Memorist: Episode 4
Finally our detectives get a chance to work together, and they get further along in the murder case in a couple of days than the rest of the police force has in weeks. But it seems like everyone is working against them, and they can’t work fast enough to stay ahead of the game. They need a miracle, and quick, or they could lose everything.
EPISODE 4: “Double-edged Sword”
Sun-mi goes to the Truth and Sky Church, where Chairman Park is holding a service to induct new members into his congregation. But Dong Baek gets there first and poses as a supplicant. When Chairman Park puts a hand on his head Dong Baek grabs it and reads his memories — and confirms that he’s the serial killer.
Sun-mi just barely stops Dong Baek from punching Chairman Park and orders him to stand down. Chairman Park seems more amused than anything else as Sun-mi vows to arrest him for what he’s done and Dong Baek declares that he just witnessed his memories.
Chairman Park intones that powers like Dong Baek’s are the devil’s work and asks if Dong Baek has ever wondered if he’s Satan’s messenger. Dong Baek just snarls that he’s a devil who will drag Chairman Park to the underworld. Chairman Park deliberately clasps Dong Baek’s hand and pleads with him to repent, but Dong Baek twists his arm and vows that soon, Chairman Park will know what it feels like to burn.
Following Dong Baek outside, Sun-mi tells him that he acted stupidly in there, openly threatening the country’s most influential religious leader. She says it’s too soon to let Chairman Park know he’s a prime suspect and that she only wanted to rattle him a little, and that Dong Baek is too hotheaded to be a cop.
Thinking of the horrors he just witnessed in Chairman Park’s memories, Dong Baek counters that he’s not hotheaded, and in fact he’s doing his best to hold back. He tells Sun-mi to search Chairman Park’s villa, then leaves with Chief Gu and Se-hoon (but not before some adorable bickering).
Unfortunately, Sun-mi learns that the chief prosecutor in The Seoul jurisdiction doesn’t believe that Chairman Park is guilty and refuses to issue a search warrant. Sun-mi confronts him, but they just end up yelling at each other. He tells her to get more evidence if she wants a warrant, but she can’t get evidence without a warrant, and Sun-mi accuses him of being scared of Chairman Park’s followers.
Meanwhile, Dong Baek approaches Chief Prosecutor Yeo, who issued his arrest warrant, and offers to plead guilty to the charges against him in return for a search warrant for Chairman Park’s home. He tells her that he’s seen Chairman Park committing the murders in his memories and that he can find evidence based on them, but that they can’t get a warrant because he saw the chief prosecutor being inducted into Chairman Park’s congregation.
Chief Prosecutor Yeo says that she’d be risking her job if she crosses jurisdictions to issue a warrant, so Dong Baek promises that he knows exactly where to find Chairman Park’s murder journal. He tells her that she can’t lose — either she catches a killer, or they fail and he turns himself in, but either way she’ll be a nationwide hero.
It works and they get their warrant, and Dong Baek watches from a distance as they approach Chairman Park’s villa. Nobody answers when they demand to be let in, and after a few minutes, Chairman Park arrives with a whole phalanx of his followers/bodyguards. They confront Chief Prosecutor Yeo, who orders them to open the door immediately.
Suddenly they smell something like paint and see smoke rising from the chimney. Fearing that evidence is being burned, the house is stormed, but all they find is a fire blazing in the fireplace and a housekeeper painting a room.
Chairman Park finally steps into the house, looking very smug. He accuses Chief Prosecutor Yeo of being hostile and falling for rumors, and she fires back that having a vivid imagination like his must be a requirement for joining his cult. Chairman Park reveals that he knows the police investigation will be terminated soon, claiming to know everything the deity knows, but Sun-mi sasses, “At least you won’t be lonely in solitary confinement.”
Comparing himself to Jesus, Chairman Park gives Chief Prosecutor Yeo and Sun-mi a chance to repent. Chief Prosecutor Yeo growls that he’s mocking governmental authority, and a fuming Sun-mi makes a counter offer — if Chief Prosecutor Yeo turns himself in, he can die like a human being. He says that she’s not acting with true courage because she’s not “one with the deity,” but Sun-mi spits that he’ll suffer eternal torment.
Dong Baek and Se-hoon are despondent when the search is cut short, but Chief Gu goes on the offensive. He calls reporter Ji-eun and asks if she wants a hot scoop that will shock the world. Ji-eun’s superiors are hesitant to allow her to report on Chairman Park, though eventually they give their permission, but with a condition — because the only evidence they have is Dong Baek’s memory scan of Chairman Park (and he’s not exactly in favor right now), they want more evidence before releasing the story.
