Arthdal Chronicles Episode 11 Recap
Part 2: The Sky Turning Inside Out, Rising Land
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) spots a notification stating “Our union leader who was in the form of an Igutu, please lead us”. He tears it down and rips it. He believes the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts know he Igutu. Tagon is seriously unnerved.
Saya (Song Joong Ki) smiles knowing his elements of chaos are seriously stirring the pot.
Moo Baek, Harim, and Nun Byeol stare in shock at the two Neanderthals, Rottip and Mr. N (don’t know his name). Moo Baek draws his sword. He wonders if he can save them all.
Cue intro symbol…
Rottip remembers Moo Baek and says so. Moo Baek asks if they killed the warrior. Rottip states he attacked them first. Moo Baek doesn’t believe him. Rottip firmly states they’ve never attacked first. Mr. N states Asa Hon doubted that Moo Baek fought for her. Moo Baek asks THE question – why have they come to Arthdal? Mr. N states they are searching for someone and will find that person soon. They turn to leave. Moo Baek tells them not to enter Arthdal again. They stare and leave without comment.
Harim tends to Nun Byeol. Moo Baek sees the telltale blue tattoo at her neck, rips the back of her dress and draws his sword. Harim tries to calm Moo Baek who shouts that she is Neanderthal. Harim explains…
Flashback…during the war Harim finds an abandoned Nun Byeol, blue lips and blood on full display. Chae Eun tends to her and asks her parents to let her be her sister.
Harim explains to lessen the issues he severed several abilities including strength, speed, and endurance. Moo Baek raises his sword and slashes. Nun Byeol defends herself but it quickly overwhelmed. Moo Baek demands to know what the Neanderthal wanted. She explains they wanted her to come with them. But she can’t leave her family. Harim hugs his daughter and implores him not to reveal the truth. Harim reminds Moo Baek he saved an Igutu. Moo Baek sheathes his sword. Moo Baek states by saving the Igutu he was trying to right a wrong. He vows to punish Tagon who killed his father. Moo Baek clarifies he’s not involved with the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts nor did he kill the priest.
Saya declares he killed the priest to Momyeongjin. She demands to know why. Saya states the time has come to follow the true teachings of Asa Sin. Momyeongjin grabs him and strongly disagrees declaring many will die. Saya says he has the winning trifecta including a direct descendant of the Great Mother Asa Sin. Momyeongjin can’t believe it.
Tanya (Kim Ji Won), the Wahan great mother, and direct descendant of Asa Sin, asks Chae Eun how she knows Eunseom. Chae Eun states she meet Eunseom when he came to Arthdal to rescue her. Tanya asks if she saw Eunseom die. Chae Eun thinks that Tanya believes Eunseom is dead. Tanya is stunned that she HEARD Chae Eun’s thought. Chae Eun states Eunseom didn’t die. Tanya demands to know where he is. Chae Eun doesn’t know but clarifies that Eunseom was hiding at her place when the fake Eunseom was killed. Tanya falls to her knees and sobs her relief. She thanks Chae Eun for helping Eunseom. Cha Eun hugs Tanya.
Relieved that Tanya knows that Eunseom is alive. Nice moment between the two women.
Saya declares they need to shout the truth from the rooftops. Momyeongjin asks if Tanya has Asa Sin’s bell. Saya doesn’t know. Momyeongjin retorts that if Tanya can’t find the bell she’ll die and the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts will be at the end of the road. Saya promises he’ll gather the power they need, the second item of the winning trifecta. Momyeongjin asks who has the power. Saya identifies Tagon as the power source. Momyeongjin doubts his ability to be successful.
Tagon wonders what woman hung the notification. Gil Sun arrives and says he should go to the shrine. Tagon agrees.
Hae Mi Ho (former leader of the Hae tribe) unlocks the cell where his daughter Taealha (Kim Ok Vin) and current leader is held per Asa Ron’s orders. Mi Ho tells his daughter to proclaim that Tagon belongs to the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. They know that her aide Hae Tauk spread the rumors to stir up the people and believe Taealha ordered her to do so. Mi Ho wants Tagon to topple. Taealha refuses. Mi Ho points out that the High Priest cannot be replaced and has the ultimate power in Arthdal.
