After the surprising revelation of Jinwoo’s new abilities to access a virtual log as a ‘player’ in the third episode, Solo Leveling showcases a glimpse of the vast possibilities his newfound abilities can grant with the fourth one. The relatively steady pacing of the previous episode is perfectly complemented by the action sequence-heavy spectacle of the current one, as Jinwoo takes on multiple new adversaries while testing his limits.
Previously, after the dreadful experience inside the additional dungeon at the hands of the godhead and its army of statues, Jinwoo received the ability to access a virtual log that allows his Hunter capabilities to be enhanced, observed by him as a ‘Player’ of some sort. After completing certain daily quests and training as directed by the log, Jinwoo received a key to a certain ‘Instance Dungeon’ located inside the Hapjeong subway station, where he encountered a Steel-Fanged Lycan, his toughest opponent till date. In the latest episode titled “I’ve Gotta Get Stronger,” the emphasis is almost solely on the mechanism of the virtual access, giving the audience a better idea of its function and purpose in the narrative as a whole.
Did Jinwoo Manage To Survive Inside The Instance Dungeon?
Facing the dreadful beast in front of him, Jinwoo seems intimidated yet confident enough to overcome his fears. As the Lycan lunges at him, Jinwoo swiftly evades its attack by dodging and discovers that his previously increased strength level, as indicated by the virtual log, has truly given him a leg up in the fight. However, even with the increased strength, he isn’t able to deal any damage to the Lycan and is in desperate need of a magic weapon to do so.
By accessing the log to search his inventory, Jinwoo finds a sword and manages to kill the Lycan. Eventually, two more of the same pop up, one of whom he swiftly takes down while the other runs away. Taking part in real combat allows him to level up, which results in replenished health and increases his stats as a player. Additionally, he notices that even though the slain beasts inside the ‘Instance Dungeon’ aren’t dropping any mana or essence stones, he has been provided with unique items for every beast decimated, allowing him either to sell them to earn credits or use them according to need. As we know, the setup is like a LitRPG setting, and Jinwoo is experiencing it all while venturing further into the rabbit hole of portals.
Jinwoo considers clearing out the dungeon by confronting the dungeon boss in combat, thereby getting rewards and levelling up in the process, but at the same time he knows that he isn’t that strong yet. However, the opportunity to increase his strength arrives as a horde of Lycans attack, and by killing them, Jinwoo rapidly stacks up experience, climbing up the level ladder. Among the rewards, Jinwoo finally receives a teleportation stone, using which he can return to his physical realm; however, the desire to get stronger implores him to continue venturing further. A levelled-up Jinwoo starts clashing with a newer bunch of stronger enemies like Brigas and Razans but manages to vanquish them with minimum effort. So far in his Hunter career, Jinwoo has only received humiliation, pity, and disdain due to being a low-ranking combatant. But now that fate has presented a second chance at life, he is keen to grab it by both hands and become as strong as it needs to be to protect his family. Within a few hours, Jinwoo rises to the fifteenth level by running a gauntlet against a huge number of magical creatures.
Does Joohee Know About Jinwoo’s Secret?
Finally, Jinwoo arrives in front of the staircase, which leads to the dungeon boss, and despite knowing that he still hasn’t become strong enough to tackle the threat, he musters up enough courage by reminding himself of the experience in front of the godhead. Jinwoo finds it hard to believe that this dungeon boss can even match up to the strength of the godhead and its lackeys, and he reaches the last phase of the dungeon located at the platform of the Hapjeong subway. The dungeon boss turns out to be a gigantic blue snake known as Kasaka, who easily breaks Jinwoo’s sword. To add to his misery, the impenetrable skin of Kasaka makes it impossible for him to harm it, leaving Jinwoo to ponder his next course of action. However, in true self-motivating-anime-protagonist fashion, Jinwoo manages to reignite his spirits, and going into berserk mode, he manages to squeeze the life out of the giant snake. The virtual log reappears to indicate a huge boost in his stats and presents him with two items: a dagger, Kasaka’s fang, and Kasaka’s venom gland. With the dungeon cleared, Jinwoo is transported back to the physical realm version of the subway platform.
Meanwhile, Lee Joohee gets a call from the Hunters Association, as she is requested to apprehend a dungeon break nearby where a bunch of E and D-rank Hunters are trying to contain the threat of a golem. However, the trauma of her past experience at the double dungeon continues to trouble her psyche, and in the crisis situation, she fails to assist the Hunters despite her best intentions. After exiting the subway, Jinwoo is informed about the dungeon break by a soldier, and he is able to pinpoint the location of the Golem using his now enhanced abilities. Jinwoo notices Joohee having a hard time pulling herself together and realizes that the present Hunters won’t be able to neutralize the Golem easily. To help the team, Jinwoo hurls his broken sword at the Golem, which breaks through its defenses and allows the Hunters to easily take down the creature thereafter. One of the hunters, a tank, notices the sword and gets bewildered considering the strength of the person who used it to break down a golem’s defenses. However, before the soldier could introduce him, Jinwoo took his leave. As the episode ends, Joohee seems to have noticed Jinwoo’s presence at the scene, but it is unclear whether she knows about his assistance during the incident.
Solo Leveling Episode 4 provides a thorough understanding of Jinwoo’s psyche in the course of action-packed scenarios, and it is clear that aside from shouldering responsibility to look after his family, his desire to become stronger stems from a personal motivation of self-improvement. It is a commonplace trait found in anime protagonists, and here’s hoping that Solo Leveling adds its own touch to differentiate the treatment in the long run.