Season 1 Recap
Arthdal Chronicles: The Sword of Aramun begins with a brief recap over what happened in season 1. And that’s super handy, given it’s been a long while since that aired. Four years to be precise!
The prophecy foretold that three children, each symbolizing the sword, bell and mirror, will be born at the same time and bring the world to an end. These children were Eunseom, Tanya and Saya.
Eunseom and Saya are twins and both Igutus. Their mother fought against the monstrous Tagon, who tried to annihilate the Neanthals. She lost her husband and Saya was taken away. Eunseom meanwhile, grew up and met a girl from the Wahan Tribe, Tanya.
Eunseom and Tanya, unaware of the prophecy, grew up as members of the Wuhan Tribe. Saya meanwhile, grew up in the city of Arthdal with Tagon, but everything changed when Tagon invaded the Wahan Tribe, slaughtering hundreds and taking the others to Arthdal as slaves. Tanya became Arthdal’s slave, while Eunseom barely managed to escape. He promised to come back and save them.
As time passed and Tagon’s tyranny got worse, hiding that he’s one of the Igutus himself, Eunseom managed to turn the tables and live up to his promise. He freed Tanya, who became a high priest. Eunseon became the leader of the Ago Tribe (known as the Inaishingi) while Saya became commander of Arthdal.
With the battle lines drawn, all three of these characters are unaware of what the prophecy means, and how they’re bound together. Unfortunately, they’re also unaware of how the end of the world could be coming sooner rather than later.
Episode 1 of Arthdal Chronicles season 2 starts with Tagom rallying the troops and deciding it’s time to conquer the Ago tribe.
The conquest itself is stopped by an unexpected ally though, a native tribe that ambushes the troops in the forest. Trees topple over, and with a battle that rages on for several years, it’s eventually stopped with Tagon and his troops coming out on top. This slice of rebellion is over and the head of the tribe is killed.
However, Tagon’s real goal here is to take out Eunseom and the Ago Tribe, with the former having united the rest of the tribes and commanding an impressive number of people.
Over at the Notsam River, we get our first glimpse of Eunseom, who shows up at Bato Tribe’s Base. Despite being flanked by some cliffs, it’s a basic and badly defended region. It wouldn’t last several hours.
While Eunseom negotiates with the leader, in the distance, Milsol, the head of the Secret Intelligence Organization, watches and tells his troops to get ready. He proceeds forward, while inside the tent the leader of Bato Tribe congratulates Eunseom for uniting all the tribes. He agrees to their alliance and decides they should drink to their newfound alliance.
Only… there’s a problem. It turns out the Bato Tribe have actually ambushed Eunseom and are working with Arthdal in secret. Eunseom figures it out ahead of time and it turns out the masked man isn’t him after all, he’s one of the soldiers in the back. Eunseom does eventually reveal himself and bemoans the merchant (Syoreujagin) for being the mediator and challenges him to try and kill the Inaishingi. He can’t do it, so Eunseom strikes him down.
Eunseom holds the leader up at swordpoint and decides to confront those outside. The group rush out the tent and blindside the soldiers, attacking ferociously while also holding the Tribe leader hostage. Eventually Eunseom comes out on top and Milsol is the only one left. As Eunseom looks in his eyes, there seems to be a flicker of recognition. Eunseom is called out but this is no mere coincidence. It turns out Milsol is actually Saya in disguise!
Saya’s men give chase through the forest as Eunseom and his troops rush off, all wearing masks to hide their identities. Unfortunately, they find themselves surrounded down by the river.
Eunseom is not ready to theow in the towel though, and he launches an arrow up into the air, called a whistle arrow, and that’s the signal for the calvary to come in. Ther’es an impressive number of foes, and Saya watches from a distance as they chase down the weak soldiers and slaughter them.
Meanwhile, Tagon returns to Arthdal to rapturous applause in the streets. With the King having defeated the rebellion, and the remaining soldiers marched into Arthdal like cattle, Tagon requests the queen’s presence.
However, the queen happens to be outside the city walls and she receives a message from a bachi (craftsman) in Aram Village. He has something to give Prince Arok, Taealha’s son. She’s distrustful and makes him open the box and come forward himself, in case it’s an explosive and a attempt. It is, as it turns out, but it proves to be unsuccessful. Taealha even has Prince Arok kill the man.
