Lee Yeon (Lee Dong Wook) takes Nam Ji Ah (Jo Bo Ah) to the mountain where he used to be the mountain spirit, where he and A Eum (Lee Yeon’s first love now reincarnated as Ji Ah) began and ended. He shows her a box of gingko nuts exchanged in valentine-ish day in Joseon times. Lee Yeon says after exchanging the gingko nuts, they broke up.
Flashback…A Eum gives Lee Yeon the gingko nuts. She says she likes him and will protect him. Afraid of love, Lee Yeon says she doesn’t have the power to protect him and never will. He tells her never to come to him again. Upset, A Eum flees.
Lee Yeon admits he was scared of failing for a human who would die. He notes he can’t leave the mountain without getting weaker. One day he left the mountain to chase a disruptive spirit. The villagers chased him. A Eum pulled him aside and gave him cover. The villagers didn’t find him. A Eum led Lee Yeon to the path back to the mountain. She tells him to go. Lee Yeon thanks her and promises to repay her. He holds her wrist. Identical bands of light appear on their middle fingers.
Chapter 10 – Deja Vue
The Imoogi remembers Lee Yeon grabbing his shirt while in another place and vowing to protect Ji Ah. The Imoogi tells the CEO it has been confirmed; Lee Yeon cannot kill Ji Ah. The Imoogi declares he was born to be the mountain spirit and have Ji Ah be his wife. He will take what is rightfully his now.
Back at the mountain, Lee Yeon and Ji Ah watch a waterfall flow into a lake. Lee Yeon wonders why she doesn’t ask why he killed her. Ji Ah says she doesn’t know why Lee Yeon had to kill A Eum.
Flashback…A Eum shoots arrows into Lee Yeon. He sees bodies next A Eum. He asks what she’s doing. The Imoogi inside A Eum’s body replies that Lee Yeon has no walls with this human. Lee Yeon demands to know where A Eum is. The Imoogi says A Eum is in her body which she willingly gave up to save her father (who the Imoogi occupied previously). The Imoogi shoots Lee Yeon again ask he rushes forward. Lee Yeon puts his sword at the Imoogi’s throat. The scales appear on A Eum’s neck. Lee Yeon declares A Eum means nothing to him, so he can leave her body. The Imoogi doesn’t believe him. Lee Yeon says he used A Eum as bait to lure the Imoogi. The fight with swords. When Lee Yeon has the upper hand, A Eum begs for her life. Lee Yeon hesitates and the Imoogi attacks. But A Eum stops the Imoogi. A Eum is horrified by what the Imoogi did in her body. She begs Lee Yeon to kill her so she can’t be used to kill anyone else. Lee Yeon promises to help her. The Imoogi regains control and stabs Lee Yeon. He offers his body in exchange for A Eum. The Imoogi agrees to release A Eum if Lee Yeon hands over his heart. Lee Yeon tells A Eum to live a long life and forget about him. He tells her not to be sorry or grateful to him. He goes to stab himself. A Eum stops him. He tells her to let him go. A Eum notes he wanted her to forget him. But she wants him to never forget her. She promises to crawl out of her grave if he ever falls in love with another woman. She tells him he must repay her. Their middle fingers glow. His hand turns into a claw. She tells him to kill her. He can’t control the hand. He remembers their love. Tears stream down her face as she will him to kill her. Lee Yeon’s claws rake her body. She falls to the ground. As A Eum lays dying in Lee Yeon’s arms, she reminds him of her promise to protect him. She dies. Lee Yeon sobs. The light around his middle finger dissolves.
Lee Yeon looks at his hand. Ji Ah takes it and thanks him for keeping his promise and waiting 600 years for her to return. The gingko nuts dissolve. Lee Yeon says he is with Ji Ah not A Eum. They smile and hug.
Lee Rang (Kim Bum) struggles with the after effects of the poison from the zombie bite. Ki Yoo Ri (Kim Yong Ji) frets that he’s dying. She begs him to eat a ground cherry which provides the energy of human souls. Lee Rang says Lee Yeon is on his way. Lee Rang will tell Lee Yeon who the Imoogi is. Yoo Ri tells him to save himself by going to the Imoogi. Lee Rang tells her not to cry for him. Yoo Ri reminds him he told her to live boldly. He tells her to get him something to eat.
Lee Yeon looks the azaleas he’s bringing to Lee Rang. He flashes back to Lee Rang wishing for the azaleas.
Coworkers Pyo Jae Hwan and Kim Sae Rom wonder who Ji Ah’s boyfriend is. Jae Hwan is sure he has seen him before. Ji Ah arrives and says her boyfriend was the man with the red umbrella.
Lee Rang is surprised to answer the door and find the CEO, not Lee Yeon.
Yoo Ri is surprised when Lee Rang isn’t there when she returns. Lee Yeon is surprised when Lee Rang isn’t there when he arrives. Lee Yeon eats the food Yoo Ri got for Lee Rang.
At the CEO’s house, he sits Lee Rang next to the ground cherry tree. He tells Lee Rang he need not sacrifice his life. The CEO warns him that defying the master Imoogi has consequences. Lee Rang scoffs the Imoogi is not his master. He throws a knife at the startled CEO. Lee Rang doesn’t believe the Imoogi is in the house.
Lee Yeon finishes Lee Rang’s food. Yoo Ri tells him to leave. Lee Yeon calls her a rude pet. Yoo Ri doesn’t like that. She almost spills Lee Rang’s state but remembers to hold her tongue as Lee Rang ordered.
The CEO laughs the Lee Rang can’t kill him because he’s the one that saved Lee Rang from the fatal wound Lee Yeon inflected. He holds up his hand the middle finger glows. He tells Lee Rang that the debt has not be repaid.
Flashback…Lee Rang lays on the ground, injured from Lee Yeon’s blade. The Joseon version of the CEO arrives and puts a ground cherry under his nose. The human souls infuse Lee Rang and he sits up. Lee Rang tells the CEO he smells like corpses. The CEO says his is a human that has prolonged his life. Lee Rang asks why he saved him. The CEO says one day he’ll have to return the favor. Both their middle fingers light up.
The CEO says Lee Rang owes him and can’t kill him. He holds out a ground cherry to Lee Rang. He orders him to bring him Lee Yeon in 2 days. The CEO says he needs his body.
Lee Yeon stands to leave. Lee Yeon tells Yoo Ri to continue to protect his brother. He gives her the azaleas and asks that she give them to Lee Yeon.
Someone watches Lee Rang leave the CEO’s house.
Ji Ah, Jae Hwan, and Sae Rom talk. She explains she’s Lee Yeon’s reincarnated first love. She tells them they could be in danger as they were close to her now and in the past. They don’t believe her about their past life. Ji Ah gives them the glasses to wear. Jae Hwan peers in a mirror and sees himself and the Joseon version of Sae Rom.
Flashback…Jae Hwan carries a young A Eum (daughter of the King) as Sae Rom follows. In hiding, they eat and live together. They have happy moments. As A Eum grows into a woman they continue to serve and support their charge.
Sae Rom and Jae Hwan can’t believe that was their past life. Sae Rom snipes she should have been the daughter of the king. Sae Rom asks Ji Ah why she showed them their past lives. Ji Ah says the monster that tracked her in their past lives is closer than they think in this life. Ji Ah wants to protect them in this life. Jae Hwan asks about Lee Yeon. He joins them. He tells the shocked pair, he’s a 9 tailed fox.
Lee Yeon drives Ji Ah home. They comment Jae Hwan and Sae Rom were shocked by the revelation of who he is. Lee Yeon believes the Imoogi is going to leverage Lee Rang against him. He says he has a plan.
Vet Gu Shin Joo (Hwang Hee) (Lee Yeon cohort) stands outside the CEO’s house. He remembers watching Lee Rang walk away from the house earlier.
Yoo Ri rushes to Lee Rang when he returns. She realizes he’s better. Lee Rang says he wants to be alone. Before leaving, she points to the azaleas that Lee Yeon left him. Lee Rang stares at the flower, then smells the fragrance. He cries.
Jae Hwan is at a crime scene which appears to have a half dead person bursting through a wall.
Ji Ah’s boss gets a call from the CEO who needs a favor.
Lee Yeon watches Ji Ah sleep. He goes to the living room where Shin Joo reports he followed Lee Rang to the CEO’s house. Lee Yeon assumes that is where the Imoogi is living. He warns Shin Joo to be careful. They eat. Lee Yeon thanks Shin Joo for the support. Lee Yeon asks what deal Shin Joo made with granny. Shin Joo reports he signed a slave contract to take the dead to the underworld after he dies. Lee Yeon promises to get him transferred to a desk job. Shin Joo reminds his friend he isn’t dying any time soon. Lee Yeon recommends that Shin Joo get busy with Yoo Ri. Shin Joo is surprised they met. Lee Yeon says she’s nice enough. Shin Joo is pleased.
The next morning, the CEO is stunned to find Lee Yeon in his living room.
Jae Hwan and Sae Rom and Ji Ah are introduced to their new teammate by the boss. You guessed it, it’s the Imoogi.
Lee Yeon asks where the Imoogi is. The CEO claims he doesn’t know. Lee Yeon says people tend tell him things. He smiles and states it is a good day for torture.
The Imoogi claims he is Terry. Ji Ah asks what connections he used to the get job. The Imoogi says his guardian is a powerful man. Ji Ah appreciates his honesty and offers her hand. She wonders if they’ve met before. The Imoogi doesn’t understand why he can’t hear Ji Ah’s thoughts when he can hear everyone else’s.
Granny murmurs the Imoogi has made his move. She wonders if sacrificing the child is the only way. Hyun Ui Ong (Granny’s husband) arrives with flowers. She warns him to do his job and strides away.
Flashback…Lee Yeon tells Ui Ong he’s willing to do anything so he and Ji Ah can have a life together. Ui Ong asks what Lee Yeon needs. Lee Yeon asks him to soften Granny’s heart. Lee Yeon believes she knows how to eliminate the Imoogi. Ui Ong believes if she knew how, she’d share the information. Lee Yeon believes it could involve breaking rules to eliminate the Imoogi.
Lee Yeon walks away from the CEO’s house with a smile.
Googling the Imoogi tells the team a mummy has been found at a construction site. He offers to go with Ji Ah. Enroute she tells him she’s the expert. He assures her he can handle a camera. He claims filming dead bodies makes him sorry for the dead being displayed. That pleases Ji Ah. That pleases the Imoogi.
Shin Joo is pleased when Yoo Ri arrives to see him.
Granny asks Lee Yeon who he thinks she is. Lee Yeon states she is master of the river between the living and afterlife. Granny doesn’t fall for it and demands he reveal himself. Lee Rang appears. She asks why he’s come to her. She wonders if he wants to send himself and his brother to the underworld. Lee Rang reacts. She notes he has wanted Lee Yeon dead forever. Lee Rang knows she knows everything. He asks how he can negate the favor he owes (the CEO). Granny says the only way he can is to die. Only a fox can break a deal made by a fox.
As he leaves, Ui Ong takes him aside and suggests the negating the deal isn’t the only option. Instead he must untangle the mess. Ui Ong reminds him that deals follow the simple rule – something for something.
Yoo Ri admits that if Lee Rang dies she’d be alone. She reiterates that Lee Rang saved her life from the terrible zoo she lived in. Shin Joo shares that his 3 sisters were killed by humans and it drove him crazy. He says Lee Yeon saved him and he decided to serve him. Yoo Ri suggests they have sex. Shin Joo notes she’s skipping some steps in the dating process. Yoo Ri tells him to live a little.
Detective Baek shows Ji Ah the mummy while the Imoogi films. Ji Ah sees the body has been drained of blood. Detective Baek says the woman wasn’t hidden, so she’s be found. Ji Ah recognizes the woman’s nails. She remembers seeing the nail in the CEO’s hallway. She rushes out. When she returns to work, she finds the nail in her desk.
Ji Ah confronts the CEO with the nail. She asks whose nail it is. The CEO says the drained body is amazing. She asks what he is. The CEO looks in the mirror and sees the branding on his forehead. Ji Ah looks and sees the branding too. She calls in the Seo Gyeong traitor.
Flashback…The governor believes the man was human. He says the man was average looking and easy to forget except for the sign of human branding on the man’s forehead. The branding stated Seo Gyeong. Ji Ah states the human branding means the man was born prior to the Joseon dynasty. Lee Yeon wonders where the man is. The governor believes the man is close by because Ji Ah was the target of the accident, not her parents.
Ji Ah declares the CEO is the one that took her parents. He smiles.
The Imoogi walks the streets. Someone walks the other side of the street and follows.
The CEO places the pressed flower on the table. Ji Ah recognizes the pressed flower she created for her parents. The CEO tells her to flip the flowers. Ji Ah reads the message from her parents asking her to save them. Ji Ah asks if her parents are alive. The CEO says if she brings Lee Yeon, he’ll return her parents.
The Imoogi realizes that someone is following him. He sees Lee Yeon for a moment, then he vanishes. He turns and Lee Yeon is right there. They grapple. Lee Yeon reminds the Imoogi he was to not to make a move.
Ji Ah stares at the message from her parents. She stares at the CEO.
The Imoogi tells Lee Yeon he’s still arrogant. Lee Yeon admits he wants to trample him. The Imoogi declares he controls the lives of Lee Rang, Ji Ah and her parents. The Imoogi offers to let everyone live if Lee Yeon hands over his body.
Quid pro quo – something given or received for something else – was the focus of this episode. Writer Han Woo Ri continues to push the story forward in understandable, logical, bitesize bits. The Imoogi wants Ji Ah and Lee Yeon’s powers. Everything he does is geared to achieve that. Lee Rang was told to bring Lee Yeon to the CEO. Ji Ah was told to bring Lee Yeon by the CEO. Lee Yeon was told to give himself up by the Imoogi to save the lives of those he loves – Ji Ah and Lee Rang. The Imoogi will do anything, say anything to get what he wants. This is a long-standing grudge that will end in either Lee Yeon’s or the Imoogi’s death. I continue to love the secondary love story between Shin Joo and Yoo Ri. She is prickly and he is sweet. He sees the heart she hides. While her loyalty to Lee Rang is her top priority, she proposed a fling with Shin Joo. He couldn’t help but accept her offer. Writer Han’s story is populated with characters of depth and a long history. This series is working on every level.
Lee Yeon (Lee Dong Wook) faces a choice – offer himself to save Ji Ah and Lee Rang or they die. I love Lee Yeon’s belief in himself. The Imoogi called him arrogant but I see it more confidence caring. He is determined to save those he loves. He hasn’t been fooled by the Imoogi’s tactics. He had Shin Joo follow Lee Rang, and learned where the Imoogi was living and that his brother was still working with him. He followed the Imoogi, who infiltrated Ji Ah’s workplace. He confronted the Imoogi and was given the offer. The question is simple – can Lee Yeon defeat the Imoogi? If so, how? I’m betting Lee Yeon must have help from Ji Ah and Lee Rang to win.
Nam Ji Ah (Jo Bo Ah) faces a choice – offer Lee Yeon to save her parents or they die. Ji Ah is in a good place. She’s solid with Lee Yeon. She’s happy at work. But finding her parents is her dearest wish. When the Imoogi joined the team as an intern, Ji Ah knew he had connections. When she saw the nails of the mummy, she remembered she’d found the missing nail in the CEO’s house. She retrieved the nail and confronted the CEO. I love her moxy and lack of fear. She didn’t call Lee Yeon to help her decide what to do. She went to the CEO and demanded answers. He revealed his branding. She realized the CEO was the traitor Governor spoke of. With everything that Lee Yeon and Ji Ah have gone through, she won’t betray him to secure her parents. She will work with him. I was happy to see the final pieces of the backstory of A Eum’s death. Hosted inside A Eum’s body, the Imoogi confronted Lee Yeon. Because Lee Yeon owed A Eum a favor, the Imoogi was able to force Lee Yeon to kill A Eum. The favors between characters is a great tie point. The production team visualized it well.
Lee Rang (Kim Bum) faces a choice – offer Lee Yeon to settle his debt or he dies. Lee Rang didn’t want the human soul / life infusing ground cherry. But he owes the CEO a favor for saving his life all those years ago. I wondered since Lee Yeon revealed last episode that his blade did not weld a death blow, would Lee Rang have died from the injury? Regardless, Lee Rang owes the CEO. Granny told him his death was the only option to negate the favor. Ui Ong told him untangling the mess was another option. Is Lee Rang smart enough to see a path forward? He wants to, but can he?
I rank this episode as terrific, 9 on a 10-point scale.