They’re distracted by Se-hoon, who bursts in to tell Dong Baek that he’s been subpoena’d by the Legislation and Judiciary Committee regarding his use of his ability. The trio go out for drinks with Ji-eun, who thinks this is Chairman Park’s attempt to undermine Dong Baek’s credibility. Chief Gu, quite drunk by now, bellows that Dong Baek should go work where he’ll be appreciated, like the NIS or a large corporation, worried that Dong Baek always ends up hurt both physically and emotionally.
Sun-mi finds them and glares at Dong Baek disapprovingly for going out instead of working on the case. She asks him to tell her about Chairman Park’s memories so that she can try to find something to use as evidence. Dong Baek grumbles that Chairman Park burned it all, but Sun-mi isn’t looking for what he remembers… she’s looking for something Chairman Park forgot.
She takes the trio back to the station (leaving out Ji-eun) and explains that there must be something Chairman Park forgot about, and thus didn’t destroy. Unfortunately, Dong Baek only had enough time to “see” the last two murders. He explains that Man-pyung was in charge of preparing the girls for Chairman Park then cleaning up, and that Chairman Park would wear a white robe and used latex gloves and a condom while he assaulted and murdered them, to avoid leaving his DNA at the scene.
Dong Baek says that Chairman Park gave a sermon before the murders, which rationalized the murders both for himself and Man-pyung. With difficulty, he says that the whole process took an hour for Seo-kyung, but because Dong Baek and Sun-mi were closing in on him, Ye-rim’s murder only took ten minutes. He rolled up his used condom in the latex gloves afterward, then left for his villa while Man-pyung took care of the evidence and the bodies.
Se-hoon wonders why, when Chairman Park was so meticulous about the evidence, the bodies were dumped (seemingly) carelessly. Dong Baek says he was “signaling the birth of his kingdom,” and that he’d planned to kill thirteen young women in total.
Sun-mi asks why he didn’t make sure Seo-kyung was dead before tossing her body away, but Dong Baek knows the answer to this, too. Man-pyung let her live because he believed she would be redeemed by Chairman Park’s “treatment” (though interestingly, he wasn’t technically a psychopath), and Chairman Park didn’t find out that
Seo-kyung wasn’t dead until later.
The team stays up all night, writing down every single detail of Chairman Park’s memories from Seo-kyung and Ye-rim’s murders. In the morning, Se-hoon notices that thirteen items were burned in the fireplace after Seo-kyung’s assault, but after Chairman Park murdered Ye-rim, only twelve items were burned. The “missing” item is the rolled-up gloves and condom, and if they can find them, they would provide DNA evidence linking Chairman Park to Ye-rim’s murder.
Sun-mi and Dong Baek race to the murder scene, and they use a small camera attached to Sun-mi’s phone to check the drain in the room where Ye-rim was killed. Sure enough, they see what looks like a balled-up latex glove, but it’s too far down to reach, so they have to leave it for the forensics team to retrieve.
But they hear a strange noise, and when they return to the surface, they find a team of workers with a cement truck, preparing to fill the underground tunnels where the kidnappings and murders took place. Sun-mi and Dong Baek protest that this is a crime scene, but a lawyer informs them that Man-pyung’s will left the property to his client, and the client wants the area stabilized.
The new owner arrives… and it’s Chief Prosecutor Im (now Lawyer Im after his sex scandal went public). He sneers that it will take years to rule on his involvement in the case, and in the meantime he can do whatever he wants with his property. His men forcibly restrain Sun-mi and Dong Baek, and the cement is poured into the tunnels, destroying the DNA evidence forever.
Lawyer Im leaves the property and goes straight to the Truth and Sky Church to report to Chairman Park that the job is done. He names his price for helping Chairman Park cover up murder, and Chairman Park agrees to pay most of it (with the rest considered a tithe to the church).
After passing out, Dong Baek wakes from another nightmare of seeing a woman killed while a young boy cries for his mother. He’s in the hospital, and he’s told by the doctor that he woke up once already. He doesn’t remember it, but he sees on the CCTV footage that he’d staggered out of his hospital bed.
The doctor says that Dong Baek stood in the stairwell, spaced out, for an hour before he was found and returned to his room. Disconcerted, Dong Baek says it was probably just a concussion. He struggles out of bed, ignoring the doctor’s warning not to use his ability to read memories considering that he’s been passing out.
Growing desperate, Sun-mi asks Department Head Lee to give her the authority to investigate Chairman Park. He says condescendingly that the job of the police is to balance things out between good and evil, and that it’s enough that Chairman Park can’t kill anymore. Sun-mi disagrees and argues that their job is to catch and punish criminals.
On the way to the hearing, Se-hoon tells Dong Baek that he thinks this subpoena is a witch hunt, set up so they can pass a law prohibiting memory scans. He advises Dong Baek to just be humble and agree not to read memories without consent, and Chief Gu agrees. During the hearing, Dong Baek sits quietly while he’s peppered with questions, giving only short answers. The hearing is televised, and Chairman Park smirks as he watches what looks like Dong Baek’s public humiliation.
Dong Baek is asked if he’ll stop accusing people of crimes without a warrant, and he says yes… starting tomorrow. Chief Gu and Se-hoon try to signal him to stop talking, but he stands and declares that he knows the identity of the Claw Hammer Killer.
He outlines how the killer sponsored young girls, then years later, accused them of becoming tainted. He had them abducted, then violently raped and murdered them while claiming they’d be saved by “receiving his body.”
The whole room erupts, but Dong Baek continues his accusations. On national television, he names Chairman Park as the killer, then he’s forcibly dragged out of the hearing. Sun-mi is watching, and she whispers to herself, “He just drew the double-edged sword.”
The human rights activists that this opportunity to push even harder to have Dong Baek’s memory-scanning ability banned, and the Truth and Sky Church announces that they plan to file charges against Dong Baek. But unexpectedly, public sentiment falls on Dong Baek’s side, and people gather outside his home in support while he holes up inside.
Thanks to Dong Baek’s claims, Sun-mi is even able to get a search warrant for Man-pyung’s farm, and she calls him to promise that she’ll uncover the DNA evidence they found. He’s not so sure that even DNA evidence will help, having lost his faith in the legal system.
In the morning, someone from Sun-mi’s team pounds on Dong Baek’s door until he wakes up. They take him to the Truth and Sky building, and the lobby is full of sobbing people. Stepping into what looks like a lecture room, they find Chairman Park’s body on the floor, dead from a severe head wound. Well, this certainly complicates things.
From the people, and the pillows and bibles spread about, it appears that Chairman Park was killed while conducting a service. We see images of someone walking through the crowd and brutally attacking Chairman Park with the same hammer he used to kill the women, while his followers just sat and calmly watched.
Sun-mi asks Dong Baek to read the memories of Chairman Park’s followers, who all claim not to remember seeing anything. Dong Baek reminds her that he’s already this close to being arrested for reading memories, but since they have signed consent forms from the followers, he reluctantly agrees.
As he scans each follower’s memory in turn, Dong Baek starts to feel the strain of overusing his ability. When he’s finished, he’s sweating and swaying on his feet, clearly exhausted. With an expression of dismay, he tells Sun-mi that there’s not one single memory of Chairman Park’s murder — as if all traces of Chairman Park’s murder was wiped from the followers’ minds.
Well, I am definitely confused now. We can see that all of those people were there when Chairman Park died, but nobody remembers it? It was teased that the killer has a supernatural ability of their own, and it would be a real twist if that ability were the antithesis of Dong Baek’s — not to read memories, but to erase them. But if Chairman Park is dead, and someone else deleted the congregation’s memories, then who was that? Was someone else controlling Chairman Park, or at least facilitating his murders? If so, who?
We’ve known from the beginning that reading memories is emotionally difficult for Dong Baek — not only does he see the crimes happening, but he’s almost literally inside the mind of the criminal in those moments. He sees what the criminal saw, but he also feels what the criminal felt, and that’s got to be a thousand times worse. Now he’s been inside the mind of a psychopathic killer, one that truly believes that what he was doing was righteous and justified, and for lack of a better word… what a mindfuck.
At this point, not only do I understand why Dong Baek tends to lash out in violent outbursts, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a little bit psychotic himself. It’s not healthy to have so many criminal memories inside his head, and I’m worried for him. A lot. In fact, the show hasn’t put much emphasis on it yet, but it seems like Dong Baek’s ability isn’t exactly healthy for him physically, either. He’s passed out at least twice from the strain of using his ability, and that sleepwalking episode (or whatever that was) doesn’t seem good to me at all. I have a feeling that’s going to come back to bite him.
But the biggest question is — what now? I thought Chairman Park was our Big Bad, the boogeyman that Sun-mi and Dong Baek would be fighting, but now he’s dead. This means there’s someone else working behind the scenes, and I’m stumped as to who it could be. Department Head Lee seems the most obvious suspect, but he’s too, I dunno… bland? Mild-mannered? Anyway, he doesn’t strike me as any sort of mastermind, more of a power-complacent pawn to be used to control the police by someone much higher up. I could be wrong, but it seems too easy for him to be the linchpin. I’m sure there’s someone much bigger and scarier than anyone we’ve met yet, who’s been behind all this and who eliminated Chairman Park when he got to be too much of a liability. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what our smart detectives can uncover next.
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