Baek-On learns the hard way that doing what’s right doesn’t always bring others happiness.
Author/Artist: JiUn Yun
Translation: HyeYoung Im
Adaptation: J. Torres
What They Say
“There is no such thing as absolute right or absolute wrong in this world.” Though he spends much of his time dealing with ghosts and grudges, even exorcist Baek-On sometimes forgets the chasm that divides the world of humans from that of the spirits. Their ways of thinking and understanding are not the ways of men. Misunderstanding the motives of a well-meaning spirit, Baek-On questions the justice of his actions against beings so different than he…
A wealthy woman hires Baek-On to dispose of a spirit that took the form of her husband. Baek-On quickly realizes that the whole thing is a ploy to get rid of the real husband and declines. The situation becomes worse when the woman’s real husband becomes possessed. Baek-On is forced to act, but in the end it’s hard to determine who the real victim is. The woman who wanted to be free of her abusive husband, or the spirits she used to accomplish her goal.
In previous volumes of Time and Again the actions the side characters took, usually against Baek-On’s warnings, lead to their doom. That’s not the case this time.
Baek-On runs into a farmer who’s wife had died, yet now he had a beautiful new wife hiding a secret. The farmer believes that she’s an angel fallen from heaven, and Baek-On warns him that the whole story is very unlikely and that she might be a vengeful spirit. The foolish farmer, filled with suspicion, discovers a truth which brings him only anguish.
Many of the cases that Baek-On has worked on up till this point haven’t been cheery affairs, but this time it seems more personal. Baek-On’s flippant attitude seemed somewhat typical of the wandering expert that is often the lead in stories like Time and Again. Even so, his money grubbing and womanizing make him seem like a charlatan. He’s not an easy guy to like, but his recent failures humanize him.
Seeking answers, Baek-On returns to Soo-Kyung-Nim. She tells him a tale of young man and his mother who take in an injured young woman who arrives at their door. While the young woman’s wounds heal she weaves amazingly fine cloth which the family sells. The son of the family is taken with her, but tragedy soon follows when the hunters pursuing the white heron arrive at their door.
Baek-On doesn’t seem fully satisfied with the moral of Soo-Kyung’s tale. The focus of the last chapter is a flashback to the death of Baek-On’s father, and it provides a bittersweet ending to this volume.
Each story told in this volume of Time and Again is a bleak portrait of the divid between humans and spirits. Baek-On hasn’t been the most sympathetic of protagonists, so it’s refreshing to see him finally question his motivation. It’s also nice to see some background on Baek-On’s father and Soo-Kyung-Nim. Hopefully the next and final volume will reveal Baek-On’s ultimate decision on his future.