Arthdal Chronicles Episode 14 Recap
Part 3: The Prelude to all Legends
Hasi Mountain…Karika, the Xabara of the Momo tribe, tells her tribe they are indebted to a man that saved her and the heir of the tribe. But she doesn’t know who he is or his name. She tells her men he has purple lips and symbol on his back like the cloth Sateunik’s wife displays. She orders her men to find the man. They wave the flag with the symbol.
As Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) and Ipsaeng walk through the forest, we see the symbol on Eunseom’s back.
The Momo tribe men disperse to find Eunseom.
Cue intro symbol…
Arthdal guard leader Yeonbal and his men find the remnants of a fire. They assume it is from the Igutu slave the Momo are searching for. They follow the foot tracks away from the fire.
Arthdal… The week long party is underway. Chae Eun, Nun Byeol, their father Harim their allotment of free food. They see Doti painting faces like the Wahan tribe. She has large baskets of fruit behind her. An escaped bull storms into the marketplace. Chae Eun snatches Doti out of harm’s way. But their father is the bull’s next target. Summoning her Neanderthal’s abilities, Nun Byeol grabs the bull and flips it onto its back. She collapses from the exertion. Recall Harim severed several abilities including strength, speed, and endurance.
Nun Byeol lays unconscious in the bed. Chae Eun and Harim guess that because Nun Byeol is still growing, the severed abilities have grown back. He decides to sever them again. They worry that everyone at the marketplace saw Nun Byeol perform the feat.
Bowu of the Gadeul tribe kneels before Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) the declared reincarnated Araman Haesulla. Tagon basks in the elevated position and promises to think well of the Bowu. Next up to kneel before Tagon is Hae Mi Ho (former leader of the Hae tribe). Tagon order the room cleared. Mi Ho states he knew Tanya could find the bell. Tagon laughs at the implication that Mi Ho was on Tagon’s side. He tells Mi Ho he’s no fool. Mi Ho points out that Asa Ron (former high priest that Tanya replaced) was never as critical as he is because he holds the secret of the bronze. Tagon orders him to kneel again. Mi Ho does. When he rises, Mi Ho declares that Tagon should transform Arthdal to a kingdom and become it’s king. Having grow up in the kingdom, Mi Ho is happy to help Tagon navigate this path. Tagon has to smile at Mi Ho’s audacity. Mi Ho agrees he sides with the powerful. Tagon counters that Mi Ho would betray him should a more powerful option arise. Mi Ho reminds Tagon that if he plans to go to White Peak mountain for the ritual to inform the gods of the latest news, there may be resistance from Asa Ron as that location is his tribe’s strong hold. Tagon chuckles. He appreciates the advice, but he’s already thought of it. He leaves. Mi Ho sighs.
White Peak Mountain…Asa Ron’s assistant urges him to fight for the Asa clan. Asa Ron’s happy to see Tagon’s right hand warrior Moo Baek arrive to “help” prepare for the ritual. The mother of the white mountain, Asa Sakan, welcomes Moo Baek. As she walks alone with Asa Ron, Asa Sakan points out warriors are everywhere at White Mountain and have been dispatched to all 17 tribes of Arthdal. She states if they were going to make a move, they should have done so immediately after the star bell was found. She surmises Tagon fears for his safety at White Mountain.
Tagon thanks his warriors including Kitoha, Moo Gwang, and Yang Cha for the loyal service over the years. He asks them to protect him at the ritual at White Mountain. They pledge to ensure his safety. Tagon claims his secret is not liking to kill people. Blood thirsty Moo Gwang claims the same and everyone laughs. Kitoha admits he thought Tagon’s secret was his son. Tagon claims his does have a son and Taealha is his mother. That surprises the men.
Hae Tauk reports to Taealha (Kim Ok Vin) that as expected her father (Mi Ho) visited Tagon and bowed down to her lover. Taealha asks if Saya (Tagon’s “son”) is at the Great Shrine.
Saya (Song Joong Ki) tells the assembled that he is Tagon’s son, follows the White Peak Mountain’s Hearts teaching, and will assist Tanya as she assumes the role of high priest. A Wahan member can’t believe that Saya looks just like Eunseom but tries to school her reaction as Tanya directed the Wahan to do. He bows to Tanya (Kim Ji Won), the Wahan great mother, direct descendant of Asa Sin and now high priest. He leads her away from the platform.
Saya continues to hold Tanya’s hand as they stroll. He claims this is proper etiquette. Tanya asks when the Wahan sent to Doldambul will return. Saya doesn’t understand her impatience. Tanya states all Wahan are family. She asks if he wants to know about his blood parents and siblings. Saya states he’d be interested in meeting his parents. Tanya wonders if he has a brother. Saya claims he wouldn’t care about a brother, as that person would be a stranger to him.
