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A Korean Odyssey Episode 11 Recap

I really like this episode – the pace has picked up, the plot thickens (in more than one aspect) and I truly don’t want this to end.

We dive right back where Oh Gong leans in for a deeper kiss.

Oh Gong, in his usual direct fashion, points out, “You kissed me first. That means we aren’t friends nor family. Since we have a conclusion, let’s go!” Seon Mi hilariously panics, to which Oh Gong even more funnily retorts, “You must be responsible for activating the Guemganggo!” He even proposes that he will go to her house first and she can hurry there by herself (LOL – is this how dating a deity is like) but Seon Mi huffily tells him not to come unless she summons.

Seon Mi reaches her house and murmurs, “I’m in trouble.” However, her expression shows that she’s kinda happy to be in that sort of trouble. Meanwhile, Oh Gong waits for the summon which didn’t come.

Ma Wang is the next torchbearer for the Olympics, the previous torch bearer being Kang Dae Sung. While waving to his fans and basking in the attention, Ma Wang gets stabbed and is apparently fatally injured. Upon learning of this news, Seon Mi merely quips in puzzlement that this person can’t die.

Secretary Ma publicly releases news that things don’t look good for Ma Wang, yet privately tells Seon Mi that the person lying in hospital now is a false image projected by Ma Wang. Ma Wang in fact, wants to make use of this incident to die.

Seon Mi is even confused when all the deities/demons clap after Ma Wang announces this intention but PK explains that sometimes the demons will want to start a new life. Oh Gong jibes that Ma Wang must be weakened by all the medicine he took (so as not to eat Seon Mi) such that he couldn’t defend himself but Ma Wang reveals that he allowed himself to be stabbed. He saw an evil spirit festering in one of the bystanders and swooped in when the bystander took out a knife in preparation for a stab.

Oh Gong then cute-ly asks Ma Wang to set up his next venture in a warmer country. The thought that this will only incentivise Oh Gong’s visits causes Ma Wang to shudder. The various demons start talking about when they plan to die – the fact that they have left behind too many photos and evidential proof does make it harder for them to leave the current life. This excludes Oh Gong, who is simply leading a jobless life but he retorts that he doesn’t need respect, “Respect and love? I can just have it from Sam Jung.” He talks about the reactivation (touching his lips to her lips) and Seon Mi indignantly pulls him away.

She’s suddenly like this because she’s afraid that once the Guemganggo is off, he won’t like her anymore. “I must be crazy, but I like you so much, so please tolerate me.”  Instead of playing tricks, Oh Gong decides to show off – and helps Seon Mi see stars in his room. He looks at the Guemganggo and wonders if he has gone crazy too.

Kang Dae Sung looks at the glove left behind by Bu Ja and laughs creepily. Bu Ja apologises for her act in the van. Seon Mi accepts her apology and wants her not to give up finding her past. Thereafter however, Oh Gong points out to Bu Ja that she’s still rotting despite all the energy balls and Seon Mi will be very sad if Bu Ja turns into a monster which Sam Jung would then have to catch. Bu Ja gets the hint and tears up, but says that she will pick a date to leave. Oh Jong notes that even though Oh Gong is so cold to Bu Ja on the outside, he’s still very thoughtful towards her, like how he turns up the aircon despite hating the cold.

Secretary Ma chats with Summer Fairy and comments on Seon Mi’s stupidity in falling in love with a demon. Summer Fairy replies that Seon Mi wishes for a happy ending and has even heard the rings of the love charm. Secretary Ma does some detective work, such as learning from the peddler’s grandson that he lost a death charm, and puts two and two together.

Seon Mi still holds that death bell and wonders about whether she should tell Oh Gong about the rings. I must confess – I’m tired of Seon Mi holding that bell, whether in shyness, happiness, enthusiasm, passion or confusion. Enough.

Back to the evil spirit of the day – it’s apparently a spirit in the Spirit Tree, which nobody has ever successfully chopped off. One guy tries to because he wants money, and he gets sucked into the tree. Let’s call him Guy.

The media keeps running reports on Ma Wang’s famous line, “Pass!” in the auditions, and he hilariously cries because he can’t say it anymore. Secretary Ma hurries in and worriedly notifies Ma Wang that he can’t just pass away like this, because numerous people have popped up claiming to bear Ma Wang’s children. Ma Wang angrily points to his crotch and rages that he has been celibate for a thousand years. There are even reports of a lover – to which Oh Gong laughs at – before Oh Gong realises that the supposed lover is Seon Mi. He immediately changes his tone from “well you have already decided to die so just die” to “you can’t just end this life, you have to wake up!” Encouraged by Oh Gong, Ma Wang ‘revives’. I love just how this relationship develops between the two. They are just like two children bolstering each other’s ego.