Asa Ron Niruha (leader of the Hwinsan (aka white mountain) tribe) meets Tagon who realizes that his secret isn’t known by Asa Ron. Tagon tells Asa Ron to release Taealha. Asa Ron states he must follow the rules. Tagon asks what Asa Ron gains if she’s killed. He says the union could be crushed in retaliation. Asa Ron scoffs that if Tagon could have seized absolute power he would have done so. He’ll spare her life (but cut off her feet) if she points the finger at Tagon. Livid, Tagon promises retribution if that occurs. Asa Ron chuckles that Mi Ho promised that Taealha wouldn’t sacrifice herself to save Tagon. He asks if Taealha can be trusted.
Mi Ho asks Taealha if Tagon can be trusted. Mi Ho is sure Tagon will abandon Taealha and declare no knowledge of the situation. Mi Ho states Taealha and Tagon are two of a kind. He reminds her that Tagon was desperate for his father’s approval but needs another’s approval now that his father is dead. Mi Ho says that Arthdal Union is more important than Taealha. Upset Taealha asks why he’s abandoned her. Mi Ho is clear…Tagon cannot win.
Tagon wonders if Taealha will sacrifice herself knowing she’s not that kind of woman (nor would he have wanted her if she was). He knows she might desert him.
Taealha wonders if Tagon will not support her. She knows he might desert her. She knows Tagon knows her as well as she knows him.
Flashback…a young Taealha tells a young Tagon that they are manipulated by their fathers and must never sacrifice their lives for the other. Tagon promises. Taealha promises. They hug.
Taealha believes they must desert each other given the circumstances and hope that the direct descendant of Asa Sin will allow them to ultimately win. She recalls telling Tagon that Tanya must find the bell.
Tagon asks his warrior when Olmadae, elder of the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts will return from Doldambul. He worries it may not be in time to save Taealha.
Doldambul (aka slave hell) … Eunseom can’t get the Tanya saying she wished they’d never met out of his mind. Little does he know, she said this to his twin brother Saya and NOT him. He smirks when another slave, Ipsaeng calls him purple. Ipsaeng suggests they escape. Sateunik, another weaker slave tells Eunseom he saw him sobbing last night but he shouldn’t beat himself up for whatever the infraction was. Ipsaeng says Tagon is his brother. That gets Eunseom’s attention. Sateunik collapses and blood oozes from his mouth. The old slave, Olmadae bends over the downed Sateunik. He declares it is a blood disease.
Dal Sae is surprised when a man he doesn’t know, Seucheon, asks if Eunseom’s alive from the brushes. He’s surprised again when Seucheon knows the cruel slave master. Seucheon offers the slave master money for Eunseom and others stating Moo Baek wants to buy all Wahans back. The money isn’t enough.
The slaves talk about illnesses and plagues. Ipsaeng shows his jewel stash to Eunseom. He thinks of Tanya startled that even at this moment, something can amuse him.
There’s still a spark of life in our hero!
Tagon’s warriors including Moo Gwang (Moo Baek’s brother) search Momyeongjin’s house. Other guard arrive and demand to know what’s going on (and without their knowledge). They claim Momyeongjin is the head of the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. She denies it. But when a secret worship room is found, she knows it’s over.
Tagon hears that White Peak Mountain’s Hearts elder is Momyeongjin. He’s surprised the informer came from the union. Momyeongjin is brought to him. She sees the torture devices. He asks if she’s heard false rumors about him. She wonders if this is the one-on-one that Saya referred to. She takes a chance and discloses a young man joined their congregation and resonated with their belief that Asa Sin sent in Igutu as her messenger. That gets Tagon’s attention. Momyeongjin says that young man killed the priest. She claims she refused his efforts to incite the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts to rebel. Tagon demands to know who the young man is. She doesn’t know but tells Tagon Saya’s message “Asa Ron’s power is fake for it depends on people’s faith. But Tagon’s power is real.” Tagon doesn’t believe it. Momyeongjin presses that Asa Sin’s true descendant has appeared but Tagon already knows this. Tagon pulls away and considers.
