K-Drama Couch Recap: “Tale of the Nine Tailed” Episodes 3 & 4
Lee Yeon and Ji-ah’s connection are sealed in the latest chapters of Tale of the Nine Tailed!
Tale of the Nine Tailed moves to present more of the missions its love pairing personally wants to achieve. Lee Yeon (Lee Dong Wook) keeps being gravitated to the woman who shares the same face of his one great love. Meanwhile, Nam Ji Ah (Jo Bo Ah) is determined to unfurl the conundrum surrounding her parents’ vanishing.
In the opening week chapters, we were introduced to a TV producing director Ji-ah, who meets her savior Lee Yeon. He is the only clue to the cryptic vanishing of her parents 15 years ago. They go to a remote island to investigate on a murder case and discover why Ji-ah’s parents visited the place in the past.
Tale of the Nine Tailed episode 3 also forced Lee Yeon to kill a possessed shaman to save Ji-ah. Through the evil orchestration of Lee Rang (Kim Bum), he seems to be brewing another troubling concoction for Lee Yeon.
As Ji-ah and Lee Yeon also start being comfortable with each other, the latter can’t help but noticed her similarities to Ah-eum, his first love.
Tale of the Nine Tailed Episodes 3 & 4 Key Moments
The Fishermen Who Survived
Continuing her probing about the island’s cryptic murder case, Nam Ji-ah gathered information together with Lee Yeon. Unknown to them, the daughter of the fisherman who died and returned only with his skull cut a deal with Lee Rang (Kim Bum). Conjuring curses, it led to irreversible damage to entertain her revenge.
Later, the three fishermen who returned, experienced lunatic behavior and became indescribable pictures of glutton. Before the second fisherman died, Ji-ah was able to conclude the truth that the pressing situation of being isolated for days, led the three surviving fisherman to have eaten the fisherman they claimed to have died. Hence, he only returned as a skull.
Mysterious Island Murder Cases
Following the tip of a village who reckoned the same incident in the past, Ji-ah figured four past murders that happened before in the island. Together with her junior’s help, she connected the situation and deduced an approaching one coming soon.
Inside the houses of the villagers, cryptic paintings of a deity are also revealed to have been brought and distributed to all household. Lee Rang also paid a visit to Ji-ah pitching a proposition to join forces with him, but she downright rejected his offer.
Ji-Ah & Ah-Eum’s Stark Resemblance
While trailing the last surviving fisherman, she got hit by the man. If not for Lee Yeon who used his body, she would have gotten more hurt because of the deranged fisherman After rescuing her, Lee Yeon administers a folk remedy, but Ji Ah was possessed and muttered words hinting on the past of Lee Yeon and Ah-eum.
Realizing the culprit who possessed Ji-ah’s body momentarily, Lee Yeon scuffles with his little brother. Holding back Lee Rang, he tells Ji-ah to escape only to be led to where an evil shaman lives. The same shaman conspires with Lee Rang to work on summoning an old spirit who turns to be Lee Yeon’s nemesis.
Asking the forest spirits to lead him to where Ji-ah is, Lee Yeon is held back by evening primrose powder which seemed to be his weakness. But seeing Ji-ah hanging for her dear life, about to fall inside the old well; Lee Yeon musters his power and obliterates the shaman.
While sharing a soju night, Lee Yeon keeps seeing his Ah-eum to Ji-ah. Unbeknownst to them, a brewing storm is happening as the shaman’s ritual achieved its purpose with traces of Ji-ah’s blood washed by the rain Lee Yeon summoned. The possessed villagers robotically go to where the well is situated.
The next day, Ji-ah rushes to tell Lee Yeon that the island people vanished.
The Vanished Villagers
Perplexed on the puzzling situation of the town who lost its villagers over night, Ji-ah makes a report to her friend detective. While roaming in the neighborhood to further investigate, they stumble on a “dragon king road” facing the sea. Lee Yeon explains though that the southwest direction is not to welcome the dragon king, but allowing to bad things to come and go.
