Possessed: Episode 8
I hope everyone has their hankies ready, because let me tell you, you’re going to need them. Nobody ever said saving the world would be easy, but I didn’t expect it to break my heart. Faced with an otherworldly foe, our heroes come up with an otherworldly plan — a terrifying plan that challenges their courage and commitment to see this through.
After kissing Pil-sung goodbye, Seo-jung endures the ceremony, in which she becomes God’s servant so that she can fight Dae-doo’s spirit — but the whole time, tears threaten to spill from her eyesc. Pil-sung drives away, then he pulls over to sob like his life is over.
After the ceremony, Seo-jung is visited by Mother Shaman, who’s seen her pain and apologizes that she has to stifle her own pain. Mother Shaman’s tears start Seo-jung crying, and they wail as they hold each other.
In the morning, Seo-jung goes to visit Mother Shaman, but she passed away overnight.
Pil-sung looks at his calendar, which has the thirteenth of the month circled in red. He grumbles that there’s only three days left until Dae-doo’s next murder, so he goes to the Soul police station to warn someone that he thinks the killer will target someone who knew the last victim, Han Yoo-kyung. The cop says that’s too many people to check in only three days, especially without even knowing if there will be a victim at all.
Desperate, Pil-sung visits Yoo-kyung’s mother and begs her not to go out on the thirteenth, and to warn her entire family and everyone her daughter knew. To be fair, he sounds like a nutcase, and he understandably gets yanked up by Chief Yoo after Yoo-kyung’s mother calls the cops.
Pil-sung starts to explain, but then he remembers Seo-jung saying that they need to solve this themselves, since things could get out of hand if the truth gets out. So he tells Chief Yoo that he received a heavenly message in a dream. Chief Yoo wants to take Pil-sung to a doctor, and he shakes him for not taking his advice.
Seo-jung sits in front of an alter covered in various instruments. She places a photograph of a girl into a bowl of water, then rings a bell and chants until she gets a vision. She sees the tree in the spirit realm where Dae-doo has trapped the souls he’s absorbed, but the vision ends before she sees any faces.
Beginning at midnight, when the twelfth ticks over to the thirteenth, Pil-sung stakes out Yoo-kyung’s mother’s apartment building. Elsewhere, a man packs up his fishing gear for the night, but his buddy decides to stay a while longer. As the man drives away, the road is blocked by another car, so he gets out to see if the driver needs help.
Dae-doo pretends not to know how to change a tire and lets the man work the jack. He takes over again, saying casually that he doesn’t catch fish, but he does catch people. “Don’t you get it?” he purrs. “I like to kill.” The man thinks he’s joking and asks who he’s here to kill, and Dae-doo gives him that psycho grin as he says happily: “You!”
As he uses the jack handle to knock the man to the ground, he tells him that he didn’t do anything wrong — this is the fault of the person who failed to solve the riddle. The man begs for his life, but Dae-doo leaves him by the side of the road with the jack handle still sticking out of his chest.
Pil-sung gets a text asking if he likes fishing. He turns on the radio, where the news is about the man who was murdered while on a fishing trip. Another text asks how many people Pil-sung will allow to die, and wondering who will die next week. Pil-sung screams in impotent frustration.
He can’t figure out what the victims have in common, but Dae-doo said they’re clues, so he knows there’s got to be something. He asks Detective Choi to look over the information and find a link, even offering to pay him if he figures it out.
Seo-jung comes to the city to apologize to SK for moving without waiting for her to get a new tenant. She sells most of her personal belongings, and at the last minute she decides to sell her bike as well. But as the truck starts to drive off, she stops them.
Pil-sung is still trying to find the connection between Dae-doo’s victims, haunted by Dae-doo’s claim that he’ll end up killing Seo-jung himself. He’d mentioned that Detective Kim had solved his riddle, so Pil-sung also researches the deceased detective.
He abruptly leaves the station and races to Seo-jung’s apartment. She’s still there, though the place is stripped down to the bare bones. Seo-jung tells Pil-sung that she’s moving into Mother Shaman’s home, because it’s a special place where heavenly energy can easily reach her, unlike here in the city.
Pil-sung sighs heavily, and asks her not to look at him and talk to him so differently. Seo-jung reminds him firmly that they can’t have feelings for each other, but he tells her that she can’t control someone’s feelings. Seo-jung says that Dae-doo is the only reason they’re meeting, so Pil-sung agrees to do as she says for now, but he declares that they’ll come back to this once Dae-doo is gone.
