Arthdal Chronicles Episode 12 Recap
Part 2: The Sky Turning Inside Out, Rising Land
Moo Gwang has knocked Chae Eun and Nun Byeol down. He puts his sword to Tanya’s throat. Tanya (Kim Ji Won), the Wahan great mother, and direct descendant of Asa Sin, tells Moo Gwang “it’s too late” will be the last words he’ll ever hear. Rottip grabs Moo Gwang’s wrist and twists. Then he flings Moo Gwang against a tree. Rottip’s eyes blaze blue. Nun Byeol also blaze blue. Chae Eun blocks Tanya to hide that there are two Neanderthals there – Rottip and her sister. Chae Eun tells Tanya to find Moo Baek who is with her father. She assures Tanya they can handle Rottip. Tanya runs through the field. She wonders if the blue eyes and blue lips mean…but she’s tripped up and another sword is put to her throat.
Cue intro symbol…
Nun Byeol tells Rottip she won’t be going with him. He understands. She asks what happened to the Neanderthals. Rottip relates most were killed and there are only 5 left (himself, Mr. N, Nun Byeol, and ? and ?). She asks why he invited her to join them. Rottip’s reasoning is simple…you are one of us and you need to find a decent man. LOL! Nun Byeol asks if she’s the last female. Rottip confirms this. He tells her that Neanderthals aren’t beholding to anyone and choose their own paths. Mr. N listens too. Nun Byeol asks if she can find them in the future. Rottip says she can. He walks away with Mr. N who notes he knew she wouldn’t join them. Rottip asks how Mr. N can smile when the end of their race is guaranteed. Mr. N states it isn’t over yet.
Wow, 5 left, we’ve met 3 of them. Will we meet the other 2? Rottip has a gentle giant vibe, Mr. N’s acceptance of the situation was impressive.
Moo Gwang wakes when his brother Moo Baek shakes him. Immediately Moo Gwang launches himself at Chae Eun. Moo Baek pulls him off and declares that Chae Eun was saving Tanya from Yeobi (Mi Ho’s aide). None of them are happy that Tanya can’t be found and assume Yeobi has captured her.
Saya (Song Joong Ki) marches up the stairs and tells the guards he must see Tagon. They scoff. Tagon yells he is Tagon’s son and must be announced. Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) walks toward them. He’s shocked when he sees Saya.
Classic deer in the headlights look from Tagon.
Tagon and Saya are livid with each other. Tagon pins Saya against the wall and declares if he doesn’t know where Tanya is, he might kill him. Tagon locks Saya in the tower. Saya yells that Tanya better not her hurt…or else.
Saya bought the clue that Tagon cannot be trusted.
The guards gossip with Tagon’s warriors, Kitoha and Yang Cha about “Tagon’s son”. LOL when Yang Cha shrugs that he knew. Moo Gwang arrives wild eyed and asks for Tagon. Kitoha declares that Tagon is with his son but that doesn’t surprise Moo Gwang. Kitoha can’t believe others knew this secret but he didn’t. The guards laugh that Kitoha win the clueless award.
A moment of levity. We can count them on one hand in this series, so enjoy them!
Moo Gwang tells Tagon that Mi Ho may have captured Tanya.
That’s not news Tagon wants to hear.
Yeobi asks Hae Mi Ho (former leader of the Hae tribe) why he’s not sharing the news about Tanya with Asa Ron (current high priest that Tanya could usurp because she’s a direct descendant). Mi Ho notes this is complicated. He wonders if Tanya is a direct descendant from Asa Sin.
In her cell, Mi Ho’s daughter Taealha (Kim Ok Vin) recalls the singing of the new prisoner. She knows it is a message from Tagon. She’s willing to join Tagon in whatever plan he’s devised. Her father arrives and asks if she knows Tanya. Taealha feigns surprise. Her father states she and Tagon are bad liars. He tells her hanging her hat on Tanya for the sacred trial is a big gamble. Taealha declares he’ll never find Tanya. Mi Ho counters he’s got Tanya. She doesn’t believe him.
