Mane of Glory #24: Arthdal Chronicles Ep 17&18
Well… Arthdal Chronicles is over and we are left feeling some very intense feelings. Come join us as we discuss where our favorite characters are left after the finale and whether we thought this ending was a good one.
So, this happened. And since we still are feeling a bit of rage over how this drama concluded, we will be doing a quick update on the main characters and end with our thoughts on how they decided to conclude this once epic story.
Taeahla realized that maybe Tagon isn’t going to be as loving going forward as he once was now that he is about to become King. These feelings of distrust are intensified as Tagon orders her father arrested and tortured to find out the secret about the bronze techniques. Taeahla ends up mercy killing her father after finding out the bronze secret and declares that now only she knows how to keep him rich. She also drops the bombshell that she is carrying Tagon’s baby and she plans on becoming Queen to his King. We end her story arc with Taeahla vowing to get rid of Tagon and rule the country on her own.
Kmuse: This change of feelings felt very abrupt for someone who had been 100% devoted only an episode ago. Not that I don’t like the shift in story but it doesn’t feel overly genuine.
Drama Geek: This shift should have taken several episodes to take hold and make me really believe she’d flipped. Yeah, they’d always had a complicated relationship, but she always knew she’d be his second hand, and he’d rule the kingdom. I did love the scene with the fire blazing behind her while she wore that amazing black lace outfit.
Kdrama Jen: She is such a multi-faceted character. She has shown herself to be ruthless and diabolical, but the one constant was her deep understanding of and love for Tagon. I also needed more time to see a gradual change that would lead to this outcome.
MiataMama: She didn’t come this far to get brushed aside. She’s always been very smart and pretty equal to Tagon when it comes to scheming and playing the political chess game. Can she outmaneuver Tagon and take Arthdal for herself? I think it’s entirely possible. And she’d look ever so elegant doing it too.
Clkytta: While I’m seriously grumpy about how quick this flip happened, I knew it would happen. Taeahla has always been a strong character, stronger than Tagon in my opinion. She’s been a driving force behind his success and I can see how she would flip like this. Becoming Queen has always been her end game and she was never going to just be Tagon’s side piece. Attacking her family and not including her broke the chain of trust between these two. I would have loved to see a few episodes of them undermining each other.
All hail King Tagon. Through his ruthless killing of all opponents to his rule, Tagon has become the most powerful man in Arthdal. Only it comes at the cost of the love of his life secretly turning against him and the love of his people a thing of the past. But at least he has Saya, his heir. Or does he? I suspect that once Saya learns that Taeahla is pregnant he won’t be as obedient as in the past.
Kmuse: This is another character who’s final character development felt very rushed. Tagon changed his attitude against everyone so fast that I practically had whiplash. I truly feel for the abuse he suffered growing up and I wish that I could condone his actions but I just can’t. I’m glad Tagon got his dream but it is now time for his downfall.
Drama Geek: Tagon becoming king was a given. I wasn’t surprised at all the dead bodies it took to get there. The fact that he still had the golden (bronze?) crown on top if his head when the credits rolled was a bit of a shocker though.
Kdrama Jen: Tagon is such a complex character. He is ruthless and cunning, but I could understand almost all of his actions throughout this drama, right up until the end. It almost felt like someone else was writing his character’s part. It felt unsettling to me.
MiataMama: Tagon is not a good guy. He’s done many deplorable and despicable deeds to ascend to the throne. So, why do I still feel sorry for him and wish his demise could be avoided? I blame it on his gorgeous mane of glory – it has totally mesmerized me!
Clkytta: Oh Tagon, you really needed a lot more time to show how you went from the Tagon I secretly cheered for to Tagon who wanted to enslave the world. Tagon has spent the past few episodes feeling more like a puppet with everyone pulling his strings. Now he’s decided to assert himself, but the whole feeling I get is that he’s not going to be the king for long. He’s such a complex character as my fellow Fangirls have mentioned, but he’s also someone who wants to be adored. He wants to be loved, that’s why he wants to rule. It makes sense that he would want to conquer other lands, but that really needed more time to develop in the storyline.
We end with Tanya still trying to figure out how to gain more power. She is slowly succeeding as she thoughtfully tries to do what is best for the people. That said, she remains firmly under Tagon and Taeahla’s thumb. More loyal to her ten remaining tribe members then all the people that need her to be their voice. Sad that we couldn’t witness her emerging into someone that is equal to the King and Queen.
Kmuse: I don’t really like when Tanya starts thinking that she needs Eunseom back to help her. At this point I want Tanya to just continue doing what she thinks is right and not wait for someone to help her. Especially since we only got Eunseom and Tanya together for 1.5 episodes out of 18. Do we really believe that she continues to pine for her childhood crush? Also, I am sad that we didn’t get any great Tanya progress. I did enjoy the scene where she went and talked to the children who were slaves but I needed a lot more from her.
Drama Geek: VERY disappointed and how little progress she made in the last 6 episodes. I was convinced at the end of part 2 that she’d really come into her power, and start making real change. I had to laugh at all the Tanya + Guy in Mask shipping that was going on toward the end of the drama on Twitter. There’s even a video on YouTube of all their scenes together, starting with him dragging her across the ground in Iark.
Kdrama Jen: Tanya! Oh, I had such high hopes for her. I really thought she was going to become a strong leader to save her people, but I didn’t even see the point of her effort to give slave children shoes. Of course, there were a lot of actions in these final episodes that seemed like they were heading somewhere until…they didn’t. On a side note, I also was kind of shipping Tanya and the Masked Guy. She is perfect for him because she can read his thoughts!
MiataMama: Honestly I’m worried about Tanya. In her quest to garner more power to save her people, she is being forced to set aside her own moral conscience. It’s been hard to watch her have to make the choice between the lesser of two evils.
Clkytta: Tanya had so much potential. She just doesn’t have as wide of a network of supporters as Tagon. The people love her, but she has no one who actually has any power behind her. Plus, she is uncomfortable with the power she has. She is truly on her own and that’s why she wants Eunseom. The people who know your past are powerful people in your life. She’s surrounded by people she can’t trust and people who look up to her, so of course she would want the one person who sees her as an equal. Her whole storyline was rising action, rising action, then it fizzled out.
Eunseom continues to bumble his way into leading the Ago tribes, uniting them against Arthdal. I say bumble because he seems to be one of the most passive savior figures ever. Sure they try to indicate that Eunseom can be sly at times but I think we can all agree that he is going through life one capture at a time. It is only fate that is declaring him as “the one” that will save them all. We finish with Eunseom convincing the Ago tribes to attack Arthdal and take their tribe members who are slaves back.
Kmuse: I’m surprised at how apathetic I felt towards this character in the end. It’s not that he is a bad character but I just don’t see him being in the same level as Tagon and Saya. The fact that he constantly gets caught and is so passive makes it hard to focus on him when you have more aggressive options. Part of the problem is he just didn’t have enough time to shift as a person. He continues to feel very naive compared to everyone else. This could have been probably fixed with more episodes but we got what we got.
Drama Geek: His character’s ending achievement being that he united a tribe we only heard about in the last few episodes was a huge let down. I don’t think he will ever be sly or cunning, but I do think he could have grown into a strong leader, if given time. He actually reminds me of early Harry Potter. He totally needed his friends to accomplish anything of importance. LOL.
Kdrama Jen: I admire Eunseom’s character. I mean, his moral character. He is the only one who has really stayed true to the original values of the Wahan. He seems to get batted around, but I think he is very strong. His idea to rebel by convincing tribes to refuse to participate in the slave trade was brilliant. I was most excited about where his character development was headed. He showed such leadership skills. I was sure he would develop into a formidable match for Tagon—using unity instead of the divisiveness of fear. I was so ready for an epic showdown between the strength of love and unification versus the corruption of power. I had such high hopes that were dashed into more pieces than Eunsom’s raft after the waterfall test.
MiataMama: Oh, EunSeom. So earnest, yet so oblivious. The way he keeps reacting to the predicaments he’s in, rather than strategizing future actions has been SO annoying and frustrating. I desperately wanted something more from his character, but that growth just never came to fruition.
Clkytta: Ah Eunseom, our bumbling epic hero. The character development of this character has been seriously lacking. All the other Neanthals and Igtus have shown us the power that Neanthal blood possesses, but somehow Eunseom has been quite powerless. He’s kind, almost to a fault, so his ascent to leader has been a hard one to grasp. He still embodies all the qualities of Iark, which is interesting, but he’s not hard enough to fight Tagon so he needs a lot of friends surrounding him.
Through deduction and threatening, Saya discovers the truth about his twin. He also managed to solidify his position as Tagon’s son and heir, as well as Tanya’s advisor. Out of everyone, Saya seems the most likely to be a leader in the future and it is tragic that we don’t get to witness the battle between him and everyone else for the throne.
Kmuse: In my head cannon, Saya wins it all. Yes, he can be ruthless but I can’t help but be drawn to his intelligence. I also suspect that he would be the most entertaining of the five in a battle of wits.
Drama Geek: Saya needs to get out of Arthdal. Can we toss him down a waterfall and see if he lives through it a changed man? Sadly, I think if he stays under Tagon’s wing, he’ll end up like Tagon’s dad and try to kill an innocent child some day, meaning Tagon’s heir. Sigh.
Kdrama Jen: Saya remains my favorite character. I can’t help it. Maybe it is the mane of glory or the vulnerability beneath his cold exterior, but he draws me in! Also, regardless of how I feel about the ending, I still adore Song Joong Ki and respect him as an actor who wants to challenge himself.
MiataMama: Everyone is keeping secrets from Saya and he is NOT happy. I don’t quite understand why everyone seems to forget the fact he’s a strong and cunning Ingutu, just like Tagon. Plus, his (really distracting) Batman voice just whispers, ‘don’t mess with me’.
Clkytta: Saya remains the most complex and most interesting character. He’s very chameleon like. He is whoever you want him to be, until he turns on you. We all know that he won’t let Tagon have another heir, but we also know that Taeahla WILL see her child take the throne. I’m super sad that we won’t see the epic battle between the two. Saya loves no one, he just craves power.
The ending…or lack of
You might have guessed from subtext that we are NOT happy with how the writers chose to end the show. Not because the plot was bad but more because it was completely unfinished. never made it back to Arthdal, reuniting him with Tanya or his twin. Tagon and Taealha were married but without any conclusion of their conflict. And all we got as compensation is a short 3 minute animated clip that indicates that there is a battle and Eunseom is injured and secreted to Arthdal. So, even in the animated there is really no conclusion to our story. Something that is unexceptionable.
A ton of viewers suspect that there will be a season 2 but as of this moment there are no firm plans to continue the story. It is more a wait and see if the viewing numbers warrant a season 2. Which means we might never see a conclusion to this drama.
Kmuse: I am beyond annoyed. If a season 2 was confirmed I would still be annoyed but willing to wait. As it is, the way they chose to finish the drama has left a very bitter taste in my mouth. I need some closure and there isn’t any to be found.
Drama Geek: I wanted to throw things and say very bad words when the final scene rolled. Then I watched the animated clip, and my blood pressure went through the roof. I’m sorry, if there is not a contract signed (cast included) for another season, you do not end a drama this way. There had to be a way to give some kind of closure, and leave room for more story to be told if they do get another season. I feel like they disregarded the viewers feelings, and only wanted to stick it to whoever said no for more episodes. If they do make another season, it will be at least a year before we get it, hopefully by then I’ll have cooled off. We’ll see… my anger is pretty piping hot.
Kdrama Jen: Not to sound crass, but I feel like we were in a relationship and just getting steamy when someone dumped a cold bucket of ice water all over us and then informed us we would be separated for life. I am still feeling the shock of the ice and also regret for what could have been.
MiataMama: I. HAVE. SO. MANY. QUESTIONS!!! This is the WORST lack of an ending I have had to suffer through in 8 years of drama watching. I spent countless hours investing in the fate of all these characters and now I have NO resolution to their story – completely unacceptable! I honestly don’t foresee a season 2 happening. So, I’m just going to work through my outrage and move on. Farewell Arthdal.
Clkytta: I feel like I went to see a lion and saw a kitten. There is zero resolution and they completely ignored several storylines. This was an epic story, and it ended with an unsatisfactory cartoon. I actually put off finishing this drama due to the buzz from the rest of the Fangirls about the ending. I finally sat down and watched the last two episodes and I’m so underwhelmed that I’m angry.
Well, there you have it. Our thoughts about Arthdal Chronicles finale. Do you agree? Share you thoughts in the comments and feel free to vent or explain why this was the perfect ending.
Until our next Mane of Glory fangirling moment,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi