The second act of the Arthdal saga has finished, and the characters are in place for some big changes. New alliances are forming. Tanya (Kim Ji Won), Saya and Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) have a chance to grasp new sources of power that can help them accomplish their goals. Everything is seeming to fall into a place that will lead toward a happy ending. Or at least a happy-ish one. It may be tough to wait for Act Three, but before that, join Wendilynn and meas we talk about the wrap-up of this part of “The Arthdal Chronicles.”
Wendilynn: After episode twelve’s developments, waiting till September might constitute as cruel and unusual punishment. I’m sure it’s violating a Geneva Convention somewhere. Did they remember to include K-drama cliff-hangers in them? Lol, the end of episode twelve was soooo good.
Kate: I’m glad it didn’t end at an incredibly tense moment. Most of the characters we care about had just experienced some form of success, so we can bask in that success a bit instead of biting our fingernails while we wait. I wouldn’t want to wait for weeks to find out if Eunseom’s escape plan worked or if Tanya did find the bell. Can you imagine if they had ended these episodes just half a scene earlier in each of these plots? I enjoyed the end of episode twelve immensely too. Tanya ringing the star bell was a particularly satisfying moment.
Wendilynn: I loved the storyline in these episodes, from learning that Noonbyul (Elena An) was a Neanthal to Tanya’s discovery that she could hear people’s thoughts. I loved seeing how the dance all the sacred mothers of the Wahan tribe learned was specifically designed to find the bell. Even the “shell” prophecy played into this. I just sat there growing excited as all the pieces clicked into place, much to the amazement of those around her.
Kate: So many hits kept coming that should have broken Taelha (Kim Ok-Vin) and Tagon’s (Jang Dong-Gun) plan to introduce Tanya as the true heir to Asa Sin. My favorite bit was probably the fake fight between Taelha and Tanya that allowed them to have a quick conversation alone. I knew they must have talked. I knew that quick cut between the servant leaving to get fire and coming back with it had to obscure something important. It was incredibly smart to let their opponents think they were probably not going to succeed for so long. It encouraged them to let their guard down a bit. I’m not sure Tanya would have been allowed to find the bell. Especially in front of a large audience, if they believed she was going to find it.
Wendilynn: That is very true. I also understand why the Great Mother would have placed the Shell up on the roof. When Asa Ron (Lee Do-Kyung) talked about how new carvings covered the old carvings, I knew it somehow wouldn’t matter what was written on the walls we could see in the temple. This is why learning the dance so precisely would have been vital. Not taking too big of steps, lifting your arm or gaze just so far. And all this time I just thought they used the dance to call upon the gods. This show did a good job of deflecting our expectations up until the end.
Kate: Eunseom got his spirit back, too, which was great to see! It hurt to see Eunseom appear so defeated, without a will to live or even really survive. Now he has led and planned an escape. That should add some interesting new elements that Taelha and Tagon have to cope with as they try to cement themselves at the head of the Arthdal Union. The living Neanthals, though there are only six, might do something to gum up those works as well. Was it just me, or did Noonbyul (Elana An) look intrigued by the idea that she could choose her destiny instead of following others’ orders if she chose to live with the Neanthals?
Wendilynn: I loved the Neanthals. Here they were, looking at the last female of their line. And they give her the choice to be a mother of her race or to stay with her adopted family. I admit I fell in love with Ragazeu (Yoo Teo) just a little bit. To respect her choice above all else just melted me completely. It highlighted the evilness of the genocide committed against them.
Kate: I was also happy to see Tanya find out that Eunseom hadn’t really died. That he escaped and someone else was executed in his place. It wasn’t the biggest of developments, but it makes Tanya’s load just a little bit lighter. Now we’re just another step closer to seeing them reunited!
Eunseom’s not coming alone, either. The men have bonded over their mining experience, and Eunseom is bringing a united force ready to do … something? Not sure what yet. Maybe the secret message that the dying miner whispered in his ear has pointed him in a particular direction. I can’t wait to find out what he said and what role it plays in the final set of episodes.
Wendilynn: Watching them rally around their dying friend really touched me. First, they saw him as expendable. Then as their perspective changed, they turned into brothers all because Eunseom was unwilling to kill him. He kept saying that you don’t mess with the Momo tribe. I am hoping that its the Momo tribe that becomes Eunseom’s sword, so to speak. It was nice to see their humanity return to them as they stopped thinking of themselves as animals. I hope they don’t have too many hiccups getting away.
Kate: Saya had to swallow his pride a lot this week. He put a lot of work and effort into getting Tanya in place. But he still had to kneel before Tagon to get it all accomplished. As much as I can’t forgive Tagon, I found parts of their conversation touching. Yes, Saya had a lonely upbringing, but Tagon’s sounded more brutal in certain ways. Neither of them had good fathers. Their story isn’t done either. I wonder what will happen between the two of them when the power differentials change. I don’t think Tagon is fit to remain at the top of the Arthdal Union. Or even if the Union will survive.
Wendilynn: Tagon made an interesting comment after he discovered what Saya was up to. He said, “The kid is ready.” Clearly, he wants Saya to become something. He’s part of whatever Tagon is trying to accomplish. Tagon is aware that Saya will act on his own, that he’s highly intelligent and that Saya could betray him. It almost makes me feel a little sorry for Tagon. Almost.
So far, Taealha is the only person he can truly depend on. They understand each other perfectly. I’d love to know what was in her letter that clued him in that Tanya knew where the bell was. I would expect them to have a secret language on how to communicate with each other. They are a couple long practiced in the art of undercover communication.
Kate: Even Taelha and Tagon promised each other they wouldn’t die for one another, though. Which makes me think that one of them will in the end. But I really can’t predict much else. There are still too many people and factions at play. Anything really could happen — but at least Eunseom and Tanya will make it to a happy place, I think.
The third chapter of this story starts on September 7th. Join us to continue the adventures of Eunseom, Tanya, and Saya as they change the world of Arthdal forever.