Arang and the Magistrate Episode 1 Recap
Such a fun series! I enjoyed the whole episode and laughed out loud most of the times! I totally love the characters and their interactions with one another-Dol Swe and Eun Oh, Eun Oh and Arang and Bang Wool and Arang! The setup is serious in terms of ghosts and reapers and kings of the otherworlds but all those characters are so quirky, witty and fun to watch! Thankfully, the language in this episode wasn’t as sageuk-y as I expected, which means I got most of the episode easily and I hope that lucky streak continues throughout!
The episode opens with a scroll moving upwards on the screen which explains that ghosts walk the earth because the walls that stood as dividends between them have broken down. And while people cannot see ghosts and ghosts can see people, there is one man who can see ghosts and he is currently headed towards Miryang-in search of his mother who went missing three years ago.
Haha, said person-Eun Oh, is currently asleep atop a rock but in total model pose style! He gets up for a while and looks around just as his servant comes back after having gone to answer nature’s call. Dol Swe-the servant nags at him for going to sleep while on the lookout, especially for ghosts. Eun Oh’s like-what ghosts?! And do I have to apologize to you for it? Hehe, Dol Swe’s like-no need, I can’t get mad at you for what you don’t know how to do and points out, “I’m sorry, Thank you! I love you! These three words! You can’t say those words because you don’t know how, right?!” Eun Oh agrees-fine, he doesn’t know them, but since they serve no good purpose in life, he’s not learning either, hehe!
Fanning himself, Eun Oh looks up to the skies and muses there’s a storm coming. A while later, thunder cracks the sky.
Elsewhere, a woman is running down the forest in a huff, chasing someone and muttering about how ungracious they are, living and eating thanks to her and yet running off. She stops a moment to collect her hair and hold it high against a pin, which is when we get to see the tattoo on her neck-the tattoo that defines the non-living. She is Arang. Picking her skirts, she makes a run for it, screaming, “You’re dead!”
A caravan is passing through the forest when suddenly, ghosts start gathering up, watching it. One of them worries-they can’t pull this off without Arang but another man-leading them, speaks up for them to go ahead, they can do it. Soon, they start attacking the people, jumping on their back, hence choking them. As the leader urges more forward, they turn to find Arang in their path. The leader immediately changes tune, asking her why she’s so late-they’ve waited for her so long. She grabs his collar, chugs him forward and punches him down. Hehe!
The man gets angry and gets up for a fight. And while she’s all the more willing, something catches her attention in the sky and she looks up to see a large net falling down. Muttering a warning, she scrambles out of the way and the others try to make a run for it too but three get caught in the net. She stumbles over the fallen leader and watches as four men, dressed in black descend from the sky. It’s the reapers, out on a reaping spree.
One of them- Mu Young clocks in on Arang and gives chase as she runs away. The other three stay behind and fight the other ghosts, easily overpowering them. Their staffs do the job of reclaiming the dead’s souls or acting as rope to capture them.
As Dol Swe and Eun oh make their way down, the former is totally spooked, especially when they hear a terrifying sound. Dol Swe immediately panics, wondering what it is but Eun Oh shrugs it off as nothing although his expression says he might know. Fanning himself again, he starts muttering how hot it is. Haha, and it is hilarious how Dol Swe is now hanging onto Eun Oh’s sleeve! He asks if Eun Oh is sure Miryang is the last place his mother were seen at-there are bad rumors abound about the place. Every magistrate that has come here in the past has died! Eun Oh laughs at that, especially when he says ghosts were responsible. Eun Oh clocks him in the head lightly with his fan, “Ya imma! There’s no ghosts in this world!”
Just then, we see Arang running away, Mu Young hot on her heels. Eun Oh and Dol Swe come upon a relatively flat piece of land in the forest where there are little trees when the sounds of running stop them both in their tracks. Eun Oh’s expression is speculative while poor Dol Swe is terrified. Gosh, I’m loving Dol Swe’s character! Eun Oh turns back to see Dol Swe and can’t resist teasing him so he points his fan towards the area behind Dol Swe’s shoulder and trembling slightly, mutters “A ghost… behind you!” Poor Dol Swe holds up his hands, knocking off whatever otherworldly creature it is and falls to the ground in fear. Eun Oh laughs at his own joke…
Until he raises his eyes, mid sentence and pauses. Arang is running straight towards him and Mu Young following her. Eun Oh stiffens and stands straight, his fan clutched tightly as they get nearer. He watches her until she almost passes him which is when he closes his eyes, as if he can’t see her. However, when Mu Young throws his staff to knock down Arang, Eun Oh’s eyes follow the movement.