Tanya tries to sort out what she knows. Yeobi of the Hae tribe captured her, she’s in the Great Shrine and Asa Ron is Tagon’s enemy. She wonders if Taealha is in cahoots with her father or Tagon. She schools herself to keep her eye on the prize. If she becomes the high priest, she can save herself, her people and Eunseom, the man she loves. She prays to the great white wolf to give her wisdom.
Mi Ho, Taealha and Yeobi enter. Taealha is surprised that her father has custody of Tanya. The women stare at each other. Mi Ho smiles.
Tagon goes to Saya who apologizes for believing Tagon took Tanya. He now believes Asa Ron took Tanya and they must attack the Great Shrine. Tagon asks if Saya is upset because he lied to Saya or if Saya’s has feelings for Tanya. Saya shrugs that off. Tagon points out that Saya is powerless and must forgive and rely on him. Saya asks Tagon to forgive him. He kneels and promises to be useful. Tagon agrees but reminds Saya that he’ll never forget that Saya could betray him. Tagon promises that if Saya betrays him again, it will rain pain. Saya promises to support Tagon. With a sigh, Tagon informs Saya that he is ready to attack the Great Shrine and Saya must wait for Tagon’s order.
Tagon’s warning Saya not to betray is the perfect pot calling the kettle black (Tagon should not criticize Saya for a fault that he has himself).
Mi Ho is angry that Taealha gambled her life on Tanya for the sacred trial. He’s relieved that Asa Ron is clueless about Tanya’s existence. That gets Tanya’s attention. Mi Ho says Tagon can’t make a move without Tanya. Taealha doesn’t understand why Mi Ho continuously aligns with Asa Ron. She rails that Tagon is the only way they’ll survive. Mi Ho scoffs they can survive without Tagon. He says they must revenge Remus. Taealha shouts that she’s tired of this long-standing goal and the support will never come. Mi Ho states Tagon will not win. Taealha declares if Tanya finds Asa Sin’s bell, she instantly becomes high priest. That gets Tanya’s attention knowing Saya told her about the bell. Mi Ho pauses, considers, and tells Yeobi to step outside the room. Mi Ho asks Tanya if she knows where the star bell is. Tanya flicks a glance at Taealha who thinks that Tanya should claim to know. Tanya admits she doesn’t know where the bell is but may be able to figure it out…with the help of the byeoldaya (ancient writing on a disc) found in the Wahan sacred place and holy bag. She states if the great white wolf (the founder of Wahan) was Asa Sin, the byeoldaya will tell her where the bell is. Taealha stuns Mi Ho and Tanya when she reveals Tagon has the byeoldaya. Mi Ho doesn’t believe her. Taealha smiles and explains that Moo Baek brought the byeoldaya back with him. She notes it has the mark of the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. Tanya confirms that is the byeoldaya she needs. Taealha states that proves Tanya is the direct descendant. Mi Ho sighs and states he must speak with Tagon. He tells his daughter if Tanya finds the bell, he’ll support Tagon, but if not, she must abandon Tagon. Taealha agrees. Tanya wonders if she can find the bell.
Terrific exchange. A dream come true moment for Taealha. Now her father may work WITH Tagon not AGAINST him. Of course, her promise means nothing.
Tagon tasks Moo Baek with freeing Taealha and Tanya when they attack the Great Shrine. Moo Baek agrees. Moo Gwang announces Mi Ho wants to see Tagon.
Tagon asks Mi Ho if not telling Asa Ron about Tanya means they could be allies. Mi Ho says if Tanya can find Asa Sin’s bell, that changes everything. If not, he’ll stick with Asa Ron. Mi Ho states for now, he’s on Tagon’s side. Tagon asks what Mi Ho wants. The conditions are for Tagon and Taealha to marry and the bronze making secrets to stay with the Hae tribe. Mi Ho wants the byeoldaya from Tagon which Tanya needs to find the bell. Tagon agrees if Taealha writes a geulbal with Hae Tuak as a witness.
Taealha thinks of Tagon.
Tagon holds byeoldaya.
Saya wills Tanya to survive.
Tanya wills Eunseom to survive.
Eunseom decides he’s ready to survive. He looks at his pendant and misses Tanya. He decides he wants to live and return to Tanya.
