be the direct descendant. Immediately her power and status went from slave to contender. I enjoyed the confrontation between Tagon and Moo Baek. Both of these actors rock the flowing locks. Jang Dong Gun’s ear clip is an excellent accessory.
Tanya (Kim Ji Won) couldn’t believe her eyes when she watched a religious ceremony where the participants wore paint like the Wahan and the banner had the symbol her mother showed her before she died. Tanya continues to impress with how quickly she connects the dots. Direct descendant of Asa Sin makes her a powerful spiritual leader. Will Tagon try and leverage that or kill her? Will that put Saya and Tagon at odds?
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) refused to say the words his captors demanded. Eunseom couldn’t say he was a worthless lowly person. He isn’t and he wouldn’t sell his self-respect to get water. The new slave owners are dreadful men. Slavery isn’t a positive position to be in. It is ridiculous to consider another human unworthy and declare you own them. People are people NOT property. If you were on the fence if Eunseom is the reincarnation or direct descendant of Araman Haesulla, this episode clarified.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as very good. My rating chart is below: