Hell Is Other People: Episode 6
Tensions are on the rise and everyone seems to be at each other’s throat this hour. Our hero is taking stress from every direction and it’s only a matter of time before something has to give.
EPISODE 6: “Lost”
Jong-woo wakes up in the police station and is horrified to receive a text message from Ji-eun announcing she’s at Eden Goshiwon. Ji-eun is approached by Moon-jo and he comments that she’s as pretty as Jong-woo had described. Feeling uneasy, Ji-eun lies that Jong-woo mentioned he had nice neighbors. Moon-jo looks thoughtful and then guides her inside to wait for Jong-woo.
Jung-hwa and her partner drive Jong-woo home as he frantically tries to contact Ji-eun (whose phone has died). Meanwhile, Ji-eun makes her way up the darkened stairwell and comes away with gum stuck to her hand from the railing. Bok-soon calls out to her, guessing she’s Jong-woo’s girlfriend. Learning that Jong-woo has yet to return home, Ji-eun tries to leave but Bok-soon catches her dirty hand and drags her inside to wash it.
Arriving at the goshiwon, Jong-woo rushes upstairs, frantically shouting for Ji-eun. He panics when he hears Deuk-jeong shouting from the end of the hall… but when he bursts into the kitchen he finds Deuk-jeong and Nam-bok playing Jenga with Bok-soon and Ji-eun alive and well. She snaps at him for not answering his phone and Jong-woo tries to usher her outside to explain.
Ji-eun angrily breaks free and demands to know what his deal is while Bok-soon questions the presence of police officers Jung-hwa and her partner. Ji-eun finally allows herself to be pulled out of the room and the four of them relocate outside. Jong-woo asks why she came to his place alone after he’d warned her repeatedly how dangerous his neighbors were and Ji-eun crosses her arms.
He offers to take her home but Ji-eun pulls away and declares she’ll go alone. She snaps that his neighbors are fine and cuts off his argument by screeching he should just move out if he thinks it’s so bad. Ji-eun apologizes for the outburst but remains firm about going home alone and crawls into the patrol car. Jung-hwa promises to take her home safely and they drive off, leaving Jong-woo standing alone outside the goshiwon.
In the car, Jung-hwa says that Jong-woo was worried sick and that’s why she and her partner came with him to pick Ji-eun up. Ji-eun doesn’t respond so Jung-hwa turns to look out the window and starts when she sees Moon-jo watching them from the roof.
Jong-woo runs into Moon-jo on the stairs and dismisses his questions about the police. Moon-jo suggests they get drinks tomorrow and discuss Jong-woo’s novel. Jong-woo says he’s meeting Ji-eun and retires to his room. In his own room, Moon-jo flips through a copy of “The Metamorphis” and finds a cute picture of Jong-woo and Ji-eun. He picks up a tennis ball and whips it at the wall, as the camera pans back to reveal he’s not in his room, but a room on the 4th floor.
Bok-soon pounds on Jong-woo’s door and asks about his hangover. Ignoring Jong-woo’s protests that he’s fine, she shoves one of her tonics into his hand and watches him drain the contents. She mentions Ji-eun and Jong-woo asks her not to let Ji-eun wander around the building since only men live there. Bok-soon is offended, but Jong-woo is past the point of caring and just ushers her back into the hall and slams the door.
Later, as Jong-woo finds himself dizzily shuffling down the hallway, he wonders if Bok-soon spiked his drink. (Ya think?!) He vows to move out and his last thought before he crashes is that he shouldn’t fall asleep before Ji-eun gets home.
On their way back to the station, Jung-hwa’s partner and deskmate, Jo Hyun-ho, comments that he finds Jong-woo strange. “Do you know why people turn strange?” Jung-hwa replies, “It’s not that they’re strange to begin with, but those around them make them become that way.” She says it would be hard to remain sane when everyone around you is calling you crazy.