Yes! We’ve waited for his desire to return to his love.
Doldambul (aka slave hell) … the cave slaves refuse to work. The slave master promise he’ll starve them to death. Then he sweet talks them but gets no response. The slaves chuckle at the expected behaviors. Sateunik (blood disease) isn’t getting better but hopes if they escape, he can see the ocean. The bully slave apologizes for his behavior. The comradery among them grows and they laugh. Sateunik hopes he doesn’t die before he sees the sea one more time.
Up top, the slave master what to do. Seucheon, Moo Baek’s emissary warns him that Eunseom better not die or there will be a price to pay. The slave master decides to let things stand until noon tomorrow.
Asa Mot, Tagon’s finance, urges him to identify Taealha as the White Peak Mountain’s Heart leader. Then Taealha will claim Tagon is. Asa Ron will find Taealha guilty. She’ll facilitate IF Tagon consults Asa Ron for all major decisions. Tagon realizes Asa Ron has no idea that Tanya exists.
This episode should be titled “Let’s Make a Deal”.
Mi Ho assures Asa Ron Niruha (leader of the Hwinsan (aka white mountain) tribe) that his daughter will do as they wish soon. Asa Ron asks about the slave Mi Ho is holding. Mi Ho lies that the slave is helping persuade Tanya to do as they wish. Hae Tuak is relieved. Mi Ho tells her to keep a lid on it.
This episode should be titled “Lie Like You Mean It”.
Tagon reads the geulbal and Hae Tauk confirms Taealha wrote it. Tagon slides the byeoldaya to Mi Ho. He stops Mi Ho from taking it without confirming they stand together or die together. Tagon allows Mi Ho to take the byeoldaya and quips he trusts him. Mi Ho says if Tanya can find the bell, he wants Tagon to forget their past issues. Tagon agrees. Mi Ho leaves.
Gil Sun arrives and tells Tagon they have “one” but can’t guarantee anything. Tagon nods and dismisses him. Saya enters the room. Tagon states it’s time for Saya to make his move.
Taealha goads Tanya (they are both aware of it) into a mock fight for Yeobi’s benefit. The fight includes Tanya head butting Taealha, Yeobi slapping Tanya for that infraction, and Taealha douses the room’s only light with a bowl of water. Yeobi tells the ladies to calm down while she goes for another light. Tanya and Taealha glare at each other.
Loved Tanya’s head but! This episode should be titled “Improv in Arthdal”.
Hae Tuak is happy Taealha and Mi Ho are on the same side again. Mi Ho says he should apologize for using the truth serum on her. Hae Tauk accepts the non-apology. She’s surprised when they arrive at Asa Ron’s room. Mi Ho hands over the byeoldaya! Hae Tauk draw her knife. Asa Ron’s priests draw their knives. Hae Tuak is upset he’s betraying his daughter. Mi Ho retorts that Taealha betrayed him first.
I was actually surprised by that betrayal. I shouldn’t have been.
Saya appears to the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. He thinks to Tanya this will decide their fate. He has a message from their leader Momyeongjin. He tells them the direct descendant of Asa Sin has come. They are a buzz.
Asa Ron holds the byeoldaya and wonders if it really is the key to finding the bell. Asa Ron says if he finds the bell, he’s high priest forever. Mi Ho says only Asa Ron can give him what he wants…union leader of Arthdal. Mi Ho points out if Tanya finds the bell, the sacred trial is cancelled. If Asa Ron finds the bell, the Asa clan will never be challenged again. Tagon can be driven out of Arthdal. Tanya will be killed. Asa Ron asks what happens if Tanya doesn’t find the bell. Mi Ho states the sacred trial proceeds. Taealha will testify against Tagon. Asa Ron will banish Tagon after cutting off his feet. Mi Ho will take over as union leader. Asa Ron points out this is a win-win situation for Mi Ho. He counters Asa Ron wins too. Asa Ron agrees give Mi Ho the union leader role. Mi Ho kneels and pledges his loyalty. Asa Ron hands the byeoldaya to Mi Ho and tells him to find the bell. Mi Ho vows to do so.
Mi Ho smiles knowing he’s got union leader locked either way.
