Arang and the Magistrate Episode 1 Review


In the Joseon Dynasty period, Arang (Shin Min Ah), a female ghost, appears in front of a government official, Eun Oh (Lee Jun Ki). She pleads for the man to regain her memory while he is looking for his mother.

Episode Recap

Introduction: The wall between life and the next is broken and allows ghost to walk around among us. Ghosts can see people but people can’t see ghosts. However, there’s only one man who can see them. This guy heads to Miryang to search for his mother who disappeared three years ago.

That guy is Eun Oh (Lee Jun Ki) who is sleeping in a model pose on a mossy rock while his servant Dol Swe goes for his ‘break’. He complains that his master is supposed to look out for ghosts but he fell asleep on the job. He sighs that he can’t get mad at master for things he doesn’t know how to do like saying ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘Thank you.’ or ‘I love you.’ Eun Oh thinks that these words are not useful in life He looks up at the sky as he predicts that a storm is coming.

At the other side of the woods, Arang (Shin Min Ah) chases after someone while being annoyed that they’ve been living and eating all this time thanks to her. Then, they decided to leave her. She ties her hair back, brings up her skirt, and leaps over giant rocks as she runs through the woods.

A caravan goes through the woods by path while the ghosts appear behind the trees. They are eyeing on the caravan. One of the ghosts worry that they will not succeed without Arang but the leader insists that they can go on without her. Their secret attack begins. Two ghosts jump into people’s backs and they start to chock and fall to the ground. The rest of the ghosts get ready to attack. Then, angry Arang appears while the ghosts are afraid of her. The leader lies that they were waiting for her but he gets punch from Arang.

She almost wants to teach them a lesson but she senses something and looks up. She finds a giant net falling from the sky and the ghosts run for their lives. It traps three ghosts and they froze on the spot. The four grim reapers appear from the sky and ready to hunt some ghosts. They hunt them down with mystical ropes and canes to capture the ghosts. The leader of the reapers, Mu Young (Han Jung Soo) aims on Arang and she flees.

Eun Oh and Dol Swe continue walking through the scary woods. Dol Swe nags that they say this mountain consists of a lot of ghosts who walk around. Eun Oh sighs as he says that there are no such things as ghost. Dol Swe asks his master whether he is sure that his mother at Miryang as there are rumours of this town that how every magistrate who goes there ends up dead. Eun Oh hears sound behind him and stops. Dol Swe tenses up and Eun Oh points to his shoulder because he sees a ghost behind him. Dol Swe shouts and Eun Oh laughs at his tricks. Then, Eun Oh looks up and sees Arang running straight for him. He can see her and the reaper. He tenses his hands and pretends that he didn’t see anything while Arang runs past him. The reaper’s cane flies pass him and knocks Arang down. Eun Oh pretends to walk pass them so they will not know that he can see.

Mu Young surrounds Arang and she asks why he wants to chase after her including the fact that he lost her in the Hades River. He calls her by name and sighs as he has to pay for his mistakes too. She needs to follow the laws of death. She scoffs about the punishments. He takes out his red rope while she reaches under her clothes. She asks him whether he likes peach blossoms. She throws the petals at him. He covers his face and one of the petals cut his hand. When he puts down his hands, she’s gone. He screams her name.

Eun Oh hears the cry. The rain starts to pour and they run inside an abandoned house to stay for ths night.
On the other hand, Arang finally escapes from the reaper while she also gets wet from the rain. She opens her hand and finds that the wounds, which are scratched by peach blossoms, healed. She shouts up into the sky at the King of Heaven.

At the bridge between heaven and hell, the King of Heave (Yoo Seung Ho) scratches his ear while thinking that someone must be saying bad things about him. He sits and plays reversi with his twin brother, the King of Hell (Park Joon Kyu), who determines to win the game. The King of Heaven focuses on the beautiful angel who brings tea and peaches. He smiles and compliments her new hairstyle. However, she comments that she had the same hairstyle yesterday, the day before, and for about a thousand years. The King of Hell places his piece and boasts that he has already won. Heaven looks at the board and places his piece which makes Hell angry. Heaven apologizes to him but Hell starts to get angry. Heaven immediately changes the subject by wondering whether My Young caught ‘that child’ of not. He walks into heaven and leaves his brother shouting in rage at the bridge.

