In the series finale of Tale Of The Nine Tailed, we are left with sort of an unsolved mystery. Most of the threads come together in the finale: Yeon and Ji-Ah reunites, there is a clear hint at Lee Rang’s successful reincarnation and Yeon fights The Spirit of Misfortune for Ji-Ah.
However, we discover that Yeon is still a gumiho, the nine tailed mythical fox. When Yeon is reincarnated as a result of his brother Rang’s sacrifice, it is assumed that he is reborn as a human, that is, without his gumiho powers.
But during the face-off with the Spirit of Misfortune, we see Yeon drawing out his trusted umbrella which transforms into a sword. In fact, we even notice his eyes dazzling in the dark, proving that he still has his magical powers.
I was initially quite confused at the ending. However, when I found out a little more about Korean legends and folktales which forms the premise of the show, the twist made some more sense with me.
So here’s the vital question: Is Yeon a fox or a human? Yeon is still a fox. Though he reincarnates as a human, he still has his gumiho powers as seen in the finale. During his face-off with the Spirit of Misfortune, he is able to draw his sword and his eyes shine in the dark.
Now let us try to make some more sense of this incredible twist in the finale.
1. Is Yeon A Human?
After Lee Rang sacrifices his life to bring his brother Lee Yeon back to life, Yeon reincarnates into the mortal world as a human. He reunites and marries his lady love Ji-Ah and nobody around seems to doubt the fact that Yeon is human.
However, there is a problem. The Spirit of Misfortune comes into Yeon and Ji-ah’s life and it is crucial for Yeon to defeat the spirit. Hence, there is a face-off. When Ji-Ah is asleep at night, Yeon steps out.
During the fight with the spirit, we see Yeon carrying his trusted red umbrella, which he draws out as a sword. We also notice Yeon’s fox eyes shining in the dark.
All of this hints at Yeon still having the powers of a gumiho. So, even if he is human and keeps his powers a secret (we will also be looking at why), Yeon still has his powers as a fox.
2. Is Yeon Still A Fox?
Before analysing whether Yeon is still a fox, let us delve a bit into Korean folktales and myths featuring gumihos. Gumihos are nine tailed foxes with magical powers who can transform into their human form when they desire.
Yes, if you were wondering, it is pretty similar to the legend of werewolves. However, there are certain ways in which a gumiho can permanently become a human. We might consider that Yeon’s ultimate goal was to become human and spent his life with Ji-Ah.
According to a legend, one of the ways for a gumiho to become human is this: Over a period of 100 days (the period varies as per different versions), if a gumiho in his human form is not detected to be a gumiho by their significant other, they can turn into a human.
But if a gumiho is caught by their partner, they will lose the chance to become human and remain a gumiho for a 1000 years. Oops.
So, let us consider that Yeon was still very much a fox when he came back to life, which is why he could enter the Office of the Afterlife. It is however, strange that Taluipa or even Shin-Ju could not sense that Yeon still had his gumiho powers.
But if we go by the legend, Yeon probably did not want Ji-Ah to know his secret. So he kept his reality a secret from everyone to avoid any chance of Ji-Ah getting to know about it.
Another give-away in the show that Yeon is still a gumiho is his strange prediction that Ji-ah and he will be having a daughter. Remember the first episode where it is said that gumihos has the ability to see miles ahead? It was Yeon’s this ability at work, with which he could sense the future.
Now the only way one could prove that Yeon is a gumiho is seeing him in a full moon night. So he takes advantage of a full moon night to use his gumiho powers to fight the Spirit of Misfortune, thereby getting rid of another threat.
It is pretty obvious that Yeon is still a gumiho. Now whether or not he was in a journey to become a human was not mentioned in the show. It is just my assumption. But this could be one of the potential reasons why he kept his powers hidden.
3. Why Did Yeon Lie About His Powers?
If we go by the legend that a gumiho loses a chance to become human if caught by their significant other, it is clear why Lee Yeon was keeping his powers a secret.
If his significant other (in this case, Ji-ah) finds out about Yeon’s powers, then Yeon will lose the chance to become human for the next 1000 years. Moreover, he probably also did not want to disturb Ji-Ah’s peace of mind.
Yeon lied about his powers to keep this from Ji-Ah and subsequently hides the same from everyone around so that there is no way the news reaches Ji-Ah. It is after all better to be safe than sorry.
Also, I think the theme of the show is love before anything. So, probably it is essential for Yeon to hold onto his powers to be able to protect his loved ones, particularly Ji-Ah. Hence, even if the show does not follow the legend, there are ways to explain why Yeon is still a fox and why he lied.
It was at the end only for Ji-Ah’s safety and peace of mind.
4. Will There Be A Season 2?
If rumours are true, there is a high chance for Tale of the Nine Tailed to have a Season 2. It could be a continuation of the same story with the same cast.
Some rumours even say Season 2 is under production. However, no official statement has been made considering it has not been much time since the end of Season 1. The fans are eager to watch Season 2.
There is a lot of scope for the storyline. The writers could explain more about how Yeon is still a gumiho, why he keeps it a secret and whether or not he becomes a complete human at a later stage. We can hope that there is a confirmation of Season 2 pretty soon.
5. About Tale Of The Nine Tailed
Tale of the Nine Tailed is a South-Korean fantasy television drama starring Lee Dong-wook, Jo Bo-ah and Kim Bum. It aired on TvN from 7th October, 2020 to 3rd December, 2020.
Directed by Kang Shin-hyo and Jo Nam-hyung, the series tells the story of Lee Yeon (Lee Dong-wook), an over 1000-years-old Gumiho (nine tailed fox) who is on the look out for his long lost first love who has reincarnated in the mortal world. Besides that, Yeon also fights evil spirits that can harm the mortal world and its inhabitants.