Item: Episodes 15-16
Things continue to get worse for our protagonist, Gon. I get the feeling this is something we can say every week and it would always be true. One day, maybe, things will start looking up for him, but today is not that day. So it’s no wonder that he clings to the only grain of hope that will get him through — that he can still save his niece.
EPISODES 15-16 RECAP
As Gon mourns his niece, Da-in finds herself in an ethereal afterworld purgatory. She sees a giant pile of shoes and pulls out her own pair, putting them on. She also finds her melodica nearby, and sits down and puts in her lap. She begins to cry, and surprises herself when she hears herself call out for her uncle. After all, it’s been a long time since she’s been able to say a word.
Her cry of “Uncle!” is also heard by Gon in the mourning room. Startled, he looks around, but there’s no one there. He thinks he imagined it, but suddenly Da-in’s melodica on the memorial table begins to play by itself.
That’s because in the afterworld, Da-in is actually playing the melodica, and the song she’s playing is one of reassurance to her uncle that they’ll one day meet again. But Gon realizes that this mean Da-in is still somehow alive. He pulls out Da-in’s pieced-together Dream World photo, which has started to fade at the bottom.
The Chief Prosecutor arrives at the funeral room to pay his respects, but as he’s walking back with this detective escorts, he asks them to wait so he can use the restroom.
As he washes his hands, the Chief Prosecutor worries that he’s going to be one of the next people targeted by the serial killer, since he’s one of the Hwawon cronies. But then he dismisses it as silly fear. Except perhaps he should have paid closer attention when Yo-han entered one of the stalls — and emerged as Father Gu, who wields his laser whip.
Gon despondently wanders the funeral hall, surprised to see the detectives still waiting for the Chief Prosecutor to emerge from the restroom. Gon enters to check on him, shocked to find the Chief Prosecutor dead in one of the stalls, a knife stuck in his heart — and, of course, the page from the Bible as well. “A wicked heart,” indeed.
Realizing the killer couldn’t have gotten very far, Gon and the detectives race around to track him down. Gon runs to the rooftops where he finds Father Gu in his black raincoat, just like that night when Gon found Father Gu with Dae-soo.
Grabbing a gun from another detective that Father Gu presumably knocked out, Gon demands to know why Father Gu keeps killing innocent people. Father Gu laughs it off, asking if the people are truly innocent. He also refers to Gon as “Prosecuter Kang,” and Gon wonders how the killer knows him.
Father Gu responds by calling Gon “Kim Sung-gyu, son of Kim Tae-gu.” Oooooh, so Gon is the son of the man who set the fire at Dream World. Gon seems slightly rattled by that response, but he still points the gun at Father Gu, firing off a warning shot as he demands to know who, exactly, is this serial killer.
The priest simply says that Gon’s father wasn’t the one who killed all those people, then vanishes into the night as the other detectives run onto the rooftop.
Yoo-na has dinner with Se-hwang at his ridiculously long dining table. Or, rather, Se-hwang has dinner while Yoo-na glares at him, refusing to eat. Oooh, but she secretly starts recording on her phone as she asks him why he got rid of the witness to Mr. Yoo’s death.
Se-hwang just laughs, pointing that all of Korea is his, which means all the people in the country are his to do as he likes. Because we need constant reminding that he’s a sociopath.
He shows Yoo-na the Polaroid camera, pointing out that it looks like a perfectly innocent camera, yet it has the ability to show him the future. Her phone starts to ring, and she tries to hide it (since she’s still recording), but Se-hwang tells her to answer.
She does, and is shocked to hear that the Chief Prosecutor was just murdered. Se-hwang is just like, “Huh, I guess the serial killer struck again.” Because, y’know, sociopath. Also he got a Polaroid photo showing Father Gu hoisting the prosecutor with the laser whip. It’s a Polaroid full of spoilers!
As Se-hwang stares at the photo, he recognizes Father Gu as the man who ran the support group for all the families who lost loved ones in the Dream World fire. Se-hwang had gone to apologize for not being able to save more people in the fire.
As the support group members shot him death glares, Se-hwang had put on a big display of feeling deeply responsible for the hundreds of lives lost, but we all know those were crocodile tears because, let’s say it again, “Sociopath!” However, Father Gu comforted the (supposedly) contrite Se-hwang.
The witness to Mr. Yoo’s death is rushed to Forensic Unni, and So-young paces as she waits for the MRI to finish. She can’t stop thinking about Gon’s statement that it seemed like Mr. Yoo had been forced to kill himself against his will, just like the witness had seemed to walk into traffic against her will.
Yo-han suddenly arrives to let So-young know that they’ve been able to identify the woman as Lee Joo-young, but all the CCTV footage of the intersection is nonexistent. Either they were broken or tampered with.
Meanwhile, Yoo-na arrives at the hospital rooftop which is now cordoned off as a crime scene. She’s investigating her boss’s death, and the detectives inform her that they found Gon on the rooftop. One of the detectives tells her that he arrived on the rooftop just in time to see Gon pointing the gun at the suspect, but the suspect got away.
(Although it’s baffling why Father Gu had to do such a dramatic escape when he could have just slipped the ring on and suddenly appeared as Yo-han and “helped” his fellow detectives run after a nonexistent culprit, but whatever.)
Forensics Unni analyzes Joo-young’s MRI scans, concluding that the deceased witness has the same brain damage in the parietal lobe and corpus callosum as was found in Mr. Yoo. Yo-han surprises both women as he expertly explains that those are respectively the parts of the brain that process audio/visual information, and the nerve cluster that connect the two hemispheres of the brain.
Realizing he just revealed more than a simple detective should know, he lamely explains that he wanted to be a doctor when he was growing up (and not that he actually was a doctor before becoming a priest).
Forensics Unni concludes that both Joo-young and Mr. Yoo could have suffered from “Alien Hand Syndrome,” which sounds really cool but basically means that they were not actually in control of their bodies, and thus their decision to kill themselves wasn’t their decision at all.
Going back into her files, Forensics Unni reveals that, for such a rare disease, there have been a surprising amount of other people who died recently that also had the disease, including the policeman who ran out in front of the Truck of Doom. The odd thing is that there weren’t any reported deaths for six months — the same stretch of time that Se-hwang was in jail.
So-young vows to catch the person responsible for these deaths, although she doesn’t hint that she might have an idea of who’s responsible. Yo-han asks if she knows something, but she gets an alert about the Chief Prosecutor’s death and simply tells the maknae detective to keep investigating the list of people with Alien Hand Syndrome to see if there’s any connection among them. She’ll explain it all to him later (yeah, just in time for him to kill more people!).
At the funeral hall, Gon quietly fills Chief Shin on everything that’s happened — including his belief that Da-in is still alive.
Chief Shin isn’t as ready to believe that a self-playing melodica is proof of anything, and gently tells Gon that it’s just a form a grief. After his wife died, Chief Shin had a hard time accepting she was gone, too. Gon sighs, knowing that he’s getting worked up over it, but he’s still convinced that Da-in is still somehow alive and trying to communicate with him.
In the afterworld, a bike bell rings. Da-in wonders if it’s her uncle, but it’s actually a clown. Oooh, this clown is in the Dream World photo book, too!
He tries to reassure Da-in that this creepy place is actually a fun place, promising that if she stays with him, she won’t be scared. But Da-in slowly backs away, like the smart girl that she is. Suddenly the clown’s voice grows deep as he says that she should obey adults.
He grabs her hand as she protests that her uncle told her never to go with strangers. She runs away, but the clown just laughs, since there’s no place to hide in the after world. Hello, nightmare fuel.
So-young meets up with her father and Gon at the funeral hall. They fill each other in on what’s happened in their respective cases, emphasizing that both Mr. Yoo and Joo-young had the same brain oddities, along with many other victims. They conclude that not only must Se-hwang be responsible, but some sort of supernatural item must be involved.
Chief Shin warns Gon against going up against Se-hwang by himself, since obviously Se-hwang is pretty powerful and could have who knows how many other items. But Gon is determined to do whatever it takes to save Da-in, and that means finding all the items.
A sound in the hallway gets their attention, and Chief Shin follows someone into the stairwell. But he collapses when he tries to run up the stairs after the person, who was detective team leader, eavesdropping on their conversation. Hmmm, so maybe what I thought were panic attacks is actually something more severe and physical. Probably cancer, because it’s always cancer.
Gon continues his vigil, and tells So-young about his theory that Da-in was definitely communicating with him via the melodica. So-young reveals that Da-in played the melodica for her that one night when Gon was late getting home from work, and that Da-in told her it was a song she created for her uncle.
So-young believes that Da-in was playing the melodica for Gon, because she would believe the same thing about her mother. Every time she listens to the voicemail, she hopes her mother will one day return.
She suggests they visit Hak-jae, since he’s their only real lead regarding the items and the Room of Wishes. Gon just seems relieved that at least there’s one person who doesn’t think he’s crazy.
It’s the last day of the mourning period for Da-in, and the funeral hall entrance is swarming with reporters, all eager to get a glimpse of the “killer prosecutor.” Yoo-na reminds the detectives that they must not let anyone get a photo of Gon, since the public is ready to rip apart the prosecutor who is going against every honorable thing the prosecution department should be upholding.
Father Gu watches a news report about the unfair special treatment that the prosecutor is receiving, then rips out another Proverbs page from the Bible. I guess it won’t be long before another of Hwawon’s cronies bites the dust (or gets hit by a laser whip).
So-young goes to the jail to see Hak-jae, who laughs off her request for more information about the Room of Wishes, insisting it’s just a rumor.
She’s in no mood to joke around, though, and tells Hak-jae that the Room of Wishes is the only hope to save Gon and Da-in. Hak-jae offers to tell her what she wants to know if she does him a favor. Leaning in he, he asks to be free. Pfffft, he gets the best laugh of the episode as he attempts to literally spell it out for her, but stumbles over the English letters: “F. R. E. …Dom.”
Hak-jae puts into place a plan for… something… by getting his cell mate to punch him in the face, which means he’s sent to the prison infirmary. The doctor tends to the bloody nose, and Hak-jae pretends to stumble into a shelf of supplies and secretly pockets what looks to be a scalpel, and all I gotta say is that is some ridiculously trusting prison infirmary to have those kinds of tools within easy grasp of prisoners. You’d think they’d be locked up in a cabinet, but I probably shouldn’t waste the brain cells trying to force reason into this show.
Back at the funeral hall, the reporters outside are eager to do whatever it takes to get a glimpse of the scandalous prosecutor. Inside, Gon slowly leads the way as Chief Shin, Yo-han, and others carry out Da-in’s coffin.
The detectives are ready to lead the funeral procession to the crematorium, and Team Leader tells his detective buddy that if Gon tries to make a run for it, the detective should pretend to pursue Gon but let him get away. That’s because Team Leader put a tracker in Gon’s shoes, so they’ll be able to follow Gon and apprehend him at their ease.
Watching the police-escorted buses leave, the reporters scramble to get into their own vehicles and follow. But it’s all a ruse, since once all the reporters have fled in pursuit of the buses, Gon appears in a different car, headed in the opposite direction to another crematorium.
Also on her way to the (correct) crematorium are So-young and Chief Shin. She calls Yo-han to see if he’s found any connection between the Alien Hand Syndrome cases, but Yo-han says he didn’t find anything that would tie them to Se-hwang.
He adds that he’s worried she’s losing her objectivity as a profiler and getting too close to Gon, thus clouding her judgement. You’re one to talk, secret serial killer priest.
Se-hwang arrives at the Hwawon offices, and is immediately swarmed by reporters, desperate for a statement from Se-hwang about Gon, who not only assaulted Se-hwang, but will be arrested soon on suspicion of murder. Se-hwang puts on his demur public attitude as he says that what’s more upsetting is that Gon is going through all this while grieving his niece’s death, and that he only has condolences for the prosecutor.
But once he gets to his office (and oh, apparently Hwawon is actually HwaOne), he studies the Dream World photo book. In it is the photo of the creepy clown, but the faded bottom half of the photo starts to fill in again. Amused, Se-hwang wonders if his father is really that afraid of dying. Oh, Creepy Clown is actually Se-hwang’s father! What a bizarre outfit to have caught his father in — and how is Creepy Clown Dad preventing himself from fully fading away?
Se-hwang’s interrupted by a frantic Commissioner General, who’s one of the last of the HwaOne cronies to still be living. He’s rightly worried that he’ll be next, since everyone who is being killed were all part of covering up the Dream World fire. Chuckling, Se-hwang reminds the Commissioner General that there was no “cover up” — all the cronies simply told the truth. Uh, why do I find that hard to believe?
But the Commissioner General is convinced that after the serial killer gets to him, Se-hwang will be next. In response, Se-hwang angrily bashes the commissioner over the head with a flower vase. Well, I suppose that’s one way to keep from the commissioner from being killed by a revenge-filled priest — kill the man yourself. The Commissioner General is just injured, though, and Se-hwang furiously reminds the cowering man that basically no one can harm the great Se-hwang because he’s king of the world.
The empty buses arrive at their respective wrong crematoriums, much to the outrage of the reporters who realize too late that they’ve been hoodwinked. Meanwhile, Gon is lost in his own little world as he rides in the car with Yoo-na. She asks him if he’s doing okay, then quietly apologizes that she has to arrest him on this day.
Da-in’s coffin is escorted to the cremation room, and Gon — along with Chief Shin, So-young, Yoo-na, Yo-han, and the other detectives — watches as the doors close to the furnace. Da-in is officially sent off to the afterlife.
That also means Gon will now be arrested, but Yoo-na stops them from actually putting on the handcuffs. Aw, she’s got a heart after all. Gon steps into the bathroom to gather his emotions and wearily stares into the mirror. Is he gonna punch that one, too? Nope, but he does put on the bracelet of super strength.
Meanwhile, one of the crematorium workers asks the group waiting in the hallway if they are Da-in’s relatives. Because there’s a problem. Uh-oh. It turns out that the coffin was actually filled with rocks, and not the body of a little girl.
Yoo-na immediately realizes that she’s been tricked, and that Gon is escaping. Glaring at So-young, since Yoo-na knows that the profiler must have had something to do with it, Yoo-na orders her men to spread out and find their culprit. But Gon apparently punched his way through the air ducts and made his way outside, stealing Chief Shin’s car.
Or perhaps “borrowing” is the more apt word, because Chief Shin disguised himself as a mortician in order to help hide Da-in’s real coffin and So-young gave Gon the car keys, letting him know that all he needed to make a quick getaway was in the trunk of the car.
Gon zooms down the road, and gets T-boned by a Truck of Doom, rolling the car. Oh, but it’s not just any Truck of Doom — this is one driven by Se-hwang. That means it’s no accident, and Gon, bleeding from his head as he dangles out of the busted car window, helplessly watches as Se-hwang slowly walks towards him.
Se-hwang takes the bracelet from Gon’s wrist. That’s what he really wanted, anyway, and he’s pleased that it’s back in his possession. Se-hwang also admits that he’s decided it’ll be more fun watching Gon be a fugitive on the run than having Gon find all the items for him. But he says it casually, as though instead of having steak for dinner, he now wants pasta, and not that he’s putting another man’s life at risk for his own amusement.
Se-hwang heads off in his Truck of Doom, and the injured and bloodied Gon looks like he’s giving up the will to fight. But the melodica — which was part of the belongings So-young put in the trunk, and which got thrown from the vehicle in the accident — begins to play on its own.
Revived by Da-in communicating from the afterlife, Gon struggles to crawl out of the wreckage, desperately reaching for the instrument. But before he can reach it, he collapses on the street, unmoving.
What a strange, strange show.
On the plus side, I can’t really predict where this is going (beyond Gon doing everything he can to save Da-in, although apparently she’s gonna need to save him first — can the sounds of the melodica give life to a dying man?). Twists-and-turns are definitely welcome in a show that’s overrun with repetitive exposition. Every time Gon, Chief Shin, and So-young get together to discuss what they’ve learned, I wanna poke my eyeballs out because surely there has to be a better way to waste time other than repeating the same thing we viewers have seen just a few minutes ago. I would happily accept the mere hint of a phone call implying they’ve communicated with one another than endure another conversation that rehashes information we already know just so we can experience in excruciatingly detail that they’re all on the same page. If I’m willing to excuse the skill and luck of physics required to have Se-hwang’s Truck of Doom perfectly hit Gon’s car in that intersection, I will happy hand-wave whatever Deus ex machina can have those three know all the plot-relevant details without having to repeat them to each other a dozen times.
I do like the twist about Gon being related to the person who (supposedly) set the Dream World fire, because that means there’s gonna be some decent tension between him and So-young when she eventually finds out who he is. At least, I hope there will be. This show is confusingly unpredictable, so I don’t know that I can even expect a classic melodramatic confrontation to go as expected. But it’s weird, isn’t it, that Father Gu/Yo-han has been gunning so hard for Gon all this time, and yet suddenly is like, “I know who you really are, and oh yeah, your father didn’t kill all those people after all?” Did I miss a step somewhere? I mean, obviously all those HwaOne cronies are guilty as sin, but Father Gu/Yo-han seemed to really, really mistrust Gon. Yet now he’s kinda okay with the persecuted prosecutor, even if he still hates the idea of So-young working with him? Did I blink and miss a flicker of character development?
Speaking of character development, I’m curious about Yoo-na, since I feel like she’s secretly trying to put together a case against Se-hwang (that recording of their conversation will likely become evidence, right? Right?). I also get the feeling she doesn’t fully believe Gon could be the murderer, but she needs to use him as bait to get Se-hwang to inflate his already huge ego and say something that will incriminate himself. At least, that’s what I’m hoping (and I’m also hoping that she’ll be the skeptic I’ve been longing for since the first episode, because people are just way too trusting about these magical items!). And is there meaning behind that endless moth-fluttering-against-the-light scene? Or is the show running out of budget for CGI so they have to pad the episodes somehow?
At least Da-in is alive… I guess? I think? I don’t understand the mechanics of how her soul can return to her body if she’s been confirmed dead (even though she thankfully avoided being cremated), but I think I need to stop asking logical questions and just embrace the insanity.