He’s at the garden of paradise and he talks to his goat. He sighs as he really didn’t mean to win but he thinks that Hell calculates every little thing. He waters the flowers which are grown on the goats back. At earth, the rain continues to pour in the woods. Arang runs under a tree and plucks a leaf to use as an umbrella.

While Dol Swe is sleeping, Eun Oh sits by the fire pit while thinking about his mother. Flashback: He argues with his mother that he wanted to live with her. She yelled at him not to be foolish as she prefers him to be the son of a nobleman. However, he believed that everything is meaningless and wants to live the way he wants including the fact that he wanted to be with his mother. She blames on ‘that person’. When Eun Oh pleads and cries, she slaps him and tells him to go. Angry Eun Oh leaves but when he returns the next day, he found that she’s gone.

In the present, Arang goes through the wall of the abandoned house and sits down by the fire. She complains that being a ghost doesn’t even stop her from getting wet. She sighs because she feels cold. Eun Oh tells himself that she can’t see her but his eyes grow wide and his mouth hangs open when she starts to undress by the fire. Their gazes lock at a split second and she quickly dress up. She wonders whether he can see her while in his head saying that he can’t see her. She waves her hand back and forth while he tries his best not to move so much. In his eyes, Arang’s face is at his pupils. She starts to poke his face and there’s a blue glow within that touch. He keeps telling himself in his head that he can’t see him. Arang decides to blow on his face.

Luckily, Dol Swe snores loudly which stop her from doing that. Arang decides to sit on top of Dol Swe to shut him up. She sighs as Eun Oh can’t see her and curious about his story. She asks Eun Oh whether he would like to listen to her story. Eun Oh says to himself that he doesn’t want to hear it and he can’t hear her. Since she has no one to talk to, she decides to say aloud about her story and pretends that he can hear her. Eun Oh is annoyed as he really doesn’t want to hear her story. She tells him how she just woke up and suddenly she was led by the reaper. Flashback: She woke up as a ghost and saw the reaper who brought her through the woods which lead to the river. She is tied up with his red rope. Suddenly, the rope was untied and she escapes to the opposite direction while the reaper didn’t notice.

In the present, she sighs because she finds it weird that she can’t remember and doesn’t know how she tied. She looks up in the sky and blames the King of Heaven. She grumbles and calls him an old fogey. She sighs as Eun Oh can’t hear her because she really wants to ask for his help. Eun Oh starts to yawn and go to bed. She pouts as he is going to bed already. Then, she sleeps next to him and starts to sleep. Eun Oh squirms and wonders what is wrong with this ghost. She stares at his pretty face and smiles. Her hand falls on his shoulder as she falls asleep. He shivers from the cold so he decides to turn over to the other side. They sleep throughout the night.

The next morning, he wakes up and finds that she’s gone. He and Dol Swe continue their journey until they arrive at Miryang.

At the marketplace, they notice that something is going on. They saw Nobleman Choi whom Dol Swe describes him as Miryang’s king. Since there is no magistrate in the town, he is the ruler of this won. Behind him is Joo Wal (Yeon Woo Jin) who gets all the attention from the girls. Eun Oh sees a man begging for Choi but he gets beaten. Eun Oh says that when there’s injustice…Dol Swe finishes his sentence by saying that they have to endure it. The man goes to Joo Wal and begs him for help. The men are about to beat him again but Joo Wal stops them. He gives a man a cold glare and tells him to go which the man starts to flee.

Dol Swe informs him that they’re going to build palace annex on top of the river which gives people suffer to build it and citizens are forced to pay taxes. Eun Oh wonders how Dol Swe always knows what’s going on. Dol Swe suggests that his master should care about the people but Eun Oh argues that he can’t do anything about it if he knows. Dol Swe sighs at his words. Eun Oh tells him to go on ahead without him and he secretly walks away.

Eun Oh walks back to the streets with his own reasons. Then, he turns and shouts out why they are following him. A group of ghosts appear. An old man approaches to him and says that they’ve heard that he can see ghosts. He requests Eun Oh to save his daughter. He bends his knees in front of Eun Oh and asks for his help. However, Eun Oh turns away and coldly replies to them to leave him alone. He walks away and the ghosts vanish. From afar, Arang has been watching the whole time and finds that Eun Oh can see ghosts.
Eun Oh visits the local innkeeper and asks about his mother. She remembers that his mother stay for the night but she’s not sure where she headed. He goes and suddenly turns back and grabs a wrist which belongs to Arang.

