Trap: Episode 1
Something strange is afoot in OCN’s Trap. We head into the mountains to figure out just what exactly happened to a famous news anchor and his family on their vacation.
EPISODE 1: “Hunters”
In the dead of night, New Anchor KANG WOO-HYUN (Lee Seo-jin) staggers toward a burning building, his mouth covered with blood. He wanders into the fire, calling out for his wife and son, but the only trace he finds is his son’s toy lying on the ground within the building.
Woo-hyun manages to make his way to the roadway nearby, and collapses in front of an oncoming car, whose driver calls the police to the scene.
A few days prior, Woo-hyun is interviewed for a broadcast by his wife, SHIN YEON-SOO (Seo Young-hee), an anchor herself. Woo-hyun denies rumors that he intends to enter politics, and expresses interest in returning to the news desk someday.
Afterwards, Woo-hyun plans to take his family to the mountains the following day. His secretary KIM SHI-HYUN (Lee Joo-bin) warns that he is supposed to meet an important businessman the following day, but Woo-hyun insists on the trip because it’s their wedding anniversary.
Back in the present, Woo-hyun is rushed to hospital with a substantial list of injuries from a snake bite to lacerations and burns, and has to be shocked back to normal rhythm with a defibrillator.
Outside, a nervous detective, BAE NAM-SOO (Jo Dal-hwan), relays his suspicions about Woo-hyun’s case to senior detective JANG MIN-HO (Kim Kwang-kyu), noting the strangeness of the victim’s claim that they were “hunted down.”
Meanwhile, grizzled detective KO DONG-KOOK (Sung Dong-il) watches the broadcast of Woo-hyun’s interview from inside of his disgruntled wife’s empty restaurant.
As he and his wife argue, their daughter, KO MIN-JOO, interrupts them, excited to see her dad for the first time in three months, and Dong-kook takes her out for a father-daughter trip to catch up.
In the car, Dong-kook quibbles about his wife’s insistence on being separated from him, and when his daughter sadly says that her mom has a hard time seeing him these days, Dong-kook deflates at the revelation.
As Dong-kook guides his daughter through Seoul, Detective Jang calls to ask him to come in to work on their case. Dong-kook argues that he is visiting his daughter and that Detective Bae should handle the case, and the rookie detective lights up to hear his senior complimenting him.
At the hospital, the other rookie, DETECTIVE PARK, announces that Woo-hyun is awake, and they rush off together to question him, though Detective Bae trips over his own chair on the way. Aww. When they arrive, Woo-hyun is unable to speak, but requests a laptop so he can type his testimony.
Several days ago, Woo-hyun drives his wife and son to the mountain where they are planning to spend their anniversary. He stops at a park to get a polaroid of the family to commemorate the occasion.
Back in the present, Detective Bae pours over the testimony with the same polaroid, now peeling and slightly shriveled from the flames, entered as evidence.
Detective Jang questions whether the testimony is believable, but Detective Bae believes it’s likely true, so Detective Jang calls for a search team to head to the mountain.
After snapping the picture, Woo-hyun continues toward the mountain, and tracks down the cafe where he and Yeon-soo had their first date ten years prior.
When they arrive at the secluded cafe, they find it now under a new owner, one with a strange affection for hunting and taxidermy. Yeon-soo notes two other diners in the cafe, both equipped with hunting gear, who creepily stare over at the family from their table.
Meanwhile, their son, KANG SHI-WOO admires a large snake skin in the nearby terrarium. The owner advises that if Shi-woo ever comes across such a big snake, he should run away and avoid eye contact.
When Shi-woo asks why, the owner pulls Shi-woo to stare directly into his eyes and warns, “if you make eye contact with a snake, that means he’s challenging you to a fight.”
Later, the hunters head out, much to Yeon-soo’s relief. Shortly afterwards, though, she realizes Shi-woo is missing. He was playing outside when the hunters left, but now is nowhere to be found.
Woo-hyun joins his wife in searching for Shi-woo, and quickly finds Shi-woo’s toy abandoned in the rain. Woo-hyun brings his wife back to their car, and goes out to search for Shi-woo himself while she waits for them.
Woo-hyun wanders through the forest until he hears a gunshot nearby. He runs into the cafe owner who is out searching for the boy as well. Woo-hyun heads back to get Yeon-soo, and though she’s missing from the car when he arrives, he quickly locates her in the cafe.
They argue about whether they should head out to try to make a phone call for help since there is no service for several miles.
Bizarrely, despite the panicking couple, the shop owner takes this opportunity to interject that he also recognizes Yeon-soo as an anchor, seemingly unaware of the seriousness of the situation.
In the present, Dong-kook brings his daughter to a museum, and one of his daughter’s classmate’s mom confronts him about Min-joo beating up her son. Min-joo argues that the boy hit her first, and she was only defending herself, though her dad doesn’t take her side and she storms off.