Tagon searches Saya’s room, finds evidence and realizes that Saya is pulling the strings. Saya appears. Tagon warns him that he could die for what he’s done. Saya agrees but states the time to strike is now and he had to make that point. Tagon pulls his knife. Saya points out that Tagon doesn’t know where Tanya, Asa Sin’s true descendant, is. Tagon pushes Saya against the wall with a knife at his throat. He demands that Tanya is brought to him. Saya says his plan is better than the subpar plan Tagon has. Saya says by joining with the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts Tagon will have the leverage to negotiate with Asa Ron. Saya states the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts will be revealed and legitimized. Saya urges Tagon to cut off the indirect descendant (Asa Ron) and embrace the direct descendant (Tanya). Saya is positive this will give Tagon the power to make himself king and Saya his heir. Saya declares they can finally reveal they are Igutu. Tagon calls him crazy. Saya demands to know why Tagon kept him alive while eradicating all other Igutu. Saya is on a roll and lists everything that he has done without knowing why he was kept in the tower cage. Tagon scoffs that Saya is proud of being an Igutu. Saya retorts that Tagon is Igutu and the leader of Arthdal. The White Peak Mountain’s Hearts know was Asa Sin’s envoy Araman Haesulla was an Igutu and murdered by indirect descendants. Saya wants to be proud of his heritage if only Tagon will embrace this chance. Tagon shakes his head. He declares Igutu do not and will not ever be respected. Tagon says his own father tried to kill him at 7 for being Igutu. Saya counters that killing those that hate Igutu will give them power. Tagon counters he’d have to kill everyone in the union. Saya presses that without revealing the truth, Tagon will never know if Igutu is the key to ultimate power. Tagon scoffs that Saya can’t guarantee an Igutu would be embraced. Saya shows Araman Haesulla’s coin which has a symbol of peace on the front and symbol of punishment on the back. Saya says he’d rather take a chance on living by the flip of this coin than how Tagon lives. Tagon sneers he would never do that. Saya responds that Tagon has a choice – Saya or the union – it’s time to choose. Saya moves to leave but Tagon moves to stop him. Saya holds up poison and promises to drink it if Tagon choses the union. Saya flips the coin. Tagon catches it reflexively. Saya leaves. Tagon looks at the coin in his hand.
WOW!!! Great confrontation. Cards on the table – Igutu style! What side of the coin was up?
Chae Eun’s mother stresses this is a bad time to be a member of White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. Her father says the Neanderthal came for Nun Byeol but she refused to leave with them.
Tagon tells Momyeongjin he’ll stand with the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. He asks if she’s ready for what lies ahead. She can’t believe it.
Saya goes to the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts worship cave. He tells everyone that Momyeongjin was captured. They are upset. Saya spots Tagon. He takes Tagon aside, shocked that Momyeongjin would reveal the cave’s location. Saya realizes what this means. Tagon confirms that he will stand with the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. Tagon’s condition is to wait to reveal they are Igutu until they know the union will accept them. He returns Araman Haesulla’s coin to Saya. Moved, Saya agrees and calls him father. Tagon apologizes for everything. Moo Gwang is shocked to hear this as he watches from above.
I can’t believe that Saya believes Tagon with that caveat. Is Saya so desperate to believe that Tagon will be honest that he is Igutu when what really matters to Tagon – power and saving the woman he loves – lies in the balance?
Moo Gwang follows Saya.
Tagon gathers his warriors.
Tanya wonders if she has the physic abilities of the gods when she heard Chae Eun’s thoughts. The room seems to tilt. She looks outside the tree house. Saya goes into the tree house with Moo Gwang watching. He finds Tanya gone. He exits and calls to Tanya.
Tagon tells his men they will strike the Great Shrine. But first they’ll kill everyone in the cave (where the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts worship). Tagon demands they find a prisoner for the Great Shine, one that can sing. Moo Gwang arrives and reports Tanya is missing. Moo Baek is surprised that Tagon didn’t have Tanya in his grasp. Tagon order her found and anyone that gets in the way, Saya no doubt, should be killed. Moo Gwang can’t believe that Tagon would kill his own son.
Saya returns to the treehouse. He’s angry when Tanya reveals herself but she shushes him stating they are being watched. Saya doesn’t believe her. He’s happy to report Tagon will join in his plan. Saya declares Asa Ron will out ousted and Tanya will take over. Tanya asks how Saya can be certain the great wolf (her ancestor) was Asa Sin. Saya states she must have the bell for people to believe who she is. Tanya doesn’t know what or where the bell is. Saya shrugs that with Tagon supporting them, the bell won’t matter. Tanya asks if she’ll have power if she takes over. Saya confirms this. She asks if she can free her people from slavery. Saya confirms this. She asks if she can send for the ones that are far away. Saya confirms this.
The slaves order Eunseom to kill the weak Sateunik. He hesitates reeling at what brought him to this point. Sateunik states only one of his deeds is worth punishment. Everyone wants to know what that deed is but Sateunik whispers it to Eunseom. Sateunik tells Eunseom to do it. Eunseom snaps the knife and refuses. The slaves can’t believe it. Eunseom agrees he said as an Igutu he was no better than animals. But that day is done. They charge him but Eunseom dispatches them. Eunseom stuns them with the suggestion they escape. Eunseom points to Ipsaeng and says he knows how to escape. Everyone laughs as Ipsaeng tries to blame another. They say Ipsaeng didn’t know a way to escape. Eunseom states they’ll have to follow his plan then. He asks how long they can go without food. Even with that hopes surges among them.
Give me soaring trumpets as Eunseom finds his footing again. It’s felt like a long wait.
Chae Eun says she doesn’t know the woman when Tagon’s warriors show her Tanya’s likeness.
Taealha asks her father if she’ll have to step down as head of the tribe if she agrees to bring Tagon down. Pleased, Mi Ho agrees she’ll keep her position. She hears the singing and is riveted. Mi Ho’s aide, Yeobi, arrives and asks for a private word. She tells him about the search for Tanya. They don’t know why but realize that Moo Baek’s visit to her father is even more telling. Just who are the Wahan descendants from?
Mi Ho strides into the Fortress of Fire, grabs Tanya’s father and tells him that his daughter’s life depends upon his swift truthful answers. He asks what Moo Baek wanted. Tanya’s father told of the Wahan ancestry of the great white wolf coming down the cliffs and founding the tribe 200 years ago. Mi Ho asks if his daughter is a direct descendant. This is confirmed. Mi Ho can’t believe what Tagon is planning. He strides away with Yeobi in tow.
Taealha is pleased after the singing. She meets with Asa Ron. He tells her to confess. Taealha requests the sacred trial and says he cannot deny her. Asa Ron puts his hands around her throat and demands to know what she’s plotting. She demands the trial even though the outcome will be rigged. Asa Ron can’t believe she’d sacrifice herself for Tagon. Taealha thinks to herself “but will you be high priest at my trial”?
You’ve got to give it to Taealha, she’s willing to stand by her man.
Tagon tells Moo Baek that Tanya disappeared after Taealha and Hae Tauk were arrested. Moo Baek declares he’ll join in the search for her.
Yeobi forces Hae Tauk to drink the truth serum. She admits to knowing Tanya. Hae Tauk guesses Tanya is at the tree house. Tagon’s warrior watches the tree house. Yeobi arrives and slashes his throat. Mi Ho looks at the tree house in anticipation.
Tanya’s father goes to find Chae Eun as Moo Baek directed him to.
Nun Byeol apologizes to Chae Eun for all the trouble. She says the Neanderthals weren’t scary, rather they were kind, but she didn’t want to go with them. She advises Chae Eun to tell Moo Baek were Tanya is. Doti states she’ll tell Moo Baek. They are surprised when Tanya’s father bursts in the door looking for Chae Eun. He says his daughter Tanya is in trouble and needs to be saved. Doti chirps and he hugs her. Tanya’s father implores her to tell Moo Baek and help his daughter.
Tanya stares at the knife Yeobi holds as she demands to know if Tanya is her name.
Moo Gwang arrives at the tree house and is horrified to find his fellow warrior dead.