Kitoha, Moo Gwang, and the soldiers discuss that Taealha isn’t the biological mother. They kneel when Tanya and Saya approach them. Saya asks where they are deploying to. They reply the White Mountain to ensure safety during the ritual. Tanya asks where Moo Baek is. Moo Gwang states he’s at White Mountain Peak. Tanya thanks the soldiers for their support. She and Saya walk away. Moo Gwang spits on the ground disgusted having to kneel in front of Tanya.
Asa Sakan tells Asa Ron to hold the ritual and then figure out how to deal with the consequences. Asa Ron doesn’t want Tagon to become a living god. Asa Sakan snaps that Tagon isn’t the problem and he’ll protect Arthdal. Asa Ron admits he can no longer have visions without the laced smoke. She’s shocked.
Asa Ron directs an unknown assistant to send a message to the Children of Shahiti and tell the Black Tongue to come. His primary assistant isn’t happy with the choice. Asa Ron thinks this is his move against Tagon.
Taealha shows Tagon the flag she painted for him. She declares it is their map of conquest. She says they will unite all countries under this flag. The egocentric twosome loves the idea of naming countries after themselves. She chides Tagon for wanting everyone to love him. She declares her love should suffice. Tagon counters that if a leader isn’t loved, tyranny and brute force are the weapons of choice and he doesn’t want to rule like that. He jokes that everyone better love him, if they want peace and happiness. Taealha agrees that his path minimized bloodshed. Tagon observes their mutual support made it happen. They hold hands and agree, now their relationship can evolve to the next level.
Hasi Mountain…Ipsaeng wants Eunseom to forgive him. He gives Eunseom his vest. Ipsaeng warns Eunseom not trusting others is the best choice. Eunseom rejects that.
Yeonbal and his men can hear their voices. They step up the pace.
Eunseom sees movement in bushes behind them. He tells Ipsaeng to run. A bear crashes through the bushes. Ipsaeng trips. Eunseom saves him. Ipsaeng stabs Eunseom and leaves the wounded “friend” behind. Unable to run, Eunseom fights off the bear the best he can. But it doesn’t look good.
Ipsaeng tells himself Eunseom would have died with his trusting attitude.
Have I mentioned I dislike Ipsaeng? He can fall off a cliff.
The bear is ready to pounce when a sound causes him to back off. It’s our favorite last of the lineage twosome…Yiseuroobeu and Rottip! Eunseom stares at the men in shock. He realizes they are Neanderthals. He thanks them. Rottip interprets for Yiseuroobeu. They walk away. Eunseom blurts out that he’s Igutu. That gets their attention. Rottip sniff Eunseom. He stares in shock. But he walks away thinking it is all meaningless. Yiseuroobeu follows.
Rottip thinks ‘I can’t believe your son survived to manhood Asa Hon’. He recalls Asa Hon refusing to give up the baby. Yiseuroobeu asks what that was about. Rottip states that was Asa Hon’s son. Yiseuroobeu realizes that means the man is Ragaz’s son. He asks why Rottip didn’t say so. Rottip replies there’s nothing they can do. They can’t tie themselves to connections that don’t benefit.
Eunseom stares at the direction they walked.
Ipsaeng decides if he buries Eunseom, he can retrieve the token. Yeonbal and his men spot him. He runs. They chase. They capture.
Eunseom hears Ipsaeng’s cries.
Yeonbal demands to know where the old man is. Ipsaeng asks if he’ll let him go if he tells him. Yeonbal will, after they have the old man in their custody. Eunseom watches from a distance. Ipsaeng agrees to lead them to the old man. Eunseom sighs in disgust.
The site manager and his men are about to turn around when they spot Karika, the Xabara of the Momo tribe, riding alone. But then the tribe appears. Sateunik’s wife asks if one of them is the site manager. He states they’ve done nothing against the Momo tribe. Their captured partner in crime is revealed. Karika declares they know how they made Sateunik a slave and he died underground. The site manager pleads they didn’t know Sateunik was from Momo. Karika gives the signal and the site manager is killed. She asks the remaining men if they are searching for the man with the purple lips.
Consider me a Karika fan.
Ipsaeng tries to lead Yeonbal and his men away from the Ago tribe land. Yeonbal retorts they’ll stay on the perimeter. Another starts to tell Ipsaeng why the Ago fight and sell each other as slaves. Yeonbal cuts him off. Eunseom follows at a distance.
