Drama Recaps
White Christmas: Episode 7
by | August 18, 2012 | 67 Comments

It just gets better and better. Lines are drawn and everyone crosses them, culminating in one of the most emotionally satisfying episodes in the series. Moo-yul finds himself the master of his own fate and goes with his heroic gut, which we wouldn’t have any other way.

In retrospect, I only see one negative in regards to White Christmas, and that’s the fact that there just isn’t more of it.


White Christmas OST – The Evpatoria Report – “Tayjin Kyofusho” [ Download ]

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In a flashback, Jung-hye nervously watches as prosecutors gather evidence on Doctor Kim, biting her nails until they bleed. Moo-yul’s call that fateful night is what spurred her into hiking her way to Susin High, and it was her who intentionally started the avalanche that she then saved Mi-reu from.

While all this goes on, we hear Doctor Kim in voiceover:

“That woman, Jung-hye. She was my first patient. She had been sexually abused since she was a child. This has turned her into a mindless being. She shut herself off from the world like a hermit crab in a shell. A cycle of repression, escape, and bodily symptoms – and an obsession with a particular person. Just as a baby chick freshly hatched attaches itself to the first being it sees, she had become my stalker. She is my escape, but also a double-edged sword. She is my weapon. My monster. She was my question: Is a monster born, or made?”

Back in the present, Eun-sung shows Jae-kyu the spare battery Jung-hye lied about, and notes belatedly: “That woman is strange.”

Doctor Kim shows a discomforting amount of concern for Mi-reu’s hand cut, and claims he got off lucky. He shows his own hand scar, also caused by Jung-hye, only he had to go through three hours of surgery to fix it. Jung-hye murmurs a psychopathic apology.

Mi-reu tries to warn Eun-sung and Jae-kyu before they arrive, but he’s too late. Jung-hye aims the gun at her new hostages, while Yoon-soo sees the monster in the corner playing hide-and-seek in the cafeteria.

Jung-hye sets Doctor Kim’s shoulder back in place, and immediately apologizes for causing him pain. Mi-reu looks royally pissed as he stares out at them from the detention cell while Jae-kyu tends to his hand.

Now knowing Jung-hye is at the school, Moo-yul begins to trek through the snow to make it back. Ji-hoon tries to stop him – what can they do? “The gun,” Moo-yul stresses. Ji-hoon: “You have the gun.” Except he doesn’t, and Moo-yul’s guilty look proves it.

Kang-mo is able to hide from Doctor Kim while he watches the news, where police have caught a criminal that they believe to be behind the recent serial murders. Doctor Kim scoffs and smirks all at once, because time and time again, fate has worked in his favor.

Things hit a boiling point as Ji-hoon wonders why Moo-yul would have given Eun-sung a gun without bullets, to which Moo-yul throws back, “Not everyone is like you. Do you think we all think with our minds and not our hearts?”

Ji-hoon seems genuinely surprised that Moo-yul is lashing out, but isn’t able to pick up on the social cue that Moo-yul is about to pop as he continues on about Eun-sung being Moo-yul’s blind spot, which ends when Moo-yul launches himself at Ji-hoon and tackles him to the ground.

Moo-yul lands some punches and grapples Ji-hoon to his feet before pushing him away, unknowingly sending Ji-hoon tumbling down the hillside. Eek.

Doctor Kim lets everyone out of the cell except for Mi-reu, who finally asks what he wants with them.

He tells Mi-reu that it all started when Ji-hoon heard the serial killer news (not knowing it was Doctor Kim, of course) on the radio and asked, “Are monsters like him born or made?” Doctor Kim realized that was the question he’d been wondering all his life, and Ji-hoon finally put it into words.

Doctor Kim: “Me, serial killer Kim Yo-han. Was I born that way, or was I made? So I’m doing an experiment. With all of you, the most gifted children in this country. If I can provoke you to turn into monsters, then monsters are made. If my experiment fails, monsters are born that way.”

A bit of wandering-eye psychosis filters into his gaze as he adds that in a few of the students, incubation has already begun.

We find Moo-yul calling down the cliff to Ji-hoon, who’s suffering from a severely broken leg. Moo-yul sinks to his knees, lost.

Doctor Kim keeps Eun-sung at gunpoint and gives Jae-kyu thirty minutes to find Young-jae, or he can run away and let Eun-sung die. As to the ‘why’, Doctor Kim explains that Young-jae confessed to sending the letter, which he has no evidence to disprove. Jae-kyu knows that it’s a lie, considering he’s the actual sender.

Jae-kyu instead goes to his room to find Kim Jin-soo’s diary, and steels himself. Is he thinking of discrediting Young-jae’s claim?

Moo-yul just watches as Ji-hoon tries and fails to get up, and in a sad way Ji-hoon seems to realize Moo-yul isn’t going to save him and bundles himself up against the cold.

Jung-hye doesn’t seem to understand why Mi-reu is less than enthused about her origami skills, and belatedly apologizes for cutting him. She assures him that nothing bad will happen even though he thinks Doctor Kim will kill them. Jung-hye: “He won’t do that. You and Eun-sung are all good kids.”

But Mi-reu presses her. “What if he does kill us?” Jung-hye blinks at him vapidly before deciding, “Then you’re not good kids.” There’s no reasoning with crazy people.

Jae-kyu readies himself for what’s coming and tucks Kim Jin-soo’s diary into his coat. Doctor Kim seems almost giddy for who’s monster will emerge first, even though Eun-sung claims that none of them could hatch a monster quite like Doctor Kim.

“No living organism is born complete,” Doctor Kim reminds her. “They all grow.” But he’s most excited to see Moo-yul turn into a monster, despite Eun-sung’s claims that it would never happen. Why? Because his mother died after rescuing him, or so Doctor Kim read in his records.

He narrates the story of Moo-yul’s mother as Moo-yul struggles to find rope to save Ji-hoon. “I can make a bet on it,” Doctor Kim assures her. “Once his monster is awakened, it will be much bigger and greater than all of ours put together.”

Jae-kyu fetches Young-jae from the school movie theater with a lie, while Ji-hoon continues to freeze.

Moo-yul happens upon the crashed police car that set Doctor Kim free, and finds both rope and an empty gun. He pauses once to look at the frozen corpses, as the only tiny moment of respect he can give.

Yoon-soo visits Doctor Kim for some therapy, and tells him that the Corner Monster has started counting numbers. Yoon-soo says it’s to put pressure on him into remembering, so that he can find him quickly.

Doctor Kim takes out his hypnotizing pen and taps it on the table. It works like a charm on Yoon-soo, and Eun-sung eyes this all suspiciously.

Meanwhile, Jae-kyu keeps having trouble in bringing Young-jae to the good doctor, and eventually tries to hit him in the head with a stick. It crashes into the bathroom mirror instead, sending Young-jae running with Jae-kyu hot on his heels.

It’s really interesting to see this change come over the usually-meek Jae-kyu now that he’s the one wielding a weapon, and he seems to enjoy hunting Young-jae down a bit too much. “The doctor wants to see you,” he taunts, as he searches for Young-jae row by row in the library.

He’s honestly surprised that Young-jae would confess to save his own skin, but his fate takes a turn once Young-jae fools him and tackles him to the ground.

He beats Jae-kyu until his mouth is bloody, screaming, “I told him I sent it so I could live! The rest of you talked among yourselves. You all thought about how you could survive, too. Is it proper when you do it, but wrong when I do?!”

Ji-hoon looks like he’s slowly freezing to death, and begins to succumb to hypothermia before his lifeline – Moo-yul’s rope – lands nearby. Ji-hoon ties it around his torso while Moo-yul rigs a pulley system and starts to haul him up the side of the cliff, one hard pull at a time.

Jae-kyu’s face is a bloody and bruised mess thanks to Young-jae, who consoles himself by saying that Jae-kyu would let someone else die in his stead, too. “I wouldn’t do that,” Jae-kyu practically gargles through the blood in his mouth, but it gets Young-jae close enough for Jae-kyu to hit him over the head with the stick. Ouch.

He hits Young-jae again, sending him sprawling to the floor. Then he hits him with the stick again. And again. And again. It’s ironic that Jae-kyu protests the entire time, “Not me! I wouldn’t! I’m not you! I wouldn’t do that! Not me. Not me. Not me!” as he grows more violent, and Young-jae’s cries grow fainter with each swing of the stick.

Moo-yul thinks back to all the times Ji-hoon’s one-upped him, and Young-jae’s telling words: “A born genius that Park Moo-yul can never beat. You want to kill him, right?” And at those words, Moo-yul’s grip loosens a little on the rope, sending Ji-hoon sliding back down.

It’s an awe inspiring and almost frightening moment as we see all these warring emotions – to leave Ji-hoon, or to save him – play on his face. It’s the moment of decision for him, since he could just let the rope go…

But Moo-yul is better than that, and lets out a cry as he grasps the rope tighter and begins to pull again, the rope wearing into his hands so much that he bleeds.

Meanwhile, Jae-kyu beats Young-jae until the stick breaks, and contemplates bludgeoning him to death with something heavier before he sees his own blood-covered reflection in a mirror. Having seen what he’s become, he drops to the floor and slowly curls into a fetal position.

Moo-yul literally sheds blood, sweat, and tears in hauling Ji-hoon to safety, and collapses right after, fighting tears. We don’t know exactly what’s going on in his head, but we can take a guess. And that’s what makes this moment both beautiful and harrowing. (And a stellar performance, to boot.)

However, the normally emotionless Ji-hoon seems to be fighting back tears. “I thought you wouldn’t come,” he admits. And Moo-yul’s conflicted emotions in saving him give way, so that he looks at the real, raw Ji-hoon for the first time with new eyes.

Doctor Kim uses hypnotization to lead Yoon-soo through his memories, until he confronts the closet door containing the monster. At Doctor Kim’s insistence that he open it Yoon-soo wakes up, and calmly tells him that he wants to stop.

This jars Eun-sung’s memory: “You’ve done that to me before.” Doctor Kim admits it with a shrug, explaining that she reacted well to hypnosis while Yoon-soo didn’t. Eun-sung: “Did you tell me to slit my wrists after hypnotizing me?” Doctor Kim: “It was part of the therapy.” Say what, Crazypants McGee?

Eun-sung is outraged, especially when Doctor Kim tells her all the things she confided to him while hypnotized – like why she hates herself, her respect towards her mother, and her mother’s affair.

She throws a cup at him, which instantly has Jung-hye vaulting over the table, grabbing her hair, and smashing her face. Doctor Kim has to call her off like a rabid dog, and Jung-hye relents.

Doctor Kim finally explains that the only cure for Eun-sung’s cry-for-help suicidal tendencies was for her to actually experience what death was like. “You don’t talk about wanting to die after that, right?” Well… that makes sense. In a super twisted way.

Eun-sung stays silent, so Doctor Kim goads her that if she still wants death, he’ll make it come true. He aims the gun at her head.

And Moo-yul seems to sense that something’s wrong as he supports Ji-hoon on their trek back to the school.

Doctor Kim gives Eun-sung until the count of three, and at the last moment she tearfully exclaims: “I want to live. I want to live. I don’t want to die. I want to live with my mom, no matter what. So, save me. Please, save me!”

He pulls the gun away and smiles. End of therapy.

Only, he levels the gun at her head again, and expresses that it’s a pity… but Young-jae confessed to writing the letter and named her as the one with the most sins. Whoa. I should have known, but still. Whoa.

Young-jae and Jae-kyu have arrived in the meantime, and Young-jae blankly stares forward as he tells her why he picked her: “Because I hate you. I hated you with Moo-yul. I also hated you after you broke up with Moo-yul. I hate the way you ridicule me. I want to kill you because you pity me.”

Seriously, Young-jae? That’s all the reasoning you need to kill a person? However, just as Doctor Kim readies to shoot Eun-sung, Jae-kyu steps up with the diary and confesses that he actually sent the letter. Why?

“The buried sins, of course,” Jae-kyu says. “Someone died, but no one felt guilty about it. That made me mad.”

So Doctor Kim then gives Jae-kyu the choice: Who is the most sinful? Jae-kyu tells him to wait until everyone is present, though Doctor Kim thinks he’s just stalling for time. He manages to convince our good doctor that having only three students present is no fun, and that Moo-yul and Ji-hoon will return by nightfall.

Yoon-soo tips over in his chair and collapses, and somehow that prompts Doctor Kim to agree to stall the proceedings until seven. He escorts them back to the teacher’s dorms and locks them in.

Unfortunately, Jae-kyu’s planning doesn’t go any further than buying them time. But it affords an interesting peek to his thought process as he tells them, “I dreamt about this situation. Everyone listening to me and watching my every move. The moment I became the center of attention.”

So he’s like a darker version of Moo-yul, basically. And that’s fascinating. But he won’t relent in his belief that all of them are to blame for Kim Jin-soo’s death.

Moo-yul and Ji-hoon take a breather before they reach the school gate, with Moo-yul showing him the gun without bullets. They’re freezing, and are unable to get inside unless someone opens the door for them.

Deciding that being shot to death is the same as freezing to death, they prepare to alert everyone to their presence just to get inside, before Moo-yul stops at the statue of the school president like he’s just realized something.

In the teacher’s dorm, Mi-reu asks Jae-kyu what he plans to do next. “I think keeping a secret is a difficult thing,” he sighs. “I think that’s why I’ve grown tired before the rest of you. All I want is for this to be over quickly.”

However, they spot Moo-yul outside as he writes ‘Secret Passage’ into the snow. Mi-reu & Co. can’t open the windows due to the alarms, so Mi-reu uses lipstick to draw a map of the passage on the window. Mi-reu’s awesomeness strikes again.

Moo-yul uses the same ridiculously large air ducts Mi-reu used to get himself and Ji-hoon inside the auditorium. Kang-mo hides up in the rafters and watches them without alerting them to his presence.

They use the CCTV hack to pinpoint Jung-hye in the cafeteria, and Moo-yul sneaks up on her and hits her over the back with a two-by-four. It’s the only hit he gets in, since she easily disarms him and beats him into submission.

She starts dragging him off, but Ji-hoon’s commanding voice calls out from behind him as he levels the empty gun at Jung-hye. So. Awesome. He could tell Moo-yul was in trouble from the CCTV, and even with his broken leg, he came to the rescue. My boys are all growing up. (*tear*)

He acts like there are bullets in the gun, and is convincing enough to get her to let go. Moo-yul ties her hands and heads off to get the others…

…Only to be stopped by Doctor Kim, with a gun filled with bullets. He finds this whole situation amusing even as he takes Moo-yul hostage by holding the gun to his head. Ji-hoon keeps his gun aimed at Jung-hye.

Doctor Kim offers two options – either they can both drop their guns on the count of three, or they can both shoot. This seems to catch Jung-hye by surprise, since her mentor is basically saying her life is worthless.

The grandfather clock hits seven, and Doctor Kim says they’ve got as long as the bell tolls to make a decision. As the numbers dwindle down Ji-hoon loses his resolve, obviously not wanting to get Moo-yul shot, and backs down first.

Doctor Kim exchanges Moo-yul for the gun, but as he passes Jung-hye, he asks her to reconsider what she is to Doctor Kim. “I wouldn’t bet on the life of a woman that I like,” he tells her. “Could you do that? Could you put his life on the line and bet on shooting? You know he’s using you.”

The words seem to have some effect, since she pushes Doctor Kim away when he tries to help untie her hands.

Moo-yul drags Ji-hoon up to the teacher’s dorm, and everyone’s face falls when they see Doctor Kim behind them. He locks them up and says he’ll be back in half an hour, and goes to solve his problems with Jung-hye.

He clearly uses the hold he has on her to win her back, but the deciding moment comes when he entrusts the gun with bullets to her. “It’s okay,” Doctor Kim assures her. “You’ll come running if I’m in danger.”

Kang-mo has been watching everything from Mi-reu’s laptop, as the boys make a plan to each hide in a different teacher’s dorm with a blunt weapon. Jae-kyu finally arrives on scene, but no one’s included him in the plan.

Doctor Kim walks into the darkened dorms, excited at the prospect of a fight – that’s what keeps things interesting, after all. He correctly guesses that Moo-yul is the one who came up with this kind of plan, and also correctly guesses that Moo-yul will be the first to attack him.

He opens one door, where Eun-sung and Ji-hoon successfully hide inside. Doctor Kim keeps guessing the outcome of the plan, until he sees Jae-kyu tied up in the dorm with duct tape over his mouth. He thinks that Jae-kyu’s friends have betrayed him and tsks him for trusting them in the first place.

Meanwhile, Jung-hye creepily dons a white wedding-like dress, and takes some matches with the gun. Hm. Maybe she got the empty gun after all. She heads down to the cafeteria to find her fancy dinner spread ruined, with Mi-reu’s laptop on the table.

Oh! Kang-mo was useful after all, since he found the old footage of Doctor Kim in the detention cell, but Jung-hye is watching as though it were live.

As she runs off to save him, we hear Doctor Kim in voiceover:

Don’t stand on the border line. That’s an age-old taboo of both East and West. A line… as it divides one side from another, the inside from the outside, it also determines this side from that, and inside and out. The line itself is confusing, so do not stand on it. Beware of falling into confusion.

Jae-kyu leads Doctor Kim in the hallway, even though the gun stays trained on him the whole time. “I kept thinking about who was the worst, about who was the most involved in Kim Jin-soo’s death.” Jae-kyu admits. “Jo Young-jae, Yoon-soo, Park Moo-yul, Yoon Eun-sung, Yang Kang-mo, Choi Ji-hoon. Among them… the one who was most sinful of Kim Jin-soo’s death… was Kim Jin-soo.”

Everyone hiding in their rooms seem to take this as a surprise, even though they’ve probably planned this down to the letter.

Jung-hye runs into the detention cell to save a doctor that isn’t there, and Kang-mo shoves her inside to lock her in. She manages to grab his hearing aid before he shuts the door.

Eighteen years of age. Kids these days are anxious as they stand on the border line.

Doctor Kim won’t take such an easy answer, so Jae-kyu turns on him and declares that the person who replaced Kim Jin-soo is the most sinful… and it’s him.

You can’t define children who stand on the border line. Because it’s all confusing, it’s all a taboo.

Slowly but surely, everyone comes out from hiding to surround Doctor Kim. While Jung-hye, in the cell, raises her gun to the plexiglass and fires.

The boys hear the shot, and instantly realize Doctor Kim’s gun must be the fake. They’re not fast enough to catch him, and Doctor Kim escapes with Jae-kyu, locking the rest of them inside the dorm.

Plan failed.


It never ceases to amaze me how real these characters feel, and how much I feel like I know them. It draws that interesting line between fiction and reality, and despite some of Jung-hye’s more crazy moments, none of these people are caricatures.

That’s a compliment that speaks to the writing first and foremost, but without capable actors there’s only so much a writer can do. This is the episode where I felt the most synergy between our characters, and all the lines and webs and pasts that connect them. Which is fitting with the title and theme of the episode, of that line or boundary everyone must face at some point.

We definitely got some ugly truths in the form of Young-jae picking Eun-sung as the most sinful, and I don’t know if he can ever recoup from that. But where he chose to be cowardly and afraid, others got to step up to the plate. Even Kang-mo, who I’d worried was back to his almost voyeuristic ways, made a positive action by trapping Jung-hye. Yoon-soo chose not to even explore the area near his personal boundary, and Eun-sung broke through her depression and realized that she wanted to live.

But what shined for me the most was Moo-yul and Ji-hoon’s scenes, which were subdued yet well played and well written. We didn’t need the brief flashback reel of Ji-hoon stealing Moo-yul’s thunder to know that that’s what made Moo-yul stop and think about whether to save Ji-hoon or not. And I think it’s awesome that Moo-yul was brought to that very brink where he held someone’s life in his hands, and that he even contemplated just letting go. Why? Because it makes him human.

That’s why we could hold our breath when Moo-yul started letting the rope slip, and why we all bit our nails down to the quick once he fought that darker side of himself and began to pull. Despite all Moo-yul’s heroic deeds in the past, it was that defining moment (which harkens back to what Teach said about that defining moment in a competition) that really cemented Moo-yul as a true-blue hero to me, tears and all.

And I like how this changed the dynamic between them, enough for Ji-hoon to let his emotions show and for him to risk his life to save Moo-yul’s. While Ji-hoon took a turn for the more heroic, Jae-kyu also underwent a similar change, toward the darker end of the spectrum. It was interesting to see that meek shell crack as soon as he got his hands on a weapon, and frightening to see how violent he could be once he did.

Also, it was sad to realize that all he ever wanted was the same love and adoration Moo-yul gets, without realizing that he was receiving that attention for the wrong reasons. I’ll take his participation in the final plan as proof that he changed his mind, since he was always straddling that middle ground anyway.

This has been brought up in previous episodes, but really came to the fore here: Doctor Kim’s psychology methods. Obviously there’s a reason why your therapist shouldn’t interrogate you at gunpoint, but it’s even stranger to try and figure out how Doctor Kim operates. Was hypnotizing Eun-sung so she’d slit her wrists and realize she had the will to live all for his experiment, or was he actually trying to help her, however wrong and twisted the methods may be? I’m not sure I know.


67 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Ivoire

    Thank you!

    • 1.1 Ivoire

      This drama is on my list of dramas to watch, which I hope I will be able to do soon. thank you for the recap!

      • 1.1.1 slfowie

        You have to watch this drama! It just 8hr πŸ˜‰ I hope you will be able to watch it soon..

        • Ivoire

          Hi Slfowie,

          And thank you for the recommendation :-). I will make an effort to watch it, I have read a lot of good things about it and it seems that it might be up my alley. I do have a lot on my plate at the moment, so I think I will save this drama for later.
          You might not know this, but it takes me a long time to watch just one episode of Kdrama. It takes me about 2-2hrs1/2 to watch the episode online (I am a slow reader of subs and I replay my favorite scenes and the ones that leave me curious), then I read the recap if it is available (and I participate in the recap’s comments, if that is available as well,after having thought about the episode for a while), then I can move on to the next episode. As you can see, there is a whole process to how I watch Kdramas. I take my time watching them, but I savor every minute along the way :-)…

    • 1.2 hawaiianseoul

      I’m not even surprised anymore that you’re the first one to comment lol.

      • 1.2.1 Ivoire

        Hi Hawaiianseoul,

        LOL at your comment :-)! At least you are laughing about it. One person on another thread made it sound like I was committing a crime. Why hate? It’s not as if my commenting 1st changes anything in your day, does it? (I am just saying…)
        I had a good chuckle because of you, thanks!

  2. Miss D

    Why is school starting so soon!?!!?
    Why can’t I just stay home an watch awesome dramas like this one?!?!
    I ask myself these questions on a regular basis.
    The only good answer I can come up with is so that I can’t someday learn Korean and understand the dramas by myself πŸ™‚

    • 2.1 Miss D

      Noooo! I meant to say ” so that I CAN learn Korean”
      Sigh … why does autocorrect hate me so?

  3. Pepper Fish

    “He tells Mi-reu that it all started when Ji-hoon heard the serial killer news (not knowing it was Doctor Kim, of course) on the radio and asked, β€œAre monsters like him born or made?” Doctor Kim realized that was the question he’d been wondering all his life, and Ji-hoon finally put it into words.”

    This is one of the few things I find silly about the show. If the doctor is a psychologist or a psychiatrist then he should be very familiar with the nature vs. nurture debate and all the arguments on both sides. The show makes it seem like Ji-hoon is the first to articulate the question for the doctor. Haha, so silly.

    • 3.1 Abbie

      I think what Doctor Kim means, is that he’d subconsciously been wondering that question, but could never put it into words until he came to the school and Ji-hoon asked it himself.

      • 3.1.1 Pepper Fish

        I guess that’s way it seems strange to me. “Is a monster (or personalities in general) born or made?” is one of the oldest questions in psychology. Doctor Kim should be familiar with it.

        • mchall

          I agree with the fact that he as a psychologist should know all these psycho theories and I think he is pretty familiar with them. However I think this question “is a monster born of made?” comes from his own recent personal crisis (him trying to take his own life) and I guess arguments lose some significance when applied to himself, the serial killer/monster. He is obviously very smart, and even though he knows the several aspects that impact the personality of an individual, I doubt he ever connected emotionally to any of his patients so he probably was never inclined to any side in particular (nature vs nurture). The moment he started questioning his own life and his own nature is when he began his own discussion and his own experiment, probably as a twisted effort to understand himself. After all he was the doctor before while now he is the subject of analysis (one of them at least)…

    • 3.2 whimsyful

      Keep in mind the good Doctor may be lying to screw with the students. I mean, he certainly did a number on Jung-hye’s mental health and that was wayyy before he met the students.

      • 3.2.1 Pepper Fish

        Yeah, I was kind of wondering about that. After all, a sane and rational psychologist wouldn’t test the theory by trying to turn children into monsters, hahaha.

    • 3.3 ladida

      I find the serial killer kind of silly in general. I kind of want his crisis of faith to be portrayed more starkly, and I want a display of his violence to be shown to us as the students’ are; although that might be the point–that the violence he shows here is more psychological than anything else. His moral relevancy and psychobabble just make me want to slap him. I’m sorry, but I like it when my serial killers leave the philosophizing for after they’ve killed their victims. Do need to play with your food.

      Who really frightens me are the kids–what they do to each other and what they do to themselves. Also the school creeps me out, both in it’s architecture and the idea of it. As for the question, I don’t think it’s the right one, or one that should be asked. I don’t think “monsters” actually exist; it’s just a word we use to distance and differentiate ourselves from the people we call monsters. Like I don’t think the doctor is a monster. I think he’s a person who murders and who needs to be stopped.

      • 3.3.1 Lena

        Totally agree with you, that question shouldn’t be continued. Human life come first. Screw the experiment. End of question. Anybody can go crazy but there’s the limit that they shouldn’t be inflicted pain on others. Worse is killing.

  4. Abbie

    God. I love this show so much. It is so wonderfully written and directed, with solid acting and characters. It will probably remain one of my favorites for some time to come.

    I am really disappointed in Young-jae. He had such potential and he blew it.

    Moo-yul. I was, for a moment, worried that he wouldn’t save Ji-hoon, but he did, and I’m glad, and I can’t wait to see the final episode to see his complete finish.

    Kang-mo really stepped it up, and redeemed himself a bit.

    Jae-kyu was really scary in this episode.

    Eun-sung was surprising, too. I’m glad she got her will to live back, even if it was in an unorthodox way.

    Yoon-soo showed great strength in resisting Doctor Kim’s hypnosis. So I’m glad for that.

    Ji-hoon, always awesome, stepped it up too, and I’m glad he finally showed some emotions.

    Mi-reu was still great, and showed his intelligence again.

    As for Doctor Kim and Jung-hye. These psychos better get what’s coming to them. And soon.

    Thanks for the recap, HeadsNo2!

  5. Jaylee

    Thank you!

  6. slfowie

    Thank you! Ever time I read the recaps it just brings home how awesome this drama is . Yes, there is some hiccup here and there, but its easily ignored because everything else is just so perfect. THIS is the drama that all drama show aim to imitate- not in terms of story but how its written directed and acted.
    Will the drama gods please listen to me and make another drama with the came casts, writers, directors? And this time make the drama longer than 8 episodes? This humble fan would be verrry grateful…

  7. Pepper Fish

    I loved how the show switched back and forth between Moo-yul gaining control of himself and Jae-kyu totally losing it. Epic!

    You know the first time I watched the show, I didn’t catch that Jae-kyu’s final speech was a part of their plan. I though he surprised them with his comments. Was I the only one who thought this?

    • 7.1 Perevell

      Nah, you weren’t the only one, I thought they were genuinely surprised which was mirrored by their sudden appearances from their hiding places. Maybe it really was part of the plan but I’m still scratching my head on how this makes anything better.

      It makes more sense that JaeKyu ultimately decided to sacrifice himself, since he even said it himself that he isn’t like YoungJae, who’d rather save his own skin. That probably triggered the rest to come out and stare(?), because after that confession wouldn’t it be ideal to just smash Doctor Psycho in the head?

      And I was wondering how in the world did he miss out Kang Mo. BUT I can ignore all these, since this show and actors are all just awesome πŸ˜€

      • 7.1.1 eternalfive

        Same, I thought it was genuine surprise. I think it makes more sense – and is definitely more touching – for Jae-kyu to willingly decide to sacrifice himself, as a sort of redeeming gesture. Idk, I guess either way, it doesn’t make too much difference.

        Yeah, I was also wondering how the Doctor could miss Kang Mo/let him run free. XD

        • denise

          The doctor did know Kang Mo was missing because he went to his room after being free from the cell. My guess was that he had too many issues on his hand to deal with 3 missing students. hehe.

          Gosh i soooo love this drama. Every aspect of it was perfect. too bad it wasn’t longer.

    • 7.2 sherry_laruku

      This is the episode where I started to love Jae Kyu. Despite his dark moments, he is not a coward like Young Jae. In my humble opinion, I truly believe that the reason he confessed he sent those letters at that point of time was to save Eun Sung. His reasoning with Doctor was his initial plan/feelings that he had. I believe that change after spending time with Ji Hoon, Moo Hyul and the rest of the gang, that is why he rather sacrificed himself because he sent those letters and got them in this sticky situation…

      • 7.2.1 Pepper Fish

        Jae-kyu is totally one of my favorite characters. I loved that the quiet student who felt really alone finally was able to become friends with the others. He kind of reminds me of Anthony Michael Hall’s character in the Breakfast Club. He’s not as cool as the other students, but easily becomes friends with them. In this case, however, I think Jae-kyu will still be friends with the others once they head back to school.

        In this episode we see more of Jae-kyu’s character too. What kind of person sends the letters in the first place? What was he planning to do on the final day if the Doctor Kim hadn’t shown up? Was he planning to commit suicide too or just confront everyone? Everything was going according to plan, Moo-yul was investigating the letters and their meaning and getting the others involved. We’ll never know, I guess, but I think he was planning to confront them. He seems to have a bit of a dramatic flare, wanting to be the center of everyone’s attention, if even for a moment.

        • sherry_laruku

          My guess is that Jae Kyu sent those letters out of curiosity, also an act of remembrance / memorial of Jin Soo’s death.

          I believe suicide was not his initial plan but to confront those involved. Unfortunately, I do not think he has any good strategic plan in mind to carry it out. He just goes with the flow and stick by Moo-Yul to get the answers for his curiosity..

          As to Jae Kyu final speech, same thoughts as you. it was not part of the plan. They were waiting nervously wondering who will be named by Jae Kyu as the biggest sinner.. alas Jae Kyu answer surprised them.

      • 7.2.2 modestgoddess

        yeah I think Jaekyu confessed to save Eunsung just like he went to find Youngjae instead of hiding in order to save Eunsung.

    • 7.3 news

      No, it can’t be part of their plan, otherwise it doesn’t make sense that they failed. They were suppose to hide and attack the Doctor at the same time, only they didn’t b/c they were too shocked at Jae-kyu’s confession.

      On a different note, I need clarification about the top student if anyone has the answer or thoughts on this.

      In episode 2, it’s hinted that Mi-reu is the smartest one, even out ranking Ji-hoon their first year. If so, did he give up the top spot, or did Ji-hoon beat him to it? I don’t think there was really a clear answer to this, and I just thought that Mi-reu didn’t really care. Not that Ji-hoon did either, but since he’s the hot emotionless robot, maybe he’s just programmed to study away and effortlessly get high grades.

      Yes, I agree with everyone who loves Ji-hoon and Mi-reu. πŸ˜€

      • 7.3.1 Perevell

        It’s more likely that Ji Hoon is the smarter one (*cough*mybias*cough*), they mentioned that Mi-Reu only beat him once, then he was never able to do it again, so in terms of studies I’m guessing Ji Hoon owns. But it’s pretty much like the usual happenings in any school, grades vary and not every year the number one spot is clinched by the same person, and Mi-Reu got expelled before we can tell if he’s able to claim the spot again.

        But they’re pretty much polar opposites, Ji Hoon being the ‘hot emotionless robot’ while Mi Reu’s the extreme. In a good way πŸ˜› So pretty hard to compare, though I’m sitcking to my claim that Ji Hoon is a tinnnny bit ahead.

        • news

          Oh, I see…I didn’t catch the conversation or over voice part that “he was never able to do it again”. Since I’m pretty dependent on subs, I’m missing a lot of conversation details that may not be translated, especially for a drama like this.

          Thanks for your opinion πŸ™‚

    • 7.4 Betsy Hp

      I agree that Jae-kyu’s speech was not part of the plan. For one, it totally weakens his gesture if everyone else is in on it and he’s hoping he won’t have to follow through with his sacrifice. I thought he was processing his decision to die for the others from the moment he pulled the diary out of his desk.

      So, because it steals a great deal of awesome from both his character and his journey if he didn’t do this on his own, his speech surprising everyone is how I’ll continue to interpret this scene. πŸ™‚

  8. Noelle

    Thank you for the recap!

  9. sajatokki

    I’ve always wondered – if the Teacher didn’t find out about the serial killer, would Doctor Kim start all this? Or would he just observe them and amuse himself silently? Because he seemed to be genuinely concerned with these kids before he “had” to murder Teach…

  10. 10 modestgoddess

    I think Dr. Serial Killer was trying to help Eunsung in his own sick manipulative way. He still considered her a “good kid” when he hypnotized her so he wanted her to see that life was worth living.

    • 10.1 Pepper Fish

      Haha, sometimes I think that Doctor Kim just likes messing with people and having that kind of influence over them. He’s pretty manipulative and controlling, so I could see him wanting to push her to confront her fear and loathing.

  11. 11 whimsyful

    That scene inter-cutting between Moo-yul pulling up Ji-hoon and Jae-kyu beating down Young-jae–both reaching their emotional nadir and breaking, both fighting again their demons–is my favorite scene in the entire series. And the music was absolutely perfect there–simple, subtle, incredibly moving and evocative. And Ji-hoon’s quiet β€œI thought you wouldn’t come”: perfect.

    One last ep to go!

  12. 12 diorama

    I’m kind of understanding why the writer wanted tall boys for this drama. There are so many scenes filled with absolute tension, that potential violence just waiting to explode – having the boys be so tall just amps up the testosterone in every scene.

    Other than that, I don’t want this drama to end. That Doctor is creepy as heck but damn if he isn’t one of the most effective villains I’ve ever seen.

    • 12.1 modestgoddess

      I agree, I think the height thing was to make them all seem equally dangerous. Like if one of them was way bigger than the others then he would be the biggest threat but with them all being tall the potential for violence is equal.

  13. 13 eternalfive

    LOVED the moments between Moo-yul and Ji-hoon in this episode, for all the reasons that HeadsNo2 said. Although in one scene, I WAS sort of inappropriately yelling “BROMAAANCE” at the screen. Anywaaay…

    My favourite scene, maybe out of this entire drama actually, was Moo-yul pulling Ji-hoon up the cliff, and battling with the darker side of himself. And then, when he chose to pull up Ji-hoon…man, I felt this immense respect for him and felt so proud and just…*tear*.

  14. 14 edge

    Is the actress who plays Eunjung the same as the one who plays Shin Hyo Jung in Ghost?

    • 14.1 Perevell

      Yeap, her name’s Esom. she started of with White Christmas and recently finished as Shin Hyo Jung in Ghost.

      • 14.1.1 edge

        Thank you πŸ˜€
        I thought she looked familiar ^^

  15. 15 dany

    Thank you!

  16. 16 Kerstin

    This is an awesome Drama, mindblowing and thrilling. Thank you so much for recapping it!!!!

  17. 17 WeWe

    I watch this a long time ago,over and over again.
    Reading your recap makes my time repeat watching really worthed *grin*
    Especially the song you put up there, it really describe the question “Is the monster born or made?” coz I can feel the confusion and angst.
    This is my first korean psychological thriller that I watch and I found my self falling in love so deep with all characters and the story and the OST.
    Speaking about OST, any place I can get the complete version?

  18. 18 kelinci biru

    I’m not sure I wanted to know.

  19. 19 Tisnim

    Thanks for the recaps really love this show

  20. 20 Tisnim

    Thanks for the recaps really love this show.

  21. 21 Tisnim

    Thanks for the recap really love this show

  22. 22 Betty

    This episode and episode 8 are my favorites.

    I loved this episode because of the interior conflicts going on in all the characters. Everybody is going crazy and steping out of their confort zone.

    Jae Kyu is my favorite character second being Yoon Soo. In this episode I loved every single bit of Jae Kyu, the nice and the crazy. It was also nice to see the vulnerability in Ji Hoon.

    Love this drama.

  23. 23 Ennayra

    Thanks for the recap! I really enjoyed the points you brought up at the end of the episode.

  24. 24 Pandora

    I lurrfe this show so much! Moo-yul and Ji-hoon’s scenes are the beast in this ep.

  25. 25 Betsy Hp

    Urgh! I hate how late I am to the game (my drama-source for the show was down πŸ™ ) but I still have to chime in on the awesomeness of this show.

    First off, I kind of jumped the gun last episode in comparing Jung-hye with HarleyQuinn. This is the ep that made it clear that Dr. Kim was Jung-hye’s Mr. J and she’s just as willing to put up with abuse to stay by his side and keep him happy. Deliciously creepy. (And how much did I love Kang-mo’s figuring out her weak spot and using it against her? Very much not the weakest zebra at the watering hole.)

    Second, loved Moo-yul’s moment of decision. And the subsequent bonding with Ji-hoon (which I think Ji-hoon had been wanting for a long while, which is adorable). Pretty much love, love, love those two as a team.

    Third. Oh, Young-jae. πŸ™ I’d forgotten he’d named Eun-sung as the biggest sinner. So, not redeemed — which is actually more realistic. His mother-issues are so bunched up it’s no wonder he tangles up love and hate like that. Still… I still like Eun-sung and Young-jae together. Not dating, but… I don’t know… friends working out their mother issues together or something? (Part of this is stemming from my not being too keen on Eun-sung and Moo-yul as a romantic couple, I’m sure. Definitely the way the show is going what with Moo-yul’s spidey-sense tingling when Eun-sung is in danger, but she so white-knights him that I flinch away from them together. She needs someone she doesn’t have placed up on a shiny pedestal. Heh. Long tangent is long.)

    Fun fact: The movie Young-jae was just finished watching was “Stand By Me”. A movie about a group of friends and one boy gaining the courage to stand up against his own monster. (An older bully in this case. But still, I recall death being on the line.)

    And finally: Jae-kyu! He’d been creeping up on me, but this is where he tips into beloved character territory. (How? How do you choose just one to be most favorite? All the characters are so well done.) His sense of justice is so strong and he was on the verge of twisting it into vengeance and I adored that seeing his monster-face in the mirror is what stopped him. And I loved that he stepped back from that far enough to take his solitary hero’s journey to its ultimate conclusion.

    As you say, the boys (and girl) are a growing. Thanks for the recap HeadsNo2! πŸ™‚

  26. 26 whimsyful

    Hey! I was wondering where your post was. I think this is one of the first dramas I’ve ever dl’ed, because the cinematography deserves to be appreciated in HQ.

    Re: Eun-sung and the guys. I don’t mind her and Moo-yul as a couple because her current self is very cold and cynical and Moo-yul might be able to give her some of her old idealism back (which is a nice reversal of the usual perky-girl-melts-cold-guy’s-heart-through-her-kindness-and-warmth trope). Also, given her history and issues (being vague in case you haven’t seen ep 8 yet), she needs someone who is moral and won’t betray her trust, and MY’s the best fit among the guys. Well, Ji-hoon might work, but he’s a robot.

    • 26.1 whimsyful

      Oops, that was supposed to be a reply to Betsy Hp.

    • 26.2 Betsy Hp

      Ooh, downloading is a good idea! I’ve been frustrated (in a mild way, because I’m just glad there’s a subbed source out there) at the fuzziness of some of the episodes. The cinematography is too good for fuzziness! πŸ˜‰

      I’ve seen all 8 eps but I slammed through them in a wide-eyed marathon of can’t-stop-watching! and my memory’s kind of fuzzy on some aspects. (For ex: I totally forgot Young-jae said Eun-sung’s name. And I couldn’t remember why Jae-kyu beat the crap out of Young-jae.) So I’m sure I’m missing some big realizations in the last ep.

      I think I’m probably unduly influenced by Ji-hoon’s view of the MY-ES relationship: that Moo-yul stops thinking around her and that she uses her hold on him to make herself feel better. But! That’s their relationship in the beginning of the show. I’m totally open to it changing to something a little less role-playing (if that makes sense) by the end. Dr. Kim’s talking to Eun-sung about Moo-yul’s hero-complex is one big step. I’m not sure she fully realized how punishing his drive to help everyone and anyone around him really is. (My favorite moment between the two of them — thus far — was when Moo-yul was loosing it over Dr. Kim (drying him off I think?) and she got him to stop.)

  27. 27 end

    just 1 question for HeadNo2, how can you resist ur self to just watch one episode per week? I’ve started to see it today and finished it today!huff
    Thanks for the recap, because if I did not read ur recap (or actually just skimming, coz didn’t like spoiler…love to read recap after watch the drama ;P)
    maybe I’ll miss one of worth watchable drama ^^
    Can not stand to read the last episode recap for better understanding! Hehe

  28. 28 ladida

    Damn, my response was eaten up! πŸ™ But I’ll try to reconstruct it:

    Ugh, this episode! Explosions In the Sky plus my baby Jae Kyung. He’s been my favorite so far, (he’s always so eager to help and he’s the youngest, like the little puppy; my favorite moment in the series–besides when he’s beating up Young Jae (sorry YJ!)–is when they all go to find the still alive Ji Hoon and he sticks his head in between everyone else’s; so cute) and when he started beating Young Jae up so brutally I kept thinking, “Nooooooooo!” but I was talking about him, not Young Jae.

    It’s an awful scene, but it’s structurally satisfying because Yong Jae lied that he was the one who sent the letters when Jae Kyung was actually the one to do it; no one suspected that the monster would come from Jae Kyung and it came from him in full force, debilitating him after he beats up Young Jae (he even looks like a monster, something the serial killer himself hasn’t done yet); he’s always with someone, always following someone, and the two acts he commits on his own are awful ones (sending the letters and beating up Young Jae). It’s always the quiet ones, right? Speaking of, Heads mentioned before how the serial killer might have sympathized with Jin Su, and we already know that Jae Kyung does, so how awesome is it that after Jae Kyung has his encounter with his inner monster (which the serial killer has completely embraced) he is able to confront him in the absence of the three leaders?

    Another thing I loved about this episode? How Mr. Serial Killer told us about Jung Hye’s past of repeated sexual abuse and rape, and how that reflects on how Mi Reu interacted with her–how he kissed her without permission (and expected to get hit for it) and that one time when they were sleeping and he moved on top of her. Definitely some comment on rape culture going on there. I actually can’t take Mr. Serial Killer seriously. You have a woman who was continually raped as a child who then goes to see a serial killer psychologist and you wonder if monsters are born or made? Hmm, why dontcha think on that one a little longer? And I haaaate his interactions with Eun Sung. I’m most disgusted by what he does to her. It’s a total breach of personal space and autonomy, and he doesn’t understand her at all. Trying to “cure” her desire to commit suicide? Ridiculing her reaction to her mother’s affair? Like, her wanting to commit suicide didn’t have anything to do with her wanting to die–that wasn’t the point; it had to do with her wanting to exercise control over her life. His killing her wouldn’t be the same as her committing suicide because it totally overlooks her self determination. And I hate how she has to be on the receiving end of all these boys affections, and how they resent the fact that she doesn’t feel the way they want her to feel and want her punished for it. Ew. And of course the one girl here is the one who asks the serial killer to save her! Of course! And lol, Moo Yul, the three uninjured guys are the only ones who can fight? Yeah, I know Eun Sung’s got a vagina, but I’m not sure how that would interfere with her wielding a bat. C’mon, Eun Sung, grab something!

    Ahem. Anyway. On to the hands! Eun Sung had a pool of blood gathering under her hands when she’d tried to commit suicide, the serial killer’s hand has a scar, now Mi Reu’s hand has a scar, and Moo Yul’s hands are damaged, too.

    • 28.1 ladida

      Omg, I’mm so sorry, I didn’t realize my post was so long! Eeep!

    • 28.2 whimsyful

      No problem with long responses! The more meta/discussion for this drama, the better.

      I love Jae-kyu. I loved how he was the quiet one with so much hidden inside, loved how much *sense* it made that he was the sender of the letters, and loved his confession to Chi-hoon. I think for most ppl he’s overshadowed by Moo-yul and Chi-hoon, but he’s probably the character I’m personally most similar to, and the one I related most to. And on a purely shallow note, I find Hong Jong-hyun exponentially hotter with his hair/bangs up instead of going into his face.

      Eun-sung is actually one of my favorite kdrama female characters, and I was pretty sad we didn’t see more of her. I loved that she was snarky and damaged, but at the same time self assured and capable of caring. She kinda reminds me of pre-amnesia Eun Gi in Nice Guy, in a way? But not as damaged or intense. I also don’t like how many guys crushes on/stalks her, but I loved how she refused to feel obligated to like them or have her life revolve around guys, and I loved that she actively went after Moo-yul and that she was the one to dump him. (I don’t mind them as a couple, but I’d prefer her having a fresh start. Or Chi-hoon/Eun-sung which is my crack ship) I’d watch a whole sequel about her character.

      I don’t think Dr. Kim was trying to cure Eun-sung. I think he was trying to screw her up, the way he was trying to screw up the rest of the kids, to make them as twisted as he was, and the “cure” was just his excuse.

      • 28.2.1 Chandler

        On you’re comment on the Chi-Hoon/Eun-Sung ship: I read somewhere that Sung-Joon and Esom actually dated in real life!

  29. 29 Lee Su Jeong

    Does anyone know the rock song that played when Choi Ji-hun’s leg was broken by Park Mu-yeol? I have been trying to find it to no avail. >__< Thank you. It also appeared in many of the previous episodes at tense moments. πŸ™‚

  30. 30 Chandler

    I agree with many comments here, but I just need to express my greatest disappointment with this episode.

    Young Jae. Holy Shit. I’m just so disappointed. Last episode implied that he’d named himself. I LOVED that moment. But he didn’t do that. He didn’t. He named Eun-Sung. He actually named Eun-Sung. Like…I cant even. GAH. I’m just pissed because I felt so much for his character in that moment and now its just been taken from me. Since the beginning he was the character I wanted the most out of or rather, the character I needed the most out of and he just disappointed. It’s such a shame because if he’d named himself, he could have made it into my favorites. But no, that goes to Jae-Kyu and Kang-Mo this episode. And the others were fantastic as per usual.

  31. 31 Chloe

    I still don’t think youngjae actually said her name, even though that is what the doctor said. he had to pick the one with the most sins towards JINSU, but all his reasons for picking eunsung were her sins towards himself.
    A comment from the previous review suggested that since he said he intentionally makes people hate him, he just went along with the doctor.

  32. 32 Ryan Hand

    wowww scary and extream…!

  33. 33 bluecow

    What bothers me about the psychologist’s experiment is that it is inconclusive, no matter what happens. In this episode he says that if the kids turn on each other, then monsters are made, but, if not, then they’re born that way.

    But what if one/some of the kids is a born monster? So he’s not “made” but “born,” even though this is the first situation where he may act.

    By the same token, a “made” monster may not act in this situation (he may instead, like the serial killer, manipulate/ encourage others to do so), leading to the false conclusion that monsters are born.

    Also, what constitutes a “monster”? One who kills? Killing in self-defense or because one is afraid is considerably different from being an unfeeling serial killer. While perhaps ethically wrong, I think it’s a far cry from “monster”-dom. However, if the definition is broader than that (bullying, insensitivity, etc.) then aren’t there already “born” monsters among them?

    Anyway, I don’t think that this question can be answered by this psychologist’s experiment conclusively, and that makes this kind of frustrating to watch. Love the show, haha, but his character is hard for me to deal with.

  34. 34 sooj

    Does anyone know the name of the song or soundbit that plays over the conversation between Mireu and Junghye? It’s around the thirteen minute mark, when Junghye says that she doesn’t think Dr Kim will kill them since they’re good kids. Thanks.

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