Back at Styx Immigration Office, grandma Taluipa (Kim Jung Nan) has confirmed that an imprisoned ‘imoogi” subdued by Lee Yeon before, is missing from its confinement. But Taluipa tells her husband Hyun Ui-ong (Ahn Gil Kang) not to alert Lee Yeon. Taluipa inwardly surmised if the cryptic situation has connection to why she can’t see Lee Yeon’s future.
A looming danger
Lee Yeon and Ji-ah meets Pyung-hee, the sole survivor in the island and the daughter of the fisherman who returned as skull after being eaten by his fellow village fishermen. She tells them how she heard the cries of a baby around 2:40 post midnight. Strangely, there is no pregnant woman in the village as it is mostly inhabited by elderly women.
Aside from that all the clocks also stopped at that particular time. Explaining about ‘chuk hour’, Lee Yeon said that it is a particular time when the door to another world opens.
Back in Seoul, Yuri (Kim Yong Ji) celebrates her birthday while assuming her identity as an heiress’ daughter as planned by Lee Rang. But there are times when real Yuri’s father remembers how his father died annoying gumiho-Yuri. In times like that, Lee Rang does the damage control.
The two continue the interrupted birthday dinner as Lee Rang checks on Yuri’s project on Lee Yeon’s right hand, Shin-joo (Hwang Hee). He asks her to keep Shin-joo’s necklace and be patient on when the right time for them to implement their plans.
The heartbreaking past of Lee brothers
Later, Lee Yeon meets his brother to fish some information about the events in the island. Lee Rang asks if he is bothered about the creature settled inside the island’s mountain well. He further taunts if he is bothered if it’s the snake creature which separated him and his first love.
Declaring he killed that monster with his own hands, Lee Rang pushes to infuriate his brother on his confidence and assures him how the woman he loves will also suffer an untimely death.
The two move their chat on a rooftop, with Lee Rang still spurting bitter words to the brother who disappointed him because of a girl. Asking what he wants to do to settle their score, Lee Rang brings out a knife and tells Lee Yeon to kill him like how he did when he hunted him over hundred years ago.
Flashback to their painful past when Lee Rang obliterated all the living people in a village because they burned the mountain. Lee Yeon, who just arrived from his journey in River Styx, was left with no choice but to wield a sword on his younger brother for the sins he committed.
Back at present time, Lee Rang rants on how he has always been abandoned by him because of the woman he loves. Thankfully, he missed the chance to kill him that time. He vows that he won’t have a happy time with his woman if Lee Yeon won’t kill him.
Obliging to his brother’s taunting, Lee Yeon takes the knife and motions to strike but no blood came out because he only hurt Lee Rang with the sword handle. Before leaving his younger brother, Lee Yeon tells him to stop being an abandoned child and act according to his age.
Lee Yeon’s punishment
Receiving an earful from grandma Taluipa for vanquishing the shaman who tried to harm Ji-ah, Lee Yeon is again reminded of the love impossibility between a fox and a human.
Draped in wistful mood, Lee Yeon says how he just wanted to savor the best moments of his long-running life. He cites how she particularly liked the 80’s. Just liked her, he also has a moment that is everything for him. In flashback, he remembers the sweet and short moments he shared with Ah-eum.
Reminding her grandson that the reincarnated girl will never be the same person, Lee Yeon remarks not caring about it. As long as he can see the varied emotions she will live through a longer course of life.
Lee Rang’s Evil Plan
Cutting hours on his regular job, Lee Yeon hurries to go to Ji-ah who invited him to come for dinner. Gifting her mugwort leaves, he explained how she resembles the tenacious plant with uncanny ability to survive. Patting Lee Yeon’s head, she mutters how animals like receiving pats on the head. It again reminds Lee Yeon of his Ah-eum who did and say the same thing before.
Over dinner, Ji-ah thanks Lee Yeon for saving her twice through the humble meal she prepared. After meal, they chat a little about her life living alone after all those years. She responds how her parents are good people which made it hard for her to forget them. Almost in tears, Ji-ah touches her ears reminding Lee Yeon again of Ah-eum in his past.
At the villains’ camp, Lee Rang meets the man who previously got the baby from him in the island. He is also the person who saved him from dying after Lee Yeon wielded a sword on him. Lee Rang hints on the overview of the evil ploy he has in mind – and it seems to be a take two of Lee Yeon’s past tragedy.
Lee Yeon finds Ah-eum’s incarnate
Knowing Ji-ah is headed to a funeral house, Lee Yeon gives her an amulet pouch of red beans for protection. He goes back to accept his punishment for meddling on a human’s life, and was given exactly the chastening he despises to have.
Lee Rang strikes a conversation with Ji-ah and breaks her protective amulet without her knowing. That leads to her being swarmed with ghost children inhabiting the funeral home.
Bearing his hard and cold punishment, Lee Yeon senses Ji-ah is in danger, to get past his penance fast, he opts to go to the ‘Mountain of Knives’. Braving the wounds caused by the flying knives, Lee Yeon struggles to cross the bridge and completes his punishment. But with the thought of protecting Ji-ah, he confronts the punishment with all his might
Swarmed by the ghost spirits, Ji-ah barely holds for her life. Eventually, she got overpowered and pushed to fall from the rooftop. But before she hits the ground, Lee Yeon arrives to cushion her fall.
Scared and grieving at the sight of Lee Yeon, Ji-ah cried like she has never cried before and her tears finally triggered the sign Lee Yeon has been waiting for. Seeing the marble he gave Ah-eum surrounding Ji-ah, he faintly mutters, “I found you”.
Tale of the Nine Tailed Episodes 3 & 4 Afterthoughts
Something feels ominous on that passing glimpse of Lee Rang meeting his acquaintance in the island and handling him a baby in a bundle. With Lee Rang blatantly clear on his intention to make life hell for his brother, it builds more interest on when their back story will finally be revealed.
Aside from looking exactly like Lee Yeon’s first and only love, Ji-ah appears to have a thinking aligned with Ah-eum in the past. Like how she genuinely offers to protect Lee Yeon with her power if such time will come.
Tale of the Nine Tailed has been parading enigmatic and dreamy monsters in human form, and an equally feisty and fascinating female lead. The brawls of Lee fox brothers actually reminds me of the Twilight film series.
Finally, after the clues and similarities, Lee Yeon has confirmed Ji-ah to be his first love’s reincarnation. We can also confirm that the road for their happy ending will not be an easy one.
Swiftly moving, Tale of the Nine Tailed is not wasting time in presenting the details of its big picture. We are made aware of the looming villain disguised as bundle of evil that Lee Rang helped to score a rebirth. We have yet to see if he will just be one-sided-pure-evil-villain all throughout in the story.
Let’s hope not, because deep within, like his brother Lee Yeon, we know his super hate springs from his super love. Next week’s preview showed Lee Yeon and Ji-ah getting closer. Probably giving them and the viewers a taste of sweet moments ahead of the looming risky confrontation with the snake monster.
Looming Danger, Blooming Romance
One crucial detail that needs to be noted in episode 4 is grandma Taluipa’s remark of not seeing Lee Yeon’s future. That preludes to the supposed mirroring of Lee Yeon’s tragic past love story with Ah-eum and the projected love story with Ah-eum’s reincarnation, Ji-ah.
We already love him for being protective of Ji-ah as she is. The scene when he promised to help finding his parents is one of the highlights in this episode as well. That is because the two have subconsciously and mutually seal the bond with each other.
Hopefully though, if love blossoms between them, it will not be because of Ah-eum’s memories. No matter how much we want to sympathize on his pain and one and only dream, there should be a starting point for him to finally let it rest. He needs to give Ji-ah a love that she also deserves.
Fantasy-romance drama usually requires an elaborated groundwork, and we have so far seen it happening in Tale of the Nine Tailed. Expect more to come in the next episodes.
Don’t miss the unfurling of more interesting plot bends in Tale of the Nine Tailed every Wednesday and Thursday on tvN!
Photos: tvN | iQIYI