Mane of Glory #19: Arthdal Chronicles Ep 5&6

Everything is coming out Tagon this week as our favorite bad guy plays everyone else like a fiddle. Come find out if he has endeared himself to The Fangirls or if we still think he is a horrible murderer.

Brilliant double crosses

UGH. Just give us some freaking light already. But the lack of light aside, we get some brilliant double cross action from Tagon and his father. Upon entering the room that holds his father and Eun Sum, Tagon spots a man tied to a chair. He quickly walks over to the figure and cuts his throat. Turns out, his father isn’t stupid and had set up a dummy person in his place. Realizing that his son does indeed want to kill him, Tagon’s father agrees to connect with Eun Sum and release his people for his help in staying alive. This doesn’t work out so well since after lots of talking and bargaining, Tagon is able to kill his father and blame it upon Eun Sum. Eun Sum runs away, devastated at the thought that he hurt his tribe with his impulsive actions.

Kmuse: UGH!!!! This would have been such a great scene if I could have actually seen their expressions.

MiataMama: Poor lighting aside, I was worried about Eun Sum. He runs on instinct and emotion and does not begin have the negotiation savvy needed to outwit Tagon or Tagon’s father. This wasn’t going to be a ‘win’ for him, no matter the outcome.

Kdrama Jen: Wait! He killed his father? It was so hard to tell what was happening in that dark attic space. Just kidding. I knew he killed his dad, but it was really hard to see it happening!

Unexpected Plot Twist

Now, this was unexpected. We, and Eun Sum, discover that Tagon’s big secret is that he also is Igutas (half human/half Neanthal). It is because of this that his father has always distrusted and feared Tagon. I also am realizing that this makes Tagon’s extermination of the Neanthal race all the more heinous. Using this secret as a bargaining chip, Eun Sum gets Tagon to agree to save the Wahan tribe. Save as in give them cushy slave jobs since the Wahan way of life is officially over and there is no going back to Iark.

Kmuse: I was not expecting Tagon’s secret at all but it does make a lot of sense. I can totally understand his hatred of his father and his own genetics. Consider growing up in a society that hates everything that you are hiding about yourself. That doesn’t excuse his actions but it does explain why it happened.

MiataMama: I wasn’t actually surprised by this particular reveal. Last week, there were a couple of flashback scenes, with Tagon and his father, where I felt they were hinting that he was more than just the typical child-of-the-mistress. I cannot wait to see where they go with this once Tagon finds out Eun Sum is also an Igutu. Will he feel a camaraderie in knowing another like him, and embrace him? (After all, he did rescue Eun Sum’s twin.) Or will his murderous streak continue?

Kdrama Jen: This was an interesting twist! I am not sure what to think. Sure, he rescued the twin, but he has also kept him locked away for years. That is just a recipe for attachment disorder and other significant mental health issues. I am not sure I am ready to overlook the fact that it was young Tagon who masterminded the complete annihilation of an entire tribe/species/race. And now we know he shared their blood. This somehow makes it worse.

Am I shipping this evil couple?

There are multiple times this week that Taealha and Tagon deserved the hashtag #CoupleGoals. Sure they are both ruthless and brutal in their attacks on their opponents. And yes, if Tagon succeeds, this will be both fathers that are killed off in their power struggle. But the love they have for each other is impressive and there are small parts of me that kind of want them to succeed.

Kmuse: They are just so pretty and smart. It takes a lot to remind myself that they are heartless monsters that are willing to kill everyone for their goals.

MiataMama: I really don’t put it past either of them to stab the other in the back, if things go south. Right now their end goals match up, so they are running strong, together. Both are very independent and totally cut-throat – quite the power couple!

Kdrama Jen: They are pretty awesome as a scheming power couple. I don’t like who they are, but I am kind of in awe.

Rule #1 of politicking is having fabulous hair

We are not going to go in depth to all the ways Tagon is kicking his adversaries butts. But suffice it to say that no one is on the same mental/plotting level as Tagon. What is truly impressive is how he manages to do this while keeping his wavy hair all healthy and shiny.

Kmuse: There was one scene where Tagon was staring off towards the distance and I just was awestruck on how beautiful his wavy hair was. Sadly, this week we got no sexy Eun Sum moments. Not only did they cover his glorious chest but they have his face covered by scarves 90% of the time. What a shame.

MiataMama: Okay, so the rest of the fangirls already know this, but I’m NOT a huge fan of the long hair in historical dramas. (I was really glad that they gave Eun Sum his shorter wavy cut!) HOWEVER . . . I find myself absolutely enamored with Tagon’s mane of glory. Take note K-drama stylists – this is one fantastic mane!!

Kdrama Jen: I am quite sure the Arthdal Shampoo Company will be knocking on Tagon’s door. How DOES he keep those gorgeous locks so shiny and perfectly coiffed (in a “Just-Killed-My-Dad-Gonna-Take-Over-the-World” kind of way)?

Tagon is the vessel of a God

In a brilliant move, Tagon somehow manages to make everyone think that he is actually the chosen human vessel of their god. Yup, not only does he make the people love him for his brilliant murdering capabilities, they now think he is the next closest thing to a deity. I think that the other tribal leaders of the coalition have been checkmated big time.

Kmuse: Excuse me for a moment as I give Tagon a slow clap for his brilliance. He is thinking of schemes that I could not even comprehend and for that I applaud him. This is politicking done right.

MiataMama: Politicking makes my head hurt. But, it was during this scene that I had to concede that Tagon is a freaking genius. Very well played, Tagon, very well played. One question though – how did he manage to cue up the swarm of fireflies, to bathe him in supernatural majesty, at just the right moment? Inquiring minds want to know.

Kdrama Jen: This was brilliant. I am sure we will find out in the future that the robes “prepared” by Taealha will have been dipped in firefly-attracting juice or filled with moths dyed brilliant blue, but hidden in his robes, only to be released when the flames of the fire attracted them…or something of this nature. This was just too perfect.

Would you like some cheese to go with that whine?

This week we get a lot of the Wahan tribe being threatened with death and moved about to various locations. While there is a sense of sadness for the poor tribe, it was soon overcome with annoyance at the nonstop whining and blaming. Is it to soon to hope that everyone but Doti and Tanya get killed off?

Kmuse: I know that I should be feeling bad for their plight….and I do. But if I have to hear them whine one more time about how it is all Eun Sum’s fault or Tanya’s fault, or even the great white wolf’s fault, I will scream. I’m glad that they are separating in their attempt to escape since now they can kill off the pointless characters that are just there to be negative and annoying.

MiataMama: I am sad that their tribe has been reduced to about 12 people. But let’s face facts, shall we? There is no way they will ever return to Iark and to how things were. Life is all about change, people. The sooner the Wahans accept their new reality, and move forward in a productive manner, the better.

Kdrama Jen: Ouch! They were just forcibly removed from their homeland, forced to helplessly watch as their children and the future of their tribe burned to ashes, and then sold into slavery. Now, they are told they will be beheaded, an act that, according their religious beliefs, will make it impossible for them to reunite with their loved ones. Sure, they are whining a lot, but…rarely have we met characters with quite such a reason to whine.

Eum Sum learns to strategize

While discovering that saving his people will not be as easy as he once thought, Eun Sum begins to take advantage of all the politicking to insert his own plans. He uses Tagon’s secret as well as Mihol’s ( Taealha’s father) hate of Tagon to try and save his people. So far he has been doing well and I look forward to seeing him hone his strategizing talent.

Kmuse: I like that Eun Sum is becoming a true adversary to Tagon intellectually as well as physically. It would be annoying if it was such a onesided fight.

MiataMama: Just like he was able to mimic the Arthdal warriors’ fighting techniques, Eun Sum is also picking up on the nuances of politicking at a quick clip. I was happy to see that he was figuring out how to join the political chess game. Here’s hoping he continues to be a fast study and can eventually give Tagon a proper challenge.

Kdrama Jen: I just want him to win. I am glad he is learning how to play this game, but I really really want him to win!

The trio of destruction.

Asa Sakan of the White Mountain Tribe gives a prophesy that the three destructive holy items had been sent down to earth to destroy Arthdal. We discover at the end of this week that those figurative items are Eun Sum, Tanya, and Eun Sum’s twin brother Saya. They will be teaming up to destroy Arthdal and Tagon unless stopped. We can’t be the only ones who hope they are not stopped. Right?

Kmuse: The emergence of Eun Sum’s twin is also a welcomed surprise. I guess I wasn’t really thinking of him being identical so this is a nice surprise. If anyone can play two different characters well it would be Song Joong Ki.

MiataMama: Yeay for identical twins! This plot point will definitely make things a whole lot more interesting. I’m excited to see how they’re going to use this to keep Tagon from resting easy! There’s a lot of prophecy on how the bell/knife/mirror trio is going to bring destruction. But, I choose to believe that the prophecy has been interpreted incorrectly and they are actually a force for good, and not doom.

Kdrama Jen: I am a huge Song Joong Ki fan, and now that we see he will be playing a dual role, I am starting to understand what he may have seen in this role as an actor. I have complete faith in his ability to portray two very different characters, so I am looking forward to seeing where this goes!

Final Thoughts

Kmuse: The politicking was top notch this week but all the other plot threads were a tad bit boring. I really hope that we have more for Tanya to do than sit around being upset and blaming herself for her tribes situation.

MiataMama: While I do concede that the political machinations are on point, it was still a literal snooze-fest for this poor fangirl. A little less focus on all the mind games and a bit more action from our heroes, pretty please?! As ‘Season 2’ of Arthdal dawns, I’m hopeful for brighter and more exciting scenes in the coming weeks.

Kdrama Jen: I am always up for some intricate politicking, so the story itself is still drawing me in. I am finding myself shipping Eun Som and the woman helping him, so if I am supposed to be hoping for a Tanya reunion, then that is not really working. I do really need them to turn on the lights, though. I want to see what is happening, and all of these darkened caves and late-night rendezvous locations are shrouded in darkness. Please, Director, shed some light on the coming scenes!

Til our next magical moment.

The Fangirls

Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

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