Our goblin isn’t used to anyone getting an inside peek at his life, but suddenly there are humans and reapers invading his space left and right, forcing him to let people in whether he likes it or not. Those connections turn out to be pretty crucial, both in making me care about the story, and showing us the very human and hilarious side of the goblin—the one who’s 935, going on 20.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
After declaring that she’s the goblin’s bride, high-schooler Eun-tak follows the goblin through a door… and ends up in Canada, where he’s just portal-jumped from Seoul. Goblin Kim Shin jumps and marvels at the human girl’s ability to follow him here.
She says that she’s made up her mind—if he’s got powers like this, she’s going to marry him. “I love you,” she announces with a giant grin.
He’s taken aback by the sudden declaration, and she teases that he’s putting on an act like he’s never heard those words before. She points out that he’s not actively turning her down. Shin tells her to stop it, but she’s having too much fun at his expense and decides they’re going sightseeing. “Think of it as our honeymoon,” she says as she leads the way.
Eun-tak runs through the streets like a kid in a candy store, zigzagging her way through shops and sights, making Shin dizzy and exasperated. She prods him to tell her that she’s acting very natural and not at all like a tourist, and he doesn’t bother replying.
Shin notices how happy she looks inside a store filled with Christmas decorations, but when she asks him to take her picture (showing him how to use a camera phone like he’s eighty, ha), he doesn’t even look at her as he snaps the picture.
Eun-tak loves the falling autumn leaves, and says that the ones on the ground are a red carpet laid out especially for her. She asks him about a strange street sign with elves on it, and he says that it’s a fairy-sighting district. Eun-tak tells the goblin that he must be very happy to meet a fairy like her, reminding him that she’s Tinkerbell. He tries to temper his scowl and ends up twitching.
She reaches up to try and catch a falling leaf, and starts to tell him that if you catch one on its way down… She turns around and bumps into him, standing there with his arm sticking straight up and a perfect little maple leaf in his hand.
Eun-tak tells him to throw it away, because if you catch a falling autumn leaf on its way down, your love with the person you’re walking with will come true. He accuses her of making that up just now, and she insists that it’s true, just like catching a cherry blossom leaf and making your first love come true.
He asks why she wants him to throw it away when she said she loved him earlier, and she asks again if he’s a goblin. He denies it and asks why she was trying to catch a leaf then, and she says she thought of herself as walking with that oppa over there. “Oppa?” he asks incredulously as he turns to see a handsome young man leaning against a tree.
Eun-tak snatches the leaf out of his hand and runs over to the handsome oppa, only to run back twice as fast, gasping, “Canadian ghost!” Shin just goes on his way, and she has to double back after him.
Eun-tak complains that Canadian ghosts are way scarier because they speak English, and then realizes they’re in a hotel lobby. She gives him the side-eye and says that he shouldn’t be bringing a high-schooler somewhere like this, and Shin comes back with a deadpan “You said you were going to marry me.” He tells her to wait in the lobby while he goes out for a while. She panics about being left alone, and guesses that he’s going to meet a lady friend.
Back in Seoul, the grim reaper meets with a reaper hoobae—also a man in black, with a black hat. He hands our Reaper a black file on a missing person and asks how something like this happens, since he’s never personally encountered a missing person before.
Reaper says that it’s the whim of the gods, which humans mistake for miracles, and what reapers call missing persons. He adds that his case is particularly complicated, since the missing person never had a name, and the hoobae reaper sighs sympathetically about the paperwork involved.
Hoobae reaper complains about reapers having to pay rent and eat when they’re hungry and sleep when they’re tired, finding it unfair. Just then, a woman enters the coffee shop and starts to argue loudly with a man, accusing him of hitting her with his car and trying to run. Reaper dons his hat and heads back to work.
He tells the man and woman that they’ve just died in a car accident, and takes them to his mystical tea shop, where he offers the woman tea that will let her forget everything in her past life. She asks if she has to drink it, not wanting to forget how much she hates this man, and Reaper advises her to: “Oblivion is a consideration from the gods.”
The man asks where his tea is, and Reaper says he should remember every bad thing he’s done, especially since this isn’t the first time someone’s died because of him. We rewind to the snowy night when Eun-tak’s mother was hit by a car when she was pregnant with her, and see that the hit-and-run driver was this man.
