Goblin episode 13

Side dish: I’m not up on my herbal tonic lore, but I’m pretty sure they’re not supposed to kill you. Here’s a recipe for Vinegar of the Four Thieves Health Tonic from Wellness Mama that’s supposed to keep away bugs and the bubonic plague. I don’t know how well it works, but you probably won’t die anyway.

Episode Recap

After 900 years, Shin (Gong Yoo) is finally able to voice to the King the injustices that he, his soldiers and his household suffered, while squeezing the young fool’s neck. Unfortunately, Shin gets no satisfaction, because Yeo (Lee Dong Wook) remembers nothing, and can only cry at the prospect of being that destructive king.

Shin decides to abandon his home to Yeo, and share the late Chairman’s apartment with a bewildered Duk Hwa (Yook Sung Jae). Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) follows him, asking few questions since she can guess what happened, but ends up decamping to Sun’s (Yoo In Na) place.

Drinking soju with Eun Tak, it becomes clear that Sun now remembers her previous life, lamenting about Shin’s foolish return to the King. She does not reveal to Eun Tak that Yeo’s kisses brought back the memories. Meanwhile, Shin is also drinking, but brooding by himself about Yeo.

We have a brief interlude with the striking woman in red (Lee El) and her death god tenant. He’s complaining about rental unit matters, but she’s just depressed about current affairs.

Thanks to confirmation by the female death god who was once his collaborator, evil Joong Heon knows that Sun is the reincarnation of the Queen. He is contemplating killing her again when Yeo appears to claim this rogue spirit who has evaded capture. Yeo fails to recognize Joong Heon, and the evil ghost taunts him before disappearing.

Shin can’t help but recall the recent good times he’s had with Yeo. Yet, when Sun tries to convince him to let go of his grudge against the King, Shin points out that it is not a distant memory of a previous life for him as it is for her. He remains as stubborn to finish things as he was 900 years ago. Sun makes it clear that she does not want him to wreak any vengeance in her name.

Yeo’s repeat use of his death god powers for personal gain is discovered by his superiors. He is placed on probation, and punished by having his memories fully restored. Thus, Yeo is able to remember how erratic and uncooperative he became after the death of the Queen and Shin. When Joong Heon starts feeding him the poisonous tonic, Yeo knowingly drinks it until he dies, in despair at never having been loved.

Yeo presents himself to Shin and makes it clear that he now remembers everything. However, Shin still gets no satisfaction from the prospect of killing Yeo since the former king clearly welcomes death as punishment for his past crimes.

After Yeo gives the Queen’s ring to her, Eun Tak initially hesitates to pass it along to Sun. Contrary to what Yeo claims, Sun remembers everything including him. Eun Tak eventually decides to give the ring to Sun who seems to receive the token from her death pretty well.

Joong Heon suddenly appears before the women with the goal of killing the unwitting Sun. Eun Tak is unable to summon Shin in time, but the birth mark on her neck manages to repel the evil ghost, saving Sun.

After seeing Sun home, Eun Tak summons Shin for a hug. He notices how faded her birth mark is, and guesses that she has had an encounter with Joong Heon. He directs her to worry only about herself since Yeo will look after Sun, while Shin will search for answers to the problem of Joong Heon.

Yeo writes up a report about Joong Heon then passes it to his colleague so that the evil spirit can be added to the death list. Yeo thinks this will give him limited control over Joong Heon. The colleague shares the latest death notice for Eun Tak, which is a mere week away.

Yeo informs Shin about Eun Tak’s latest death notice, and Shin knows that Joong Heon will have some hand in her death. Shin asks Yeo to protect Sun as she once protected him.

Yeo asks Shin the big question of what it is he wanted to say so badly to the king that he marched to certain death. Shin reveals that he wanted to point out that the king was loved by his late older brother, the Queen, and Shin himself. Plus, Shin had hoped that the King would ask him to use the sword he gifted him with to strike Joong Heon down. Suddenly, Shin has a eureka moment and realizes that the sword lodged in his chest is meant to do exactly that.

Yeo shadows Sun for days, thinking he does so anonymously, until she reveals that she remembers everything. The spell he cast to make her forget was flawed, because it assumed that all memories of him were unhappy. Yeo reveals that he pined for her after her execution, and Sun tartly points out that it would have been better if he had realized that he loved her before having her killed. The only way she can punish him is to break up with him and return the ring.

Meanwhile, Shin and Eun Tak have a mini vacation that involves BBQ, and cuddling with each other. Shin gifts Eun Tak with a copy of their contract, but what he doesn’t reveal is that he is unlikely to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

Shin takes a final look at Duk Hwa and Sun before meeting with Eun Tak to ask for her help with enacting a plan against Joong Heon. Shin takes her to a building rooftop then instructs her to summon him when he calls her. Before leaving, Shin rushes back for a final kiss that makes Eun Tak suspect that Shin is not telling her everything.

Shin goes to challenge Joong Heon to a final battle. The evil spirit transports immediately to Eun Tak, who realizes that Joong Heon intends to possess her in order to remove the sword from Shin’s chest to kill him. Eun Tak receives the phone call from Shin, and manages to summon him while Joong Heon is choking her. Shin is able to separate them, but is forced to recall his sword when Eun Tak attempts to throw herself on it before Joong Heon can possess her.

Joong Heon jumps right into Eun Tak’s body and is removing the sword from a willing Shin when Yeo appears. Using the power of the death list, Yeo calls Joong Heon by name to rip him out of Eun Tak. Eun Tak collapses, but Shin holds her hands to the sword hilt to allow him to pull it out of his body. Shin turns to Joong Heon and finishes him off with a stroke of his sword.

Joong Heon disappears, but not before expressing satisfaction at having succeeded in killing Shin once more. Shin drops to his knees, and reports to a devastated Yeo with satisfaction that he has finally died a heroic death, as his sword burns away.

Eun Tak rushes over to Shin, who says that he will ask God to let him visit her during the first snow fall. Eun Tak sobs as she tells him she loves him, and he tells her the same. Eun Tak can only cry helplessly as Shin disintegrates into embers.


Only 만: After 13 episodes of waiting for that sword to come out, we finally know what happens when it does. How do you feel?

Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: Well, I was relieved that your suggestion that Shin might explode in a fountain of blood did not happen. Crumbling away into embers is much cleaner.

Only: It’s true. At least Shin died in an aesthetically pleasing way. But, did he? Do you think he’s really dead?

Junggugeo Kaenada: The thing is, if this was the final or even the second last episode, the answer would probably be ‘yes’. However, since we have three more episodes, we’re going to see the return of Shin, and we’re almost assured of a happy ending.

Only: I have to keep reminding myself that this isn’t the ending, because it sure felt like one. But, how did you feel about the resolution of the Wang Yeo/death god story line? I was hoping for more there, but I guess with three more episodes, we may still get it.

Junggugeo Kaenada: It seems obvious to everyone, especially the plain talking Sun, that Shin’s bid for vengeance is useless. Even when Yeo had his memories restored and he presented himself to be strangled, Shin would never get satisfaction. That young, idiotic king is long gone.

Only: Not only that, Yeo has already been punished, both by himself and in hell, and now, as a death god. I guess with 900 years gone by, maybe everyone can think about forgiving each other and themselves, instead.

Junggugeo Kaenada: This was the episode that made Sun a favourite of mine. Now that she is able to remember her past life, Sun has as much reason as Shin to hate Yeo. Yet, she realizes that the King’s betrayal has long passed; the only thing she can do is choose not to let history repeat itself. So, she wisely breaks up with Yeo.

Only: It was refreshing to hear someone be sensible about everything, after all the high drama. Sun telling Yeo that she didn’t want to suffer in her current lifetime because of him was a really mature decision. I wonder if she’ll stand by it.

Junggugeo Kaenada: Three more episodes left mean that Sun will not.