Hyun-ho beams when Jung-what recalls he grew up in the neighborhood, but says all he knows of Eden Goshiwon is there was a fire shortly before Jung-hwa joined the police force. He adds that Bok-soon continued to run the place after her husband died, but due to redevelopment of the neighborhood, it’s unlikely she makes money. Jung-hwa muses that every other goshiwon she’s come in contact with has an unspoken rule that residents don’t interfere with each other. Hyun-ho guesses Eden Goshiwon residents are like a family, but Jung-hwa doesn’t get familial vibes.
The twins sit at the kitchen table with Nam-bok and Deuk-soo gripes that he’s tired of just killing cats. Deuk-jeong warns him to be careful not to end up like Ki-hyuk and Deuk-soo leaves. Deuk-jeong snickers that he’ll kill “him” soon but Nam-bok knows the twins are actually intimidated. He adds that they have the advantage of numbers on their side between him and the twins, leaving out Bok-soon. Deuk-jong cackles that Bok-soon is the scariest person there.
Bok-soon checks on Moon-jo on the 4th floor, but he ignores her as he reads Jong-woo’s book. She wonders if they shouldn’t move since “flies” keep hovering. Moon-jo only pauses to say he doesn’t know what she’s talking about but Bok-soon laughs. “You know,” she says, “I raised you, so you know.” She reminds him that he failed with Ki-hyuk and Moon-jo finally gives her his full attention. He assures her he can do it this time and tells her not to worry as he stalks off down the hall. Bok-soon says she’s not worried, “I can kill them all if you fail, I have no worries.”
Jong-woo wakes up to the sound of Ji-eun calling for him. He follows the noise of laughter to the kitchen and finds her sitting at the table playing with Bok-soon, the twins, and Nam-bok. Jong-woo shouts that he’d warned her not to come here, freezing when Bok-soon trills “She’s dead.” Blood drips onto the floor and when Ji-eun turns to look at him, she’s crying blood.
Waking up for real, Jong-woo sighs that he’s had another nightmare. He shuffles into the kitchen for some water and sighs when Nam-bok walks in behind him. Jong-woo demands whether he has something to say and Nam-bok smiles back before belching loudly. Rolling his eyes, Jong-woo starts to leave and Nam-bok laughs that he need only ask and Nam-bok will gladly kill him in a heartbeat.
Enraged, Jong-woo snatches his arm and dares Nam-bok to kill him. Nam-bok continues to laugh as he raises his fist, but he just walks away as Jong-woo growls that he’s not scared. Hearing the noise, Deuk-jeong steps out to ask what’s going on. Jong-woo barks at him to shut up, but Deuk-jeong doesn’t take kindly to being called a lunatic and is just about to attack with the coat hanger in his hand before his brother rushes between the two, his eyes darting nervously toward the figure just outside the door.
Moon-jo steps into the light and suggests they have a chat since yelling hasn’t seemed to solve anything. Deuk-soo says it isn’t fun anymore and everyone is getting frustrated. Cocking his head, Moon-jo says his strange words are what’s creeping Jong-woo out. Deuk-soo retorts that Moon-jo is the weird one. “I smiled and spoke to you nicely,” Moon-jo’s tone is level and cold, “Do you think I’m a joke?”
Deuk-soo averts his gaze and Deuk-jeong breaks the tension by asking Moon-jo not to get mad and urging his brother to apologizes. Deuk-soo weakly mutters an apology and scurries away. Moon-jo takes Jong-woo up to the roof to talk, but when they get there, he says it was just an excuse to break up the argument. He questions why Jong-woo was so upset downstairs and Jong-woo tells him about Nam-bok’s death threats.
Moon-jo nods, agreeing that Nam-bok is strange. He says he’d heard from Bok-soon that Nam-bok’s business in China had failed. However, he thinks Nam-bok is particularly upset with Jong-woo because of his drunken outbursts last night. Jong-woo doesn’t know what he’s talking about and Moon-jo explains that Jong-woo was screaming and cursing in the hall last night, pounding on everyone’s door.
