‘Solo Leveling’ Episode 8 Recap & Ending Explained: Will Kang Taeshik Create A Problem For Jinwoo?

After non-stop action throughout the last couple of episodes, Solo Leveling takes a breather in the latest one to highlight how past wounds continue to affect the lives of people in different ways. Jinwoo’s rapid escalation in the Hunter hierarchy also comes to an unexpected and abrupt halt, and he coincidentally veers right back into the sordid past that empowered him in the first place. On the other hand, competition among Hunter organizations starts picking up pace as the emergence of a new guild gains the attention of former powerhouses.


In the previous episode, thanks to doubling up on his training stats, Jinwoo got a special loot item—the key to an S-ranked special dungeon—which will allow him to get a mysterious ‘Elixir of Life’—a cure for any form of ailment. In order to obtain it to cure his mother’s mysterious affliction, Jinwoo takes on a Cerberus, and after a bloody, grueling battle, emerges victorious—but he gets to know that the component can be acquired from an even tougher inner premises of the dungeon. Still not strong enough to undertake such a threat level, Jinwoo returns to the physical world, determined to get strong enough to clear out the dungeon in the near future. 

Spoilers Ahead


Why Did Jinwoo Take Jinho’s Offer?

Previously, the D-ranked Hunter Yoo Jinho had proposed that Jinwoo take part in nineteen raids with him, as successful raids would make him a guildmaster, something he wants to become to impress his industrialist father, who is keen on creating a guild of their own. Jinwoo had previously rejected the idea despite having the chance of gaining serious cash in return, but now that he realizes that he needs to level up faster to gain the Elixir of Life, he informs Jinho that he is willing to take his offer. However, he wants only the two of them to participate in the raids, filling the number quota with random low-ranked hunters in each raid (kind of like what Dongsuk did, minus the deliberate killings), so that the loot and the experience points are gained only by him. Jinho initially gets a bit taken aback, considering the dangers this decision might entail, but as Jinwoo suggests that their success might impress Jinho’s father, he agrees at once. 

Update About The Hunter Guilds

Later, Jinho is seen having a chat with his father, which kind of acts like an exposition dump as his father chronicles the events that came to pass ever since the first portal to the other dimension opened almost a decade ago. Aside from the immediate threats of magic beasts, the dungeons contained valuable items that revolutionized every major aspect of human lifestyle, and the sector of infrastructure was no exception. Like many other companies in the business, Yoojin Constructions too had to remain dependent upon the five biggest Hunter guilds in the country—Hunters Guild, White Tiger Guild, Reaper Guild, Knights Guild, and Fame Guild—for resources, and these guilds had monopolized the dungeon resources. But now that Yoojin Constructions is trying to form a guild of their own, things will change, for better or worse. In fact, it is soon revealed that they are fast-tracking their guild formation efforts, as later one of the Yoojin Constructions managers is seen to be approaching Cha Hae-In, the celebrated S-ranked Hunter, with the proposal of joining Yoojin Hunter’s Guild as Guildmaster. She refuses the offer as she is already a high-ranking operative in the Hunters Guild, but proceeds to inform her guildmaster, Hunter Choi, about the encounter. Choi is relieved to learn that Cha Hae-In has chosen to stay in his guild, but he realizes that with new guilds eager to get a share of the dungeon resources, they need to be prepared for cutthroat competition.


Upon Choi’s request, Hunter Baek, the guildmaster of the White Tigers Guild, pays him a visit and learns about Yoojin Construction’s headhunting efforts. All of a sudden, Choi reminds Baek about the Jeju Island incident (first episode); it is revealed that the island was sealed from the public after a vicious magic beast infestation resulted in severe loss of life, and the Hunters—even several S-ranked ones—needed to retreat upon failing to contain the threat. Although the public has gradually forgotten about the incident over time, for Choi, it remains a grim reminder of their failure. Which is why he wants Baek and other Hunter Guildmasters to come together in order to clear the island once and for all in the near future. Choi duly reminds Baek about the losses he too had suffered during the incident, and later, as Baek drowns his sorrow by pouring liquor, he remembers the last moments of his fallen comrades. 

Will Kang Taeshik Create A Problem For Jinwoo And Co.?

After consecutive action-oriented episodes, a more grounded, introspective insight into the world of hunters was much needed, and this episode delivers that very poignantly. Our focus is drawn towards the survivors of the Cartenon Temple Incident—the ones who weren’t blessed with the level-up mechanism like Jinwoo. Jinwoo’s old friend, Hunter Lee, still hasn’t been able to strengthen her resolve to join another raid. Jinwoo’s former mentor and friend, veteran Hunter Song, is constantly brushing up his physical and intellectual skills, despite losing a limb during the Cartenon temple incident and practically becoming ineffective as a hunter. His sense of responsibility and bravery wasn’t diminished, even after going through a near-death experience. Hunter Kim, the family man and another survivor, feels ashamed to lie to his daughter about being a brave hunter, whereas he had to leave Jinwoo to his fate like a coward. This episode deftly showcased the two contrasting sides of the Hunter profession: the cold, calculative business aspect as well as the tragic, painful cost it always entails. 


On the other hand, Jinwoo feels the adverse effects of getting leveled up so much, as, just like in the gaming mechanism, he is stuck due to a lack of experience. Overdoing daily training regimens doesn’t offer any reward either, and it will be quite a while before Jinho arranges a new series of raids for him. Out of option, Jinwoo considers taking the Hunter Association’s recent offer of joining a strike team for a nearby dungeon. 

As Jinwoo heads towards his destination, he meets Hunter Song on the way, who is extremely happy to see Jinwoo recover from the fateful incident. More surprises await the duo as they reach the dungeon and meet the rest of the survivors of the Cartenon temple incident. Needless to say, the reunion isn’t marked with joy, as the rest of the survivors feel guilty for having left Jinwoo inside the temple to save their lives. Lee is quite relieved and happy to see Jinwoo hale and hearty, and viewers will surely remember her as the only member of the raid team who didn’t want to leave Jinwoo behind. However, before they could catch up, three C-ranked substitute hunters in cuffs—infamous prisoners who have the abilities of hunters—appeared at the location, escorted by the B-ranked Hunter surveillance inspector, Kang Taeshik. Due to a lack of available hunters, these substitute hunters are being used, and in exchange for their help, their prison sentences will be reduced. The lecherous remarks and overall horrendous demeanor of the prisoners at once alarm Jinwoo, and he asks Lee to skip this raid, but she turns out to be really determined to accompany him. Taeshik assures the rest of the team that he is responsible for the prisoners, and if the situation goes south, he can handle them. As the group prepares to enter the dungeon, upon Hunter Song’s request, Jinwoo offers him the role of leading the team, and the veteran Hunter is extremely obliged. He holds himself responsible for what happened in the Cartenon temple and duly acknowledges Jinwoo’s role in saving the lives of the remaining six members of the raid. Leading this raid is Hunter Song’s shot at redemption, and he is thankful to Jinwoo for providing that. 


The team proceeds to enter the dungeon, and as the episode comes to an end, viewers are left wondering about the fates of the survivors. Will history repeat itself and something disastrous happen? The prisoners are not to be trusted, and it doesn’t take a genius to guess that they will create trouble in the next episode, but aside from them, Kang Taeshik seems sketchy as a person as well. He was present during Jinwoo’s interrogation after the Cartenon incident, and his return in this episode surely entails some sort of significance in the larger narrative. The anticipation surrounding the upcoming episode is high, and for some reason, it seems that the Hunters will once again have to deal with humans as adversaries. 

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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