Abyss: Episode 9
Time is running short in the search for a missing mother, and the hope that her recovery will help lead our heroine to her killer’s accomplice. They’re getting closer, but at the same time, the accomplice is putting the clues together and making his own plans. On a more personal front, feelings are beginning to get complicated, and at least one of our reincarnated duo is having a hard time acknowledging that their feelings aren’t new at all.
EPISODE 9: “Unrequited Love’s Counterattack”
Min, in his current (handsome) body and a high school uniform, joins a crowd of male students waiting to see Se-yeon get off the school bus. When she emerges, it’s Se-yeon in her current body, and the boys chant her name and follow her, leaving Min behind, unnoticed.
Later, the boys part like the Red Sea to allow Se-yeon to skip to the front of the snack line. Min is waiting, carrying an armful of snacks, and he gets flustered as Se-yeon chooses her favorite.
At recess, a pair of jealous girls target Se-yeon during a game of dodgeball, but the ball never gets near Se-yeon as all the boys sacrifice themselves to save her. Another attack results in Min grabbing, Se-yeon, the two of them falling to the floor, and accidentally kissing.
Se-yeon calls Min a pervert who dares her attack her perfect self, despite his protests that it was an accident. Min gets annoyed and says that Se-yeon came onto him first and shoved her lips at him, hee. Further, he tells he to take a good look at them both, laughing that she’s not a goddess anymore and he’s no longer the old, ugly Cha Min.
The girls (and some of the boys, hee) shove plain Se-yeon aside to fawn over Min, who cackles now that the tables have turned. Min crows that after humiliating him for thirty years, it’s Se-yeon’s turn to crush on him.
Se-yeon wakes up with a start, and she reels back when Min runs in to check on her. At the sight of his pretty pretty face, she wonders if she’s still dreaming, and she wails when she sees her own unexpected reflection. She dives back under the covers, screeching that he just had to come back to life with a handsome face and ruin her life. PWAHAHA.
At breakfast, Min tells Se-yeon that Hee-jin is eating with his mother at the main house. She fixates on his lips as he eats, remembering their kisses last night, then her annoying insecurity dream. She tells Min firmly that just because they kissed doesn’t mean she likes him, then gets upset at his knowing smirk.
Min indulgently reassures Se-yeon that he thinks no such thing, and that he’s fully aware she used to be a goddess. But when she flounces from the table, he records their first kiss in his phone’s calendar, hee.
Min offers Se-yeon a ride to see her mom, who’s been discharged from the hospital. She suspiciously eyeballs his fancy suit, and Min just says cryptically that he wants to make a good impression. Se-yeon tells him not to make such assumptions — but he clarifies that he’s meeting with stockholders, HA.
Meanwhile, Min’s mother receives the report she requested on Se-yeon, which is actually Mi-do’s credentials. She decides that she’s good enough for her son despite being recently out of a long-term relationship, since a lawyer is better than gold-digger Hee-jin any day.
She’s unhappy with Hee-jin, having figured out that she’s lying about being pregnant with Min’s baby. She kicks Hee-jin out of the house and slaps her for calling her “mother.” But Hee-jin says she can’t leave yet, and threatens Min’s mother with knowledge of harmful information about their company, Lan Cosmetics.
She tells herself that she can’t leave until she finds her mom, who’s still stashed away with Park Ki-man’s blind mother. Her mom begs Ki-man’s mother to call someone named Tae-jin, and Ki-man’s mother assumes it’s the child that Ji-wook told her she lost. But Hee-jin’s mother insists that Tae-jin isn’t dead, growing more and more frantic.
On his way into work, Ji-wook runs into one of Dong-chul’s friends from a different precinct, Detective Lee. He tells Ji-wook that Dong-chul confided to him that the supposed murder in Mi-do’s building was actually a sting operation, and had asked Detective Lee to notify him if he got any calls or questions about the case.
Ji-wook looks through the photos that Se-yeon’s attacker sent him, and sure enough, Dong-chul is there in the pictures. He mutters that it’s typical of Se-yeon to fool him like this, and wonders where she’s hiding now.
Se-yeon’s parents argue over their restaurant — her father wants to close it and move on with their lives, but her mother refuses, since Se-yeon bought it for them after becoming a prosecutor. Min and Se-yeon witness their fight from Min’s car, and Se-yeon goes inside to see her mom, while Min notices the door he broke when he rescued Se-yeon and makes a call to have it repaired.
Se-yeon’s mother fusses over Se-yeon, worried that she’d been hurt during the hostage situation with Young-chul. Se-yeon fibs that she worked with Se-yeon and became close with her, and she asks if she can call her “mom.” Mom agrees, and confides that her husband wants to close the restaurant.
Se-yeon tells her gently to listen to her husband, because the restaurant will only be a constant reminder of Se-yeon. Besides, the restaurant isn’t doing well because of what happened there, and the rent is expensive. But a call comes in for a reservation for twenty people, courtesy of Min, who decided to treat his entire office to lunch. Aww, such a sweetie.
At work, Min overhears two women chirping happily over one’s recent engagement. He asks them awkwardly what kinds of proposals women like. Oh, so it’s like that, is it, Min?
When Min’s office finishes lunch, the manager makes another reservation for tomorrow. He leaves behind his company ID, and as Se-yeon returns it, she realizes that Min is behind the sudden large groups.
Feeling guilty for making Se-yeon’s friend help serve food, Mom makes her lunch. Mom comments happily that she eats just like Se-yeon, and asks why Young-chul kept calling her “Se-yeon” that night. Se-yeon says that their attacker is crazy, and even claims that dead people can come back to life.
Mom accepts the explanation and asks Se-yeon to visit again. She says that although they look nothing alike, Se-yeon somehow feels like her daughter. Se-yeon is saved from impulsively blurting out the truth by a call from Dong-chul, who tells her that they found the man who stabbed her in Mi-do’s apartment — but he’s dead.
She goes to see the body, and she’s skeptical that Gi-hoon died from suicide, but Dong-chul says there were no signs of foul play, and Gi-hoon was in enormous debt. His suicide note said he was hired to kill her, but that after doing it, his life felt unbearable.
Se-yeon assumes that Young-chul is the one who hired Gi-hoon to kill her, and Dong-chul agrees, since he knows she’s not dead. They guess that he contacted someone to contract her murder and move Hee-jin’s mother, since the phone used to text Hee-jin was found in Gi-hoon’s car.
Hee-jin also hears about Gi-hoon’s death and rushes to the police station. She panics, thinking that Gi-hoon kidnapped her mother, so now the only person who knows where she is, is dead. But Se-yeon says that if Gi-hoon committed suicide out of guilt, he would have confessed to Hee-jin’s mother’s whereabouts. She believes that this means that it was Young-chul’s accomplice who moved Hee-jin’s mother, then killed Gi-hoon to tie up the loose end.
Speaking of Ji-wook, a flashback shows that Gi-hoon lied to him that he killed Se-yeon when he stabbed her. Ji-wook thinks that he would have kept Gi-hoon alive longer if he’d told the truth, then he calls Dong-chul. He says that Detective Lee told him about Dong-chul’s sting operation and asks why he hasn’t gotten a report.
Dong-chul says he’s still following up on leads. Ji-wook hears Se-yeon asking questions in the background, and goes on alert. He invites Dong-chul to have lunch soon, not letting on that he knows about Se-yeon.
At his home, Min paces around his car, alternately hoping that Se-yeon likes his plan and looking like he wants to throw up at the idea. Dong-chul finally brings Se-yeon and Hee-jin home, and Hee-jin goes inside without a word to anyone. Se-yeon explains to Min about Gi-hoon, saying that the suicide angle doesn’t ring true to her, and that she believes that Young-chul’s accomplice killed him.
Min agrees and follows Se-yeon to comfort Hee-jin, deciding that now isn’t the right time to confess his feelings. He takes a call from work and gives Se-yeon his keys to move his car, and she accidentally hits a planter and scratches the bumper. Min is distraught, and in her nervousness, Se-yeon pops the trunk to look for some car polish, unleashing a huge arrangement of balloons. PFFT.
LOL, Min frantically shoves the balloons back into the trunk, as if Se-yeon won’t remember that they practically attacked her. He tries to drag Se-yeon inside, but she spins around and opens the trunk again, amused. Min slams the trunk closed, but Se-yeon uses the key fob to pop the trunk a third time, so this time Min just tackles her.
