Possessed: Episode 3
I’m not sure how, but this show manages to get creepier every episode. Something about a supernatural serial killer returning from the dead and roaming around in a pleasant-looking shell in order to deliver his message of happiness through pain just gives me the heebie-jeebies. Who knew?
Shaman Geum-joo’s tiger spirit lunges at Yang-woo and starts wresting his spirit from his body. Unfortunately, Yang-woo manages to spill a few beans from his pocket which burn the tiger’s paw. The tiger spirit retreats enough for Yang-woo to stand and when it moves to strike again, he throws an entire handful of the beans.
To the women’s horror, the tiger spirit burns up and Yang-woo laughs that the rumors of Geum-joo’s talents are true. This time Yang-woo holds a knife to the younger shaman’s throat and Geum-joo is forced to summon Hwang Dae-doo for real. As she chants over his ashes, a dark smoke begins to form.
The smoke darts into Geum-joo’s body and she collapses, convulsing violently. When she rises, Geum-joo’s wicked laugh is not her own and Yang-woo excitedly greets Hwang Dae-doo. He wishes to resume Dae’s reign of terror together and the spirit wonders why Yang-woo summoned him in the body of a frail old woman.
Yang-woo explains that a shaman’s powers will come in handy, just as Geum-joo resurfaces. She screeches for Dae-doo to release her, but he quickly resumes control. Testing her abilities, he sees flashes of Yang-woo’s obsession with him and asks if Yang-woo really intends to be his vessel.
Laughing, Yang-woo assures Hwang Dae-doo he has a lot to offer. Having reached an agreement, Yang-woo plunges his knife into Geum-joo’s body. Dae-doo wheezes that pain and happiness are the same thing and the shaman’s body collapses.
Yang-woo watches with glee as her spirit ascends, only to be chased by Dae-doo’s and strangled. He absorbs the shaman’s spirit and then crashes into Yang-woo’s body. Elsewhere, Seo-jung jolts awake in terror. With his new body, Dae-doo leaves the shrine and the corpses of the two shamans.
Pil-sung winces at the horror movie on TV and then glances nervously around at all the new spirits that have gathered in his apartment–one of whom is lying on his lap. Ha!
Seo-jung groggily answers his phone call and Pil-sung gripes that the spirits have multiplied. “Why do you report to me all the useless things that happen to you?” she cries. Seo-jung explains that by providing food for the grandfather ghost, word spread that Pil-sung offers free food.
Pil-sung is shocked, but Seo-jung just screams that if he dare call her in the middle of the night again, she’ll send every spirit she knows to his place. She hangs up and Pil-sung weakly tells the ghosts to just keep eating.
At the station, Detective Choi reports to Chief Yoo that the employee records at Haneul Hospital revealed no compelling suspects. Chief Yoo wonders if they should look elsewhere and Detective Choi agrees that it seems pointless to pursue their current course of investigation.
Pil-sung snaps that serial killers often don’t have criminal records or exhibit suspicious behavior, cursing Detective Choi for giving up so early. Chief Yoo sends Detective Choi to investigate the pharmaceutical company that supplies Haneul Hospital with anesthesia.
Annoyed, Pil-sung announces he’s going to Haneul Hospital to find a tiger. Detective Choi grumbles that he’s a fool and Chief Yoo asks where’d he’d search, then. Detective Choi guesses “Siberia?” and then scoots away before Chief Yoo can hit him.
On his way out, Pil-sung runs into Rookie Joon-hyung. He asks about the dashboard camera in the young detective’s hand and Joon-hyung reports he’d caught a traffic violation on it. As Joon-hyung runs off, Pil-sung groans that he removed the entire device instead of just the memory card.
“Why is no one on our team normal except me?” Pil-sung wonders… only to get smacked in the back of the head by Chief Yoo. “You’re the most abnormal one here!” Hee.
Joon-hyung goes to report the traffic violation and is instantly head-over-heels for the pretty young female officer behind the counter. She points him in the right direction, but he lingers to introduce himself. Joon-hyung finally walks away, leaving her slightly confused.
Yang-woo/Hwang Dae-doo arrives at the hospital and breezes past an unsuspecting Pil-sung. Dae-doo is marveling at Yang-woo’s medical posters when a nurse comes into his office. She shyly notes that he’s wearing the same clothes as yesterday and he grins that he was at a funeral last night.
Pil-sung surveys the hospital lobby and pinpoints the security cams. He hovers near the patient counter, staring at the stack of medical forms until an employee reminds him to wait his turn. Pil-sung nods and then awkwardly fakes a call and walks away.
In the surgery room, Hwang Dae-doo stares gleefully at the scalpel in his hand. The attending nurse wonders why Yang-woo isn’t starting the surgery so he shakes it off and gets to work.
As he drives, Pil-sung asks someone to get the CCTV footage from the hospital, pointing out that obtaining a warrant risks the hospital deleting it in the meantime. He stops for a light and as he notices a mother playing with her son at the bus stop, Pil-sung flashes back to a a country road.
Young Pil-sung plays with stones as his mother sits at the nearby bus stop, two large suitcases beside her. When asked where they’re going, Mom says somewhere he’ll like. Pil-sung excitedly guesses an amusement park, but Mom just holds his hand.
Looking up, she asks if he can hear the wind making the willow tree cry. Closing their eyes to listen, Mom says that if she hears it again next year, she and Pil-sung will live happily. He doesn’t understand her meaning, and Mom just smiles sadly and hugs him close.
Leaving the hospital for the evening,Yang-woo/Dae-doo is stopped by a nurse giving out her wedding invitation. He agrees to come, and suggests they get celebratory drinks tonight. The nurse declines since she’s meeting her fiance and with an wicked glint in his eye, Dae-doo asks what her husband-to-be does for a living.
That evening, the nurse happily meets her fiance outside his workplace as Dae-doo watches from his car nearby. The nurse waits while the fiance runs in to change out of his work uniform, but it starts to rain and she’s forced to go inside as well. Smirking at the droplets hitting his windshield, Dae-doo muses that it’s too early (for the sky) to start crying.
Seo-jung wanders around another warehouse (picking up merchandise for her shop) and pauses when a jacket catches her eye. When she’s done, she grimaces at the rain pouring down. Pulling out her phone, she starts texting Pil-sung to meet for food, but deletes it without sending.
Meanwhile, Pil-sung looks at the paltry contents of his fridge and sighs. He whips out his phone and composes a similar text to Seo-jung, but also deletes it without sending. Instead, he runs down to his favorite convenience store… where Seo-jung is already getting ramyun. Hee.
They sit together, awkwardly avoiding eye-contact. Pil-sung finally asks if Seo-joon comes here often. She points out that she lives nearby but Pil-sung has never seen her, despite frequenting the store “for work.” He starts to ask if Seo-jung was there to see him…. but she immediately denies it and they resume staring out at the rain.
Seo-jung asks about his ghost problem and Pil-sung admits he’d relented to provide food so long as the ghosts don’t surprise him. She sighs that it’s pointless pitying the dead. Pil-sung admits he feared them at first, but realized they were also once humans who feared ghosts.
“It’s just an adjustment,” Pil-sung says. Seo-jung watches him as he speaks and finally asks if he misses his mother. Pil-sung groans and Seo-jung says she can’t help reading him. He calls it annoying and Seo-jung agrees.
Afterwards, Pil-sung walks Seo-jung home in silence, as each steals nervous glances at the other. Reaching her doorstep, Seo-jung stops Pil-sung from leaving. She shoves the jacket she’d bought into his chest–lying that it was meant for the store but likely won’t sell and it’d be wasteful to throw it out.
Pil-sung asks if she’s interested in him and perks up when Seo-jung admits she is… but only as a “400 year friend.” She wonders if he caught the serial killer, but realizes she would’ve seen it on the news. She urges him to hurry since she doesn’t feel safe at night and disappears inside.
Hwang Dae-doo sits in Yang-woo’s study and flips through a scrapbook of Dae-doo’s life and death. He pulls a bundle from the same drawer and unfurls it to reveal his murder tools . He chuckles that Yang-woo was serious as he examines one of his knives.
Yang-woo’s wife prepares a snack plate and asks why he suddenly wanted to drink with her when he normally just locks himself in his study all night. Dae-doo muses that Yang-woo is crazy when he has such a beautiful wife. Lying in bed afterwards, Dae-doo laughs to himself until his phone buzzes with a call from the hospital director.
Dae-doo drives to a house where he finds out the hospital president’s son, OH SOO-HYUK (Yeon Jung-hoon) took drugs and has harmed himself. In order to avoid a scandal, the director called Yang-woo to patch the son up quietly and promises to put in a good word with the president.
Inside the room, the son is freaking out and Dae-doo tells everyone to leave. When Dae-doo reaches for the young man’s injured arm, he lashes out, scratching Dae-doo’s face. Dae-doo demands whether the son has actually killed a man and when the son laughs about killing ants, Dae-doo snatches his throat.
The son pleads for his life until Hwang Dae-doo knocks him out with a punch. Scalpel in hand, Dae-doo moves to stab the young man, but pauses as he looks down and thinks he’s finally found someone interesting.
The next morning, rookie Joon-hyung brings breakfast to the female officer with whom he’s become enamored. He runs off before she can so much as thank him, but she smiles to herself. As he eats his own breakfast at his desk, Detective Choi chides him for not bringing any for the rest of the team.
When Pil-sung arrives, Detective Choi immediately zones in on his swanky new jacket. He follows Pil-sung to the hospital to pester him about whether he has a girlfriend. Pil-sung is unsure and Detective Choi says only a con-woman would be interested in him.
He warns Pil-sung to run away if she ever mentions cosmetics or going somewhere nice. Just then a text arrives from Seo-jung asking to meet. Pil-sung grumbles that he really can’t figure her out.
When Pil-sung arrives at the convenience store, Seo-jung is thrilled to see he’s wearing the jacket. She sets out dinner for him and urges him to eat first. Detective Choi’s warning rings in Pil-sung’s ears as Seo-jung asks about his skin care, and then says she wants to take him somewhere “nice.”
Regardless, Pil-sung follow Seo-jung to a studio. A woman appears and eyes Pil-sung, asking Seo-jung about their relationship. Seo-jung stutters that they’re just acquaintances and then tells Pil-sung that she brought him here because she felt he needed a way to loosen up after stressing himself out at work.
The woman is a dance instructor and she pitches her different packages to Pil-sung as Seo-jung nods along. He scoffs and declares no interest in the lessons but the woman insists and enlists Seo-jung to help him get started.
As they dance, Pil-sung gradually grows more comfortable, and even smiles when the instructor shouts that his and Seo-jung’s souls are perfect together. But then the woman shouts that if Seo-jung brings more customers, she’ll wave Seo-jung’s rent and even give her free lessons.
Pil-sung’s mood crashes and he releases Seo-jung before storming out of the studio. Seo-jung chases after him and Pil-sung demands if she’s trying to cheat a policeman. Seo-jung explains that the instructor is also her landlord. She’d built the studio, but with no customers she’d threatened to double Seo-jung’s rent to avoid debt.
Grabbing his arm, Seo-jung begs him to stay and PIl-sung asks if people he brings in will count for her. Cut to the rest of his team wandering around the studio as the instructor cries that they lack soul. Pil-sung assures her they have money, so she launches into her spiel. Detective Choi requests a demonstration, but her dance is unsettling and the men deem her too crazy to stick around.
