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Hell Is Other People: Episode 4

Hell Is Other People continues its fever dream of death and depravity as our hero makes more tallies on his ever-growing list of disturbing encounters with his neighbors. The only comfort is he’s not alone in his suspicions surrounding the residents of Eden Goshiwon… but each step they take towards the truth is also a step towards danger.

 
EPISODE 4: “Delirium”

Moon-jo chuckles bemusedly at Jong-woo’s horror as he takes a bite of the mystery meat. He asks innocently if Jong-woo thinks it’s human meat and Jong-woo quickly excuses himself, citing work the following morning. On his way back to his room, Jong-woo notes that perv Nam-bok’s door is finally shut. Back in the kitchen, Moon-jo laments that Jong-woo can’t appreciate the taste of the meat. Landlady Bok-soon tuts that Jong-woo is sensitive.

Jong-woo carefully opens his laptop and is relieved to find the dust he’d placed there still in tact. Checking the photos he’d taken, he’s satisfied that everything is just as he’d left it. Shaking off his strange encounter with Moon-jo, Jong-woo throws himself back into his writing.

Meanwhile, the twins are pulled over in their van by officer Jung-hwa. Deuk-jong immediately announces that it wasn’t 13 — in reference to his arrest over the dead cats — but Jung-hwa had only flagged them down over a broken taillight. Her eyes fall on Deuk-soo’s wrist and she recognizes his watch from the photo of the missing tenant.

Jung-hwa asks to inspect the trunk, but finds nothing save for some reddish residue Deuk-soo claims to be food waste. He notices the squad car is empty and asks Jung-hwa why she’s patrolling alone. Deuk-jong joins them and Jung-hwa nervously reaches for her baton. Luckily, her partner crawls out of the backseat just then and sleepily asks what’s going on. The twins draw back and Jung-hwa releases them.

Having just finished writing for the night, Jong-woo is about to go to bed when he hears the twins return to the goshiwon. He crawls into bed and as he stares up at the glow-in-the-dark stars pasted to the ceiling, he flashes back to his military service. As he’s patrolling, he stumbles across his aggressive superior officer, finally identified as Sergeant Jo.

A sickening squelching sound can be heard from where Sergeant Jo is crouched and as Jong-woo calls out to him, Sergeant Jo stands and turns. His face is covered in blood and he extends the human organ in his hand to Jong-woo, the image flickering to Moon-jo in the goshiwon kitchen as both men ask, “Do you want some?”

The nightmare snaps Jong-woo awake and he sits up, rubbing sleep from his eyes. Unbeknownst to him, Moon-jo is watching from the hole in the wall… and smiling.

Jung-hwa is leaving for work and her grandmother clasps her hand tightly, pleading with Jung-hwa to find her husband. Jung-hwa is shaken as she remembers the missing tenant’s wife, but then her father shuffles out into the living room and it’s clear the Grandma has dementia as she asks if he’s not going to school.

A woman cheerfully calls out to Moon-jo as he’s walking to work and asks if he’d be willing to volunteer again this weekend. Her young daughter watches Moon-jo silently from the backseat as her mother takes a call. When the call is finished, Moon-jo politely declines and bids mother and daughter farewell. As they drive away, the mother notes her daughter always clams up when Moon-jo is around and the daughter replies, “That ahjussi is scary.”

Before heading to work, himself, Jong-woo places more dust on his laptop. Out in the hall, he pauses at Ki-hyuk’s door and recalls the altercation between Ki-hyuk and Hee-joong. Jong-woo thinks that Ki-hyuk didn’t seem inclined to leave the goshiwon. He turns and jumps back to realize Nam-bok was standing behind him with a large knife in his hand.

“I’ll kill you,” Nam-bok mutters. Jong-woo blinks back and asks him to repeat himself, but Nam-bok just shuffles back into his room and slams the door. Jong-woo has to stop himself from going after Nam-bok and silently stews to himself as he leaves the building.

Jung-hwa arrives at Eden Goshiwon just as landlady Bok-soon is leaving and calls out to her. Bok-soon explains she’s on her way to volunteer and Jung-hwa guesses she must volunteer a lot. Pulling out her photo of the missing tenant, she asks Bok-soon if she recognizes him. Bok-soon identifies him as the resident that used to live in Jong-woo’s room.

