Splashes of comedy and slow-drawn drama make this a more methodically paced episode, but there is still plenty of character development to be found here.
This recap of Netflix K-Drama series Bulgasal: Immortal Souls season 1, episode 5, contains spoilers.
Bulgasal: Immortal Souls season 1, episode 5 recap
Resuming from the point we were left at, Hwal picks up the lifeless Sang-un and settles her into a car, before Do-yoon comes running after him. The student wants to leave with the man who is currently hosting him in his residence, and is happy to rub in the fact that he supposedly “saved” his life after the confrontation with Dark Hole. As it happens, the two stumble on the unconscious Ho-yeol too, calling 911 as Hwal reminisces about the fact that this is the reincarnation of his father from the Joseon period. As the responders attend to the investigator, the former policeman wakes up in a sudden panic, his mind fixated on the mysterious entity which caused this harm. “Bulgasal,” he screams, before wondering where the dead body he saw being feasted upon has ended up, confused by the situation yet seemingly curious as to how it was resolved.
In the meantime, Hwal puts Sang-un onto a mattress, looking after her with a defined amount of care, before he attends to his own wounds. Here, the ever-curious Do-yoon watches on as his scars disappear, excitedly exclaiming that it’s “dope,” and then asking whether our protagonist is Wolverine. This leads to the bathroom door being closed on the teenager, the man who at one point believed he was the only Bulgasal preferring to quietly weigh up what the fight he found himself overpowered in was all about than answer any burning questions.
Next, we get a flashback to 2006, right at the scene of Sang-un’s family massacre. It shows the faith that Sang-yeon had in her twin, accepting her death with the confidence that Sang-un would restore everything to it’s rightful place. It also confirms that it was indeed the being nicknamed Dark Hole who committed the act, not the presumed Bulgasal. Furthermore, we get a glimpse at the power Sang-un holds, as her fixed gaze is enough to knock the murderer off course, the look causing him to choke, bleed, panic and freeze.
In the present, Sang-un wakes up puzzled, unable to think as Hwal, who is sitting in a chair in the corner of the room, begins to ask her if she dreams “like humans do.” They talk for a short while, the former asking for help from Hwal, and the latter disgusted by the perceived audacity (he is adamant that this is the woman who took his soul) of the request. Frustrated, Hwal leaves the room and locks Sang-un inside it, stating that she will never see her sister again as he walks off. Concurrently, there is a comedic scene with the reincarnated shaman — named Hye-suk — and Si-ho involving a motel door and a plan to help, but it soon turns semi-serious when the lady mentions that she knows the pregnant woman’s ability to see things when in physical contact with others. Not to mention the fact the unlikely pairing are being staked out, too.
After some context about the second Bulgasal (and the date in which the protagonist initially thought there might be more), in addition to some comedy with Do-yoon, Hwal soon becomes aware of Ho-yeol’s knowledge of who he is. Meanwhile, the former detective kicks up a fuss at the police station to no avail, and a former colleague listens to the story about the new revelations case that saw Ho-yeol lose his job 15 years ago, but fails to believe him.
Back at the Hwal residence, he and Sang-un once again clash after a failed attempt at an escape, the protagonist antagonising her over her split soul which doesn’t belong to her, and looking for information on the other Bulgasal, who he hopes to kill. The difference between the two monsters appears to be their blood preference based on earlier interactions (Hwal prefers animal blood, the other human), but how one can kill the other, which is the source of this altercation, is still unknown for now. Coincidentally, the more menacing of the two Bulgasal’s soon calls one of the burner phones, and a meeting between the two is set up.
At the meeting, yesterday’s villain is a fully adapted, human-like character. Sharply dressed and well groomed, he charismatically theorises that Hwal is Bulgasal on the outside, but human on the inside, whilst also suggesting they align for a common goal. “She’s our enemy,” he cynically states, before we cut to another light-hearted scene, this time between the quirky Do-yoon and the increasingly desperate to escape Sang-un. When it does return to the restaurant, where the two Bulgasal’s are dining, the more villainous of the two teases Hwal with the knowledge he has about the curse he was born with, and the reason why he found himself the victim of the woman he now pursues. There is a palpable sense of emotion to Dark Hole though, tears falling as he opens up about his own unmoving wound, and the pain that has failed to cease over 1000 years. It will heal should “the woman,” also known as Sang-un, disappear, something which does pique the interest of Hwal. There’s key context given here too: “Only Bulgasal can kill one’s soul, and when a soul has been destroyed eight times, it cannot reincarnate.” Sang-un’s has been killed seven times, every time she has been reincarnated in fact, but the more tethered incarnation of the monster cannot do it an eighth, for a reason unknown to him (he does speculate that the older sister played a part, though, and explains about the dark blood that seeps from the hole whenever he attempts murder on Sang-un).
With that being said, Hwal is sceptical. He doesn’t want to destroy the soul that used to be his, and isn’t convinced that the suggested murder is the best type of revenge for the two negotiating parties. This turns Dark Hole into a threatening mood, as he explains that he’ll simply just repeatedly kill their target – reminding Hwal that he always finds her first – and even if he cannot get rid of her soul, he’ll just make it harder for our protagonist to fulfil his ambitions. Ok Eul-tae is the name of the older Bulgasal, something we are told after he stabs the hand of Hwal when he attempts to leave. His expectancy is simple, that Sang-un will be brought to him, and that she should not be believed.
Soon, there is a reconvening between Ho-yeol and Sang-un, their first meeting in 15 years. It comes after Do-yoon opens the door to the house to the private investigator, and the locked door imprisoning Sang-un is busted down. Hwal then walks in on the two talking about the past and the investigation, and his reincarnated father attempts to fight with zero success. He gets choked on the floor, but suddenly appears to remember his past. Sang-un stops the conflict though, claiming she is being helped as opposed to kidnapped. It causes an internal struggle for Hwal, who gets in his car with his technical enemy only to get tailed by the curious investigator.
Whilst the road trip takes place, one which sees Sang-un place her trust in Bulgasal, Si-ho escapes the butcher shop she is being kept in after seeing a picture of Hwal on the wall. Hwal and Sang-un then start to climb a mountain together, heading towards the building where Dark Hole waits. He doesn’t come bearing what he wants, though, and Eul-tae appears restless, his infliction more and more spiteful. As such, he swaggers out of his house, phoning someone to “get started.”
It turns out the place where Hwal has taken Sang-un is actually the well, the prison he created specifically for her when he wished to take back his soul. He explains the reasoning behind such a place to the oblivious Sang-un, and then the context as to who, or what, she actually was 600 years ago. He chokes her whilst threatening her over her past life, explaining that she’ll get her memories back when he completes the process of reclaiming what’s his. But the reincarnated shaman comes in the nick of time, stating that someone took Si-ho from the butcher shop.
It’s a reincarnated monster who has taken her, tying her up in a car near a lake. It’s part of a plan by Dark Hole to lure out Sang-un (something he tried previously with the bus driver), but before it can work, Ho-yeol intervenes. However, disregarding the threat of death, Sang-un steals the car of the detective, and drives towards where Si-ho is based. This monster is Teoreokson, something described “a water monster with hairy hands,” and we’re told this through the memory Ho-yeol seems to be regaining about his former life.
Hwal runs towards the water, chasing after the anxious Sang-un who calls her sister. When the ringtone goes off, though, it’s obvious it’s been left on the boat. Yet, before she can attempt to swim to it, Hwal intervenes, before it’s confirmed that Si-ho’s phone was left away from her person. There’s another phone call there, and it’s Dark Hole, who taunts the protagonists. He’s given an ultimatum: give him Sang-un within a day, and nobody else gets hurt. Dark Hole also reminds Hwal that they are not enemies, and that it’s Sang-un who they should targeting. She’s willing to give up her soul anyway, so long as her sister can live, but Hwal is adamant that he will kill the other Bulgasal, offering Sang-un a chance to live until he has gotten rid of his newfound foe.
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