When the Devil Calls Your Name: Episode 2
When you make a deal with a devil, always read the fine print. Our dubious hero is realizing that he’s spent ten years trusting something he never should have trusted, and he’s going to have to outwit a demon to get himself out of it. Luckily, the demon in question has a dream of his own, which means that he can be bargained with if only Ha Rib learns from his past mistakes.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Yi-kyung’s best friend, Dong-hee, gives Yi-kyung an old phone that has recordings of her singing all her original songs on it. She tells Yi-kyung to go teach that plagiarist a lesson, which is how Yi-kyung ends up on Ha Rib’s doorstep, watching him bleed to death from a blow to the head. At the hospital, the doctors try desperately to save Ha Rib’s life, but he flatlines.
After thirty minutes of CPR, he doesn’t show signs of improvement, so they pronounce him dead. Yi-kyung watches as his time of death is called and he’s covered by a sheet, then she leaves the emergency room.
Outside, she runs into police officer KYUNG-SOO (Im Ji-kyu), and she grows agitated to see him there. She tells him she’s had a bad night, with someone dying right in front of her eyes.
That night, devil-in-human-disguise Tae-kang stalks through the hospital’s halls, briefly morphing into demonic form before finding Ha Rib’s body. He leans down and whispers ominously, “You can’t die without my permission,” then leaves again. Ha Rib’s eyes open and he sits up, shocking the entire medical team that saw him die.
Yi-kyung is giving a statement to Kyung-soo when Ha Rib wanders over, still looking mostly dead. He refuses the doctor insisting on a CT scan, though he does ask for the doctor’s slippers so he doesn’t have to go home in his socky feet, hee.
Dazed, Yi-kyung makes her way home and tells Dong-hee that the plagiarist died and came back to life. Dong-hee assumes she was just too chicken to confront him and insists on doing it herself, but Yi-kyung waves her off. Later, while watching the view from their rooftop, Yi-kyung recalls the time she was told by a priest that she’s unlucky so that evil spirits won’t covet her special soul. She knows it’s nonsense, but she’s convinced that one day her luck will change.
In the morning, Ha Rib ponders the fact that he literally died and was brought back to life by the devil. He goes to see Seo-young, who summoned him to meet the new co-CEO… also known as LEE CHUNG-RYUL (Kim Hyung-meok), his bandmate from his old life. Ha Rib gives Chung-ryul the stink-eye until their band, Liver and Gallbladder, is mentioned, and he growls that he’s very familiar with them.
He rattles off the band’s stats and the fact that Chung-ryul has been running his wife’s pharmaceutical company for thirty years, marveling sarcastically that he bought his way into a co-CEO position while others have to work for it. Chung-ryul hangs onto his smile by his fingernails while Seo-young pokes Ha Rib viciously. Ha Rib belatedly realizes that if anyone will recognize him with his younger face, Chung-ryul will. but Chung-ryul chuckles that he suffers from face blindness.
Ha Rib vehemently opposes the new co-CEO, though he can’t tell Seo-young why. He argues that Chung-ryul knows nothing about music, but Seo-young counters that they need someone who knows how to make money. The stalemate is disrupted by Chung-ryul’s sudden flourishing presentation of Tae-kang as a newly signed actor for their agency. This at least as Ha Rib and Seo-young on the same page, though Seo-young declines to say why she dislikes Tae-kang.
Inside, Tae-kang waits with Manager Kang, who’s in raptures over a movie he saw where Tae-kang played a psychopathic killer. Tae-kang humble-brags that he was hardly even acting — HA — and says that the movie left him with many happy memories (the female lead ended up in a mental hospital and his assistant threw himself off a cliff — why is that so funny?).
Manager Kang asks about the assistant to Tae-kang’s previous host, who died of a heart attack. Tae-kang says he was angry because his host had a few too many skeletons in his closet. Manager Kang assures him that the real Mo Tae-kang had no criminal history or scandals, but he starts to show him something else.
