Possessed: Episode 4
As the killer grows more dangerous and begins to ramp up his activity, our favorite detective struggles to stop him before anyone else dies. Unfortunately, he’s got his own demons to slay and emerging supernatural abilities to figure out, which just makes everything that much more complicated. But he’s got to figure out the true nature of what he’s fighting against, as soon as possible, because this is one serial killer that won’t be dispatched easily.
Pil-sung attends the funeral and finds Dae-doo (I’m calling him that from now on, since we saw him eat Yang-woo’s soul) seeming to enjoy the pain of the deceased’s fiancee. He loudly calls Dae-doo the killer and tips the table over, and Dae-doo, covered in food, laughs psychotically.
He looks up and meets Pil-sung’s eyes, and Pil-sung sees a series of disturbing scenes — dead bodies, blood, a noose. He tells Dae-doo that he’s under arrest for murder. Dae-doo lazily gets to his feet and laughs some more as Pil-sung cuffs him.
He mentions Pil-sung’s mother, whose soul he says is wandering aimlessly looking for dark places to hide, like a bug. Pil-sung punches and kicks him, but he never stops laughing. Eventually Pil-sung’s team arrives and pulls him off Dae-doo.
At the station, Dae-doo sits alone in the interrogation room. He looks directly at a security camera, then starts tapping a finger on the table. With every tap, the camera feed goes blurry, which Detective Choi finds very strange.
Chief Yoo yells at Pil-sung for arresting Dae-doo without any evidence, and he gives Pil-sung two hours to find something to justify an arrest warrant, otherwise they’ll have to let him go. The team searches Yang-woo’s home, car, and office, but they don’t find anything.
Chief Yoo apologizes to Dae-doo, who just looks around the interrogation room and murmurs absently that the place has changed a lot. Pil-sung bursts in and grabs him, loudly demanding to know where he hid the murder evidence. Chief Yoo yanks Pil-sung off of Dae-doo, and his teammates drag him out screaming.
Once he’s gone, Dae-doo tells Chief Yoo that he won’t make a fuss about this. He entreats Chief Yoo to catch the real killer as soon as possible, and even praises Pil-sung for being courageous and asks Chief Yoo not to punish him. Damn, he’s good.
Chief Yoo goes back to his desk and tells Pil-sung and the others that they need to re-investigate the case, starting at the beginning. He says that he still agrees the killer could be the same in all the murders, but he wants them investigated separately this time.
He tells Pil-sung that he’s off the case, and Pil-sung leaps to his feet in protest. Detective Choi wants to know why Pil-sung is so sure that he’s found the killer, so Pil-sung says he killed a kid twenty years ago then said Hwang Dae-doo was his idol. Chief Yoo promises to consider Yang-woo a serious suspect — but Pil-sung is still out.
Seo-jung arrives home that evening to find Pil-sung waiting in front of her apartment. She jokingly asks if he got seduced by a virgin ghost and needs her advice, and he tells her to just have a drink with him, forcing a laugh like nothing is wrong.
Once they’re a few drinks in, he tells Seo-jung about what he saw when he met Yang-woo’s eyes, and how he spoke like he knew Pil-sung’s mother. He says that the car she felt the murderous aura from is this guy’s car, and she starts taking him seriously. He adds that the scariest part is that Dae-doo wasn’t even afraid of being arrested, and actually seemed to be having fun.
Getting another bottle of soju, he asks Seo-jung about her mother. Seo-jung says her mother was born a true psychic, and that like Seo-jung herself, she didn’t want her powers. She says her dad died from illness six months after she was born, and when she was three, her mother gave her to her aunt then completely disappeared.
Pil-sung asks if she misses her mother, and Seo-jung says she doesn’t because she can’t even remember her. She asks Pil-sung not to talk about her, because if she doesn’t think about her mother, then it doesn’t hurt.
Later, Pil-sung offers to walk Seo-jung home, and she squeals over the manly man protecting the weak woman from the scaaary murderer. She takes off on her own, but he follows anyway, saying that it would be a pain in the ass if she died and he had to track down her murderer and go to her funeral, so walking her home is just easier.
As he drops her off, he mumbles that he’s in the mood for ramyun, and she as ks if he really thought she’d invite him inside for ramyun (code for sexy times). Pil-sung leaves giggling, and Seo-jung goes inside alone. She changes her mind and looks out her window, but Pil-sung is already out of sight.
