Abyss: Episode 7
With an enemy neutralized (for now, anyway) but a cherished family member still in danger, our makeshift detectives turn to the task of learning if he had an accomplice. If they can find out who’s been helping the murderer, they may be able to make a rescue before Abyss is needed to “save” another life. Meanwhile, some unwanted feelings are beginning to complicate things, at least for one of our dynamic duo.
EPISODE 7: “The Accomplice, the Real Criminal”
In Se-yeon’s nightmare, we experience the night of her murder from her viewpoint. She’d been drunk and annoyed with Min for being late to meet her at her place, so she’d texted him that she was leaving the door unlocked, and gone to sleep.
She’d woken up some time later, and had seen a shadowy figure in her doorway so she’d gone to investigate. Young-chul had grabbed her, tied her up, and stabbed her, whispering ominously that she probably never thought he’d kill her, but she’d had no idea who he was due to his new face.
She’d heard Min’s voice calling her name from outside, and Se-yeon had seen someone turn off her bedroom light. But a new voice had said, “She’s not dead yet,” and Se-yeon had realized that there were two people in her apartment. Someone had reached down and strangled her — and Se-yeon wakes up from her nightmare.
They’re still at the hospital visiting Se-yeon’s mother. The dream makes Se-yeon recall that the cardboard man told them that he saw a young man leaving her apartment that night, so she asks Min about the dash cam footage they watched previously.
A breaking news story about Young-chul’s arrest comes on the TV, so Min says firmly that Se-yeon’s mother is sleeping, so he’s taking her home to rest. Her mother is not sleeping — she watches them leave, recalling how Se-yeon spoke about them as her parents with Young-chul, even though they’ve never seen her before.
Se-yeon is still whining about wanting to go to the police station when Min gets her back to Mi-do’s apartment. He tells her sweetly that to him, she’s a murder victim, not a prosecutor, and that he feels responsible for her safety after bringing her back to life.
He asks her, just for today, not to dwell on memories of Young-chul killing her, and it takes the wind right out of Se-yeon’s sails. Min puts her to bed, promising that they’ll soon catch Young-chul’s accomplice, and when she complains that she’s not tired, he covers her eyes with a hand and recites math equations.
It reminds Se-yeon of being back in high school – she’d been angry that Min came in first place on their exams and bumped her down to second. He’d found her obsessing over her incorrect answers and brought her lunch, then explained exactly why she got several questions wrong. Despite herself, Se-yeon had been impressed by Min’s intelligence.
Se-yeon wakes later to see that Min also nodded off, and she sighs that he’s always been by her side. She’s suddenly unable to look away from his pretty lips, and she involuntarily starts to lean closer — then his phone rings and she slams her head on the pillow, lol.
It’s Hee-jin calling, sounding like she’s crying. Min goes home to talk to her, leaving Se-yeon cringing under the covers. He seems guarded with Hee-jin as he confirms that he really is Min, and he asks her coldly if she can imagine a life with him now that he has a new, handsome face. Oh, nice burn.
Hee-jin defends that she had her reasons, but since he’s going to hate her anyway, she confesses that she did approach him for his money originally, and lied that she loved him. But she says that if that were all she’d cared about, she wouldn’t have called off the wedding and lost access to his money.
Hee-jin continues that she wanted something more than his money — she started wishing he were truly hers. She says she’s more messed-up than he knows, but Min isn’t buying it.
Hee-jin hands him a photograph of herself with Young-chul, who she says is her stepfather. She tells Min that Young-chul beat her up her whole life, sometimes so badly that only his skill as a doctor saved her life. She explains that she couldn’t marry Min and put him in danger like her first love, who was killed by Young-chul.
At the moment, Dong-chul is questioning Young-chul about that very boy, and Young-chul doesn’t bother to deny that he killed him. He goes on to explain his reasons for several more murders, which mostly boil down to “their existence was inconvenient to me.”
Dong-chul grows angry at Young-chul’s boasting and reminds him that he’s taken twelve human lives, but Young-chul only croons that he’s saved many more lives than he took. He corrects Dong-chul that he’s only killed eleven people, because Se-yeon is still alive. He pulls Abyss from his pocket, which Dong-chul can’t see, and caresses it lovingly.
Dong-chul finds Se-yeon waiting for him at his desk, and she asks if Young-chul confessed, specifically mentioning Go Se-yeon’s murder. He’s already suspicious after her encounter with Young-chul, and curious why she kept referring to Se-yeon’s parents as Mom and Dad, and her interest doesn’t escape him.
Tentatively, he asks if she’s the Lee Mi-do he knows, and despite her weak insistence that sure, of course she is, Dong-chul is eager to believe her. Se-yeon asks if Young-chul mentioned an accomplice, and Dong-chul says he didn’t. He tells her that Young-chul says he didn’t kill Go Se-yeon because she’s still alive, but as that they found the murder weapon in Young-chul’s basement, and the autopsy proved she died from blood loss, he thinks that Young-chul is trying for a reduced sentence for reasons of insanity.
Se-yeon begs to be allowed to talk to Young-chul herself, but Dong-chul flatly refuses to allow it. Annoyed, Se-yeon leaves the station, grumpily answering a call from Min on the way out. He apologizes for leaving her, and she says passive-aggressively that she understands he’s still hung up on his ex.
She meets up with Min and Hee-jin at a Subway, then snaps at Hee-jin and makes her cry just for calling her “unni.” She’s angry that Hee-jin told Young-chul that she’s still alive, and when Hee-jin apologizes, Se-yeon barks that she nearly got her parents killed, and herself killed a second time.
She complains to Min that Hee-jin is practically Young-chul’s accomplice, and she demands that Hee-jin tell the truth about her relationship with Young-chul. Still, she’s not expecting to hear that Hee-jin is his stepdaughter, and she does her best to understand why Hee-jin did the things she did after so many years of abuse.
Since Hee-jin claims to want to make things up to Se-yeon, Se-yeon asks if she’d be willing to talk to Young-chul for her. They fit Hee-jin with a hidden camera, planning to get her to ask Young-chul about an accomplice, then send her into the prison to visit him. On her way in, Hee-jin passes Ji-wook, who muses to himself that she came to visit Young-chul sooner than he expected.
Min paces nervously outside, though Se-yeon assures him that nothing bad can happen to Hee-jin here. She says he must have too much time on his hands if his high-powered job allows him time to follow his ex around, but he says that’s not what this is about — he’s trying to make up for reviving Young-chul, which enabled him to kill Se-yeon.
Se-yeon thumps his head and tells him to stop thinking useless things. She says that, when faced with a dying person, very few would stop to wonder whether they deserve to be saved. She admits that she’s felt resentful towards Min for reviving Young-chul, but she also says that his tenderhearted nature is why she’s always liked and trusted him.
Taking Min’s hand, she tells him that he did nothing wrong, and he looks back at her gratefully. Then she tosses his hand back and calls him an idiot, and soon they’re bickering like old friends again — though Se-yeon grumbles to herself that holding his hand nearly made her heart explode, hee.
When she’s allowed to see Young-chul, Hee-jin asks him if he remembers their deal. He says that if he’d gotten rid of Se-yeon and not ended up here, she’d have gotten what she wanted. Hee-jin demands to know what he did with her mother, but all Young-chul will say is that being in prison doesn’t make him powerless to do anything to her, because he’s not working alone.
That answers Se-yeon’s question — Young-chul continues that all he has to do is give an order and Hee-jin’s mother dies. He warns Hee-jin to think carefully about who her real friends are, because no matter how hard she tries to run, she’ll always be his princess. ~shudder~
Hee-jin asks what else Young-chul wants from her, and he pulls Abyss from his pocket. He says that with it, they can plan wonderful things that only those who have come back from the dead can do.
Min isn’t happy about Se-yeon’s plans to have dinner with Dong-chul, but she says she’s just maintaining positive rapport in case they need Dong-chul’s help in the future. Min is worried that Dong-chul will figure out that she’s not Mi-do, but Se-yeon argues that he likes Mi-do too much to question her identity.
She reassures Min that once this is all put to rest, she won’t see Dong-chul again — but when he calls, she chirps, “It’s Dong-chul Oppa!” HAHA. Dong-chul complains that she texted him saying that she’s waiting outside the station, but she’s not there, and Se-yeon says that she never texted him.
