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Average user rating 4.4
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Hell Is Other People: Episode 8

Our hero has hit his breaking point, but the time has come to make a choice. A homicidal maniac has extended his hand and it’s up to Jong-woo whether to take it, fight back, or run. Unfortunately, time is running short and his life isn’t the only one on the line.

 
EPISODE 8: “Voices That Choke Me”

Moon-jo finds Jong-woo bleeding and barely conscious after brutally beating a group of teens that tried to jump him. He assures Jong-woo he’ll take care of him and the scene briefly shifts back to Moon-jo greeting Ki-hyuk for the first time after Ki-kyuk moved into Eden Goshiwon.

Jong-woo wakes up strapped to the operating chair in Moon-jo’s dentist office as Moon-jo stitches him up. He asks who Moon-jo is and Moon-jo wonders who Jong-woo thinks he is — a dentist living in a goshiwon or a serial killer from a crime novel. He says he can be whatever Jong-woo wishes and once more we flashback to Moon-jo speaking with Ki-hyuk, who demands to know what Moon-jo wants.

Moon-jo blithely replies he’d overheard Ki-hyuk’s phone conversation the night before, sympathizing with his circumstances. Ki-hyuk bristles, but Moon-jo just continues that the walls are thin. Leaning forward, he tells Ki-hyuk that their eyes are similar and that he knows Ki-hyuk well. The memory blends with Moon-jo’s first conversation with Jong-woo as he tells both men, “I dissect… and I reassemble. Then I recreate.”

The lights flicker in the kitchen where Moon-jo sits with Ki-hyuk and when they come back, the rest of the Eden Goshiwon residents are standing behind Moon-jo, smiling. He tells Ki-hyuk not to worry, “Honey, I’ll make you into a new person.”

Back to the present, it seems Moon-jo just finished delivering the same spiel to Jong-woo because Jong-woo asks if Moon-jo thinks it’s fun doing this to him. Moon-jo laughs and promises to make Jong-woo special.

Jung-hwa studies CCTV footage of Eden Goshiwon as she and maknae cop Hyun-ho patrol the neighborhood. Hyun-ho asks after her father, revealing that Dad used to star on a true crime program. He’s crushed to learn that the show was almost entirely scripted and dad is nothing like the “character” he played. Hyun-ho pouts that his favorite line, “If something smells fishy, run with your own feet,” wasn’t Dad’s original words but the phrase gives Jung-hwa an idea and she makes him turn the car around.

The arrive outside Eden Goshiwon and Jung-hwa explains that the footage she’d been watching (which came from a nearby convenience store) showed Detective Cha’s car drove up to Eden Goshiwon at around 11. He’d left the goshiwon at 11:30, but his car didn’t drive away until midnight. She surveys the area and checks the drains, finding one of the syringes that Moon-jo had dropped that night before killing Ki-hyuk.

Another patrol car pulls up to Moon-jo’s dentist office after a report from neighbors about the teenagers Jong-woo had beaten. Jung-hwa returns to the station to find him sitting next to an officer, spaced out and refusing to speak while the mothers of the boys curse at him. Moon-jo arrives at the station and offers to pay the women whatever they’d like, and they immediately settle down.

Jong-woo is on the verge of tears when he and Moon-jo finally leave the station. Jung-hwa eyes Moon-jo suspiciously as she returns Jong-woo’s id and urges him to call her if he needs her. As he shuffles behind Moon-jo on their way home, Jong-woo suddenly stops. Moon-jo questions him and Jong-woo says whatever Moon-jo’s deal is, it doesn’t involve him and he doesn’t care.

He promises to move out tomorrow and pay Moon-jo back the settlement money, begging Moon-jo to leave him alone. Moon-jo reaches out and touches Jong-woo’s throat, indicating the uvula and commenting that he loves seeing it in other people’s mouths. “Don’t hide anything from me from now on,” Moon-jo says, “Okay?”