Kang Dae Sung’s developmental project involves cutting away that Spirit Tree and he doesn’t care how it is done. This is so not even after hearing that people who touch that tree become weird, one of which was the guy who stabbed Ma Wang.

Kang Dae Sung visits Ma Wang at the hospital, at the same time as Seon Mi and Han Joo. Seon Mi notices the Guy tailing Kang Dae Sung and the spirit in him. She tails him but loses him, running into PK and Bu Ja instead. PK decides to go spirit hunting with Seon Mi and tells Bu Ja to wait obediently and not fall asleep. By a stroke of luck, Bu Ja ends up waiting on a bench in front of her mother’s ward. When her mother’s bed is moved out on Kang Dae Sung’s orders, Bu Ja catches a glimpse of her mother and is visibly affected. She doesn’t really understand her emotions however and has no memory recollection.

Ma Wang sends Secretary Ma to help Sam Jung with finding the evil spirit, to which Secretary Ma replies that she will kill the guy when she sees him. Secretary Ma does some probing and learns that Seon Mi has already heard the charms of the bell.

Bu Ja brings back all the flower baskets from Ma Wang’s wards but upon Oh Gong’s usual wet blanket-style, she comments that the flowers will be ugly when they rot, “Just like me.” Oh Gong replies, “It’s not the same” and you think he would be saying words of consolation, but nope, he continues, “Do you think you are as pretty as the flowers?” Haha, one thing’s for sure, this guy is consistent.

Bu Ja indignantly replies that she’s pretty and Oh Gong relents, saying that it is her honour to receive a compliment from him despite being a zombie. Bu Ja tears up and requests that he burns her personally. He asks if it’s alright for her to leave without knowing how she died, but she replies that even though she saw the thugs who bury her, she doesn’t want to take revenge because she’s scared.

“I want to disappear while I’m still pretty.” She requests for him to keep a secret so that she can bid her farewell to the rest.

Secretary Ma updates Ma Wang on the evil spirit of the day situation and suddenly remembers to inform Ma Wang of her deductions – that Seon Mi has the death bell and that it has rung.

Seon Mi takes out the bell with love sick eyes (thank goodness this is the last time), before receiving a text from Oh Gong that he will be arriving in 10 seconds. He respectfully enters through the front door (which I thought was quite cute and funny) and asks her if she wants to hear sad news before or after it has happened. Seon Mi thinks that knowing prematurely will mean being sad for a longer time, so Oh Gong swallows the news that Bu Ja is going to die and gets ready to leave.

Seon Mi however invites Oh Gong to stay for tea and rolls her eyes when he asks, “Isn’t it dangerous?” with a “Psh, someone thinks that he has fatal attraction.” Oh Gong mutters, “So selfish. Is it okay just because she doesn’t think it’s dangerous? I find it dangerous.” While waiting for the tea to brew, Oh Gong curiously opens the box and notices the death bell. He disappears to the grandson and asks if the bell has rung before. The grandson rings it and replies, “Yes.”

At the same time, Ma Wang learns from Soo Bo Ri that indeed, the two have the prophecy of killing each other. Even though Oh Gong is a stone money (basically he can’t be killed even through burning in fire), the wearing of Guemganggo has inflicted a weakness on him – it has caused his stone heart to weaken. “Therefore, in order to fulfill her mission, Sam Jung will either kill Oh Gong or die in his hands?” Bo Ri is certain that it will be one of the two options, since it is a prophecy of death. This is in fact the Heavens’ way of punishing the  arrogant monkey – their rage will only be appeased when the monkey has felt real pain for once.

Bu Ja commences on her journey to say her goodbyes – Oh Jong, General Frost, (unfortunately not Summer Fairy because she doesn’t want to be woken up in the morning), Secretary Ma, Alice and PK. PK is in the midst of arguing with Alice because he wants to break up with her, so Alice uses her boobs as a physical frontier hahaha.

PK brightens up when he sees Bu Ja and wants to bring her out. While waiting for the lift, Bu Ja hears that PK has been beaten by Oh Gong for what he did to Seon Mi. She touches his nose carefully and asks him not to worry about her anymore. She declines his invitation to go out, claiming that Oh Gong is bringing her to a good place. “I’m the most thankful to you. Thank you for letting me be your sister.” As the doors close, she murmurs, “Goodbye.” I know this is probably something to do with Korean culture but I just wanted some confirmation – does PK actually like Bu Ja or is he genuinely treating her like a little sister? Also in light of Episode 12’s preview, I’m a bit more ambivalent towards this plot line, even though I liked the execution and Lee Se Young’s acting.

