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Gap-dong: Episode 18

Was it me, or was this episode incomprehensible? I’m still trying to figure out whether it was just a little too cryptic for its own good, or if it was wholly off its rocker.

When I’m confused about a drama, I try not to leap to the “this show made no sense” conclusion if I’m not sure that an “I just didn’t understand it” explanation isn’t more applicable. But I honestly don’t know which it is, because watching this episode was like watching aliens—they sure seemed to think their behavior was reasonable, but I couldn’t for the life of me puzzle out the rules governing their thought processes. It’s one thing for a drama to be mysterious, but another thing entirely (and not a good one) to be inscrutable.

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EPISODE 18 RECAP

Maria tells Tae-oh that she’ll help him, on a condition: “If you agree to pay the price for your crimes.”

Ooh, looks like Tae-oh accepts that offer because the next thing we know, he’s calling Chief Cha to ask about that so-called freedom—and the call is recorded by police, who listen in. Tae-oh says he’s not sure he can trust Chief Cha’s promise and wonders if he ought to side with Mu-yeom instead.

Chief Cha replies that revealing the secret to freedom is not helpful yet—he’ll tell him when Tae-oh’s more desperate to know it. “So wait,” he instructs.

Now the ticking clock is the upcoming Gap-dong trial, so the priority becomes finding as much evidence against Chief Cha as possible. That’s the task Chul-gon puts his team on.

The two inspectors who previously stripped Mu-yeom of his position receive some scorn, and Ki-ri sneers that they out to contribute if they don’t want to be accused of helping Gap-dong. The inspectors were pretty belligerent toward Mu-yeom so I’m fine with the cold shoulder, frankly.

Afterward, one of the inspectors texts Cha, calling him sunbae and asking to meet. It’s possible that his is a blind allegiance (and not, say, co-conspiracy) because he appears to believe that Cha is being unjustly accused. Cha just thanks him for his trust.

Mu-yeom calls Chief Cha to a meeting of the “two Gap-dongs” and levels with them and whatever agreement they may have between them. Theirs is not a win-win scenario where the result of both men keeping quiet is positive. Instead, he describes their situation as zero-sum: If one gains ground, the other loses it.

Tae-oh tells Chief Cha that he’s sorry, but his case is approaching trial and his paramount concern is to figure out who will help him avoid the death penalty. Cha looks perturbed as Tae-oh asks Mu-yeom, “It’s probably better to be a hunting dog than dying, right?”

But wait, Tae-oh gives Cha a chance to win his loyalty too—he tells Cha to give up his secret right now. This is turning into a very interesting conversation, where each dialogue exchange swings the pendulum back and forth, pro-Mu-yeom one second, and then pro-Cha. He’s playing them off each other to see who will benefit him the most, like the evil genius he is.

The silence stretches between Mu-yeom and Chief Cha, who are now both angling for Tae-oh’s help. Back and forth it goes.

After Cha leaves, Mu-yeom fills Tae-oh in on the working theory that Cha’s first murder wasn’t part of the series—he began serial killing to cover his tracks. The emergence of his signature knot supports this, and Tae-oh agrees that with the third murder, Cha took on the Gap-dong persona. Although I still think Tae-oh’s involvement could swing either way, for now I’m going with the assumption that he’s acting as double agent and that he’s ultimately sided with Mu-yeom. This show could always surprise us, of course.

Maria’s psychiatrist colleague administers the evaluation to Chief Cha to examine whether he has multiple personality disorder. Maria watches behind a one-way mirror as Cha answers questions of whether he’s ever heard voices or forgotten conversations in the middle of them. Cha plays this with his trademark meek earnestness, like he’s puzzled by this all and just wants to prove his innocence.

When Ji-wool checks in next with Tae-oh, the sight of his wooden block angrily studded with nails makes her gape. His face remains as blank as ever, but he says he didn’t anticipate that he’d get so angry. Ji-wool heaves a sigh and starts pulling the nails out to show him the surface of the wood marred with holes: “These are the scars you’ve left in the hearts of other people. The people you’ve killed, threatened, and hated.”

Tae-oh’s face twitches a bit, and he walks away feigning indifference. Ji-wool guesses that he’s feeling shame, which is something that separates humans from animals. Tae-oh dismisses it quickly, perhaps disturbed at the insight.

In the observation room, Maria and the other shrink leave Chief Cha on his own and watch for a while as he reads various materials. The shrink points out the differences in posture and behavior at various moments, saying that it’s indicative of a switch in personality. If we’re to pinpoint our stances on the skepticism meter, I’d put the shrink on one end at the “totally buying it” point and myself closer to the opposite end of “dude is faking it.” Maria is squarely in the middle, unsure which side to take.

