Vampire Detective: Episode 11
San is a man on a mission this hour, as he picks up clues to hunt down the woman that has remained in his heart for years. Yo-na is taken down a peg or two by the vampire she’d taken under her wing, who is now looking to make his own mark on the supernatural underground. There are those who fall and those who rise up again, and there is only one character in this world who manages to do both: the amazing Gu-hyung.
EPISODE 11: “In a Fallen World”
Following Tae-woo’s painful induction into the vampire world, Yo-na pours him his very first glass of blood-wine. She isn’t surprised when he can’t stomach the drink, and tauntingly asks if he already regrets the choice he’s made.
On the contrary, as Tae-woo gleefully chuckles in response. Now that Yo-na has kept her promise, she reminds him that it’s his turn to keep up his end of the bargain regarding Jo Myung-geun. But Tae-woo has more unfinished business to take care of—Yoo-jin.
Next thing we know, Tae-woo walks into a room where Yoo-jin is tied to a chair. He releases her of her binds, but he has no intentions of escaping this building. He won’t let her leave either, words that leave her confused.
He declares that he’s a changed man now, then uses a knife to cut into his palm. Yoo-jin is taken aback when his hand heals moments later, and Tae-woo says this is the secret Challenger was really hiding.
Their covers have already been blown, and they only have two choices—either die now or sometime in the future. If that weren’t dangerous enough, he tells her that they’ll be put to a test where her life hangs on the balance.
San’s stomach is in nervous knots when he gets a frantic call from Tae-woo informing him that Jo’s location has been found, but Yoo-jin is being held hostage. Tae-woo hangs up and tells Yoo-jin that it’s up to San now: he’ll either have to hunt Jo Myung-geun down, or come and save her.
If San goes after Jo, she’ll die tonight, but if he comes for her, then he’ll die by his hand. Her voice shaking, she asks, “Have you lost your mind?” Tae-woo smirks, “From now on, you’re mine.”
Before he can leave, however, she asks to be able to kill San herself because she wouldn’t bring herself to look at Tae-woo if he kills him. To that, Tae-woo has one condition: that she becomes a vampire herself. She tearfully nods in agreement.
Gu-hyung stops San from going after Yoo-jin, sternly ordering him to stay put. San says he promised to protect her, and Gu-hyung can only sigh. We see San drive over to the building where Yoo-jin is supposedly held hostage while the cops head down to the lake where Jo is.
San runs inside the building, where Tae-woo waits for his opportune moment to appear. He sends San down the corridor as the alarm bells ring around them. San bursts into the room where Yoo-jin is held captive, and she asks why he came.
At the same time, Gu-hyung and the other cops warily approach the shack by the lake. It’s empty.
Just like in the first episode, San takes on a group of security guards before escaping with Tae-woo and Yoo-jin. Tae-woo pulls over the car per Yoo-jin’s request, and Tae-woo runs after her to make sure she’s okay. Her eyes are filled with tears when she points the gun at San.
Over by the lake, Detective Park spots a lone cabinet. He opens it to discover Jo’s body, but the discovery also triggers a bomb, and he and Gu-hyung dive out of the way just in time.
Tae-woo keeps a close eye as Yoo-jin shoots San, who collapses to the ground. She climbs back in and the car drives a few hundred feet away before it bursts into flames.
Gu-hyung sits vigil by San’s bedside for days, or possibly weeks, at the hospital. He’s there when San shows signs of consciousness, and San is too affected by Yoo-jin’s betrayal to eat.
Tae-woo pours a glass of blood-wine for Yoo-jin, advising her to drink it slowly. He sympathizes with the side effects of her new vamp status, but he tells her not to worry “because I’ll protect you.”
She takes small solace in knowing that Tae-woo wasn’t the one to kill San, but he considers San as good as dead. He’s the one by her side now, and it’ll be best for her to accept that soon enough, he tells her.
As Yoo-jin and San tearfully reflect on their time together, Gu-hyung resigns from the police force. In her hotel room, Yoo-jin contemplates whether or not to pull back the curtain when Yo-na intervenes and closes them.
“Do you miss the sunlight?” she asks and tears the sun pendant off of Yoo-jin’s neck.
Gu-hyung plops down next to a brooding San by the riverside. He cracks a joke to uplift San’s spirits, then shows him his brand-new business card. He’s creating a private investigative agency—does San want to join him?
San cracks a small smile and asks if an ex-cop like him thinks that this is a successful business idea. Gu-hyung takes back the business card, saying that it’s a joke. But then he explains that there should be people out there who listens to people’s stories and tries to look into the most difficult and inexplicable cases, even if can’t crack the mystery at the end.
He thinks they would make a great team together, and hands him back the business card to think it over.
“If we do become detectives, do you think we can find out what I’m curious about right now?” San asks. Gu-hyung says nothing and gives him a tap on the shoulder.
We then transition back to the present, where San’s taxi pulls up to an abandoned building. Tae-woo is already there waiting for him in the shadows and warns him against coming any closer lest he be prepared for the damage he will wreak. He asks San that they never see each other—and that includes Yoo-jin.
It’s light out by the time San returns home and relays to Gu-hyung that Yoo-jin is alive. Gyeo-wool chimes in with freshly-squeezed juice (versus her usual glass of wine), but neither San or Gu-hyung are interested.
Gyeo-wool sits down with Se-ra at the tattoo parlor and wonders why the boys have so many secrets. Se-ra is curious as to why Gyeo-wool would start off her day with wine, but cheerily declines when Gyeo-wool offers her some.
Gyeo-wool acknowledges that she doesn’t have the warmest personality, but Se-ra finds her plenty charming, regardless. Gyeo-wool wonders if Gu-hyung hasn’t spilled any secrets here given his frequent visits to the tattoo clinic, and Se-ra says she knows one: that the boys really do care about her.
There’s another thing Se-ra has overheard—that San has enlisted the doctor’s help to look for someone.
Meanwhile, Tae-woo’s lackeys continue to beat up a man (Young-kwang, is that you?) who refuses to talk. Ah, it must be because when Yo-na joins him to ask about Young-kwang, Tae-woo replies that he’s not dead yet.
She warns him not to hurt Young-kwang, but Tae-woo will only agree to let the man free if he gets what he wants. Showing her the livestream of Young-kwang being beaten, Tae-woo says he’s growing impatient.
He calls off the beatings, but that doesn’t mean the end to the torture as the lackey cuts into Young-kwang’s hand instead. He guesses that it’ll take a day or two for Young-kwang to bleed to death, and that’s how long Yo-na has to bring him the list.
Yo-na grits out a warning of her own: if Young-kwang dies, she’ll tear Yoo-jin apart before Tae-woo’s eyes.
San sits alone in his room contemplating over everything about Yoo-jin and Tae-woo. It’s at that moment we learn that when the car exploded before San’s eyes, Tae-woo and Yoo-jin were somehow hundreds of feet away and safe.
He sits with Gu-hyung as the latter drinks alone and is doubtful that the voice San heard in the shadows was Tae-woo. But San is certain that it was Tae-woo and that he and Yoo-jin are still alive.
San knows that there’s no good place to start, which is when Yo-na makes her entrance. Gu-hyung remembers her from when she was Not Mi-jin, and Yo-na says she left her most valuable possession with them.
She looks to San, explaining that he’s saved her life and will save Gu-hyung’s as well as Yoo-jin’s. She matter-of-factly states that Yoo-jin is still alive, and now she’s here for what’s hers: the list of Helpers San and Gu-hyung found in Episode 1.
If they return that list to her in an hour’s time, she’ll arrange an oppportunity for San to meet Yoo-jin.
Gyeo-wool catches a glimpse of Yo-na as she leaves, but her car drives off before Gyeo-wool can catch her.
San immediately turns to Gu-hyung when he can’t find the file; now that he knows Yoo-jin is still alive, he needs to find her and get some answers. Their conversation is cut short when Gyeo-wool bursts in, demanding to know who just left.
Gu-hyung says it was a client who wanted visual evidence of her husband having an affair, and asks to borrow a USB drive from Gyeo-wool. One can only hope that she’s not buying any of this.
As Yo-na reflects on happier times with Young-kwang, it seems San has convinced Gu-hyung, who tosses him the USB drive and prepares to bring extra heat.
San drives down to make the deal, and once Yo-na gets her hand on the USB drive (you’re not going to check that?), she hands San a note that includes Yoo-jin’s sun pendant. As San drives off, Yo-na makes the call.
Tae-woo meets Yo-na at the same spot, pleased that she called him so early. She makes sure to ask that Young-kwang is still alive, but Tae-woo takes the USB to check its contents. But that’s no list, and both the computer and Tae-woo go haywire.
Tae-woo grabs her in a chokehold and finds it preposterous that Yo-na didn’t know she was given a fake. Trust me, you’re not the only one. He’s told that the guards outside Yoo-jin’s room has been taken down, as we see San march up to the door.
Gu-hyung is on edge at home and lashes out at Gyeo-wool when she asks where San has gone. He says San must’ve gone to see the client, which is when Gyeo-wool cheerily reveals that she put a GPS tracker on the USB drive San took with him.
She admits to have added a virus to the aforementioned USB drive, explaining that this is punishment for leaving her out of things. Again, she asks if Yo-na stopped by, but Gu-hyung is too worried about San.
Speaking of whom, San enters the dimly-lit hotel room and pulls back the door to see Yoo-jin standing before him. She’s just as shocked as he is, and bursts into tears as San rushes to embrace her.
They don’t have much time because Tae-woo has arrived at the hotel, and Yoo-jin pushes San away. She says they can’t be together and grabs a pen to use against him if necessary. “You saw me die,” she cries. “So take me for dead.”
But San won’t let go, so she slashes his cheek. San’s eyes glow yellow as the cut heals over, and she still refuses to leave with him. But by the time Tae-woo arrives at the hotel suite, they’re gone.
San breaks the silence in the car by asking if she’s all right. She says Tae-woo will come for them, but he takes her hand and promises that they won’t ever be separated.
Gyeo-wool insists on tagging along when Gu-hyung decides to track down the USB. He says it’s too dangerous, but she doesn’t want to be left alone in this house. He promises to answer every burning question on her mind when he returns.
With that, Gu-hyung drives over to the hotel where Tae-woo and his lackeys are waiting in the parking lot. Tae-woo greets his police sunbae and guesses that Gu-hyung must be looking for San. What luck—he is too, and he believes that they could work together.
In the car, Yoo-jin asks why San isn’t asking her any questions about why she’s a vampire. He knows talking about it would only make her uncomfortable, and they drive down to a row of abandoned barracks in the countryside just before dawn.
He makes sure the coast is clear before coming back for Yoo-jin, covering her with a blanket. He instructs her to wait while he covers up all the windows.
We cut back to Tae-woo, who speaks to a face we don’t get to see: “Bring back Yoon San and Jung Yoo-jin.”
It’s an odd kind of penultimate episode where the hour patched up a few gaps in some of the unanswered questions in this show while stalling to save its material for the finale. Call it a fool’s dream, but when the series was recapping the past by showing us what we already knew, I was hoping that we’d at least get some more meaty bits than what we could already surmise to this point.
To be honest, I had to jump back to review the first episode to remember that the Helper list was in San and Gu-hyung’s possession. It was lucky for Yo-na that those files have been left untouched for weeks now, and possibly even forgotten by San and Gu-hyung given how many cases they’ve taken on since the series premiere. This list is presumably Yo-na’s most valuable asset, and yet was left forgotten for weeks. To touch upon it now simply exposes another misstep on a poorly-handled plot device on the show’s part, because now its sudden importance rings false.
In Yo-na’s worst-case scenario, the list falls into Tae-woo’s allegedly dangerous hands. But again, we’re simply told that Tae-woo has moved up the ranks after becoming a vampire in an unconventional method. Much like Young-kwang did to Yo-na, he’s trapped Yoo-jin in the darkness, and although San still cares for Yoo-jin, I’d imagine Tae-woo would find better success in getting San to do what he wants if Gu-hyung (♥) is his hostage.
Which brings me to San, who after saying that he’ll ask Yoo-jin all of his burning questions himself… doesn’t ask her anything out of consideration for her. San, I get that you’re still trying to swallow the truth that Yoo-jin is alive, but when the girl asks you outright if you have any questions, that’s your opportunity to ask them. I don’t know how he expects to protect her when Tae-woo has a literal army at his disposal, and I don’t know if he’s considered the consequences that his going after Yoo-jin twice now can spell out consequences for others.
It then occurs to me that Tae-woo didn’t have a card to play against Yo-na for years when Jo was already dead by the lake. How he decided to look for Young-kwang years later is beyond me, though I suppose it would make sense that he would go looking for the man Yo-na holds dear once he gained enough power. How he managed to do that and drive away and safely be far away from the exploding car is frankly beyond me, because if there’s one inexplicable topic in this show, it’s how vampires—any vampire—operates in this dramaverse.