He walks home, softly singing an old breakup song (“You Let Me Go With A Smile”) to himself. When he gets home he listens to the song, remembering that his mother used to sing it and cry. The memory makes Pil-sung sob, badly missing his mother.
Yang-woo’s wife asks why the police thought he was the killer. Dae-doo wonders if she thinks it’s true, then asks darkly what she’d do if he were a serial killer. She says he’s being scary and that of course he’s not a killer, but Dae-doo chuckles as he says it’s true. He growls that she’s stupid enough to still think he’s her husband, leveling that evil grin at her.
In the morning, Pil-sung tries to sneak out of the station with a gun, but Chief Yoo catches him and makes him hand it over. Detective Choi mutters that Pil-sung is going to get into big trouble, and Chief Yoo agrees, but he also says he trusts Pil-sung’s instincts.
Dae-doo is at the driving range when he notices an attractive woman practicing her swing. He gets handsy with her as Pil-sung watches from the parking lot. He follows them to a fancy hotel, where he waits in the lobby until security tries to escort him out for being creepy.
He flashes his police badge when he sees Dae-doo leaving the hotel alone, and security takes him upstairs to the room that Dae-doo and the woman used. Nobody answers the door, so Pil-sung is let in, and he nervously looks around for evidence of foul play. All he finds is a very startled woman stepping out of the shower, thank goodness.
Pil-sung moves on to the next part of his plan — observing Yang-woo’s apartment from the building across the street. Detective Choi calls to yell at him for not answering his messages, and when Pil-sung gets off the phone and aims his camera out the window again, Dae-doo is standing there staring right back at him. YEEKS.
He goes home and makes himself a toddy for the wicked cough he’s developing, then climbs in bed. As he shivers and coughs, a small hand checks his forehead — it’s the granddaughter ghost, awww. Her touch seems to calm him, but when he reaches up to put his hand over hers, she fades out.
He oversleeps until almost noon, then drags himself out of bed and heads to Yang-woo’s apartment building. It’s his day off but he hasn’t been home, so Pil-sung stakes out his building all day with no luck.
He goes inside to ask to see their CCTV footage. The video shows Dae-doo leaving with a suitcase this morning, though the security guard notes that his wife hasn’t left the apartment in days. They knock on the door, but there’s no answer.
Meanwhile, Dae-doo goes to the home of the woman he took to the hotel and asks her out. She looks terrified, having been warned by Pil-sung that he’s dangerous. She goes inside to call Pil-sung, but as she’s dialing Dae-doo claps a chloroform rag over her mouth until she loses consciousness, then hangs up the phone.
Pil-sung finds traces of blood inside Yang-woo’s apartment, then he sees his missed call and tries to call the woman back. Dae-doo feels her phone vibrate in his pocket as he’s stuffing her into his trunk and declines the call. Pil-sung calls Chief Yoo, who says that it doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but Pil-sung asks him to track the phone so he can find her.
Pil-sung pounds on the woman’s door, then Chief Yoo calls to say that he’s tracked her phone and it’s on the move. Pil-sung heads in that direction, still trying to call her phone, which Dae-doo thinks is hilarious. When Pil-sung arrives at the location where the phone was tracked, he calls Chief Yoo again, who says that her phone has moved where they can’t follow it anymore.
He tells Pil-sung to sit tight and he’ll be there in twenty minutes with backup, but Pil-sung yelps that the killer could murder ten women in that amount of time. He looks back through his evidence, then drives to a deserted road, where at one point he has to get out of his car and walk due to a gate across the road.
Soon he comes up on Yang-woo’s car, which is parked near an abandoned building. Pil-sung creeps inside and grabs a board to use as a makeshift weapon. He moves deeper into the building, and a minute later he finds the woman, now awake. She’s standing on a barrel, her arms tied behind her back and a noose around her neck.
Pil-sung starts to help her down, but a voice croons from the shadows, “Oh, you came alone? It’s exactly the same as twenty years ago.” Dae-doo steps into the light and says that Pil-sung reminds him of Officer Kim, but he denies Pil-sung’s accusation that he killed the man. He says that if he had, he would have done it differently.
Pil-sung lunges at Dae-doo, but Dae-doo yanks on a rope that he’s tied to the barrel keeping the woman from hanging. He suggests they play a game — Pil-sung can leave and pretend to know nothing, and live, or he can try to save the woman and die.
He says that people call him a murderer like he’s evil, and Pil-sung says it’s true. Dae-doo laughs, then says that humans are born carrying demons, but they think they’re good and judge others. He says it’s interesting coming back to the world after two decades, and Pil-sung calls him a madman who’s cosplaying Hwang Dae-doo.
Dae-doo says that Pil-sung is just like “that officer from twenty years ago,” and tells Pil-sung to run if he wants to live, then pulls the barrel out from under the woman. Pil-sung grabs her legs to hold her up, and Dae-doo kicks him away, but he goes right back. Dae-doo picks up the board Pil-sung dropped and slams Pil-sung’s back and legs, as he struggles to keep the woman from hanging.
When he gets bored of that, Dae-doo pulls out his knife and prepares to slit Pil-sung’s throat. He gives Pil-sung one last chance to run, saying that it’s no use being called a hero when he’s dead. Pil-sung gasps that Dae-doo has lost this “game,” and Dae-doo hears Chief Yoo and the team approaching.
He says that he’ll let Pil-sung win this time, but that he’ll make sure Pil-sung regrets not dying today. He tells Pil-sung to remember that pleasure and pain are the same, then Chief Yoo and the others arrive and tell him to put down the knife. Dae-doo ignores them, and he laughs uproariously until they shoot him down.
Pil-sung and the woman are rescued and taken away in ambulances. A bag is found in the trunk of Dae-doo’s car which contains some sort of ledger, and something else that makes the cops reel back in horror. Dae-doo’s spirit rises from Yang-woo’s body and floats away, then zooms over the land until it arrives at a house in town.
It finds Oh Soo-hyuk, the son of the Haneul Hospital president, in his bedroom preparing to get high. Soo-hyuk senses something strange, then he’s slammed onto the bed by Dae-doo’s spirit. His body writhes for a moment then goes still… then Dae-doo sits up, opens his eyes, and laughs to find himself in the chaebol’s body.
Some time later, Pil-sung stands in front of an urn in a columbarium, remembering Dae-doo’s words that he would regret not dying that day, and he laughs. He gets a text from Seo-jung asking if he’s better, and he meets her for dinner at their usual convenience store.
She asks why he didn’t take her along to confirm that he’d found the killer, but Pil-sung says he was already sure, and that a fortuneteller’s word isn’t legally valid. Seo-jung starts to get offended, but he adds that she could have gotten hurt if the killer had seen her, and instead of protesting, she asks if he means he cares about her. Pil-sung just grumbles for her to think whatever she wants, lol.
She notes that Pil-sung doesn’t seem very happy even after catching the killer, and he wonders why the killer let him live. “Instead of cosplaying Hwang Dae-doo,” he says softly, “I felt like it was Hwang Dae-doo in front of me.”
He changes the subject and asks why Seo-jung rode a bike here, and she says she’s been having nightmares, so she’s riding a bike to tire herself out. She complains that it’s only making her thighs thicker and offers to let him feel one, ha. Pil-sung laughs a little too hard at that.
Seo-jung invites him to ride bikes with him on weekends, since she finds it lonely. She pouts when he asks why he should and says cutely that they’re soul mates, then drops the awkward aegyo when it doesn’t seem to work. But Pil-sung ask what’s in it for him, and an offer of chicken and beer seals the deal.
Awww, he asks Detective Choi to teach him how to ride a bike, and Detective Choi is highly amused that Pil-sung never learned before. He asks why he wants to learn all of a sudden, but Pil-sung just says he’ll see Detective Choi on Saturday for a lesson. When they get together, Pil-sung is chagrined that Detective Choi invited Joon-hyung and his new cop girlfriend, whose name is MI-SEON, and they both show up riding bikes like it’s the easiest thing in the world.
They’re no help, all wrapped up in each other as Pil-sung wobbles around the park being pushed by Detective Choi. After falling several times, Pil-sung orders Joon-hyung to help him. He falls again when he realizes that Joon-hyung let go, but soon he’s riding by himself to his friends’ wild applause.
He decides to push his luck and try riding down a steep hill, hoping the speed will help him get the hang of it (Detective Choi: “He can decide on his own death.” HA). Detective Choi reminds him to use the rear brakes when riding downhill, but he keeps his second bit of advice to himself, since Pil-sung won’t listen anyway.
When Pil-sung gets going fast, he gets over-confident and lets go of the handlebars. But he nearly hits a child on their bike at the bottom of the hill, panics, hits the curb, and goes ass over teakettle into the grass. Detective Choi’s second piece of advice? “Don’t be a show-off.”
He’s still pretty wobbly when he and Seo-jung go for their ride, but at least Pil-sung manages not to flatten any children. Afterward they stop for chicken and beer, and Pil-sung asks nervously what kind of relationship they have. Seo-jung asks if he’s happy when he’s with her, or if he’s nervous and thinks about her a lot, but Pil-sung says it’s neither, so Seo-jung sighs that they’re just acquaintances.
Pil-sung asks her the same questions, so Seo-jung grabs his hand and tells him to say what he’s feeling right now. Pil-sung lies through his teeth, saying that it feels like touching a piece of meat, and Seo-jung throws down his hand in frustration. She stomps off to the bathroom, and Pil-sung looks at his hand like it just betrayed him.
A man enters the restaurant and sits at a table near Pil-sung, staring at him intently. It’s Soo-hyuk’s body, but that evil smile is pure Hwang Dae-doo.
We see the tree in the underworld where Dae-doo’s victims’ faced are etched into the bark. The camera pans to the face of Shaman Geum-joo… and her eyes open.
Okay, well, this is terrifying. I hadn’t counted on Dae-doo’s spirit being able to body-hop, but it makes sense after he absorbed the shamans spirit, and also, apparently, her mystical abilities. This is going to make getting rid of him that much harder, especially since the one person that we know of who’s strong enough to banish him is gone (at least for now, though hopefully she can still help). I’m assuming that the task is going to fall to either Seo-jung or Pil-sung, since they’re the only others who have shamanistic abilities, but they’re still such unknown factors. Pil-sung is only just beginning to realize and accept his abilities, and they still scare him silly, and we don’t even know how strong Seo-jung is or whether she’s even willing to exercise her powers. Before they can even think about fighting Dae-doo, Pil-sung is going to have to accept his powers and be willing to learn about them and strengthen them, and he’s also going to have to let Seo-jung help him despite the danger.
Speaking of Pil-sung and Seo-jung — those two are killing me! They so clearly like each other, and they don’t even really try very hard to hide it, yet Pil-sung at least is still in deep denial about how he feels. He keeps making comments to Seo-jung that give his feelings away, and she’s practically begging him to just come out and admit that he likes her. But I also love this early stage of a proto-relationship, when you get those wonderful flutters every time you see the other person, but you’re still limited to general flirting and waiting to see if, and how, the other person picks up on your cues. It’s so frustrating but also so much fun, and these two are just adorable with their crushes that everyone else can see but them.
Not to hammer on about it, but I continue to be impressed and entertained by the incredibly balanced feel of Possessed, which somehow manages to switch from terrifying to adorably funny, yet the tonal shifts never feel too heavy-handed or out-of-place. The frightening scenes take their time in building up the audience’s fear and suspense, and the serial killer moments pull no punches, while the cuter scenes give me the warm fuzzies watching Pil-sung hanging out with his friends, or him and Seo-jung being all flirty with each other. The transitions from supernatural serial killer to precious grumpy new love never feel jarring or shoehorned-in. The overall pacing is pretty much perfection — emotional beats really take their time to sink in, without ever giving the impression that the story is in a hurry, yet every time I finish an episode I’m amazed at how much happened in one short hour.
The names have gotten confusing in this episode, especially if you’re using the only subtitles I’ve been able to find online. For one thing, the subs get the name of Haneul Hospital wrong every time it’s mentioned, and it’s different every time, which is just getting hilarious. But what’s not funny is that they were also getting the killer’s name wrong in this episode, so I want to clear that up. The host body that was killed in this episode, whose soul got absorbed last episode, was the body of surgeon Seon Yang-woo, and the soul that’s been occupying it is the soul of the serial killer Hwang Dae-doo, who was executed decades ago. For some reason, the subtitles in this episode keep calling him Oh Soo-hyuk, who is actually the druggie son of Haneul Hospital’s president, whom we met in Episode 3. That was wrong, but now Dae-doo really is in Soo-hyuk’s body… and I am super excited about that, because nobody does pure, unmitigated evil like Yeon Jung-hoon (and I hope Dae-doo stays in his body for a good, long while). We’ll be sticking to calling him Dae-doo when it’s obviously the killer soul running the body, just to maintain clarity that it’s Dae-doo doing these evil things and not the body he’s currently driving.