Tae-kang stops him, feeling a sudden chill in the room — it’s Seo-young standing just outside the door. He wonders why she seems so cold as she shoots him a death-glare before flouncing away. Apparently, that’s what Manager Kang was trying to tell him… Mo Tae-kang dated Seo-young secretly for five years, but they broke up last year.
Despite his history with the NCI (and dipping into the special fund), Manager Kang hasn’t been able to figure out why Seo-young and Tae-kang broke up. Tae-kang is more upset that he had to sit in abject terror for nearly three hours before Manager Kang told him why (it cracks me up that he’s instinctively scared of Seo-young), and his eyes flash red as he warns Manager Kang that he could end up like his predecessor.
Meanwhile, Seo-young meets with Yi-kyung, who says she’s not accusing Ha Rib of plagiarism. Seo-young points out that people will judge Ha Rib without checking the facts, but that he can get back on his feet while Yi-kyung doesn’t have the same resources. She offers Yi-kyung an envelope of money to keep quiet.
Yi-kyung points out that she finished her song two days before it was released by the idol Shi-ho, but Seo-young says that Ha Rib worked on that song for a year. Yi-kyung says that she doesn’t think Ha Rib stole the song since it was never released or played publicly. She says it’s another coincidence, like it was ten years ago, and Seo-young’s response is to offer her a contract, which Yi-kyung also refuses.
On her way back to the office, Seo-young thinks about July 15th, the day Yi-kyung says she finished her song. She’d gotten an excited call from Ha Rib, dragged Shi-ho into the recording studio in the middle of the night, and watched as Ha Rib finished composing the song on the fly.
But Yi-kyung’s comment about ten years ago bothers her, as she’s already had a background check done on Yi-kyung. She’d learned that when Yi-kyung was eighteen, she’d assaulted her stepfather and rendered him a quadriplegic. In the flashback, though, Yi-kyung looks very traumatized as she stands over her stepfather’s prone form clutching an ashtray in a shaking hand.
At the police station, Kyung-soo interviews a man who calmly confesses to killing Ha Rib’s cat because it was loud and interrupting his studying. When Yi-kyung walks in to make a witness statement (regarding Ha Rib’s attack), Kyung-soo warns her that this will only make her look like a suspect.
Ha Rib barges in, demanding to see the psycho, but he spots Yi-kyung instead and freezes. The real cat-killer starts to whistle, which reminds Yi-kyung that she heard the same whistling and saw someone carrying a steel pipe just before finding Ha Rib, and we see that same half-smirk on the face of the man who tried to kill Ha Rib.
He doesn’t even deny it, he just complains that Ha Rib’s constant music annoyed him. The cops have to hold Ha Rib back from attacking him, especially when the cat-killer offers to pay the paltry damage fees. Ha Rib finally gets his hands on the guy and threatens to poison him and kill him with a steel pipe, and when the cops pull him away, the cat-killer makes a run for it…
…only for Yi-kyung to neatly flip him over her head and slam him to the floor. As the cat-killer continues to argue with the cops, Ha Rib grows philosophical, wondering to himself what makes someone evil.
He recalls Yi-kyung sobbing that night, thinking he was dead, and he takes her to a bakery to talk. She says she came to his house to talk to him but found him dead, but Ha Rib says he’s fine and warns her not to tell anyone else what happened.
Yi-kyung loudly insists that he did die, and she grabs his head to look for the fatal wound. Outside, Kang Ha tells Kyung-soo not to even try to understand Ha Rib as he watches Yi-kyung manhandle his friend, ha. And awww, Kyung-soo seems a lot more bothered than is strictly necessary.
Yi-kyung asks Ha Rib about his song from 2009 called Soul Song. She claims to have written it while locked in a detention center, but when she was released, her song was famous and apparently written by Ha Rib. She asks if they have some sort of mind connection, especially since they’ve now written the same song at the same time, twice.
Ha Rib says haughtily that he’s got something called inspiration, which probably pitied her and gave her a few of his scraps, so she should just give up on music. He gets up to leave, but Yi-kyung begins to play her recording of her song, which stops him in his tracks. She says she was at his house that night to play it for him, and we see a flashback of her singing it while locked up, with someone recording it so she wouldn’t forget it.
She tells Ha Rib that she recorded it three weeks before his song was released. Ha Rib thinks that it’s impossible, as Yi-kyung continues that all she wants is for him to believe she didn’t steal his music. She says that’s what she wanted to tell him that night, and when he asks if today is different, she says it is.
She expresses disappointment that Ha Rib tried to pay her off (he squawks at this) because she did nothing wrong, and that now she feels like she may have to give up music because she got on his bad side. But she says she’s happiest when making music, so she’s going to keep doing as she’s been doing, and she asks him politely to leave her to it.
Ha Rib looks like he might be feeling ashamed of himself, but he scoffs at Yi-kyung’s humble dream, so she says she’ll accuse him of plagiarism if he causes trouble for her. Ha Rib asks if she’s threatening him, but she says she’s just trying to get back up after he crushed her pride. She admits it’s blackmail, but all she wants is for him to stop using money or words to step on someone who’s just a worm to him.
The cat-killer is walking home that night when a homeless man stops him. The cat-killer kicks him away, but the homeless man’s eyes burn with fire, then he transforms into the molten demon and lifts the cat-killer by the throat.
The demon states the Law of Destiny: that to bring one person back to life, someone else must take their pain. Since the person he killed was brought back, the demon is suffering the pain, but he growls that it’s unfair and says that someone else should pay, as he snaps the cat-killer’s neck.
The demon chuckles down at the cat-killer as he says that he won’t die — “That burden is reserved for me.” It grumbles to itself that it’s going soft lately as it morphs back into the homeless man.
Ha Rib can’t stop thinking about the fact that he and Yi-kyung have written the same song at the same time twice now. He remembers the first night “the old man” (inspiration) visited him, and led him to a garden where a string quartet was playing a song. The old man said this was his first gift, and Ha Rib had been too tempted to resist. He thinks that he assumed the song came from himself, but now he curses the devil for lying to him.
The next day, Tae-kang holds a fan meeting, observing the fervent fans while thinking that deities control humans like this for fun. Ha Rib arrives at the fan meeting and tears up his “final payment” notice, as the fans chant for Tae-kang to sing. He declines and calls for a break, and backstage, we learn that Tae-kang-the-demon doesn’t have the same singing ability as the former musical actor whose body he’s using, ha.
Manager Kang answers a loud knock at the door, and Ha Rib storms in screaming that Tae-kang swindled him. Tae-kang says calmly that Ha Rib got youth, riches, and fame for songwriting just as he wanted. Ha Rib says he made him a thief by stealing someone else’s ideas, but Tae-kang counters that it’s not like people would suddenly love Seo Dong-chun’s music, and Ha Rib realizes with horror that all the music he’s written has been stolen.
Tae-kang argues that Ha Rib never said anything about being a genius, and it’s beyond his power to do that anyway, because he’s not a deity. He tells Ha Rib that for one person to gain talent, another has to lose some, but Ha Rib yells that he stole from someone twice, which is why he’s in the fix he’s in now.
A little surprised, he admits that he’s feeling guilty, and he orders Tae-kang to take responsibility for making him a thief. He says that their contract is void and Tae-kang better not touch his soul, but Tae-kang pulls a huge book out of thin air and starts reading.
Apparently, Ha Rib can terminate their contract, but he’ll go back to his old self and any lives that were altered by him will also revert to how they were. They’re suddenly standing in a tiny, crappy apartment, Ha Rib back to his elderly self. Tae-kang asks if Ha Rib can really go back to being Seo Dong-chun… oh, and by the way, he’ll die.
Tae-kang panics as Tae-kang sends his contract up in flames. But it was just a trick, and Tae-kang flourishes the real contract as he tells Ha Rib never to sign anything without reading the fine print. He whispers that he’s not a fool just because he has a kind smile, then he grabs Ha Rib by the throat and roars as the world erupts into flames.
He holds Ha Rib over a bottomless pit until Ha Rib gasps a desperate, “Save me!” Tae-kang laughs, snarling that living will be even worse than the pit. Ha Rib croaks, “You could sing well, too…” and Tae-kang suddenly lets go, dropping Ha Rib to the floor of the dressing room.
Tae-kang hasn’t even put down his glass of wine, ha. Ha Rib says he can’t lose his soul this way, and that now he knows why he’s felt unsettled for ten years. He promises to make Tae-kang a singer and release a number one album, and Tae-kang pretends not to care until Ha Rib asks if he plans to disappoint the fans who are still chanting his name.
Ha Rib spits out, “You’re tone-deaf!” Tae-kang glares at him dangerously, but a few minutes later, he steps onstage and begins to sing — in Ha Rib’s voice. Ha Rib is in the sound booth providing the vocals, while Tae-kang lip-syncs and basks in the fans’ adoration.
Still, Ha Rib is bitter about his voice being used, and he says he needs more time to make Tae-kang a singer. He proposes that in exchange for teaching Tae-kang to sing, he gets to live as Ha Rib and Tae-kang can have his soul when he dies a natural death. Tae-kang says that Ha Rib will no longer receive inspirations, and Ha Rib asks if that means the old man won’t visit him anymore.
He says that just once, he wants to make something that’s not stolen, but from his own soul, and he promises to fix Tae-kang’s tone-deafness in time for his world tour in three months. He pulls out his phone, which has been recording their whole conversation, and yells, “Mo Tae-kang is actually a tone-deaf devil who tried to con my soul from me!” LOL, he’s just trying everything, isn’t he.
Tae-kang says he still feels like he’s on the losing end, and in desperation, Ha Rib yelps something about stealing another soul for him. Tae-kang decides he likes that idea and gives Ha Rib three months to teach him to sing, and to find someone else to willingly sign a soul contract. In exchange, Ha Rib’s soul will be freed, and he’ll even get to continue living with all the fame and money.
Ha Rib still feels scammed, but there’s nobody to complain to. He starts eyeballing Seo-young, who because the youngest music CEO ever for discovering Ha Rib, and wonders what she’s been doing behind his back. She tells him that she took care of everything with Yi-kyung, and he asks if anyone else has accused him of plagiarizing.
Seo-young says it happens all the time and the legal team always handles it, but she orders Ha Rib to focus on his promise to write a song a month inspired by his muse, which first means finding a muse. Ha Rib pouts like a kid being lectured by his mommy, but Seo-young says they’re holding auditions soon so all he has to do is make the right choice.
On his way home, Ha Rib finds a new “bill” in his pocket for his agreement with Tae-kang, this one expiring in ninety days. He thinks about Tae-kang wanting a substitute, and decides to just do whatever he can in the three months he has.
Inside, Kang Ha hovers nervously, worried that the cops keep saying Ha Rib died. He says that Yi-kyung seemed especially worried about Ha Rib and warns him not to make her cry, stating protectively that he’s going to be her oppa from now on and getting his butt kicked all over the house by Ha Rib.
The next day at Soul Entertainment, Tae-kang thinks about how Ha Rib says he feels guilty for stealing Yi-kyung’s songs. He asks Manager Kang what it means to feel guilty, and whether he should feel guilty for taking souls. Manager Kang explains that you have to have a soul to feel guilt, ha.
When Seo-young spots (who she thinks is) Tae-kang, she braces herself, but a female idol named RA-IN gets to him first. Seo-young tries to look busy while Ra-in simpers at Tae-kang, who walks past Seo-young with just a cursory greeting, and she develops an eye twitch as he agrees to take Ra-in to dinner to talk about acting.
During the auditions, Ha Rib starts to look at the candidates as potential substitute souls to sacrifice in exchange for his own. He even asks one female singer if she wants it bad enough to sell her soul, but he snaps out of it and sends her away. He starts snoring during auditions, so Seo-young tells him to go home and she’ll stay for the last few auditions.
Ha Rib flips through the resumes to see how many are left, and he stops when he sees Yi-kyung’s resume. He asks Seo-young if this is why she’s trying to send him home, but she says that Yi-kyung won’t make the cut. Ha Rib calls Yi-kyung and orders her not to come because she won’t make it anyway, but she reassures him that she’s not planning to audition.
