Or more aptly titled by Nicole N on the Black With No Chaser page as, “I got 99 kills, but Tic ain’t 1.”
Ji-Ah the Kamiho
This episode, while slower than the others, was quite revealing. We’ve finally met Ji-Ah in the midst of her existence during the Korean war. Initially, I felt like something was off about her. She’s child-like, socially awkward, and is obsessed with musicals. (I can relate to that last one. Don’t judge me.) Surely, this can’t be the woman Tic spoke to on the phone… until we learn that the Ji-Ah we see is a host. She is living as Ji-Ah, but is really a Kamiho, a mythical, nine-tailed fox who can take on human form. Kamiho avenge the wrongs of men according to the lore in the episode. Uh… nine tails though? That means one of those tails came out of EVERY orifice in her body. Just ew. The first soul we witness her taking was shocking to say the least. However, at this point, I have learned to be ready for anything with this show.
Ji-Ah was molested by her stepfather. Umma, Korean for mother, takes Ji-Ah to the Mudang in order to avenge her daughter and get rid of the shame brought upon the family. Umma is warned that there will be a price to pay to call forth the Kamiho. She proceeds anyway. The price… Ji-Ah is transformed into the Kamiho and is required to take the souls of 100 men in order to return to human form. Ji-Ah struggles with this task and begins to feel guilty about it even before developing feelings for Tic. She’s plagued with the memories of all of the men whose lives she’s taken. With no memories of her own, it feels like it is an incredible burden for her to carry around while continuing to kill these men who have done her no harm.
There were two big parallels between the lives of Tic and Ji-Ah. First, they both had a strained relationship with a parent. I felt for Ji-Ah, though we’ve only had this one episode to get to know her. She wanted to feel love even as a creature that was otherworldly. Umma struggled to show Ji-ah that love, knowing Ji-Ah was not really her daughter, and maybe even blaming her daughter a little for what happened. Tic also wanted to feel closer to his father. Montrose may have denied Tic that closeness because of doubts about Tic’s paternity or his personal struggles with his sexuality. Second, both Tic and Ji-Ah performed monstrous acts that were motivated by the desires or instruction of others. Ji-Ah was turned into this being at her mother’s bidding. Tic, though he volunteered for the military, was “following orders,” when he killed people. No wonder they found solace in one another.
The Many Faces of Tic
This brings us to a new revelation of the Tic we’ve come to know thus far. He shoots a kneeling, unarmed woman in the head, at point-blank range. Though we’ve had a glimpse into Tic’s anger, we’ve not seen it without provocation. This is the first time we are allowed to view the wartime version of Atticus. While we know that war is difficult and soldiers are often called on to commit acts that would otherwise be outside their character, it was jarring to see him carry out that act. However, it gives us insight into how he can often turn cold with Leti and others at a moment’s notice, seemingly for no reason at all.
There was very limited use of Easter eggs in this episode. I attribute that to two reasons. First, this episode was heavily subtitled, which would not leave much room for you to pay attention to extraneous details. Second, the location would not have lent itself to celebrating much of our history.
Here’s the only one I caught this week: Judy Garland was featured multiple times in the episode from her various films. The most interesting use of Judy Garland’s voice is during the closing scene. It is a recording of her in an interview where she discusses people trying to kill her.
There may have been some treats that I did not catch due to context. If so, feel free to share!
- Tic asks Ji-Ah, “Are you?” at the end of episode 5. Was a Kamiho mentioned in the pages, or is there some other creature he thinks she may be?
- Is the original Ji-Ah dead?
- The Count of Monte Cristo is brought around again. I believe the book is what triggered Tic to call Ji-Ah in episode 1. The book is what began the initial conversations between the two of them and was later an instrument of bonding for them. Is this the last connection to the book?
- Ji-Ah’s mother agrees to pay the price for Ji-Ah to learn of Tic’s fate. After insisting that Ji-Ah is not human and cannot feel, why would she do that? What will happen to her for making this deal?
- The Mudang seems to meet Ji-Ah’s question with vagueness. We still need to know WILL TIC DIE?!
Next week we have the opportunity to see Hyppolyta use the orrery. I’m so excited, y’all!!!!