Jung-hwa calls Detective Cha’s division to say she thinks Detective Cha may have been kidnapped or killed. She starts to explain that she’d found something where he was last seen, but they tell her CCTV footage had recorded him in the mountains around midnight. They’re further unimpressed when she admits she doesn’t have any evidence the syringe was used on Detective Cha.

Arriving at Eden Goshiwon, Moon-jo sends Jong-woo in alone, saying he wants to smoke first. Jong-woo silently complies, thinking that now is the time to run. Before he can, however, Seok-yoon runs out to him and reports that he’d noticed the 4th floor reeks of blood. He trails off when he notices Jong-woo’s bloody face, but Jong-woo just mumbles that he fell and they go inside.

Jong-woo stands outside his door, keys in hand but making no moves to open it. Seok-yoon offers to get beer, but Jong-woo says he just wants to sleep. He finally opens the door and recoils to find the body of the kitten he’d fed on his desk. Seok-yoon rushes over at the sound of Jong-woo’s panic attack, but upon investigation, the “cat” is just Jong-woo’s shirt. That night, Jong-woo huddles on his bed, hands pressed against his ears as he tries to ignore the voices of his neighbors, Ji-eun, Byung-min, and Moon-jo echoing in his head.

Jung-hwa walks around the neighborhood and finds the CCTV mentioned by Detective Cha’s division. Watching the footage, however, she notices Detective Cha’s car going up the mountain, but never coming back down despite there only being one road.

Byung-min arrives at the office the next day to find the shattered remains of his keyboard. He immediately accuses Jong-woo, but Jong-woo just stares blankly at his dark computer screen until Byung-min kicks his seat. Byung-min grumbles about Jong-woo as he digs through his bag, not noticing Jong-woo calmly stand and grab a mug before breaking it on Byung-min’s head.

Then, Jong-woo grabs the keyboard and starts hitting Byung-min with it until Jae-ho and Sang-man arrive and pull him off. Afterwards, Jae-ho brings Jong-woo into his office and says that Byung-min has to stay at the hospital, but his injuries are minor. He asks what’s gotten into Jong-woo, saying he wasn’t violent in the past.

Jae-ho finally notices the cuts on Jong-woo’s face and blood on his shirt. Jong-woo lies that he fell down the stairs but Jae-ho isn’t fooled. He again asks what’s wrong and points out Jong-woo even fought with Ji-eun. Jong-woo’s eyes snap up and Jae-ho shrinks back as Jong-woo demands why he’d met with Ji-eun. “You need to get your act straight unless you want to die,” Jong-woo tells him before standing and walking out of the building.

Jong-woo wonders whether it’s the goshiwon, his coworkers, or just who he really is, realizing he doesn’t know who he is anymore. Sitting in the park, Jong-woo thinks back to his attack on Byung-min and his face breaks out into a grin as he echoes the words he’d said after his fight in the military, “I should have just killed him.”

Jung-hwa takes the afternoon off to have the syringe examined. Unfortunately, there were no fingerprints, but the lab tech did find DNA. She says it didn’t belong to Detective Cha, but the fluid in the needle was a local anesthetic commonly used in dental offices. The woman asks why Jung-hwa is risking being disciplined and Jung-hwa explains about the dead cats and missing people.

She says that she’d initially suspected Deuk-jeong, but the more she’d dug into it the more the entire goshiwon seemed suspicious. The lab tech suggests Jung-hwa hand the case over to a detective, but Jung-hwa says there’s no time.

Reporter Jo visits Byung-min in the hospital and asks about the incident. Byung-min says Jong-woo is a psycho and that he would’ve died if not for Jae-ho. As he’s leaving, Reporter Jo calls Jae-ho to meet and says he’ll wait at the office. Meanwhile, Jae-ho heads over to Eden Goshiwon to see Jong-woo. Jong-woo asks how he’d found him and glares when Jae-ho says Ji-eun told him.

Jae-ho suggests they go for drinks to clear up their misunderstandings and Jong-woo accuses him of meeting Ji-eun behind his back. Jae-ho lies that Ji-eun hadn’t wanted to tell Jong-woo and calls Jong-woo selfish for not understanding her feelings. He drags Jong-woo to a bar and tries to give him a new shirt, but Jong-woo ignores him.

Jae-ho asks about the incident, but gets no response so he launches into a speech about how Jong-woo needs to watch his attitude. Ji-eun arrives and Jae-ho says he’d called her because Jong-woo wouldn’t believe him. She sits down and Jae-ho declares Jong-woo is small-minded, which sets Jong-woo off again.

He asks if Jae-ho has a death wish and Jae-ho chides him for letting his temper get the better of him when everyone struggles. Jong-woo argues that Jae-ho can’t talk since he grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. Jae-ho takes it as an inferiority complex and scoffs that Jong-woo is worried he’ll steal Ji-eun because he’s better.

Ji-eun finally tells him to be quiet, but Jong-woo grabs a bottle and she has to hold him back to stop him from bashing it in Jae-ho’s head. He freezes when Moon-jo enters the bar and shrinks back in fear as Moon-jo joins them. Jong-woo finally lets Ji-eun take the bottle as Jae-ho bickers with Moon-jo. He clarifies that he’s Jong-woo’s boss and Moon-jo muses that’s why he’s so conceited.

Turning back to Jong-woo, Moon-jo says that he understands that living in a tiny room makes one feel alone. “But if the people closest to you don’t know how you feel,” Moon-jo continues, “you know very well what that’s like, Jong-woo.” Jae-ho tries to interrupt and Moon-jo calls him out for faking concern when he’s only after Jong-woo’s cheap labor and Ji-eun.

Moon-jo laughs at Jae-ho’s attempt to look brave because Ji-eun is present and Jong-woo urges him to come outside. On the sidewalk, Jong-woo decides not to ask why Moon-jo keeps following him, instead begging Moon-jo to keep quiet. With a smile, Moon-jo says he can’t because once he bites, he never lets go.

Jae-ho steps outside as well and Moon-jo admits he’d seen the way Jong-woo had wanted to kill Jae-ho the night Ji-eun got out of his car. He whispers to Jong-woo to act on his desires because that’s his true self and then walks away. Jae-ho walks over and tells Jong-woo to go back to his family home, offering him money to sleep at a motel tonight and promising to wire his paycheck and extra.

Jong-woo just tells Jae-ho to watch his back, but Jae-ho takes it as a threat. He advances on Jong-woo, backing off only when Ji-eun runs over. As Jae-ho drives off, Jong-woo shakily tells Ji-eun he really meant it and that Jae-ho needs to be wary of Moon-jo.

In a taxi, Jong-woo tells Ji-eun he’s going back home tomorrow, and has no intention of returning to the goshiwon for his things. She guesses that Moon-jo upset him, noting that Jong-woo’s entire demeanor changed when he’d arrived. Jong-woo just starts sobbing as he tells her, “He’s a really frightening man.”

Reporter Jo lets himself into the office and sits at Jae-ho’s desk. Meanwhile, Jong-woo sets up in a motel, realizing that the fear follows everywhere he goes. At the same time, Jae-ho gets into an elevator and spies Moon-jo standing outside as the elevator doors close. Hearing an elevator ding, Jong-woo peers anxiously into the hallway, jumping when he hears a sound, but it’s only Ji-eun turning on the TV in their room.

Jae-ho lets himself into his office, not noticing the gloved hand that catches the door just before it closes behind him. He turns when he hears footsteps and Moon-jo jabs a syringe in his neck as Reporter Jo dives under the desk. Moon-jo tells Jae-ho he usually isn’t so impulsive but Jong-woo is special to him. He then lifts a statue off a nearby table and bludgeons Jae-ho with it repeatedly.

When he’s finished, he notices Jae-ho has received a text from Ji-eun and replies, asking where she and Jong-woo are. Ji-eun is led to believe Jae-ho wants to apologize in person, but thankfully she turns him down because Jong-woo is sleeping. Moon-jo pockets the phone and calls Deuk-jeong to clean up the mess.

Reporter Jo crawls out from under the desk and follows Moon-jo to Eden Goshiwon. He calls someone, saying he’s got a scoop and he’ll be in touch. When he turns back, Deuk-jeong is pointing his toy gun in Reporter Jo’s face. He asks if Reporter Jo has an interesting story and although Reporter Jo denies it, Deuk-jeong stops him and asks if he’s sure.

Afterwards, Deuk-jeong meets Moon-jo on the staircase. Moon-jo says he’d ordered Deuk-jeong to clean up and Deuk-jeong asks if that’s his job. Moon-jo sighs that Deuk-jeong isn’t enjoying it, he’s just scared. He tells Deuk-jeong to do as he says if he wants to stay and Deuk-jeong laughs that he was only kidding.

Seok-yoon finds Jong-woo’s book (the one Moon-jo had taken) on the kitchen table. Moon-jo walks in and says Jong-woo lent him the book and offers Seok-yoon a beer. He fetches some of Bok-soon’s mystery meat from the fridge and offers it while they drink. Seok-yoon eats hungrily, although he notes the taste is unique.

He freezes when Moon-jo says it’s human meat, but laughs along when Moon-jo says it was just a joke. Moon-jo notes that Seok-yoon seems close with Jong-woo. Seok-yoon confirms it and catches himself just as he adds that the residents seem to bother Jong-woo. Moon-jo assures him he can speak freely, saying he’d felt the same when he moved in.

Seok-yoon observes that Moon-jo doesn’t look like someone that would live at a goshiwon, wondering if he’s perhaps an artist. Deuk-jeong and Nam-bok join them and repeat the human meat joke. Moon-jo says he does that to everyone that moves in. They offer Seok-yoon more, but he declines and leaves.

Rather than his room, he goes to the roof and tries to call Jong-woo, but there’s no answer. On the way back down, he pauses at the 4th floor and listens at the door. He recalls discussing it with Jong-woo and then sneaks inside. He explores a bit before the door at the end opens and he just manages to dart through an open door to avoid being seen by Deuk-jeong and Nam-bok as they cart something down the hall.

They leave and he starts to tiptoe out when he hears thumping behind him and turns to see Moon-jo standing there, bouncing his tennis ball. “I need you to vacate your room,” Moon-jo tells him. Behind him, Deuk-jeong and Nam-bok reappear, wondering how many bags Seok-yoon will take up. Moon-jo throws his ball at Seok-yoon and declares it’s time to work before advancing on him with a hammer.

 
COMMENTS

Oooookay, when I said I wanted Jae-ho and Byung-min to get a little comeuppance, I was thinking more along the lines of Jong-woo finally telling them to piss off… not for them to end up in the hospital or dead. Even so, I can’t say I feel bad for either. Byung-min is happy to take the beating as justification for him disliking Jong-woo from the start, and I’m certainly not gonna miss Jae-ho. It was so satisfying to see the fear in his eyes when Jong-woo pushed back and for Moon-jo to put him in his place at the bar, even if he terrified Jong-woo in the process.

For all his pent up rage and homicidal fantasies, Jong-woo spent nearly the entire hour petrified by dread. It’s not unjustified, as Moon-jo is chilling and Lee Dong-wook is absolutely slaying this performance (hehe, pun intended). The juxtaposition of Jong-woo’s dismissal and derision towards the tenants in the beginning compared to his whimpering fear of them now is startling. And I don’t know about y’all, but Im Shi-wan’s pouting was very distracting when the mood is supposed to be tense and ominous!

Moon-jo’s obsession with Jong-woo is so bizarre and as we only have one week left, I’m hoping we’ll finally delve into what the crap is actually going on at Eden Goshiwon. From what we’ve seen, Moon-jo seems to be cultivating killers, but he’s looking for something specific. Something he’d thought he’d found in Ki-hyuk, only to be disappointed when he went rogue, and now thinks he’s found in Jong-woo. Seeing Ki-hyuk’s initial reaction to the goshiwon, I find it different from what I’d imagined. He seemed just as wary as Jong-woo and yet by the time Jong-woo arrived, he was striving to be Moon-jo’s mini-me.

I’m dying to know what changed. Did he try to run like Jong-woo? Is that why Moon-jo is unperturbed that Jong-woo doesn’t seem remotely willing to join the murder cult? With one week remaining, I’m hoping we’ll finally get some answers. What brought these people together and why are they so hellbent on killing people? Or perhaps more than the killing, it’s the fear they thrive on? All we know for sure, is they have no intention of stopping.

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Thanks for your review. I suspected Seo yoo had to take the charger because it was his only little ability to have power over something or someone in this evil world. In the dog-eat-dog world of this Gothamized Seoul, every little thing is about power. Even opening a colleague's drawer.

Moonjo's need for jong woo would be pitiful if our bro-would-be best friend weren't so dang homicidal. There is a neediness to him, for a likeminded friend and equal. No one else matches his soul, he thinks, as much as our hero. When Seok yoo popped up, i thought he would be a foil for jong woo, someone who would perhaps show the audience how a person could transform into pure evil. But maybe seok yoo wasn't pure enough to be a foil. Moon jo was probably good once. I'm not sure if it was landlady who turned him evil or what. When Seok yoo died, much of my hope of him becoming homicidal "instead of" jong woo died. I had wanted someone else to do that so Jong woo would be the truest surviving hero, someone who went through all hell and remained strong. Now, i'm not so sure. Writer-nim, do not get nihilistic on me. Also, remaining twin and landlady are both holding in their grief pretty well. I kinda think though that our dentist better not grieve them any more.

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i THINK what will happen is him just having to kill in self-defense. typical hororr type of thing, if you don't give in somene has to die. 'get out' 'the invitation' 'midsommar' 'us' are good examples (and def the last two the writers took inspo from to build on the webcomic....actually even 'white christmas' has the idea of pushed to the moral limit but what path will you take) let's hope he can live through it

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I just want Jong Woo not to fall prey to Eden goshiwon's trap, and not to become insane like all of them. I have a feeling that that is a possible ending to the drama though, that Jong Woo eventually goes crazy. Which is a pretty sad end to his tale, especially since we have only seen him struggling thus far. I don't necessarily think he is innately violent because he seems quite caring and protective to those around him, but it's his circumstances that just trap and produce a beast in him. I looked up briefly on the book that Jong Woo lent Moon-jo, 'The Metamorphosis', and in short its theme is about being in a place where no one understands you, which is similar to Jong Woo's predicament, where the only person that kind of trusts him is the police officer. What the main message this drama is trying to convey is still uncertain so I'm definitely curious to see how this drama ends.

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Feeling like a cockroach in the world is a horrible feeling and no doubt a lot of people in large cities feel this. hopefully, this drama will make a few people in korea understand the importance of therapy since therapy is not so common there.

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On the subject of goshiwons: Asianboss published the following story of one young man's life in such a small living space.

Here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YWRPWDqzVg

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is ki hyuk real? that's what i wanna know tbh

agree with your assessment! honestly i was shocked at him going HAM at byung-min lmao. i didn't care cos eff him but damn.

i'm not sure what thte show is trying to convey in its message and i won't be sure until we figure out the end. the webcomic is satire and a criticism of society and obvs the drama mirrors that. but i guess since i cannot figure out the ending of the webcomic, what do i know.

the point of 'no exit' by sartre isn't nihilism btu reflection. reflection of the self on the self, others to the self, and judgement. i don't like the book but it philosophizes life in true existential fashion. i suffer from a lot of anxiety surrounding my existence and it's an unanswerable question.

here is a good explanation by sartre himself
"Hell is other people" has always been misunderstood. It has been thought that what I meant by that was that our relations with other people are always poisoned, that they are invariably hellish relations. But what I really mean is something totally different. I mean that if relations with someone else are twisted, vitiated, then that other person can only be hell. Why? Because … when we think about ourselves, when we try to know ourselves … we use the knowledge of us which other people already have. We judge ourselves with the means other people have and have given us for judging ourselves.

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im si-wan is toooo cute. honestly his face messed me up at the end. because that's the face i have when im so so so so SO SO SO upset and so anxious i cannot believe i'm in the predicament i am. it was actually ridiculous but i felt so bad for him. he was scared shitless. i would be too.

i don't feel as if he has been swayed one way or another. his personality remains but he must adapt to the situation. but i also don't believe you can make killers, per se. his life or self didn't turn into a monster due to other conditions, but he was put in a position (conscription) where he risked his mental wellbeing (because it's enforced...) and came out with very little support.

and on the topic why he never moved, that's a great heavy question that is such a big part of the story. why the hell is there no other place for this kid to live? why is it so common to be isolated in a shitty place like that? like as a community, wtf is going on where people can't afford to live and they struggle they have to literally live in a dorm as an alternative to....being homeless. where could he go that he could afford? living in general is hard but being in a city and suffering can be such a huge depressant.

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There was one scene where im si wan's face almost broke my heart. The sorrow and the helplessness in it, as if he was on the point of breaking apart.

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he made me feel so bad for him throughout the show. i know some people didn't really like him but i was on his side since the start. that's why it's so scary to see him slowly start to lose his sanity. also, can you believe he is 30?? that's more insane.

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HE LOOKS LIKE A BABY

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"and on the topic why he never moved, that's a great heavy question that is such a big part of the story. why the hell is there no other place for this kid to live?"

This is such a good question. From a very practical, story-point-of-view, I guess we would have no show. LOL

But all joke on the side, I do wonder why as well. The question can be broadened: why do people not leave any terrible situation, be it a job, a relationship, or a living arrangement? I know from my own experience that I've stuck with uncomfortable situations and academic programs that were not good for me simply because I did not want to leave what I knew (bad as it was) for the unknown. I did not want to have to start from scratch some other place. I don't like change unless there is no other choice.

In Jong-woo's case, he realizes that the hell follows him wherever he goes. It is not contained in one place. At least, that is the realization he comes to once he finally steps temporarily out of the goshiwon.

Why didn't he just leave? Who knows. What is known is that he does not have a support network in his new environment.

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agree wholeheartedly! that's a good point btw about realizing it isnt just this house.

it's the fear of the unknown that we share and it's just like i guess...with cults (since technically it is one) you feel as if you have no choice anyway.

we are trained to "stick with it" because that's just how life works. my dad got sick and he could have identified the issue had he gotten a check-up earlier but he didnt because of work. which begs the question: can any of us live through it or do we just die LOL

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The ending of this drama is that moon Jo will run off. He will escape and evade the police for yrs. Then we will a have a season 2

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are you serious

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Damn,Lee Dong wook looks soooo creepy with that smile,it really send chills down my spine!!!

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I love how most commenters deliberately ignore Lee Dong Wook's stellar performance as Seo Moonjo (which is kinda sad)...then again, most dramabeans users were always a bit biased against him and only viewed him as a "pretty face who can't act" no matter how well he did so it's not all that surprising I guess ^^ With that said, the level of immersion is really no joke. He's my favorite actor (obviously) but at some point he was so scary that I forgot he's only acting and literally got scared of him...I wish he takes on more roles like this one to further prove what a splendid actor he really is and to prove his criticizers wrong. Anyone who's a fan of him knows how passionate and hard he is on himself when it comes to his acting. With that said: A vampire role next please (lol).

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I think he did mention once that he wanted to try on different roles when he picked Touch Your Heart. Although its a romcom, it seems like the character he played was not the charming type which he's used to. And then bam, we got this chilling psychopathic role on the same year.
I believe he will take even more diverse roles after this. At least I hope so.

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