Taealha nervously asks Mi Ho if he got the byeoldaya. Mi Ho shows it to his daughter. Mi Ho places it in Tanya’s hands. She stares at the disc.
Nun Byeol and Chae Eun worry about Tanya. Chae Eun tells her sister not to attend tonight’s meeting. They are startled when members of the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts walk through the town banners high declaring the direct descendant of Asa Sin has come and is at the Great Shrine. The townspeople buzz. Saya watches his handwork take hold.
Tanya examines the byeoldaya. She prays to her mother for help. She recalls her mother telling her to find the totem with the symbol and keep it close to her heart. Mi Ho, Taealha, and Yeobi watch intently. Tanya declares she doesn’t under what the byeoldaya is relaying. Mi Ho orders Tanya to drink the truth serum pointing out that Tagon destroyed her tribe and may want revenge. Tanya hesitates then drinks the truth serum and falls under the drug’s grip. Mi Ho asks her name. Tanya replies correctly. Mi Ho asks where the bell is. Tanya declares she doesn’t know. He asks again. Her answer is the same. The guard outside the door overhears. Mi Ho tells Taealha she’ll have to keep her promise. Taealha shakes Tanya and demands to know where the bell is. Tanya doesn’t know. Defeated, Taealha promises to point the finger at Tagon at the sacred trial. Mi Ho dictates what Taealha must write to Tagon to get him to attend the sacred trial – Tanya will find the bell so attend the sacred trial. We can end Asa Ron’s reign. Mi Ho says Tagon’s feet will be cut off as punishment.
Shortest interrogation ever!
The White Peak Mountain’s Hearts members and townspeople including Chae Eun, Nun Byeol and Saya, arrive at the Great Shrine and demand to know if the direct descendant of Asa Sin is there. Asa Mot stands outside and listen to their cries while Asa Ron wonders why Mi Ho hasn’t returns with the news if Tanya can find the bell. Saya prays to Asa Sin to protect Tanya.
Mi Ho arrives. Asa Ron declares they can’t kill Tanya quietly anymore; the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts members and townspeople won’t stand for it. Mi Ho points out even without the bell, Asa Ron can banish Tagon and the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts. Mi Ho gives the byeoldaya to Asa Ron who realizes the carvings on the coin once were on the Great Shrine’s ceiling but new carvings have eradicated them. He states if that was the map to the bell, it is gone but wonders if the bell is hidden in the ceiling. Mi Ho tells him to search after the sacred trial. Asa Ron tells his right-hand priest to announces the sacred trial.
The priest announces to the crowd the sacred trial of Taealha will be tomorrow night. The crowd demands to know if the direct descendant of Asa Sin is there. The priest confirms Tanya the great mother of the Wahan claims to be. If she finds the bell during the sacred trial, the prophecy comes true. The crowd goes wild. Saya spots Moo Baek in the crowd and leaves.
I like Moo Baek and hope he’ll support the change that is coming (his looks don’t hurt either).
Gil Sun reports to Tagon that Tanya can’t find the bell and Taealha is not happy. Tagon dismisses him. Saya enters. Moo Gwang enters and states Mi Ho is there. Saya doesn’t believe Mi Ho will report that Tanya can’t find the bell. Saya believes Mi Ho is springing a trap and Tagon will have to deal with Mi Ho if he wants to become King. Moo Gwang swears that the warrior will do whatever Tagon orders. Tagon thinks his effort to not have bloodshed in the union were for naught. He tells Moo Gwang to kill Mi Ho’s aide when he spills his drink. Moo Gwang agrees and exits. Saya hides.
Mi Ho, his aide and Moo Gwang enter. Mi Ho smiles that he bears good news. Asa Ron will be defeated because Tanya can find the bell. Tagon picks up his drink. Moo Gwang goes on alert. Saya knows this is a trap. Mi Ho offers his daughter’s letter. Tagon reads the letter which is as Mi Ho dictated and ends with missing him and wishing they could see each other again. Tagon knows Taealha had to write this. Mi Ho looks forward to seeing Tagon at the sacred trial tomorrow. Tagon starts to tilt his cup then he looks again at the letter. Mi Ho and his aide leave. Moo Gwang and Says demand to know why Tagon let Mi Ho leave. Tagon order Moo Gwang to keep the warrior at their posts and on alert. He agrees and leaves.