Profiler Han receives another visit from his wife while awaiting trial. Sensing something off about her, he cautions against acting on dangerous thoughts, like going after the criminal. He must be reading her correctly because Maria’s mother breaks down in angry tears, crying, “I’m her mother! I’ve found out who he is—what am I supposed to do?!”

The first Gap-dong trial will be broadcast live, and on the first day the courthouse is a flurry of activity. The media buzzes around while the victims’ families stand outside the courthouse with signs demanding justice. Cha is set to testify as a witness, and on his way in he stops to read a sign asking for Gap-dong to seek forgiveness—a word that curls his lip with derision.

All of our key players are in attendance (Mu-yeom, Maria) or watching on television (Tae-oh, the police) as Chief Cha takes the stand. Profiler Han is only on trial for the fourth murder, which he confessed to, but Cha has been identified by the media as the alleged true Gap-dong, and by now the viewers know who he is. But I suppose he hasn’t legally been charged, which is why he’s still a free man.

The witness testimony goes swiftly, first with Cha testifying as to his whereabouts on the day of the fourth murder, then with Profiler Han testifying that he’d taught Cha all about signatures.

Maria testifies as well, and is asked whether the perpetrator of the murder she witnessed is present. She answers yes, and with trembling hand points to Chief Cha. This causes a stir in the courtroom, and Cha is called back to the witness stand.

Cha grows increasingly agitated, burying his head in his hands as the district attorney presses him to answer whether he is Gap-dong. Something snaps in Cha as he leaps up out of his chair, glaring at the district attorney and growling, “Yeah! I am the real Gap-dong!”

He flips a desk, swearing at the D.A. and cackling as he turns to face the audience. He vows to wring Kim Jae-hee’s neck, but when Maria moves to stand up to face him, Mu-yeom holds her still and walks up instead. (What the hell, slowest bailiffs ever? Do your job.)

“Good to see you, Gap-dong,” Mu-yeom says. Cha sneers without recognition, “Who’s this bastard?” Mu-yeom calmly introduces himself, and Cha retorts, “Oh, so you’re the crazy punk who used to follow Cha Do-hyuk around?”

Mu-yeom thanks him for showing his Gap-dong face to the world, but Cha says that it doesn’t matter since they have no evidence. “You can’t catch me,” he says, “because that Cha Do-hyuk is my lackey. If I tell him to get rid of evidence, he does. If I say to mess with the investigation, he does.” His face twitches rapidly in his rage, but then the crazed angry persona drops away as Cha staggers backward in bewilderment.

Well played, Gap-dong. Well played. That was rather convincing.

Cha is escorted out by police officers, and maintains his blank face even when Mu-yeom refuses to be fooled by the act. As he walks away, though, Cha grins to himself.

Maria discovers something shocking in her mother’s possession, and tearfully Mom confesses that she was going to use the bottle’s contents to kill the bastard. For her own sake, I’m glad she didn’t get the chance to go through with it. Sobbing, they hold each other close.

The police officers are torn on whether to believe Cha or view his display as an act. Mu-yeom says he might have been fooled if he hadn’t known Cha better, though he recognizes that Maria wants to believe the diagnosis, if only to allow herself to move on from the whole thing. He and Chul-gon realize that if Cha’s evaluation declares him a patient of multiple personality disorder, this greatly hampers their goal and eases the pressure off Cha.

In his evaluation, mild-mannered Chief Cha contends that he cannot remember or believe that he acted that way in court. He undergoes hypnosis to draw out the Gap-dong personality, who calls Cha Do-hyuk a supremely irritating bastard. Sneeringly, he provides details about the second murder and how he killed the woman, laughing at her naivety. In the last moments before doing her in, he had told her tauntingly, “I am Gap-dong.”

The matter is put before a board of medical professionals, and the lead psychiatrist diagnoses Gap-dong as the host personality, which controls the alter ego of Cha Do-hyuk. He has found six personalities in all, which include an elderly fighter and an abused child.

Maria is asked to weigh in, and she offers no objection, saying that this disorder may be the most logical answer. She excuses herself from the deliberation process, at the end of which a diagnosis is reached: yes to multiple personality disorder.

Maria doesn’t look entirely satisfied with the result but agrees that it’ll help her put this behind her. But then a thought hits her, and she races back to the interrogation room to review the hypnosis footage. It’s only now that it strikes her that the Gap-dong persona had called himself Gap-dong to the second victim.

She calls Chul-gon to ask for clarification, and hears that it wasn’t until the third case that the nickname Gap-dong was given by the police, because of Mu-yeom’s father. Ding-ding-ding! There’s no way he knew it in when the second woman died, and thus Cha is lying.

But for whatever reason, Chul-gon and Mu-yeom keep this information to themselves. They decide to proceed with Plan B before he has a chance to flee, now that his travel ban has been lifted.

Rather counterintuitively, Cha showing his monstrous Gap-dong personality before the public has supposedly alleviated some of the people’s ire against him. In fact, it has reduced the calls for his death penalty. As a result, the lawyers predict that their rage will now be redirected toward Tae-oh, whose case has been made more precarious. Is this actually human nature, or is this strange scriptwriting? I ask because I don’t follow, but for the purposes of proceeding with this plotline, I’m accepting it and moving on.

Maria approaches Chief Cha after he’s received his diagnosis and says that she very nearly let him off the hook. She points out that he called himself Gap-dong before the name was given to the killer, this time not relenting when he maintains his innocence. She throws his words back in his face: “Did it feel good to win?”

She calls him a bastard who would abuse the human weakness of being swayed to forgive the unforgivable. He smirks that “cheap forgiveness” holds no appeal to him.

Maria challenges, “We ought to fix the order now, of who dies first. It’ll be you, Cha Do-hyuk. When you’re walking down a strange street and find a knife stabbed in your back, there’s no need to turn to see who it is. I’ll be standing there.” Welcome back, tough-as-nails Maria. I’ve missed you.

Tae-oh sends Mu-yeom a text that Gap-dong is his hero after all—after all, he managed to fool the entire country. But he also agrees to be the hunting dog, and asks if Mu-yeom knows what psychopaths are most afraid of. Reminding him of the chicken race, he gives the answer: “There’s nothing else you can catch them with. It’s feeling that their lives are dear.”

Chief Cha finds that the flight ban is still in place and calls in to the station to inquire why. As it happens, the ban has actually been lifted but Mu-yeom has the whole station in on the ruse, making Cha believe it’s still in effect. Tricksy!

Mu-yeom calls Ji-wool next, and very seriously asks if she still wants that “chance” she asked for, and if she won’t regret it. She agrees.

Then Mu-yeom calls Chief Cha, who’s planning to leave in the next day or two, to challenge him to a last confrontation.

Tae-oh leaves a comment on Cha’s blog (about fishing, of all things) congratulating him on his freedom. Tae-oh and Cha have a back-and-forth in the comments, when Tae-oh reminds him of his upcoming trial and asks for that answer now. Cha replies that there’s no actual secret to the Eiffel Tower—he’d only mimicked the Zodiac killer’s code to mess with them.

Tae-oh presses for the other secret of how to become free. His request takes on a desperate tinge as he says he’s facing a much grimmer future than Cha. He gets agitated waiting for Cha’s answer, and adds the tip that Mu-yeom intends to “see the end” with him today. Tae-oh piques Cha’s curiosity by offering him the way to freedom, and references the insanity defense—that under Gap-dong’s influence, Cha completely lost control of his mind and body and is not responsible for his actions.

Cha replies with his answer, and dangles the word “completion” in front of his face like it’s the key to his salvation. “You’ll have to make her play rock-scissors-paper,” he suggests.

It’s deliberately cryptic language, but he means Tae-oh is to finish the ninth murder, i.e., kill Maria. Tae-oh writes back: “But what about the police?” Cha replies that while everybody’s got Tae-oh under scrutiny, if he were to kill another person…

He trails off meaningfully and Tae-oh’s eyes widen in realization. I… confess I don’t understand how this could possibly mean freedom, but Tae-oh seems to get it (must be that psychopath telepathy) and calls Cha his hero after all.

Cha gives him the order: “Go!”

Thankfully our guys are on it, and Mu-yeom and Chul-gon predict that the ninth case may happen today. This is their last chance to get both Gap-dongs, just as Cha must see this as his last chance to get Maria and Mu-yeom in one go. Chul-gon adds that this is probably his last case. Those are famous last words, aren’t they?

Chul-gon calls Maria and tells her of Mu-yeom’s plan to use the multiple personality diagnosis to get Gap-dong. Furthermore, he’d asked Chul-gon to look after Maria and Ji-wool in case something happens. Ack, more famous last words!

Ji-wool arrives to conduct another art-as-therapy session with Tae-oh, drawing happy pictures and advising him to blow balloons when he has bad thoughts, which is supposed to settle your thoughts and reduce your anger. Tae-oh eyes Ji-wool closely and suggests a walk outside… and leaves his tracking monitor behind. Uh, aren’t those supposed to be unremovable, and not, say, taken off like a watch buckle?

Good thing Ji-wool is carrying the tracker Mu-yeom gave her, so the police are able to monitor their movements. First stop is a haircut for Tae-oh, during which Ji-wool thinks back to the chance Mu-yeom referred to. Now we see that she’d been the one to ask for it: “In case Tae-oh takes me and commits the ninth murder, and I’m just saying what if, give me the chance to see if he’s truly irredeemable.” (How do you get a chance after you’re killed? This logic is all backward.)

Ji-wool had asked to confirm with her own eyes whether there’s truly no hope for Tae-oh, because otherwise she might be unable to accept it. You know what else is hard to accept? Anything after you’re dead.

Ji-wool approves of Tae-oh’s haircut and asks why he wanted one. He replies that today’s an important day, then takes her somewhere for “real-life practice.” He hands her a bouquet of wildflowers and explains that she’d said people give each other flowers to make the other person happy, so this is his attempt at that gesture.

They sit awhile outdoors while she sketches, and he wonders, “Is it possible, you think? That I could stop.” She isn’t sure, but offers, “Maybe.”

The police keep an eye on both Gap-dongs, and we hop inside Chief Cha’s head for a moment to confirm what he’s up to. He tells himself that today he’ll put an end to both Mu-yeom and Kim Jae-hee—the former at his hands, and the latter at his copycat’s.

While pausing on their walk along a hiking trail, Tae-oh pulls out his phone to text someone (Maria?) that Gap-dong ordered him to finish the ninth murder. He calls it akin to “throwing rat poison to a crazy person” and asks how he should respond.

Cha returns to the pool and finds Young-ae swimming there. Mu-yeom arrives and steps in to face Cha, dismissing Young-ae (who takes with her a handgun concealed in a towel). Cha guesses that Mu-yeom planted a trap for him, and Mu-yeom asks about the idea Tae-oh planted in Cha’s mind: to shoot Mu-yeom under cover of the “Gap-dong” personality.

Tae-oh texts Maria to come see him and Ji-wool, blowing balloons while he waits. And then the camera pans over to reveal that he has tied Ji-wool up to a tree, and she sobs as he studiously blows that balloon.

Mu-yeom calls out the Gap-dong personality, provoking his rage and reaching for the gun he’s tucked into his back pocket.

Cha lunges for Mu-yeom and knocks him to the ground, grabbing the gun and leveling it at Mu-yeom.

Bang!

 
COMMENTS

WHAT is even going on. I do not understand Mu-yeom’s grand plan, not even a little, and it’s confusing because it’s presented as though it all makes perfect sense. But I’m not seeing it, which makes me wonder if I’m crazy or dense. And while those are always possibilities, this time I’m going to go with the show losing itself in its attempt to be tricksy and complicated.

For instance, the question of which side Tae-oh is on is a compelling one, and an example of confusion that works, because it adds to the uneasiness. We’re meant to be suspicious of his motives and curious as to his true driving force, and it fits with his character since it appears that not even Tae-oh is fully aware of his own motivations. But Ji-wool’s backwards request for confirmation is nonsense, and while I’ve been quite patient with her idealism and naivety (because it’s her nature to want to believe the best of people, and I can accept that), putting your own life at risk to see if it was worth putting your life at risk seems like stupidly circular logic. At best.

I’m assuming that there’s more to Mu-yeom’s plan than confronting Cha and getting himself shot, even if his plan mirrors Ji-wool’s in that he knows he’s putting himself in the line of danger. At least with him I can believe he has a bigger goal at the end of things—or at least he had better, otherwise this weird final showdown lacks punch.

The show has kept his plan deliberately opaque to keep our suspense up, but I’m starting to feel like the show is getting in the way of itself, twisting everything so much that you can no longer take anything at face value. Is this meant to be suspicious? Or am I meant to find the suspicion suspicious? Or is there a third layer of suspicion on top of that? What are we even supposed to believe? In the race to make everything as cryptic as possible, everything starts sounding like gobbledy-gook. I understand the literal words they are saying, but not what they mean. What? Why? Huh?

With one more week to go, I’ll suspend my discontent here and wait for the drama to wrap itself up, because at this point I’m not sure if my dissatisfaction is with a misstep in execution, or a misstep in intent. If it’s just clunky execution I can forgive a lot of that, but if you’re trying to actually sell me some nonsense rationale, well I’m not buying. Let’s see what finale week brings.

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I am so glad to see this recap. I have been checking every 30 minutes. This is how addicted I am to this drama. :)

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I thought Cha's case was a little more clear cut but I am not sure about Tae Oh. On one hand, I think I know where he is heading but at times, am not that sure of it.

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hmmm yeah jiwool has no sense of self-preservation.

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She is seriously stupid.

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I...am lost. Very lost. Glad I'm not the only one xD I was a bit disappointed with this episode, honestly, because WHAT LOGIC ARE YOU PEOPLE EVEN USING. Here's hoping that gets cleared up a bit next episode.
As for Tae-oh, he's still my favorite character (pretty sure we've all concluded that he's the most compelling one of the bunch) but I rather hope he doesn't end up following Cha's instructions...besides the fact that killing people is a generally bad idea, the whole "kill somebody ELSE to get you out of jail free" concept isn't exactly foolproof or sensical (and unless the show provides a good reason for it to work, I'm going to be pretty disappointed in Tae-oh's mental capabilities). I want him locked up for good, not dead or going around killing people. Is that too much to ask? D:

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i just dont get it..

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I like the actor who is depicting Det.Cha!

He emotes very well and is just so believable!

Did you know he is also the heroine's dad in CheongDamDong Alice? - pardon the spelling.

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Me too I always like him, start noticing him in Shark as Insu's dad. I also like his acting here however lately his face contorted too much whenever he turns into Gapdong. Too much it starts to feel unrealistic.

Or maybe that's the idea, because Cha is "acting" so it has to look like he's acting!

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Aaah...I like him since Secret Garden. Even though his scene was short it was memorable because he made me cry.

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Dear Javabeans, thanks for the recap. I think you are not the only one who thinks it is incomprehensible. I have always had to squeeze my little brain in every episode to understand this drama LOL. I need to watch at least twice, with engsub, and read recaps&comments, and discuss, to be able to follow. But that's the magnet of this drama, at least to me. It makes me stick to and even in my sleep I keep thinking about Gapdong LOL...

The way I see it Ryu Tae Oh was not going to kill this time, it's just his way to show to Cha that he follows his instructions hence Cha should pay with telling him the "secret". I was amazed of how manipulative Tae Oh is to everyone. Everyone!! I don't think he will be able to find himself. And Ji Wool, girl, you sacrifice yourself for a guy who is not worth your life! Who could safe you from that remote forest? You're lucky Tae Oh doesn't really interested to see you die.

That's for now.. I need to re-watch with the engsub LOL.. be back later.

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I'm thinking there's gonna be a bit of a retread in the next episode and we will see some hidden plans we were not privy to. The, lo and behold, it'll all come together. I'm still wondering whom Tae Oh was texting as he was in the park. And I'll say I will never look at balloon-blowing in the same way again.

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Ohhh! So I'm not the only one!! I thought I was a pervert by zooming into his face/ lips blowing that balloon >_< sorry guys please ignore me.

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Was it the right move from Ji Wool by teaching Ryu Tae Oh to blow balloon? He's already a calm guy.. he's a psycho who could plan everything in detail without mistake. He picks on anything that's very slightly miss-aligned. He spotted Chief Cha's folded collar (now I got it Cha purposely fold his collar to show Tae Oh that he is not a neat-in-every-detail man hence he can't be Gapdong).
Tae Oh is as patient as a crocodile waiting for his prey. Making him blowing balloon is like doubling his psychopathic potential suddenly it scares me.

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Tae Oh has a false calm, though -- the calm of a person who cannot be disturbed. Now he's moving towards humanity and is very stressed. When these guys get stressed, the need to murder is strong. So he had to release his pent-up stress on the plane?

Not sure if his balloon is helping him disperse stress or helping him increase it.

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I still can't get over the fact that he killed those women mercilessly, I think he should be locked up for life, although his character is intriguing he's not redeemable in my eyes, he still seem to have the mentality that if he doesn't get the answer from real Gap Dong on how to stop he would never be able to stop killing. I think Mu yeom and Maria will regret later for trying to make a deal with him and use him, Ji Wool is already regretting and crying.

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Yes. I do like the whole "Is this a life-changing moment?" moral dilemma thing going on with Tae-Oh. I haven't seen such moral agonizing in a kdrama in ages.

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I think Tae Oh wrote a message to Maria ('what should I do?') but, as always, got scared to open himself to someone and show a weakness in asking for an advice, so deleted the previous text and wrote what he finally wrote instead.

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oh gee! So it was never sent? Aigoo

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One thing, I really like Ryu Tae Oh's new haircut but I don't get what visiting a hair salon has to do with the story. I mean like was not even a PPL, was it?

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And for me personally, it was distracting. He doesn't look so much like a killer now. Maybe that is the point, or maybe this is his turning point.

In either case jiwool just made her entrance into noble idiocy land and for brand new reasons. At least they are creative...

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I guess the only good thing about this episode is Tae-oh's new haircut ? He's looking fresh.

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They have kept complete mystery in this episode.. and i am sure things will be clear in coming episodes.

this is one of the best dramas i have seen. and eager to see how things wrap up in the end.

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I have the tendency to read the intro part to your reviews before I watch an episode. That way, I know whether to be excited, or....prepare for disappointment. I'll still go ahead and watch it because it's too late to drop.

Honestly, I wasn't happy since ep 16 or so, but since most people seemed to be happy, I just explained it away as a personal thing. And then with 17, it became even stranger.

I thought they never should've went the direction of having found the original Gap Dong. First, I wasn't even interested in Cha as a character for it shock me.

Second, I had a hard time accepting that after all these years of never having been found (in real life), suddenly a group of incompetent detectives find him due to some pretty silly reasons. Oh...And Mr. Cha, who lived peacefully for so long, suddenly goes psycho and "reveals himself" because MY uttered the word "forgiveness"? Okay...I know it's a kdrama but give me a break. I'm only being harsh because at the start, I really enjoyed this one. I thought Ryu Tae Oh would be more clever but even he was turned into a dud who currently is getting therapy sessions from JW.

I'm not sure what other direction they could've gone but I guess that's the problem with the drama not having been thought out...similar to God's Gift. It probably sounded good on paper but now they're just throwing ideas in for shock value.

It doesn't help that this past week, I was watching Mawang (The Devil), one with actual detective work.

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Classic 'week before the last week' issue. Got to keep the mystery until the last moment so now we are swimming in the mud.
Still, I like the show. In fact I loved the journey so much, I don't even care for who's Gap Dong & if he/she will get caught. O.o

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Same here.

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Maybe all of it was a trap to get Cha to do a premeditated killing which might show psychopath instead of DD, and they are going for the psycho rage factor in saying they would stalk him. As best as I could guess from this episode.

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And what about the mistake he made about saying he was gap Dong to the victim before the killer was named Gap Dong after the ghost in the countains- how does that help trap him in his own mistake? And the perfect crime background - I really want it to wrap up satisfactorily but I don't see how that will happen in 2 more episodes.

As for the premeditated killing - when he noticed the CCTV he switched to Gap Dong and fired the gun - which, was it empty since we saw the swimmer carry off the presumably loaded gun?

Javabeans, you're so right, this is too tangle-y like computer wires under the desk that cannot be sorted until all sanity has gone out the window trying ~

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On an unrelated note, I'm currently obsessed with the song of the day's artist.

Been listening to Humming Urban Stereo for the past month <3

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Ay me! Where did the straight-forwardness go? See...this is why dramas mess up. The old "let me be twisty and complicated" ploy.

I'm not disappointed because I accepted the sad fact that while the writer is great at the thematic sub-plot, human interactions and psychological exploration...that said writer also struggles through the nuts and bolts of police procedural plotting -- in short moving the action of the main plot from point A to point Z. I totally didn't know why folks would end up where folks would end up and why other folks knew folks would end up there. Swimming Female cop has a gun all ready? And why-oh-why is Ji Ul (supposedly) alone with Tae Oh if ALL the Iltan PD is tracking her to the arboretum?

Re: Shame.
I actually cringed through the public Gap Dong MPD transformations. I couldn't watch because there ws something shameful to me in that GD had to pretend to be "mentally defective." It was gamesmanship, of course, and it's not as if Cha had to die to self to show his "weakness" to the entire court/media. In fact, he thought of it as "winning" but dang, for me I hate seeing any character forced to do a desperate unveiling of himself. I must be very terrified of embarrassment or something. I kept thinking, "Wow, won't GD feel ashamed facing people after this performance?"

I guess he does and that's why he aims to kill Mu Yeom... to deal with that shame issue.

On the other side of the spectrum, there's first Tae Oh's assessment of the courtroom drama: "Loser." Choosing to be seen as a loser and a mental defective, just so you can win the case and get get out of jail free card? No wonder Tae Oh was rolling his eyes. And seriously, are we going to let an insane murderous person free just because his last murders have reached the expiration date? Ah kdrama korean criminal law, i wonder about you!

Secondly, there is Tae Oh confronting his own sense of shame, as defined by optimistic Ji Ul. Real internal shame, true guilt...as opposed to the public shame Cha is going through? Is he truly going to ponder internal shame?

All that said, that was one tense episode...so apparently confusion and tension are not mutually exclusive.

Thanks for the recap.

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I really think the writer is an optimist about life and human nature. So am hoping all will work out well for Tae Oh. Probably because we have been made to see into his mind all this time. So a redemption arc will be well-earned and will feel right.

I do think the writer wants us to learn when not to trust and when not to trust. And writer also wants us to muddle through the whole forgiveness/writing off thing. But in the long run, I don't see this writer as being nihilistic. Tragic, maybe. But not nihilistic. This writer has an obvious love for human beings and a really compassionate questioning heart. So am hoping and believing for a somewhat happy ending for Tae Oh. Which in this world means: permanent jailtime, true shame, realization that he is a curable sociopath (thanks Lilly), and the emotional freedom from the urge to kill.

And of course happiness for the OTP and Mad Monk living a bullet-in-the-brain-free life. It would mean Maria connecting to Tae Oh as a healer and not as a victim..and....oh dare I say it??? WEDDING BELLS for our therapist and monk.

One can dream.

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Why do I have a horrible feeling that Tae Oh will get his "redemption" in whatever form it is, right before his death??? He will get his freedom, and die?? Oh my God

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I got a hunch too. What is the better scenario for him other than die? Spending his life in jail will bore him to death anyway. Maybe he will reach a point where he's unafraid to die. Whatever it will be please make it a beautiful ending, writer nim....

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To keep him alive would be to be merciful, definitely. But maybe he'll get to the place where he has this joy of existing. As long as Ji Ul doesn't fall in love with him and marry him, I'm fine.

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merciful in a punitive kind of way, i mean. IF he dies after the realization of his humanity, it'll be a glorious scene but do we want him to become the Eiffel Tower or a symbol to viewers of the beautiful tragic? Best for him to suffer forever as he grows. And best for viewers who are willing to give him a pass if he gets some punishment. Being in jail forever would be okay.

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No, it cannot work out well for Tae Oh, assuming well is that he goes scot free but acts normal.

He's tortured and killed, what, 6 women, at least? No matter what therapy he gets, he has to go to jail for a looooonnnnggg time to pay for his wrongs.

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i kinda get this episode, i think the part where chief cha tells tae oh to commit the murder in front of the cops is to get him to be labelled as insane, thus he'll be spared the death sentence.

mu yeom wanting cha to show his gap dong face is to get the lady cop to shoot cha while,he was being gapdong and trying to kill muyeom. since the cameras are everywhere they can use that as their evidence. this i think is their plan b.

as for ji wool, i do believe its her way of finding her trust of people.

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Can Tae Oh learn sacrifice and not kill? Can he decide to suffer in order for someone to live --the only person who is treating him like a "human being" who is capable of browing? Wouldn't killing her mean killing all hope he might have of being/growing into humanhood?

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At this point, I don't think there's going to be any kind of happy ending for Tae Oh. Will he spare Ji Wool's life? Yeah, probably. Will it be because he wants to become human and be redeemed? Or will it be because he's saving that murderous rage for a certain someone else?

We've been thrown hints for many episodes now that what Tae Oh wants, aside from what he says he wants (ie: freedom, the ability to stop, etc), is to get back at Maria. His gleeful reaction to Cha's comment about "rock, paper, scissors" in this ep is enough proof of that.

So Ji Wool probably isn't in any real danger, because Tae Oh has another victim on his mind...

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Wondering what the power of rock-paper-scissors is. Is it the serial killer's power to bully someone else into making the other person die? By making a victim choose to live at the cost of the other victim's death...it might make the serial killer feel as if he can make another person selfishly "murderous" as well. Not sure, though.

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Or making the responsibility for the murder the result of a game of chance so that in Cha's mind, it could have gone either way and life and death is chance. It makes him not responsible.

It bugs me that Cha, who is feigning MDP, even went as far as to tell his wife his personalities - and when he was hypnotized, did he not reveal truth then, or was he able to manipulate them then, too? He thinks he is smarter than everyone else (Tae-oh thinks that way, too), but in the end, that will be what does him in as he will misjudge and underestimate others' intelligence since he's gotten away with murder for 20 years !

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Is anyone else suspicious that the "freedom" Cha and Tae-oh are alluding to is… death? Meaning, for Tae-oh to die?

I agree. This episode added more questions to my questions.

I hope the last two episodes wrap things up well.

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well i have only been saying for the past four episodes or so that ji wool has lost the plot. everyone was just saying that she was a poor naive girl but i hope people can see that there's naivety and then there's HER. to be honest, i didn't care about it being a bit confusing. at this point there is no point even stressing over it because i don't think even the writers know what they are talking about. lol!

the main thing at this point is the end game. i don't think anyone really cares how we get there so the whole confusion factor to throw viewers off really wasn't needed. either way, i'm glad dr maria finally got her shit together because she was close to becoming a ji wool part 2, and you better know that ain't nobody got time for that!!

my joonie was looking damn fine with the fresh haircut though (not gapdong)

bring on next week. i am ready!!!

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I haven't seen this episode, but that screen shot of Mu-yeom facing Cha next to a swimming pool right before a cliffhanger reminds me of that first confrontation scene between Moriarty and Sherlock on the BBC's Sherlock.

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First, was it always twenty two episodes? Second, the freedom I think he is alluding to seems to me to be the freedom not to kill anymore. They keep saying that psychopaths can't stop killing, but it seems that Tae Oh wants to, or rather they implied that he did. The problem with the carrot that Gap Dong dangled in front of Tae Oh is apparently he was never really a psychopath, so he stopped because he accomplished his purpose not because he discovered the secret. That's just my thought.

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this episode reminded me of how I read Agatha Christie's works, I have to read the last chapter first so I can understand what's going on.

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I thought about it, and Ji Wool's behavior makes some sense to me after all.
Look, there are people like that (who think they understand how that particular criminal's mind works and that it is their duty to themselves, to the criminal and to society to try to change that broken mind). Some even marry criminals, be they free or into custody.
I think what makes Ji Wool hope Tae Oh is not a lost case is:
1) as dumb as it sounds, she didn't see him personally kill, and some people tend to be in strong denial about something unless they see it with their own eyes. She hadn’t quite believed he’s that bad until he killed a flying attendant (and it’s possible that that was when she started feeling guilty she hadn’t gone with him to Switzerland so she could have helped him to repress his desire to kill). Also, when he "kidnapped" her (quotation marks because he didn't lay a finger on her - she went with him on a free will all that dramatic and ready to die (or w/e) because of her broken heart), she asked when he'd kill her and he answered "I never said I was going to" so maybe it lodged in her brain he wouldn’t kill her.
2) she saw gleams of emotions in him and thought she could pull more out of him. After kidnapping, when asked whether he had threatened her, she answered he had seemed sad instead (okay, I’m sure I saw this but I can’t seem to find what episode it was now orz). Who knows, maybe she sees Tae Oh as a lost murderous child who can’t differ good from bad because no one taught him that as well as how to restrain his vicious tendencies (she could clearly see it after that weird meeting with Tae Oh’s mother). When she showed him that wooden block all holed from his angry outbursts and said those were the scars he left on people’s hearts, it had an impact on him which he immediately tried to shoo away because he’s not used to shame and guilt (or what is only on me?). If Tae Oh is really a sociopath and not a psychopath (as someone wrote in the comments before), it means he does have feelings and emotions which he’s successfully hid and suppressed before behind his poker face, and wealth, and boredom, and pride, and the thought he’s better and smarter than anyone else around him.
3) as she herself said, she needed to make sure Tae Oh could or could not be changed. Otherwise she would either keep thinking everyone’s a white fluffy rabbit (figuratively speaking, ofc) or could not keep believing in people at all (I mean, the guy she hung out and had fun with, as well as the kind neighbor who frequently gave her a lift, turned out to be serial killers, like wth).
Hmm, just my two cents, trying to look at all of this from Ji Wool’s point of view.

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It's so hard to give up on someone one kinda half-believes in.

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but dang! Wouldn't she be upset that he almost killed her mother? No scene of her getting angry at him for hurting her mom...which would be so emotionally good to see.

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But it was not Tae Oh who attempted to kill her mother. And until now it's still unclear to me if it is Tae Oh's instruction or purely Poopy's greed for showing off to Tae Oh that he's the real Gapdong

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Dang, it wasn't? Was it Loser who tried to kill Mom? I've forgotten. I thought it was Tae Oh. Ah, memory! Sorry. Thanks.

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Poopy did it under Tae Oh's instruction. Just like that man in an earlier episode did it to a school teacher under threat from Tae Oh.

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I'm going to take a guess at this situation. I hope someone agrees. It isn't Chief Cha who shoots Muyeom... It's Young Ae who shoots Chief Cha. It makes sense. They'll present it as a self-defense move because Chief Cha, who already confessed to being the serial killer, was about to shoot another officer. Cha ching! Makes absolute sense.:) I guess for the Tae-oh part, it's kinda easy for him to get caught lol. They just have to arrive, see Jiwool or even Maria in danger and he's caught red-handed. No remorse, no turning back.

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This show has seriously stepped into WTF Dr. Strangelove territory in the last couple of episodes. Just too many people doing really stupid things for no good reason.

I will watch the ending, but it seems like the shows for this season disappoint much more than usual. About the only one that still makes any sense is New Leaf.

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Tae oh will make Maria play rock-scissors-paper again, this time with Ji Wool and she "feel good to lose". At the end the OTP might die yet both Gap dongs be free and alive.. Hope drama won't go that way..

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Sigh, i really want a happy ending for tae-oh and ji-wool... why did he tie her up... wae!!!

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Stick to the general rule of punishment,
killers are to pay for their commitment to crimes !

Bringing criminals to justice is a fair play to do justice
to those family numbers of victims ! !!!!!!! !! !! ! !!! !

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Let freedom reign over punishment in real life,

a mistake made by God

Let two Gapdongs avoid the kisses of death,

a mistake made by the plot

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Punishment doesnt discern the face,

it recognizes the maleficence.

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I was really enjoying this series until the chicken race scene, which, as I feared, was a portent of another drama that goes off the rails as it nears its conclusion. It's so disappointing when writers change the tone, behaviors, pacing, logic, etc. in some misguided effort to create a super-duper exciting climax. Stay true to what you've created so far, writers! I end up feeling like a chump for having watched the whole thing when a drama fails at the end. I'll be tremendously surprised if I like the final episodes of Gap Dong now.

Side note: I want to give praise to Yoon Sang-Hyun's performance; his acting is so much better in this than other roles I've seen him in.

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