She asks him whether he can touch her, not only just see her. He instantly recognizes her from last night and asks her whether she is following him. She asks if he’s looking for someone. He glares at her and she beams as she realizes that he lost his mother by looking at his face. He leans closer to her and threatens her whether to die or not. She counters back as she remembers that she is already dead. He tells her to get lost but she keeps following behind him. She understands that a lot of ghosts keep asking him for favours which are annoying. Eun Oh replies that if she knows then she better get lost.

Arang reminds him that they did sleep together which stops his tracks. He blusters that they did no such thing. She goes closer to him and reminds him again that they did sleep together. She begins to tell him her story again and he sighs that he heard her story last night. She asks for a simple request: she wants to know who she is. Eun Oh is annoyed that she is not listening to him so he decides to take out some red beans from his sleeves. The red beans make Arang scares of them. He admits that he usually use them to throw at annoying ghosts. She covers and he purposely misses the aim of his throw at her. He laughs but then warns her that he will do it again for real. She angrily shouts at him that the request is not that difficult. He tells her to ask local government for her name. She says she would but there’s no magistrate in this town. Eun Oh points out that it doesn’t concern him at all. Arang asks Eun Oh whether he will take responsibility if he becomes a magistrate. He beastly says that if he’s a magistrate, he’ll help her. He walks away and believes that his method words but she has the evil smile as she has a plan.

Joo Wal visits his father. He scolds him for interfering at the marketplace and showed his mercy on the man. Joo Wal says that he just want to quickly clear his way. They argue about finding ‘her’ since time is running out.

Shaman Bang Wool gets called out for being a quack about two minutes into reading and has to refund the customer’s money. Later, she hears Arang’s voice. Arang drops by to visit her who whines that she did promise that she will not come back. Arang comes to ask Bang Wool to help her.

In the government, the Trio Bang discuss about the getting a magistrate. They complain that they will ever fill up the position within two days. Luckily, Bang Wool arrives and tells them that she had a vision that someone will be the new magistrate. The Trio Bang’s face brightens up.

They find Eun Oh and knock him unconscious. They kidnap him and carry him away in a sack while Arang watches from the rooftop. She giggles as one shouldn’t make promises so lightly. The local legend is that a ghost haunts and kills them including the magistrate. Each magistrate died on the first night when they take the office. The Trio Bang believe that they have done their job and they didn’t care if Eun Oh dies like the other previous magistrates. After they put him in a room, they decide to buy the cheapest coffin for him.

Eun Oh wakes up and finds that he’s tied up. One of the Trio Bang calls him the ‘Magistrate’ and tells him to get some rest. Eun Oh tries to escape. The candle starts to flicker and Eun Oh shouts to the ghost to show herself because he has no time to play games. Arang floats upside-down and Eun Oh rolls his eyes. He tells her to stand back the way she is or else he’ll yang her by the hair. She thinks again and stands back up.
She puts on her cute version tone and reminds him that he’s the one who promise that he will help her. He orders her to untie him and asks her to stop using that tone which gives him goosebumps. She pulls her hair to one side and says that he’s not her ideal type. However, she was told to act ladylike to get what she wants. Eun Oh points out if that strategy didn’t work, she killed the previous magistrates. She pouts and sighs that she feels guilty about her previous experiences with the magistrates.

Flashback: Before she visited the magistrate, she took a pill that makes her visible to humans. The first magistrate is shocked to see her ghostly presence that he had a heart attack and dropped that on the spot. She wondered if it has something to do with her looks. When she visited the second one, she tries to look pretty but she ate half of the pill which makes her show the half part of her body. Thus, the second magistrate died. Finally, the third magistrate was a warrior who called her out but dropped dead after he sees her bottom half of the body.

She sighs and notes that it wasn’t her fault. She wonders why such weak-hearted old men are given this position. Eun Oh scolds her to stop doing the aegyo voice and tells her to stop wasting her time with him. He only listens to the living. She cries because she also lost her parents like him losing his mother. She just wants to say her final goodbyes to her parents. However, he snaps back at her to get lost and she immediately stops her fake tears. Angry Arang leaves.

