Side dish: Sun claims that her radish is delicious. We’ll never know, but you can make your own Korean Pickled Radish to pair with fried chicken by following the recipe at Aeri’s Kitchen.
Ancient and mighty goblin, Shin (Gong Yoo) finds himself chasing Korean teenager, Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) all over Québec City. Her enthusiasm for her first trip abroad cannot be dampened by Shin’s grumpiness. He leaves her at a hotel lobby to pay his respects at the graves of the hereditary caretakers who lived in Canada with him hundreds of years ago. Regardless, Eun Tak tracks Shin down, and when he finally notices her, she pays her respects at his empty grave.
Death god, Yeo (Lee Dong Wook) is annoyed by the special case that Eun Tak poses: she is neither on the list of the living nor the dead. He operates with the air of a frustrated civil servant until it comes to processing the soul of the driver who hit Eun Tak’s mother then ran. Yeo coldly promises the man the eternal hell of living with the memory of his crimes.
At some point, Eun Tak realizes that it is 10:00 am back in Korea, and she is late for school. She and Shin step back into Korea, and she thanks him for the wonderful dream. The memory of her Québec trip is the only thing that keeps Eun Tak afloat as she gets a tongue lashing from her homeroom teacher, then suffers the abuse of her aunt. However, receiving free groceries from a mysterious femme fatale (Lee El), along with a number of well-timed or supernatural coincidences, would seem to point to Eun Tak having a guardian angel.
Shin finds himself troubled by Eun Tak’s ability to follow him to Québec, a feat that not even Yeo is capable of. Yet, Eun Tak cannot see the blade lodged in Shin’s body. The goblin’s curiosity drives him to seek her out, though he claims that she summoned him with her thoughts. He finds Eun Tak in low spirits, and decides to keep her company on the street until her aunt and cousins fall asleep and she can safely return home.
Meanwhile, Yeo is none too pleased to be sharing a residence with the goblin. The man he signed his 20 year lease with, Duk Hwa (Yook Sung Jae) is the grandson of Shin’s caretaker. Duk Hwa fawns over Yeo, but can do nothing about Shin since the lease is being kept a secret from his grandfather.
Eun Tak finally finds the part-time job that had been promised to her at the empty fried chicken restaurant of attractive yet apathetic proprietor, Kim Sun (Yoo In Na). Eun Tak excitedly summons Shin to tell him the good news, and he is annoyed by how awkwardly he appears before her. After returning home, Shin torments Yeo with a parade of outfits and props that will hopefully present him in a more flattering light the next time Eun Tak summons him. The depressed goblin brings about unusually heavy rainstorms to the neighbourhood.
Sun leaves her restaurant to consult with a fortune teller, telling Eun Tak to slack off in her absence. Sun has no luck in business nor in love, and she is an orphan. However, her luck is about to change as a man in a black hat is going to enter her life (likely, Yeo).
Eun Tak laminates the maple leaf that Shin caught from the air in Québec. Yet, when she summons Shin to give the souvenir to him, it is Yeo who appears before her. The death god recognizes her as the girl he has been searching for over the past 10 years. Shin intervenes with a threatening display of thunder and lightning, then he and Eun Tak claim that she is the Goblin’s Bride. Yeo retreats momentarily.
When they are alone, Eun Tak angrily takes issue with Shin’s previous denials that he is a goblin. His justification is that he does not believe that she is the Goblin’s Bride, because she cannot see the object lodged in him. A hurt Eun Tak vows never to summon him again. Shin and Eun Tak separately mope.
While researching about goblins in children’s books, Eun Tak angrily leaves the laminated maple leaf in one of the books. It is picked up by an anonymous hand.
When Shin returns home, he freely admits to Yeo that Eun Tak cannot see the sword in his body. Yeo correctly surmises that the goblin is upset about hurting the teenager’s feelings. Duk Hwa urges Shin to apologize to the woman he has offended, and gets trussed up for his nagging.
Yeo secretly hunts for Eun Tak at her home, but both he and Shin discover that she has moved out. Unbeknownst to the two gods, Eun Tak has moved into the fried chicken restaurant. Unable to sleep, Eun Tak goes to find the ghost who identified her as the Goblin’s Bride, and is pointed to Sun’s fortune teller for more information. That is how Eun Tak learns that Shin saved her and her mother, and she regrets getting angry at the goblin.
Eun Tak’s evil aunt goes searching for her at the fried chicken restaurant, but is scared off by Sun. The aunt is desperate for Eun Tak’s mother’s insurance money to pay off money lenders. She redirects the thugs to find Eun Tak, and they kidnap the teenager outside her school. Eun Tak is being threatened in the moving car when she attempts, but fails to blow out one thug’s lighter. Fortunately, the exposure of the Goblin’s Bride mark on her back appears to act as a distress signal that halts a petty standoff between Shin and Yeo. The car carrying Eun Tak and the thugs comes to an abrupt stop when the street lights suddenly go out. The two gods appear to march purposefully towards them.
JK is away, so our substitute Noona this week is Jinjoo. That’s not her real name, but then again, Only isn’t my real name either.
Only 만: After watching episode 2, I’m cautiously getting excited about this show.
Jinjoo 진주: Your squeals of delight might mean that you’re a little less cautious than you’re letting on.
Only: It was more of a dignified exclamation than a squeal, but I take your point.
Jinjoo: Can we talk about Gong Yoo yet?
Only: I say we must.
Jinjoo: Actually, let’s talk about plot first.
Only: What a tease.
Jinjoo: I think we’re agreed that the plot is awesome. So far, we’ve seen the development of the friendship between Shin and Yeo; we have Eun Tak finding a friend in the lackadaisical Sun; we have Duk Hwa developing into a person, and not just a plot device; we even have mystery spinach.
Only: That was random. I mean, who takes spinach from a random woman in a bathroom? Leafy greens aside, though, I love the development of the two leads, the story has revealed enough to hook my interest without going down the path of predictability, and the comedic chemistry between Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook is pretty fantastic. In all honesty, I’m way past caution here; it has its flaws but I’m really enjoying “Goblin”.
Jinjoo: The writer and the director are keeping it really, really tight. Not a single moment of episode two dragged, nor did anything feel redundant.
Only: The transitions between more comedic scenes and the heavier drama feel natural in terms of the story. And thanks to decent characterization, it isn’t jarring to see a guy who’s been alive for centuries act petty with his roommate.
Jinjoo: Or tie up his annoying nephew when he starts mouthing off.
Only: That was awesome.
Jinjoo: Can we talk about the cliffhanger?
Jinjoo: Of course the first person Eun Tak tries to call when she’s in trouble is Shin. And even better, she gets two for the price of one when new roommate, Yeo shows up too.
Only: I have to admit the two of them make a pretty good entrance. As cliffhangers go, it was a good one.
Jinjoo: Especially since it featured the most entertaining roommates ever.
Only: The scenes between Shin and Yeo are the best. “Goblin” is great, but if it was just about the two of them punking each other, I would still watch.
Jinjoo: Not that Shin and Eun Tak are boring. Not at all.
Only: I really enjoyed the development of the relationship between Shin and Eun Tak in this episode. Even though he believes that she won’t be able to remove the sword, Shin can’t seem to help but become more intrigued by Eun Tak. To the point where he makes up a lame lie to spend time with her.
Jinjoo: Right. He pretends that she summoned him but he actually just showed up.
Only: And it’s not until the run-in with Yeo that Shin realizes what he’s doing and pushes her away again.
Jinjoo: But thanks to the run-in with Yeo, we have the big reveal that Shin is a goblin, and it precipitates a crisis between the two of them. Shin is pretty harsh to Eun Tak, Eun Tak says she’ll never summon him again. It looks pretty serious, until a couple of scenes later, Shin is sitting in a literal raincloud of his own misery, waiting for her to call him back.
Only: I really liked how what initially looked like a serious split between the two was recast as a lover’s spat, moments later. It could have been an abrupt and annoying tonal shift, but it was actually really well done. Plus, we didn’t have to sit through hours of boring moping.
Jinjoo: Only a tiny bit of moping. With actual rainclouds.
Only: Do you think if I blow out some candles, Lee Dong Wook and Gong Yoo will show up?
Jinjoo: Doubtful, but don’t let that stop you.
Only: Excuse me while I go get some matches.