Arthdal Chronicles Episodes 5-6 Review: The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.


Eun Seom’s (Song Joon Ki) quick wit has clued him into some secrets that others don’t their enemies to know. He may be untaught, but he’s a fast learner. We’ve also discovered that he may not be the last one left of his kind. Can Eun Seom figure out this new world in time to save his tribe? Join Kate and me as we discuss the turn of events in these episodes of “Arthdal Chronicles.”

Kate: Oh my goodness! So many twists and turns and power plays this week. I thought my head would spin with all the plots afoot to gain control of the Arthdal Union. It seems like you can’t trust anyone in Arth but Eun Seom and Tanya (Kim Ji Won).

Wendilynn: At one point I totally felt for the position Eun Seom found himself in. He’s negotiating with Tagon (Jang Dong Gun), who he can’t trust. But because there are so many enemies, Tagon was being forced to be trustworthy and Eun Seom was just in disbelief. It’s a good thing he’s a fast learner because the circles within circles of deception almost railroads the story. 

Kate: The fate of the poor Wahan tribe also kept me on the edge of my seat. First Tagon is going to have them all killed because of “Eun Seom” murdering Tagon’s father. Then Tagon is blackmailed into keeping them safe. Again, though, as you said, Wendilynn, Tagon isn’t exactly a trustworthy ally. How long can Eun Seom rely on him for keeping the Wahan tribe safe? And to change gears a little bit further, what will it mean that Tagon and Eun Seom share some ancestry?

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Wendilynn: Well, I think learning that Tagon is mixed explains everything about why his dad kept vacillating between killing him or letting him live. His enemies would have a very valid reason for killing him in a heartbeat if they knew. It’s a powerful secret to hold. It also explains why Tagon was saving the Igutu children he came across.

What kept me enthralled, though, was the prophecy about how the “one who killed his father” would fight the “sword, the bell and the mirror” to save the world. Forget the Jesus symbolism going on at the funeral, but I sort of love who our “Sword,” “Bell” and “Mirror” are. I also love that they are all born on the day of the comet. 

Kate: Tagon definitely seems to be a part of that prophecy. I wonder how literal it is supposed to be. “Ending the world” could be an end to the culture, or it could be a full-fledged apocalypse. It frustrated me a bit that Tagon seems to be key to saving the world, though. After his actions this week I am done with him. They’d really have to perform a real number on his character to allow me to feel he deserved redemption. I have a little more faith in his brother so far. That scene when Tagon was trying to convince him that he hadn’t killed their father was so tense.

Danbyeok (Park Byung Eun) seems confused, but possibly noble so far. I wonder if Mihol’s (Jo Sung Ha) plotting will pull him on a different path.

Wendilynn: I think Danbyeok knows that Tagon killed his father, but he probably also knows it was probably a “him or me” situation. He loves his brother, though, so I don’t think he wants to really go after him. I wonder if his attitude would change if he knew (or knows) the truth about his brother being an Igutu.

I think the show wants us to feel sympathy for our anti-hero because his life is worth spit by his own culture’s rules and everything he’s doing is designed to help him survive and not be killed. But on the flip side, if he had left when he was first offered the chance to just leave, he could be living peacefully. So, why did he stay and try to become king? 

Kate: He seems power hungry. He has a chip on his shoulder, too, that his father didn’t favor him enough before. Becoming the first king would satisfy all of those issues of ego, or at least it may for a little while. Tagon isn’t just promoting the point of view that he is an incarnation of Aramun –some sort of god or savior, I think — so that he can use the identity to gain power. He also seems to enjoy being seen as Aramun.

Wendilynn: That he does. He’s willing to capitalize on any superstition or belief to see to his ends. He’s really a bad guy, and the show can’t seem to decide if we are to hate or love him, which makes him a fascinating character.

I really want to cheer on Tanya and Eun Seom, though. They are the ones I want to see more of, and I feel that Tagon’s story in this first section is overshadowing their own. Now that we’ve found Saya (Song Joong Ki) that might change.

Kate: I want to know more about what Saya is up to. I also want to see what might happen to the “civilized” Arth people when they discover how the Igutu or mixed Igutu people are not the animals they think they were. I wonder what it might do to this society’s view of themselves and their place in the world. Maybe the world really will end.

I want more stories that are non-Tagon centric too. I want to see more about where the White Wolf might lead the Wahan tribe or how Eun Seom’s horse might be a mythically powerful horse and what that means. Sure, Tagon is important, but is he really the most important part of this world? 

Wendilynn: Excellent question. 

A prophecy connects Tagon to the three children born the day of the comet. One is meant to save the Sarans and the others are meant to destroy it. Are you taking sides yet? Who should win?


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