Arang is thrown to the ground and Eun Oh turns only slightly to look back as Mu Young towers over her. Thereon, he walks away with Dol Swe as if he can’t see them. Arang faces Mu Young and asks him what the head grim reaper is doing, chasing her-a measly ghost, himself. He sighs at her, calling her by name-he’ll pay for his mistakes (losing her before, as she points out) but for now, she has to follow the laws of the dead. She scoffs-digging wells is also a law of the thirst and steps back. Calmly, he takes out the red rope but she reaches into her hanbok as well, withdrawing something while wincing herself.
“You like peach flowers, don’t you?” she asks him and throws a handful at him. While he covers his face so only his hands get cut from it, the distraction is all she needs to make her getaway and by the time he turns back to her, she’s gone. He shouts in frustration, “ARANG!” As Eun Oh and Dol Swe make their getaway, Mu Young’s scream reaches Eun Oh’s ears and he turns back momentarily.
And suddenly, the skies start pouring down on them. Dol Swe and Eun Oh find a small abandoned cottage nearby and seek shelter there. Running through the forest, Arang also gets dripping wet and stops momentarily to look at her injured hand which immediately heals over. Cursing the King of Heaven-he’s the reasons the peach flowers hurt, she’s like- You think you’re all that?!
Just then someone coughs up in Heaven-it’s the Jade Emperor and he muses, “Someone must be cursing me.” Haha! He is currently sitting in the bridge between heaven and hell with his brother the King of the Underworld and as always, they are enjoying a game of badook! The King of the Underworld makes his move, relishing that he’s finished the game and today he’s definitely the winner. The King of Heaven is meanwhile too busy complementing the fairy who brought them tea on her new hairdo. Her answer cracks me up. “I had this hairdo yesterday, and the day before and for a thousand years before that!”
He’s like, “Oh?” His brother snaps at him to make his move even though it won’t matter since he himself is definitely going to win today. Haha, the Jade Emperor picks a piece and with extreme non chalance, puts it on the board, nulling his brother’s move and effectively winning the game. His brother gasps in horror and studies the board. The Jade Emperor sees his reaction and starts sputtering, “Oh. Oh, this, this… I’m sorry, Yeom Na. I really wasn’t planning on winning this round!” His brother just glares back at him and changing the subject, The Jade Emperor wonders if Mu young has caught that child yet. With those words, he heads back to his garden while the King of the Underworld growls at yet another loss.
Once there, he talks to his goat-haha! “I didn’t really plan on winning. But Yeom Na, you know, he calculates every little thing. And there are so many things in this world that do not go according to calculations, aren’t there?” Taking water, he waters the flowers on the back of the goat as water continues to drip from the skies in the forest. Down there, Arang grabs a leaf from a tree to use as an umbrella and hurries off in search of shelter.
Dol Swe and Eun Oh have lit up a fire in the cottage and while Dol Swe sleeps, Eun Oh is on watch duty and as he tends to the fire, he remembers his last meeting with his mother. He had gone to her and asked that he wanted to live with her but she wouldn’t hear of it-living with her means living as a slave’s son while with his father he will be a nobleman’s son. Eun Oh doesn’t care about any of that but his mother is stoic, saying its all ‘that person’s’ fault! He wants to live with her but she slaps him when he doesn’t listen so he leaves, hurt but when he returns the next morning, she’s gone. Interestingly, the hairpin on the floor when they are talking, that belongs to his mother is the one Arang is currently using.
His down mood isn’t for long though because he soon hears sounds of someone running outside and Arang runs up to the cottage, heading inside. Eun Oh scowls and rolls his eyes but can’t ignore her for long, especially when she starts taking off her clothes because they’re wet. All the while, she mutters about how being undead doesn’t mean she won’t get wet! He mutters to himself in voiceover, “Ya ya ya! What are you doing?” Finally, their eyes meet.