Back at camp they wonder what’s taking so long. The old man asks why the Arthdal man came for the slaves. He admits Moo Baek sent him and he doesn’t know all the details.
Ipsaeng asks for food. Yeonbal agrees. Eunseom appears roping one of the men up high. Yeonbal cuts him down while Ipsaeng cuts through his bindings with the knife Eunseom gives him. They run. Yeonbal shoots an arrow into Eunseom. He stumbles and slides down a steep slope in Ago land. Yeonbal won’t breach the Ago property line.
Ipsaeng tells Eunseom they must leave Ago land immediately. Eunseom demands to know why Ipsaeng tripped and stabbed him. Ipsaeng yells that he wanted to live and sacrificing Eunseom was the way to achieve that. Eunseom calls him horrible. Ipsaeng agrees and demands to know why Eunseom keeps saving him when he’s done the opposite. Eunseom admits he needed him. He wanted a subordinate so his power would grow. Ipsaeng scoffs that Eunseom is powerful. Eunseom counters that physical strength couldn’t save his people. He didn’t understand the concept of subordinates because the Wahan believe in equality. Eunseom says it is time to part ways. Ipsaeng asks who his enemy is. Eunseom replies Arthdal. Ipsaeng says Eunseom is crazy to take on a nation. Ipsaeng convinces Eunseom to take the nearby canoe and travel on the river.
The next morning, they spot the Ago tribe. Is isn’t a happy moment.
Saya wonders why he dreamed of the Ago tribe last night. He learns the ritual is in 2 days. He smiles knowing Asa Ron is back from White Peak mountain.
Asa Ron tells Tanya the ritual preparations are complete. Saya enters and introduces himself as aide to Tagon and Tanya. Asa Ron’s assistant, Asa Mot, whispers Saya is Tagon’s son.
Asa Ron chuckles that Tagon has a full-grown son. His assistant reports Black Tongue and the Children of Shahiti has arrived. Asa Mot is alarmed.
Taealha loves the jeweled knife and hammer made for Tagon. Hae Tauk teases Taealha that she’s rusty with a knife. Taealha smiles that she can take her any day. They laugh. Taealha notices the new assistant.
Is she a child of Shahiti?
Asa Mot trains Tanya in the ritual. When a young man brings the goblet to Tanya, she accidentally knocks if over. Asa Mot suggests a break. Saya approaches and confirms her father has arrived. He states Tagon is speaking with him. The young man smiles.
Is he a child of Shahiti?
Tagon asks Tanya’s father if he’s figured out the secret of bronze. He hasn’t but suggested using pure iron instead. Tagon scoffs that if that were a possibility, the Hae tribe would have already done that. Gil Sun interrupts to report Asa Ron is back and the ritual is in two days. Tagon is pleased. Gil Sun states Tanya has requested the Wahan tribe accompany her. Her father leaves to join her.
Wanna bet he figures out a way to make Mi Ho dispensable?
The Wahan stare at Saya as he approaches. He assures them they need not be intimidated. He reports the slaves from Doldambul should arrive soon. The traitor Wahan feigns the joy the rest of them display.
Taealha arrives to gift Tagon but learns he left alone. She wonders if he went to his father’s grave.
Tagon walks alone the path to the grave and is filled with memories.
Tagon’s father abandoning him in the woods…Tagon’s father strangling him when he returned…Tagon’s father apologizing and promising he’ll be Araman Haesulla one day…Tagon’s father killing a friend’s entire family when his friend saw his blood was purple…Tagon killing another friend because he saw his blood was purple…Tagon learning the negotiations broke down…Tagon promising his father he would annihilate the Neanderthals and Igutu.
Tagon thinks he made the promise to all the killed friends and their families to become Araman Haesulla. Then their deaths would be sacrifices for Araman Haesulla.
Tagon asks his father to give him his blessing. Asa Ron interrupts the emotion filled moment. Tagon realizes he’s alone without guards. Asa Ron assures him that his guards are being watched by Tagon’s men. Tagon claims it is for Asa Ron’s safety. He promises Asa Ron that he’ll kill him if he seeks to overthrow him. Asa Ron states Tagon’s men squashed that idea.
Asa Ron recalls Tagon’s confession that he killed his father. He comments that if his father would have fully accepted him, Tagon wouldn’t have killed him. Tagon claims the antipathy was all about power. Asa Ron shrugs and says it is what it is. Tagon counters a man killing his father is not a good thing. Asa Ron agrees that such a man shouldn’t be Arthdal’s leader and living god. Asa Ron calls forth his support. They surround Tagon. Asa Ron declares Tagon is a monster. He must cleanse Arthdal of Tagon. He will kill Tagon and Taealha tonight. Tagon demands to know why.
