Possessed: Episode 7
The stakes soar ever higher as our supernatural psychopath will stop at nothing to prove his point. Our beloved hero is forced to play a dangerous game he didn’t sign up for, all the while struggling to protect the person he holds most dear.
We pick back up with Dae-doo raising his arm to plunge his knife into Seo-jung. Pil-sung rushes towards them but Dae-doo suddenly freezes. His eyes roll backwards into his head and when they normalize, Seo-jung’s mother’s voice comes out of his mouth, urging her to run.
Barreling into Pil-sung, Seo-jung stops him from attacking Dae-doo, who’s too powerful for them right now. Pil-sung and Seo-jung burst out of the building and moments later a second floor window shatters as Dae-doo lands in front of them. Pil-sung and Seo-jung turn and run but Dae-doo merely walks away with a devilish grin.
At Seo-jung’s apartment, she sits in shock as Pil-sung barrels about, looking for a bag so they can pack and leave. Seo-jung sighs there’s no point since Dae-doo can find them wherever they go. Her calm demeanor sets Pil-sung off and he demands if the should just wait to die.
The gash on Seo-jung’s neck ties his tongue and they sit for him to doctor it. Seo-jung says her house is filled with her energy so Dae-doo can’t easily enter and Pil-sung offers to stand guard while she sleeps. She’d rather be alone to think and her pleading eyes and promise to call should anything happen, force Pil-sung to agree.
Alone, So-jung thinks back to her conversation with Mother Shaman. Handing Seo-jung a photo of young Geum-joo, Mother Shaman had said that abandoning Seo-jung was her mother’s way of loving and protecting her. She’d urged Seo-jung to save her mother’s soul in order to save herself.. and the world.
Presently, Seo-jung sets the photo aside and looks out her window. Below, Pil-sung sits in his car, guarding her anyway. Aww.
Dae-doo meditates at his creepy shrine, and his soul stands before Geum-joo’s at the spirit tree. At his mention of Seo-jung, Geum-joo spits at him not to touch her. Dae-doo points out she’s the one that called Seo-jung.
He admits to underestimating her, but promises Geum-joo won’t be able to pull anymore tricks. She warns him he won’t get his way, and Dae-doo guesses she must really fear him. Geum-joo says she knows what happened to him to make him this way and that he’s the one who’s afraid.
“Am I afraid of you? No. I… pity you,” Geum-joo says, reaching out a hand to touch his cheek tenderly as Dae-doo trembles and tears stream down his face. She tells him it isn’t his fault and that if anyone had reached out, he wouldn’t have ended up this way.
Dae-doo’s quiet tears give way to a menacing chuckle and Geum-joo draws back as she realizes there’s no getting through to him. Her spirit dissolves into a mist that disappears into the tree and Dae-doo notes there’s no going back now.
Later that night, Seo-jung exits her apartment with a bag in hand. Pil-sung is sound asleep in his car as she leaves a note on his windshield and pauses to gaze at him for a long moment before walking away. By the time the dawn breaks, Seo-jung is seated on a bus out of town.
Pil-sung is startled awake by his phone, accidentally hitting the windshield wipers and knocking Seo-jung’s note off before he can see it. He runs up to check on Seo-jung, but she doesn’t answer the door and she’s turned off her phone. He tries the shop next, but Seo-jung’s business partner hasn’t seen her either.
At the station, Pil-sung makes a beeline for the patrol desk and has Yeon-hee get him the security footage from Seo-jung’s neighborhood. The footage shows Seo-jung leaving the note and Pil-sung bolts out to his car to find it (thankfully) secured beneath his windshield wiper.
The note simply states Seo-jung needs to clear her head and for Pil-sung to not worry and take care of himself. Meanwhile, Seo-jung arrives at a temple by the sea.
Elsewhere, a group of men set up water coolers in a food court and give each other an ominous nod. Oh noes…. Sure enough, the drugged water begins to take effect a short time later in the movie theater. Chaos erupts as people scramble to escape the feral aggressors, but not all are successful.
Soon after, a state of emergency is issued and police regularly patrol the city as citizens stay home, fearing another outbreak. Chief Yoo tells his team that they are now on duty around the clock and have permission to carry firearms.
That night, Pil-sung eats dinner at his usual convenience store and stares glumly at Seo-jung’s empty chair. He tries calling again, but gets the same out-of-service message. Meanwhile, Seo-jung sits outside the temple and swipes through all the missed calls and worried texts from Pil-sung.
With tears in her eyes, she brings up a photo of Pil-sung and a flashback reveals she’d taken it secretly after their bicycle date. Her reverie is interrupted by the arrival of a monk with a group of children in training. She smiles as the head monk sends them off to bed before turning and spotting Seo-jung.
Sitting beside her, he muses that it’s nice to have so many people at the temple. Seo-jung is surprised to hear the young monks had just returned from dinner(which included meat — something generally against Buddhist teachings), but the head monk points out that plants are also living things.
“Superficial formalities aren’t everything,” he tells her with a chuckle, “A sage who eats meat is obviously better than a vegetarian robber.” Seeking advice, Seo-jung voices her dilemma, “To protect this world, I must give up on the person I love.”
The monk says that while giving up her loved one to protect the world means losing one thing, choosing the person she loves over the world will result in losing both. “If the world is doomed,” he says, “The person you love wouldn’t be safe, either.”
Dae-doo watches the news reports on the drug outbreak with glee. Drug dealer turned business partner, Chun-seob, announces that the man supplying the drug wants to increase his commission tenfold and threatens to tell the police if he doesn’t get it.
Unperturbed, Dae-doo asks if Chun-seob brought what he’d asked for. Chun-seob hands him a case filled with burner phones. Dae-doo hands Chun-seob a notebook of people to locate and goes to handle the drug provider personally.
As the older man writhes on the floor, a victim of his own concoction, Dae-doo promises to make him happy. He muses the man reminds him of someone before lifting him and carrying him over to a kiln. “Goodbye,” Dae-doo laughs as he tosses the man inside and watches him burn through the window. Across town, a young man exits an internet cafe and is immediately apprehended by Chun-seob’s men.
Returning from patrol, Joon-hyung comments that the outbreaks abruptly cut off yesterday. Chief Yoo and Detective Choi take their turn as Pil-sung opts to sleep at the station, deeming it a hassle to go back and forth. Joon-hyung bids him goodnight and Pil-sung is alone in the station.
He wakes in the middle of the night to a text from an unknown number. It’s Dae-doo, cheekily asking if Seo-jung’s neck is better. The next text directs Pil-sung to a website, ominously titled “Joy of Satan.” Pil-sung answers Dae-doo’s call and is told that the zombie games are over and he wants to play a new game with Pil-sung.
Dae-doo directs Pil-sung’s attention to the live-stream on the website and identifies the blindfolded young man standing on a ledge as Jang Seok-jin. He was a bully in high school and his victim jumped to his death from the same spot, but the incident wasn’t investigated deeply and chalked up to depression.
Another man arrives on the roof that Dae-doo identifies as the dead boy’s father who’s come to learn about his son’s death. The father rushes to help the terrified young man just as a video cues on a nearby laptop of his son’s abuse at the hands of the bullies. Dae-doo says that he was beaten and toyed with daily, resulting in this video that was posted privately online.
Now, Dae-doo wants to wager how the father will react when faced with his son’s killer. Dae-doo bets he’ll push Seok-jin and Pil-sung shouts at him to stop. “You told me that I’m the crazy one here, not this world,” Dae-doo chuckles, “If that’s true, that kind man will save Seok-jin even if he’s responsible for murdering his son.”
The father rushes over to Seok-jin and Pil-sung breathes a sigh of relief when he grabs Seok-jin’s hands. Pulling Seok-jin to eye level, the father removes the blindfold and for a moment sees his own son. But then the vision fades and upon seeing the terrified bully looking back, he shoves him over the ledge.
Laughing, Dae-doo asks whether the father or this world is responsible for Seok-jin’s death. Pil-sung spits that Dae-doo is insane and nothing he “proves” changes the fact that he’s a demon. “Demons aren’t born into this world,” Dae-doo replies, “They’re made. You lost the wager.”
Pil-sung argues he never agreed to a wager, but Dae-doo ignores him, saying that he’ll kill someone once a week as a penalty. However, each victim will be a clue. Figuring out the clues will allow Pil-sung to save the next victim.
Dae-doo muses that Detective Kim was the only one to ever solve his riddle. He gives Pil-sung a “cheat” to end the game immediately, however. If Pil-sung will kill Seo-jung himself, Dae-doo promises to disappear.
“Watching your loved one die is painful,” Dae-doo says, “But the pain of killing your loved one yourself will be incomparable.” Dae-doo vows not to kill Seo-jung since he’s determined Pil-sung will. “And that,” he finishes, “Will be the last proof.” Pil-sung demands to know where he is, but Dae-doo simply hangs up the phone with a devilish grin.
The next morning, Seo-jung bids the head monk farewell and leaves the temple. At the shop, business partner So-hee clutches her aching stomach and curses Seo-jung for disappearing. She slaps on a smile when a couple enters the store.
It’s Seo-jung’s landlord, Soon-kyung, and her phony fortune-teller boyfriend, Do-ryung. Soon-kyung whines that she can’t reach Seo-jung and So-hee agrees she hasn’t heard from her either. While Soon-kyung tsks over the merchandise, Do-ryung sidles up to So-hee and notes that she’s having man trouble.
She’s stunned at his accurate assessment and Do-ryung hands her his card, offering to advise her if she comes down to his shop sometime. Annoyed, Soon-kyung demands to know what’s going on. Do-ryung swears he’s just helping “this poor lost soul,” but Soon-kyung accuses So-hee of hitting on him.
So-hee scoffs that she was doing no such thing and Soon-kyung bristles at being called “ahjumma.” They sling barbs back and forth while Do-ryung watches in horror, unable to intervene in the escalating cat fight.
That night, Pil-sung walks down to Seo-jung’s and stares at her bike as snow accumulates on the seat. Sometime later, Seo-jung arrives home and though Pil-sung is gone, she knows he’s been there by the plastic covering her bike to protect it from the snow.
The next morning, Pil-sung awakens to his phone ringing. Seeing the caller ID, he bolts up in bed and gruffly demands where the caller is. He shuffles outside to find Seo-jung waiting with her bike. She greets him cheerily and suggests they go out and have fun today, “no questions asked.” Oof, my heart…
Pil-sung grumbles, but he’s clearly pleased and rushes back inside to get dressed. They hit the seaside and take a scenic tour on a self-propelled cart. Later, as they walk along a path, Seo-jung loops her arms through Pil-sung’s. Embarrassed, Pil-sung pulls away.
Seo-jung pouts and stops to tie her shoe laces. Feeling guilty, Pil-sung notices her struggling with the lace and turns back to do it for her. They resume walking and this time when Seo-jung links arms, he lets her.
Later, they pass a nail salon and Seo-jung drags Pil-sung inside. He’s stunned when she sits him in the seat instead, but gives way. The manicurist smiles that Seo-jung really adores him, noting that while most partners will read or use their phone, Seo-jung has been watching him the whole time.
Sure enough, Pil-sung can see her mooney eyes in a mirror. Next Seo-jung buys him sneakers to replace his ratty ones. As they sit in a cafe, Pil-sung eyes her curiously. Seo-jung blurts that she’s going to try and save the world.
She clarifies that she’d sensed what Dae-doo wants and if she leaves him be, the world will crumble. Pil-sung tells her to leave it to him, but she calmly points out that arresting the host body won’t stop Dae-doo. “His soul must be dissipated completely for this to be over,” she says.
Pil-sung asks what they need to do, then and Seo-jung says they need heavenly energy which can only be obtained with Heaven’s permission. Her words aren’t making much sense to Pil-sung so Seo-jung clarifies that she must become God’s servant.
“Becoming God’s servant means that all my emotions and energy must only be at his disposal… forever,” Seo-jung adds, “I can’t love another person.” She cheerily announces she’s dumping him and PIl-sung awkwardly laughs that they technically never dated.
He guesses he’ll never see her again, but Seo-jung says Pil-sung has to bring her Dae-doo’s host in order for him to be exorcised. Pil-sung is barely holding back tears as Seo-jung reminds him of his burning pot analogy.
Seo-jung:“I want to just chuck the pot and make a racket, but… Help me. Help me stay strong. Don’t look at me adoringly and don’t let your heart flutter. Don’t cry, and don’t miss me.”
Pil-sung can’t bring himself to look at her and Seo-jung says she’ll go see Mother Shaman tomorrow. A ritual will be performed and she’ll get a name. She says today is the last day she’ll be known as Hong Seo-jung.
He can only offer another prickly response and Seo-jung says he doesn’t have to walk her home since she lives close. She walks away and Pil-sung falls back into his seat and doesn’t see her turn to stare at him tearfully before walking home. Watching her back disappear, Pil-sung guesses this is why she bought the sneakers.
After advertising all day outside a storefront, two young women sit down to eat. One of them needs the restroom and follows the server’s instructions up the emergency stairs to an empty section of the building. She hears a noise, but doesn’t see anything in the stairwell. However when she turns, Dae-doo is standing in front of her, smiling creepily.
Once again awakened by his phone, Pil-sung snaps to attention when Dae-doo asks what he’s doing when the game is already afoot. He tells Pil-sung that the news tomorrow will mention a girl killed on the emergency stairs and she’s his clue.
Dae-doo repeats that solving the clue will save the next girl and assures Pil-sung the riddle is easy. Pil-sung shouts at him to stop, but Dae-doo says he either needs to solve the riddle or use his cheat (aka murder Seo-jung) to end the game.
The next day, Pil-sung examines the victim’s profile and crime scene, but is left scratching his head. He tries to bring it up to Chief Yoo, but quickly changes his mind. Chief Yoo just pleads with him not to worry about other jurisdictions.
Detective Choi announces movement on another case and the team heads out to apprehend some gangsters. As the other detectives load the thugs into the van, Pil-sung’s attention is focused on the promotion outside a nearby shop offering free hugs.
The team starts to leave and Pil-sung stalks over to the shopfront to receive his free hug from the bunny mascot. His eyes tear up as he flashes back to Seo-jung doing the same. He tells the team he has somewhere to be and speeds off before they can argue.
Preparations for the ceremony are already underway when he arrives. Pil-sung frantically searches rooms until he finds Seo-jung and immediately curses how pretty she looks. They walk to the back of the temple and Seo-jung asks why he’s here.
“I’m annoyed, that’s why!” Pil-sung snaps, “I don’t know just how mighty the Heaven is, but it doesn’t get to decide who I date.” Ha! He says he doesn’t care if she becomes a shaman, but he’s gonna like her regardless and once Dae-doo is gone, Pil-sung has every intention to start a life with Seo-jung.
She urges him to stop, saying he’ll only make himself miserable. Pil-sung argues he’s already miserable because the house in Seo-jung’s dream is too expensive for him to accomplish. “If I… could have just one happy day with you,” Pil-sung says soberly, “I’d gladly be miserable for the rest of my life.”
Someone calls for Seo-jung and she says she has to go start the ceremony. Pil-sung tells her he won’t stay to watch her go through with it. Seo-jung walks away, but when she sees the ceremony tears well up and she races back.
Throwing her arms around him, Seo-jung kisses Pil-sung and after the initial shock wears off, he kisses her back as a tear trickles down Seo-jung’s cheek.
Seo-jung and Pil-sung go to the movies for a date. When Pil-sung leaves to use the toilet, Seo-jung sits down and writes a letter, but all we see is it’s addressed to Pil-sung. The mailbox beside her is labeled a “slow letterbox” and promises to mail messages to loved ones after a year.
Ack! This show is such an emotional roller-coaster and I can’t help but love every minute of it. Seo-jung faced a tough dilemma this hour, but incorrectly assumed it was solely her’s to bear. Pil-sung suffered with her every step of the way, regardless of her efforts to spare him pain. I knew the second she reappeared with a chipper smile and suggestion for the dreaded date day, things were about to take a turn for heartbreak. I’ve seen far too many dramas not to see those strings attached. But my foresight did nothing to brace me for the impact when Pil-sung found out that the long-awaited date was their last.
Pil-sung has boasted from the start that he’s a sensitive guy and really, his tough front fools no one. It didn’t make it any easier to watch him cry as the woman he’s fallen in love with puts a definitive end to things before they’ve truly even begun, though. And while I generally rue noble idiocy, I can’t fault Seo-jung’s decision here. I was proud of her for being upfront with Pil-sung about her choice and why she felt she had to make it, despite everything in her screaming to leave the problem for someone else, anyone else, to deal with. And Pil-sung was certainly willing to shoulder that burden from her, but unfortunately as it stands, he’s just not equipped.
Unlike many dramas, the need for their breakup was somewhat valid. In order to vanquish the big bad (and save the world), Seo-jung needs her own power up and it comes with a cost. I wasn’t happy about it, but it made sense. There aren’t any foreseeable alternatives and time is short. In order to protect Pil-sung, Seo-jung was willing to give him up. But it wasn’t just her choice. Pil-sung had a say too, and come hell or high water, the world be damned he wasn’t gonna let some jerkface with a twisted vendetta mess up his love life! After waiting nearly half the drama for a confession, the show (and Pil-sung) did not disappoint!
It’s unclear what impact this will have going forward. Certainly, they’re going to have to find another solution since imbuing Seo-jung with holy power is seemingly off the table. And Dae-doo isn’t going to wait around. His new game is far more sinister than the last and it’s a good thing Seo-jung is back to lend her brain, because Pil-sung has been struggling. Hopefully their combined brain-power (and spiritual power) will be enough to foil Dae-doo’s plot, because the clock is ticking and the end of the world is nigh.