Reaper tells the man that he’ll come to regret this moment when he couldn’t drink the oblivion tea, and then he’ll remember why he couldn’t have it, and realize: “That there isn’t one moment you can turn back. And that you are already in hell.” Reaper describes the pain that he will endure, his body torn into shreds daily and nothing but regret on his mind, forever and ever. Satisfied at the man’s future in hell, the woman drinks her tea in one shot.
The man grovels on his knees, but the Reaper points up at the sky at the capricious gods, since it’s out of his hands. He says he knows one person who lives in hell with all of the memories of his past life intact. Reaper says that person probably begged for forgiveness countless times, as we cut to Shin standing in a cemetery in Canada. “But it was no use, because he still stands in the center of hell,” Reaper concludes.
Shin stands at the graves of the Yoo family members who have served him for nearly a thousand years. Shin narrates, “I have buried the young grandson of the grandson of the grandson who left Goryeo with me. There was a time when I thought of this life as a reward, but my life was a punishment. I have never forgotten a single death.”
We see that the young boy who left Goryeo with Shin, Geum-sun, survived the shipwreck (thank goodness), and that he grew up into a young man, and then grew old.
Shin also suffered immense agony from the sword that remained lodged in his heart, and despite his desperate attempts to pull it out and end his life, he could never remove it.
Back in the present, Shin puts flowers on Geum-sun’s grave and asks how he’s been. Shin says he’s been alive all this time, but hasn’t been at peace. The camera pans over to the headstone next to Geum-sun’s, a nameless grave which has a picture of Shin on it, for one of his past identities. Ugh, I can’t help but think it’s where he’d want to be buried when he dies.
Eun-tak waits in the hotel lobby, and finally decides to head outside. She walks up to a nearby park, and discovers Shin at the top of the hill. “I’ve found you,” she says to herself with a smile.
She doesn’t make her presence known, and remains at a distance watching Shin among the graves. She picks up a dandelion and blows the wisps in his direction, and they reach him all the way down the hill, though he doesn’t notice.
It isn’t until dusk that he gets up, and he’s surprised to find Eun-tak there. She notes that his grave is the only one with no name, and asks if he always has to leave the places he’s lived. She asks how many times he’s done so, and he says he’s never counted.
Eun-tak bows at Shin’s grave and introduces herself, addressing the Shin who “died” in 1801: “I’m going to be your bride in about two hundred years,” she declares cheerfully. Shin: “No you’re not.” Eun-tak: “I guess not.”
She says that ajusshi will still be handsome two hundred years later, though his personality is a little mean, and assures him that he “grows up well.” As they walk back, Eun-tak asks if he lived a long time here, and Shin says he’s left and come back, again and again, and that this was the first place he landed after leaving his hometown. She thinks it’s a pity that he didn’t buy the land that the hotel was built on because it could be his by now.
He stops to look at her, and she wonders if maybe the hotel really belongs to him, suddenly very eager to get on his good side. He asks if she isn’t late for school, and suddenly Eun-tak’s face goes pale as she asks what time it is in Seoul. At the thought of her homeroom teacher’s wrath, she whimpers, “Should I just live here? Illegal immigration is better than being tardy, right?”
He leads the way, and they step from nighttime in Quebec to daytime in Seoul. Eun-tak says she slept well, since it feels like it was all a dream. She knows it’s time to wake up now and asks for Shin to forgive her for anything she did in Canada, saying that she was just so excited.
At school, Eun-tak’s nasty teacher assumes that she isn’t bothering with her schoolwork because she can’t afford to go to college anyway. Eun-tak insists that she’s going to college, and the teacher reacts like she’s being defiant. Who certified you, lady?
At the bus stop that night, Eun-tak takes out her Quebec guidebook and flips through the pages wistfully, and pulls out the maple leaf that Shin caught.
She thinks of Shin as a radio DJ says, “When you’re coming home on a rainy night, what is it that becomes your umbrella? A voice that answers when you call, a memory of seeing the same thing at the same time, the first time you matched someone’s pace. Does someone come to mind? Yes, it’s that person. I’m sending you this first song.”