Tae-kang is bored silly at dinner by Ra-in’s inane baby-voiced chatter. Fed up, he taps her hand and her eyes roll back in her head. At a snap of Tae-kang’s fingers, her eyes glow white, then she starts speaking in her real voice, snarling that he’s feeding her fattening pasta and cake. Another snap and Ra-in goes back to her aegyo, and Tae-kang leaves.
In a nearby conference room, Yi-kyung dances and sings for a child’s one-year birthday party, but some of the mothers grow nervous when they recognize her as “Ashtray Girl.” After the party, the baby’s mother angrily approaches Yi-kyung, who says she wouldn’t have come if she’d known whose baby the party was for.
She turns down payment, but the mother throws the money at her feet and tells her to get lost. The baby’s grandmother gets in on it, and even shoves Yi-kyung to the floor. Yi-kyung’s eyes well up with angry tears, but a voice calls her name and she looks up to see Ha Rib approaching.
He asks if this is what she stood him up for, and he covers her with his jacket and helps her to her feet. He tosses the money at the mother and grandmother without even glancing at them, then leads her to the car as everyone watches (and Kang Ha snarls at them as he rides along).
They drive away, and from a short distance, Tae-kang looks on.
Ooooh, I love this so much already. There is nothing I enjoy more than dark humor, and in that sense, When the Devil Calls Your Name is right up my alley. The show has a very unique “feel” to it, both ominous and hilarious… I never know if the next moment will have me laughing out loud or shivering with fear. I’m relishing the devil jokes (“I was hardly even acting!”) and by the way Park Sung-woong is absolutely chewing up the role of Tae-kang, I suspect he’s having the time of his life. Jung Kyung-ho is also killing it, giving Ha Rib this interesting nervous energy that makes a lot of sense given the position he’s in. He’s recklessly brave, somehow both cowardly and yet managing to stand up to this so-called devil who came to take his soul.
I feel like Ha Rib never really took the contract seriously, and I wonder if he even believed he had a soul until he was in danger of losing it. I don’t even think that Ha Rib cares so much about music anymore, after everything he went through in his previous life. His current life revolves around money and acknowledgment, so he can’t understand where Yi-kyung is coming from when she talks about loving music. I think that Yi-kyung threw him for a serious loop when she got emotional over making music, because for him, making music has long since stopped being a source of joy (long before he ever sold his soul) and is now just something that happens to him. In fact, I’d guessed that his “inspiration” was actually stolen from others, people who used to be like himself — gifted but unappreciated. That’s how he writes so many genres, and it would also explain why his music is described as having no heart… because he’s getting the notes and words, but not the feeling that would come if he were truly inspired.
I find Tae-kang so interesting — he’s certainly a demon, though I think the devil himself as we think of it from the Christian standpoint. He identified himself as “the 49th Ryu,” and even said that he’s not a deity, which I find curious. But he’s not above things like fear — I’m still cracking up that he’s terrified of Seo-young — or pain, and he’s subject to certain universal laws. He particularly seems to be subject to cosmic balance, whether it’s distributing pain in order to raise Ha Rib from the dead, or taking talent from one person to give it to another. I’m looking forward to learning more about Tae-kang’s abilities and limitations, because in there somewhere is a loophole that could be Ha Rib’s ticket out of this conundrum.
I really like Yi-kyung as a character — she seems like a young lady with a solid head on her shoulders despite a tragic past. She knows that the dates of her and Ha Rib’s music are too close together to make either of them a plagiarist, and she doesn’t want either money or acknowledgment, she just wants him to stop looking down on her and thinking her crazy or delusional. It seems obvious that she’s going to become his muse and make music with him, and that it’s her soul he’s going to try to trade, but the fun part will be when Ha Rib starts actually caring about her and finds himself stuck in a situation where he has to choose between Yi-kyung and himself. The show tends to twist and turn in unexpected ways, so I could be way off, but I’m pretty sure that Yi-kyung is going to be Ha Rib’s ticket to keeping his soul — one way or another.
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