He tells Seo-jung about the “game” Dae-doo is playing with him, though he leaves out the part where he’s supposed to kill her to end it. He complains that he can’t even tell the other detectives because of what she said about doing this themselves.
Pil-sung asks if Seo-jung can summon Detective Kim’s spirit the same way her mother summoned Dae-doo’s, hoping that Detective Kim could solve the riddle. Seo-jung says that you can’t just interview a soul, so Pil-sung offers up his own body to let Detective Kim possess him. Seo-jung warns that he could die, but he just snaps, “Are you worried about me now?”
She confesses that she doesn’t even know if she can summon a soul, but Pil-sung snaps that another person may die while they hesitate. So Seo-jung says that she needs either the deceased’s body, or an object they cherished.
Pil-sung goes to the columbarium and starts to take Detective Kim’s urn, but instead he ends up taking Detective Kim’s police badge (leaving his own behind). As he leaves, a female visitor seems to feel something when he passes her, but she shakes it off.
He gives the badge to Seo-jung, who obviously would have been happier with Detective Kim’s ashes. She tells him to come to Mother Shaman’s house tonight, because she needs the place’s spiritual energy to summon a soul. Pil-sung complains that he doesn’t like her being there, calling her by name, so she tells him that her shaman name is now Myo-jin.
He offers to take her to eat, but she says she’s on a raw diet now, and she turns down a ride to the airport as well. She reminds Pil-sung that he promised not to be like this, and he bellows back, “I didn’t ask you to love me!” She admits painfully that she’s scared she’ll change her mind, now that she’s past the point of no return.
As Seo-jung walks alone later, she notices Pil-sung following her from across the street. They both reach out reaches out, imagining that they’re walking hand-in-hand.
Pil-sung sits at the station, smiling sadly at everyone until Detective Choi asks if he’s going to die soon. Pil-sung just gives him the sunglasses he’s been coveting and tells him to think about him occasionally, making Detective Choi nervous. Awww, poor hopeful Joon-hyung doesn’t get anything.
Chief Yoo is in the cafeteria sighing heavily when Pil-sung finds him. Chief Yoo worries that he’s sick, saying that he feels stiff and tired in the mornings, but he’s too scared to go to the doctor in case he learns that he really is sick.
He says he has to see his daughter Seung-hee married, because his biggest fear is dying and leaving her alone. He asks Pil-sung to take care of Seung-hee if anything happens to him, to make sure she doesn’t join the police force and to walk her down the aisle at her wedding (noooo I don’t like this foreshadowing, make it stop!).
Pil-sung goes with Chief Yoo to the hospital for support, but the doctor says he’s just gotten fat, PWAHAHA.
Dae-doo sits in the dark, listening to “Silent Night” and lighting match after match, watching them until they burn out with tears streaming down his face We see someone — who looks like a child, is this a flashback? — pouring gasoline near a house, then striking a match.
Pil-sung goes back to Seo-jung’s empty apartment, where she left her purse behind to spill onto the floor. When Pil-sung picks it up, he finds the seat cover that he put on Seo-jung’s bike inside, and he cries all over again.
He meets Seo-jung at Mother Shaman’s house as planned, and says that he’d like to start right away because he’s terrified. Seo-jung confirms that he hasn’t eaten meat recently, then asks if he’s engaged in sexual activity, but he just snaps, “Do you want me to??” so she takes that as a no.
She prepares Pil-sung for what to expect — when she summons Detective Kim’s spirit, it will be inside a doll first, then she’ll move it into his body. At that point, Detective Kim’s soul will take over and obtain his thoughts, knowledge, and moral values. Pil-sung will feel like he’s dreaming, and may be able to see or sense things, but she instructs him not to try to wake up.
Before she starts, Pil-sung asks her to tell Detective Kim not to do whatever he wants with his body. He stops her again because he wants to tell her his last wishes just in case things go wrong and he can’t return. He asks her to cremate his body and scatter the ashes in the East Sea, and to memorize his face and voice so they can recognize each other in their next lives.
He says he’s ready now, and Seo-jung begins the ceremony. She pricks Pil-sung’s finger and lets a few drops of blood fall onto the doll, then wraps Detective Kim’s badge inside a talisman and lets it on fire. She rings her bell and chants, and when she stops, Pil-sung asks if Detective Kim is here.