Joo Wal has a night walk under the moonlight. He overhears the conversation between three girls who passes by. They talk about the moon is going to be a yoon-dal (a rotted moon). The legend is that it grasps on the dead, mostly the missing girls who walk around. People are not sure whether they are dead or alive. He strokes his black ring on his finger while watching them walking away.

The next morning, the Trio Bang brings in the coffin to pick up the ‘dead’ magistrate. One of the guys carefully unlocks the door and to their surprise. Eun Oh bursts out from the room which scares them and he starts to beat their heads. Dol Swe runs through the town and rushes in the office to ask if his master is okay or not. Dol Swe screams at the Trio Bang for messing with the wrong person. He brags that Eun Oh is the son of his powerful father. With that, the Trio Bang cries and beg of forgiveness from Eun Oh.

Arang eats with Bang Wool and complains that she did everything that the shaman told her but these tactics didn’t work at all. Bang Wool comes to a conclusion that Arang is an ugly woman. Bang Wool asks why she didn’t say so in the first place and she replies that she didn’t know. Both of them sigh. Bang Wool suggests that Arang needs to make herself pretty with clothes and makeup. Arang wonders how she can get those things since she can only get from the people who give ghosts like her. Then, she realizes that Bang Wool can help her but Bang Wool complains that she doesn’t have any money. Arang smiles as she, yet again, have another idea: stealing.

Bang Wool worries that she will be in jail but Arang assures that she will not get caught since she is on a lookout for people. She promises Bang Wool that she will not haunt her after helping her one last time. They grab the things that they need. They almost go through safely but Bang Wool runs into two policemen and drops the stolen items. Merchants start to shout that there’s a burglary. She starts to run but she is surrounded by policemen. Arang has no choice but to beat the people around Bang Wool to let her escape. Eun Oh and Dol Swe see the commotion. Dol Swe laughs because it looks like people are just falling all over themselves.

Eun Oh sighs and walks away. Suddenly, he notices that the ghosts are worried. Because of Arang, the ghosts will be easily noticeable. The grim reapers arrive and split up to catch the ghosts while Mu Young chases after Arang. Arang sees Mu Young coming after her and starts to flee. She runs pass Eun Oh on the street. Then, he notices the hairpin, which he gave it to his mother, on Arang’s hair. Arang and Mu Young pass him and he takes the horse to go after them. He rides through the woods to catch up with them. He overtakes the reaper and rides toward Arang. He reaches down and brings her up onto the horse. Surprised Arang looks at him.

Point of View

A great start with introductions on characters so that we can get to know them. I am happy that she’s not the Gumiho that we used to know. Instead, she’s a ghost. I guess that she suits well with scary characters including some funny aspects from them. Yes, Arang. You’re funny and scary.

Another funny character is Eun Oh even though he looks selfish but he does talks sense and believes that what he does matters to him. You see that it’s the start for him to care about other people, whether dead or alive, and he doesn’t even care about the people who are rich and famous. However, I’m sure he’ll end up being the magistrate at Milyang and save the people from the evil noblemen. Then, he will shut them off. I can’t wait for his adventures and mystery. I feel sorry that he lost his mother. Hopefully, he encounters obstacles which give him the clues to find his mother.

As for the characters’ emotions, it’s not overly done. It’s just perfect. You have the melodrama and you have the laughter when it comes seeing both Arang and Eun Oh together. This needs to keep at the steady pace throughout this drama. On the other hand, the editing and visual production is perfect. You can tell just by watching without any dialogues. Also, when you look at the expressions, you’ll definitely know how they feel and what’s going to happen next. The production team are not overdoing it with the editing which is a good thing. Like I said before, keep the visual styles of production going and I’ll like this drama even more.

I instantly love the chemistry and relationship between Arang and Eun Oh. I enjoyed the kings of heaven and hell who have interesting times and converse together. Although the reapers are scary, but they catch my attention as it reminds me of ghostbusters. This is my first mythology drama that I love so much. Not only is because of mythology but there are some funny elements in it. I’m already hooked up with this drama. I’m looking forward to this storyline and fantastic character development. All I can say is that I love it after I watch the very first episode of this drama.

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