I was a bit unsure about this one going in, mostly because I was worried that I would spend most of the episode missing everyone back in Chicago or that it would hurt the momentum of the main story, but I ended up being quite fascinated by this episode, and I ended up being invested in Ji-Ah and in the romance between her and Tick. So not only did Tick have a thing going with a Korean nurse he met during the war, she ALSO happens to be a Kumiho, a Korean fox spirit that has to eat the souls of 100 people to become human, because thats just kind of how Ticks life is going these days. I always like Jamie Chung, and she carried this episode really well, and I am excited to see if she comes to the US and gets more involved in the story, as it looks like she will. I have been all about Tic/Leti so far, but Tic has a ton of chemistry with Ji-Ah as well.
As much as Ji-Ah’s mother said that she is incapable of real love or feelings because she isn't a human, that is clearly not true. She can very much love, and have feelings of happiness, sadness, and remorse, so I was glad that both Ji Ah and her mother seemed to finally realize that. So the Ji-Ah that we met is the Kumiho who was summoned to kill the abusive step father of the "original" Ji-Ah, while the first Ji-Ah is basically laying dormant inside of her. So what happens if she does take that last soul, will the Kumiho take another form, or essentially stop existing, at least on this plane of existence, or lose all of her memories of her life? Its not fair that the original Ji-Ah is gone for now, but the Kumiho Ji-Ah deserves to live as well, its not her fault that she took this form and entered this body because of the deal Ji-Ah’s mom made, so what will happen? Really, there has to be an easier way to kill a person that doesn’t involve magic. I wonder if Ji-Ah will end up taking her last soul to save Tic, and will give up her existence to save him?
Kumihos are a pretty well known creature from Korean mythology, and nine tail fox spirits in general are common across east Asia, with one of their most famous in the west being the Japanese Kitsune, who often pop up in video games and anime, and has also shown up in a number of western stories, although how much they have in common with the mythological creature is often all over the place. Interestingly, in most stories, the Kumiho is rather on the bloodthirsty and murderous side and enjoy eating human hearts, while the Kitsune is more likely to be more playful, intelligent and lovelorn, some are good and some are bad, and often end up marrying a human and settling down. They usually appear as young beautiful women, although not always, and almost all of the fox spirits have been known to possess women in folk tales, and seduce men, so there is a lot of the mythology in this, although I dont think I have heard many stories where their tails come out of all their orifices and they tear people apart and eat their souls.
I felt sad for Ji-Ah when that guy she seemed to connect with wasn't interested in her, but it did turn out to be for the best for him at least. I echo the comments above, was speed dating a thing in 1940s Korea?
We also get a look at Tic in the war, and its not pretty at all. War really can bring out the worst in people, with Tic involved in horrible things like executing innocent nurses and torturing Ji-Ah’s best friend, and that while he is terribly torn up about it, it still happened. It gives a lot of context to Tic now and his memories of the war, and maybe even how, while he was furious with his father for killing the scroll guardian, he could at least understand how a person can do such a terrible thing for what seemed like the right reasons at the time. Even as Tic gave Ji-Ah the old "I was just following orders" excuse, he seemed to know how lame it sounded, and that while, again, while he might have tried to justify it at the time, he already knows what he participated in was terrible. Possibly it’s one of the reasons why he and Ji-Ah seemed to connect so deeply, even if he was unaware of that connection, because she too did terrible things because she thought it was necessary or justified at the time for a greater goal, and now feels remorse for what she did. You could even say that she too was following orders, be it from a superior officer or from the mother she desperately wanted the love of, and that helped her to understand and forgive him for what he did.
A lot of really lovely camera work this week, like Tic and Ji-Ah at the little home made theater holding hands as the movie plays over them, and the old mountain sage moving the flowers through the air with the snow in the background. This show also manages to be number one when it comes to body horror, always upping the ante every week. The flesh falling off of people as they change shape not creepy enough? Enjoy giant tail tentacles coming out of a woman during sex from every orifice of her body (including her eyes!) and them tearing someone up by taking them through their own orifices.
I wonder if the talk about how the film version of The Count of Monte Cristo had a different ending than the book is foreshadowing that this show will have a different ending than the book it was based on. From what I understand it has already changed a lot, so a change in ending wouldn't surprise me.