Se-yeon finally gives the keys back, but she also notices that Min’s car has a rear-facing black box camera. They watch the video with Hee-jin, and on the night Hee-jin’s mother was kidnapped, as Min’s car was in the tunnel, they see something white that almost looks like a person in a hospital gown.
At lunch with Ji-wook, Dong-chul notices that his hand is injured. A flashback shows us that on that night, Ji-wook had stopped his car in the tunnel, pushed Hee-jin’s mother into a pedestrian tunnel, then had used an umbrella to jam the car’s gas pedal and sent it on to crash. Hee-jin’s mother had tried to run after the car just as Min drove past, and when Ji-wook had grabbed her, she’d scratched his hand.
Dong-chul starts to explain about the sting operation, but Ji-wook says affably that he’s sure Dong-chul would tell him if there was anything to tell. He mentions that “Mi-do” said she was representing Park Ki-man for Young-chul’s case, and asks Dong-chul for her number so he can ask her some questions.
Min, Se-yeon, and Hee-jin visit the tunnel in daylight to see what they can find. Se-yeon finds the pedestrian tunnel, and they follow it to see where Hee-jin’s mother and her kidnapper would have emerged.
Young-chul is finally out of solitary confinement, and a fellow inmate brings water to his cell. Young-chul grabs the man and says he heard the inmate can get anything he wants. He asks for powdered soap and bleach, claiming that he wants to wash his clothes, then lets the man go.
Ji-wook’s assistant informs him that she talked to Detective Lee about an additional investigation into Mi-do’s supposed murder, but that Detective Lee said it’s not necessary. She also hands over Se-yeon’s phone number’s call history, registered owner, and cell tower locations.
Ji-wook is distracted by a frantic call from Ki-man’s mother — Hee-jin’s mom has burned herself and won’t stop crying and begging to go back to the nursing home. Ji-wook rushes over there, telling Ki-man’s mother to cancel her call for emergency assistance.
Se-yeon despairs when they don’t find any clues, and Hee-jin gets mad, saying that she wouldn’t give up if it were her mother in danger. Se-yeon retorts that she’s not giving up — she wants to reunite mother and daughter, and besides, finding Hee-jin’s mom will help find her killer’s accomplice.
Min backs up Se-yeon, and suggests they take a break at the nearby restaurant. While there, they ask the owner if she’s seen Hee-jin’s mother, but she doesn’t recognize her and neither does her husband.
The owner’s husband calls them a taxi, and it’s obvious he has an arrangement with a friend as he gets a kickback for the call. He asks for more, for the long-distance fare he got his friend with that sick passenger the other day. Hee-jin shows the driver her mother’s picture, and the taxi driver confirms that she’s the one he drove.
He takes the three to the address where he dropped off Hee-jin’s mother, Ki-man’s mother’s home. There’s nobody there, but there’s evidence that they just left, so Min says they should wait for them to return. Hee-jin wants to look around the area, so Bad Idea Min goes with her and tells Se-yeon to stay behind in case someone returns.
While they’re out, Hee-jin falls and badly hurts her ankle. Min piggybacks her to the house, where they talk her into going to the hospital, saying that they can come back here later.
Ji-wook gets Hee-jin’s mother seen by a doctor, then leaves her at the hospital on the doctor’s recommendation. He apologizes for putting them in this situation, then leaves to pick up some supplies for them.
Elsewhere (at the same hospital), Hee-jin learns that she’s torn a ligament and may need surgery. Alone with Se-yeon, Hee-jin apologizes for losing her temper and thanks her for all of her help. Se-yeon tells her to just be herself and focus on healing, and she offers to stay with Hee-jin so Min can go home.
He says he arranged a private room for Hee-jin, so that all three of them can stay overnight and check back at Ki-man’s mother’s house in the morning. On their way up to her room, Se-yeon splits off to get some coffee, promising to rejoin them in a few minutes. She sits to rest for a minute, and sees Ji-wook nearby on the phone.
She joins him, saying that a friend of hers got hurt and is staying overnight. Ji-wook claims that someone reported seeing Young-chul’s ex-wife nearby, watching Se-yeon carefully for her reaction. She’s interested enough to leave the hospital with him when he says he’s going to follow up on Hee-jin’s mother’s supposed location.