Secretary Ma and Seon Mi prepare to tackle the evil spirit, and Guy tries to attack them with an ax. The skies suddenly turn dark and something cuts Seon Mi’s outstretched hand. A drop of blood touches the ground, and a spirit announces, “You foolish humans. I have been protecting this place for thousands of years. You guys are on your own.” The spirit leaves and the skies brighten again. Sam Jung (rightfully) questions whether the spirit they have chased away is truly an evil spirit but Secretary Ma dismisses her questions.

Oh Gong informs Ma Wang that Bu Ja will be burnt soon, so that he can have some mental preparation. Ma Wang learns that Oh Gong doesn’t want Seon Mi to know so as to alleviate her sadness, and comments that his heart has indeed become squishy and soft. Oh Gong laughs under his breath, “Why do you pretend not to know about the death bell?” I love the show for how direct the characters are, especially Son Oh Gong, so that we can cut short all the guessing games, but sometimes I really am curious as to how Oh Gong knows how Ma Wang thinks all the time.

Oh Gong nonchalantly predicts that he would be the one to die in Sam Jung’s hands, because after all, he won’t be able to kill Sam Jung while he has the Guemganggo. If he doesn’t want to die, then he will have to figure out a way to get rid of Sam Jung. The two turn around just as Secretary Ma and Seon Mi approach, and Oh Gong (oh so sweetly) points out, “But how do I kill her when she’s so pretty?” to which Ma Wang equally nonchalantly concludes, “Well since she’s so pretty, I guess you have no choice.” This bromance is so funny on many levels.

He walks towards Sam Jung and holds her hands, before walking off and motioning to Ma Wang not to cry when Bu Ja comes to the hospital later to say her farewell. Secretary Ma is shocked to hear that Oh Gong already knows about the death bell, to which Ma Wang predicts that Oh Gong will get rid of Sam Jung, “Love? How will that win The Great Sage?” Even as he says that, Oh Gong releases his hand slightly – to interlink his hand with Seon Mi’s.

Bu Ja arrives at the hospital and a lady in her mother’s ward recognises her from the posters. Bu Ja desperately calls the number on the poster, but doesn’t know that the phone is already picked up by the thugs, who claims that they are taking care of her mother.

Oh Gong tends to Seon Mi’s cut and Seon Mi updates him about the blood issue just now. She quips that her gaining all these powers and demon-luring blood is because of him. Oh Gong jokes that therefore if he dies in her hands, he wouldn’t complain.

The construction workers have finally gotten rid of the tree and dig out a suspicious stone grave. Kang Dae Sung touches it and gets a strange vision of a red-cloaked woman. He instructs his sidekick to gets rid of the coffin and leaves.

Bu Ja waits on the rooftop in eager anticipation, thinking that the man on the phone would bring her mother. She realises she is duped by the thugs and her face becomes resigned, sad and yet expressionless at the same time. I really am amazed by this shot because of how well it foreshadows what’s shortly to come.

Seon Mi is unsettled about the sad news that Oh Gong wanted to tell her and now insists that Oh Gong delivers the news. Oh Gong comments that she must have known something was wrong because the two are connected by blood and  informs her that they are going to burn her while she’s still pretty and before turning into a devil. Just as Seon Mi hurriedly asks where Bu Ja is right now because she wants to talk to her, Bu Ja falls right onto the car next to them. Seon Mi catches a glimpse and gasps, but Oh Gong immediately turns her away in a hug. Bu Ja looks at Oh Gong with a bloodied face and resigned eyes, Son Oh Gong-nim. Oh Gong is enraged and his eyes turns red as he sees the two thugs peering over the edge.

h1

He appears right behind them and as images of how Bu Ja so innocently gives up on revenge, her bloodied face and her hopeless eyes flit through his mind. He hisses, “Die,” as the two thugs get pushed by an invisible force over to the edge.

Seon Mi finally bursts through the rooftop door and yells, “Stop!” Oh Gong, in his fury, continues to step towards the thugs while Seon Mi runs towards him, “No, you can’t! No!” In her last desperate call, the red fades from his eyes, the Guemganggo tightens around Oh Gong’s heart and he coughs out blood.

h2He notices black wisps around the Guemganggo and turns around as Ma Wang’s words ring as narration, is the Great Sage going to die in Sam Jung’s hands?

