Mane of Glory #20: Arthdal Chronicles Ep 7&8

Move over Tagon, your “son” is going to rule the world, not you, and he’s going to do it in STYLE! Kmuse is on vacation this week, so excuse me if this is not as in depth as the rest of the Mane of Glory posts have been.

Nothing Ever Works Out for Eun Sum

Eun Sum’s mission to save his people doesn’t go as planned, and he’s met at the gate by two of his tribe members. He helps them escape, but is then hunted by the sexy masked guy… who isn’t as sexy with his mask off? They wound Eun Sum, and discover the hated purple blood. He manages to slip through their fingers, but Moo Baek finds him. Eun Sum tells him he knows something about Tagon he might want to hear. We don’t see the exchange, but Moo Baek tells everyone Eun Sum fell over the cliff, and then later we see that Eun Sum has been taken to Chae Eun’s family home.

Kmuse: Uhmmm, I’m starting to wonder if we will ever get to the part where the story really focuses in on Eun Sum. We get a tiny glimpse of him every episode, and what we see is really cool, but then he disappears and it becomes all about the Arthdal politicking. I kind of want those early days back when I thought having a magic horse meant something big was going to happen.

Clkytta: While I would have liked more Eun Sum, I think it is important that we develop the characters around him and set the scene for why he has to be this epic, sexy beast, who comes in to save his people. Right now he is building alliances and it’s not your usual politicking so I’m not bored. He’s gotta almost be killed a few times to get a reputation too.

Drama Geek: I agree with Clkytta. I actually think him going through as many hardships as his people will help him in the end. And it doesn’t hurt that he is making connections with what looks like a group of people that might already be upset with the ruling parties.

MiataMama: I wonder if Eun Sum is the younger of the Ingutu twins. I’m having a Brady Bunch moment and feel like future episodes of this drama are going to be all about “Saya, Saya, Saya!” For all his effort and spirit, poor Eun Sum is outclassed and out numbered. Even his magical black horse walked away from him when he was in trouble. I really hope my fellow fangirls are correct, in that all his hardships will help garner him some tools for victory in the end. Because right now, I’m just sad.

Kdrama Jen: It amazes me that my feelings for Eun Sum are completely eclipsed by my fascination with Saya after these episodes. I hate watching my heroes as they are helplessly dragged around or betrayed. I am sure Eun Sum will become stronger and more hardened as a result, but I really don’t like watching it happen.

Holy Mane of GLORY

Rapunzel, I mean Saya, is locked in a tower and needs someone to save him… right? Tanya discovers him, and unfortunately, she’s not in any position to help. But we find out that our damsel isn’t really one at all. Song Joong Ki goes from being scared and pathetic to diabolical. He has been reading and plotting while he’s been locked away, and he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Kmuse: OH MY WORD IS HE GORGEOUS! Can I please have his wig designer because I want these luscious locks for my own. Of course, if Saya came with them, all the better. I’ll let him be better coifed then myself if it means I can stare whenever I want.

Clkytta: Ok, I never really thought he was a woman. I know he was pretending to be one, but seriously, he oozes masculinity. Long hair and some makeup can’t hide that Adam’s apple or the line of his jaw. Saya is deliciously diabolical and looks like a romance book cover walking.

Drama Geek: The director failed me on this one. I spent a ton of time trying to capture the beauty that is Song Joong Ki in these lovely locks, but the lighting is just too dark in most scenes to get a good picture. My mouth dropped when he came on screen like this, and I just can’t help that I suddenly prefer him over Eun Sum. And it’s not just his look, his character brings a great spark to the show that I think was missing before.

MiataMama: Hmmm. . . locked away in a tower, spending his days reading and being raised by a power hungry, step-momma – yep, this is the perfect upbringing for a maniacal genius. I have no doubts that Saya is going to succeed in his mission to take over (or end) the world. And he’ll look good doing it too!

Kdrama Jen: I love Song Joong Ki in this role! Yes! Bring it on, Saya!

Why is Rapunzel so Pissed?

Tanya is brought back to Taealha’s house where she wants to kill her to protect Saya’s secret, but Tagon isn’t sure Eun Sum is dead yet, and he’s hesitant. Tanya thinks quickly and relays bits and pieces of Eun Sum’s dreams. The information has Taealha sputtering in disbelief. Saya had once loved a girl (cameo by Blackpink’s Kim Ji Soo) and Taealha had her killed. Tanya says that when the girl died, Tanya’s life was linked to Saya’s. So if Tanya dies then so will Saya.

Kmuse: Once again I am amazed at how savvy Tanya is. She truly is a delight to watch. Not to mention it is hilarious watching her put her captors in their places. I also was shocked at how ruthless Taealha can be. Not to mention she totally pulled a play from her abusive father’s playbook when she made Saya crawl and kiss her hand. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Clkytta: Tanya is a survivor. Her determination to live brings out all the reasons why she was chosen to be the Great Mother of her tribe. While she always struggled to remember the ceremonial dance of her people, I think it’s because she works best under pressure. All of her powers are presenting now that she and her people are in danger. Her immediate understanding that the room she was in was the same room Eun Sum described in her dream helped her to make the connection that Eun Sum and Saya were twins. So she was able to draw on her memories of Eun Sum’s dreams to help save her.

Drama Geek: Tanya has been through hell, but every time she is pushed against the wall, she pulls from an inner strength that will help her survive all of this. Not just survive, but come out intact and probably make the world better. It was also fun to see these two actresses together. they are pretty dynamic on screen and it was fun to watch them. I could take screenshots of Taealha all day, she is just gorgeous and powerful.

MiataMama: Tanya is quick on the uptake and seems to be pretty smart when it comes to reading her opponents, too. The way she skillfully turned the tables on Taealha was fantastic! While there are those who don’t yet consider her a contender in this showdown, Tanya’s made it clear that she’s not going down without a fight.

Don’t Cross Taealha

Tagon is told by Asa Ron that if he wants to be Union Leader then he has to marry one of the Asa tribe. This does seem to distress him, but he still takes his lover out to the woods and lets her down easy. Except, she’s not having it. She comes up with a plan to kill Asa Ron, and blame Tagon’s brother so she can still marry Tagon and he can be the Union Leader.

Kmuse: Tagon is an idiot if he thinks that Taealha is going to take this laying down. If she doesn’t marry him then she doesn’t have power and protection against her father. Of course, she isn’t going to let him just prance over to another woman. These two really do deserve each other.

Clkytta: Oh there is no way ever that Tagon will marry someone else while Taealha is alive. That woman will kill him first. She’s gone through too much to not marry him.

Drama Geek: I actually found myself caught up in their romance and dilemma. I have to remind myself of how horrible they are when they’re together. But they are both a product of their environment. It’s too bad they will probably both kill one another before this is all over.

MiataMama: Do NOT mess with Taealha! She has PLANS! And woe to anyone who gets in the way of them. I know I’ve said this before, but I’m certain she has loyalty to no one, not even to Tagon. He best be careful and keep masked bodyguard close by, to watch his back. . .

Joong Ki in drag? Yes, Please!

Asa Ron is to be poisoned, except Dan Byeok runs into a woman after eating out at a place in the village, and she hands him a vial. It says that he’s been poisoned and this is the antidote. When he goes back to see the chickens they used to test the food on, they are all dead. So he drinks it, and ends up spitting blood. When Taealha finds out that Asa Ron didn’t die, but Dan Byeok is sick instead, she knows the only person who knew her plan was Saya. She confronts him, and at first he plays dumb, but then sneers and admits it was him. Now she can’t have the man she loves. They’re even.

Kmuse: Saya is getting all the cool revenge scenes that I was expecting Eun Sum to be having. Of course, that just means we have double the Song Joong Ki so is that really a bad thing?

Clkytta: Saya has been waiting for a long time to make his move. I mentioned how much I love how diabolical he is, and we all know the reason. Books. Saya has been cooped up in his tower his whole life and he’s read everything he could get his hands on. So he has a wealth of knowledge that I think everyone else has underestimated. He is also able to hide in plain sight by dressing as a woman. I can’t wait to see what else he does.

MiataMama: I totally giggled with glee and clapped excitedly when Saya’s payback moment played out – does this make me a bad person?! On a side note, I was really sad to see Tagon’s brother get knocked off this week. I secretly wanted him to have the opportunity to rise up as a fair and just leader of the people. That dream has obviously died a premature death.

Kdrama Jen: I was the first among us to finish watching, and then I spent the next few days asking each of the fan girls… “Did you get to the end of episode 7?” When Saya laughed and admitted he was behind the plan, I was completely back on board with this drama. It also suddenly made sense why Song Joong Ki chose this drama. He will really be able to showcase his acting chops! I had Innocent Man/Nice Guy flashbacks—and I can’t wait to see where this goes!

Drama Geek: I think he’s spent his time reading and being very observant. He’s always the shadow that no one realizes is lurking. (I find it hard to believe anyone wouldn’t notice him!) He does have a weakness though, and the scene where Tagon checks to see if his scab has fallen off was very eye opening for both characters. Tagon loathed himself, and wanted nothing more than to be normal. It also explains why he was eager to wipe all of the Neanthals out to please daddy.

Whose side is Moo Baek on?

Moo Baek not only saved Eun Sum, but he also gets a nearly dead Dan Byeok out of city, hoping to save him. So, he was told by Asa Sakan that the three items that fell to earth would destroy it, and he should help Tagon (the man who killed his father). Yet Moo Baek seems to be doing the opposite. Part of it may be out of love for Eun Sum’s mom, who we discover was someone Moo Baek cared for, but the rest of his actions seem based more on his interpretation of the prophesy and the artifact he brought back from the Wahan tribe.

