As the plot goes deeper and we get nearer to the center of everything, Mirror of the Witch has reached its halfway mark in what feels like a blink of an eye. The story is easy to follow but I can see why the opinions are divided for the drama: it’s either exciting or boring, not in between. For me, the joy of watching this little fairy tale is in watching the characters grow (albeit not in the fastest rate), finding solace and support in each other. But that does not mean the baddies are doing nothing; they are lurking from every corners and holes, prying for their targets and goals.
The historical aspect took a back seat this week, with the curse and the Red Robe conquering the plot and the characters’ minds. Joon found out that he was a human shield and the mirror that the witch needs. It turned out that he was much more powerful and useful than what we thought, because he could reflect Hong-joo’s magic radar and also deflect the curse within Seo-ri’s body, keeping both her and Poong-yeon safe in his presence. That means Joon had to stick with Seo-ri all the time, exactly they way I like it.
They took turns consoling each other when they were met with choices and dead end in their respective paths, but their parallel lives made it easier for the to understand and to relate to each other’s worries and doubts. When Seo-ri blamed herself for the deaths of the people whose wishes she tried to grant, Joon could relate to that agonizing thought. He knew what it felt to have caused people to die, like how his mother and Man-wol’s deaths were somehow related to him. But he offered his view on the guilt: yes, he couldn’t deny that they somehow died because of him, but that did not mean that it was entirely his fault. Just like how Seo-ri tried to grant them their wishes, he was only trying to be filial to his parent, but the killers took away the chances from both of them. Joon felt that he would be of use one day if he continued to live, and that was how he found out that he would be able to protect her. She, too, would make a difference in other people’s lives, as long as she continued to do what she had done.
When Joon was torn in between killing or sparing Ok, Seo-ri could sense that he was overpowered by his emotions and stepped forward to stop him. That was not what he really wanted. If he really wished for Ok to die, why did he hesitate when he clearly had a chance to stab him in his sleep? Although most of us wished that Joon would just get rid of Ok once and for all, that would be against his character. And Seo-ri could see through him.
Joon’s encounters with the ghosts were funny before they took a more serious tone when he met the people who were once in his life. Unlike those random ghosts who appeared in spooky faces, those who cared about him revealed themselves in almost perfect condition. His emotions were visible when he faced the spirits of Man-wol and his mother, as the ghosts looked at him longingly through the barrier that separated life and death. The silence and the longing stares were powerful enough, although they were unable to utter even a single word. Man-wol offered the clue for her killer, while his mother offered the simplest gesture of love towards her living son: it was okay even if he did not avenge her death, and he did the right thing. Man-wol’s final bow and his mother’s reassuring face meant so much for Joon.
Soon-deuk’s passing remark when she saw Seo-ri and Yo-gwang was so meaningful, although it was just a simple statement. “Oh, you’ve got company now.” That did not meant much but it highlighted that Joon was no longer alone. He was lonely before but now, he had people beside him. The sight of the trio celebrating the candle light from Joon was heartwarming because at that time, he was tearing up reminiscing his encounter with the people he cherished who had left him to the afterlife. Seo-ri and Yo-gwang just barged into his corner (with Yo-gwang attacking him with a surprise hug), too eager to share the good news with him. His mood was lifted and huddled together there, they had a moment of triumph, which was even more meaningful because they were together and they had people to celebrate it with.
It was not that clear to me how the wish and the candle worked but this week was quite helpful in giving more explanation about the whole wish candle thing. So it had to be something out of the Banned Book for Seo-ri to have her candles lit and it might have taken both Yo-gwang and Seo-ri quite some time to figure out the whole business before making use of the 100-year old tree. However, it was not necessary for the candle to be lit personally by the wishers with their earnest wishes. Joon drank the ghost-seeing potion although he did not express his wish beforehand to Seo-ri. But it was different for Poong-yeon: he got his wish to meet Seo-ri materialized but nothing happened to the candle, since his wish was not related to the Banned Book. Maybe if he drank the happy dream potion and Yeon-hee appeared in his dream, he would light up another candle for her.
Have I mentioned how much I loved Poong-yeon? He behaved exactly like what I expected him to be. He was as protective of Yeon-hee as ever, and nothing could stop him. Well, except for the curse. But now that the human mirror/shield/boundary (or whatever you call Joon) was here, it won’t be a big problem. That decision made by Choi Guru was so risky (so that was why he tore and hid away the last page of the Banned Book), and he had accepted that his own son might be sacrificed because of his past mistake. He even had to test his own son to see if he would be fit for the task, after hearing that Poong-yeon would risk his own life for Yeon-hee. A very dangerous step, but worth trying despite the risk.
Deactivating the protection field was Choi Guru’s way of telling them that it was dangerous to stay at the temple but at the same time, it was an effective method of testing Joon’s direct effect on Seo-ri and the curse because of his effective human shield ability. If you haven’t noticed it yet, he really loved testing people, but at least we knew that he was not controlled by Hong Joo, despite having his body fixed by Hong Joo’s black magic. I was questioning why he decided to keep everything a secret from both Poong-yeon and Yeon-hee before this, but maybe he thought that they were too young to know. Still, it was good that he realized his mistake and slowly tried to fix it, although he got a lot of explaining to do to both of them, especially Poong-yeon. That poor boy did not even know his real condition, and I wonder what was his thought about Yeon-hee’s real identity. Did he think that she was his father’s adopted or illegitimate daughter, or were he already making the connection between the missing princess hidden by his father and Yeon-hee’s mysterious background?
The palace discord got even more intense with Hong Joo siding with Seonjo as the Dowager picking Choi Guru’s side. It was great to know that the Dowager was not willing to trust Hong Joo even with her dead son at stake, but Seonjo was a little bit too engrossed in dealing with the knowledge about Yeon-hee, thinking that she was the one cursing him with the thorns. Just like a typical drama, the misunderstanding would be resolved if someone made an effort to explain to Seonjo, but given his character, that might not work out well. I’m sure he would turn around once he realized that he was not being healed but rather being driven out of his own body to make way for the dead Crown Prince’s soul to inhibit his body.
I think a lot of people predicted that it was Choi Guru under spells, but the Red Robe turned out to be Sol-gae! Gosh, that was a real twist, and I even doubted it AGAIN when Seo-ri and Joon were attacked by Yo-gwang to test Poong-yeon, thinking that it was the Red Robe who did the attack. Now I know why Sol-gae’s hairstyle seems so oddly familiar to me: it reminded me of Hong-joo’s minions, with added bangs! She was likely a part of the Red Guard of Hong-joo who was a spy planted on Poong-yeon’s side, but judging from her state right now, Poong-yeon had become important to her, but not yet as important as her master’s order when she donned the Red Robe. That is exactly how you do a twist and a shocking reveal that will make an impression on the viewers. Congratulations, show!
But Seo-ri’s dream had come true…and Hong Joo was downright scary when she appeared in front of Seo-ri, her face hovering above hers. Her appearance was commanding and menacing at most, her powerful dark aura around her made her look less like a human and more like a dark, eager soul seeking for her next victim. And there was no preview! How do you expect to go on until Friday?!
Light/emotional moments gave me whiplash but I don’t mind it, as long as the sadness isn’t too depressing. The funny did good in balancing the mood, and the cliffhanger left me with the feeling of being choked, my breath caught in my throat. Little moments and feast for the eyes in the form of ethereal cinematography is reassuring, aside from the promising future as teased by the scenes as characters. It’s not that difficult to grant my wish: show, just stay amazing like this until the end, will you? Do not forget the cute and the things you have teased me with so far!