Over dinner, Detective Choi chides Pil-sung for getting conned, assuming the mysterious girlfriend is the dance instructor. Pil-sung denies it and Chief Yoo snaps that there’s still a serial killer on the loose. He wonders why Pil-sung requested the CCTV footage from the hospital, and Pil-sung says they’ll find out when he gets it.
Meanwhile, Hwang Dae-doo looks at his reflection in the mirror of his study and it shifts to show Shaman Geum-joo. He smirks that her abilities come in handy and Geum-joo answers that she’s considering how to punish him. Dae-doo only laughs.
He tells Geum-joo he plans to gather the souls of his victims and become a god. She warns him that doing so will open the gates to Hell and bring about the end of the world. Dae-doo doesn’t care, and in fact looks forward to it.
That night when the nurse’s fiance leaves work, he hears a man moaning in an alleyway. He rushes to help the man to his feet, but falls backwards when the man stabs him in the neck. It’s Hwang Dae-doo and smiles as the fiance stumbles away, blood splattering on the concrete.
Dae-doo easily catches the young man and stabs him repeatedly. Then he reaches down and clutching the fiance’s neck, absorbs his soul. Seo-jung sees flashes of the attack in her dreams and awakens in horror.
The fiance’s body is recovered the next morning and Chief Yoo notes that the attack style indicates this case is unrelated to the serial killer. Pil-sung starts to ask about the hospital, but Joon-hyung declares the victim hasn’t visited Haneul Hospital in the past several months.
Chief Yoo assigns the case to Detective Choi, but Pil-sung looks unconvinced. As they walk away, the nurse bursts through the crowd to see her fiance’s body and Pil-sung recalls her as the woman who’d told him to wait his turn at the hospital.
Pil-sung rushes to look at the CCTV data before it gets erased. Footage of the nurse speaking with Yang-woo/Hwang Dae-doo catches his attention and Pil-sung sends Joon-hyung to confirm his identity.
More victims appear with Yang-woo close behind and when Joon-hyung returns with his ID, they rush to show Chief Yoo. Unfortunately, though suspicious, the tapes aren’t solid evidence. Chief Yoo sends Joon-hyung to verify Yang-woo’s whereabouts at the times of the murders.
They can’t arrest him, but Chief Yoo tasks Detective Choi and Pil-sung with keeping tabs on Yang-woo in the meantime. He warns them to be cautious not to let Yang-woo catch on, because if he is the killer, who knows how he’ll react.
After tailing him all day, Detective Choi and Pil-sung witness nothing suspicious. As they’re leaving, however, something about Yang-woo’s car pricks Pil-sung’s memory. Arriving home, he checks the footage on his dashcam and see’s Yang-woo’s car.
He immediately calls Seo-jung, recalling the night they’d first met and he’d driven her home. At a stoplight, she’d been alarmed after looking out at the car next to them and Pil-sung begs her to tell him exactly what she’d sensed.
“I felt a strong murderous aura,” Seo-jung replies, explaining that the man had either recently killed or was about to.
The next morning, Detective Choi reports that Yang-woo wasn’t at the hospital during the murders. Still, it’s not enough to say he was at the murder scenes. Pil-sung is adamant Yang-woo is their guy, but when he tries to explain his certainty, he can’t.
Chief Yoo snaps that they can’t arrest based solely on suspicion and Joon-hyung pipes up that he did find something strange while running background checks–Yang-woo has killed previously. There’s no record, though, because he was 13 and changed his name afterwards.
Pil-sung meets with the father of the victim and learns that in junior high, the son had bumped into Yang-woo in the hall. Enraged, Yang-woo had beaten him to death with a chair. The father trembles as he says the worst part was rather than remorse, Yang-woo had boasted it was a good experience.
The incident was easily forgotten with the emergence of serial killer, Hwang Dae-doo. Yang-woo’s only punishment was to see a psychiatrist and all he’d said was that he wanted to be like Hwang Dae-doo.
That’s all Pil-sung needs to hear. He calls Chief Yoo to inform him that he can’t wait for evidence to arrest Yang-woo. Chief Yoo orders Joon-hyung to keep calling Pil-sung while they all rush to stop him. Meanwhile, Yang-woo/Hwang Dae-doo pays his respects at the nurse’s fiance’s funeral.
That’s where Pil-sung finds him, smiling creepily at the grieving fiance. Pil-sung confronts Yang-woo/Dae-doo, accusing him of murdering a man and then attending the funeral like a psycho. Dae-doo laughs that he has no idea what Pil-sung is talking about.
Enraged, Pil-sung flips the table but Hwang Dae-doo only laughs harder. He suddenly sobers and locks eyes with Pil-sung, fury bubbling between the two men.
In a smoky otherworld, Yang-woo admires a tree with the screaming faces of Hwang Dae-doo’s victims knotted into its bark. Dae-doo wonders aloud if he could consume Yang-woo’s soul, as he’d done with the shaman’s. Yang-woo assumes he’s joking, but grows frantic when Dae-doo clarifies that he has no intention of cooperating.
“You’re free thanks to me!” Yang-woo cries. “Thanks,” Dae-doo replies, before clutching Yang-woo’s throat in his hand. As Dae-doo absorbs his soul, Yang-woo’s final scream is etched into the tree with the other victims.
Unlike Yang-woo, I’d be lying if I said I was surprised Dae-doo turned on him–that’s just the risk you run when you idolize a psychotic serial killer–however, I am a tad surprised it happened so early. Not that I’m complaining! On the contrary, Possessed is keeping up a nice pace while masterfully balancing the gruesome with the hilarious. Those are two concepts that are difficult to blend together, but sooooo my cup of tea when done properly.
It was heckin’ disturbing to learn that all this time Yang-woo had been just the world’s weirdest fanboy and not possessed, only to go and offer himself up to be possessed. The stakes are getting higher as Dae-doo cuts loose and decides not only to continue his twisted quest of “happiness” and pain, but to become a god while he’s at it. I mean, go big or go home, but the apocalypse is a bit of a leap from our regularly scheduled murder spree. Yang-woo didn’t just unleash a monster, he essentially gave him steroids. Powering up a demonic spirit with shaman powers is bad, but cluing him in to consuming souls was downright stupid. Yang-woo got his karma, but his actions have unleashed an evil on the rest of the world as well.
Which is why I’m truly worried for Pil-sung. Chasing a crafty murderer is complicated enough, but Dae-doo poses an entirely new challenge. It’s not a matter of simply putting him behind bars (and even that wouldn’t be easy), but of vanquishing a hulk-ed up demonic spirit hellbent on death and destruction for all. And Pil-sung went and painted a huge target on his back. I commend his righteous streak, but it does tend to make him a little foolhardy.
Thankfully, he’s got some backup. True, the rest of the detective unit has been dubious about Pil-sung’s theories in this case, but they also followed his lead anyway. It’s so refreshing to see not only a smart detective like Pil-sung–who has an innate knack for noticing the little things–but also a team that supports him and is willing to follow up on his hunches, even if they don’t see the same patterns. It was even cute how they all came down to the dance studio, even if they couldn’t follow through in the end.
That woman was nutty fruitcake, but the one thing she did right was manage to get Pil-sung and Seo-jung in the same bubble. Did this whole segment feel like a bit of a departure in order to get Seo-jung and Pil-sung touching each other? Maybe, but it was so darned cute, I’ll give it a pass. He was so bummed when he found out Seo-jung was pulling a scam, but bounced back pretty quick.
And that’s for the best since his strongest ally, of course, is Seo-jung. She’s the one with all the supernatural knowledge, and yet there are still things she doesn’t know. Last episode, she’d coolly declared that ghosts can’t possess humans… only to have to beat one out of Pil-sung. If that was a surprise, Hwang Dae-doo is going to present quite the pickle.