Kmuse: If he had known beforehand that Eun Sum was his past love’s son then I would understand his actions better. But with how things are being explained I am really confused. Of course, I don’t totally understand the prophecy to begin with so maybe that is part of the problem. Oh well, everyone is very attractive so I will turn my brain off when it comes to these kind of moments.

Clkytta: It changes everything now that Eun Sum is the son of one of the Asas. Think about it, he is the son of a beloved member of a powerful tribe, so now he can be used as a pawn for power. Who else can beat Tagon but someone like Tagon? I’m not completely clear about the prophecy either.

Drama Geek: With Moo Baek bringing Eun Sum to Chae Eun’s family home, it leads me to believe that they’ve been trying to show support for a better leader for a while. Chae Eun hasn’t made it clear why she’s helping Eun Sum, but I think the answer lies with her family. I believe the prophesy will play out different than the Asa tribe understands. The world as they know it will end, and the sword, bell, and mirror will be the ones to bring about that change.

MiataMama: Moo Baek seems to be the only one thinking outside the box, and questioning how all these pieces of the prophecy puzzle actually go together. I stand by my declaration last week, that the sword, bell and mirror will bring about a change for good, not destruction. I hope Moo Baek has chosen to be on their side – they desperately need someone loyal in their corner!

Kdrama Jen: I really enjoy this character. He brings some clear thinking and maturity to the situations that seem to be dominated by impulsivity and diabolical scheming. I like the contrast!

Boiled in Oil

Tagon can’t prove that Eun Sum is dead so he does the next best thing, and dresses someone to look like him, cuts out his tongue, and boils him in front of a large crowd.

Kmuse: Aw, Tagon. So benevolent, except when he isn’t.

Clkytta: This was a horrible scene. Ugh.

Drama Geek: The show makes sure that we don’t forget what kind of ruler our heroes are up against.

MiataMama: I wanted more action this week and thankfully the writers delivered! However, I totally could have done without THIS torturous scene – double ugh.

Kdrama Jen: There is nothing quite like seeing someone dragged through town with their tongue yanked out, and then dropped into boiling oil… I missed the fact that the tongue was removed, so that explains why the guy wasn’t yelling, “You have the wrong guy!” I actually wondered about that during that scene, so I am glad it was cleared up for me.

Tagon Fools Them Again

Once Tagon is named union leader, with his future Asa tribe wife by his side, he immediately wants to set up an old way of doing things. It’s pretty much organizing things so there is one head (Tagon as king) and then his ministers from all the tribes. He tricks Asa Ron into agreeing, and then appoints him as one of the leaders. This puts Tagon’s power over Asa Ron, who is NOT happy.

Kmuse: After watching Asa Ron fall apart when he didn’t have his drug fix, I am surprised that he can think at all. He is obviously no match for someone of Tagon’s intellect.

Clkytta: Tagon is one smart guy, why be Union Leader when you can be King? Also, sorry Asa Lady, but your days are numbered. We all know that you have Taealha’s man and she’s not going to stand for that.

Drama Geek: Yeah, Taealha is out to get you, and you should be very worried. And leave it to her to look stunning at the ceremony while she plotted her next move.

MiataMama: Once again, I have to commend Tagon for his strategizing skills. He IS a clever one!

Kdrama Jen: My money is in Taealha! I think she can out-scheme Tagon. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Wahan Tribe Scattered

Tanya is made Saya’s maid, and the others are parceled off to different places. Her dad impresses Tagon with his immediate understanding of bronze so he’s put to work telling them all about his tribe and where they’re from. The two people who escaped, Dal Sae and Book Shwe, are taken to Eun Sum where they tell him of their plan to rescue two of the other tribe members. What they don’t know is that Moong Tae is bitter about being left behind, so instead of rescuing him, they are caught and sold off. When the slave owner discovers Eun Sum’s blood, they beat him badly.

Kmuse: The Wahan storyline continues to be my least favorite after they arrived in Arthdal. Can we get back to Saya already?

Clkytta: I find this storyline fascinating. The Wahan tribe has been one big family with few petty differences. They have lived in peace within their village with a real sense of innocence. Yes, they fought other tribes, but their tribe was simple. Think about it, while in the holding cell together they were all willing to die together. They are a unit. So now we are seeing them develop individually and the weaknesses of some are no longer glossed over by the strength of others.

Drama Geek: It should be pointed out that Tanya’s mom really was the glue that held of these people together. She was their leader, and strength. Now that she is gone, they are falling apart and Tanya isn’t there to help keep them together. It’s sad that they’ve turned on each other, but it’s also understandable to just want to survive. It’s human nature. I hope that Eun Sum will help strengthen them, and they will all rally behind him.

Kdrama Jen: I can understand why they are showing this, but I don’t enjoy watching it. I know we need to see the way the Wahan have fallen apart, but it is quite heartbreaking.

MiataMama: Moong Tae, is it? DUDE! They came to rescue your sorry behind and you rat them out to your captors??? 왜?!?! I’m also pretty upset that Eun Sum’s purple blood keeps getting spilled – too many people are figuring out who he is and he’s not prepared for that. I just really need this twin to have a win, for once!!

Saya Dreams

Saya escapes from his house, and Tanya is tasked to follow him. He leads her into the woods, and then confronts her. He finds out she isn’t escaping because they still have her dad, and have threatened to kill him if she doesn’t obey. She sees a treehouse shaped exactly like the one Eun Sum lived in, and she asks him about it. He says he saw it in his dreams. What he doesn’t tell her is that he thinks he’s seen her too. So Eun Sum and Saya’s connection goes both ways.

Kmuse: I really like this whole shared dream plotline they have going here. Twin powers activated!

Clkytta: We all know Saya is going to fall for Tanya, right? The shared dreams are totally a sign that there will be some serious jealousy between the two.

Drama Geek: Um… I think Saya has already fallen for her a little bit. He’s desperate for love and attention. We saw that when he was with Tagon. And here comes this fiery girl who stands up for herself. It doesn’t hurt that he’s dreamed about Eun Sum’s life, and that would be filled with Tanya.

Kdrama Jen: I love the shared dreams twist. Imagining these two brothers, separated by tragic circumstances, yet still connected, made me sit up and take notice.

MiataMama: These shared dreams are a real knife-edge. They could either be used for tremendous good, or ultimate betrayal. . . Only time will tell how this power will be wielded.

Tanya’s Determination

Saya ends up taking Tanya to see her dad where she learns about Eun Sum being boiled in front of everyone. At first, she is so out of it, she just laughs at odd times. But when Saya pushes her to face the truth of his death, she explodes and freaks out on him. She can’t understand why this has all happened to her and her people. Saya tells her she’ll never understand until she knows what it’s like to have power. She’d been surviving on the hope that Eun Sum would save her, and they’d be together again. But she decides to survive so that she can gain the power that Saya speaks of, and finally understand the world.

Kmuse: This character is bringing so much strength to the table and I could not be happier. At this point, I would totally be OK with her and Saya hooking up to take down Tagon. Eun Sum who???

Clkytta: I think Saya and Tanya will work together, but I don’t see them as a romantic couple. I’m firmly on team Eun Sum. I need Saya to stay in his lane.

Drama Geek: I’m TORN. I actually like Eun Sum with Cha Eun so I wouldn’t be upset if Saya and Tanya got together. This is kdramaland, so Saya and Cha Eun will probably be alone and sad, or dead. LOL. I was impressed with Tanya at the end of this. She will survive and she will learn how to make her way in this new world.

Kdrama Jen: Oh, Drama Geek, I hope you are wrong, but I think you have a point. Saya and Cha Eun will probably die in some tragic way. I seriously had chills as Tanya seemed to prepare herself to become whatever is necessary in order to get her revenge.

MiataMama: Tanya’s got a bit of a journey ahead of her, if she wants to be as cutthroat as her captors. But she’s got a good start with her ample determination and a brilliant private tutor. Saya needs to keep his possible feelings for her to himself though – I’m still team Eun Sum over here!

Final Thoughts

Kmuse: I’m a huge fan of Saya and Tanya combining their strength to take down the bad guys. Who could resist Saya’s slightly crazy gaze and windswept hair? Not this fangirl.

Clkytta: So, I had pretty much dropped this drama out of boredom. Then my kbesties start chattering and gushing and talking about all the storylines coming together and sexy Saya, so I decided to get caught up and see if it was worth adding back to the list. The answer is a resounding yes! The moral of the story is when the fangirls fangirl, all you can do is follow along, there is no escape.

Drama Geek: I was the same as Clkytta then I saw stills of Song Joong Ki’s mane of glory and I had to jump back in. I think the story has really come together this week, and the added characters bring a nice dynamic. My only hope, is that more meetings and discussions happen outside from now on, so we can see what’s going on!

MiataMama: The story pacing picked up some steam this week, and for that I’m grateful. There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle and I’m still enjoying watching how they will fit them all together. Bring on episodes 9 & 10!

Kdrama Jen: The minute Saya went from ethereal fairy to scheming mastermind, I was hooked back in! Then, we get all kinds of character development coming for Tanya, and this became a show I am sub-stalking (or Netflix stalking). Song Joong Ki as Saya is just fantastic!

Until the next beyond glorious mane of glory,

The Fangirls

Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

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