In contrast, I was frustrated by Eun Tak in this episode. Her uselessness was really highlighted more than usual.

Only: My frustration was half for Eun Tak and half for Shin. Both female leads in this show have repeatedly been given so little to do that when Shin pulled the sword out of himself by using Eun Tak’s hands while she was unconscious, I practically screamed at the screen in frustration. The show literally gave her one job, and then took that out of her hands so that Shin could have his heroic moment. Instead, she spent this episode being cute, weeping and/or fainting.

Junggugeo Kaenada: I laugh at how useless Eun Tak was. She selflessly threw herself on top of Sun to protect her from Joong Heon, but it was the mark of the Goblin’s Bride that saved them. So, her actions were useless in contrast to the passive power of the Goblin.

Then, Shin could not even trust Eun Tak with simple instructions like, “Summon me if Joong Heon appears.” Instead, he adds an extra step of waiting for his phone call during her moment of peril before summoning him with her lighter. It was ridiculous.

Only: Nothing about that scene made sense. Why are they on a rooftop? Why does she need to summon him when he already knows where she is? Why not put her near a door so he can just pop up at any time? Why not warn her about what’s coming? Or, you know, let her in on the plan to ambush Joong Heon? I love that they have cute moments together, but discussing a battle plan could have been cute, too. But, she’s clearly not an equal and he doesn’t even pretend to treat her like one.

Junggugeo Kaenada: That’s what you get when you make the female lead a barely legal candy. The assumption is that she is too immature and sensitive to be tasked with helping the male lead kill himself in order to vanquish the villain.

I could not even enjoy their final kiss, even though Gong Yoo put some fire into it, because he was obviously leaving her in the dark about his plans, making her as an unsuspecting idiot.

Only: That was another thing that made me scream in frustration: “Goblin” actually sucked the joy out of a Gong Yoo kiss for me. Maybe now I’ll have to spend 900 years waiting for my revenge for that.

Junggugeo Kaenada: Shin’s dead, but he’s sure to return, and when he does, there will surely be a time-skip that will add 10 years to her age and maturity. What do you think we can look forward to in episode 14, next week?

Only: What I would like to happen is for Shin to immediately reappear, thus rendering that whole dramatic goodbye scene super awkward, sort of like what happened earlier in the show. But, that’s unlikely so my guess is angst. Given that our main character just died, we might be in for an extended period of flashbacks and weeping.

Junggugeo Kaenada: I guess it’s too much to ask for Eun Tak to get on with life and be happy. Especially since damn Shin promised to ask God to let him come back for the first snowfall – a very selfish thing to say as you’re about to die. Now, Eun Tak will never find closure, because she will always carry the faint hope of Shin’s miraculous return. As if dating a magical goblin who looks like Gong Yoo doesn’t already ruin all men for you, for life.

Goblin (쓸쓸하고 찬란하神-도깨비)

goblin 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 || series review

1 Comment

  • Dear Noonas, about your critics to the ending of this episode: they are spot on.

    On the other hand, Eun Tak is incapable to see ghost at the moment since a big part of the magic in her “Goblin’s Bride” mark has vanished due to the attack.

    About keeping her in the dark about the plan: she is not equal to Shin AS A WARRIOR, she is only a young student and he is a very ancient and seasoned General: he is a professional.

    And about making this kind of strategic planning with a young person, I would be wary too to put such an intrincate (and delicate) plan in the hands of an amateur with an age where you believe you are always right and know better than anyone… Shin knows the high stakes and is used to make those horrible strategic decisions that leads to victory (even if he has to sacrifice a lot like when he had to fight the Jurchen tribes), she still believes she can protect anyone without risking a thing or by going herself to harm’s way (wishful thinking). Eun Tak not knowing what was about to happen was instrumental to this plan, since Shin had foresaw Joon Heon’s action based in Sun’s attack and the possible plan his enemy could have and knew that Eun Tak would refuse to roll a plan where he would surely die.

    So in this I am with Shin.

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