At the same time, Detective Bae calls to ask Dong-kook to look at the testimony for him. Dong-kook resists, but when Detective Bae mentions that a kid’s life may be at stake, Dong-kook reconsiders.
Back at the mountain, Woo-hyun turns his attention to the hunters from earlier, realizing that they may be involved. He leaves Yeon-soo in the car and heads back to question the cafe owner about the men. Someone watches through a scope as he abandons his wife in the car.
At the cafe, the owner emerges from a inconspicuous trapdoor and Woo-hyun immediately starts grilling him on the men from earlier. To his surprise, the owner says that Woo-hyun’s family were the only customers there that day, even pointing out the table they were eating at is covered in dust.
Woo-hyun runs off to search the nearby houses, as the shop owner trudges behind and warns him not to go inside as the buildings are haunted. Woo-hyun searches but finds no sings of life. As he and the shop owner leave, a hunter dressed in black shuffles through the apparently empty house, unseen.
In the present, Dong-kook digs through the testimony, ignoring his daughter in the process. Detective Bae calls again to hear what Dong-kook thinks, and he replies that the critical clues in cases like this always show up near the victim, telling the rookie to keep watch at the hospital.
Dong-kook also wonders if the victim has any history of mental illness, but Detective Bae rules that out given that the victim is someone well-known, and Dong-kook realizes that the victim is actually the anchor Kang Woo-hyun.
Woo-hyun, back to his car, sees that Yeon-soo is no longer inside and as he calls for her, a crossbow bolt flies past into his car. Woo-hyun can’t see where the shooter is, but it is clear they are shooting at him intentionally.
Woo-hyun honks the horn and the cafe owner comes over to investigate. Woo-hyun doesn’t appear to be in the car any more, but when the owner checks inside for him, Woo-hyun pops out from the back seat and incapacitates the man.
Woo-hyun drags the owner back to the cafe, bound, and interrogates him about the two hunters, but he insists there were no other guests there that day.
Not satisfied with the owner’s answers, Woo-hyun grabs a shovel and threatens the owner, taking a swing at him when he continues to evade the questions. The owner manages to break free of the bindings, and quickly overpowers Woo-hyun by bashing him with the shovel.
Back in the present, Dong-kook sends Min-joo back home with the mom who scolded her earlier, telling his daughter to reconcile with the boy she beat up on the way back. Min-joo doesn’t say a word to her father, and as he walks away, she is full-on crying.
At the cafe, Woo-hyun is now the one bound, and the owner agrees to call the cops for him. But when Woo-hyun asks where his wife and son went, the owner looks bewildered, claiming that he’s never seen them, and wonders aloud if Woo-hyun is crazy.
The owner reveals that he does have a phone line in the cafe, which shocks Woo-hyun, and the owner calls 911 to report the crazy man who attacked him. He tells the police that Woo-hyun arrived there alone and keeps going on about people who were never there.
Woo-hyun insists on speaking to the police as well, and the owner reluctantly holds the phone up to Woo-hyun’s face. But there’s nobody on the other end of the line; the number that was dialed was invalid.
The owner laughs wildly, taunting Woo-hyun in his face before destroying the phone. He gets right into Woo-hyun’s face and menacingly adds “aren’t you dying to find out what happens next?”
In the present, the police scour the mountains in search of the missing wife and son, though Detective Jang seems more concerned with making sure they document how thoroughly they’re searching so people will know how much effort they put in during the golden time.
Just then, Dong-kook calls and tells Detective Jang to enlist the help of the local mountaineers to help with the search, as the weather conditions will make the task difficult without them, and they’ll have knowledge about the hunters in the area.
In the hospital, Detective Bae gets a call from Dong-kook, who asks for the detective to charge the victim’s phone. The reason, it turns out, is so Dong-kook can pose as a deliveryman, and when security calls Woo-hyun’s phone to confirm he’s expecting a delivery, he is able to slip into Woo-hyun’s house.
As Dong-kook checks out the house, he tells Detective Bae to look into Woo-hyun’s phone records. As the rookie looks through the call logs, Secretary Kim calls. He answers and she demands to know what’s going on.
At the same time, though, Woo-hyun manically demands to know where his family is, wildly swinging a weapon and throwing things around the room. Secretary Kim arrives and rushes over to him, and is able to soothe him.
In the cafe, the owner proposes that he and Woo-hyun play a game. He posits to Woo-hyun that the one thing that taxidermy requires is hunting. “There is no hunting like the hunting of man,” he says, “and those who have hunted them long enough and liked it never care for anything else thereafter.”
He shows Woo-hyun a map and tells him that at each of the two spots marked on the map he will find his wife or son. They are the bait, he taunts, and Woo-hyun will be the prey.
He cuts one of Woo-hyun’s wrists free, but then plunges the knife into Woo-hyun’s leg, then points a crossbow in his face and challenges him, “go outside and save one of them, and we’ll hunt for you.”
Woo-hyun can save one of them, he says, while he and the other two hunters from earlier will try to stop him. If he goes into town and calls the cops, the cafe owner threatens that Yeon-soo and Shi-woo’s heads will become part of his taxidermy collection.
At the hospital, Detective Jang calls to speak with Secretary Kim, who informs the police that Woo-hyun will no longer cooperate with their investigation.
Afterwards, Detective Jang reams out Detective Bae for letting Secretary Kim find out what happened, though the rookie seems to realize something and tunes out his senior’s yelling.
Meanwhile, Dong-kook gets a call from his wife, who chastises him for making Min-joo cry. As he is chatting, a car with two suspicious men drives up beside him, and they pull off ahead of him.
At the hospital, Detective Bae spots Secretary Kim and apologizes for not taking proper care of Woo-hyun. She seems distracted though, and refuses to answer the Detectives questions of her.
In the cafe, the owner remarks that he and the hunters bet on who Woo-hyun would try to save, telling him which person as at each site on the map. He tells Woo-hyun to take the map and the knife and getting moving.
The owner watches from the balcony as Woo-hyun takes off into the mountains, soliloquizing that weak prey should just focus on saving themselves instead of others.
At the hospital, Detective Bae climbs to the top floor balcony, and photographs Secretary Kim meeting with a suspicious looking man in the parking lot.
He calls Dong-kook, who is just arriving at the hospital, and tells his senior that he thinks he saw something suspicious.
Dong-kook tells him to talk to him in-person, and comforts the rookie detective by letting him know that he does believe Detective Bae possesses a sharp sense for police-work, and to keep working hard at it.
Detective Bae doesn’t respond, however, and as Dong-kook walks toward the hospital, a body thuds on the ground nearby. On the balcony, a man in black stands over Detective Bae’s dropped phone.
Below, Dong-kook rushes to the fallen detective’s body, screaming for a doctor as Detective Bae bleeds out in front of his eyes.
Damn, poor Detective Bae. It’s probably unfair to call him the only likable guy in the show thus far, but while Dong-kook and Woo-hyun were competing for Worst Dad of the Year, Detective Bae was quite charming by comparison while running around like a puppy who only Dong-kook cared for. He seemed like someone who really just wanted the respect of his colleagues, and Dong-kook was the only one who treated him like a proper detective. So in a sense it feels almost like we’re being robbed of a potentially interesting character arc by killing him off here, but I suppose this is something which will instead be used to drive Dong-kook forward, which he probably needs at this point.
Speaking of Dong-kook, how can he be so oblivious to his daughter’s feelings? Sure, I get the whole “I’m a detective and a child’s life is at stake if I don’t help” but dropping everything to rush off like a superhero isn’t necessarily a great way to handle your interpersonal relationships. I think that Detective Bae’s death is going to push him to reevaluate how he handles the people in his life who he cares about (as Detective Bae is someone who I think it’s fair to say Dong-kook cared about given how he’d always stick up for the apparent klutz).
Though I imagine this won’t be an immediate process for him, and rather something that will come later when he reflects back on what happened and how his actions affected those close to him, already driving away his family. Dong-kook seems like a well-meaning guy, sure, and is probably very good at his job, but he really needs to take a look in the mirror for a second and figure out how much he’s losing by being the hero.
Woo-hyun, in the meantime is the center of the intrigue, and the mystery of what exactly happened in the mountains remains fascinating. I must confess, I genuinely thought it was possible that so-called “mountain fever” could have been an actual explanation for what really happened on the mountain. With the cafe owner’s completely baffling eccentricity, and yet his seeming sincerity that Woo-hyun’s family were the only people he’d seen in days, I was willing to believe him. Bringing up the possibility of a paranormal explanation was a nice touch too. There was enough strangeness to the events that it was fair to question the veracity of Woo-hyun’s account.
So, I was disappointed with the ending of this episode, not necessarily because of the loss of Detective Bae, but because his murder essentially eliminates the possibility that Woo-hyun is actually crazy. Not that such a possibility was ever really all that likely, but until the end, the only evidence we could go on was Woo-hyun’s testimony, which technically still remains unverified by the police not finding any evidence in the mountains.
I think if we never saw the man-in-black on the balcony, there’s even a plausible case to be made that Detective Bae could have jumped himself, depressed by the lack of respect from his fellow detectives, and having just received a stream of insults from his boss. That’s certainly not the case now though, and it’s very clear that something nefarious is going on, but what exactly that is remains to be seen. There’s still so much to unravel that I’m sure the strangeness is only just beginning.