-the end-

Wow that was a really long recap. There are so many things to go through in this episode. First off, this episode is all about Death and what we do when we know we are going to die. Even though Ma Wang’s episode is as hilarious as it can be, Bu Ja’s journey is a lot more emotional and wistful. The fact that she wants to go so that she won’t become an evil spirit also underscores her innocence, which makes it even sadder that this girl has to leave. Oh Gong’s Death however, is in the middle. We are not quite sure how it will be, or if it will be that way. The uncertainty of it all is what makes me want to come back and keep watching.

No doubt, the show is throwing out possible ‘resolutions’, none of which I think would take place – I don’t think Oh Gong will die and most certainly, I don’t think he will kill Seon Mi (if that’s what the show is implying). However, it does seem possible that he can get rid of Sam Jung’s power over him via the Guemganggo. Nonetheless, I’m not quite sure what this effect has on the prophecy – since he’s already in love with Seon Mi, I think it doesn’t quite matter whether the Guemganggo is there anymore.

Speaking of the Guemganggo, I saw some comments that the Guemganggo turned black or evil because of the death bell. I interpreted it differently – I thought the black wisps around the Guemganggo in that moment was just to signify to us/Oh Gong the prophecy’s taking a step towards being realised. As for what really happened in that scene, I think either Oh Gong’s heart clenches as a direct result of Seon Mi’s desperation, or that it clenches because he defies Seon Mi’s genuine and desperate pleas.

If we were to follow the Journey to the West outline, then might it be that Seon Mi, in her role as Sam Jung, is ‘taming’ the monkey god in showing him how to love and how to not resort to violence in times of anger? In the stories, the monkey god was tamed by the wearing of the Guemganggo on the head. Whenever he was mischievous, the monk Sam Jung would chant and this gave him an insane headache. However, at the end of the journey, Sam Jung took off the monkey god’s Guemganggo because he has already internalised the values and lessons – he no longer needed it to be tamed. I always had this in mind but couldn’t quite see how the classic story’s conclusion links (didn’t quite want to think about a male lead being ‘tamed’ into loving a person) but with this last scene, it suddenly fits. The prophecy does muddle the waters a little but I am excited to see how it all turns out.

Other side notes include:

  • I thought that the two thugs died after failing so terribly at killing Bu Ja – why are they still alive?? Wouldn’t Kang Dae Sung’s side kick have gotten rid of them?
  • Evil spirit of the day may turn out to be Raksasa (a demon mentioned in the Journey to the West) which may have some links to the Princess Iron Fan (if going according to the original) but who would be currently possessing Bu Ja’s body (Episode 12).
  • Think what happened with the blood issue was that the evil spirit (Raksasa) cut Sam Jung’s hand, absorbed her blood, gained strength and chased away the spirit in the human bodies. The spirit is actually possibly that from the tree who tries to protect humans from digging up the tree and finding Raksasa’s coffin.

I don’t know why but the couple’s relationship is really a big draw for me. I know Seon Mi hasn’t been able to ‘perform’ much but other than being lovesick with her death bell, I actually find her pretty cute and innocent. Oh Yeon Seo does a good job of portraying an adult woman who is so shy because she has fallen in love for the first time. Lee Seung Gi is doing an amazing job with his rendition of a cheeky, straightforward and demanding monkey god who is at the same time, quietly warm and caring. I know I’m usually a Nice Guy kind of person, but I really can’t deny the charm of this ‘Bad guy’ we have over here. Maybe because he’s wayyy cooler than all the other act-cool bad guy male leads we had in the past.

<3thoughtsramble

 

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2 Comments

  1. Anna A says

    Thanks for the recap! I am so in love with this drama… The plot is similar yet not similar. . the actors and actresses are doing a great job!

    Yes agree with you that Oh Yeon Seo is doing a great job portraying SM; someone who has no relationship with anyone except her grandma and her secretary (whom I adore alot too!). She is so believable; she is shy and have no experience how to handle her feelings..That’s why she asked SOG to go easy on her! YET, she is also strong-willed and principled able to stand on her ground if she feels something is morally not right or when she needs to protect her loved ones…

    LSG – it is pure enjoyment watching him play SOG! I can’t imagine another actor doing it… Playful and obnoxious yet warm & thoughtful…. You are right about him being a very cool bad guy. .. He is different from the other bad guys…He is able to make up to the other party when he realised he has hurt them… You can’t seem to be angry with him… I believe that’s what SM feel..

    Will be looking forward to your recap and thoughts for episode 12 tomorrow… Going to read a recap a day till Saturday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment! Hopefully my recap for episode 12 didn’t come too late. Yesss I can’t seem to be angry with Son Oh Gong – there’s so much kindness in him, yet he’s not a nice guy exactly. It’s a very interesting mix!

      Like

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