Shin returns home and orders Reaper to follow him for an urgent matter. Reaper warns that it’d better be really important, otherwise he’s dead, and Shin counters that this is a matter of life and death for him.
With that, he storms out the front door and exits into that garden with the buckwheat flowers. Reaper goes out the same front door… but ends up on the front stoop of the house. They both stand around waiting for the other in different spaces, and then Shin goes back the way he came and comes out of the house again.
Reaper finds the whole thing curious, and Shin mutters to himself that the kid managed to do a thing that the reaper couldn’t. Reaper gets competitive and demands to know who did what that he couldn’t do, and says they’ll do it again.
He presses himself up against Shin’s back, saying, “I’ll stick really close this time,” and Shin practically jumps out of his skin. Shin dismisses the reaper as nothing but a monster and tells him to get lost.
Shin’s “nephew” caretaker Deok-hwa arrives and asks Reaper if everything is going well in the house, and if it’s not too humid. He reaches out for a handshake, and Reaper leans away from him, making sure not to touch.
Deok-hwa wonders what to call him, since he can’t keep addressing him as New Tenant, and decides on Last Room Uncle, since he’s got the room at the end of the hall. He asks Last Room Uncle to do him a favor and lie to Grandpa about living here, because Deok-hwa knows he’ll be in trouble for renting out the house.
Eun-tak returns to the same door that led her through the portal, and pleads for Canada to still be on the other side. But it’s no longer a portal and she just ends up in the restroom, where fairy godmother Samshin Granny (still in her beautiful young lady guise) is washing up.
Eun-tak doesn’t recognize her, but Samshin Granny takes in her appearance and asks if she’s a senior, pretending that it’s the tired eyeballs and the uniform that were a giveaway. Granny hands Eun-tak a bag of spinach and tells her to share it with her family.
Eun-tak is met with more abuse when she gets home, and Aunt snaps at her to hurry up and cook them dinner. Eun-tak sighs at the empty fridge and remembers the spinach, so she rolls some kimbap.
Her cousin comes running out to tattle on Eun-tak when she discovers the Quebec guidebook in her bag, and Aunt whaps her over the head repeatedly with it, accusing Eun-tak of planning a getaway with Mom’s insurance payout. Eun-tak cries that it’s just a memento.
Aunt is distracted for a moment when one cousin goes to cut the kimbap and cuts her own finger instead, and then the other cousin takes a bite and immediately starts to choke. Aunt runs over to her kids, and Eun-tak grabs her guidebook and dinner before running out the door. She sits outside trying not to cry, alternating between mouthfuls of kimbap and wiping her tears away.
Shin lies awake in bed going over what he knows about Eun-tak—she has the ability to summon him and can follow him through portal doors, but she can’t see the sword in his chest.
He wonders what she is, and then suddenly remembers her “I love you” and says aloud in his formal old-timey speech, “Moreover, if she meant those words, it is most vexing.” His foot shakes and his teeth rattle, and he finally darts up in bed and declares that curiosity always defeats dignity. Ha.
He tosses dignity aside and shows up in the street where Eun-tak is pacing back and forth. He stammers that he’s very busy and acts like he’s totally put out that she summoned him here, and Eun-tak says she really didn’t summon him this time. Cue awkward silence.
He lies through his teeth that she called him here, and asks if she wasn’t thinking about him just now. He looks nervous as he waits for her answer, but she confirms that she was, and Shin runs with it.
Eun-tak asks if merely thinking of him will summon him too, and Shin mumbles that the rules aren’t really clear, but he’s very sensitive to these things. He asks the nature of her thoughts about him, and Eun-tak says that she thought she’d be happy living in Canada, and that made her think of him.
She says that he was wearing expensive clothes and might even own that hotel, but she’d wondered why he looked so sad. Shin doesn’t answer, and instead asks why she’s pacing around so late at night. Eun-tak says she’s waiting for her family to fall asleep. Shin walks with her for a while and says that he’s walking to digest his food, so she shouldn’t misunderstand. She points out that he’s said that three times already.
Across the street, Eun-tak’s mean-girl classmate sees them and texts her friend to say that Eun-tak is with a man in his thirties, who must be her sugar daddy. She gets ready to take a picture of them, when suddenly the car door she’s standing behind shoots open and knocks her off her feet. The girl is about to complain to the person inside the car… except there’s no person inside. Shin doesn’t even glance her way, and the girl runs crying home to mommy.
Eun-tak continues her job search, and walks inside yet another chicken shop (the help wanted sign at this one says they’re looking for “someone who will be like family”). She’s immediately struck by the beautiful woman sitting inside the empty restaurant—this is SUNNY (Yoo Inna), who tosses her hair expertly and then asks if Eun-tak wants chicken to-go.
Eun-tak says she’s here for the part-time job, and Sunny tells her to sit, though she says that she can’t remember the last time she’s had a customer. Sunny is a bit odd, only half-listening to Eun-tak and mostly sighing over and over about how she can’t remember the last time someone ordered a chicken or asked for more radish.
Sunny asks direct questions like, “Are you poor?” and when Eun-tak says she’s a senior in high school, Sunny just says it must be nice to be young. It’s like she has no linking logic between her thoughts, and Eun-tak can barely keep up with the changing conversation.
For no discernable reason, Sunny declares that today will be their Day One, and gives Eun-tak the job. Eun-tak leaps from her chair, overjoyed, while Sunny just sighs dispassionately over the lack of customers for the millionth time.
Eun-tak clutches her new nametag happily and thinks about Shin, calling out to him in her thoughts. She whirls around expecting him to show up, but he doesn’t, so she resorts to lighting a match and blowing it out.
Shin appears before her, steak on a fork, mouth hanging open mid-bite. She marvels at the expensive food he eats, and he asks if she can’t call and make appointments like a normal person, and think of him. He means for her to be considerate, but she changes the meaning and complains that thinking of him didn’t work this time.
Eun-tak adds that she’s interested in promising the future though, and says again, “I love you!” Shin bites into his steak and stomps off.
When Shin returns to the house waving his fork in the air, Reaper watches him warily and decides that he must be crazy. Reaper goes through a whole ritual to climb into bed that night, but it’s ruined anyway when Shin bursts into the room and frightens him.
Out of breath, Shin asks if this outfit is better than the one he was just wearing, and Reaper can’t tell that he changed clothes at all. Neither can I, pfft. Shin holds up a book and asks, completely straight-faced, “Does this book go with this outfit? She’s going to keep summoning me, and no matter when or where, I want to appear smart and flawless.” Hahahahaha. This is the best.
Reaper asks who this person is, but Shin just tells him to focus and imagine that it’ll be the outfit he wears to leave this house in, and suddenly Reaper perks up and gives him an enthusiastic two thumbs-up.
Shin moves on to modeling CD vs. record, wanting to know if it’s better to go with classical or k-pop. Reaper bursts his bubble by saying that kids listen to audio files nowadays. Shin doesn’t even get past the door with his giant paintings.
Shin creeps up onto Reaper’s bed and pulls back the sheet, marveling at how he sleeps like a dead person in a coffin. Reaper wails to be allowed to sleep, and then we fade to morning, when he wakes up with a granny sleeping cap on his head and a flower-print blanket. “I’m going to crush him,” Reaper grinds out.
Shin chuckles to himself, and Reaper comes out to collect his laundry. He grabs a pair of underwear and starts to sing the children’s song, “The goblin’s panties are strong. The goblin’s panties are smelly~”
Shin warns him peevishly to cut it out, but Reaper continues and wonders what you’d have to do to your panties for there to be a whole song about it. “Was it manly?” Reaper leans down to ask. Shin screams at him to stop it, and Reaper just pleasantly returns to folding his laundry.
Nephew Deok-hwa comes by to check on Uncle Shin on a stormy day, and finds him curled up in bed and looking so defeated. In a very dramatic tone, Shin reverts to his formal speech and tells Deok-hwa that it’s time for him to hear the truth about his family and Shin’s tragic fate. Shin tells him not to be surprised, and then takes a deep breath and says, “I am actually…”
“A goblin?” Deok-hwa interjects, stealing all of Shin’s thunder. Deok-hwa says he’s known since he was six, given the whole I-summon-you-gold thing (in traditional lore, a goblin has a magical stick that he uses to summon gold at will).
In flashback, we see Shin sitting before piles and piles of gold bars that he made appear. Little Deok-hwa knew then that Shin wasn’t his real uncle.
Back in the present, Deok-hwa says stuff like this is why he couldn’t possibly not know… and we cut to his view of Shin, floating in the air like a genie. Deok-hwa worries about him accidentally showing his magic in front of others, while Shin is focused on one thing: the fact that Deok-hwa has known he was a goblin since he was six, and has used banmal with him all this time.
Shin floats higher and higher, and lightning strikes in the sky. Suddenly scared, Deok-hwa tacks on a little jondae at the very end to appease his uncle.
At the chicken shop, Sunny is happy at the sudden rainstorm, given that there are no customers anyway, rain or shine. Eun-tak is downcast because she doesn’t have an umbrella, and Sunny offers her one of her many umbrellas, and tells her not to bother bringing it back.
Eun-tak lights up like she’s been given something precious and Sunny finds it odd, but that’s because she doesn’t know about Eun-tak’s horrible selfish umbrella-hogging family. Sunny heads out for a break and advises Eun-tak to play hooky while the boss is away, and Eun-tak looks positively smitten with her.
Sunny goes to get her fortune read by a shaman, who sighs that she’s an orphan with no luck, and warns her against a man in a black hat. Sunny just hopes that the man in the hat is very handsome.
Shin stops Reaper on his way out, and Reaper says he’s headed to the dry cleaners, indicating the “dry clean only” tag on his hat. Shin says, “I’ve felt this every time, but that hat is a very good plan… to look ridiculous in front of the dead for the last time.”
Reaper huffs but says the hat is how the dead recognize him, and also how he prevents the living from seeing him. Shin: “It’s a good thing the living can’t see you. It would be very embarrassing.” Lol, the hat jokes.
Shin is pleased at getting the last word, and then proceeds to sit there with his smartypants props, just waiting for Eun-tak to summon him.
Eun-tak puts a protective coating on her autumn leaf to give as a gift, and her friend calls it old-fashioned. She says it’s okay because she’s giving it to someone old, and when her friend asks if she has a boyfriend, Eun-tak calls it a thank-you gift for helping her get a job.
Eun-tak blows out a match and says that she has a present for ajusshi. But when she looks up, it’s not Shin, but Reaper who’s there to see her. She reaches up to her neck and says she forgot her scarf, just like the last time she saw him.
That’s confirmation enough for Reaper that she can see him, and he stands in her path and says it’s no use denying it. He notes that it took him ten years to find her because she moved (uh, can reapers not use the internet?), and she asks if she’s supposed to die when she’s only nineteen.
“People die at nine, and people die at ten. That’s death,” Reaper says. He can sense someone protecting her though, and asks who it is this time. They both look over, and Shin is standing there.
Eun-tak runs over to Shin in a panic, but instead of hiding behind him, she covers Shin’s eyes protectively and tells him not to meet the grim reaper’s eyes. He looks at her intently, and then lowers her hands and pulls her behind him.
Reaper asks what he’s doing, and Shin says he’s interfering in human life and death, which Reaper calls a big mistake. But before he can say that Eun-tak was supposed to die, lightning and thunder roar overhead, as if Shin is displaying his anger. Shin shoots him a thought telepathically, and warns Reaper to be careful, or else he’ll start to concern himself with Reaper’s life and death too.
Eun-tak suggests a quick getaway and tries to pull Shin along with her, only to bounce right back. Shin says that Reaper can’t take her, even if he’s been searching for her for a hundred years: “No reaper can take someone who said she’d marry a goblin, and before a goblin’s eyes at that.”
Eun-tak’s eyes widen, and she quickly tells the reaper that she’s the goblin’s bride. Sirens sound nearby and Reaper has to get to work, and suggests talking to both of them about this another time.
As soon as the reaper is gone, Eun-tak lets out a shaky breath and says she knew Shin was a goblin. He says he lied about it because he thought he’d never see her again. “Who knew you’d come inside my door, where no one has ever followed me in before?” he asks. We’re not talking about portals, are we?
He says that the truth wouldn’t have mattered because she’s not the goblin’s bride, and Eun-tak asks with tears in her eyes what she is then, when ghosts tell her she’s the goblin’s bride and reapers tell her she should be dead. “What am I?” she asks.
Shin says it’s not his concern and she gets angry at that and accuses him of lying because she’s not pretty enough to be his bride. But he says readily, “You’re pretty. I’ve lived over nine hundred years. I’m not looking for someone who’s pretty; I’m looking for someone to discover something about me.”
He says she should consider it a good thing, because if she had been the bride, she would’ve ended up resenting him a great deal. He says he’s telling her the truth now because he wants her to stop summoning him with false hope, and says that he’s leaving this place soon.
She starts to ask where he’s going, and then declares that she doesn’t care, and she never wanted to be his bride anyway, because she’s only nineteen and she’s not crazy. She starts to walk away and then turns back, but he’s already gone.
At home, Reaper asks if Shin is going to die at last, but Shin says it’ll regretfully have to wait, since Eun-tak can’t see the sword in his chest. Reaper points out that she might not see it yet, or that he might have to be naked first, though he seems concerned about the girl’s age. Then let’s not joke about the nakedness!
Reaper wonders why Shin is protecting the girl if she’s not the bride, and Shin just tells him to let her live since she’s already skated by. But Reaper’s not about to have a missing person on his watch, and says he can’t live with a goblin that’s messing with his work. Shin welcomes him to move out.
Eun-tak decides to read up on goblins, though the only place she can really do that is in children’s books. A little girl comes by to ask Eun-tak why a big unni like her is in the kids’ section, and Eun-tak calls it a background search on her boyfriend. “It’s like Facebook-stalking. You’ll do this when you’re older too,” she explains.
The little girl asks if her boyfriend is a knight on a white horse, and Eun-tak sighs that it’d be nice, scowling at the pictures of goblins on her books. She gets angry thinking about Shin’s words to her and decides that she doesn’t care anymore, and sticks her maple leaf in one of the books and leaves it at the bookstore.
But as soon as she’s gone, a hand reaches out for the book she left it in…
At home, Shin gets up in excitement when he smells smoke, thinking that Eun-tak has summoned him again. He stands up to prepare himself, but then nothing happens. He turns the corner to find Deok-hwa smoking, and he quickly puts out the cigarette and says that Uncle smoked and quit once too. Shin shouts that it was it was 350 years ago.
That night, Reaper comes out wearing a sleeping cap again, thanks to Shin, and asks Deok-hwa what’s going on in the house because it’s suddenly moist and cloudy inside. Ha, this must be what Deok-hwa was referring to with the humidity, because Shin is literally hanging out with a dark cloud hanging over him and glowing a fiery blue.
Deok-hwa asks Uncle to quit before it rains in here, and Reaper deduces that he’s thinking about a girl, most likely because of a marital spat. Deok-hwa is shocked to hear that Shin has a girl and that she’s nineteen, but his only concern seems to be whether she’s pretty. Shin gets mad at Reaper for blabbing in front of the kid and calls him a grim reaper in front of Deok-hwa, whose eyes widen in alarm.
Deok-hwa advises Shin to just man up and apologize if he hurt a girl’s feelings, and suggests showering her with gifts. Shin responds by tying him up on the stairs like a hostage.
Goblin and Reaper head out of the house at the same time, and Shin ends up tailing Reaper all the way to Eun-tak’s house. When Reaper says she isn’t home, Shin accuses him of killing her. Reaper gets wholly offended at the notion that reapers kill, while Shin says it’s also rude to enter people’s homes with your shoes on.
Reaper asks huffily if Shin told Eun-tak to move, and Shin says she moved on her own, satisfied that Reaper can’t find her now.
Eun-tak stays the night at the chicken shop, and comforts herself by saying that Aunt’s house was never her home anyway.
Suddenly remembering something, Eun-tak runs out to the street in search of the ghost that called her the goblin’s bride, and she asks how the ghost knew. She takes her to another ghost, who tells Eun-tak about the night that the goblin saved Eun-tak and her mother. She realizes then that she’d never have been born if it weren’t for Shin. Meanwhile Shin watches over her that night, but keeps his distance.
Eun-tak’s aunt goes charging into Sunny’s chicken shop (momentarily stunned by her beauty, ha) and demands to know where her precious niece is. Sunny doesn’t bat an eyelash at the rude aunt and calls her girlfriend in a fake accent and asks if “oppa” still beats up anyone, man or woman. Aunt goes running instantly, and Sunny’s friend asks if she’s gone nuts.
It turns out that the reason Aunt is so obsessed with Eun-tak’s bankbook and insurance payout is because she has loan sharks after her for debt, and when they hunt her down at home, Aunt swears that Eun-tak’s mom had a hefty insurance plan, but she just doesn’t know where Eun-tak is hiding the money.
The gangsters simply find out where Eun-tak goes to school, and haul her into their car, kicking and screaming.
Over dinner, Shin asks Reaper how he can afford twenty years’ rent on this house, and Reaper says he’s been collecting the money that loved ones leave to the dead for the last three hundred years. Shin thinks it’s quaint to save money, bragging that he has lots of gold, and Reaper sends Shin’s steak flying out the window. Shin laughs and says he just threw out a plate from the time of Louis XIV.
The fight escalates to the point that everything on the table is floating in the air above them, knife and fork hovering close to each of their heads.
The loan sharks rip through all of Eun-tak’s belongings in the car, in search of the bankbook. She notices the driver lighting a cigarette and leaps forward to blow out the flame, but she misses and the lighter falls to the floor.
The loan shark says that either Eun-tak or Aunt is lying and raises a hand to hit her, and when Eun-tak ducks for cover, the goblin’s mark on her neck starts to glow. Shin can sense something amiss and suddenly drops everything.
In the car, the loan shark tells Eun-tak to remember where that bankbook is, because she ought to know that taking a young girl into a remote area can only mean bad things. She screams and begs for help.
Suddenly the car comes to a screeching halt, and one by one the streetlights go out, surrounding them in darkness. And through the fog, two men appear in the street, strutting towards the car in slow-motion, perfectly backlit by a full moon.
Eun-tak looks up to see Shin and the grim reaper, walking side by side to come save her.
They came together! I mean, I’m obviously glad that Shin came to save Eun-tak, but I’m so much more excited by the fact that goblin and reaper came together. This is the start of a beautiful friendship, and so many buddy cop antics down the road. I can’t wait for Yoo Inna to get in on the hijinks either, because her character is so weird and perfect for the deadpan reaper. But it’s the goblin-reaper relationship I like most so far, because they’re so delightfully petty and childish, but with the power of gods and centuries of life under their belts. It’s also helpful that they’re not so familiar with each other, because it’s an easy way to learn about the two types of mythical beings if they’re testing each other’s limits and getting into pissing contests, over everything from underwear to Eun-tak’s life and death.
Storywise, it’s great to have reaper and goblin at odds over the bride, but it’ll be an even richer conflict if the reaper gets to know her as a person too, and stops seeing her as just unfinished business. The reaper’s presence also adds a nice bit of tension, because I find it curious that Eun-tak isn’t afraid of Shin at all, not even a little, but her reaction to Reaper is very different, and I liked what we saw when the three of them were together. It must just be a winning combination to have goblin and reaper together in any scene, because the three-way bromance with Deok-hwa is great too. I died laughing when the goblin’s brooding turned out to make actual clouds—this kind of metaphor made literal through the goblin’s supernatural powers is what I like most about the show, because it’s funny, but it’s built into the mythology, and isn’t just wordplay.
I’m really glad that the mythology feels rich and full, because I tend to find many of Kim Eun-sook’s dramas written purely around the one glory moment (as in the heroic entrance through the fog, which we’ve seen from her before). But goblins and gods and reapers make for a world with instant life-and-death stakes from the start, and I’m captivated by the lonely lives of these immortals who are stunted by very human emotions. I like the idea that the drama is really about lonely immortals being less lonely with friends, and still having very human needs at the end of the day—everything from rent money, to food, to friendship, to love. The everyday humanness of their lives is what makes the characters endearing, despite their epic powers. You might be an almighty god who can smite thy enemy, but you still become a neurotic little boy in front of a girl who piques your curiosity, and you still seek fashion advice from your roommate for what to wear when she calls. I thought you were cool, goblin, but now that I know you’re not, I think I might love you.