Word of this assassination reaches Tagon, who sends his General, Mubaek out to lead two corps for Pyeongmire Castle. He’s not happy about his troops wearing bracelets though, given they’ve been given by Tanya with blessings from the Gods.
Tanya’s influence is certainly growing, as evidenced by her understanding and feeling the emotions and history of different individuals who show up to receive blessings. Mubaek appears after and speaks to Tanya, who suggests Saya has the most to gain from being a saboteur and trying to kill the prince.
However, his obsession with tracking down and finding Eunseom, not to mention following her rule, means it’s probably not him. The Queen though is convinced that it is and wants Tagon to take action.
They’re interrupted by soldiers rushing into the room with big news. The Ago Tribe have just crossed the river and conquered Hanchoa Castle. Tagom tries to spin this as a win, and decides to rally the troops, believing Hanchoa Plains is going to be their battleground and the end of this rebellion once and for all.
Before the troops can go, Saya returns to the castle. There’s an icy atmosphere hanging over proceedings, given the assassination attempt. Saya is more interested in Eunseom, and he’s taken aback when Tagon decides that he should be the leader of the troops heading out to meet the Ago Tribe in battle.
Saya speaks to Tanya about the prophecy for a better world and reveals that Eunseom is actually Inaishingi. Saya is still going to head out to battle though and tells Tanya that Eunseom is going to die. “You better make another plan,” He says before leaving. Tanya is shocked that he’s the leader of the tribes and in the end, speaks to her trusted steed in the stables, Helper, encouraging him to go and help Eunseom.
Saya has other issues to contend with. Despite being chained up, Nunbyeol breaks free from her binds and starts to become more like a Neanthal after every passing day. She’s the only Neanthal in the world that uses swords and given her deep-rooted desire for revenge, Saya decides to use her to his advantage. Specifically, he’s going to send her into the palace as a servant. If she doesn’t do as he says, things could go badly, especially for her sister, Chaeeun.
Eunseom regroups with his troops and shows his mercy to the common folk, coming in the form of a young boy whom one of the soldiers has beaten. He kneels and apologizes, prompting the perpetrator to plunge a knife into his own chest. Eunseom is clever, knowing that the key here is to make a good impression and turn the common folk to their side. This will also help them recruit more people.
Eunseom speaks to Cho Yakdu and Byeok Pungji, and decides to send these two into Arthdal to go and speak to someone. They were sent their as slaves so they know the area, but it’s not Tanya they’re meeting. They’re actually meeting Father Yeolson. They need to relay a message: “I saved the Wuhan Tribe and I am going to Arthdal to keep my promise”
With them gone, Eunseom manages to capture that rogue merchant from earlier in the episode, who’s found wandering about in the forest acting suspiciously. He refuses to fall for the ruse that Saya is trying to playing, intending to lure them out into the plains.
Saya’s troops are ruthless and work fast. Word reaches Eunseom’s army that the troops have been placed from Dosuri River to Pyeongmirae Castle. Unfortunately, there’s three times as many as their own numbers.
They’ve left soldiers inside Molabeol Castle, and moved quickly with cavalry numbers. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve also cut off the supply chain too. Even if they cut back on food, they’ve only got enough to last 5 days.
A message from Arthdal comes in, encouraging them to come out to the Plains and fight, and given the lack of options here, it seems this is the only thing for it. Eunseom has a plan but he’s surprised to see Helper show up, Tanya’s horse. There’s a hidden gemstone on the back though, which Eunseom knows belongs to Tanya. He clutches it to his chest and prepares for the inevitable.
We then cut to the plains, as the two armies look set to fight one another. Who will come out on top? Well, we’ll have to wait and see!
The Episode Review
Arthdal Chronicles is back after a 4 year hiatus and there’s way more action than before. A lot of time has passed and with that, the recap at the start of the episode is incredibly helpful for explaining what’s happened so far.
There’s lots of drama here and a few intriguing questions still to be answered. Did Saya really try to kill the Prince? Who will come out on top? And will the Neanthals be the turning point in this bitter feud?
We’ll have to wait and see but for now, the first episode gets off to a decent start.