Item: Episodes 9-10
Tracking down the potential source of an item causes our honorable prosecutor to stumble into something even more nefarious, one that may cause even more lives to be lost. Everyone is super protective of the deep, dark secrets from their past, especially secrets that connect them directly to the items — or, at least, to a maniacal sociopath who seeks ultimate control.
EPISODES 9-10 RECAP
After smashing his fist into the mirror, Yoo-na makes sure Gon’s bloody knuckles get patched up (because they’re still at the hospital, after all). She tries to ask him what’s wrong, but, with a glance at the comatose Da-in, Gon asks to speak outside.
It’s maybe a good thing that they head outside, because Se-hwang has Da-in’s VIP hospital room bugged with hidden cameras, which he watches from the comfort of his lair. Yoo-na is fully aware of the cameras, because she gives one a dirty look before following Gon outside.
The two prosecutors discuss the murdered judge’s case, and Yoo-na wonders why the mysterious caller contacted Gon to warn him that the judge was going to die. Gon assumes the mysterious caller must just be cocky and arrogant about how much control they have over the situation.
Oh, Se-hwang is definitely arrogant and in control of everything he surveys, since his security time panics and tries to hide the cigarettes they were surreptitiously smoking outside the lair. One of the guards tries to defend their decision to break Se-hwang’s “no smoking” rule by explaining that the other guard just found out his mother has cancer.
Se-hwang seems like he’ll let the smoking slide, but really it’s just an excuse to point out that seeing others suffer brings him joy.
As Gon continues his watch over Da-in, So-young drops by to show him the information they discovered from the gaming arcade CCTV footage. She was able to deduce that Dae-soo repeatedly mentioned the words “bracelet” and “item,” along with the name, “Hak-jae.”
So-young believes that if they can figure out where the bracelet is, that will help them get to the truth of the matter. Gon sidesteps the issue, telling her that finding the bracelet will only make things worse — look what happened to Dae-soo.
But So-young insists that they should work together to get to the bottom of things, because then they’ll be able to help Da-in even faster.
Reluctantly, Gon drops the bracelet on the table, much to So-young’s surprise. He explains the superhuman properties the bracelet provides the wearer.
Then they go to an empty construction site to test it. Gon concentrates until the bracelet begins to glow, and then he’s able to pick up a heavy object with just one hand.
So-young’s stunned by seeing the bracelet’s power first-hand, but she finds it odd that the person who would kill for such an item is the same person who is killing the men in power.
Per her profiling expertise, the latter killer is someone who is out for revenge, not superhuman toys like the former killer. Gon points out that they can’t ignore the fact that someone is killing people with the items, though.
Hak-jae, the name from the CCTV footage, belongs to a thief who’s currently in jail. He’s also in solitary confinement because he enjoys riling up the other prisoners — although it seems like the solitary confinement is more so the irritated prisoners don’t end up killing him because of his annoying pranks.
Yoo-na arrives at Se-hwang’s lair (and he’s once again using his rowing machine on the fake lake, which still delights me). Yoo-na stands stone-faced as Se-hwang wonders why people are so willing to take on other people’s pain. Um, it’s called “empathy,” but why would I expect a sociopath like him to understand such a concept.
Then he alludes to her father who is apparently sick, or possibly suffering the ill effects of one of Se-hwang’s items. That’s likely the reason why Se-hwang holds such power over her, where she’s forced to do his bidding, despite the fact that she clearly despises him. Se-hwang’s latest order is for her to make Gon suffer even more.
Gon leaves the hospital to sneak into Dae-soo’s home. He discovers a letter hidden behind a photograph of Dae-soo’s army buddies. It’s from Hak-jae, who originally sent Dae-soo the bracelet, asking that Dae-soo take care of it while he was in prison. After Gon leaves, Yo-han peers out from where he was hiding.
But Gon catches Yo-han trying to sneak away. Gon finds it suspicious that Yo-han is lurking around Dae-soo’s home, but Yo-han finds it even more suspicious that Gon keeps ending up at crime scenes with no explanation. Gon retorts that a good detective would look into the reason why a prosecutor was on the rooftop and then the tunnel — and not just blindly assume guilt.
