Goblin: Episode 2 Thoughts


This episode elicited a lot of laughs and giggles from me, which is great. Rarely do I get to enjoy a drama that makes me laugh out loud, rather than just in my head. This episode was about 77 minutes long, just shy of 80 and definitely not 90, but I could almost live with the longer episodes for the rest of the series. The time goes by quickly, and I think it helps that Gong Yoo has chemistry with everyone.

Kim Go Eun is seriously winsome in this episode.

Like a true excited high schooler who’s never been abroad and has no shame, Eun Tak bounces around store to store, street to street, when she realizes she’s in Quebec City. (And I’m just squealing at seeing bits of the tourist areas and Chateau Frontenac, pretending I was there with them.) It’s so cute when she freaks out over a cute boy, only to freak out more when she realizes that he’s a Canadian ghost who talks to her in English. It annoys Kim Shin to no end; when she says to him, “Aren’t you lucky you met a fairy here? *points to self* Tinker Bell?” his nose flares a little because he’s just so exasperated with her. I love it!

He finally gets her to stay at the beautiful lobby of Chateau Frontenac and have her wait for him, going off privately to the hill in the back where he’s buried all of his servants. So, it seems like he was able to save that little boy from drowning in the ocean so many years ago, and he had buried every one of his servants’ grandsons in that hill since then. There is also a gravestone marker for him, though it only has his date of death (1801) and no name or epitaph. Eun Tak finds him on that hill and watches him silently from behind, waiting for him to be done. It’s only when it’s night that he reminds her she’s late for school. (12-hour difference advantage?)

He helps open a portal back to Korea and she follows him through, stepping out of Gyeongbokgung Palace. She thanks him for the trip; it’s so memorable that it feels like a dream, and in a way she wishes she could be there forever. And then she rushes off to school to be scolded by her teacher for being late.

Meanwhile Wang Yeo has his own business to take care of. Apparently there are several gods of death in Korea, and one of them (who seems to be more junior) gives Wang Yeo files he needed for his “special case.” Apparently, “special cases” are rare and a pain in the neck for the gods of death, as they normally involve another god who decided to grant a “miracle” and intervened with human lives. He’s having a lot of trouble with Eun Tak, as he knows her face but doesn’t know her name, and therefore can’t find her anywhere in his living or dead records.

But before he can target Eun Tak, he has to pick up a couple of souls. One of them is the same drunk driver who first caused Eun Tak’s mom’s hit-and-run. This time, he hit another woman and died himself. Wang Yeo takes both driver and victim to his tea parlor and gives the victim tea. He recommends that she drink it and forget her life, even though she’s very angry at the driver. The driver doesn’t get any tea though because he’s going to have to remember everything – especially both deaths that he’s caused. He will have to relive the moments, realize he can’t turn back time, and then go through a living hell of guilt and despair all the time.

Lee Dong Wook is very effective in giving the drunk driver his hellish sentence, as he makes me hold my breath and gulp heavily. But then the tension breaks when we see the victim smile and quickly drink her tea so she can ascend to heaven with no worries. OH THE COMEDY.

Back at home, Kim Shin looks to Wang Yeo for some advice on how to deal with Eun Tak. But Wang Yeo is unable to follow Kim Shin through his magic portal to a grassy field, and it stuns Kim Shin that Eun Tak has the power that a god of death doesn’t have. (That makes Wang Yeo really jealous too.) He has no idea what to make of her, as she has signs of being very powerful like a Goblin’s Bride, and yet can’t see the sword that causes him great agony.

She doesn’t have one power though – being able to go directly back to Canada on her own. She instead opens the same door – to the bathroom, where she bumps into Lee El’s character again. It seems like Lee is playing a new god of death who is very protective of Eun Tak even though the latter doesn’t know/remember her. She not only has protected Eun Tak from Wang Yeo ten years ago, but she also gives Eun Tak some spinach to cook for her family that night. And what’s funny is that the spinach, handled or eaten by anyone else in the family, causes Eun Tak’s cousins to get hurt but no harm to Eun Tak herself. I think I’m going to really like Lee El’s character…

Eun Tak runs away from home when her aunt verbally abuses her about insurance money, and that’s when she bumps into Kim Shin on the street. He pretends that she summoned him with her thoughts, but really he has been hanging around her home because he’s really curious as to who she is. She has powers that could rival his, and yet she can’t see the one thing that would make her a Goblin’s Bride.

The next day Eun Tak finally gets a job at a BBQ Olive Chicken, which I think is the new business to sponsor for product placement. (There’s also one opening up in K-Town New York! Just in time…) The restaurant is headed up by Kim Sun (Yoo In Na), who’s despairing over the fact that she has no customers, no money, no boyfriend. Heh. I wonder if her name is also meant to be similar to Kim Shin’s… In any case, Eun Tak gets the job easily because Sun doesn’t really give much thought to it. She might seem like a ditzy person, but she proves to be very perceptive and a great listener because she protects Eun Tak when the aunt comes barging in demanding why Sun hired Eun Tak as a part timer.

Eun Tak summons Kim Shin the old way by blowing out a match, and finds him behind her just about to eat a piece of steak. It’s become SUPER troublesome for him because he gets summoned wherever he is against his will. (I wonder if it works if he’s in the shower…!) So when he goes back home irritable, he starts modeling for Wang Yeo (who’s ready to go to sleep) on what is the most appropriate outfit to wear at all times so that when he’s summoned he doesn’t look so embarrassing. Wang Yeo could. not. give. a. flying. crap. but his unhelpful grumpiness leads to Kim Shin trolling him and changing his pristine white bed sheets to a garish floral pattern.

So Wang Yeo gets back at him by singing a little children’s song about goblin’s stinky underwear, and that embarrasses Kim Shin to no end. Apparently Kim Shin must have done something so embarrassing it has entered legends and folklore and become a song. And, it seems Kim Shin must have been the only goblin in Korea…

Kim Shin goes into a depressed state (so emotional!) and apparently every time he’s sad, he causes rain. It can be throughout Seoul or just in certain areas, and he’s caused a thunderous rainstorm in his neighborhood only. Hehehe. When Duk Hwa goes to ask what the heck is going on, Kim Shin tries to reveal that he’s actually a goblin. But Duk Hwa knew already. Ever since Kim Shin would randomly make gold appear when drunk, or float in the air like a genie when depressed, Duk Hwa knew that Kim Shin was a goblin. And he’s not fazed at all.

One night Eun Tak calls for Kim Shin again, but the person who shows up first is Wang Yeo. He’s got a soul to collect nearby, and he’s glad to have met Eun Tak by chance when he’s been looking for her all these years. Eun Tak gets really scared but insists that he doesn’t have her name, so he can’t take her away. But Kim Shin does arrive and he protects Eun Tak by saying that Wang Yeo should not get involved with a goblin, or a Goblin’s Bride. That shocks Eun Tak, and Wang Yeo retreats for a meeting another time.

So now Eun Tak knows that Kim Shin is a goblin, after his repeated denials. This is one of the plot points where I was thinking, “Why is he denying this again? To anybody? It’s obvious he’s immortal and a supernatural being…” The answer isn’t very satisfactory (he didn’t think he’d see her again and found no reason to tell her the truth), and he still denies that she’s the Goblin’s Bride even though all the ghosts have been telling her that. Eun Tak goes into a mini identity crisis, and I have a tiny hard time believing that she doesn’t know who she is other than a person who wasn’t supposed to be born or the Goblin’s Bride. That’s a pretty weird identity to latch on to and believe wholeheartedly your entire life.

Kim Shin tells her that no matter what, she can’t help him, so she can’t marry him. And he wants her to stop summoning him out of just false hope because she thinks he can make her life better. Ouch, but it works. Eun Tak now refuses to give him the time of day, and Kim Shin goes into a depressive mode that makes his entire room humid (and possibly rain indoors!). It’s funny how he emotional he can actually be, and I think it’s rooted in just how confused he is about Eun Tak’s identity as well.

Wang Yeo does raise a good point later on that she could be the Goblin’s Bride, but is so young that she doesn’t have the ability to see his blade yet.

Eun Tak runs from home (thus avoiding Wang Yeo finding where she lives after their recent meeting) and then goes to all the ghosts in the area to find out why they call her the Goblin’s Bride. Apparently all the ghosts know that Kim Shin had saved her and her mother’s life 19 years ago, and a cherry blossom bloomed in the middle of the winter. It’s how she became marked as the Goblin’s Bride. But they don’t have any other helpful advice other than she needs to fulfill her destiny.

Before she can though, she has to deal with her aunt’s loan sharks. Apparently her aunt has been borrowing money against this supposed “bank book” that has millions of insurance money that her sister had paid into. Yeon Hee did know she was living on borrowed time all those years ago. Her aunt can’t find the bank book though (and I bet there’s some supernatural trickery going on), and believes it’s with Eun Tak. So the loan sharks kidnap Eun Tak and try to get her to reveal where her money is. Fearing for her life, she starts pleading for mercy. She tries to even summon Kim Shin but fails.

When she’s knocked around, her birthmark is revealed and, combined with her cries, Kim Shin becomes aware of her situation while he’s in the middle of a fight at dinner with Wang Yeo, and suddenly he drops the fight. And the two gods appear in the middle of the deserted road before the loan sharks’ car, strutting down the street like truly godly men.

I swear, Gong Yoo does so much strutting in this episode but I welcome it. The first time he was hilarious (posing with an Eric Nam album too!) but the second time he look dayum fine. What’s great is Lee Dong Wook can hold his own too on the catwalk.

Lee Dong Wook’s character actually reminds me a bit of his Blade Man character, but he’s far more restrained here and that makes it so much better. I love his weird chemistry with Gong Yoo. It seems the two gods know of each other so well that they’re already exasperated and hate each other, so while it feels like we’re skipping the relationship-building part and going straight to the slapstick comedy, the two actors make it work.

It’s also one of the many holes I feel are starting to crop up in the writing. Not everything is revealed at once, and that’s okay. But sometimes I feel like we skip a few details or it’s glossed over in a random, passing scene, and it doesn’t feel like it adds enough substance to answer the “why?” question that comes up all the time. Kim Shin’s answer for Eun Tak on why he lied about being a goblin, or why he even lies to anyone about being a goblin, is too vague. It makes no sense for him to lie to even his trusted Duk Hwa and Duk Hwa’s ancestors. Eun Tak’s desire to marry him right away just because it’s a destiny she’s been told of so many times also feels like it requires a lot of buy-in from the viewer. You just have to believe her when she says it, and believe that she’s very aware of her responsibility. Or you can chalk it up to immaturity. But it’s also a little hard for me to fully understand how she can be so willing from the get-go to marry him. I thought he was going to have to win her over still.

I really hope some more of the rules about goblins and the god of death can be solidified, and how they interact with the world. But I love the slow reveals of the extent of Kim Shin’s powers because they can add an amusing tone to a scene.


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