Se-yeon texts Min that she’s gone with Ji-wook to find Hee-jin’s mother. All he tells Hee-jin is that Se-yeon will be late as they unknowingly pass right by her mother’s hospital room. Her mother sees her and follows them, calling out to her “princess,” and Hee-jin hears her mother’s voice. They cling to each other, sobbing with relief.
When everyone calms down, Min explains the situation to Ki-man’s mother, who’s confused since she was told that all of her children died. He wants to take Hee-jin’s mother with them, but Ki-man’s mother says that Prosecutor Seo is the woman’s guardian, so they need to talk to him.
Min realizes that something is terribly wrong — why would Ji-wook take Se-yeon away from the hospital to find Hee-jin’s mother, if he’s Hee-jin’s mother’s guardian and knows she’s here? He tries desperately to call Se-yeon, but she doesn’t answer as Ji-wook drives her out to the middle of nowhere.
Ji-wook is such a confusing character! At times he seems genuinely caring and compassionate, such as when he left Hee-jin’s mother at the hospital so she could get constant care, and to save Ki-man’s mother the trouble of taking her to the doctor daily. Yes, he’s doing it to cover his own tracks, but he really did seem to care about the ladies’ welfare. He must just be a very good actor, because he’s more than capable of things like kidnapping and murder, even the murder of his former associate and his own (step?)sister if necessary. I really wish we knew more about his emotional connection to Young-chul — though it’s clear now that Young-chul is his biological father — and why Ji-wook is so willing to endanger his own life and future to cover up the actions of a deeply disturbed madman.
I’m glad we finally got to address some of the romantic undercurrents that have been lurking around the edges of the plot for some time now, because focusing on Se-yeon’s growing feelings for Min, and his decision to confess to her, relieved a little of the darkness that’s been bogging down the story. I laughed at Se-yeon’s insistence that she’s still a goddess despite her current looks, and Min’s indulgent agreement that yes, she’s still a goddess and no, he doesn’t think she likes him, when he knows perfectly well that she’s the one who kissed him first. The failed confession was hilarious, especially with Se-yeon’s delight as she repeatedly popped the trunk to see the balloons — I think that when Min finally does confess, he’ll find his feelings enthusiastically returned.
I almost don’t blame Se-yeon for her former attitude that her physical beauty conferred privilege on her, because that’s how she was always treated in the past. But even with his new, handsomer looks, she still thought of Min as her nerdy buddy and not a valid love interest, so she needs this reality check that looks aren’t everything and her previous beauty didn’t make her too good for anyone. At the same time, I enjoy watching Min gain confidence from Se-yeon’s reaction to his current looks, because while he was always more than good enough for her, he never felt it because of how she treated him. I don’t like how the show sometimes presents looks as a marker of superiority, but on the other hand, it’s also showing that that attitude is wrong. It’s been repeatedly emphasized that looks aren’t everything — they’re only part of what makes up a person. The soul is what really matters, and just because Min and Se-yeon’s outward appearance now reflects their inner selves, the people they are inside hasn’t changed.
Thankfully, the show seems to have settled a bit, and the plot is much easier to follow now that we finally know some key bits of information, such as Young-chul’s connection to Ji-wook and Hee-jin (though I’ve given up on learning more about Abyss). Not gonna lie — at least half of my increased enjoyment of the story is due to the drastic reduction in Young-chul scenes, and because I find Ji-wook a much more sinister and interesting antagonist. As I said, he’s full of contradictions and his motivations are murky, but in an interesting way. I’m much more fascinated by a villain whose actions can’t be predicted, than one who just kills because… it’s fun? I don’t think we’re anywhere close to done with Young-chul, seeing as how he’s still got Abyss and is making plans for using it, but I’m actually looking forward to a possible showdown between father and son when their motivations eventually clash.
- Premiere Watch: The Secret Life of My Secretary, Abyss, Rescue Me 2, Voice 3
- Grim reapers guide the way for Park Bo-young, Ahn Hyo-seop in tvN’s Abyss
- Magic orbs and washroom antics in new promo for tvN’s Abyss
- Park Bo-young chooses pint-sized reincarnation to catch killer in tvN’s Abyss
- Park Bo-young, Ahn Hyo-seop are reborn in tvN’s Abyss