Chief Shin pulls out a box from the bottom of his wardrobe. It’s his old police uniform and notebook, with notes about the Dream World fire. He flips through the notebook, stopping when he gets to the photograph of the items he took in the police station.
A flashback shows him chasing down a criminal in the woods. Once he caught up to the criminal, he angrily accused the man for being a serial-killer and rapist who got off scot-free thanks to some quirk in the law. The criminal didn’t even feel any remorse.
Furious, Chief Shin pulled out the Dream World photo book, and after calling the man’s name, the criminal’s soul was sucked into the book. The law won’t getcha, but a super-powered photo book will!
So-young’s team leader is definitely on the shady side (no surprise, there), since he calls Yoo-na, letting her know the forensics report is out on the judge’s autopsy. Yoo-na orders him to send it to her and to not let anyone else see it.
Yoo-na takes this information to the Chief Prosecutor, revealing the blood under the judge’s fingernails was Gon’s blood. Which makes sense, since the judge had desperately grasped at Gon when Gon first tried to see if he could help the dying man.
She requests that they investigate the matter quietly and internally to protect the prosecution office in order to keep the police away. Her boss agrees to it, provided she keeps her investigation discrete.
Gon arrives at the prison to meet with Hak-jae. The petty thief and experienced fraudster is in no rush to talk to the prosecutor, and is more amused than anything else that Gon is there to see him.
Cutting through Hak-jae’s chattiness, Gon gets straight to the point: he knows that Hak-jae is friends with Dae-soo. Hak-jae denies it, but when Gon explains that Dae-soo is in a vegetative state and shows Hak-jae the bracelet, Hak-jae’s affable manner swiftly becomes serious.
He quietly tells Gon that he’s heard a rumor that, if someone gets all the super-powered items, then they can go to the “Room of Wishes” which will grant that person any wish they like. Ha! So that’s why Se-hwang’s so intent on collecting all the items!
Hak-jae suggests that Gon check-out a waste disposal facility, which is apparently where he first found the bracelet. Gon calls Chief Shin to go with him to the waste disposal site, but Chief Shin, when he realizes where it is, suddenly has a panic attack. Oooh, I wonder if this is where all the items were dumped once they were no longer kept as evidence.
Se-hwang carefully tends to a bouquet of white flowers, but he accidentally pricks his finger, causing red blood to drip on the white petals. Symbolism! He leaves the bouquet with his father, who’s still comatose.
Seeing his father’s urine bag dangling next to the hospital bed start to fill up reminds Se-hwang of when he was a child, and was forced to stand for so long that he peed his own pants. Then his father would drunkenly beat him with a belt.
Se-hwang wonders if his vegetative father still sees him as a “monster,” like he used to call Se-hwang as a child. But Se-hwang laughs at the fact that dear ol’ Dad can’t respond — that’s because Dad’s been sucked up into the photo book. Yep, there’s the tell-tale infinite-heart tattoo on Dad’s wrist.
Chief Shin arrives at the waste facility, remembering when he had gone there to throw away the photo book. Aha, so all the items weren’t necessarily thrown away there, but it does perhaps explain how Se-hwang now has the book.
Gon arrives just then, and Chief Shin tries to pretend nothing is wrong as they poke around the site. It looks abandoned, but suddenly an old man appears, demanding to know why they’re there. He used to be the owner, but closed down the facility years ago.
He rattles off a long list of the types of places where he would pick up trash (which notably included crime scenes). Gon shows him photos of Dae-soo and Hak-jae, but the old man can barely recognize his own children, much less these random guys. It seems like it’s a dead-end, but Gon spots some truck tracks in the dirt — that’s not a vehicle the old man would be driving.
Gon and Chief Shin hunker down for a stake-out, but after waiting hours with no truck in sight, Chief Shin suggests that Gon take a break and go check on Da-in. The lure of being with his niece is too strong, and Gon agrees to let Chief Shin keep watch on his own.
Returning to the police station, So-young runs into Yo-han. He’s cute and chatty, but his main goal is figuring out what really happened the night the judge died. He’s convinced Gon is somehow involved with the cases, especially since Gon is known to have beef with Se-hwang.
So-young thinks Yo-han is being paranoid and suggests that Gon is getting closer to figuring out what’s really going on. She adds that there might be some special power involved. Yo-han jumps on that, demanding she explain what that means. But So-young stubbornly keeps it vague by saying there are things that are hard to explain rationally.
Yo-han at least wants to know why she’s so intent on working with Gon. So-young explains that the two murder victims, plus Dae-soo and Da-in, all have families that are worried about them. She wants to find out the truth to give the families some peace. Hmm, it sounds like that reassurance and closure is something she would have liked to have had for her own mother’s death.
But it looks like she won’t have much time to focus on that, since her shady team leader immediately sends her — and Yo-han — out on a task. He doesn’t tell her what it’s about, but when So-young and Yo-han arrive at an empty apartment, Yoo-na suddenly appears and tells them that this is their new office.
She’s starting a secret investigation into Gon’s connection to the judge’s death. He’s not an official suspect — yet. Yoo-na needs So-young’s profiling skills to help her analyze the evidence and for Yo-han to help them gather more information.
So-young’s not ready to believe Gon — who’s so distraught about Da-in — could be a suspect. Yoo-na suggests that Gon has a motive, since when the judge was the chief prosecutor, he was the one who transferred Gon to the seaside town. So-young insists that the real culprit is still out there, unknown, and storms out of the apartment, refusing to work with Yoo-na.
She returns home, surprised that her father isn’t there at such a late hour, but spots the box of his old police items on the floor. She flips open the notebook, which only reminds her of when she was a child, watching the janitor responsible for the fire being escorted into the police station, swarmed by a mob of angry and grieving family members of those who died in the fire. She studies the photo that shows all the items.
It’s a good thing her father is out so late, though, because his diligence in his stakeout means he sees a large truck pull into the waste facility. He cautiously creeps along the fence, trying to see the driver, but someone knocks him out from behind.
Gon gets a message from Chief Shin, telling him he knows who the culprit is and to go to a certain address. But it’s a trap!
Chief Shin is actually tied up on a trash conveyer belt, and a dozen men slowly form a circle around Gon. He’s not afraid to fight them off, as we well know. Sure, there’s only one of him and they all have bats, but he’s Gon! He doesn’t need a bracelet to give him the scrappy fighting strength that has served him well thus far!
Gon’s desperate to reach Chief Shin before the conveyer belt dumps him into the the shredder-compactor. But finally a couple of the fighting men manage to tackle Gon and pin him down.
Mr. Yoo suddenly makes his appearance, wearing the camera glasses so we know that Se-hwang is happily watching this live-action movie.
In order to prevent Chief Shin from becoming mulch, Gon shows Mr. Yoo the bracelet. Se-hwang, from his remote location, orders Mr. Yoo to tell Gon to wear it. Gon, suddenly realizing that Mr. Yoo is receiving orders, yells at the mysterious unknown boss, and dares that “bastard” to show himself.
Amused, Se-hwang tells Gon (via Mr. Yoo) that they’ll meet in a more “dramatic” situation. Why, because this spookily-lit trash-compactor abandoned-warehouse setting doesn’t have a lake, therefore so it’s not dramatic enough for you?
Gon agrees to put on the bracelet, but uses the super-strength to fight off the dozen men again, much to Se-hwang’s amusement. Gon’s ultimate goal is to save Chief Shin from being crushed to bits, but even with the bracelet, Gon can only do so much, and collapses on the floor after he catapults himself over a car.
Annoyed that his “film” isn’t going the way he’d like, Se-hwang’s disappointed that Gon isn’t strong enough. Se-hwang demands that Gon get up — if Gon can’t do that much, then Se-hwang chose the wrong person.
Gon, watching Chief Shin being slowly carried down the conveyer belt, summons all the energy he has and staggers to his feet. The bracelet glows bright as Gon slams his fist down on a car, the shock of which sends the security guys to the ground. He chucks it at the men.
Se-hwang cheers in delight, showing no remorse that he just lost a bunch of his security team. The energy used to throw the car exhausts Gon, and he stumbles back to the ground, unmoving. The bracelet stops glowing.
Mr. Yoo asks if he should retrieve the bracelet, but as he’s reaching for it, Se-hwang suddenly orders him to stop. Now is not the time. After all, if Se-hwang wants to keep control of the “game,” then he needs to keep control of Gon, too.
