Memorist: Episode 2
Boy, this show went real dark, real fast. Luckily it works, and this second episode feels even more cohesive than the first. As Tuesday nears and the fear of another victim being murdered rises, our heroes struggle against unexpected opposition in their attempt to save lives.
EPISODE 2: “The Red Pig”
Dong Baek corners CEO Oh, the agent of Seo-kyung, the girl who’s in a coma after being kidnapped by the Claw Hammer Killer. CEO Oh claims innocence even as he sneers that Dong Baek won’t be able to find any evidence against him. Dong Baek sees a reflection in a shop window that CEO Oh is calling someone from his phone under the table, and he jumps up and kicks CEO Oh in the face.
CEO Oh barely has time to yell “Get rid of it!” to whoever he’s calling before Dong Baek takes his phone and handcuffs him. Dong Baek is gone by the time Se-hoon and Chief Gu arrive on the scene, on his way to CEO Oh’s office, and he tells Se-hoon on the phone that CEO Oh is just the middleman — the killer is the client that CEO Oh was selling Seo-kyung to.
CEO Oh had called his assistant, Min-kwon, just before Dong Baek approached him. He hadn’t known that Seo-kyung was kidnapped and is now in a coma, and he’d ordered Min-kwon to go to her apartment and find her. Before Min-kwon left the apartment, the police had busted into his office, then CEO Oh had called and told him to “get rid of it.”
So Min-kwon quickly takes a hard drive from a safe and destroys it by cooking it in the microwave. He tries to escape by climbing a rope out the window, but the cops see him and yank him back up… well, they pull him part of the way, then accidentally drop him. Whoopsie.
Sun-mi tells Chief Byun about a report that Seo-kyung filed on her ex-boyfriend-turned-stalker from when he beat her up six months ago. He’d found out that she was letting CEO Oh sell her sexual favors to clients, and Sun-mi believes that the client is the killer — someone powerful enough to hide his tracks.
Meanwhile, Ye-rim’s fellow captive explains that tomorrow is Tuesday, the day that their kidnapper will test, and possibly murder, one or both of them. She repeats that Ye-rim must get a score of at least 90 on the test otherwise she’ll be brutally killed.
With only four hours left until Tuesday, Sun-mi heads to the hospital to question CEO Oh. He threatens to report Dong Baek, but Sun-mi says that she’s there because two girls have died and another is in a coma, and she wants information on his killer client.
CEO Oh clams up, so Sun-mi says that the less he talks, the more interested she is in him and his “business.” He feels confident that his powerful clients will protect him, but Sun-mi points out that powerful people get that way because they exploit expendable people like him. She tells CEO Oh that if one more victim dies, she’ll see that he sits in prison for a very long time.
She leaves, sure that CEO Oh doesn’t know the identity of his client, and goes to Min-kwon’s room next. He’s very scared and willing to talk — someone anonymously paid them a lot of money two years ago for access to Seo-kyung, and that CEO Oh liked the easy money so much he started collecting more pretty girls to sell. Sun-mi threatens Min-kwon to remember something about the client, but all he knows is that they referred to him as Client 13.
Dong Baek wants to check Min-kwon’s memories, but Chief Gu stops him in the hall. He brags to his team that he beat up Dong Baek the other day, but Dong Baek snaps that he let him hit him to read his memories. Chief Gu swings, but Dong Baek easily evades his fists, proving that he doesn’t get hit unless he wants to.
Sun-mi comes out to introduce herself to Dong Baek and fearlessly holds out a hand to shake. Dong Baek seems annoyed, ignoring her hand and speaking in banmal even though she outranks him. He says that he needs to scan Min-kwon’s memories for clues, but Sun-mi declines to give permission since Dong Baek is suspended and anything he finds will be inadmissible in court.
She’s not wrong, but SB argues that what’s important is finding the victims. He says this is a rescue effort, and Sun-mi smiles with satisfaction — that’s what she’s been waiting for him to say. She agrees to let him scan Min-kwon for altruistic reasons, adding that her team won’t be privy to any clues he finds.
Min-kwon signs an agreement to allow Min-kwon to read his memories, and HA, he warns Dong Baek that he watched porn yesterday. Sun-mi promises that Dong Baek won’t disclose anything personal and Dong Baek reaches out to touch Min-kwon… but he’s interrupted by men from the prosecutor’s office, here to arrest him for assault.
The prosecutor in charge is WOO SEOK-DO (Yoo Gun-woo), who seems to have an antagonistic relationship with Sun-mi. Dong Baek senses whatever it is from the men holding him and stops struggling to listen. Sun-mi appeals to Seok-do, asking for five minutes to let Dong Baek read Min-kwon, but Seok-do refuses.
Sun-mi grabs his wrist, hard, and says ominously that he’s really there to stop her investigation because he’s covering up for the killer. He looks nervous and quickly leaves with Dong Baek, and Sun-mi tells her team that their focus is now the prosecutor’s office.