The crowd calls for the direct descendant of Asa Sin. Mi Ho and Asa Ron watch.
Yeobi and Taealha watch Tanya who thinks about Eunseom.
Doldambul (aka slave hell) … Eunseom promises Sateunik when they escape tomorrow, he’ll can see the sea before he dies. Knowing he won’t make it Sateunik cuts his ponytail and gives it to Eunseom with directions to find his wife and give it to her. Sateunik declares she must know he died with honor. He dies. There isn’t a dry eye among the slaves. Olmadae, elder of the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts, followed by every slave from a different tribe lay their hands on Sateunik’s body and vow seek his wife and see his ocean.
That was surprisingly effective. A common purpose and unity does wonders.
The slave master decides to go down into the cave to see what’s going on. He finds their “dead” bodies. He confirms Sateunik is dead and assumes the others are too. Those on top worry a plague has broken out. The cave slaves disarm the slave master. He promises they’ll never get out alive. Eunseom surprises everyone by offering the stash of jewel in exchange for his help in gaining their freedom. Ipsaeng isn’t happy relinquishing his curated jewels but agrees escaping slave hell is more important. The slave master laughs and agrees.
Half the jewels now, half the jewels later or some such condition should be added.
It’s time for the sacred trial…
Tanya and Taealha are led into the chambers. Mi Ho, Yeobi, Tagon, Saya, etc. watch them take their positions.
The slave master and the slaves send “bodies” to the surface. Everyone wonders if they can trust the slave master. Eunseom believes greed will win out.
Tanya and Taealha kneel.
More bodies are sent to the surface. They wonder if they’ll be transferred to the location as promised.
Asa Ron enters the chamber. The guards tell the crowd outside that Asa Ron has arrived.
As Eunseom’s body and the slave master rise, they each consider options should the other betray their word.
Taealha confirms the charges of spreading rumors and states the first rumor monger should also answer questions. Mi Ho smiles in anticipation. She names Tagon. The trial observers buzz. Asa Ron describes his infractions. Tagon counters that the Wahan spoke their language, Moo Baek found Asa Sin’s byeoldaya and saw the horse Kanmoreu, therefore Tagon only shared what he knew to be true and follow the god’s directive. Asa Ron asks what that directive is. Tagon declares he must protect and worship the direct descendant of Asa Sin. Asa Ron and Mi Ho are gleeful believing Tagon has stepped into their trap. Tagon continues that per the gods the direct descendant will find the bell. Asa Ron counters that per the gods, those that insult the gods will have their feet cut off. Asa Ron states if Tanya isn’t the direct descendant, he’s just insulted the gods. Tagon accepts this. Asa Ron declares he’ll now determine if Tanya is the direct descendant. The guards tell the crowd outside that the direct descendant claimant must find the bell or face banishment with no feet. Chae Eun, Doti, Moo Baek look concerned.
Asa Ron tells Tanya to find the bell and prove herself the direct descendant.
Tagon flashes back to telling Saya that per the letter, Taealha believes Tanya knows where the bell is.
Flashback…After dousing the light with water, Taealha orders Tanya to bit her lips under the truth serum and claim she doesn’t know where the bell is. Tanya bites her lip and claims she doesn’t know where the bell is. Taealha believes Tanya is fighting the truth as directed.
Tanya stands in front of the fire.
Flashback…Tanya tells Taealha she doesn’t know where the bell is but asks if there is a fire in the chamber. Taealha confirms there is an eternal flame.
Showman Tanya shakes the divine instrument. Asa Ron’s music team joins in.
Flashback…Tanya examines the byeoldaya. She sees the fire symbol, the three feet symbol.
Showman Tanya recalls her mother’s words to take three steps from the fire. She moves back three steps while making bird calls. A bird enters the chamber and flies near her hands! Everyone is riveted.
I’m riveted. Go Tanya go!
Tanya performs the ancient dance her mother taught her.
Flashback…Tanya’s mother corrects her as she practices the dance.