She immediately covers herself back up, wondering aloud, “Can you see me?” waving her hand at him. In voiceover, he mutters to himself, “I can’t see you!” She can’t believe he’s so passive now and thinks he can see her but he doesn’t say anything. She gets up close to him and even touches his face with her finger, trying to discern whether he can see her or not. He keeps muttering to himself, “Bear with it! Bear with it!” All the while, he keeps his expression passive but that expression is priceless, haha!
Finally, she starts to blow air into his face and he almost looks like he’s at his wits end but Dol Swe’s snore cuts in at the right time and Arang goes to sit on top of him to keep him from snoring. She turns back to Eun oh, but he’s concentrating on the fire now and she mutters there really is no way he could see her. In his mind, Eun Oh’s like, “Yes! How MANY times do I have to say I can’t see you?!” Continuing her conversation, Arang asks what they’re doing out in the forest this late at night and Eun Oh’s like-I can’t hear youuuu! Going on with her one sided conversation, Arang asks him excitedly, “Do you wanna hear my story?” Eun Oh’s reaction-DON’T! I can’t hear you! Don’t talk!
But she can’t hear him and hence continues while he can barely keep his frustration at her continuous talking to him bottled up. She tells him one day, she just woke up like this and was being taken away by the grim reaper to ‘cross over’. Somehow, the rope binding her comes undone and she gets away before the reaper realizes it. Since then, she’s roamed around, not remembering who she is or how she died. And that’s what she finds most strange. She tells him it would be nice if he could see her so she could ask him to find out who she is. Of course, that means the conversation goes exactly where he doesn’t want it to ever go, so Eun Oh fakes a yawn and heads to bed.
She’s stumped-he’s going to sleep already? And there was so much more she wanted to tell him! But that’s exactly why he’s off to sleep! She continues-it’s all because of that King of Heaven, she’s sure of it! he continues to ignore her and pretend to be asleep but she’s not deterred and lies down beside him. He fidgets mentally when he hears her lie down and he’s like, “You’re not leaving? This crazy ghost!!” I love the way he mentally answers everything she says with a retort!
And then, she wishes him a good night and decides to go to sleep right there while he’s still muttering, wondering how things can be like this and pleading with her to leave, leave, leave! But she’s totally at home and even ends up with her hand on him, which makes him squirm with the cold. Faking another yawn, he changes sides, ever so subtly shaking her hand off. And so they spend the night together, haha! When he gets up in the morning though, she’s already gone and he breathes a sigh of relief. And he and Dol Swe are happily on their way again.
When they reach the village, a procession is passing through. It’s the nobleman Choi. His minions are actually having the streets cleared so the procession can pass through. Riding behind him is his son- Joo Wal. Arriving at the scene, Eun Oh mutters at the lavish and exaggerated entrance of the guy, wondering who he is. Dol Swe tells him the guy is basically the law of the area in the absence of the magistrate-like the King of the place, not in literal terms. Watching the procession, Eun Oh catches sight of ghosts standing in the back, watching him.
A poor guy walks in on the procession, pleading a grievance but earns a beating for the effort instead. The people around watch, anxious for the person being beaten up but unable to do anything. Eun Oh turns to Dol Swe.
Eun Oh: “Dol Swe, you know, right? When I see an injustice…”
Dol Swe: “You just endure it! Yes, I know!” Hahaha!
The nobleman orders his procession ahead and the poor guy turns to his son. Eun Oh watches curiously as the Joo Wal stops him from being beaten and orders the man to go. When he seems like he’ll linger, Joo Wal glares at him, it’s a totally unnerving one too, and the man runs off. Dol Swe relates that the nobleman is building a palace on top of the river which is causing grief to the people working on it. What’s worse-people are being ripped off in the name of taxes to pay for the project. Dol Swe sighs that his master should take more interest in people but Eun Oh retorts that it’s no use-it’s not like he can do anything even if he does know so why bother?
Suddenly, he tells Dol Swe to go ahead without him and by the time Dol Swe turns around, he’s vanished. Eun Oh hurries through the streets, finally coming to a closed alley and the turns back, “Why are you following me?!” And there, behind him stand a pack of ghosts. An old man amongst them asks him for a favor regarding his one and only daughter. He tells the ghosts to get lost and walks away. They vanish but watching the whole exchange from a rooftop is Arang. She smirks-her hunch confirmed that Eun Oh can see her. “You’d trick a ghost?”
In the village, Eun Oh asks at an inn regarding his mother whom the innkeeper remembers as having stayed here before but just for a night. He asks if she made any mention of where she was headed but the innkeeper knows nothing more. As he turns to leave, he turns back and grabs a wrist, belatedly realizing it belongs to Arang. She’s surprised even more-not only can he see her, he can also touch her? While he simply asks why she’s following him and tells her to get lost, she chatters on, “Did you lose someone? A woman? Who is it? Your mother?” He turns back to glare at her at those words and she says, “I’m right aren’t I? You totally have that I-lost-my-mother face!”
He’s had enough of her nonsense- “Do you wanna die?” At first she backs off but then reminds him, “I’m already dead!” He saunters off but she keeps following him, chattering on-he probably gets a lot of ghosts coming to him and annoying him asking for favors and all. His reply: “If you know, then get lost.” But she’s not to be thrown off track and mutters, “Still, we did sleep together…” That does the trick-he turns back to her, stuttering a denial. “Didn’t we sleep together, last night?” He’s like-No, we didn’t and grabs his neck in frustration and saunters off again.
Meawhile, Dol Swe reads a poster in the village. Following Eun Oh, Arang starts recounting her tale again and he’s like, “Don’t start repeating it!” She asks him to just her her find out who she is. Since she won’t back down easily, Eun oh moves in for his trump card and retrieves something from his sleeve. She’s excitedly asks what it is but shrinks back in fear when he opens his palm-he’s carrying red beans. He tells her it’s specifically for troublesome ghosts like her who won’t back away and throws them at her but misses on purpose as she ducks. Warning her he’ll throw them straight at her the next time, he leaves.
She shouts after him-what’s the big deal about finding out a person’s name? He tells her to go to the local government but she can’t help it-there’s no magistrate in town! It’s not his headache, he repeats, and he’s not a magistrate either. She perks at that, “So, if you become the magistrate?” He smirks and just to get her off his back, replies, “If I become the magistrate? Sure. If I become the magistrate, I’ll help you.” Thinking he’s rid of her once and for all, he leaves but she smiles at his back, muttering “You promised!”
Joo Wal comes to see his father who yells at him for interfering at the market and showing mercy. He just says he wanted to get away from the market fast. He turns to leave but his father adds that he must find ‘that woman’ definitely since time is running out already and he’ll be in trouble if it isn’t done soon. He points out his father isn’t interested for his benefit-rather his father will also be in trouble. (The actual word used isn’t trouble but that’s the meaning I gleaned from it) With that retort, he leaves his father stewing and his own mood soured. Theirs is a strained, very strained relationship.
Boong Wal is in the village and doing a reading for a woman who seems pretty bought out and all seems to be going well. Until suddenly, the woman dumps her rice back on her for being a quack and demands her money back. When she’s gone, Arang’s voice rings out, “You’re still living like this?” Haha! She can’t see Arang but can hear her. Bang Wool wails that Arang promised not to come back and starts crying but Arang simply goes on, “Long time no see!” She asks Arang why she’s come and Arang tells her she has a task for her. She asks what it is and Arang smiles devilishly.
In the government office, a trio sits together drinking their troubles away and wailing at their bad luck. Their names- Lee Bang, Hyung Bang and Ye Bang. They need to fill the magistrate position in two days but they’ve no idea and no person to get for the job. And they truly seem like an idiotic trio since they hide under the table the moment they hear the door open. Haha. It’s Bang Wool. She’s come o tell them of a vision she had. They’re like-so what? What’s the big deal? It’s the person who is best suited to become the new magistrate. Hearing that, they perk up and run off, “It’s a blessing from heaven!” Haha! If only they knew.
They come up to where Eun Oh, still worried over finding his mother is staying and… knock him out? And kidnap him? Haha. It just gets better and better! On the walk back, as they carry him, they figure it’s all well since they’re doing this to make sure they follow the royal verdict and they’ve no time to do anything else. And he’ll probably die like all the other magistrates before him anyway-on the first night after they take the office! Rumor is, they’re haunted by a ghost that kills them. Arang watches them carry him away and smiles-one shouldn’t make promises so easily!
Eun oh wakes up in unfamiliar but beautiful surroundings-tied up! The men shout at him from outside to get his rest, “Magistrate!” Before he can gather his wits, they run off. He’s like-Magistrate? The men meet outside and ask Lee Bang what happened. He tells them, “He’s conscious!” They all turn back to the building-Aaaahhh! The men decide to arrange for the coffin beforehand too and wonder what type to buy. Bang chimes up-the cheapest!
Inside, Eun Oh’s trying to open his ropes and shouts at them to come back when the candles start flickering and he’s like-so that’s how it is! He tells the ghost to just come out NOW! Arang laughs-what is supposed to be a ghostly laugh and comes down from the ceiling-upside down. Eun Oh’s like-Stand straight or I’ll yank you down by your hair! Haha, I love how unimpressed he is by her whole strategy! She imagines the scenario if he went through with his threat and wisely straightens back.
Outside, the men wonder if it really was a ghost that keeps killing the magistrates. They decide it’s the only explanation. Inside, Eun Oh asks her to untie him and she does except this time, she speaks to him in a really respectful and cutesy tone, reminding him of his promise-if he became the magistrate, he would help her out. He asks her what’s wrong with her whole manner right now-why’s she being all cutesy? She tells him she was told to be like this to make the magistrates listen to her. “So when that didn’t work, is that when you killed them—all those innocent magistrates?”
She makes a frustrated sound, “For that, I’ve been really wronged!” And he’s like, yeah right! But turns out, since people can’t see ghosts, she had to take a special herb that could make her visible and so she did. Except, the first magistrate she appeared to died of a heart attack as soon as she appeared.
The second was a scaredy cat too and this time, Arang didn’t have the full medicine either so when she did appear, the magistrate collapsed at once-having seen only upper half Arang, the lower half missing. When the third came, he was a soldier so he called her out to fight with him yet as soon as she came down, he went down-after seeing only bottom half Arang. Haha, awesome!
She makes a wronged face, continuing in her cutesy manner and the first thing Eun Oh tells her is, “Straighten your voice!” He tells her she wasted her time since he only listens to the living. She tries appealing to his vulnerability-they’re both the same, aren’t they? He lost his mother, she lost her parents! All she wants is a chance to say goodbye to them properly and to know who she is! At this, tears stream down her face.
Eun Oh turns back to face her and finally says, “Get lost!” She immediately stops the fake tears. “A ghost that doesn’t even know it’s name! What, parents? Do you even know what parents are? While I’m still saying it nicely, get lost!” At that, he turns away and wiping her tears, Arang leaves in a huff. Outside, she curses him before walking away.
That night, Joo Wal stands on a bridge, looking out at the moon and remembering his father’s words about time running out for them. He overhears a conversation between some girls as they walk by about ‘Yoon Dal.’ They call the moon yoon-dal, a rotted moon, and according to folklore, it’s a time when heaven loses its grasp on the dead, and the dead (mainly missing girls) roam among them, no one knowing if they are dead or alive. Hearing that, he rubs his fingers lightly over a large ring he is wearing.
In the morning, the idiotic trio carry in a coffin to pick up the magistrate. Hearing no sound from inside, they muse he really is dead and one of them says he now feel sorry they picked up such a young guy who had so much life left. Lee Bang goes to open the door when Eun oh walks out and that scares the daylights out of them-how can he be alive?! Lee mutters, “Is he a ghost?” When Eun On throws his clothes at them, they practically scramble to get away from the clothes-they’re that spooked! Haha!
Meanwhile, Dol Swe runs through the village, knocking over people’s belongings and their stalls, screaming for his “Young Master!” he bursts into the magistrate’s place just as the idiot trio bow before Eun Oh for their lives. Hilariously, he reaches Eun Oh and frets all over him and Eun Oh’s like-so you’re concerned now, after sleeping all night?! Dol Swe immediately turns on the trio-how dare they mess with his ‘Young Master’ which is when Eun Oh tells him it was to make him ‘Magistrate.’