Via Mr. Yoo, Se-hwang tells Gon that Dae-soo will die in an hour. If Gon doesn’t retrieve Hak-jae’s item within a week, then Da-in will be the next to die. After the men have left, Gon crawls to his feet and frees Chief Shin.
Gon and Chief Shin head to the hospital, but they also call So-young to let her know what’s going on. She rushes to the hospital and calls for back-up, so policemen are already standing guard in front of Dae-soo’s room, not even letting in his worried grandmother.
Dae-soo’s still alive — but there’s only one minute left. Gon, So-young, and Yo-han nervously watch as the seconds tick down. As soon as the hour is up, Dae-soo suddenly convulses, and then he flatlines. The doctors rush into the room to try and resuscitate him, but it’s too late.
Realizing the threat is real, Gon runs to Da-in’s room. But she seems okay (well, as okay as she can be in her vegetative state).
Gon gets a call from a restricted number. It’s Se-hwang, of course. Gon doesn’t know who it is because of the voice manipulator, but Se-hwang gloats that he has the power to kill people through a seemingly normal object.
Apparently ripping apart the photograph of a person captured in the Dream World book means they die, and Se-hwang brushes aside the torn-in-two photo of Dae-soo to reveal Da-in’s photo (currently intact, whew). Se-hwang cackles gleefully as he reminds Gon that there is one week left (he even flips over a giant hourglass to begin the countdown!).
With quiet rage, Gon calls the mysterious caller a crazy bastard and threatens to catch him, no matter what.
I think the episodes are getting slightly better… but just slightly. The editing has mostly improved, but I don’t understand how a show with such a compelling concept can be so incredibly boring. Bar the last ten minutes or so, the majority of this episode was people running around, finding out information, and then explaining the information they found (and yet still, somehow, the show remains mildly confusing — what a bizarre paradox).
I wish there was at least one skeptic in the group. I was hoping it would be So-young, since she’s so far the one person (I think) who hasn’t actually personally dealt with any of the items. I didn’t know until this episode that I was secretly desiring a kind of “Scully and Mulder” dynamic, where So-young would be bringing her scientific and intuitive profiling expertise to these unexplainable supernatural events, and Gon would be the one rushing headlong into it all, just wanting to do whatever it took to save his niece, not caring if the powerful items made any sense.
But everyone pretty much just immediately accepts that there are objects that give people various unnatural powers, and I’m kinda like… really? No one questions this at all? Maybe Yoo-na will, although considering that she’s under Se-hwang’s thumb, she probably knows about them, anyway. This is the episode where I decided I really like Yoo-na (it helps she got more than ten seconds of screen-time), even though I have no idea where her loyalty will ultimately lie. She definitely hates Se-hwang (haaaaaaates him), but can she escape the control he has over her life? I’d love to see her join the side of the not-psycho-evil and help take him down. Nothing would be more satisfying than to see her punch Se-hwang and have him take a tumble into his indoor lake that he loves so much. But it probably wouldn’t be — *jazz hands* — dramatic enough, considering that lake is only a few inches deep. Although, maybe the lack of drama would be just as cruel to Se-hwang, because the man seriously loves his drama. (He sits in a chair that is literally a drama mask! C’mon, now!)
Gathering all the items is really just a game to him, and Se-hwang essentially chose Gon as his avatar (er, or his fighter, since I guess Mr. Yoo is technically the avatar). Se-hwang doesn’t see people as people — they’re merely tools to use in order to get what he wants, like NPCs in a video game. Who cares if someone is killed in the pursuit of his goals, because they aren’t real to him. If Gon hadn’t managed to find his inner strength to get up during that fight, I could totally imagine Se-hwang “quitting” the game and restarting with a new “choose your fighter” option. But would he find someone as perfect as Gon?
Part of the fun will be watching Gon struggle with his inner idealism, where he would never, ever knowingly be a part of Se-hwang’s corrupt machinations — but also where he would do anything to save his niece. It’s cruel and evil and so, so delicious, because watching a hero struggle with his inner morals in order to save a life is classic dramaland crack. I just wish the plot would hurry up and we could start collecting more items, already — not just because I need a little more excitement than people having endless expository conversations or Gon fighting the same dozen men over and over, but also so we can find out if this “Room of Wishes” thing is actually real — and discover how a fire at an amusement park is somehow at the heart of it all.