We are three episodes in, and so far, the Tale of the Nine Tailed is doing a good job of keeping everything consistent—from the story and mood of the series to the characters’ backstories. Obviously, the three main characters get more screen time because they are the focus of the story, but the supporting characters also have enough presence to keep them connected to the story. Some backstories are complicated and too fast-paced to understand (at least for me), but it’s nothing a little backward play can’t fix.
A brief recap of this episode: while Ji-ah and Lee Yeon are investigating the mysteries of the island, Lee Rang appears to complicate matters for them. Shin-joo, Lee Yeon’s assistant, seems to be wary of Yu-ri, another mythical fox who is the director of a famous department store. Meanwhile, Lee Yeon gets more drawn to Ji-ah the more time he spends with her, and he becomes frustratingly curious about her real identity, even though he is still not sure if she is the reincarnation of his beloved A-eum. He sees signs that Ji-ah could be A-eum, but there is a part of him that refuses to get his hopes up.
On the other hand, Ji-ah is also starting to let her guard down around Lee Yeon. After he saves her from several dangers, Ji-ah begins feeling safer with Lee Yeon and starts to trust him. However, like the sly fox that he is, Lee Rang plants a seed of doubt inside Ji-ah’s head and tells her not to trust his brother Lee Yeon. It was in that particular scene with Lee Rang and Ji-ah that it dawned on me that both Kim Bum and Jo Bo-ah actually kind of click together. They have a little bit of chemistry. So now I am wondering if this is going to be another love triangle with brotherly rivalry.
Although a romance arc between Lee Rang and Ji-ah will be another cliché, I am not against the idea. It is possible that the writer might be hinting as early as now that Lee Rang “could” fall in love with Ji-ah in the next few episodes, OR that he might have already fallen for her way before when she was still A-eum, and this was what had caused conflict between the gumiho brothers. It is predictable but no less exciting. Lee Rang has already expressed that he likes Ji-ah (not romantically, yet) because she is smart, quick-witted, fearless, and one of the very few people who was able to see right through him on their first meeting, even though he was in disguise.
Meanwhile, Shin-joo sniffs out another fox under his nose. This fox is none other than Yu-ri, of course, and despite his attempts to intimidate her, Shin-joo is the one who gets intimidated. She also steals his magical necklace that lets him understand other animals, which indicates that Shin-joo will start chasing her. I watched Kim Yong-ji in The King: Eternal Monarch earlier this year, where she played two different characters from two different worlds. Although Yu-ri is a different character, it seems to me that Kim is using the same acting vibe she did in The King: Eternal Monarch. I would appreciate it if she makes Yu-ri different compared to her last character.
Coming to mysteries, I’m finding the island that Lee Yeon and Ji-ah are currently exploring very exciting. Apparently, the place is teeming with hidden mysteries, and the two look like they are going to extend their stay longer than planned. I actually thought this was going to be a short one-episode case. But it seems that the island will have a bigger part in the story, and not just on Lee Yeon and Lee Rang, but on Ji-ah’s life as well. The shaman’s message for her before she starts the ritual, “You tricked your mom while you were inside her womb” was quite cryptic. It seems as if there’s a bigger mystery behind Ji-ah’s identity than being the reincarnation of Lee Yeon’s first love.
So far, so good. The fast-paced plot is still consistent, every episode’s climax is better than the last, and the writers are doing a good job leaving bits of mystery in every episode to keep the viewers entertained and give them something to look forward to. The mystery of why Lee Yeon and Ji-ah wake up to find everyone gone in the village (except for the dead fisherman’s daughter Seo Pyung-hee) is what the viewers are now anticipating. And there’s also the big question that everyone wants answered—who is the Dragon King plastered in every home on that island, and what does the spirit in the well have to do with Lee Yeon, Lee Rang, and A-eum’s past?
I, myself, am pretty intrigued and excited because the next episode preview shows a lot of children, which might mean that all the old villagers have turned to young kids overnight. Also, because Lee Yeon has taken a mortal life, he will be receiving his punishment in the next episode. He looks he is in the underworld, with Taluipa administering his punishment. Taluipa and her husband are still a big mystery to me, and I am looking forward to more of her story. I am kind of relieved that the next episode is not a whole week away, because let’s admit it, we all dread waiting an entire week, don’t we?