Dol Swe’s like-do you even know who he is and launches in a whole slew of how he’s the son of an important noble and the poor trio all go into chorus together, “Please forgive us, Young Master!” Haha.
Arang and Bang Wool sit together as Arang complains that she did everything-shed tears, act demurely but nothing worked! Bang Wool muses that the onle reason why everyone keeps dying after seeing her must be that… she’s ugly and asks why Arang didn’t tell her before! Arang complains that she didn’t know either-she can’t see herself! Bang Wool says the only thing she can do is prettify herself then-apply makeup and put on pretty clothes but Arang doesn’t have those either since ghosts can only have things people give them.
And then she realizes the shaman is also a person but she balks-where can she get that kind of money? But hey, it’s Arang, so there’s no need to worry about money! And they both end up in the local market… on a stealing spree! Bang Wool worries she’ll get caught but Arang tells her she won’t-after all, she has a ghost as her lookout. She even promises not to come to see Bang Wool again if she does this for her. And so they go on their stealing spree with Bang Wool picking up whatever Arang guides her on and they manage to get away until Bang Wool runs into two police officers and ends up dropping her goods. All’s still well until the merchants start screaming there’s a thief.
Bang Wool makes a run for it, followed by the police officers followed by the merchants followed by Arang. She ends up into a corner though and looks like she’ll be caught when Arang catches up to them. Realizing Bang Wool is cornered, Arang thinks fast and with a look at the sky, as if knowing trouble will come from there, she starts beating up the people cornering her so she can run away. Eun Oh and Dol Swe watch from the sidelines, Dol Swe laughing at people dropping over themselves but Eun Oh just goes ‘tsk tsk’.
Sure enough, soon more ghosts start popping up around Eun Oh, looking onto the scene and fussing-Arang’s making too much of a fuss and now they’ll never go undetected. Sure enough, just as Eun Oh starts walking away, trouble descends from the sky while the ghosts decide to make a run for it. It’s the reapers and again, Mu Young heads straight for Arang, shouting her name.
Eun Oh watches her make a run for it and only then, catches sight of the pin in her hair-it’s the one his mother had.
Without a moment’s hesitation, he grabs a horse and takes off after her and Mu Young. He soon overcomes the reaper and reaching Arang, grabs her up in a single sweep onto the horse. She turns back to look at him in surprise.
So we’ve got the overall setup in place, with little clues and cues being revealed here and there! This was a fast episode overall-guy already meets girl… Uh, ghost n she’s already hell bent on making his life miserable until he helps her out! We’ve got the reapers hell bent on crashing the ghostly parties anywhere and hey, they’re just doing their job so I’d vote against them being called baddies since I kinda liked Mu Young and his interaction with Arang.
I love that Arang is sassy and she’s quick to adapt and do whatever needs to be done! She clearly has fun scaring the daylights out of people-a necessity to her lifestyle too, and she is more endearing than she is scary! I loved the way she reacted to Eun Oh and despite his attempts to brush her off, stayed on his back! And Eun Oh’s personality? The best part was Dol Swe’s answer when Eun Oh says, ‘When I see an injustice…’ He’s so unheroic and carefree in his attitude to others! He’s the bratty new kid on the block whos just the type to set down his own rules. Theres no need to even delve into what doesn’t concern him since its useless information anyway-totally reminded me of Sherlock’s philosophy!
Bang Wool and Dol Swe are also interesting characters and it’ll be fun to see where they head on from here. The way Bang Wool and Arang sit together eating n trying to decipher the mystery of why Arang failed at getting any Magistrate to listen to her-their solution, that she’s ugly-Priceless! And the way Arang readily accepts it? So naive but totally cute!
So far, I’m luvin it and I hope it continues to be that way! See you guys again with Episode 3’s Recap next week! Till then, lets enjoy the Episode 2 Recap coming up by Kap at A Virtual Voyage 😉
Posted on August 18, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Asian Comics, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Potpourri, Recaps, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged Arang, diary, Drama, entertainment, friends, Ghost, kdrama, Korean drama, life, love, misc, miscellaneous, musings, personal, random, random thoughts, recaps, reflections, Relationships, Romance, stories, story, thoughts, Writers Resources, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.