5 Times Episodes 7 & 8 Of “Tale Of The Nine-Tailed” Made Our Hearts Flutter Then Ache
In a blink of an eye, we’ve reached the mid-way point for “Tale of the Nine-Tailed.” It seems like it was just yesterday when we saw Ji Ah and her parents driving down a dark road, heading towards a disaster. Actually, that scene is still fresh in our minds because it literally just happened again, but this time with an adult Ji Ah. And just like that poor family, our main leads are hurtling towards disasters of their own.
But before we have our hearts ripped out and stomped on by all the pain and heartache, the drama makes sure to butter us up by providing tons of adorable moments between the couples (yes, more than one!). So here are some sweet and less-sweet happenings from this week’s episodes:
Warning: Spoilers for episodes 7 and 8 ahead.
Yeon proving just how much he’s willing to do for Ji Ah
After Granny Taluipa confirms that The Imoogi is indeed alive, Yeon is so overcome with anger and feelings of betrayal that he unleashes his powers on Granny, before Grandpa Hyun Eui Ong steps in and stops them from hurting each other. And like the fortune teller, Grandpa too tells Yeon that if he continues to get involved, then either he or Ji Ah will die. However, Yeon swears that this time around, he’ll protect Ji Ah even if it costs him his own life.
Worried about Ji Ah’s safety, Yeon informs her that he’s moving in so he can better protect her. And thus starts all the adorably blissful moments of cohabitation, including (failing at) cooking breakfast for Ji Ah and sending her off to work.
That’s just another way of saying it was Shin Joo who made the breakfast. Heh.
And to make sure she’s always in his line of sight, he also (kind of creepily) watches over her while she’s sleeping, before jumping into bed next to her, and the two discuss some of their favorite things.
Yeon, spotted by Ji Ah’s colleagues while he’s lurking at the restaurant, is invited to join the work squad for lunch. They interrogate the two about their relationship, and when Yeon nonchalantly responds that he’s having a one-sided crush on Ji Ah, Ji Ah corrects him by saying it’s two-sided. Awww.
Yeon also meets his potential future-sister-in-law at that luncheon.
One thing that’s been really enjoyable about this couple is that there aren’t any needless secrets hanging over their heads. You know, like how some couples have secrets that will eventually blow their relationship up. While it provides drama and tension — counting down the days till the secrets come out and the aftermath of the explosion is always entertaining — there’s something just as refreshing about watching couples that don’t take this route. Ji Ah trading away the fox bead could’ve been an explosive moment, but Yeon finds out early in the next episode (though he’s a little too calm about it if you ask me), and Ji Ah similarly tells Yeon about her Imoogi-nightmare right after it happens. Everything is more or less on the table, allowing us to deal with the more central issues rather than needless drama.
Though, in Ji Ah’s defense, she has a pretty good reason as to why she traded the fox bead.
Ji Ah finding out the truth about her past life
This week, we finally learn why Rang was after the “Tiger’s Eyebrows” artifact — he wanted Ji Ah to use it. And when Ji Ah receives the item in the mail, she puts it on and is shocked to see her past life as Ah Eum, the seventh (and expelled from palace) princess.
We see Ah Eum being summoned to the palace by the King (her servants turn out to be Ji Ah’s colleagues!). When finally face-to-face, Ah Eum confronts the Imoogi-possessed King and shoots an arrow at him, but misses. The Imoogi reveals that Ah Eum was born to be sacrificed to him, but her father made a deal with him — his body for Ah Eum’s freedom. Wanting to save her father (whose body was deteriorating rapidly due to the possession), Ah Eum agreed to take The Imoogi to where Yeon was, via possessing her own body. She obviously knew of his sinister intentions, but Ah Eum showed great trust in Yeon and believed that he would be able take care of things at his end.
Yet, next thing we know, we see cuts of Yeon telling the Imoogi-possessed Ah Eum that Ah Eum was his bait all along, a bait to lure The Imoogi out. Yeon charges towards Ah Eum, plunges his claw into her and kills her. That’s when present-day Ji Ah horrifyingly realizes that she was murdered by Yeon in her past life.
The show really knows how to play with our emotions, giving us so much sweetness in episode seven, then jerking it all away and promptly making the world come crashing down. Sure, we later learn from Shin Joo (Hwang Hee) that there’s more to the story and that it was actually Ah Eum’s choice to sacrifice herself; but Yeon still chooses the martyr route and maintains a “yeah, I killed you because I’m a jerk”-persona to protect Ji Ah. And it all hurts so so much.
The adorableness that is Shin Joo and Yoo Ri
The Yoo Ri-Shin Joo pairing has been electrifying from the moment Yoo Ri (Kim Young Ji) gave Shin Joo a peck on his cheek while also shoving a gun into his side. Since then Shin Joo has been pretty smitten with this fox-from-abroad, and when Yoo Ri brings an injured puppy to Shin Joo to treat, their relationship blossoms even further. In fact, Shin Joo is so taken by Yoo Ri, he even does a marriage compatibility test for the two which scores a 99 percent compatibility. (The Yeon-Ji Ah couple only score a 25 percent. Uh oh).
Unfortunately, when Yeon has Shin Joo trail Rang to see what he’s up to, Shin Joo also inadvertently finds out that Yoo Ri is in cahoots with Rang. This greatly devastates him, but what’s worse is when Rang realizes Shin Joo has been tailing him, he jumps on him and beats him senseless.
Who else jumped when Rang smashed the window? I expected him to pop up somewhere but I certainly didn’t think he’d smash the window.
After Shin Joo recuperates, he finds an excuse to see Yoo Ri again (naming the puppy). He promises he’ll show her the world isn’t as evil as she thinks, and before her temper flares up, he quickly plants a kiss on her cheek and runs away.
It’s adorable how head-over-heels he is with her, enough to look past Yoo Ri’s involvement with Rang. No doubt we’ll be getting more adorable moments from these two now that Shin Joo is more determined than ever to woo Yoo Ri. And luckily for Shin Joo, we know Yoo Ri has some feelings for him too. Even Rang can tell!
Everything about Rang
Rang always comes in for the win when talk about heartbreaking scenes. Again and again, we see that behind his psychopathic mask hides a lost, hurt boy. And this week, we see the root of all his pain and abandonment issues — his mother. When he was still young, villagers would blame him for the death of their livestock (they know he’s a fox) and would beat him up. Even more heart-wrenching is that his mother sees all the abuse but doesn’t stop them because she feels the same way. In fact, Rang’s mother believes that he’s a monster that should never have been born. Even while she was pregnant with Rang, she would try all sorts of methods to terminate the pregnancy — ingesting poison, banging her stomach against rocks — but he still survived. And eventually, this not-mother-of-the-year takes him to a forest and abandons him, where he’s attacked by the hungry spirits residing there. (This is also when Yeon first meets Rang and saves him).
All this trauma unfortunately leaves an imprint on Rang and makes him who he is today. There’s always a sadness and loneliness to him that seeps out even when he’s at his most manic state. All the kudos to Kim Bum for bringing such a vulnerability to Rang and it’s a testament to his acting skills that we still feel sorry for Rang despite how terrifying he can be.
There’s also a scene in this week’s episodes that has Yeon questioning whether The Imoogi is blackmailing Rang into doing his bidding. Rang pauses at this question, and though he continues to muster up his usual flippancy and bravado, his next words (filled with such childlike helplessness) — asking Yeon whether he would save him if his life were in danger — suggests that he could be in actual hot water. His disdain for Yeon (and Ji Ah) is very real, but his love for him is just as deep-rooted, and it could be this very inner turmoil that The Imoogi is exploiting.
All that sadness aside, Rang does come across a well-deserved heartwarming incident this week. That little pouty bowl cut boy roaming round the streets turns out to be Rang’s beloved puppy from his past life. And just like the puppy, this little boy can’t help but stick to Rang, and Rang too (figuratively) retracts his claws when he’s around him.
Side note: Why is this young boy roaming around the streets so much? Where are his parents?
Yeon’s difficult choice
We see a new antagonist making their debut this week: a creepy ahjumma with an unhealthy interest in one’s biggest fear. Let’s dub her the Nightmare Lady. (Was she named in the episodes?). Nightmare Lady, with the ability to send someone into their worst nightmares, goes after all three of our main leads (and the poor owner of the Snail Bride restaurant). She sends Rang to the day when he was abandoned by his mother in the hungry-spirit-filled-forest, and Ji Ah to the fateful day of the car crash at Yeou Gogae. Simultaneously. Which means both are in deep trouble, both will likely die without external help, and there’s only one ex-mountain spirit around to save them.
And this is the exact conundrum the Nightmare Lady leaves Yeon with: Door one leads to his brother, door two to his girlfriend. (Door three: Snapping her neck sadly wasn’t a viable option).
After Yeon and Rang’s little (confrontational) heart-to-heart earlier that day over a game of baduk, Yeon makes it clear that he’s not going to save Rang anymore. Out of context this may seem harsh, but it’s actually an echo of what Yeon said to Rang when he first met him in that forest: “There’s no salvation for those who don’t save themselves.” Yeon is likely tired of Rang acting destructively at this point and so he needs Rang to be willing to fight for himself rather than constantly playing the victim.
And this time around, we see Rang fighting back. This could very well be a turning point for him, and his actions are awarded, because just as he’s cursing Yeon out for choosing Ji Ah over him, we see Yeon slashing his way through the spirits. That surprise (and subtle relief) on Rang’s face says it all, and the brothers face off against those ghastly creatures together.
This could be what’s needed to thaw the iciness between the brothers, as Rang’s anger has always stemmed from being abandoned. It’s a smart choice for Yeon too. By saving Rang, he would have two supernatural beings with double the fire power to go and save Ji Ah from whatever horror she’s experiencing, and all will be right in the world again. Right?
Speaking of horrors (to come), the now-grown-Imoogi (played by a very striking Lee Tae Ri) has wedding bells on his brain. His bride? Ji Ah, the one who was always meant to be given to him.
Start watching “Tale of the Nine-Tailed”:
Does Lee Tae Ri’s visual make you momentarily forget that he’s the bad guy? And do you think Rang is at his turning point, or will it still take a few episodes for him to turn around? Let us know your thoughts on episodes 7 and 8 in the comments below!