Jong-woo is unconvinced so Moon-jo suggests he check the CCTV footage. As Jong-woo leaves to do so, Moon-jo praises him for expressing his frustration rather than bottling it up. Moon-jo leaves to let him calm down and Jong-woo receives a text from Ji-eun saying they’ll have to meet in the evening instead.
Downstairs, Jong-woo asks for Bok-soon to show him the footage of his supposed rampage last night. He frowns as the footage shows him picking a fight with Nam-bok. A flashback shows Jong-woo slurring at Nam-bok to live like a human being. Deuk-jeong comes out to tell them to quiet down, retreating into his room when Jong-woo stumbles towards him. Bok-soon, who’d been watching the exchange, finally shouts at Jong-woo to settle down.
Coming back towards them, Jong-woo screams at Nam-bok not to smile, finally rousing Moon-jo from his room. Moon-jo puts a hand on his shoulder, and Jong-woo flings it off. Rounding on Moon-jo, Jong-woo sneers, “You know what? Out of all the people here, you’re the creepiest.” Moon-jo simply smiles that Jong-woo is very angry.
In the present, Bok-soon laughs the incident off as just how men behave when they’re drunk. To Jong-woo, however, Moon-jo’s words on the roof take on a whole new meaning. Alarmed, he asks Bok-soon if he can get half of his rent back if he were to need to move out. She wonders why he’d want to leave and Jong-woo starts use the commute to work as an excuse, but waves it off and leaves.
At work, Ji-eun thinks back to the night before. She’d returned home to find Jae-ho still waiting for her. He’d said he was worried about her (and Jong-woo, after Ji-eun looks confused). She had sighed that Jong-woo was having a hard time adjusting and Jae-ho agreed that Jong-woo kept getting into fights, suggesting he was the one that started the bar brawl that night, instead of Jae-ho.
Ji-eun thanked him for looking out for Jong-woo and Jae-ho pouted that Jong-woo kept picking fights at work too. Ji-eun assured him Jong-woo would get better and Jae-ho asked if she was busy the next day. Ji-eun replied she had a date with Jong-woo, so he asked to meet the following day to continue their talk. Ji-eun agreed to bring Jong-woo, but Jae-ho suggested they just keep it between them.
She’s drawn back to the present when Manager Han announces she’s leaving for a meeting. She asks if Ji-eun has set her up with Jae-ho yet and Ji-eun fibs that he’s busy. Manager Han smiles coyly, still convinced Ji-eun is two-timing Jong-woo.
At home, Jung-hwa asks Grandma what her grandfather was like. Grandma says that he was always kind. “As long as you believe someone is nice and kind, then that person will be nicer and kinder than you believe,” Grandma says, “That’s what he told me.”
Jong-woo is annoyed to step in yet another wad of gum at the goshiwon and his mood only sours further when he realizes Nam-bok has resumed leaving his door open. He peers inside and for the first time takes notice of Nam-bok’s house arrest anklet. Grimacing, he thinks that he really wants to leave this place.
Back at Jung-hwa’s, she’s watching the weird orphanage footage she’d gotten from the twins’ uncle. She vaguely explains her concerns about all the disappearances surrounding Eden Goshiwon to her father (who we see from photos on the mantle, was also a police officer). Dad just tuts at her to mind her own business, but when Jung-hwa pouts that he’s unhelpful, Dad tells her it’s unlikely it’s the work of just one person.
That perks Jung-hwa up and Dad explains that goshiwons are full of CCTVs and people, making it difficult to commit crimes unnoticed. More likely, there’s a leader who’s pulling all the strings and delegating work to the subordinates. They both look down at the footage on Jung-hwa’s computer screen of Bok-soon. Dad wonders if it’s her, but Jung-hwa recalls Moon-jo watching her from the roof and thinks it’s possibly someone else.
Jong-woo goes apartment hunting again, but his financial situation remains unchanged leaving him unable to put down a deposit. At one building, a young man conspiratorially urges him not to take a room there, saying an old man died in the room being rented. Jong-woo just wonders if that would lower the price. Ha!
Nam-bok clambers down the stairs and sticks another wad of gum in the stairwell on his way out. Meanwhile, Jung-hwa is out with her father and asks his opinion on a shade of lipstick. Dad groans that they’re all the same and they bicker until Jung-hwa catches a glimpse of Moon-jo and freezes. Dad asks what’s the matter and Jung-hwa says she though she’d seen her dentist. Dad just assumes she likes him and picks out a shade that suits her before ushering her out of the store.
Sitting dejectedly on a bench, Jong-woo considers asking Jae-ho for an advance… but quickly dismisses the idea when he realizes taxes wouldn’t leave enough. He overhears a nearby couple gossiping about the boyfriend of a friend who lives in a rented home. They remark he should be ashamed to date but grow uncomfortable and leave when they notice Jung-woo glaring at them. Heh.
As he watches them go, Jong-woo is startled to catch sight of Moon-jo. He vanishes almost as quickly as he’d appeared, leaving Jong-woo visibly shaken. Jung-hwa exits a nearby shop and notices Jong-woo, but says nothing as Dad joins her and they leave. Ji-eun joins Jong-woo, but her initial concern over his distress turns to annoyance when he says he’d seen Moon-jo.
She snaps that perhaps Moon-jo is also out to see a movie. Or that it was just someone that looked similar. Jong-woo tries to explain he’d seen Moon-jo the previous night near his work and fears Moon-jo is stalking him, but Ji-eun isn’t listening. Thinking of the couple’s comments, Jong-woo asks if Ji-eun also thinks he’s a loser. She scoffs and storms off, pausing only briefly when Jong-woo calls out that she only listens to what she wants to hear.
Jung-hwa gets a call from Hyun-ho, reporting what he’d found on Bok-soon. Records indicate she’d been married and widowed twice and has no children. Both husbands and her parents died in accidents and Bok-soon was the sole beneficiary. She’d opened an orphanage with that money, but had fire insurance so she was paid again when it burned down. Hyun-ho thinks they should pass the case to the criminal division, but Jung-hwa sighs that it’s only suspicion right now.
Jong-woo buys a knife at the convenience store on the way home. The goshiwon is eerily quiet when he arrives and he walks cautiously down the hall, hand on the knife in his bag. He makes it into his room without issue, but sometime later there’s a knock on his door. The voice isn’t one he recognizes and the young man introduces himself as a new tenant (living in Hee-joong’s old room).
Opening the door just a crack, Jong-woo peers out at the young man, KANG SEOK-YOON, knife gripped tightly in the hand behind his back. Seok-yoon asks to borrow a charger and Jong-woo comes back with one moments later. Seok-yoon thanks him profusely, but when he returns to his room, we see he already has his phone plugged into his own charger… Hmm…
Nam-bok and the twins scrub down the murder room on the 4th floor and Deuk-soo gripes that they always have cleanup duty. While moving the body, it falls heavily on Deuk-soo’s foot, the sound reverberating down to Jong-woo below. The others warn Deuk-soo to be quiet and he blows up at the idea that they need to tiptoe around Jong-woo.
Deuk-soo argues they can just get rid of Jong-woo if he finds out. Nam-bok tries to call his bluff, but Deuk-soo vows to show them. Jong-woo, on the other hand, races upstairs — knife in hand — to inspect the noise. The trio hear him call out down the hall and Deuk-soo grabs a knife and storms out to take Jong-woo on.
Jong-woo’s phone rings and he answers a call from his mother as Deuk-soo opens the door and disappears into the hallway. Nam-bok and Deuk-jeong wait with bated breath until the doorknob twists again and Deuk-soo returns. Meanwhile, Jong-woo steps out into the stairwell to talk to his mom. Deuk-soo stomps over to a chair and plops down.
Blood spills out of his mouth and a cut in his neck and he barely eeks out “That jerk,” before collapsing to the floor. Jong-woo shakily greets his mother as he makes his way back downstairs, passing Bok-soon on her way up. Back on the 4th floor, Moon-jo shuffles in to join Nam-bok and Deuk-jeong standing over Deuk-soo’s body.
Gripping a scalpel in his hand, he looks up with sheer crazy in his eyes. Deuk-jeong averts his gaze as Moon-jo says being quiet is a must at a goshiwon. “I love what I do,” Moon-jo warns, “So if anyone tries to interfere with my work, I won’t stand still, okay?” Bok-soon joins them and nods that Deuk-soo has gone to paradise ahead of them. Moon-jo leans close to Deuk-jeong and asks if he’ll listen. Through tears, Deuk-jeong swears that he loves this job.
Jong-woo’s mother tells him she had an ominous dream about him and warns him to be wary of others. He tells her not to worry and Mom says he’ll always be her child. They hang up and Jong-woo looks back towards the 4th floor, checking the knife in his pocket. He decides to leave it be and goes to bed.
In the middle of the night, Jong-woo wakes up and once again finds the door to room 305 (belonging to Moon-jo) ajar. He pushes the door open and stumbles back to see someone sitting at the desk, the walls painted with blood. Jong-woo demands who the figure is and takes another step back when it turns and he’s looking at himself. Dream Jong-woo calmly tells him to run and when he just continues to stand there, the apparition starts to laugh.
I think the last few minutes is consistently the best part of each episode and Jong-woo’s freaky dreams are only escalating in the freaky factor. As Jong-woo pointed out, he’s had nightmares every night since moving into the goshiwon and while some are chemically induced by whatever weird stuff Bok-soon likes to slip into the drinks she gives him, that’s not the case every night. While the dreams most often are tinged with Jong-woo’s PTSD from his military service, most of it is directly influenced from the unease he feels around his fellow residents. It would be enough to drive anyone up the wall, but as Jung-hwa pointed out to police puppy Hyun-ho, the thing that’s really pushing Jong-woo over the edge is everyone around him dismissing his valid concerns.
While the other Eden Goshiwon members have motives in gas-lighting Jong-woo, the fact that he is repeatedly rebuffed by Ji-eun is taking it’s toll. I’ve tried very hard to cut her slack and like her, but she makes it damn hard when she won’t even entertain the idea that Jong-woo might be right about his creepy neighbors. It doesn’t help that she continues to interact with Jae-ho in a way that just seems inappropriate, even if she technically isn’t doing anything wrong. He’s manipulative, sure, but it irks me how readily she believes his side of the story without even discussing it with Jong-woo.
Jong-woo, on the other hand, has finally hit Hee-joong’s level of paranoia. Although, can you call it paranoia when people really are out to get you? Either way, I’m interested to see how things go with this new tenant. Not sure what his deal is with his notebook and faking a need for a charger. Surely he’s here with ulterior motives, which is comforting because that gives him an edge on everyone that stumbled in there blindly and paid with their life. Hopefully he’ll turn out to be an ally for Jong-woo and Jung-hwa because they’re gonna need all the help they can get to bring down the murder cult. Although, if Moon-jo keeps killing off the members, maybe they’ll self-destruct all on their own. I wasn’t really surprised to see Deuk-soo go, he’d been very vocal about his dissatisfaction with the current hierarchy for a while and at least now there’s just one twin running around to keep track of.
I’m still waiting to get my answers about Moon-jo, Bok-soon, and co. We learned this episode that she raised Moon-jo so presumably he was also at the orphanage with the twins? The twins’ uncle said they were abnormal before he sent them to Bok-soon but I wonder how twisted Moon-jo was before he got to her… or if she twisted him. It’s the age old question, “Are monsters born, or made?” and honestly I’ve always found the psychology of that fascinating. I get the feeling Bok-soon is afraid of Moon-jo but Deuk-jeong had said that she was the scariest person among them. Moon-jo doesn’t fear her, but he at least seems to listen to her to a degree and that’s enough to send chills down anyone’s spine.
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