Jong-woo comes down the stairs just in time to hear Bok-soon was the one to report the man missing and he frowns recalling she’d told him the man committed suicide. Bok-soon chides the police system for still not finding him and Jung-hwa says she’s doing her best. The women turn the corner to find Jong-woo feigning an untied shoe. He lies he’d forgotten something upstairs and runs off. The women part ways and Jung-hwa grumbles that she didn’t learn anything new.

As Jong-woo walks to work, Jung-hwa pulls up next to him and asks to talk. Jong-woo tries to argue, but Jung-hwa offers to drive him to work and he’s unable to think of another excuse. He tells her he’s only lived at Eden Goshiwon 4 days and then admits he overheard her conversation with the landlady. Jung-hwa sighs that no one seems to care about the missing foreigner.

Jong-woo asks if there are any other missing persons reports and tells her about Hee-joong. He adds that a detective had even come looking. She asks for the detective’s number, but Jong-woo left his business card at the office. She gives him her number and asks him to contact her before dropping him off. He rushes for the bus, unaware Bok-soon is watching from across the street.

At her own bus stop, Bok-soon is accosted by a female fortune-teller that trills she has a glowing face. The woman’s smile falters as Bok-soon continues to stare at her with a sour expression until she suddenly laughs and asks if the woman really thinks she glows. Thinking she finally caught a gullible customer, the woman suggests they go to a cafe and is thrilled when Bok-soon invites her home, instead.

Ji-eun wraps up a client meeting and texts Jong-woo since she’s nearby. He receives the message too late, panicking when he reads she’s on her way but to slow to stop her from walking into the office. She’s greeted by Jong-woo’s classmate/boss Jae-ho, who introduces her to the rest of the staff as Jong-woo’s girlfriend.

Female co-worker, Yoo-jung is clearly put-out. Jae-ho tries to get Ji-eun to stay, but she insists she just stopped to see Jong-woo. He gives Jong-woo permission to see her out and the couple leave. Jong-woo finally gets to give Ji-eun the doll he’d won at the dart game and she promises to hang it on her bag.

Ji-eun asks about Jong-woo’s deskmate, Byung-min, noting that he gave off a weird vibe. Jong-woo shrugs and sends her off in a taxi, agreeing to meet on the weekend. When he turns back, he’s startled to see Moon-jo watching from down the street. They stare at each other until a car passes between them and Moon-jo vanishes, leaving Jong-woo to wonder if he’s hallucinating.

Back in the office, Jae-ho chuckles that Ji-eun seems to be “in heat.” Jong-woo bristles and tells him not to speak about her like that. Jae-ho grows defensive and says it was only a joke, receiving affirmation from the other staff. Byung-min adds that he’d always said Jong-woo was weird.

Bok-soon makes tea for the fortune-teller and they’re joined by Deuk-jong. Bok-soon urges the woman to read Deuk-jong and she stares at him, saying, “Your ear is split in two. I see someone else.” She guesses he has a sibling and both Deuk-jong and Bok-soon croon over the woman’s ability. She adds that Deuk-jong will have an unfortunate year.

He asks if that means he has bad luck, but the woman says it’s the bad karma he’s accumulated from his sins. Deuk-jong urges her to guess the gender of his sibling and cackles when she rightly replies, “Man.” He asks next whether they’re older or younger and she weakly guesses younger. Deuk-jong squeals that she’s wrong.

The woman’s vision tilts as she realizes Bok-soon isn’t drinking any tea, herself. Attempting to excuse herself, the woman stands only to falter. Bok-soon reminds her of her prediction that there are many sick people around Bok-soon, and laughs it’s because she makes them sick. The woman begs for mercy, but Bok-soon slams her face into the table.

At the restaurant where Jong-woo and his coworkers are eating lunch, a news report plays on the TV over the discovery of body parts on the mountain. Jae-ho tries to offer Jong-woo meat, but memories of the meat Moon-jo offered the night before and his nightmare send Jong-woo running to the bathroom.

As he’s rinsing his mouth out, Byung-min bursts into the bathroom and declares he knows what kind of person Jong-woo is. He says he’d met people in the military that were nice on the surface but criticized people behind their backs. He announces Jong-woo won’t win sympathy from him with his pretty face and storms out before Jong-woo can ask what he’s talking about.

Alone in the bathroom, Jong-woo slams his fists onto the sink and seethes into the mirror. “Should I just kill him?” he growls at his reflection and Nam-bok’s image appears, replying that he should. Jong-woo returns to the others and Jae-ho wonders if the goshiwon is making Jong-woo sick. He tells the others Jong-woo’s home is really rundown and has no windows, tutting that the air can’t properly circulate.