Chief Byun learns about it in a text message as he’s meeting with Department Head Lee, and he asks Department Head Lee if he should stop Sun-mi. Department Head Lee says that he hired Sun-mi specifically to be Chief Byun’s “right arm” and that he’s probably jealous that someone with less experience holds his same position, but Chief Byun insists he doesn’t feel that way about Sun-mi. He gives Chief Byun a top secret personnel file and tells him to read it, then burn it.
Dong Baek’s arrest grows even more suspicious when Sun-mi tells her partners that Seok-do isn’t even from the criminal investigation branch of the prosecutor’s office. She says that Seok-do is obsessed with getting attention, but that he would never cross his superiors — which means someone ordered him to arrest Dong Baek in an attempt to slow the investigation.
On Dong Baek’s request, Chief Gu and Se-hoon visit Ye-rim’s mother to ask her if she knows anything about a red pig. She doesn’t, but they assure her that Dong Baek is secretly investigating Ye-rim’s disappearance, so they’re helping look for clues. They don’t say whose memories showed him the red pig, reluctant to let her know that Ye-rim was likely taken by a serial killer.
Dong Baek is taken to the Seoul Western Prosecutor’s Office, where he pretends to trip on the stairs and bump into Seok-do so he can read his memories. He’s been fiddling with his handcuffs, and he quickly slips out of them. Seok-do tries to escape in the elevator, but Dong Baek gets in and shoves him out.
He goes to the tenth floor to confront Chief Prosecutor Im and fights off the entire security team as Chief Prosecutor Im and his secretary head down to the parking garage. Dong Baek stands in front of his car to stop him, so Chief Prosecutor Im sends his driver and his secretary (what a coward) out of the car to fight Dong Baek. Dong Baek just gently pushes the secretary aside, but what he reads in her memory causes him to make a disgusted face at Chief Prosecutor Im.
Instead of destroying the top secret personnel file, Chief Byun takes it to Sun-mi. It’s on Chief Prosecutor Im, and contains the information that not only is he having an affair with his secretary, but that he’s Client 13, who’s been buying Seo-kyung’s sexual favors. Seo-kyung was on her way to meet with him on the night she disappeared, but she was kidnapped on the way.
Strangely, snapshots of memories seem to appear to Sun-mi, and she drops the personnel file and wrings her hands. Hmmm, interesting. She grumbles that she accused the wrong man and wasted her time, then leaves without another word.
Where the victims are being held captive, a man prays fervently on his knees in a room filled with disturbing instruments of torture and signs saying things like Never ask anything, Resist only to be bound, and Cry and you will suffer. There’s a calendar on a table, with a red T marking that today is Tuesday.
Sun-mi sends her team home to rest, but she stays in her situation room all night and keeps looking for clues to the real killer. In the morning, one of her teammates finds her asleep on her desk and gently drapes a blanket over her, and Sun-mi dramatically jerks awake at being touched.
She notices on the big screen that there are dots marking certain areas, and is told that they’re incident points connected to the victims. But what interests her is that the location where Seo-kyung’s phone was found in the hands of a group of teenagers is the same spot where Ye-rim was kidnapped. Until now they’ve been assuming that Ye-rim wasn’t taken by the Claw Hammer Killer, since she wasn’t kidnapped on a Tuesday, but the evidence says that they may have been wrong.
Unfortunately, Ye-rim’s mother overhears Dong Baek, Chief Gu, and Se-hoon discussing the red pig and the Claw Hammer Killer, and she panics at the thought that he’s got her daughter. She flies into a panic, so the guys try to calm her down, promising that there’s very little chance Ye-rim is in the Claw Hammer Killer’s clutches and vowing to bring Ye-rim home.
The three teenagers who found Seo-kyung’s phone are hanging out outside a fourth friend’s house when Sun-mi’s team surrounds them and takes them into custody. On the way to the station, Sun-mi asks them why they took Seo-kyung’s phone all the way to Onha-ri if they found the phone in Seoul.
At first they don’t want to say, but eventually they confess that two weeks ago, their friend Bo-yeon got into a car with a stranger to sell herself while they followed behind. She’d had Seo-kyung’s phone on her, so when things went sideways and the driver took her phone and locked her in the car then started driving out to the country, she’d thrown Seo-kyung’s phone out the window.
Her friends tried to keep up, but they’d lost track of the car Bo-yeon was in at a three-way crossroads in Onha-ri. Ah, so Bo-yeon is the other girl that Ye-rim is trapped with, and she must have briefly escaped on the night Ye-rim was taken, which is why Ye-rim was kidnapped on a Sunday instead of a Tuesday. Her friends hadn’t called the police because they assumed that Bo-yeon took the money for herself and was hiding from them.
It’s not much, but it does give the cops a location and a profile for the kidnapper of an older, upper class man. When Sun-mi returns to the station, Department Head Lee is in the process of halting the search in Onha-ri. When Sun-mi angrily demands to know why, he makes it clear that he has no intention of upsetting the affluent and powerful people who live in the area.
He’s obviously angry that she didn’t keep this away from Dong Baek like he told her to, sneering that his mindreading isn’t evidence, but Sun-mi says that she’s come to her conclusions based on her own deductions. Department Head Lee orders her to focus on the make and model of the car that Bo-yeon was last seen in, and he vaguely threatens to fire anyone who searches the villas, so Sun-mi offers to resign if she’s wrong.
Department Head Lee won’t accept that and fires her on the spot. He offers to let her keep her job if she follows his orders, but instead, Sun-mi walks out. Department Head Lee puts Chief Byun in charge and Chief Byun does as he wants, telling the team to investigate the car.
At the hospital, Seo-kyung sadly succumbs to her wounds and passes away. Her death raises the serial killer’s victim count to three, and the media is quick to report on it. They name Ye-rim as a possible victim, and when her mother sees this on the news, she falls to her knees and prays fervently for her daughter’s life to be spared.
Ye-rim and Bo-yeon are administered the catechism test, but neither of them feel confident that they scored high enough to survive. Thankfully, Ye-rim makes the minimum score of 90 points, but Bo-yeon fails the test with a score of 75 and is dragged, begging and screaming, out of her cell.
Ye-rim can hear Bo-yeon shrieking as the killer puts her through a shower and dresses her in a white gown. Ye-rim decides to end this herself and attempts to hang herself from the rafter with her sheets, but the wood is rotten so the rafter breaks.
She’s about to give up in despair, but she notices that there seems to be an open space above the broken rafter. She climbs up and begins following the open space, hoping for an escape route, and she ends up above Bo-yeon’s cell. Bo-yeon begs Ye-rim to take her with her, but Ye-rim knows that two of them trying to escape will be too dangerous.
She promises to get out and get help, but Bo-yeon screams that she’ll be dead by then. Her voice alerts their captor, forcing Ye-rim to leave Bo-yeon behind. Their captor climbs into the rafters and pursues Ye-rim, allowing us to see his face for the first time, but he’s overweight enough to get stuck at a tight corner and Ye-rim gets free.
She finds a grate leading to the outside and pulls herself into the sunlight for the first time in days. But she hears a footstep nearby, and turns to see someone standing right beside her. He drops the bag he’s carrying, and pulls out a hammer.
Meanwhile, Dong Baek follows the clues to Onha-ri and rides his motorcycle around, looking for a red pig. He approaches a locked gate and looks around, then turns to leave. But something stops him in his tracks… a wind sock flying from a pole, with a picture of a red pig.
Now that we’ve seen more of Sun-mi’s personality, I find that I like her every bit as much as I like Dong Baek. I was on the fence about her until she smiled at Dong Baek for saying that his main concern is saving the victims, and at that point, she had my heart. They’re both in this for the right reasons — not to further their careers, but to save lives and stop a killer. It’s frustrating when everyone around them is thinking primarily about their jobs and reputations, but Dong Baek and Sun-mi seem like islands of compassion and heart, positioned right where they can do the most good.
Not only is Sun-mi awesome, but I’m starting to think that maybe she has an ability similar to Dong Baek’s, though not limited to personal contact. She seemed to see things both when she touched Chief Prosecutor Im’s personnel file and when she grabbed Seok-do’s wrist, and she was remarkably willing to shake Dong Baek’s hand, which would make sense if she was hoping to read something from him. She also flinched pretty hard when her coworker put the blanket over her shoulders, as if she’s sensitive to being touched. At this point it’s difficult to tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that her success at her job at such a young age is due to having her own supernatural ability that she’s kept quiet, unlike Dong Baek.
Of course, now they’re both unable to officially work on the case, and that could be good or bad for them. It will tie their hands in many ways, limiting what they can do to catch this killer and save the lives of his current and future victims. But on the other hand, not being constricted by rules, laws, and heartless bosses could also free them to investigate privately to their hearts’ content. They still have Chief Gu and Se-hoon on their side, and I think that Chief Byun will come around sooner rather than later, because he seems like a decent guy. My hope is to see them form a little team of vigilantes, though at this point I still have no idea where the show will go with any of this.
The scariest thing is how many people seem to be involved in the kidnapping-slash-murders. Several tiers of authority know at least a little about what’s going on, from CEO Oh all the way up to potentially Department Head Lee, with at least one stop along the way at the chief prosecutor’s office. Department Head Lee worries me the most, because he seemed like a nice guy when he shortened Dong Baek’s suspension and gave Sun-mi permission to investigate the kidnappings as a serial killer case. But it’s suspicious that he specifically forbid Sun-mi to let Dong Baek know about the case, and that once he did, Department Head Lee did whatever he could to hamstring the investigation.
What I don’t understand is how it’s all connected. The man who’s actually kidnapping, testing, and killing the young women doesn’t seem to be anyone of power (at least not anyone we’ve met yet), but if he’s just the guy who’s supposed to keep them hidden, then why? How are the powerful men involved, and what’s the deal with the religious testing? Right now my suspicions lean towards either a cult or a secret society, but we have a long way to go before it’s all unraveled.
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