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Gap-dong: Episode 8

The game heats up in this episode, with ramped-up intensity and a lot more action. That’s a welcome shift, because I really felt the energy surge today—a drama like this tends to be more about the psychological interplay and the battle of wiles between our good and bad guys, so it’s been lighter on action than I wanted. A mind puzzle is fine and all, but sometimes you just want to see some guys running around and getting stuff done, you know?

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EPISODE 8 RECAP

Mu-yeom gradually lets go of Maria, saying that there’s definitely something wrong with his head seeing as how he can’t control his impulses. He wonders why she put up with it, considering how skittish she was about keeping people at a distance.

Maria deflects, saying that he doesn’t have to put on a strong front to cover up feeling pain. She also has an inkling that he knows more than he’s letting on, and asks if there’s something he knows about her. Mu-yeom leans in close and says gently, “Surviving is nothing to be ashamed of. Just like it’s not shameful to be a suspect’s son.”

Ah, so he did know. Maria is stunned, and Mu-yeom explains that he caught on when she started talking about the victim’s perspective. “I didn’t want to ask this if I didn’t have to,” he says, “But why are you ashamed?”

The question stirs something in her, since he’s hit the nail on the head about her survivor’s guilt. But his phone rings, breaking the moment, and he answers expecting Ji-wool while Maria tries to collect her rattled composure.

But it’s Tae-oh on the line, which shoots his alarm meter up to eleven. Tae-oh says that Ji-wool is fine for now—but her continued safety depends on Mu-yeom’s answer to his proposal. He’s got until the end of tomorrow to comply, with a photo of himself at the fifth murder scene to be sent as proof.

Listening to his end of the call, Ji-wool guesses that she’s to be the fifth victim. She says that the moment she saw him, she’d thought, “My fate must end here.” Thinking of Mu-yeom embracing Maria, she says that she might be okay to die anyway, and asks where she should go to await her killing. Despite the words, her tears and trembling belie her bravado.

Tae-oh shuts off Ji-wool’s phone and starts walking, muttering to himself, “Let’s go for a walk, us two wounded people.” Interesting wording there, putting him in the place of the wronged party.

Chul-gon hears that his cops lost both the perp and the potential victim and is furious with his team. They’re able to narrow down their probable area given call logs and GPS coordinates, but no leads about where they may have gone.

Section Chief Cha suggests that release a public notice identifying Tae-oh as the wanted criminal, saying that’s the fastest way of recovering Ji-wool safely. But Chul-gon balks, saying that this is likely what Tae-oh wants them to do, and that if they go public and then things go wrong, it could blow up on them—for one, they’ll be blasted for constantly going after the wrong suspects. Profiler Han agrees, suspecting that Tae-oh is laying a trap.

Mu-yeom bursts into the briefing room to share his news that Tae-oh is putting him up to be the fifth case’s murderer. He’s fired up and raring to go, declining Hyung-nyun’s offer of help because he wants to make sure to nail Tae-oh personally. It’s Chul-gon who warns him not to lose his cool, because that’s what Tae-oh wants from him—he’s toying with Mu-yeom’s “Crazy Monk” energy, and that may be the real reason he kidnapped Ji-wool.

Tae-oh pauses on a bridge and waits there a while with Ji-wool, who asks where he means to take her next and if that’s where she’ll die. He asks why she isn’t running or doesn’t seem scared of him, and Ji-wool answers that in the movies, the victim always runs. The killer waits it out until they get lulled into a false sense of security, at which point he strikes.

“If I’m going to die anyway,” she says, “I want to die in a dignified way.” I know I know, she’s being rather passive about her fate but I’m going with it because for one, it’s something different, and two, Ji-wool was always going to be the complication, not a solution. Plus her reaction takes Tae-oh by surprise, and I prefer him as off his guard as he can get.

Ji-wool asks if he’s really a psychopath, killing without emotion. He tells her that being a psychopath isn’t that simple.

Mu-yeom spots a girl at a bridge railing and pulls over, though it doesn’t turn out to be Ji-wool. The sight does remind him of her, though, as he flashes back to two years ago when Ji-wool had very nearly stepped off a bridge in tears, and he’d yanked her away just before she could.

She’d blamed him for getting her ostracized at school as a thief, and now everybody knows and she’s so ashamed she could just die. He points out calmly that she could just prove herself by being a good kid. Ji-wool tells him to take responsibility, since it’s his fault the rumors got out, and he grumbles at her for being absurd.

As Tae-oh drives along the highway, Ji-wool asks questions, never mind the fact that they’re speeding along on a motorcycle wearing helmets. Did Tae-oh kill victims one through four? Did he approach her from the start thinking to kill her? She tells him she won’t run, so he can tell her the truth.

Mu-yeom pores over his Gap-dong notebook, studying the details of the fifth murder. Is he looking for clues, or noting ways to follow through on Tae-oh’s threat? He fights tears as he imagines an animated figure materializing in front of him, reaching out her hand to his.

Mu-yeom outstretches his own hand and pleads with the hazy figure, “Please grab on.” But the hand eludes him.

The district attorney meets with Section Chief Cha to remind him that Chul-gon will be out of a job if a fifth murder arises. The subtext is clear—that job could be yours. I don’t see anything opportunistic in Section Chief Cha’s reaction, but the district attorney’s smirk is unsettling.

The monk drops by with fresh clothing for Mu-yeom and asks if anything’s the matter with Ji-wool, because she hasn’t been by the temple. Mu-yeom lies that there’s nothing to worry about, but is readily contradicted by the arrival of Ji-wool’s frantic mother, who alternately blames Mu-yeom for Ji-wool’s disappearance and begs him to save her.

Tae-oh and Ji-wool wind up at the beach, where they sit silently on the sand. She asks when he plans to kill her, and he clarifies that he never said he would—that was her assumption. She perks up, asking if that means she won’t die after all. He just says, “Possibly.”

He asks her how it feels to like somebody, and she thinks about it. She describes the experience as painful and depressing, something that makes you feel miserable and irritable. “Then why do people do it?” he asks, genuinely curious.

“It’s not something you can control. It’s something that just happens,” she says. She clues in on his interest in the topic and asks who he likes, and he replies that he doesn’t know if it’s there yet, “But it feels like it could happen, if it were with Dr. Maria.”

She asks what he means by “it” happening. He answers, “Me changing.” Then he grins at her and notices the heart she’s painted on her fingernail, lingering on it long enough to be significant. Gack, I hope it didn’t just give him more unsavory ideas. Trust me, he doesn’t need any more of those.

Outside the station, our older cops notice Mu-yeom idling around, humming to himself and kicking at a wall. Not a promising sight, and Chul-gon sighs that Tae-oh’s succeeded in getting to him. He orders Mu-yeom to pull it together.

At the prison hospital, Gentleman Choi asks to see Dr. Maria—a request that draws the interest of the other inmates, in particular our bumbling Poopy. Is this the turning point? Is he more than the resident idiot, or just another red herring? Perhaps both?

Choi is fidgety as he sits with Maria, conflicted about something. He slides over a folded note that he’d hidden up his sleeve and asks her to pass it along to Chul-gon. He explains that Chul-gon had asked him to be his spy and to seek out Maria if something happened. She agrees to convey the note, and he leaves in a hurry.

When Gentleman Choi returns to his room, he pales to find a Bible open on his bed, a particular verse underlined. It’s Psalms 21:10, which reads, “You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind.” A threat against his family? Choi looks around in panic.

Maria opens the note, and finds only a number scrawled in it: “0314585466.” She starts to copy it down, only to have the paper snatched from her hand. Choi has returned, and asks her to pretend she never saw it.

In a flashback, we see Choi waiting in line to use the prison phone. Again we don’t see the caller, but he’d taken note of the numbers being punched into the phone. Shortly afterward, he saw a note passing from that inmate to Tae-oh.

Maria follows Choi out and urges him to tell her who he suspects—it’s Gap-dong, isn’t it? But he’s been thoroughly warned and clams up, denying it. She asks him to trust her, and starts to confide: “Because I… actually…” But she chokes back the impulse and finishes by saying only that she’ll protect him. It’s not persuasive, and Choi excuses himself.

Mu-yeom’s desperation mounts as time passes without word about Ji-wool’s situation. He gets angry at the force not working hard enough, and suspicious that he’s being kept out of the loop because they fear he’ll do something rash. He hasn’t lost it completely yet but seems well on his way, and pre-emptively warns Hyung-nyun to not inform him if they find Tae-oh, because he might kill him.

Finally, a clue surfaces. After combing mountains of CCTV footage, the police pinpoint Tae-oh’s motorcycle on a particular highway, and that gives them a direction to pursue. Hyung-nyun raises the worry about Mu-yeom seeming unstable, so Chul-gon decides to leave him out of the loop and mobilizes the force without informing Mu-yeom of their lead.

Mu-yeom happens to be canvassing the general area, however, and clocks the entourage of police cars whizzing by. He calls Officer Young-ae to ask for the new info, only to have her lie that there’s nothing. He must know she’s lying but doesn’t press, instead saying that he has something to confess: He’s decided to go through with the fifth murder—it’s the only way to save Ji-wool, who will die because of him.

The big question: Is this a ploy, or is he serious? I’m going with ploy, because at that Young-ae shares the info and informs him about the CCTV footage location.

Maria calls Chul-gon to relay her exchange with Gentleman Choi, and he promises to check back with her once he’s looked into it. At the same time, Choi huddles in his room, fashioning something out of shredded bedsheets with shaking hands. A noose?

The neighborhood is crawling with students, and Mu-yeom starts scolding a group of girls for not being in school. When they say it’s class picnic day, he barks that all picnics have been cancelled because of the murder forecast, only to hear that this isn’t Iltan—those rules don’t apply in this neighboring city.

Now that they have the general region, Chul-gon looks into flower gardens and greenhouses to narrow down their search, as that was where the original victim was discovered. Sure enough, Tae-oh has made his way inside a greenhouse with Ji-wool, who’s tied up and unconscious on the ground. He takes a photo of her bound hands, focusing on that heart on her fingernail, and uploads it to an SNS account. The accompanying message reads: “Time over no. 5.”

Mu-yeom has the same hunch and runs all over the premises of a greenhouse trying to find a way in. Officer Young-ae is the one to call and alert him to the SNS update, and he blanches upon recognizing Ji-wool’s hand in the picture. Is he too late?

While the police scramble to get the GPS coordinates of the phone that uploaded the message, the fifth installment of “The Beast’s Path” webtoon is published. Section Chief Cha informs Chul-gon that the toon contains a clue.

Mu-yeom finally finds one greenhouse whose doors are open and heads inside, a pair of nunchaku in hand. (He’s trained in them, as we saw from his younger days, but is it significant that nunchaku were also the weapon the previous killer used? Does Tae-oh have anything to do with it?) As he advances, we see Tae-oh watching from the shadows. But then Mu-yeom gets a call about the webtoon clue, which points to a real-life address. He dashes off, to Tae-oh’s seeming annoyance.

Mu-yeom pauses to call Chul-gon and report that he’s on his way to that address, because he’s closer and will get to Ji-wool faster. Chul-gon warns him to stay put because the webtoon could be a trap, and while Mu-yeom agrees that it’s possible, he’s too concerned with getting to Ji-wool asap to care, and disregards the order.

That leaves Tae-oh free to drag his victim through the greenhouse—mere feet from where Mu-yeom had been—to continue his plan.

Maria stays put in her office, waiting for Chul-gon to get back to her about the number clue. Her mother calls her in a panic, worrying that something happened after Profiler Han bolted in response to some kind of SNS alert. Maria goes online immediately, her blood running cold to see the message.

Mu-yeom pulls up to a local boardinghouse, whose name was in one of the webtoon drawings, and bursts inside. And wouldn’t you know, Ji-wool is there, alive and awake. Ohhh, so Tae-oh’s going to kill his other victim? She bolts up in relief, having planted that clue on purpose in the webtoon, hoping it would lead someone to her.

Mu-yeom motions her close, then raises a hand as though to smack her for frightening him. But she’s terrified and contrite enough already, and he just flicks her forehead, scolding her for disobeying his warnings. He asks where Tae-oh is, but she doesn’t know.

In a flashback, we see them waiting together in this room while she finishes her fifth webtoon. She asks if she can upload it, and tenses when he spots the frame with the name of the boardinghouse in plain sight. But he gives her the green light to send it in, filing away her comment that it’ll take about two hours to go live. Tae-oh heads out saying he’s going to buy dinner.

This is where the story gets interrupted by Chul-gon, who arrives with the rest of the police force, and he retorts that Tae-oh probably really meant he was off to go hunting. At that, the light goes on in Mu-yeom’s head about Tae-oh’s true intentions, and he starts running.

At the station, Profiler Han explains to the team about the uploaded SNS message and how it’s likely a decoy, because the police would fixate on Ji-wool and be distracted from Tae-oh’s real purpose. But that means the girl in the photo may not be safe.

Mu-yeom’s fury builds and builds as he drives back to the greenhouse, looking seriously close to the brink of snapping. Tae-oh, meanwhile, prepares the scene by heaping flower petals onto the girl’s body.

In a flashback, we see how Tae-oh met her acquaintance earlier this evening, when he’d run into her outside the greenhouse. With his meek politeness and pretty face, she hadn’t suspected a thing as he asked for her help finding some yellow tulips. She initially turned down his request to show him directly, but he’d been so nice and friendly that she had second thoughts, turning back after all.

Soon his true colors (and intentions) had become clear and he’d forced her to paint her nail with the heart. The girl had cried as she’d complied, asking what she’d done wrong. Tae-oh had just stared at her blankly, saying that she’d done nothing wrong.

At the prison hospital, Maria can’t shake a niggling worry and asks a guard to let her into Choi’s room that night. What she sees has her gasping in horror.

Mu-yeom returns to the greenhouse with nunchaku in hand, shouting for Tae-oh to show himself. Tae-oh appears to be long gone, though, and Mu-yeom gets no response. Instead, he finds what Tae-oh has left for him to discover: the grave of flower petals, covering a girl’s body with only her bound hands and feet showing.

Mu-yeom falls to his knees, overcome with emotion. He hangs his head in defeat, then gathers his resolve: “Ryu Tae-oh,” he growls. “Either I die, or I kill you.”

 
COMMENTS

Aw, I’m a fan of the Ji-wool-in-peril turn. I knew it was coming (based on descriptions from the very outset), but that didn’t diminish my appreciation for what it did for our story—namely, for Mu-yeom himself. I find Ji-wool as a character amusing and silly, but regardless of how you see her on her own, she’s really here to provoke response in Mu-yeom, and in that she’s remarkably effective.

We’ve seen Mu-yeom spurred by righteous indignation and protectiveness for his father, but those are things in the past that he was powerless to change, so his adult self was fueled more by a vengeful spirit of righting old injustices and proving his father innocent. This was the first case where he was driven by a fear that was present and current, and it gave us some really nice moments of poignancy as he dealt with his fear over her safety. She’s something of a pesky little sister/daughter to him, and in that regard his response is very parental, and I loved watching him wrestling to keep his Crazy Monk tendencies in check long enough to actually be of use to the person he loves. You know he’s dying to just lose control, but that’s about as productive as sitting down in the middle of the street and screaming, so he’ll get a grip if it kills him. And you get the sense that it really might.

I do wonder where this leaves for future cases, because other than the monk and his monk-in-training boys at the temple, there isn’t anybody more important to him than Ji-wool such that future incidence can increase the intensity of his reaction. I suppose Maria can join the list (and I mostly expect her to), but a recent romantic attraction is very different from kind of bond you feel for the kid you feel responsible for saving and (somewhat) raising.

Furthermore, I’m curious to know if the drama is going to shake things up in the case-of-the-week format, because I dearly want it to. It wouldn’t feel as much of a cycle of repetition if we didn’t know who the bad guy was, but with him out in plain sight (well, one of the two at least), I don’t know how they’re going to keep things fresh for the next four cases. Because we’ve got ten weeks and nine murders, so I’m resigned to the one-murder-a-week being our pattern. If they could find a way to surprise me, I’d really appreciate it.

As for Tae-oh, I have to say I get a huge kick out of his new lovelorn turn. Not because it’s reasonable, but because it’s just so hilarious to me. The serial killer gets mopey romantic angst and a love triangle? Oh, K-dramas. Why did I expect anything less? It’s such a weirdly funny twist for his character, that of all things he’s hurt over the budding romance of two of his victims. But I suppose that to a pychopath, finding himself out of a position of control is aggravating. Boo hoo, says I, but it makes sense in a larger sense.

Now, I do worry the drama is going to take his “she could change me” bit to the hilt and pursue a redemption arc, in which case Imma have words for the show. Many, many words, mostly obscene. Because c’mon, the guy has personally murdered three women, one father, and ordered another person killed. You don’t get redemption at this point, nope, sorry. I don’t care how mopey you get over the pretty doctor who doesn’t love you back, it doesn’t excuse the whole part where you hunted down and murdered people gleefully.

But that’s getting ahead of the show, and I won’t condemn it for something it hasn’t even done yet. If it steers clear of that, I think I’m really going to enjoy the sad, lovesick psychopath murderer twist, because COME ON. That’s just comedy.

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THANK YOU SOOO MUCH ! been waiting for this update

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Ryu is beyond redemption. He's a serial copycat murderer with delusions that somehow Oh Maria can change him? The thought is sickening. Yuck!

The cops knows he's the copycat, but they are taking forever to capture Ryu.He seems more intelligent than the whole police force who are running around in circles.

Oh Maria is making me so frustrated with her stupidity.
Gentleman Choi finally gives her a clue to who Gap Dong is and she takes her time opening the dang note as well as not memorizing the number. Then she confronts him outside the office where everyone can listen in on them. Doesn't she realize that she is jeopardizing both his and her safety? GAP DONG is in there with them... I want to throw something at her. DUH!

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well you know, even if they knew he was gapdong copycat they can't just arrest him and will be unable to file charges with the lack of evidence linking him to the series of crime..

that's how it goes in real world.. and i'm glad the writer is sticking with that..

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Yeah this is reality everywhere around the world, the criminals esp serial killers are always smarter or seem smarter than the cops/detectives, most of the time the real killer is in the police suspects list but it takes police time to really nail the guy even if they are sure he is the one, by the time they have nailed him he has killed a lot, in some cases like the infamous American serial killer Ted Bundy's case he managed to outsmart the police during his trial in the courtroom and escaped by jumping through the court's toilet on the 2nd floor, and you know what he did after that, he straight away went to a women's college dorm and brutally killied 3 or 4 more women adding to his murder count that was already in the 20's, 5 or 6 year later Ted Bundy 2 appeared, his name was Gary Ridgway aka the Green River Killler who got that name because he had dumped 8 or 9 dead bodies near and around the Green River, in his case too the police had him his name in the shspects list and had interrogated him 2 times before but he was just passed off both times as harmless, he ended up killing 48+ women in the span of nearly 20 years, and there countless cases like that, the police are always one step behind the serial killers, unless the serial killer makes a mistake the police cannot nail them, you need real hard evidence to nail someone and in Tae Oh's case there are none, fortunately I watch a lot of crime shows so I totally understand why police are helpless in this case, that is why I'm enjoying the drama, I hope the writer continues to keep it real.

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I'm still not sure what kind of ending for Ryu Tae Oh my heart will be willing to accept. Die miserably, die slowly, become vegetable or what.. ohh this show makes me hard to sleep at night!

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Exactly.

She's supposed to be a smart profiler.

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I can't help but wonder why so many Korean dramas make lead females look so stupid. I am seeing the same thing in Golden Cross, where the prosecutor princess is a total idiot. But aside from just not memorizing it, why does she have to personally hand him the note - it is nothing but some numbers, but she cannot tell him over the phone?

As far as that goes why are cops always so stupid, and bad guys always so smart (aside from the fact that it would shorten the show by 14 episodes..).

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Many book smarty do not mean they are actually smart. They have good brain for memorization.( In Asian education, memorization is a big key to achieve higher scores. )They are so well guarded so that they can be quite blinded with certain things. I think Oh Maria or the princess prosecutor are one of those. It's pity Korean drama often portray smart socially advanced women as if they are soo stupid. the heroine of Secret Affair got everything, smart, beautiful, elegant and she can outsmarts others who think they can manipulate her. I like to see her character more in other K Drama in near future, rather than Oh Maria.

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The "rote cramming" is pretty common in that region, but there is starting to be a little bit of backlash against it, but it is not something that will change anytime soon. It took Japan 40+ years to make even minor changes in attitude.

And I have to say, I am not really fond of the actress that plays Maria, nor of her character in the series.

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Did you know, the twitter account Ryu Tae Oh used, @jackth4 does actually exist! Many people have started tweeting message to him LOL.. he comes to real world

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And the "wanted" poster of Gabdong apparently stuck on someone's workstation in "You are Surrounded" episode

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LOL now that's funny!

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Ryu Tae Oh will be a monk.

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this episode remind me of the movie No Mercy

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I think Ji Wool might be used again. Tae Oh is only a copycat and seem to be the one working on the outside for Gapdong while Gentleman Choi and possibly Poopy is also working to help the real Gapdong manipulate and confuse the cops - so the real Gapdong seems to have much more in plan. And seeing how cray Moo Yeol went after kidnapping Ji Wool once, he might do it again just to make matters more intense. Being kidnapped by Gapdong is indeed in her character description anyway and we have many more eps to go.

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Thanks a lot javabeans for this recap. I'm enjoying this drama so much. I'm in awe bout lee joon's performance of tae-oh. He's doing a pretty good job there, don't you agree?

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Thank you, such an exciting episode!

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I need more Ma Ji Wool... and this episode is the best..

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Ah, this drama! So frustrating and yet so dang good!

First the frustrating part: So many plot points in this drama could happen naturally if only the writers thought stuff out more. For instance, they could have made Tae Ryu follow Maria around and discover hero then later follow hero around and discover Ji Ul. But noooooo, they had to have contrivances.

So here we have our hero being the first --yet again-- to find the dead girl and Ji Ul. Why? Because it's hip for the hero to do that. But all that just shows what is wrong with all the beats of this show. For instance, we have Maria pacing back and forth with the note from Jang's spy. She paces and awwwwwwfully long time. Long enough for spy to return to read the threat of Biblical proportions. And just as she's about to write down the info on the note, spy pops up and whisks it from her hand. Yes, i know this is k-drama but really! All that contrived planning is just bothering me.

The good part is now what seems like the hilarious-to-some parts. "A psycopath's love story." This is the true heart and sub-text of the story because as usual the main story carries the action but the sub-plot carries the theme. All these wounded people are interwoven with the theme of growth, stasis, guilt, responsibility, assumption. Jang's hospitalized daughter being the most powerful example of the stasis/responsibility/youth spectrum. Because of her wounds --innocent and none of her fault-- guilt, blame, and responsibility falls on hero's dad. Hero continues the long tradition of accidentally causing more deaths by his weird comment to a kid who was already a psychopath in training, a kid who needed a father figure who understood him. Lots of failed and failing fathers. And of course women are all the victims of this muddle of men/boys caught in stasis.

The thing about the love story is that it works perfectly if we remember that Tae Oh is a kid...and is capable of growing. Like all the main male characters, he is stuck in time as well. Maria is the mother figure -- although she has her alter-ego "sexy/strong woman" persona. And Ji Ul is the eternal female. If Tae Oh was older, he'd be a proper perfected psycopath. And even Tae Oh realizes that we shouldn't make simplistic generalizations about psycopaths.

The love story works if we remember that Tae Oh needs a mother figure to connect to ..just as Mad Monk needs a mother figure to connect to. And Tae Oh letting Ji Ul go free is proof that he is beginning to connect to females, to youth -- as symbolized by Ji Ul-- and to young girls in a sane way. He is not totally there yet. And his finding a spiritual substitute sacrifice for Ji Ul is his way of nodding to his new emerging emotions as it is his also holding to the fact that he is supposed to be a psycopath.

Trouble is the sub-plot is so well one that I feel the story should've made the sub-plot the main plot ..making the murders the sub-plot. The true organic heart of the...

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oops.. got cut off there.

The true organic heart of the story is with the sub-plot relationships, not the crime-solving.

And thematically, the fact that Jang and Mad Monk are somewhat responsible for these new murders, new threats to innocent depressed/weak guys with families and new deaths just makes the story so much sweeter. Because no one is entirely innocent. The innocents and righteous ones are to be blamed for the deaths of other people...just as if they were Gap Dong himself.

Would Mu Yeom's dad have died if Jang hadn't gone all assumption/righteous cop on him? Would Mu Yeom's dad even have been a suspect if he hadn't tried to help Jang's daughter? Would the new murders have occurred if Jang hadn't returned? Maybe...maybe not. Would the murders have occurred if Mu Yeom hadn't made that comment to young Tae Oh? And the girl under the tulips would not have died if Ji Ul had died. So the innocent are also made to bear guilt.

Thanks for the recap.

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Wow what an amusing alter-story line you've just written! to be honest I always wait for your comment on this drama recap haha since I find your point of view always pique my interest. Applause!

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:-) Thank you. I really feel the heart of this writer is more with the sub-plot and this is why the relationship angles are so well-done...while the main plot is so clunky. It's as if he is trying to make the main plot vehicle exciting to please crime drama lovers but is doing it in a count-by-numbers way, but very slowly painstakingly and caringly doing the relationships part.

And writer-nim seems to have a love of the strange curious turns relationships take. We have former enemies now on their way to bromance relationship. We have intimate open-hearted talks between serial killer and his doctor/mother-figure/love figure. We have caring intimate heart talks between serial killer and intended victim. I'm waiting for the writer to have the perfect vehicle for this kind of dynamic..instead of having to fit them into the crime story pattern.

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It's interesting reading your take on Tae Oh's growth. I generally agree with you. However, I don't think Tae Oh let Ji Ul go free because he's beginning to connect to young girls in a sane way.

This hasn't been proven yet, but I think it'll come up when we get some more background on Tae Oh's childhood: Tae Oh will not choose a girl with painted finger nails as his victim. This was shown to us back during the first killing, when he was scoping out potential victims. He looked at their fingernails in particular, rejecting anyone with painted nails. When he saw Ji Ul that first time, with her unpainted nails, I think he intended to make her the first victim, but circumstances intervened.

This time around, Ji Ul very well could have been the fifth victim. Except that she had just happened to paint her fingernails for once. The writer worked it into the show very well, giving her a good reason to do it (the heart for Mu Yeom). Notice all of the shots of her hands: her taking the picture, Mu Yeom's cop buddy making a point of asking her about her nails, Tae Oh's multiple glances at her painted fingernails at the beach.

I was never concerned during this episode that Tae Oh would kill Ji Ul. Him not making her the fifth victim was about her fingernails being painted, not a sane connection with young girls. If her nails hadn't been painted, all bets would have been off.

As for Maria and his possible feelings for her, I think that will be an important point of conflict at the end. Maria is Gap Dong's intended tenth victim. (Remember Tae Oh's little line about the coffee shop punch/stamp cards? Nine just isn't complete - ten is.) The Gap Dong inside considers Maria his. It makes perfect sense (you know, for a psychopath). Anyway, it will be interesting to see how Tae Oh's evolving feelings for Maria will complicate the plan to make her the tenth victim. Will he be able to go through with it? I'm going to go out on a limb and say no. The inside Gap Dong will end up having to go after her himself, which is possible since she's working the jail he's in.

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Wow, that might be true about the fingernails issue rather than the emotional connection. I hadn't thought about the fingernails being painted motif. I felt he had begun to connect with her and thus to have something of a conflicted heart. We'll see. I so hoped he had begun to have a heart where Ji Ul was concerned. Fingers crossed that he has it when dealing with Maria. Thanks for your insight and help.

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I hope it might be at least a little tiny bit true that Tae Oh would have been conflicted about killing Ji Ul, but at this point I think he still would have done it. I think her painted nails were her real insurance against that happening, but perhaps Tae Oh wouldn't have made her the fifth victim for other reasons as well. He likes toying with Mu Yeom, so maybe he would have kept her alive anyway so that he could use her to yank Mu Yeom's chain again. Or because he likes her webtoon, and if she's dead, the rest of the killings wouldn't be chronicled. Ji Ul is the closest he has to a normal relationship with a girl (or anyone, really), so I think you're right that on some level he is connecting to her as a normal person would to another, even if he doesn't know it himself. That said, I don't think that would have been enough to stop him from killing her if it fit his plans, if it hadn't been for her nails.

On a related note, I haven't been reading the Gap Dong comments here at DB; has anybody wondered how Tae Oh was able to recognize Gap Dong in the prison? Tae Oh saw Gap Dong tie that knot, and from that he recognized him. However, that knot, which was Gap Dong's signature, was never publicized. Only the police/investigators would have known about it. So how did Tae Oh come to know that that knot means Gap Dong?

Sure, he made Gap Dong his hero, so he probably read up on him in the papers, but Tae Oh must have gotten his hands on police files to have known about the knot. I hope the show goes into to that.

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Wow! True about that knot. Now am wondering how...

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Him not making her the fifth victim was about her fingernails being painted, not a sane connection with young girls.

And yet, he made his actual victim paint her own nails herself in a style that was exactly like Ji-wool's (which leads me to wonder, did he go and buy 4 bottles of nail polish to recreate her manicure on the victim)?

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What ? You mean psychopath couldn't fall in love ? :D

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Yah, who knew? Hitler was a psycopath, i think. He was in love with Eva. Or maybe he was a sociopath ;-) Maybe sociopaths fall in love but not psycopaths.

I've seen a lot of stories on Investigation Discovery etc and sociopaths definitely fall in love. At least the stalkers, mobsters, and hired hit men do. Even the solitary ones seem to fall in love.

I think we like to think that psychopathology is easy to describe. And that they are the extreme. I suspect it's a spectrum of human behavior... instead of a kind of all or nothing thing. Everyone of us are capable of havng no emotions toward people, types, things, situations...no emotional connection in some things ...or no emotional connection in everything.

But as our resident psycopath says, "it's not that easy." I've seen folks who don't care about the suffering of black folks or drug addicts or East Indians or gays or the disabled but who are about the suffering of other folks. The human heart is very odd like that. It compartmentalizes. We are all psycopathic in many ways toward people we refuse to love or empathize with.

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Exactly. Maybe not falling in love in romantic sense but become obsessive over someone.

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Maybe. It's quite possible. But then we'd have to start examining what real love feels like, and if falling in love is ever really sane, or what kind of people can fall in love. I don't know enough about Tae Oh to know what kind of love he feels for Maria.

She cares for him. So it might be a self-involved kind of thing. He likes her because she makes him feel at the center of everything and she is focusing on him. And young kids have that kind of jealous love for their parents until they grow up and mature out of that. Kids can get very proprietary about their moms. This might be part of it.

He might also like her because of who she is...an intelligent, caring maternal figure. In the same way that all the patients in that facility like her. She is and has something they lack and he admires that in her. I don't see that yet.

It could be plain old sexual attraction. But it took a while to pop up and maybe he always liked her, even inside the facility but because his thoughts were elsewhere -- on murder, etc-- he just didn't focus. I'm thinking this is more on the mark. Which will be why his upcoming redemption arc/death/punishment will be so touching. He will have realized that he had lost himself somehow...in a very bad way, wanting to destroy life, etc. He will see clearly that he went down the wrong path. I could be off on this but this is what I'm hoping to see.

But I tend to think that most romantic love is pretty obsessive at the beginnning. With a sane person, the obsessiveness goes when the relationship matures or ends. Stalkers don't allow the relationship to end. Immature folks dont allow the relationship to end or change. Either way, obsessiveness is on the spectrum of all romantic love because we all become obsesssive when we fall in love.

And so far...everyone in this drama is obsessed. With death, with regret, and also with love. So now, we have Mu Yeom worrying himself sick at nights thinking of Maria (regular obsessive romantic love in the beginning) And Ji Ul has had her childish obsessive-but-allowed-cause-it's-cute love for Mu Yeom. Right now, though...the two who are awakening to love are Maria and Tae Oh. They are both totally unused to it because of their Gap-Dong obsessions. Will see how it works out for everyone.

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Hey, Carole... pretty impressive analysis you've got here. I've been reading your comments and replied, but none somehow got posted... I guess my connection is whacky.
Anyway.

Was it you who said that Tae-oh was probably sexually abused by his father? Well, I'm sorry if it was another visitor here...but still. I don't think he was (sexually abused). Imo, it's more likely that his late father paid close attention to him and notice the early signs of psychopathy in Tae-oh, which culminated in his attack towards his brother. I think Tae-oh was a South Korean version of Kevin Khatchadourian from We Need to Talk About Kevin, as in, his parents couldn't control his cruel tendencies at all.

But it'd be interesting (plotwise) if Tae-oh was abused, so kudos to that idea.

I think it'd make an interesting conflict (emotionally, at least) towards the end, where the real Gap-dong would "want Maria back" and Tae-oh would want to hold on to her. The battle of psychopathic wills?

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Oh gee, I don't think I said he was probably abused by his father. I hope i didn't. Yes, Kevin and Tae Oh are alike but in this case it looks as if the entire family (at Mom's insistence) was ready to die for Tae Oh rather than put him away.

I don't think Tae-oh was abused though. Not sure if I believe in bad seeds springing up out of the blue. Something must've started this kid off. Jealousy about his brother? Not wanting to share his mom with his brother?

oooh, i love the idea of the copycat and his idol battling for Maria. Not sure if that'll happen. A bit late in the game for the real Gap Dong to get into the act...although he might be jealous of the attention copycatter is getting.. so maybe you're right.

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Hi, Carole. By the way, your thoughts and suggestions motivated me to watch this week's episodes. I was about to give up on this show. So, thank you :).

When it comes to the psychopathy spectrum (and indeed, many conditions related to the human mind and human behavior), it's unwise to speak in absolutes. How can we know whether or not a psychopath is capable of love? It's not like there is some psychopath manual governing the inner workings of such individuals. I remember watching this story of a man who killed a couple of people in cold blood (and for no reason); he became a gushing mama's boy when the discussion shifted to his feelings toward his mother. It is possible that some of his behavior and thoughts were affected in order to create a frightening persona/image. Who knows? But he was surely complicated.

When it comes to love, I am reminded of a quote from Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye: "Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love." On a side note, I've been searching for this quote for ages; I'm glad I found it!

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Yeah, I was kinda muddling through screaming at the plot coincidences, contrivances, and over-the-top cueing music which did nothing to affect me whatsoever.

But there were these moments when suddenly a character's heart would just flicker or beam out of all that messy narrative and I thought.... "Wow, writer-nim, more of that please! Please go there...yes, yes...in that [email protected]"

It is a nice quote. I haven't pondered it so am not sure I believe it..but it's interesting to consider, ne?

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Considering most kdrama heroes exhibit serial killer (or at least obsessive Stalker) tendencies anyway, this psychopath-in-lurve turn makes perfect sense.

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What's the song at the part where Ha Mu Yeom saves Ji Ul from jumping off the bridge?? It's so hard to find the OSTs of this drama :(

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I think one of my biggest gripes is the total passivity of the women who die at the hands of Tae-oh. I understand that one can be frozen from sheer terror, but is it possible that every victim responds the same way, i.e., by doing absolutely nothing? Not a single one has tried to fight back. The total passivity (and yes, I know that they are victims) bothers me. Everyone reacts differently and yet all of the women seem interchangeable to me. I hope that what I am trying to say is not misunderstood. It's just that I want to see a break from the pattern.

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oh my gosh! I was thinking the same thing. I know writer-nim attempted to cover his/her creative butt by having Tae-Oh ask Ji Ul why she didn't run...but still... NAH. And when writer-nim had Ji Ul say in dramas "people run," I thought... that still doesn't cut it. Your making her stay with this guy and not even try to call out...even if she is giving up her life because the love of her life was hugging another woman.....was too silly for words. And Ji Ul's stumbling backward when faced with him on a well lit road in the middle of the day...was like...REALLY? REEEEEEEEALLY?

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I am getting a bit tired of Ji Ul's character. She has some serious issues of her own. It seems like her answer to everyone of life's curves is suicide or "volunteer for murder". This cute but totally stupid with zero self esteem trope can only carry you so far as a character trait.

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I had the exact same thought when the scene for the 5th murder was going on.

Why don't ANY of these women ever fight back, but just cringe in terror? Yes, it is true that men are much more likely to fight back, but here even women on the verge of being killed do nothing, even when the choice is try and maybe die, or don't try and die for sure.

As one American scholar of sex crimes noted: "The common idea is that 60% of rape victims that fight back incur injuries. What they fail to mention is that 100% of rape victims that do NOT fight back get raped".

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Agree with you, the victims not fighting part is very unrealistic to say the least, majority of the victims of the serial killers no matter which country they are from do try to fight back, that is why you see defense marks in lot of the victims, it means that they did fight back and tried to protect themselves.

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Okay, I still think Poopy is totally in this Gap Dong business but now I won't be surprised if Gap Dong turns out to be one of the cops. Their ineptness is just too much at this point. It's gotta be planned.

I LOVE moody Tae Oh because I hope hope hope he becomes frazzled enough to slip up. Just cause I really want to see him take a different route.

And I don't even mind if Ji Ul continues to defy common sense and engage him in conversation. Even psychos need some girl talk, you know? Hopefully next time they'll pow it out while baking cookies at the temple or something.

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Wahahahaha....I love the part where you said they should bake cookies at the temple 'cause I totally pictured that in my mind and it would be such a fantastic scene even if it's just a fantasy sequence.

I just love your comment.

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And I don’t even mind if Ji Ul continues to defy common sense and engage him in conversation.

me neither! They're about equally obsessive re: their objects of affection, with the difference being that Ji-wool isn't, you know, a murderer.

Now that she's been kidnapped, had the chat with him and rescued, they better give her something to do over the next 8 eps besides crush on Mu-yeom (I guess she isn't handing Tae-oh murder manuals any more) and be a brat. Kim Ji-won deserves better material than this, she really sunk her teeth into this ep with Lee Joon and the show is more interesting for that.

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Yoon Sang Hyun! SO damn awesome in a drama. I always liked his comedic roles but I gotta say he should do serious roles too! But don't forget the funny roles too! And Lee Joon, fantastic as ever! Hope he continues to get interesting roles like this one, although it may not be a lead....A super good chance to take on a challenge!

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I really love his move Tone Deaf Clinic..specially that part where he sang for the girl..oh..i'm in love with his voice.. :-) and that part is sooo funny..

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Finally, the kidnapping planned for Ji-wool actually happens! I found this episode way more interesting than any of the previous ones, and I won't lie, the Tae-oh/Ji-wool interactions were a huge part of that. Props must be given to the actors for playing that off so well, because whichever way you slice it, a serial killer having intimate chats with his intended victim is bizarre as hell.

And frankly, I was glad we got them because I was tired of Ji-wool's one-note character up to this point. She's like the Lee Bo-na of Gap-dong, only a character like that really doesn't belong in a drama like this. It's no fault of the actress, who's actually quite convincing, it's bad writing. But having her in conversation with Tae-oh, it just works - Lee Joon was already fantastic in his role, but Kim Ji-won actually shines in those scenes with him because she finally has something to do.

Also, the edge that the extended interaction brings to this episode, makes it more fascinating even if we know very well that Tae-oh is beyond redemption. There's a certain genuineness to his curiosity and her calmness around him, that really works. (and he totally noticed the clue she planted in the webtoon, he let her go on purpose).

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Also, this:

I think I’m really going to enjoy the sad, lovesick psychopath murderer twist

Yes, drama. BRING IT ON.

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A word of advice to anyone who watches this late at night and freaks themselves out (what? I'm a wuss when it comes to scary things), go watch mblaq sesame player. Though it'll probably make it hard to take Tae Oh seriously ever again...I mean, how does Lee Joon even do that? Personality switch much? O_o

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Yoon Sany Hyun, playing Moo Yeom, has a pair of expressive eyes that tell a lot of story within themselves. The very first time I have seen a charming and brilliant actor who has displayed his tremendous self bringing his eyes talking in his act, good job, superbly well done ! All my praises go to him is yet far more than enough !

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Will it be something more than agitation and agony Moo Yeom has to bite on the bullet with number of lives innocently taken away...... he stretched his hand out so hard to reach those squirming for help. Tears streaming down his face is wrenching my heart paralleled to his self condemnation for not being able to put an end to a ruthless and brutal rounds of killing! Psychopath with whatever sense he has lost doesn't equal an exemption of prosecution. I hope our hero amasses more oomph in the battle field fighting against the evil. The very heavens were filled with the fury of war between the good and the bad.....What I cling to the truth is the villain of the piece has always been responsible for paying back as the evil can never prevail over good.
Something must be done to stop the psychopath from keep tuning on the music of killing spree, Moo Yeom the hero is mandated to spell doom for his bloodthirsty act.
Nevertheless, the acting displayed by all cast I'm enjoying the most, the plot so far is written well, with the main line plotted on the main lead branching out to have the sub-leads glued to the titled theme. Though the background music chilled me to the bone, I still luv it.

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Am I the only one who's completely shipping tae oh and ji wool (I REALLY hope they take it in that direction because the tae oh and dr maria loveline should be thoroughly destroyed and shredded).

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But he is a serial killer who is beyond redemption. He kills for fun. I wouldn't want Ji wool to be emotionally involved with him.

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i thought i was the only one who shipped tae oh and ji wool. i think they are great together

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