After lunch, Jae-ho asks if Jong-woo needs to go home, but Jong-woo waves the incident off as indigestion. He requests Jae-ho stop talking about the goshiwon in front of others and Jae-ho throws a fit. He snaps at Jong-woo not to be rude, growing more angry when Jong-woo calls him “hyung” while trying to explain himself. Jae-ho barks at Jong-woo to address him professionally and Jong-woo bites his tongue as Jae-ho stomps inside.

Back at Eden Goshiwon, the fortune-teller has been tied to a chair and she watches in horror as Nam-bok sharpens a cleaver. Bok-soon chuckles when she wets herself, and then asks if the woman recognizes her now. Apparently the woman had bullied her in the past and Bok-soon cackles at the woman’s scream when she brandishes the cleaver. Bok-soon tells Nam-book to have fun while she goes back to her duties.

Jong-woo sends a picture of Detective Cha’s business card to Jung-hwa and calls her to confirm. She thanks him and asks if she can call again should she need anything. Jong-woo agrees and hangs up, jumping when Jae-ho appears behind him, questioning why he’s speaking with an officer. Waving it off as nothing, Jong-woo tries to go back inside, but Jae-ho grumbles that he still seems angry.

Jae-ho scoffs that he’s Jong-woo’s boss now, so Jong-woo should manage his emotions better. He orders Jong-woo to smile and Jong-woo’s hand shakes. Suddenly, he snaps and starts chocking Jae-ho… but it’s just another fantasy and Jae-ho says they should make things work before finally leaving the rooftop.

Jung-hwa tries calling Detective Cha, but there’s no answer so she tries his precinct. A Detective Lee answers and explains that they haven’t been able to get ahold of Detective Cha either since he’s on vacation. Jung-hwa explains she’d been hoping to talk to him since he’d gone to a goshiwon in her district to meet a man that has since gone missing. Detective Lee promises to pass on the message.

Noticing her patrol partner struggling with his fan, Jung-hwa skips over to fix it. He praises her engineering background when she quickly gets it working again. Jung-hwa brings up his background in the Criminal Division, asking what it means if a detective stops answering their phone. She explains about the missing people from Eden Goshiwon and that the detective when there and is now unresponsive.

With a sigh, her partner says Detective Cha’s probably too invested in his case, but Jung-hwa insists something feels off. He tells her to just focus on work… so Jung-hwa pulls out a bill from his wallet, claiming it her overtime pay. She pauses to tell him she joined the police force to help people and then leaves.

Jong-woo’s office is also clearing out for the evening, but Jong-woo opts to stay late and work more. As he looks over his finances, he groans to realize even with bare minimum spending, the amount he can save up per month isn’t enough to find a new place. At her own office, Ji-eun is smiling at the doll Jong-woo had given her and doesn’t hear her boss calling her name.

Her boss chides her for zoning out, meanly saying she must’ve been preoccupied thinking about dinner. She announces they’re going out drinking after work, feigning disappointment that Ji-eun can’t make it because she has a date. Ji-eun corrects that she doesn’t and is free to join them… but her boss says not to bother if she’s busy. Yikes.

Jung-hwa meets with Moon-jo for another appointment, apologizing for making him stay late for her again. She chatters that she’s been so busy lately with all the dead cats and missing people. Moon-jo asks about the cats, saying he’d read somewhere killers start with animals. Jung-hwa is surprised someone shares her theory and Moon-jo asks if she has a suspect. Jung-hwa says she doesn’t, but mutters that the people at the goshiwon seem suspicious, before catching herself.

Moon-jo excuses himself, saying he forgot her chart. In his office, however, he unplugs the security cameras. As he’s walking back to Jung-hwa, syringe in hand, she receives a call from her superior. Moon-jo continues ominously down the hallway until he hears Jung-hwa say she’s at the dentist’s office.

He hides his arm behind his back as Jung-hwa gets up to run an errand for her superior. She apologizes for leaving and he urges her to come back if she feels any more pain.

Finally walking home, Jong-woo sets out another can of cat food for the kitten, but notes with disappointment that the previous one remains untouched. He stops outside his building to call Ji-eun. She’s reluctant to answer, but her boss insists so she steps outside. She looks back as she chats to see the women looking at her and wonders if they’re gossiping.

Jong-woo repeats his spiel about how is neighbors are strange and Ji-eun sighs. She tells him he’ll only tire himself out being so sensitive about them and that he needs to be more assertive at work. She apologizes for being forceful, but Jong-woo sighs that she’s right and sends her back inside. They hang up and he enters the building.

Bok-soon greets him the second he reaches their floor and waves him inside. She fixes him some iced coffee and keeps insisting he drink up as she asks about him meeting with Jung-hwa. Jong-woo blinks back innocently and she says that a lot of renters left recently and weird rumors will make it harder to get new ones. Jong-woo just nods and excuses himself.

In the kitchen, Bok-soon chops up some meat. Moon-jo walks in and asks how Jong-woo is doing. She chuckles this isn’t her first rodeo and that the drug will kick in soon. Pausing, she asks if he plans to take care of Jong-woo tonight but Moon-jo just tells her to keep up the good work. As he’s leaving, he stops to ask why she brought the woman on the fourth floor.

Bok-soon asks if he’ll kill her for being reckless and after a tense beat, Moon-jo says of course not — she’s special. He says he trusts her and finally takes his leave. Once he’s gone, Bok-soon’s grin vanishes and she shakily drops her knife.

The drugs are taking affect on Jong-woo and he shuffles out of his room. He finds the doorways at the end of the hallway have become dead ends and turns back the other way. The voices of the other residents as well as Ji-eun and Byung-min echo eerily as he wanders back and forth. He returns to his room and finds himself sealed inside.

Meanwhile, the twins and Nam-bok wait outside with weapons and Moon-jo observes from his peephole into Jong-woo’s room. Jong-woo wonders why he feels off and then he collapses onto his bed. From his vantage point, Moon-jo chuckles wickedly.

 
COMMENTS

Unsettling. That’s really the best word for this show. Each new episode only serves to tack on more layers of mystery surrounding Eden Goshiwon… as well the body count. It’s telling that every new character introduced has me worrying for their survival. The second that fortune-teller woman zoned in on Bok-soon, I knew she wasn’t going to make it to next week. I do like how the show is working with her character, slowly revealing just how deeply she’s involved in this strange murder house. Initially, Bok-soon seemed blissfully (or more likely willfully) ignorant of the goings-on of her establishment. I’m fascinated by her dynamic with Moon-jo and am unsure whether to be comforted by the fact that she’s also fearful of him… or more terrified of Moon-jo than ever.

The scene in the dentist’s office was very tense and while Jung-hwa managed to escape none-the-wiser, she’s inadvertently landed herself squarely on Moon-jo’s murder radar. She’s easily my favorite character and I’m really rooting for her to make it to the end and bring Eden Goshiwon to justice. I wish I felt the same for Jong-woo. It’s not that I dislike him, but he doesn’t express much of himself apart from sudden flashes of extreme anger. Regardless, I am excited for this budding team forming of him and Jung-hwa. I’m glad that they each have someone who shares their suspicion because everyone else in their lives is quick to shoot down their concerns.

I’m continually stunned at Jong-woo’s ability to attract the worst people. Jae-ho is despicable and I have more trouble stomaching the thinly-veiled vitriol he spews from his mouth than any of the brutal murders committed by Jong-woo’s neighbors. He’s a bully and clearly revels in the power he now holds over Jong-woo. It makes Byung-min’s jealousy that much more annoying because Jong-woo is neither actively guilty of the things Byung-min accuses him of, nor is he reaping any benefits from the extra attention given to him by Jae-ho and their female co-worker, Yoo-jung.

We still have yet to learn why Eden Goshiwon exists as it does. It’s clear that Moon-jo is the leader, but did it start out that way or did he just take over when he moved in? How long has this been going on? Moon-jo had mentioned something about creating art, but the others seem far less interested in anything beyond eliminating those that they perceive to have slighted them. We’re about to hit the halfway mark and Jong-woo has never been more vulnerable. I’m chomping at the bit to find out what happens next!

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So far this show is a legit masterpiece among everything I have watched from Korean dramas. And if it will continue with the same quality, tension and acting it might beat my forever favorite Lee Dong Wook's noir drama "Bittersweet life"(La Donce Vita).
And what to say? I'm madly in love with LDW psycho acting. Besides him I adore acting of actor who plays twins. LJE is awesome as well. Well, this show hasn't stellar cast.

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I'd like to add that I'm rooting for policeman girl and curious how everything has started. Btw I think that Moon Jo is not only the leader, but he is sponsor of this Eden goshiwon. Apparently ahjumma doesn't get enough revenue from this business to maintain it and tenants who definitely live there for free.
I'm really curious why Moon Jo became like that. It's relatively clear with Ahjumma (she was harassed in childhood) and with twins. But Moon Jo with his scars all over his body....was he assaulted in childhood? LDW mentioned in interview that we won't feel sympathy towards his character, so most likely that's not the case.

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I agree with you.... I guess this is a revenge house not just a hell house though they are taking it to another level, either turning others like them into killers or be killed...

I wasn't sure what to expect from the show but after this episode I can see what it's driving at...

The first group is a tortured or scarred soul who couldn't overcome the beast hidden inside them eg most serial killers are not sadists to begin with, most are driven or shaped by years of traumatic past or some urges that they couldn't channel into something positive....

Another group is people like jae ha who bully and put down others coz they feel that the world owes them something. And they think they are superior to others so they set out to prove that with either verbal abuse or physical bullying.

The third group are shallow individuals... Or just vacant souls like the twins. Easily manipulated and coached

I can't quite figure out LDW yet but I think he wanna voyage into something antagonistic for a change.... And it kind of works for me coz it's so hard not to like him even though he appears to be a psychotic killer. I do wanna hate him in this role but let's see if there's a twist to all these....

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I am pleased with LDW acting. I didn’t know is he could do it but I get more creeped out with each episode. I hope he has the opportunity to push the envelope with this role.

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Your description of Jae Ha is spot on, he is awful. I dislike him more than all the other characters. It also isn't clear why he acts like that. Just gross.

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so i have spent literal hours reading the korean linetoon wiki (via google translate) and i just can't get a good grasp on the spoilers. besides the fact that jong woo is going crazy and it will lead him to fight back heavily, everything else i have no context for. not in a bad way, i just wish there was a perfect english translation so i can SPOIL myself.

anywho, whether intentional or not!!! via my lens it's about displaying aggression particularly masculine type. it's interesting how disgusting jae-ho is and lowkey i feel like this is a jab at conscription. the sense of order in the jae-ho and jong-woo relationship is really tense and disgusting but subtle. like he's.terrible.

i really enjoy this. thi is the firs time ever i have been able to sit through something with LDW not groaning and rolling my eyes cos i can't stand the way he emotes. it's almost too simple a role, but he has a certain edge to him as this psycho that is really cohesive with the show. and i think introducing lee hyun wook's character gives him a great extra layer, since they're both the 'wang nun'/'big eyes' type.

also the show is visually disgusting and it is not pleasant but it's great. the editing is definitely letting us know that this is some repetitive cycle (btw--are we just supposed to be okay with this hell? labor is misery? what happens when there are people who don't want to live in this greyness and don't see it as a weakness and human fault but a way to carry on? he and his girlfriend and really cute and it's simple moments like that that show that juxtaposition. the choice for casting im si wan on a physical level is great.) also re: editing he's not a reliable narrator but he's a fun crazy one. i find his character interesting, i'll try and pin point why exactly.

leading us to jung hwa....the best. that actress has a beautiful soft face and her voice is so melodic. ugh i'm obsessed with her

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that "your girlfriend is in heat" comment just threw me bc it's so goddamn casual but it is DISGUSTING and jong-woo's reaction was so steadfast. no faltering on whether or not that's something okay or funny to say about a woman. that whole interaction like he's so skeezy, you feel it pour off of him

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This show wants to be creepy. It does that very well. It's kind of boring by episode 4 though because it's too much about being creepy and not clever enough to be really interesting. Maybe there are too many psychos together. LDW is indeed a good choice for lunatics, and reapers, he should only play those. Main lead is also good, he is much better here than Misaeng. In fact almost the entire cast is good, maybe the weird twin is exaggerated but it's kdrama, they do that for much less reason. Nice cop is too shallow, pervert and even the dentist too, I'm getting more interested in the bad coworkers than the real killers.

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I learned a new word today from this recap.. vitriol! I'll try to use it in my writing in the near future.

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im si wan's acting is amazing! he embodies jong woo so well and makes the character seem so real. probably not the most likeable, but just very raw and human. he always has these subtle expressions that makes his acting so much more natural. i loved misaeng but didn't pay attention to his acting so i didn't know it was this good.

aside from that, the show is also doing an equally amazing job at reeling me in so far. im excited for the psychological-esque aspect because that's what it's hinting so far.

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What site are you all able to watch this drama?

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He has killer housemates but I'm more annoyed with his officemates.
I'm having Hannibal vibes in this drama.

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