Possessed: Episode 2
This show is creepy as hell, and I’m so here for it! For a drama about a serial killer’s spirit that possesses a man in order to have some more bloody fun, it’s awfully hilarious, which only makes the dark moments that much more horrifying. Our hero spends this hour learning a bit about his latent supernatural abilities, an unwelcome distraction as he tries to catch a serial killer, but one he’s got to handle if he’s ever going to get any sleep at night.
Seo-jung jokes with Pil-sung over drinks, but she suddenly gets very serious and says something about a seven-year-old finding his mother after she committed suicide. Pil-sung jumps out of his chair, asking shakily how she knows about that.
Seo-jung says she sensed it, but Pil-sung loudly accuses her of researching his past. He says he never wants to see her again and walks out, leaving Seo-jung calling after him, “I don’t want you to see me again, either!” HA.
Despite what he just said, he catches up to Seo-jung as she walks home and demands to know how she knew that about him. She invites him inside if he really wants to know, so he reluctantly follows her into her dark apartment, where she tells him to close his eyes. Half convinced she’s about to jump his bones, Pil-sung complies.
Seo-jung puts her hand on Pil-sung’s head, and energy shimmers around her hand as she murmurs for him not to regret this later. She removes her hand and he opens his eyes… and screams at the ghosts in the room. Once he’s fully traumatized, Seo-jung touches his head again and removes the ability to see the ghosts.
Pil-sung looks around, relieved, but Seo-jung says that just because he doesn’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there. She assures him that the ghosts won’t hurt him, and explains that she temporarily gave him some of her spiritual strength.
She vehemently objects when Pil-sung calls her a shaman again (this seems to be a sore point). She confirms that the ghosts are still in the room, and Pil-sung peppers her with questions: Are they dangerous? Do they follow her around? Can they possess people?
Seo-jung tells him that whether ghosts are capable of possessing people or not, they don’t do it. She tells Pil-sung that there’s a female ghost who seems fascinated by him, which is probably a general longing for a man’s attention left over from her life, so not to take it like he’s particularly attractive or anything, LOL.
Pil-sung is very concerned that the ghost might possess him, and Seo-jung groans that she told him they don’t do that… and then the lady ghost jumps into Pil-sung’s body. He falls to the floor, shaking violently, as Seo-jung yells at the ghost to get out while whacking him with a plant.
That seems to do the job. Seo-jung quickly rolls down her talisman screen and opens the window to let the spirits out, and the traumatized Pil-sung runs screaming into the night.
That night, he has to turn his TV up extra loud to drown out the voices. The next morning, Chief Yoo calls a meeting to go over the results from the murder victim’s autopsy. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the victim’s life to indicate that anyone would have a motive to kill her.
According to Pil-sung, the killer knew where the CCTV cameras were at the murder scene, and how to avoid them. He believes that the guy is a serial killer, and although Chief Yoo says there have been no similar cases recently, he tells Pil-sung to research cold cases for anything that could be linked to this murder.
Pil-sung comes across Detective Kim’s case file while researching recent unsolved murders. Chief Yoo tells him that Detective Kim is the officer who caught Hwang Dae-doo, the famous serial killer who racked up thirty victims in only five years, but he’s surprised to hear that Detective Kim was murdered.
Pil-sung has to visit the police archives for information on Hwang’s murders, since they happened before records were kept on computers. He happens to show up on the day of the Criminal Investigation Office’s section leader’s funeral, so he’s sent down to the dusty archive room alone.
As he’s looking for the file, he’s startled by an officer standing among the shelves, and he apologizes and continues looking. He finds Hwang’s case file and spends some time reading about the victims, particularly noting that a mirror was found beside each victim, since the car’s rearview mirror was in the backseat floorboard next to the body in his case.
Also notable is that Hwang would trim and collect his victims’ fingernails and toenails. Pil-sung takes some of the important information and leaves, passing the portrait of the dead section leader on his way out— the same officer he saw in the archives.
At the morgue, Pil-sung finds that one of the victim’s otherwise well-manicured nails seems to have been clipped unevenly. He asks the pathologist to test the nail to see when it was cut, and the pathologist complains that it takes time and he’s not a ghost (i.e., tireless).
The word “ghost” makes Pil-sung think of Seo-jung, so he goes to her apartment, and he nearly falls down the stairs when she answers the door in a face mask, hee. He asks her to eat with him, telling her not to misunderstand because he’s not interested in her.
After taking particular care with her clothes and makeup, Seo-jung finally joins Pil-sung. He’s impatient, but when he sees her, he can’t help but reluctantly notice how nice she looks. Pil-sung takes her to a convenience store, explaining to an annoyed Seo-jung that they have to eat fast and go somewhere.
While they eat, an American man comes in looking for a particular sleeping pill that the store doesn’t carry. HAHA, Pil-sung is able to explain to the man that he needs a prescription, thanks to the late-night English lessons he’s been watching on TV.
He drives to the murder site, hoping that Seo-jung might be able to use her special ability to see something. Seo-jung says that it doesn’t work that way, and that even if it did, she doesn’t want to. But something about the tunnel opening draws her attention, and soon they’re creeping through the tunnel together.
Seo-jung notes that the energy here is very strong, indicating that someone died here recently, though she’s not sure if it’s the murdered teacher. Pil-sung says that he doesn’t see any ghosts, but Seo-jung asks, “Are you sure?” and tells him to go on thinking that.
She asks if he wants to see it and holds out her hand, and they continue on, clutching each other’s hands for dear life (I know this is a scary scene but that is So. Freaking. Adorable.). Soon they see a woman crouched by a pillar, and Seo-jung warns Pil-sung not to talk to her or look her in the eyes.
Pil-sung wants to ask who killed her, but Seo-jung says that if you talk to a ghost, the heavenly gates close and it can’t be reincarnated. They move closer, and Pil-sung confirms that it’s the murdered teacher.
He wonders why she’s in the tunnel, but when the ghost looks up, Seo-jung turns them around. As they walk away, Pil-sung looks back and sees a broken doll lying at the ghost’s feet, and he remembers her daughter saying that Mommy was bringing her another doll.
On the drive back, Seo-jung says that now he understands why seeing ghosts isn’t a good thing. He mutters that it must be frightening for her, and she notes that he’s a lot different than he looks. Pil-sung wonders if his mother is in Heaven, and Seo-jung tells him sadly that all the ghosts in her apartment were suicides — it’s impossible for them to reincarnate, so they have to wander the Earth.
She asks if he misses his mother, and he sniffs that he just wants to ask her why she left a little boy alone. Seo-jung says that his mother’s spirit may be lost forever, but there are a lot of people who don’t even know who their mothers are. Pil-sung looks at her in surprise, but she tells him not to overthink it and gets out of the car.
She tosses him a breezy, “See you tomorrow!” He rolls down the window to yell that he’s not visiting her tomorrow, but she just calls back not to be so sure about that.
Pil-sung stays up late, trying to find a connection between Hwang Dae-doo and the recent murder. He falls asleep at his desk, and nearby, ghostly feet run across the room. ~shiver~
He takes his best theory to Chief Yoo in the morning — that someone is copying Hwang’s murders. Chief Yoo says that the similarities may just be coincidence, but Pil-sung insists that his intuition tells him they’re linked. He says it’s a “genuine imitation,” which Joon-hyung correctly interprets to mean that it’s not a one-time copycat, and there will be more victims.
The murdered teacher’s daughter plays happily with her doll at the funeral. She’s joined on the bench by doctor Yang-woo, who asks her if she knows why she’s here. She tells him that her mommy is sick, and Yang-woo says coldly, “Mommy isn’t sick, Mommy is…” but the girl’s father calls her away just in time.
Pil-sung goes to the funeral, and he unknowingly passes Yang-woo in the stairwell. The victim’s husband pleads with Pil-sung to find the person who did this, and her daughter chirps happily when she sees him. Pil-sung tells her that her mommy sent him, and he gives her a doll that he says her mommy sent secretly through him.
A noise wakes Pil-sung in the middle of the night, and he screams to see grandfather and granddaughter ghosts standing by his bed. He rushes to Seo-jung’s door, and she’s not a bit surprised to see him, though she quips that he’s later than she expected.
He asks shakily why he saw the ghosts, so she says that he was born with a very strong inner aura. Horrified, Pil-sung asks if he’s going to turn into a shaman. Seo-jung says that not everyone can, but that he’s special, so it could happen. He asks why this is happening now when he’s never experienced anything strange before.
Seo-jung tells him that being possessed by the female ghost was like having new software downloaded onto an old, unused computer. She admits that she was surprised, because that ghost should have been too weak to possess him, so she believes that his pure soul must be a ghostly energy source.
Pil-sung blows up, asking angrily if he’s going to see ghosts for the rest of his life. Seo-jung says it depends on whether he can “switch” his mind and decide what he wants to see, which she thinks should only take about ten years to learn. LOL, she’s enjoying this.
Pil-sung blames Seo-jung for making him like this, but she says that people with similar energies attract each other, so if it hadn’t been her it would have been someone else. She gives him a talisman for his wallet, a plant to hit the ghosts with, and a bell whose sound ghosts hate, to exorcise his home.
She tells Pil-sung that with his open inner eye and strong energy, he might be able to sense a person’s destiny or even read their mind. He asks if he can practice on her, and they stare into each other’s eyes for a long minute. Pil-sung guesses that she’s thinking that she hopes she can sleep tonight, but she says that’s what he’s thinking… she’s wondering if that’s the only outfit he owns, PWAHAHA.
Pil-sung trundles home and violently shakes his bell, but the ghosts show up anyway, so he waves his talisman at them, backing them across the room. They finally disappear when he thwacks them with the plant, and the next day, Pil-sung buys more of the plants to place strategically around his apartment. HA, he even eats with one clutched in his nervous fist.
He even strings bells all from the ceiling, with a handle he can pull to make them chime while lying in bed. Eventually the ghosts try to creep back in, but the multitude of bells chases them right back out again. Poor Pil-sung loses another night of sleep, sitting up waiting for the ghosts to return.
He tries to read Detective Choi’s mind at work, and when he gets nothing, he snaps at Detective Choi to use his brain occasionally, hee. Joon-hyung shows up full of youthful enthusiasm, but Pil-sung doesn’t get anything from him, either.
Pil-sung shows Chief Yoo a month-old case he found where a woman’s body was discovered in a waterway with a rope around her neck. The murder method is different, but in this case, the killer also avoided the CCTV cameras as if he knew where they were. Chief Yoo praises Pil-sung’s good work and sends him and Detective Choi to look for more evidence.
The odd thing about this case is that, although the victim was strangled, there was no sign of a struggle at the murder scene. Pil-sung wonders if she was drugged, and then he learns that a small mirror was found near the body — bingo.
Detective Choi gets a call that a young woman was attacked on her daily walk. She tells the police that she normally takes her dog, Toto, but he was sick that day so she left him at home. She’d stopped for a rest and someone had clapped a chloroformed rag over her mouth, and she’d lost consciousness.
The young woman’s father had seen Toto slip his tether and assumed he’d gone to find his owner, but after two hours, neither returned. He’d found his daughter unconscious in the woods, but the dog is still missing.
The team go to the area where the young woman was found to look for evidence. Pil-sung believes that the fact that this woman was drugged could prove the strangulation victim was similarly drugged, but Detective Choi points out that the murdered teacher wasn’t drugged. Chief Yoo warns Pil-sung not to be so determined to find a link that he makes up connections that don’t exist.
Pil-sung snarls that the killer didn’t run away, he’s just amusing himself with another victim. Someone finds something nearby, and they’re all sickened by Toto’s remains, scattered among the leaves.
While scrubbing up for a surgery, Yang-woo’s nurse notices a bad scratch on his wrist. He says casually that he tried to pet a cute puppy, but it attacked him.
After their rough day, the team all go out and get drunk together. Detective Choi slurs that he can believe the three murders are connected, but the victim today was found alive. Pil-sung says he just has a feeling, and he and Detective Choi bicker until they nearly come to blows. Chief Yoo calms them down with a song, then tells Detective Choi to approach the four cases as if it’s the same criminal.
Pil-sung is happy to find his home ghost-free, until he opens his closet doors and sees them staring up at him. Startled, he rings his bells and hits the ghosts with a plant, but this time, the ghosts don’t disappear.
The grandfather ghost tries to protect the granddaughter ghost, and Pil-sung stops when he sees the granddaughter ghost’s scared expression. It reminds him of when he was a child mourning his mother, and how he’d looked similarly lost and frightened.
So he stops yelling and sets up a little shrine with food and candles, and he tries not to feel like a huge jerk as the ghosts eat hungrily. He tells the grandfather ghost that he won’t hit them or chase them away if they promise not to surprise him anymore. They smile at him, and he gets rid of the bells and plants. Awww.
Detective Choi and Joon-hyung learn that the kind of anaesthesia that requires a person to breathe it in is commonly used by human hospitals. Pil-sung goes over the four cases, which seem very different other than the mirror found at each scene. He thinks about how the victims may have been chosen, then gets an idea and runs off.
He asks the surviving victim if she’s been to the hospital lately, and she confirms that she was recently treated for anemia. A little digging reveals that the other victims were all treated at Haneul Hospital shortly before they were killed. Unfortunately, it’s a huge place with over a thousand employees.
Chief Yoo talks to the hospital director about the victims. The director is reluctant to believe that the hospital has any connection to the murders, and he refuses to give Chief Yoo any information about his employees, so Pil-sung says it’s time to go into detective mode.
Yang-woo drives to the mountains, to the shrine where the woman who was keeping tabs on Seo-jung is praying. Without seeing his face, the shaman asks how he found this place. Yang-woo says he’s spent a lot of time looking for her, and she asks who he is, but he says an extraordinary shaman like her should be able to guess.
He shows her Hwang Dae-doo’s ashes and says he needs her help. He says there’s a man trapped in the underworld, and the shaman asks if he thinks she’s capable of bringing a soul back from there. He speaks her name, Geum-joo, and reminds her about a man who came to see her twenty years ago and asked for her help remembering the souls he’d killed. Geum-joo had sent him away, thinking him crazy — his name was Hwang Dae-doo.
Geum-joo asks what will happen if she doesn’t do this, so Yang-woo tells her cheerfully, “Death, of course.” She says she’s not afraid to die, but Yang-woo says that he won’t kill her. He opens the doorway he’s sitting in to reveal her unconscious assistant lying bound in the dirt.
While walking home, Seo-jung seems to sense something, and her smile fades as her expression turns to worry.
Shaman Geum-joo finishes a ceremony, and Yang-woo asks if she brought him back. She intones, “Here is a mountain dominated by white tigers since ancient times. Grass and one inch of land also infiltrated the breath of the white tiger.” Yang-woo complains that he told her to bring back Hwang Dae-doo, not talk about tigers.
But she continues, “That breath has become a source of my cultivation, and the white tiger has become my guardian spirit.” Power gathers around her as she chants, and as she flings the power at Yang-woo, it takes the form of a roaring white tiger.
So fun, this show! Honestly, I’d hoped it would be good, but it looked so dark that I worried it would be one of those dramas that took itself too seriously, no fun allowed. Thankfully I was wrong, because this show gets me giggling like crazy with its weird ghost humor and goofy characters. That’s not to say that it can’t go dark, and does go dark, very effectively — whenever Yang-woo is on my screen I just get the shivers from his dead-eyed, gleefully murderous expression. Possessed is definitely not afraid to go to the scary, gory place, and I love that. But I appreciate that the show is balanced, and the transitions from funny to serious to funny again are smooth and natural, so it never feels like I’m laughing at something inappropriate. (And can I just say how awesome it is to watch a drama where the detective actually has a supportive chief who believes what they say??)
I appreciate that the show seems ready to provide explanations for its supernatural happenings, which I vastly prefer over shows that just go, “It just is, that’s why.” Seo-jung’s description of how Pil-sung can suddenly see ghosts when he never could before was actually a really good one — he always had the ability, but he never used it, so his talent was like an old neglected computer. Then being possessed for those few seconds sort of “updated his software,” turning the old computer into a new, working one. I have so many questions about what’s happening, and I just can’t wait to learn the answers! Do Pil-sung’s latent powers have to do with finding his mother’s body as a child? How is Seo-jung connected with the woman at the shrine? For that matter, how is Yang-woo connected with the woman at the shrine? What is Yang-woo’s fascination with Hwang Dae-doo — is he already possessed, and is it continual or does Hwang come and go? At least, from what we’ve seen so far, I feel confident that we’ll get solid answers when it’s time.
This will come as no surprise to those of you familiar with my recaps, but I think that what excited me most about this drama before it aired is the casting. I’ve only seen Song Sae-byuk and Go Joon-hee in one drama each (My Ajusshi and She Was Pretty respectively), but they are both shows that I recapped and both actors impressed me quite a lot in their support roles. I’m excited to see them as leads, and I love how their quirky personas somehow simultaneously clash, yet also mesh really well. They have similar gifts, but are at different places in their acceptance of said gifts — Seo-jung has clearly been dealing with her abilities for a long time and has even learned to make them work in her favor, while Pil-sung is only just beginning to understand that the things he sees and hears might be supernatural in nature.
I didn’t expect the romance angle to kick in so quickly, but it’s clear that at the very least, Pil-sung and Seo-jung are aware of each other as attractive people. They both have such oddball personalities that while I actually don’t think a drama like Possessed necessarily needs a loveline to be a good show, I like them so much that the romantic in me just wants to see them getting all into each other and fighting their growing attraction. It should be highly entertaining to watch Pil-sung flail around pretending that he’s not agog at the pretty, while Seo-jung coolly pretends she has no earthly clue what his problem is.