Everyone wonders and watches.
Tanya wonders if the past has led to this moment. She wonders if she’ll have the answer at the end of the dance.
The bird flies around the ceiling. Tanya lifts her hand to the ceiling.
Flashback…Tanya’s mother corrects her hand and neck position. Tanya complains the practice is hard and the spirit may not come.
Tanya looks to the ceiling and wonders if the bell is where her hand points.
The bird rams the ceiling and falls to the ground. Everyone is shocked.
Tanya stares at the ceiling and remembers “the one who breaks the shell will appear with the Azure Comet along with death.” Tanya sees the BLUE TAIL on the bird. She stares at the ceiling and KNOWS! The mother of the white mountain, Asa Sakan, wants to intervene but can’t.
Flashback…Tanya recalls training with a slingshot as a child being told all Great Mothers learn this skill.
I’M LOVING THIS!!!
Tanya rips her dress, fashions a slingshot, takes a rock, and takes aim.
I’M ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT!!!
Eunseom is lifted up on the pulley.
Tanya takes her shot and breaks the ceiling. Asa Sin’s bell falls into the water!!!
Everyone tries to see what fell in the water.
Tanya lifts the star bell out of the water. She moves it. It RINGS!!!!
Everyone is startled at the gentle sound. They kneel and declare she is Asa Sin, their great mother.
Tagon smiles. Saya stares. Taealha is stunned then smiles.
Eunseom looks at the sky as he is lifted. He thinks of Tanya….” I’m coming for you.”
Tanya stares at the bell and thinks “Eunseom…I’m coming for you…. I’m coming for you.”
Fabulous cliffhanger episode! Writers Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yeon built the tension steadily throughout the episode. They generously let us know the bell was found. They could have ended it when Tanya aimed the slingshot. If you don’t believe that good will triumph in the series, you should, because it will. Yes, they’ve got the biggest team of schemers, liars, and wheeler dealers to navigate, but Team Good has brains, moxy, and right on their side. Now we have a two-month break…I am looking forward to 9/7/19 when part 3 begins.
Saya (Song Joong Ki) did has Tagon directed. He found out that Tagon didn’t keep his promise and ended up as a pawn. Will this be the genesis for Saya to dessert his “father” and join team good in the third part of this series?
Asa Ron (leader of the Hwinsan tribe) learns direct beats indirect. Asa Ron and Mi Ho had a plan. It was a decent one. But Tanya was the wild card they didn’t believe would trump them.
Hae Mi Ho (leader of the Hae tribe) maneuvered to become union leader. He put himself in a win-win situation. But Tanya may have trampled that dream with a fling of a slingshot.
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) gambled that Tanya could find the bell. Tagon and Taealha are the PERFECT evil couple. They are in tune with each other. He trusted Taealha’s belief that Tanya could find the bell. As usual, Tagon excels in a ceremony. I loved it when he declared that he was only protecting the direct descendant of Asa Sin. Let’s skip over the facts that he nearly wiped her off the planet and is using her as a pawn. It has to be said, Tagon has a goal and works every angle to get there. Yes, he is ruthless. But he does want the adoration and support of the people and the woman he loves by his side. He has facets that fascinate.
Tanya (Kim Ji Won) is my HERO. Tanya did everything right and hit a home run when she found the bell. The production team did a stellar job weaving the flashbacks of the dance, slingshot practice, etc. to build the tension and your hope that Tanya would succeed. Tanya has a goal too…become high priest, save her people and the man she loves. She just took a giant step forward to achieving that goal. Tanya…I can’t wait to see what you do next.
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) put his plan to escape in motion. Eunseom has his self-worth back. What a relief to see him use his brain and build consensus among the cave slaves. The death scene was effective especially when they layered their hands in unity. Song Joong Ki has played the double role well. The writers have kept a balance of screen time for this actor. It’s got to increase as we head into part 3. I believe the Eunseom will escape that slave hell and come for Tanya. I can’t wait to see him reunite with Helper and join Tanya as her envoy. They will mirror Araman Haesulla riding Kanmoreu and Asa Sin. They will triumph.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as excellent. My rating chart is below: