Arthdal Chronicles Episode 15 Recap
Part 3: The Prelude to all Legends
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) sees his purple blood drip down from the Black Tongue of Shahiti’s knife. Everyone stares in shock. Tagon recalls his father’s directive that all that saw his blood must die. Asa Ron (former high priest) yells Tagon is Igutu. Tagon activates his Igutu powers. He counts his prey. He makes the snake sound. He pounces and kills the Black Tongue. He kills the guard. He chases Asa Ron and remaining standing.
Cue intro symbol…
Taealha’s young assistant brushes her hair. Taealha (Kim Ok Vin) smiles in pleasure as the young assistant brushes her hair. The girl puts a cord around Taealha and starts to strangle her. Taealha sees the ceremonial knife gift for Tagon on the table. She pushes the girl away and grabs the knife. The girl pulls a knife from her garment.
The young man assisting Tanya arrives with drink. Saya (Song Joong Ki) states he’ll take it to her. The young man states he can’t let him. Saya is surprised at the statement. The young man pulls white powder from his robe. He blows it towards Saya. Inhaling, Saya wobbles and falls to the ground.
The young man proceeds into Tanya’s chamber knife drawn. He find her, puts the knife to her, and promises to make it quick. Tanya (Kim Ji Won), the Wahan great mother, direct descendant of Asa Sin and now high priest, call for help. The young man says no one will help her.
Asa Ron rushes through the woods alone. He finds the children of Shahiti’s and order them to kill Tagon. He continues to run.
As Tagon bends to kill the last witness he sees Asa Ron has escaped.
Taealha and the girl fight. Taealha wins when she slices the girl’s throat. She calls for Hae Tauk, her primary assistant.
Just as the young man is about to knife Tanya, Saya grabs the knife. He activates his Igutu powers. He kills the young man. But the drug still has him in its grip and he falls to the ground. Tanya realizes she’s on her own and fashions a rope out of the hanging banners to escape out the window. Two more men enter the chamber. They see their robed comrade dead on the floor, they see the rope tied to the window, they declare the plan has failed.
Wasn’t the young man’s body on the table?
They report to Asa Ron’s assistant who can’t believe the children of Shahiti were defeated. He demands to know where the blue spider is. With Asa Mot (other assistant to Asa Ron) is the response. The assistant orders them to search for Tanya and kill her when she’s found.
Tanya rises from the floor (in the young man’s robe), opens the wardrobe and sees the dead young man and Saya who groans. She urges Saya to pull himself together. He tells her to flee. She takes the young man’s knife.
Hau Tauk can’t believe the dead girl on the floor. Taealha reveals the symbol on the girl’s back and knows it is Shahiti. She realizes this is a coup and orders Hau Tauk to inform the guards. Hau Tauk is confused. Taealha yells that Asa Ron is coup leader. She strides away to save the man she loves, Tagon.
I must give Taealha respect for winning the battle with rusty fighting skills then rushing to save her man after ascertaining the political forces at play. She’s bad ass in her own right.
Kitoha, Moo Gwang, and another guard Ryang Poong, who trained for the religious ceremony, drink happily. When a young man arrives with another barrel of wine, they protest. The young man claims it is a gift for all that guard Tagon. He comments that Tagon will soon go the White Mountain for the ceremony. The other guard protests a point of semantics. Kitoha has the young man and guard shake hands to put it behind them. The guard realizes the young man’s hands have the wear of a knife expert. Kitoha takes the barrel and smashes it against the wall. A serpent falls to the ground. The young man wields his knife. He slashes and cuts Kitoha in the neck. Moo Gwang goes to head to head with the man and just when things look dire, Kitoha and Ryang Poong overwhelm and kill the young man. Kitoha slumps. Moo Gwang orders him taken to the doctor and he rushes to get other guards.
The Wahan that betrayed Eunseom practices his fighting knowing the day of reckoning will occur if Eunseom returns to Arthdal. Gil Sun finds him and states siding with the person with power is more important than might. He leaves to return to the Great Shrine as two guards arrive with something to tell Gil Sun.
The Wahan guard Mung Tae overhears TH telling Yang Cha and another warrior that Taealha was attacked therefore Tagon and Taealha are in danger. The Wahan guard Mung Tae rushes to help Tanya. Yang Cha and Ryang Poong rush to help Tagon.
Gil Sun faces the two guards with swords drawn. They inform him a coup is underway. Pragmatically they all decide not to fight and wait and see if Asa Ron or Tagon prevails.
Taealha ride out to save Tagon. She fells several men but her horse is tripped and down she goes. Taealha is surrounded men. She vows to kill them all.
Tagon fights the children of Shahiti.
Kitoha is taken to the doctor.
Moo Gwang rouses the Tagon’s warriors yelling war has come.
Gil Sun and the other two guards believe Asa Ron’s plan has failed. They head to the Great Shrine.
Yang Cha heads out to save Tagon.
Taealha dispatches all the guards.
Ok, she’s totally bad ass.
Tagon dispatches the children of Shahiti.
Tagon finds Taealha in the middle of the road surrounded by dead guards. Their eyes lock and assess while bloody the other is okay. They hug. When they pull apart, Tagon says he killed all the ministers. He declares it is all over. Taealha states the days of likeability are gone. They’ll have to kill all the rebels. Tagon murmurs that doesn’t matter anymore. Taealha counters it never mattered to her. They hug.
This is one of the best couples as far as total loyalty and support to each other.
The Wahan guard Mung Tae runs into Asa Ron in the woods. Asa Ron lies that Tagon staged revolt and he must protect the Great Shrine. He asks for support. The Wahan guard Mung Tae agrees recalling Gil Sun’s advice to side with the powerful.
Tagon and Taealha agree they’ll go down in history now, just in the way they expected. Taealha wonders if Tanya is dead. Tagon hopes not because people need religion to get through life. Taealha calls him sweet. They hear the shouts of his men. They find each other. The men and TH are relieved Tagon and Taealha survived. Tagon learns Kitoha is on the brink of death due to a neck wound from the children of Shahiti.
Tagon looks at his men and states he’s killed the ministers of other tribes foolish enough believe Asa Ron’s promises of this coup. He declares he has been chosen as the victorious one, not Asa Ron’s tribe. He demands each of them pick a side. They all yell name. Tagon yells the must go to the Great Shrine. The men take off. Tagon gives Yang Cha a special assignment.
Back at the Great Shrine, Asa Mot reports that Tagon survived and the guards are in the forest to Asa Ron’s assistant. She declares they lost and they will die. Asa Ron’s assistant wishes Tanya dead and wants to kill her personally. Asa Mot tells the assistant the other leader she’ll go to Tagon and they must make her escape.
Is he a brother of the Black Tongue Shahiti that Tagon killed?
Yang Cha climbs the Great Shrine.
Tagon tells the guards he and his men will enter the Great Shrine. He motions for Taealha not to join him.
Tagon, Moo Gwang, and another guard enter the Great Shrine. They face opposition. Kitoha arrives and fights along side them. Kitoha declares his fat neck saved him. They laugh. They dispatch the opposition.
Shatiti lead goes to Tanya’s room and realizes the rope she fashioned wouldn’t hold her weight. He knows she’s still around. He eyes the wardrobe. Tanya bursts into the room. Luckily, he doesn’t know who she is and assumes she is Shahiti due to the robe and crescent knife she carries. Tanya claims she is. He tells her they must find Tanya and to follow him.
He leads her to the ceremony room. He pushes her to the ground and points his sword at her. He states that Shahiti isn’t a land but a person.
Bad grammar foiled her!
He assumes she’s Tanya. He laughs that he has the descendant of Asa Sin at his mercy. He vows to kill her and give Tagon her head. Yang Cha appears in the opening at the ceiling. He repels down and fights the man. When the man slashes his leg, Yang Cha uses his tried and true chain and strangles the man. Tanya declares they must save Saya. Yang Cha follows her.
I’ve got a soft spot for the quiet Yang Cha.
When they enter the room, two guards await and attack. Yang Cha dispatches him but his hand is cut.
Hmm, Yang Cha isn’t Igutu. I thought he was. I thought the mask was to hide his lips.
Yang Cha opens the wardrobe and sees Saya. He wonders if this is the same man he saw in the tower where Tagaon’s father died. Tanya recalls Yang Cha’s deathly chains when her village was attacked. Yang Cha wonders if Tanya is fooling all of them. Tanya states this isn’t who he thinks. She says Eunseom is kind not vengeful spirits like Saya, Tagon, and him. Stunned, Yang Cha realizes Tanya can hear his thoughts. Tanya confirms she can. The moment is broken when Tagon’s other guard enters the room, relieved she’s alive. Yang Cha stares at Tanya and leaves.
Who wouldn’t be unnerved by having their thoughts read?
Tagon looks at all the bodies. The other guard reports Tanya and Saya are live. Another guard reports Asa Ron cannot be found. Then the Wahan guard Mung Tae brings Asa Ron into the room and dumps him on the floor. Tagon kills Asa Ron. The room goes silent. Tagon asks the Wahan guard Mung Tae his name. Mung Tae tells him.
Fitting end for Asa Ron.
Asa Mot is brought into the room. She yells Tagon’s name then sees Asa Ron dead on the floor. She calls Tagon a monster. Tagon counters he was forced to by Asa Ron. She declares he’ll come to the other side with her. She whips out a snake. Tagon dodges and declares her feet will be cut off at trial. Asa Mot is dragged away. Tagon declares he’s okay but collapses.
Taealha asks where the doctor is. Moo Gwang rides to get him.
Chae Eun, her mother and father Harim discuss the events. Moo Gwang enters and demands Harim come with him.
Wahan guard Mung Tae Mung Tae recalls Asa Ron telling him that Tagon was Igutu. He asks Gil Sun if Igutu are strong. Puzzled at the question, Gil Sun confirms this. Mung Tae realizes that’s why Eunseom is strong. Gil Sun states Neanderthals are the strongest of all.
Harim tends Tagon. He tells Taealha that Tagon will live. He gives her instructions and beats a hasty retreat.
Did Harim realize Tagon isn’t 100% human?
Taealha instructs Moo Gwang to follow Harim and if he does anything suspicious to kill him and his family. Yang Cha listens to the order.
Harim returns home and declares the family must flee. Chae Eun and her mother want answers but he’s admit stating they’ll leave little Doti (the Wahan child they’ve cared for) here.
Tagon’s warriors watch Harim’s house. Ryang Poong tells Moo Gwang tonight is the crescent moon. Moo Gwang declares he wishes he’d killed Tanya at the Great Shrine. Moo Gwang can’t help put recalls Tanya’s prophecy that he would die under the crescent moon. They see Harim and his family leave. They follow.
Where is Nun Byeol?
In the woods, Harim’s wife demands to know why they are fleeing. He declares they’ll die if they stay in Arthdal. They arrive at the cabin in the woods and rouse Nun Byeol. They exit the cabin to find Moo Gwang and Tagon’s warriors waiting. Harim asks why they are there and if Tagon is getting better. Moo Gwang states he’s been ordered to kill the family. They run.
Moo Gwang sighs and orders the men to pursue. Moo Gwang takes aim with an arrow. It pierces and kills the mother. Harim, Chae Eun, and Nun Byeol scream and gather around her. The warriors surround them. Harim offers his life for his family. He swears the secret will stay with him. Moo Gwang doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Nun Byeol kneels in front of her father and pleads. Chae Eun adds her entreaties. Moo Gwang order them dragged away. The pull Nun Byeol and Chae Eun out of the way. They scream. Moo Gwang stares at Harim, ready to kill him.
Flashback…Moo Gwang’s brother Moo Baek tells him killing innocents is unacceptable. Moo Gwang scoffs. Moo Baek grabs his brother by the shoulders and declares it will lead to his death.
Moo Gwang kills Harim. Chae Eun and Nun Byeol scream in horror. Moo Gwang orders them separate. He goes to kill Chae Eun. Ryang Poong, guarding Nun Byeol, hears the snake sound. Nun Byeol activates her Neanderthal powers. He screams at Moo Gwang to stop and everyone to retreat. The warriors do not understand.
With glowing eyes, Nun Byeol utters the words “You’re too late”. Moo Gwang remembers Tanya declaring those would be the last words he’d hear.
Nun Byeol stands and slices a warrior IN HALF! Nun Byeol rises, stares at Moo Gwang and rushes him…
Yes, yes, yes!
Gil Sun tells Wahan guard Mung Tae Mung Tae that a trained Neanderthal would be unstoppable.
I’m totally anticipating trained swordswoman Nun Byeol doing her thing!
Nun Byeol dispatches the warriors leaving only Ryang Poong and Moo Gwang alive. Moo Gwang looks at the crescent moon. He runs. Nun Byeol tackles him. Her hand raises.
Flashback…Tanya tells Moo Gwang that under the crescent moon a hand will rip out his heart.
Nun Byeol pulls the heart from Moo Gwang and holds it high. Blood spurts from Moo Gwang’s mouth. He dies.
Nun Byeol turns and sets her sight on Ryang Poong. He knows this is it. Nun Byeol collapses. Chae Eun rushes to her side. Ryang Poong faints.
Perfectly staged, the highly anticipated death of Moo Gwang satisfied.
Ipsaeng tells Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) that they will be sold into slavery by the Ago. He confirms he lied about being an Ago. Eunseom comes up with a plan. Irked, Ipsaeng declares the Ago understand every word as they used to be a tribe of the Arthdal union. The Argo man, Tae Maja, concurs it was a solid plan. He stares at Ipsaeng. Eunseom realizes Ipsaeng is the object of the stare.
Dal Sae worries that something is terribly wrong. He wants to search for them. Another wants to return to Arthdal. The old man declares he can’t survive the trip to Arthdal. Dal Sae demands he take them to the doctor in another city.
Moo Baek leads captives including the mother of the white mountain, Asa Sakan, through the forest.
In Arthdal all families in the Asa Clan are in the center of town. Asa Mot waits for her sentence in the dais. The people are uneasy seeing the priests tied up even with the news that Asa Ron tried to kills Tagon and Tanya last night.
Kitoha, Yang Cha, and others arrive with more members of the Asa Clan who protest they had nothing to do with the failed coup. Kitoha reports Asa Ron wasn’t found. He asks Gil Sun how Tagon is doing.
Tagon asks beaten Wahan guard Mung Tae why he gagged Asa Ron. Mung Tae recalls Asa Ron promising that Tagon would assume he knows Tagon’s secret and would kill him. Mung Tae goes with honesty and tells Tagon he knows he’s an Igutu and Asa Ron was sure he’d die even though he brought Asa Ron to Tagon. He’s asked why he brought Asa Ron. Mung Tae admits he’ll die soon by Wahan he betrayed. Tagon considers then tells Mung Tae to follow him.
Tanya’s assistant tells her something big is going to happen. Saya enters the room. Tanya stands relieved he’s okay. Her assistant leaves. Saya likes that she was worried about him. He admits no one every has. Tanya asks what will happen to the Asa clan. She doesn’t understand why those not directly involved have been taken. Saya says they all have to die. His father must rule with fear. Saya notes Tagon killed many tribe leaders last night. Saya says Tagon may cave and try to rule with kindness again. Tanya states Tagon killed Asa Ron without mercy. Saya counters Asa Ron got what he deserved. Her assistant returns and states it is time to go. Saya nods in agreement.
Moo Baek brings the captured members of the Asa Clan into Arthdal. Some point out they had nothing to do with the coup. Moo Baek says nothing. Asa Sakan is lead to the dais next to Asa Mot.
Moo Baek stands next to Kitoha and Yang Cha. He asks where his brother is. Kitoha assumes he’s sleeping it off along with Ryang Poong.
Ryang Poong staggers into Arthdal.
Chae Eun prepares herbs for Nun Byeol. She recalls Moo Gwang’s statement that he was ordered to kill her family. She knows Tagon gave the order. Nun Byeol wakes. They cry and hug.
Tagon, Taealha, Yang Cha, and Mung Tae walk together. Taealha states this isn’t their fault. Tagon states a living god never makes a mistake. He enters the throne room where the ministers including Mi Ho are waiting. Standing by the throne Tanya sees Mung Tae enter the room. Saya notices. Tagon sits on the throne. A report of last night’s coup is read. Tagon’s wisdom is cited as saving them all. The expected concurrence from those gathered doesn’t come. They are prompted. A minister states a dead tribe lead was tricked by Asa Ron yesterday. He doesn’t question his death but questions why the family has been arrested. Mi Ho declares they are a family of a traitor and the sacred trial will reveal their fate. Another minister is angry at the treatment of Asa Sakan citing his tribe’s great mother was killed yesterday just because she responded to Asa Ron’s message to come. He asks if Tagon is trying to destroy the union. Another requests an explanation. Tagon scans the room. Taealha smiles at him with solidarity. Says inwardly sighs believing Tagon will be merciful. There a long pause. Tagon raises his hand. Yang Cha nodes to Mung Tae. He moves towards those that questioned Tagon.
Moo Baek heads to the throne room wondering what Tagon will do. He enters and sees Mung Tae beating ministers to death.
Tanya watches in horror. Saya smiles with pleasure.
Tagon rises. Taealha and Saya lean forward in anticipation. Everyone stares at Tagon. Mi Ho thinks Tagon’s eyes are those of a king.
Tagon looks at the bludgeoned ministers. He thinks “I tried so hard to avoid this path. I have become the king of disaster.”
Tagon takes the throne and becomes what he never wanted to be…a leader that rules with fear. Writers Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yeon centered this riveting episode on the coup and its initial aftermath. We only saw a snatch of Eunseom, who is captured again. A major theme of this series is power…getting it and keeping it. Tagon took the brutal steps to gain ultimate power over Arthdal. The opening series of scenes grabbed me and this episode never stopped. Moo Gwang’s foretold death finally happened. It was perfect. Nun Byeol’s Neanderthal powers were activated and she reacted with deadly force. I wondered if our favorite last of the lineage twosome of Neanderthals, Yiseuroobeu and Rottip, would save the day. Not needed, Nun Byeol took matters into her own hands…literally.
Saya (Song Joong Ki) saved Tanya and approved of his Tagon’s rule of fear. Saya ascertained Tanya was in trouble and mustered enough strength to kill the child of Shahiti poised to kill Tanya. I cringed at Saya’s delighted smile when on Tagon’s orders the ministers were bludgeoned to death.
Asa Ron (leader of the Hwinsan tribe) was a man whose plan failed and he died by Tagon’s sword. Asa Ron put his trust in Mung Tae who in turn took Gil Sun’s advice and sided with the powerful Tagon and trussed Asa Ron up and offered him to Tagon. Asa Ron had only a moment then Tagon killed him. While I was not a fan of Asa Ron, he choice to move against Tagon was his only option. It was either revolt or roll over.
Hae Mi Ho (leader of the Hae tribe) watched a King emerge. With his self-admitted addiction to side with the powerful, he said nothing when the other ministers spoke against Tagon. Will he worm his way back into favor with Tagon? I can’t imagine Tagon trusting him, but using him is a possibility.
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun) didn’t want to lead with fear. I felt sorry for Tagon in the moments when he realized and executed the path he never wanted to walk as a leader. Two reasons I felt empathy 1) He’s closest allies Taealha and Saya didn’t support his vision and 2) He wanted to avoid bloodshed and be a respected not feared leader. But keeping the secret he was Igutu trumped all those good intentions. His father’s words rang in his head…”kill all that see your blood”. He wiped out the ministers at his father’s grave, he killed Asa Ron, and he gathered the Asa clan. Annihilation seems next for the Asa clan. Once again, Taealha and Tagon prove they are soulmates. I had to respect Taealha’s bad ass fighting. She never waivers from supporting the man she loves.
Tanya (Kim Ji Won) survived. Tanya was cornered and survived thanks to Saya and her own wits. She was horrified by Tagon’s actions. But those actions also forced her to remain silent. She completely unnerved Yang Cha when she read his thoughts. Those thoughts gave the actor that plays Yang Cha long awaited dialog.
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) is captured by the Ago. Eunseom needs help to battle Arthdal. Will the Ago help him if they hold a grudge against Arthdal? Will the Momo save him from the Ago? What is the significance of the old man?
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as excellent. My rating chart is below: