Rescue Me: Episode 10
Once she realizes that running away won’t help her escape Guseonwon’s clutches, Sang-mi changes her strategy. She’s determined to expose the evil cult’s true nature to the world and destroy the institution once and for all—a task made more difficult by Guseonwon’s far-reaching influence in the town. Lucky for her, she has four determined boys on her side, and one in particular willing to risk it all.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
We open with a bird’s-eye view of the Guseonwon van driving back from the police station, having recovered Sang-mi. Everyone sits in silence except for Disciple Kang, who prays fervently, while Sang-mi looks surprisingly calm.
When they arrive, Sang-mi gets off the van and stops at the bottom of the steps to stare at the Guseonwon sign. Brows still furrowed with concern, Disciple Kang gently takes Sang-mi’s arm and reminds her that service has already started. Sang-mi glances at her hand on her arm before smiling confidently at Disciple Kang: “I’ll go up on my own.”
We return to Joon-gu and Dong-chul’s fight against Lee Jin-suk’s gangsters. The narrow hallway is strewn with injured gangsters who slowly rise as new arrivals armed with wooden clubs rush in behind them. Panting, Joon-gu tells Dong-chul to go into the room to look for the account books while he keeps the others at bay.
When he enters the room, Dong-chul’s eyes widen in shock to see his nightclub friend, Dae-shik, inside. In a steady voice, Dae-shik reminds Dong-chul that he works for Jin-suk and warns him against taking the account books. Dong-chul is visibly shaken by his loyalty to his friend, but then a sound from outside the door reminds him of his debt to Joon-gu.
Inside the church, Father Baek’s sermon on the importance of repentance is interrupted by the arrival of Sang-mi and her escorts. The believers murmur to each other and stare before Father Baek calls on everyone to welcome Sang-mi back with applause. The group approaches Father Baek, who asks why Sang-mi returned willingly.
“Do you think I came back because I wanted to?” Sang-mi demands through clenched teeth, dropping all honorifics and making no pretense at etiquette. She looks Father Baek dead in the eyes as she continues, “It’s not grace or salvation if you coerce me into submission. The true evil is you. I came back to protect my mother!”
With a raised hand, Father Baek silences the ruffled congregation and responds that Sang-mi’s attitude is caused by the devil. Sang-mi screams that she’s tired of hearing about the devil before turning to address the believers: “You should all get ahold of yourselves. You’ve given him all your houses, money, land, and everything else… do you think that’s salvation?” She pleads with them to go home, see their families, and leave the church.
At that final remark, Father Baek roughly grabs Sang-mi by her hair and announces that he will no longer watch Sang-mi’s soul perish. When Sang-mi fights back and calls him insane, Father Baek just yanks Sang-mi’s head back even harder and tells her, “Sang-mi, you are not the pure soul we used to know anymore.”
Disciple Kang looks conflicted while Dad agrees loudly that Sang-mi is not the daughter he knew.
“I am never going to be defeated by you,” Sang-mi spits, and Father Baek turns to Disciple Kang as he recounts the time when her daughter had said the same thing as Sang-mi. He marvels that New Heaven’s God must have put Disciple Kang through the hardship of losing her daughter in order to prepare her to train Sang-mi to become Spiritual Mother.
After a shaken Disciple Kang agrees that she’ll do everything to help Sang-mi become Spiritual Mother, Father Baek pushes Sang-mi down to her knees in front of the congregation and places his hand on top of her head.
His voice rising steadily, Father Baek performs something like an exorcism as he and Dad begin “speaking in tongues,” and what starts as a light patting of Sang-mi’s back from Disciples Kang and Jo turns into a beating, with Jo bringing his hand down with such force that it knocks Sang-mi to the ground.
Meanwhile, Joon-gu stumbles into Jin-suk’s account room to find Dong-chul and Dae-shik fighting. Dong-chul asks if they can’t just let Dae-shik leave, and Joon-gu explodes at his naivete: “I told you not to trust anyone! Someone will stab you in the back again.”
When Dae-shik rushes Joon-gu, Joon-gu easily puts him down with a bat. Hunched over in pain, Dae-shik accuses Joon-gu of being willing to do anything for money, and Dong-chul looks away as an enraged Joon-gu beats his friend up.
With the boys still locked up in the station, Officer Woo hurries over and scolds his son for causing trouble instead of studying for college. He apologizes to Detective Lee and expresses his embarrassment toward his police force “family.”
Back in Guseonwon, Disciple Jo urges the believers to pray with even more strength. He vigorously hits Sang-mi’s back with relish while Disciple Kang falters, overcome by worry for the helpless girl, even as Sang-mi bears it all in silence and continues to face the congregation with tears streaming down her face.
But the ritual is interrupted when a scream suddenly rings out — it’s Sang-mi’s mother, who runs to protect her daughter when she sees what’s happening. She pushes Disciple Jo off and begs everyone to stop hitting her daughter, pleading with her husband to help.
Before Dad can react, Father Baek observes that the evil clinging to Sang-mi has moved to Sang-mi’s mother. Dad screams at the devil “possessing” Sang-mi’s mother and slaps her to the ground, hard. As he tries to perform the same beating ritual on Mom, Sang-mi shields her mother’s body with her own and sobs miserably as the congregation continues to feverishly chant: “We believe it! Our wishes will be fulfilled.”
Ji-hee, Yong-min’s campaign manager, arrives at the police station and asks to have a word with Detective Lee. He fills her in on what happened with Sang-mi and promises to take care of it quietly, his grin oily. She observes that it seems as if he wants something in return, but he deflects before adding that he’s almost done taking care of Mr. Cheon (who they had asked the detective to take care of during their last meeting).
After getting his son out of jail, Officer Woo yells at Jung-hoon to sit in the front of the police car when he tries to sit in the back: “Are you a criminal?!”
Jung-hoon tries to get back in his dad’s good graces and explains that he couldn’t ignore a friend in trouble, but Officer Woo snaps and tells his son to ignore his friend’s plight and focus on getting into college.
Back in Guseonwon, Dad leads Sang-mi into one of solitary prayer rooms, and she grimaces in pain as she leans against the wall. He begs her to open her eyes and become the Spiritual Mother so that they can all be saved.
However, his face contorts in displeasure when Sang-mi grits out painfully, “I want Sang-jin to receive salvation more than anyone. But that’s not going to happen here. You’re only getting fooled by their dirty tricks and lies.” With that, Dad leaves without another word.
Having seen Disciple Kang’s hesitation during the prayer ritual, Disciple Jo slimily asks Kang if she’s got a lot on her mind these days. She brushes him off, but he reminds her that her most important job is to propagate their religion, while she in turn asks him if he even wants salvation, or if he’s more focused on gaining something else.
After trading veiled barbs, Disciple Kang turns to leave, but Disciple Jo reminds her, “You can’t afford to make a mistake this time. You need to make sure Sang-mi becomes our Spiritual Mother so that me, our Spiritual Father, you, and your daughter will all be able to get on the Boat of Salvation.” Disciple Kang turns and remarks that it would be a shame if he alone failed to get on the Boat of Salvation before she storms off.
Disciple Jo smiles at her retreating back: “Yes, that’s the Kang Eun-shil I know. I hope your belief continues to stay strong… forever.”
Yong-min massages his comatose wife in her bed and bitterly tells her that she still looks at him the same way her father used to–with disdain. He continues by saying that Ji-hee gives him all the respect that she was never able to give him: “So stay like that and don’t ever wake up. That way, people will remember me as a loving husband who cares for his sick wife.”
When he hears Sang-hwan enter the room, his malicious tone turns gentle as he begs her to wake up for their son’s sake. Cautiously, Sang-hwan asks for his father’s help: “My friend is involved in a weird cult. But she’s having trouble getting out of there. It’s called Guseonwon.”
He tells his father that Guseonwon is involved in volunteer work to make them look like any other church, but warns that in reality, they’re a cult. “Please help my friend so that she can get out of there and live a proper life,” Sang-hwan finally asks.
Unfazed, his father reminds him that he’s a politician first, so he needs to be promised something in return when a favor is asked of him. Sighing in defeat, Sang-hwan promises to go back to Seoul and become a judge, which satisfies his father.
When both father and son are gone, however, Sang-hwan’s mother’s hand begins to twitch.
That night, Joon-gu and Dong-chul wait for their rendezvous with Detective Lee. Dong-chul and Detective Lee recognize each other from three years ago, and Dong-chul gets on his motorcycle to leave. But when Detective Lee complains about the nuisance Sang-hwan caused earlier in the day, Dong-chul finds out that Dad took Sang-mi back to Guseonwon.
Joon-gu observes intently as Dong-chul scoffs that Detective Lee hasn’t changed at all, causing Detective Lee to threaten to put him back in jail. Disgusted, Dong-chul turns to Joon-gu and declares his debt repaid before riding off.
After he’s gone, Joon-gu brings out the account book, but before he gives it to Detective Lee, he asks if he can do whatever he wants to Lee Jin-suk now.
Tasked with giving Sang-mi’s mother her medicine again, the young congregate from Seoul, So-rin, once again secretly switches Mom’s usual pills for a digestive aid pill instead. Disciple Kang enters the room as the volunteer leaves, unaware of the pill switch, and begins to mention how her daughter, Yu-ra, left Guseonwon.
Looking down at Mom, Disciple Kang tells her how Sang-mi also left Guseonwon, but came back. “She could have stayed there, but she chose to come back. Do you know why? She came back because of you. My daughter… my daughter, Yu-ra, left this place. Because of that, she made me commit a big sin toward New Heaven’s God and Spiritual Father. But Sang-mi came back.”
Suddenly, Disciple Kang grabs Mom’s chin and lifts her face up, her fingers digging into Mom’s skin: “I hate you so much because of that. You have a daughter who wants to protect you even when you’ve lost your mind, and I really hate that.” Eyes wide, Sang-mi’s mother starts reciting Guseonwon’s teachings. Disciple Kang loosens her grip and declares that she needs to make Sang-mi become the Spiritual Mother so that she can receive salvation with her daughter. “So stay here and keep Sang-mi from leaving,” she orders.
Ji-hee drives up beside Detective Lee, who seems to be in a very good mood as he comments that he feels like he’s in a spy movie. He hands over the account book and gleefully asks who he should catch first, but Ji-hee just cautions him to maintain a poker face and orders him to take down Mr. Park (who works for Mr. Cheon) first.
The boys are back in their corner of the bar, and the waitress nags at them not to cause trouble before telling them to call her “noona” instead of “aunt.” Dong-chul joins them and sits alone with Sang-hwan as the latter explains what happened. Disillusioned by Guseonwon’s control over the police, both boys vow to solve this using their own methods, even though Sang-hwan’s method is to ask his dad for help.
“You always used your brains, but I used my intuition to fight,” remarks Dong-chul. He states his intent to infiltrate Guseonwon to see what kind of place it is–he’s the only one who can do it, because the other three boys have already exposed themselves.
Disciple Kang enters Sang-mi’s room and tells her to recite the Prayer of Salvation if she wants to receive water, since she’s been deprived of any water or food. Sang-mi weakly shakes her head no, and closes her eyes again after the woman leaves.
Meanwhile, Detective Lee and some other officers arrive at Mr. Park’s apartment. They bang on his door as he hastily burns documents inside. He speaks to Mr. Cheon on the phone in a panicked voice and gets caught by trying to escape from the balcony in only his boxers by Detective Lee.
Disciple Kang teaches a class on evangelizing strategies to a class of female congregants, describing how they’re to look like regular Christians and act like them in order to befriend people in the area. “Don’t people think we’re lying?” So-rin asks, to which Disciple Kang quotes from the Book of Salvation: “No matter which methods you use, spreading New Heaven’s God’s messages is a joyous deed.” She adds that they don’t call it lying, but rather a “salvation strategy.”
After the class ends, Disciple Kang praises So-rin for her work, and asks her to take on the honor of becoming the Spiritual Mother’s aide. So-rin seems honored by the thought and thanks Disciple Kang profusely.
Back in the prayer room, Dad quietly kneels next to Sang-mi and pleads with her to memorize the Prayer of Salvation so that she can leave the room. The concerned expression on his face is replaced by apathy when Sang-mi weakly replies, “I won’t give up.”
Disciple Kang and her troop of evangelizers arrive in town under the watchful eyes of the three boys, who observe them from a nearby cafe. Dong-chul dons glasses and holds tight to the straps of his backpack to give off “innocent student” vibes.
Sure enough, Disciple Kang takes the bait and asks Dong-chul if he’d like to fill out a questionnaire in return for concert tickets. While Dong-chul acts reticent at first, mentioning that he has to go to his mother’s birthday, So-rin convinces him that it’ll just take a minute.
As Dong-chul fills out the questionnaire while bumbling about and acting both clumsy and naive, Disciple Kang suddenly asks, “Do you think this world will exist eternally?” Dong-chul acts unsure, which Disciple Kang latches onto as she tells him that he can be “chosen” to have eternal life, and Dong-chul pretends to be drawn in by their claims of being prepared for the “apocalypse” that they know is coming and are preparing for.
We see in a flashback that Sang-hwan had lent Dong-chul his expensive watch for the occasion. “They must have rules about who to approach. I bet it comes down to money. We need bait to catch a fish,” Sang-hwan had predicted. The boys had also established a secret signal: Dong-chul brushing his face with the back of his hand.
Dong-chul gives the signal before the Guseonwon van arrives to take him and the other recruits to visit the compound. Disciple Jo comments on his nice watch, noting that his family must be well off (so Sang-hwan’s prediction was right), and Dong-chul makes them smile with his guileless remarks. He ignores a call from Jung-hoon, who’s worried about Dong-chul’s safety and frets at the lack of contact.
So-rin leads the new recruits to the main chapel, where they are welcomed with hearty applause. Dong-chul ignores another one of Jung-hoon’s calls, leading Jung-hoon to speculate about the terrible things that could be happening to Dong-chul.
Disciple Kang comes up to Dong-chul just as his phone vibrates with another call from Jung-hoon, and he hastily hides his phone screen. She encourages him to stay for tea, but he takes a rain check because it’s his “mother’s birthday.” Disciple Kang then offers to throw a birthday party for his mother at Guseonwon, but when he declines, she ropes him into agreeing to attend service the next day.
The door where Sang-mi is held creaks open, and Sang-mi turns in shock to greet… her brother. Sang-jin urges his sister to stay strong, and she promises to make it to the outside world with tears running down her cheeks.
Sang-mi wakes from her dream then, and whispers “oppa” to herself as she closes her eyes again.
Sang-hwan meets with Ji-hee alone to ask her to help Sang-mi. He admits that he can’t trust his father, and although he doesn’t trust Ji-hee either, he knows that his father is her weakness: “If I disclose the relationship between you and him, it’ll ruin the upcoming election for him.”
When Ji-hee asks what exactly he’s trying to do, Sang-hwan bluntly answers, “I’m asking you for a favor in a way that you won’t be able to refuse.” But Ji-hee isn’t cowed until Sang-hwan predicts that his father wouldn’t throw his political career away just to be with her.
While Dong-chul walks home, Disciple Jo pulls up next to him and offers to drop him off in the Guseonwon van. Once Dong-chul’s in the car, Disciple Jo casually asks questions about his “father’s business” when Dong-chul gets another call from Jung-hoon.
Jung-hoon nags at him for not picking up his calls, and Dong-chul pretends the call is from one of his friends to whom he owes money. “Don’t you know how well my dad’s business is doing? Are you really going to be like this over a few paltry thousand dollars?” Dong-chul demands, much to Jung-hoon’s confusion. But Disciple Jo takes Dong-chul’s bait and comments that his father’s business must be doing well.
After the call ends, Jung-hoon and Man-hee figure out that Dong-chul must still be with the Guseonwon people. The waitress comes by to nag at them again, and Jung-hoon complains about her swearing before he realizes that she brought skewers. She turns to leave, but the boys coax her back by calling her “noona,” and she gives them the skewers for free. Ha.
Disciple Jo drops Dong-chul off and asks for his phone number. They bid each other a pleasant farewell, and agree to meet at the same spot for tomorrow’s service. But the second Disciple Jo drives off, Dong-chul takes his glasses off, loses his goofy expression, and calls his friends.
The boys meet up in the bar to talk about what Dong-chul saw. He hesitantly mentions that the people there looked happy, but Sang-hwan quickly tells him not to be fooled. Jung-hoon worries that they might be getting themselves into danger, but he’s quickly shut down by Man-hee: “Just don’t turn on your live broadcast. That’s how you can help us.”
Someone approaches Sang-mi’s prayer room as she lies on her side on the floor. We don’t see who it is at first as Sang-mi slowly rises, her eyes wide, but the camera pulls back to reveal that it’s Father Baek. He blows on a spoonful of porridge to cool it off before feeding it to Sang-mi.
We flash back to a conversation between Sang-mi and Sang-hwan, where Sang-mi had reflected on her inclination to run away from Guseonwon: “I’m not going to run away anymore. I’m going to destroy that place.”
In the present, Sang-mi leans forward to let Father Baek feed her without breaking eye contact with him. He praises her and asks her to recite the Prayer of Salvation. She recites it perfectly as tears fall from her eyes, and Father Baek smiles with blissful satisfaction.
The next day, Sang-hwan watches as Dong-chul gets into the Guseonwon van. Ji-hee calls to inform him that his father wants to meet with him at his mother’s hospital.
At Guseonwon, Sang-mi helps her mother eat, and nothing in her face or demeanor gives away the suffering she was forced through for the past couple days. Disciple Kang brings her an outfit to wear for the announcement ceremony that day, after which she will officially begin her training to become the Spiritual Mother.
Sang-mi dutifully changes into the black dress, and her mother calls her beautiful. Sang-mi kneels in front of her mom and reassures her: “Don’t worry. We’re going to be happy like we used to be.”
Sang-hwan enters his mother’s room and hears his father addressing a third person. He stops in pure shock to realize that it’s none other than Father Baek, who smiles as he observes to Yong-min that his son has such a pure soul.
Uh oh. I have a bad feeling that Yong-min is going to move his wife into Guseonwon’s care, and Father Baek will take advantage of the situation to blackmail Sang-hwan. I’m not sure how this is going to play into Yong-min’s political ambitions, but it’s clear at this point that he doesn’t care what happens to his wife as long as he can maintain his “loving husband” image.
While we’re on the subject of Sang-hwan’s parents, I can’t wait to find out their history: the circumstances of their marriage and the explanation behind the mother’s current medical condition. I feel like there could be foul play involved, and if that were to come to light, Sang-hwan would lose all remaining trust in his father.
As for Sang-mi’s father, I was stunned when he started hitting Sang-mi’s mother. It’s terrifying just how much control Father Baek has over his thoughts, and I think that outburst was the evidence Father Baek needed to know that Dad is 100% loyal to Guseonwon. And while Dad’s behavior was reassuring to Father Baek, I think it had the opposite effect on Disciple Kang–seeing Sang-mi and her mother cower in fear from Dad probably brought up some of her worst memories of her own abuse at her husband’s hands. One of these days, Dad may go far enough to open her eyes to the heinous reality of Guseonwon.
It’s remarkable how dedicated Dong-chul is to helping people in need—yes, the fact that the victim is a pretty girl probably helps, but I don’t doubt that Dong-chul would be willing to risk his safety to help any helpless person. It’s also tragic that he’ll never be able to fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, because he’s clearly demonstrated the determination, courage, and integrity needed in a cop. His outburst at Detective Lee’s corruption is probably also fueled by resentment at the fact that he has Dong-chul’s dream job, but abuses his power to prey on the very people he should be helping most.
Perhaps another reason he’s so dedicated to helping Sang-mi is that he feels he failed her years ago when Sang-jin committed suicide. Like Sang-mi, I think he blames himself for not being able to save the boy. Rescuing Sang-mi and making sure she finally has the chance to live a good life might give him the closure he needs to move on from that dark chapter of his life.
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