Yeobi leads Tanya and Mi Ho follows thinking that Tagon’s plan of putting Tanya as a direct descendant of Asa Sin is ridiculous. Tanya’s eyes widen as she HEARS his thoughts. Moo Gwang appears and declares anyone that stands in his way of taking Tanya will die. Mi Ho says his aide is an able opponent. Yeobi draws her sword. They fight. Tanya runs. They chase.
Tanya runs through a field straight into Chae Eun and Nun Byeol. Using her super hearing Nun Byeol tells them to follow her away from the pursuers. Yeobi plunges into the field searching for Tanya.
Moo Gwang blocks them as they exit the field. He knocks Chae Eun and Nun Byeol down. He puts his knife to Tanya and declares despite her curse, he’s still alive. Tanya senses death and tells Moo Gwang it’s too late. She states those are the last words he’ll ever hear. Nun Byeol fights him with a sword. She’s knocked down. Moo Gwang raises his sword to kill her…but something stops him. It’s Rottip!
Can’t say that Moo Gwang doesn’t deserve this.
Saya returns to the tree house and sees the dead warrior and the trial of blood. He rushes to the tree house and finds Tanya gone. He calls to her. He stares at the dead man and realizes this was Tagon’s warrior.
Everybody wants Tanya. As more and more people realized who she was, possession of her became a prime pastime in Arthdal. We got a smidge of information from the two Neanderthals; they are looking for someone. Is it Eunseom? I was surprised that Nun Byeol was Neanderthal and that Harim had disabled many of her super powers. Moo Baek’s man found Eunseom in the slave camp but didn’t appear to have sufficient cash to buy the Wahan back. Will Moo Gwang die by Rottip’s hands?
The production team does a nice job of taking the last episode’s cliffhanger(s) and starting there. By the time the Arthdal Chronicles symbol is flashed signaling the start of the episode, viewers are ready to go.
Saya (Song Joong Ki) stupidly believed Tagon. Writers Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yeon mined Saya’s deepest desire, to have Tagon acknowledge his heritage and Saya as his heir, allowing Saya to believe Tagon’s pledge to work with Saya and the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. Frankly, I didn’t quite believe Saya’s gullibility. He is a master schemer and blindly believing Tagon, didn’t ring true. When he didn’t believe Tanya when she told him she sensed a presence outside the treehouse, that didn’t ring true either. But Saya’s master plan was revealed and his fantasy hinges on Tagon working with Saya and “coming out” as Igutu. Dude, ain’t going to happen if Tagon has any say in the matter.
Asa Ron (leader of the Hwinsan tribe) was shocked when Taealha demanded the sacred trial. Asa Ron will find her guilty and cut off her feet. That’s grim. But is Taealha right? Will Tanya be high priest at her trial? Would that be any better? Taealha’s been rotten to Tanya.
Hae Mi Ho (leader of the Hae tribe) manipulated his daughter to betray Tagon…again. He thought Taealha would be forced to turn against Tagon. He was right that Tagon and Taealha are the perfect match for each other. I’ve got to give it to this evil couple. They have their own code of ethics and stick to it. Mi Ho snagged Tanya but then lost her. Does he believe who Tanya is?
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) lied to Saya that sharing his secret, that he’s Igutu, was agreeable. Tagon spent a bunch of years eradicating Igutu only to keep Saya not kill him. Saya finally asked the right question – why was he kept not killed? Tagon was desperate to save the woman he loved. To do so, he lied to Saya to gain Tanya and the ability to replace Asa Ron at the sacred trial. Tanya, bless her heart, got the message when Tagon sent the singing prisoner. I’ve got to hand it to this couple, they know each other well and have each other’s backs. Considering that Tagon is willing to betray anyone anytime, to know that she really matters makes him more human.
Tanya (Kim Ji Won) was the prize everyone wanted to obtain. Tanya’s psychic powers…awesome and came into play several times this episode. Who hasn’t wanted the ability to hear what others are thinking? Tanya has that ability. I was relieved to see Chae Eun correct Tanya’s mistaken belief that Eunseom was dead. Tanya quickly realized that if she became high priest, she could save her people and the man she loved.
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) started to get his mojo back. Eunseom couldn’t kill and rejected the label of animal. Instead he suggested to his fellow slaves they should escape that hell hole.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as terrific. My rating chart is below: