Abyss: Episode 13
A shift in the power dynamic has been a long time coming, and our new villain turns out to be scarier, more devious, and a lot smarter than the last one. Luckily, the good guys have plenty of support and are putting together clues as fast as they can, just trying to keep up with the complexity of what used to seem like a simple serial killer case. It’s a good thing they have each other, because they’ll need every resource they have to save themselves.
EPISODE 13: “Before the Storm”
In flashback, we see Ji-wook (then known as Tae-jin) returning home late with blood on his sleeve. Little Hee-jin sees it, but Tae-jin roughly slaps her hand away. He reads “Hansel and Gretel” to her later while she plays, and Hee-jin says that she likes it when Daddy doesn’t come home and they can play together until bedtime.
Young-chul arrives home unexpectedly, and the kids tense up and hide. Young-chul gives his wife some mandoo he bought and tells her to call the kids down to have some. She sees that one of his fingernails is torn and bloody, and she starts to shake with fear.
Tae-jin works up the courage to ask Young-chul something, and Hee-jin sneaks back into the room just in time to hear Tae-jin say he wants to choose his own father. He glares through his tears at Young-chul, who’s impressed with his fierceness and laughs that Tae-jin is definitely his son, though he says he doesn’t care who Tae-jin chooses.
Mom sneaks out to stop Hee-jin from eavesdropping, but Young-chul hears them whispering, and his entire demeanor changes to cold fury.
Hee-jin is dreaming all of this as she recovers in the hospital. She wakes with a start, to a new nightmare in which Young-chul finally succeeded in killing her mother, with Ji-wook’s help. She goes to the morgue, where Se-yeon and Min are waiting with her mother’s body, and when she pulls back the sheet, she collapses in tears.
When she finally looks up, she sees a blue glow in Min’s pocket and grabs Abyss before he can stop her. She begs Min to use Abyss to save her mother, but Min and Se-yeon just hold her while she sobs.
Dong-chul comes to the hospital with the news that Young-chul is dead. He sees Min and Hee-jin huddled together, and Se-yeon confirms that Hee-jin wants Min to bring her mother back to life. Unfortunately, too many people saw her body at the location where it was dumped, so if she came back, it would cause an uproar.
He’s got a photo of the old family picture that Se-yeon found on the body, and Hee-jin runs over to snatch his phone and take a look. Dong-chul apologizes that they can’t bring her mother back, because her murderer will hear about it and they’ll all be in danger again.
As they’re driving home, Dong-chul asks Hee-jin what he should tell the coroner, who wants to do an autopsy. Hee-jin says bravely that she wants it done, so that they will have definite evidence that Ji-wook killed her mother and she can make him pay.
In his office, Ji-wook replays in his mind the moment that he visited Young-chul in the hospital — despite how it looked, Young-chul had died without Ji-wook’s interference. Now Ji-wook takes all the blue boxes that Young-chul sent him and throws them in the garbage. He goes to see his adoptive father, Judge Seo, but he’s out of the office on a personal matter, and it makes Ji-wook nervous.
The woman that Ki-man bumped with his car is visited in the hospital by the stranger who’s been stirring up the issue. She’s perfectly fine, but he makes a big deal about making sure her “assailant” is punished. He reminds her husband that he can’t tell anyone what they’ve discussed, hands him a thick envelope of cash, and says that he will handle the medical bills so long as they refuse to settle.
The stranger heads to the garage and gets into a car with… Judge Seo. He assures Judge Seo that he made everything very clear, hands over Ki-man’s missing black box microchip, and receives an even fatter envelope of money for his work.
Min and Se-yeon leave Hee-jin in Dong-chul’s care and head in to work. Min jokes that he needs Se-yeon to protect him, and she grumbles that he’s awfully big for that, only for him to flirt back that she’s tiny but he’s wrapped around her little finger. Awww, they’re so cute.
Hee-jin is still staying at Mi-do’s place, and Mi-do finds Dong-chul there, looking through Se-yeon’s case notebook to make sure they didn’t miss anything. He says he doesn’t want to inconvenience Mi-do and promises to just be on guard and stay out of the way, then proceeds to pester her until she literally throttles him.
She’s screaming about how annoying he is, but he blurts out, “Let’s try it! Marriage. Let’s give it a try.” While Mi-do is stunned silent, he puts a diamond ring in her hand. Mi-do bursts into tears, and Dong-chul (clearly at his most romantic) smacks her and threatens to take the ring back if she doesn’t stop, hee.
At the office, Se-yeon accepts an invitation to go to lunch with the whole office, and the most flirtatious of the women plants herself right between Se-yeon and Min at the table. She fawns all over Min while he sneaks glances at Se-yeon, who doesn’t appear to notice what’s going on. LOL, he’s so disappointed that she’s not jealous.
He’s still grumpy when they get back to work and demands to know why Se-yeon isn’t jealous. Se-yeon smirks that she’s never been jealous a day in her life, and that even though he’s handsome and popular now, “I’m still Go Se-yeon.”
The same female employee comes in with some cookies she baked herself for Min, and Min is astonished to see Se-yeon typing away like nothing is happening. He flirts back a little and eats a cookie, petulantly refusing to share with Se-yeon.
Se-yeon goes down the hall to make copies and overhears the cookie girl tell her friend that she made a move. When she gets back to his office, Min is making coffee for the cookie girl, but she just says it’s nice of him to return the favor.
Min takes the coffee to the cookie girl’s desk, but she’s away. There’s a note on her desk, on the same color paper as whatever Se-yeon supposedly went to make copies of, and he picks it up to read it. PWAHAHA, it’s a note that says, “Director Cha has a girlfriend, she’s a beautiful prosecutor. P.S. He has high standards, don’t hit on him!”
Grinning ear-to-ear, Min pockets the note when the cookie girl returns. She asks shyly if the coffee is for her, but he picks it back up along with his own and says they’re both for him. On his way out, he tells her that he has a girlfriend who’s perfect, because he has very high standards. Awww.
Se-yeon looks pretty satisfied when Min returns to his office with both cups of coffee. Min says that the cookie girl didn’t want coffee from a guy who’s taken, and Se-yeon graciously lets him give it to her instead. OMG, they’re so freaking cute.
The mood is brought back down when Min gets a call from the detective regarding Ki-man’s hit-and-run case. Ki-man wants to see him, so he and Se-yeon head to the station. Se-yeon is startled when the detective recognizes her as Mi-do, but she plays it cool and says she’s here as Ki-man’s lawyer.
Ki-man tells Se-yeon and Min that he did give the woman his business card, and that he always checks to make sure his black box is working, but the police are saying there’s no microchip. The woman has refused to allow her number to be given out, stating that she won’t settle no matter what, and because of his assault charge against Young-chul, the police are unwilling to let Ki-man out of custody.
Because of his friendship with Mi-do, the detective promises to ask the victim one last time to consider settling. Min is surprised by how much Se-yeon wants to help Ki-man, but she says she owes him after she was unable to arrest Young-chul for his daughter’s murder. She’s concerned about the missing black box microchip, which could only have been removed by someone, meaning that something fishy is going on.
After the detective calls the family about settling, the husband calls the stranger (whose name we learn is Joon-hyuk), but Joon-hyuk assures him that with the black box chip gone, there’s no evidence to get them in trouble. He tells the husband to give the detective his number and say he’s their legal representative.
He dresses in a suit to meet with Se-yeon and Min and plays the indignant lawyer to the hilt, and Se-yeon says calmly that Ki-man wanted to call in the accident but his “client” refused. Joon-hyuk demands proof, spinning the incident as Ki-man fleeing the scene after hitting a pregnant woman. Growing angry, Se-yeon snarls that the “victim” is barely injured, is demanding a lot of compensation, and isn’t telling the truth about being given Ki-man’s business card.
Min plays Good Cop, trying to calm everyone down, but Se-yeon interrupts to accuse Joon-hyuk of being a nobody who thinks he hit the jackpot. She calls him a rookie and asks what firm he’s with, then suddenly realizes that he’s not a lawyer at all. Joon-hyuk blusters at them not to bother his “client” again and storms out.
Min fusses at Se-yeon for insulting Joon-hyuk several times, but she says she was using common insider legal terms that only sound like insults. A real lawyer would have known what she meant, so when Joon-hyuk took them as insults, that’s how she figured him out. They follow Joon-hyuk all the way back to his office (he’s a private detective), and Joon-hyuk looks soooo busted.
Se-yeon takes over Joon-hyuk’s office and informs him of the legal ramifications of impersonating a lawyer. He’s more than willing to talk settlement now, but Se-yeon says it’s too late for that. Pointing out several more crimes he’s committed, such as forging his credentials, Se-yeon asks who hired him to shake down Ki-man.
Judge Seo is celebrating with friends over his upcoming promotion to Chief Justice. One friend mentions that Ji-wook seems troubled lately, bringing up the DNA test where Ji-wook was suspected of being Young-chul’s son. Judge Seo snaps that the test proved Ji-wook is his son, and his friends wonder if someone is out to ruin Ji-wook’s professional reputation.
Joon-hyuk continues to insist that he doesn’t know the personal details of his customer, not even a contact number, because he issues his customers a burner phone when they hire him. But he says helpfully that he knows what the man looks like, and he describes Judge Seo while Se-yeon makes a sketch — which unfortunately looks like a child’s drawing, ha.
Min shuffles Se-yeon out of there with Joon-hyuk’s promise to convince the family to settle, but Se-yeon wants to know who would hire someone to make sure Ki-man goes to prison. She gets a call from Dong-chul so they go to see him at Mi-do’s place.
While looking through Se-yeon’s notebook, Dong-chul found the old photo of two children that Se-yeon took from her friend Seung-hoon’s murder scene. What caught his eye is the man and child in the background — Oh Young-chul and Tae-jin. Dong-chul says that Seung-hoon must have been murdered because he knew of Young-chul and Tae-jin’s connection, and Se-yeon realizes with horror that Ji-wook has been Young-chul’s accomplice all along.
Overcome with fury, she runs out, with Min hot on her heels. Dong-chul says calmly to Mi-do and Hee-jin, “She’s going to kill Prosecutor Seo, isn’t she?” LOL. Mi-do agrees, until Dong-chul points out that she’s going to do it at the prosecutor’s office… wearing Mi-do’s face. Uh-oh.
Se-yeon’s ID doesn’t work to get her inside anymore, but Ji-wook happens to enter the lobby while she’s struggling to make Min let her go. She smacks Ji-wook in the chest with the photo and accuses him of killing Seung-hoon and more, and she’s not intimidated when he tells her darkly to stop accusing an innocent man.
She says he can’t scare her, and that she’ll reveal his true nature no matter what it takes. She throws the photo at his feet and storms out (why are you throwing away your evidence??), and Ji-wook grabs it as he leaves.
He recalls getting a request from Seung-hoon to meet up, and Seung-hoon had remembered him scornfully as a wimpy kid who got bullied a lot. Seung-hoon said he’d seen Ji-wook on television and wanted to talk about that fact that Ji-wook is really Oh Tae-jin.
He’d shown Ji-wook the photo of him with Young-chul, and Ji-wook had asked what he wanted. Having been unable to pass the bar exam, Seung-hoon had demanded a job in a lawyer’s office, the bigger the better. Later that night, Young-chul had killed Seung-hoon in his rooftop apartment while Ji-wook waited patiently outside.
Mi-do is being bombarded with calls after Se-yeon’s outburst at the prosecutor’s office. Se-yeon meekly apologizes for being so thoughtless, but Mi-do hugs her and says she did a great job giving Ji-wook the what-for in front of an audience.
Thinking a bit more clearly, Hee-jin asks Se-yeon to be patient just a bit longer, as her mother’s autopsy results will be released tonight. Se-yeon shows them her drawing of Ki-man’s enemy to see if they recognize him, and they tell her pityingly not to quit her day job, hee.
Meanwhile, Min visits Ki-man to ask him who might be holding a grudge against him. Ki-man says he cut ties with everyone he knew after his daughter was murdered, and at first Ki-man says no, but when Min mentions that it’s a man in his fifties, he seems to remember something.
Judge Seo summons Ji-wook to his office and gives him a plane ticket, telling him to leave the country and never return. He snaps at Ji-wook not to call him “Father” anymore, having heard about the confrontation at the prosecutor’s office. He tells Ji-wook to go now before things get even worse, but Ji-wook’s eyes go hard as he asks why he should do that.
He reminds Judge Seo that he’s the one who adopted Ji-wook to cover up the fact that he killed his own son. He snarls that they’re in this together, and warns Judge Seo that if he’s punished for his crimes, he won’t go down alone.
Mi-do drives Se-yeon and Hee-jin at the hospital, but Hee-jin is scared to see her mother’s body again, so Se-yeon offers to do it for her. She leaves Hee-jin with Mi-do, promising to call her when the body is ready for transport, and goes inside alone.
While they wait, Hee-jin guesses that Mi-do must think they’re all crazy with their talk of resuscitating her mother with a marble that Mi-do can’t even see. Mi-do agrees that it sounds absurd, but she says it’s harder to believe that a highly respected doctor is a serial killer, one of her colleagues is his accomplice, and that they killed Se-yeon.
She tells Hee-jin to hang in there until they can revive her mother, promising to restore her mother’s family register that Young-chul removed. Hee-jin realizes that Se-yeon’s been a while and goes in after her, but she’s still in the parking garage when someone jumps her and drags her off.
Se-yeon gets a text from Hee-jin’s phone saying that she needs some time to get in the right headspace, so she’ll wait for her at home. A minute later Min calls Se-yeon, who says she’s leaving the hospital soon. They have plans to meet at Min’s vacation home to revive Hee-jin’s mother, and Min thinks it’s strange that Hee-jin doesn’t want to be there in case her mother is revived into a different body.
But Se-yeon thinks that won’t happen, since Hee-jin was revived into her old body (apparently the entities who gave Min Abyss said that most people have the same soul as their physical appearance, making Se-yeon and Min the exceptions rather than the rule) and Young-chul only became an older version of himself. Se-yeon asks Min if it’s right for them to be using Abyss like this, so they decide to discuss it after they revive Hee-jin’s mother.
Se-yeon gets into the van with the body. She hears the detective telling the driver where to take the body instead of the morgue, but the driver gets in and drives off before the detective joins them in the car. Se-yeon orders the driver to stop, and he slams on the brakes. She finally looks at him and realizes that it’s Ji-wook behind the mask, just as he grabs her and tazes her.
Min gets a text from Se-yeon’s phone asking him to meet her at a different address. He seems to think it’s strange, but doesn’t question it too much.
Ji-wook stops on a deserted road and takes Hee-jin’s mother’s body off the gurney and puts it back in the van. We see that in addition to Se-yeon, he’s also got Hee-jin in the back of the van.
I do love Ji-wook as our ultimate villain, because as I’ve said before, he’s so much more interesting and complicated than Young-chul. He started out a nice kid but somehow got twisted, and became the very thing he hated — his father — which means that something, somewhere, went terribly wrong. I still don’t quite understand exactly what happened when he was a kid and why he figured out at such a young age that he could set up Judge Seo for future blackmail, but maybe there’s not a reason — maybe he’s just his father’s son, and inherited his sick mind. Ji-wook is less likely to kill as Young-chul was (though he will if necessary), seeming to prefer to hide behind his respectable identity as Seo Ji-wook and let Young-chul do the dirty work if necessary. But now that Young-chul is gone and Ji-wook has to solve his own problems, I have a feeling that his restraint and patience may actually indicate that he’s capable of even worse atrocities. Young-chul was hotheaded and impulsively killed people for simply annoying him, while Ji-wook has the ability to sit back, think things over, and make careful plans. If nothing else, he’s going to be much harder to catch than Young-chul was, because he knows how the law works and how to tread that fine line.
I feel like I’ve been away from Abyss for ages, and now that I’m all caught up on episodes again, I’m surprised by how much has changed, and a lot of it for the better. Thankfully, Young-chul seems to really be gone now, which is fantastic, since as I’ve said before, Ji-wook makes a much more complex, mysterious, and frightening villain. The plot will always be as full of holes as Swiss cheese, but the editing has improved in the last couple of weeks, making it much easier to follow what’s happening. I love Se-yeon and Min together and am thrilled that they finally sat down and talked about their feelings, especially after so many years of push-and-pull. And most pleasantly, Ahn Hyo-seop has gotten a lot better! I’m proud of him for taking this chance to learn from his experienced acting sunbaes, because he no longer feels like an actor pretending to be Min like he did in the beginning, and is doing a great job just being Min.
The show is better, yes, but “better” isn’t the same as “good,” and I’m incredibly frustrated by the characters’ tendencies to do the dumbest, most careless things just moments after telling each other to be careful. I mostly wish the show were more clear on Abyss’s rules, which seem to come and go awfully conveniently. I don’t remember the celestial entities saying that most people already look like their soul, which would have been nice to know when we were all wondering why Hee-jin was revived looking exactly the same (though, why were her skin and eyebrows all messed up at first?). I do appreciate some of the surprise rules, such as how Abyss reverted to the next person it revived when Min died, because they made for a couple of nicely shocking plot twists. But it’s just too inconsistent — for example, Min said several times that he couldn’t read the rules he was given, so how did Hee-jin know that Abyss wouldn’t work on Young-chul if he died a second time, and would instead return to Min? I love supernatural stories and am perfectly happy to suspend my disbelief for just about anything — so long as the rules of the story’s universe are clear and consistent. Abyss‘s biggest mistake was in keeping the rules a secret, giving the writer a handy deus ex machina cop-out any time they need one. And it just feels mildly insulting that the writer didn’t think the audience would notice… well, we did, and it’s not a good thing. I’m still hoping for there to be a good reason for this, but with only a few episodes left, my expectations aren’t very high.
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