Seo-jung nods, and when Pil-sung asks how she knows, her eyes flit to the burning badge. It dissolves into a thick white smoke, which trickles purposefully towards the doll. Seo-jung grabs the shaking doll and wraps it in yarn, and gives the end of it to Pil-sung to hold.
The thick white smoke travels down the yarn and up Pil-sung’s arm, and he screams as it enters his body. He falls over, convulsing, but he relaxes when Seo-jung touches his forehead and chants something. After a few moments, he gasps and opens his eyes, then he flails and screams over and over.
Seo-jung asks if he’s Detective Kim and whether he remembers Hwang Dae-doo, and he calms down. She tells him that Dae-doo is back, and Detective Kim, in Pil-sung’s body, finally turns to look at her. She shows him his face in a mirror to convince him that everything she’s telling him is true — that if they don’t stop Dae-doo, the world will be destroyed.
Detective Kim says he can’t stop Dae-doo, but Seo-jung says they don’t need him to be the alcoholic he was in his later years, but the Detective Kim he was in 1995. Detective Kim mutters that she shouldn’t have summoned him, but Seo-jung continues that she’s read Dae-doo’s thoughts and knows that the only person he was ever afraid of was Detective Kim. He screams that he can’t do it, so Seo-jung tells him that people are dying in Dae-doo’s cruel game, and that he may even go after someone Detective Kim loved.
That convinces him to try, but he says he doesn’t know anything about Pil-sung, the man whose body he’s in. Seo-jung tells him that their souls are connected, so if he focuses, he’ll know everything Pil-sung knows. Detective Kim asks what her relationship is to Pil-sung, and after a long pause, she says they’re just acquaintances.
Detective Kim makes his way to Pil-sung’s apartment. There are documents on the table regarding the recent murders, but it’s the photo of Dae-doo himself that gets Detective Kim’s attention and makes him seethe with rage.
The day he’d arrested Dae-doo, the killer had told him that his next victims were a nice lady who worked at a grocery store and her little daughter. He’d gleefully related his plan to kill the child first so the mother could watch her daughter die. Later, Detective Kim had been hospitalized due to hallucinations and nightly dreams where he killed someone. The doctor had advised him to keep his distance from his wife and daughter for their safety.
Along with the evidence is a letter written to Detective Kim from Pil-sung. In it, he says that he may be seeing and feeling the same things as Detective Kim, and he apologizes for summoning him because he couldn’t fix this himself. He says that the people he’ll meet while in his body are the people he loves, and he begs Detective Kim to catch Dae-doo to protect them from him.
He also says that Detective Kim can probably sense who he’s in love with, and that if it comes down to his life or hers, to save her life without hesitation. Lastly, he asks Detective Kim to put out food and burn incense every day at his little altar. Detective Kim does, and although he can’t see Pil-sung’s ghosts, they stand watch over him that night as he sleeps, seeing him for who he truly is.
In the morning, Detective Kim wakes with renewed determination, though his Rocky-esque workout montage is a little weak because Pil-sung’s body is out of shape, ha. He looks at all the evidence and visits murder scenes, and after some time, he’s got Pil-sung’s body in much stronger shape.
He goes to the police station, ignoring Yeon-hee’s cheerful greeting and accidentally sitting at Detective Choi’s desk. Chief Yoo immediately pulls him aside to ask what’s up, gasping that he seems like a totally different person. Detective Kim mostly ignores him, and he runs off when he gets a notification that the suspect in their current case has been spotted.
In a parking garage, Detective Kim confronts their target, who’s supposed to be a guy named Young-shik. Chief Yoo yelps that that’s not Young-shik but to grab him anyway, and Detective Kim realizes that there was another person who’s still in the car. He goes back and smashes in the window, and when the real Young-shik pulls a knife, Detective Kim doesn’t back down.
He makes Young-shik drop the knife with a smooth one-handed move, so they start boxing instead. Detective Kim dodges Young-shik’s jabs easily, then rattles his cage with one well-placed fist. When Detective Kim finally knocks Young-shik out cold, his team are left wondering what on earth they just watched.
Detective Kim puts together a board with everything he knows about Dae-doo’s current victims, but he still can’t find the link. Seo-jung calls him to remind him that Dae-doo plans to kill again tomorrow, and she asks if maybe he’s killing random people. Detective Kim says that Dae-doo is a control freak so there’s definitely a connection between his victims, he just can’t find the common thread.
Suddenly his head snaps up and he roars that he’s an idiot — the names of Dae-doo’s two recent victims are the same names of his victims from twenty years ago. They’re not connected to each other, they’re connected to the past! Han Yoo-kyung was his first victim and Kim Min-sung was his second, which means that his next victim will have the same name as his third… Do Ji-seok.
There are sixteen Do Ji-seoks in the country, and Detective Kim realizes that the past and present victims were of similar ages. This means he’s looking for a woman in her forties, which narrows it down to two possibilities. One recently moved to Canada, so that leaves the Do Ji-seok who lives in Daeju.
He calls Seo-jung and she heads to Daeju to meet with him, a little unsettled at first to see Pil-sung’s face with someone’s else’s soul. They’re outside Do Ji-seok’s apartment, and Detective Kim says she’s not home. But he says that if they warn her, they may prevent the murder but they won’t catch Dae-doo.
Seo-jung thinks it’s too dangerous to use an unsuspecting person as bait, but Detective Kim says that it’s their only option. He believes that Dae-doo will try to kill her on her way home from work at 10 p.m., so he plans to ambush Dae-doo then. Seo-jung says they can’t kill him or he’ll just jump to a new host body, along with all the souls he’s captured.
Detective Kim has a taser that will stun Dae-doo, and Seo-jung says they need to separate the other souls from his and help them cross over, then dissipate Dae-doo’s soul. He asks if she can do it, and she says honestly that she doesn’t know. Detective Kim says Dae-doo is probably nearby right now, and Seo-jung nervously looks out the window.
One block away, Dae-doo waits in his car for his next victim.
How is this show so freaking good? I know, I keep saying it, but the show just keeps getting better and blowing me away with each new episode. I can’t even point to one thing that makes Possessed such a great drama, but it gives me the same kind of unidentifiable feelings as I get when a show turns out to be truly special. I don’t feel it often, maybe once a year at most, but Possessed does it for me in a big way. It’s what I call the “perfect storm” — when the story, script, directing, filming, and performances come together to make a drama that’s more than the sum of its parts. The show took it next-level in this episode, with Pil-sung’s possession by Detective Kim and Detective Kim’s rising to the occasion by showing that his later years of depression and alcoholism don’t define him, and he’s still got what it takes. Song Sae-byuk did a wonderful job portraying the murdered detective in his bumbling character’s body.
So, I’m generally pretty good at separating TV from reality, and although I have my viewing preferences (no jump-scares, please!), I can generally watch anything I want without being too affected. But I’ve started having dreams about Dae-doo, in both of his actors’ incarnations, and while they aren’t nightmares exactly, I definitely wake up unsettled and listening for any creepy sounds in the dark. This show has managed to create a villain, through incredible writing and frankly outstanding acting, that’s gotten into even my iron-clad psyche, and that’s saying a lot.
When the show first started, I thought that Won Hyun-joon as Dae-doo was much more terrifying than Jo Han-seon as Dae-doo, because in his doctor persona, Dae-doo came across as frightening, but in an impish, mischievous way. He was still Dae-doo, but a Dae-doo new to being back in the world. But then when he took over chaebol Soo-hyuk’s body, Dae-doo suddenly had the power and financial means to bring about mass hysteria, and an evil plan — excuse my language — to fuck with Pil-sung just because he can. I think that Dae-doo sees Pil-sung the same way he saw his old enemy, Detective Kim… as someone with the brains and heart to be able to stop him, but someone who is also a little bit broken, so that Dae-doo could worm into his mind and really do some damage.
And I cannot express how frightening Dae-doo is now that he’s played by Yeon Jung-hoon, who is one of those chameleons that can do anything, but who really shines when he plays evil characters. He’s got that grin down perfect — you know the one, the grin that should look crazy, but that instead looks just sane enough to be ten times more terrifying than if Dae-doo were actually insane. Unfortunately, what really scares me is that I don’t think Dae-doo is insane at all. I think that something happened in his past to permanently alter his mind so that he gets pleasure from watching others suffer, particularly watching them suffer the loss of a loved one. That feels like a big clue into what was inflicted on Dae-doo himself. It would be much easier if he were insane, because he would make mistakes, but I’m afraid that he’s all too sane, and that’s going to make him so much harder to catch.