Oh nooooo, it’s the real Mi-do, recovered from her plastic surgery, though Dong-chul doesn’t recognize her with her brand-new face. He tells Se-yeon that he’ll meet her as soon as he deals with this crazy woman, then saunters away from the real Mi-do after telling her that she can go inside for help.
Dong-chul is disappointed when Se-yeon wants to eat at a pojangmacha instead of a fancy restaurant. She tells him not to assume that they’re getting back together, which surprises him since she’s been the one contacting him so often. She says she wants a partnership, but Dong-chul replies sadly that if that’s all she wants, she should work with Detective Choi from now on.
Hee-jin watches the video that her hidden camera took of Young-chul, then makes some edits. When Min and Se-yeon get home, she shows them the edited video, and they deduce that Young-chul definitely has an accomplice. Min says that they need to find out where Hee-jin’s mother is, which should lead them to the accomplice, especially if Hee-jin’s mother has seen him.
They take the picture of Hee-jin’s mother to the phone repair guy, who says that he’s not CSI and tells them to stop bothering him. Se-yeon wonders if he’ll be more amenable if she threatens to send his secret ledger to the police — it doesn’t work, but Hee-jin’s damsel in distress act does… ha, Se-yeon’s face.
The guy blows up the picture and zooms in on the wall, where a calendar shows the photo was taken the same day that Young-chul was arrested. Min says that Dong-chul can help them figure out Young-chul’s escape route, and Se-yeon says evasively that today is a bad day to ask Dong-chul for a favor.
Poor Dong-chul is busy getting very drunk, and he wails to Detective Choi that he thought they were getting back together. He gets a call from the real Mi-do and screams at her for playing with his heart. She says truthfully that she hasn’t contacted him since their breakup, but Dong-chul just yells that they’re over and hangs up on her.
Back at the car, Se-yeon and Hee-jin have a silent battle over who gets to sit in front with Min. Min offers to take Se-yeon home, since he’s going to his mom’s with Hee-jin, and Hee-jin shoots Se-yeon an evil triumphant grin. HA, I love their growing rivalry over Min.
Dong-chul sleeps it off at the station, and in the morning, Detective Choi tells him that Mi-do is there to see him. It’s Se-yeon with conciliatory coffee and snacks (but — if the real Mi-do is home, where is Se-yeon staying?), and Dong-chul tries valiantly to pretend that her presence means nothing to him.
When Se-yeon asks about Young-chul, Dong-chul immediately passes her off to Detective Choi and walks away. Frustrated but determined, Se-yeon learns that on the day of his arrest, Young-chul escaped the hospital by pretending to be a critical patient, then hijacking his ambulance.
She asks to see the ambulance’s dash cam footage, but Detective Choi says that Ji-wook has the data already. Ji-wook is actually watching the footage when Park Ki-man’s mother arrives at his office to thank him for catching her granddaughter’s killer. He accepts her gratitude, crooning that he only did what’s right.
Se-yeon goes to Min’s office to pout that Ji-wook will never let her see that footage, so she decides to just go to his office and steal it. She’s also annoyed with Min for making her come to his office so often these days, grumbling that he’s not the only one who’s busy, and she tells him to just forget the murder case now that he’s so busy with work.
She storms out of Min’s office with him hot on her heels, and when she whirls to yell at him, he walks right into her. Min’s arms go around Se-yeon and they fall to the floor, then pop up again, feeling super awkward. Min’s mother happens to be there, and she tells her assistant to do a full background check on the lawyer who’s always hanging around Min.
Se-yeon makes Min drive her to the prosecutor’s office while Ji-wook is in court. She uses her old ID to get upstairs and sets up a camera to film the hallway outside Ji-wook’s office, which Min watches from the lobby. She makes herself comfortable, telling Ji-wook’s assistant that he told her to wait while he’s in court.
Once she’s alone, she makes sure Min can hear her through an earpiece, then starts searching. She hits a snag when she discovers that Ji-wook changed his computer’s passcode, but luckily he asked his assistant to email him something and Se-yeon manages to see the new code over her shoulder.
She logs on and locates the correct file, but as she’s saving it onto a USB, Min tells her that someone is coming. It’s Ji-wook’s father, who hears Se-yeon in Ji-wook’s office and thankfully decides to leave since Ji-wook already has a visitor.
In her panic, Se-yeon knocked some things off Ji-wook’s desk, and as she’s picking them up, she finds a photograph of the throat of a murder victim. She finds it out of character for him to leave evidence lying around, but she finishes cleaning up and leaves, telling his assistant that something came up.
Min, Se-yeon, and Hee-jin watch the footage from the ambulance that Young-chul hijacked, trying to figure out where he drove that day and hopefully locate Hee-jin’s mother. Unfortunately, Young-chul took a strange detour and the film only shows him driving through a forest, but Min manages to figure out where it is. They drive there, and find a nursing home in the secluded area.
Ji-wook’s father is there, watching over a male patient who appears to be in a coma. Before he leaves for the night, he apologizes to the unconscious young man, calling him “my son.” On his way out, he passes a tall man who seems to be hiding his face.
Se-yeon shows the receptionist the picture of Hee-jin’s mother, but the receptionist says she’s not a patient there. Hee-jin accuses her of lying, and they run off to investigate for themselves. Se-yeon finds a room that matches the picture, though the bed is empty, but a discarded IV needle proves that they just missed her.
Outside, they see a car speeding away and give chase. Hee-jin’s mom seems either drugged or mentally unstable as she asks the driver cheerfully where they’re going. He says they’re going somewhere nice as he swerves between cars, trying to lose Min, Se-yeon, and Hee-jin behind him.
The camera pans to his face… and it’s Ji-wook.
Okay, so I’m considering it confirmed that Ji-wook is, at the very least, Young-chul’s accomplice, if not an outright killer himself. That’s not a shock at this point, but it does make you wonder why he’s helping Young-chul, when he doesn’t seem to relish the situation like Young-chul does. Is Ji-wook helping him out of a sick misplaced loyalty, or to protect someone like Hee-jin is doing? Childhood abuse can mess people up in very different ways, even people who experienced the same abuse, so it’s feasible that what made Hee-jin terrified and defiant, could cause Ji-wook to react in a completely different way and grow up to assist his abuser in his crimes. But… isn’t that his mother, too? Would he really go so far as to endanger his own mother just on Young-chul’s orders, or is he actually there to save her?
What I’m more interested in is this second “father” that Ji-wook seems to have. My guess is that he’s Ji-wook’s real father, and that Young-chul is Ji-wook’s stepfather, who married his and Hee-jin’s mother. At this point, I don’t think he’s also Hee-jin’s father, because her real last name isn’t the same as theirs. What I find mysterious is who he was visiting in the nursing home — does Ji-wook have a brother, then? And why did Ji-wook recognize Hee-jin at the prison, but she didn’t recognize him? So many questions, and it’s frustrating to know that it could be several more episodes before we get the answers.
Backing up a bit, I think that Abyss officially jumped the shark for me when it took Min a whole ten seconds to convince the entire board of directors at his company that plastic surgery not only managed to change his face so drastically, but also his height, teeth, and hair and body types, and that he recovered from all this surgery in roughly one month. I can sort of see how all the testing could convince his mother to believe the change, especially since he can tell her everything about his life, and a mother would be desperate to learn that her son isn’t dead. But it’s the board of directors’ job to protect the company, and you’d think that one of them would have challenged Min’s claim, or at least mentioned the fact that he was the subject of a nationwide manhunt just yesterday! I’m pretty good at suspension of disbelief, particularly in the service of an interesting story, but that’s just a little too much even for me.
That said, I still somehow find Abyss compelling, if only because it’s fascinating to see if the next thing will make sense or not. The plot delivery is a hot mess, and the villain is more annoying than frightening (it’s the voice — Lee Sung-jae’s voice is too high-pitched and soft to be scary). Frankly, I find Ji-wook much scarier than Young-chul, because his motives are so murky. And as much as I love Ahn Hyo-seop, he’s still too green and isn’t quite ready for a leading role. But I still want to know what happens next, and I’m dying to learn all of Abyss’s secrets. I think that’s because some episodes just seem to be all over the map, then some others, like this one, deliver solid answers and have a clear narrative path (and a judicious lack of Young-chul), so I know that the show can do it. I just wish for more consistency, but at this point we’re halfway through the show, so I don’t think it’s going to happen now. Still, I’m compelled to keep watching, and I still find it a fun, interesting story despite its problems.
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