Is that a rhetorical question?
Taealha’s young assistant offer to brush her hair. Taealha smiles, pleased at the suggestion.
The young man assisting Tanya arrives with drink. Saya meets him in the hallway and states he’ll take it to her. The young man tries to convince him otherwise but Saya insists. The young man states he can’t let him.
Taealha asks the girl where she’s from. The girl states deep inside White Peak Mountain.
Tagon yells his question again, why is Asa Ron doing this? Asa Ron declares Tagon admitted his own sins. He orders his men to arrest Tagon.
Tagon recalls Taealha saying he was right to want to be liked, be a kind leader, and avoid bloodshed. He mutters he was wrong.
The Black Tongue of Shahiti jumps over Tagon and stabs him. He tells Tagon the poison is in his veins. He sees the purple blood. Everyone stares in shock. Tagon states his effort were all in vain. If only he’d known he could never pull this off. Tagon pulls the knife out. He tells everyone, this wasn’t what he wanted. He didn’t want a bloody throne. He didn’t want to kill. Asa Ron yells Tagon is Igutu.
Tagon activates his Igutu powers. He kills the Black Tongue. Asa Ron is urged to leave now. Tagon makes the snake sound. His eyes turn purple. He draws his sword. He declares he’ll kill them all. He lunges at Asa Ron.
Don’t mess with Igutu. Writers Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yeon split the episode between Eunseom’s escape adventures and the swirl around the upcoming ritual. If you were wondering why Eunseom put up with Ipsaeng, the explanation of subordinate was offered. Eunseom didn’t realize you have to pick loyal and capable subordinates. Not sure he understands that basic fact at this point. Asa Ron decided to go big or go home. He got more than he bargained for. Will it be the last thing he ever does?
Saya (Song Joong Ki) guided Tanya. He lied that holding hands was the normal for her right-hand man. She bought it. The episode ended with him in the hallway with a child of Shahiti. Not sure what that means but the Black Tongue of Shahiti dude died quickly at Tagon’s hands. Will Saya ascertain this kid has an agenda that includes hurting Tanya? Will Saya kill him?
Asa Ron (leader of the Hwinsan tribe) decided it was now or never to stop Tagon. Asa Ron pretended to accept his fate and agree to Asa Sin’s counsel to wait until after the ritual. But Asa Ron couldn’t swallow seeing Tagon become a living god. He decided to call in the Shahiti. The Black Tongue’s smooth move to stab Tagon was impressive but little did they know Tagon is Igutu. The purple blood dripping from Tagon’s wound was proof positive. But Asa Ron failed to realize he was in grave danger. Will Tagon kill him?
Hae Mi Ho (leader of the Hae tribe) offered to help Tagon. He admitted he sides with the power player. Tagon countered he’ll betray for that goal. But Mi Ho’s value is measured by his bronze secret. Tanya’s father may have figured out an acceptable alternative. Will Mi Ho learn of this and try and kill him?
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) had his nightmare come true. He explained to Taealha that his path to avoid bloodshed and be a respected not feared leader was the right one. She admitted he was able to achieve the end goal, so she finally agreed with him. Little did she know that she was at risk when a child of Shahiti was brushing her hair. I don’t doubt Taealha will kill her opponent. The series of flashbacks explained much about Tagon’s path that had been hinted at but not clearly defined. His father was willing to kill to keep the secret he was Igutu. Tagon was horrified his friends and their families died. To atone and stop the bloodshed, Tagon told his father he’d wipe out his people. And he did so with ruthless efficiency. I can’t absolve or accept Tagon’s rationalization for his actions. But it is his truth. Now we have select Igutus and Neanderthals remaining. Will Tagon wipe out Asa Ron and all those that learned his secret?
Tanya (Kim Ji Won) prepared for the ritual. Tanya had little to do this episode accept get trained in high priestess ways.
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) declared he kept Ipsaeng close so he could have a subordinate. Eunseom’s concept of power is in its infancy. He’s fighting men that had wielded power through money and might all their lives. To hear him say he’s taking on Arthdal, the nation, not Tagon, the man, illuminated the monumental task Eunseom has set for himself. He absolutely will need the Momo and their knowledge to battle Arthdal. But Arthdal is more than the three primary clans. Will the remaining clans react positively to an Igutu leader? Yep, that’s a rhetorical question. I must admit I was surprised by Rottip’s stance doubting if Eunseom mattered.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as very good. My rating chart is below: