Catch the Ghost: Episode 5
Theme of today: trust issues. Partners have to know they have each other’s backs, but it can be difficult sometimes for our chief inspector to keep up with his newbie officer. And she’s going to need the backup, not just because she’s good at getting herself into trouble, but also because the Subway Ghost seems to be creeping closer to her with each passing day.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
At the station, Soo-ho shows Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung the case file of pro boxer Won-tae’s murdered ex-girlfriend. The deceased’s missing ring and wallet led the investigators to assume a mugging at the time, but Yoo Ryung recognizes the ring in the woman’s file–it’s the same one Won-tae’s fiancee Hye-jin now wears.
But while they’ve been discussing the file, Won-tae has been on his knees begging forgiveness, and Hye-jin gives in and indicates that she won’t press charges. Won-tae gloats as Man-jin removes the cuffs, but Yoo Ryung’s not ready to give up yet.
Even as Ji-seok protests, Yoo Ryung pulls Hye-jin aside to show her the file with the photo of the ring. Yoo Ryung pleads with her not to return home with Won-tae and asks her to consider how sad her family would be. But that seems to have the opposite effect Yoo Ryung hoped for, and Hye-jin leaves with Won-tae.
Ji-seok tells Yoo Ryung to turn the new ring evidence over to the detective working the murder case, but Yoo Ryung doesn’t want to give up her efforts to protect Hye-jin. Ji-seok puts his foot down though, saying that they’ll only aggravate Won-tae if they persist, and he refuses to cave to Yoo Ryung’s pleading stare.
At their home, Hye-jin’s eyes keep darting to the furniture where the ring fell off, but Won-tae offers to take care of the broken dishes himself and asks her to make him soup. This requires a trip to the grocery store, and once Hye-jin is out of the house, Won-tae retrieves the ring himself.
Meanwhile, Yoo Ryung won’t let up, and asks her team to at least reach out to Hye-jin’s parents. But it seems that Hye-jin doesn’t have any family to contact, and this news sets Yoo Ryung’s resolve. She tells Ji-seok that she’s got to go, and she doesn’t stop when Ji-seok order her to keep away from Won-tae. Sigh. Soo-ho moves to go after her, but Man-jin stops him, and Ji-seok tells them both that he’s decided to stop caring and plans to transfer Yoo Ryung. Double sigh.
The ring is gone, of course, by the time Hye-jin returns home and looks for it. Won-tae is right there, leering down at her, and he asks again for his soup. Won-tae heads down to his home boxing ring to record his moves, and Yoo Ryung arrives outside their home and calls Hye-jin.
Hye-jin looks out to Yoo Ryung from the window as they talk. Hye-jin thinks Yoo Ryung is here to get the ring from her as evidence, but Yoo Ryung instead shares her own family situation. She tells Hye-jin that her little sister is the only family that she has, and she doesn’t know whether she’s even alive. She tells Hye-jin that even if they catch the person who hurt her sister, if she’s dead already, closing that case won’t bring her back.
Yoo Ryung tells Hye-jin that she understands that Won-tae is family to her, and then offers to let Hye-jin move in with her to build a new family support system. Yoo Ryung’s words move Hye-jin to tears, but Won-tae turns up and Hye-jin ends the call. Won-tae locks his gaze on Yoo Ryung from the window.
Yoo Ryung maintains her vigil into the evening though, and only leaves when she receives a call from Ji-seok demanding her presence at the station. On the dark streets, a figure dressed all in black follows behind Yoo Ryung. But is it Won-tae, or the Subway Ghost?
Yoo Ryung makes it to the subway, and in the next train car the dark hood of the Subway Ghost appears, watching Yoo Ryung through the car window. There are still other passengers in Yoo Ryung’s car though, so he doesn’t make a move, and Yoo Ryung calls Ji-seok to confirm that she’s just two stops away. She tries to apologize to him, but Ji-seok wants to talk in person.
The car empties at a stop, and a new figure dressed all in black wearing a face mask climbs in Yoo Ryung’s now empty car. This one’s definitely Won-tae, and he beats Yoo Ryung bloody. Yoo Ryung’s phone skitters across the floor, Ji-seok still on the line as Yoo Ryung’s blood pools around her. Won-tae takes off, and now it’s the Subway Ghost’s turn to advance on Yoo Ryung, a wire held taunt in their hands. New passengers spot Yoo Ryung, thank goodness, and the Subway Ghost flees.
The subway boys split up as they frantically try to find Yoo Ryung. It’s Ji-seok who finds her, and he calls for an ambulance as he loads his nearly unconscious partner on his back. She manages to gasp that it was Won-tae who hurt her before falling unconscious, and Ji-seok piggybacks her off the train and to the ambulance.
Once the doctors take Yoo Ryung away, Ji-seok calls the boys and asks them to find any security footage of Won-tae on the train. There aren’t any cameras on the train to show the beating, but they watch for Won-tae boarding the train. And that’s when they spot the hooded figure, who definitely doesn’t have the same build as Won-tae. They keep going though, and capture a blurry whirl that is likely Won-tae hopping on the train. They call Ji-seok with the news, that it might not be clear enough to arrest Won-tae.
Hye-jin has Yoo Ryung’s number up on her phone ready to call, when Won-tae returns home still covered in blood. He tells Hye-jin that he took care of the police officer that was bothering her, and tells Hye-jin to lie that he was at home practicing all night if anyone asks. Hye-jin manages a tight smile and nod before she runs to the bedroom to look for the ring.
And indeed, Hye-jin finds not just the ring, but also the missing wallet of Won-tae’s former girlfriend, both hidden in the bottom of a trophy. Won-tae discovers her snooping, and advances on her as he murmurs, “People who love each other shouldn’t have trust issues.”
Ji-seok’s mind rumbles with guilty as he recalls Yoo Ryung trust in him as a partner, and he watches from afar as she wakes at the hospital. When the doctors ask for family contact information, he strides forward to serve as her guardian. Yoo Ryung asks Ji-seok what happened with Won-tae, and he tells her not to worry and to just rest more.
And then Ji-seok’s on the street, running as fast as he can, his shirt still soaked with his partner’s blood. He barges into Won-tae’s private gym where Won-tae is practicing. Ji-seok demands that Won-tae spar with him, since he should have been there earlier with his partner to take a beating at Yoo Ryung’s side.
Won-tae lets Ji-seok into the ring, and he doesn’t hold back as he strikes hard and pummels Ji-seok. But even as Ji-seok’s eye swells and his lip bleeds, he gets up again and again, until finally he gets a rush of adrenaline. With a scream, he charges at Won-tae, more nimble than the meaty fighter. Ji-seok gets in a mighty uppercut, and that sends Won-tae to the floor. “Don’t touch my partner again,” Ji-seok says as he leaves the ring. Upstairs, he finds Hye-jin cowering against the wall.
Backup arrives to escort Won-tae to jail and Hye-jin to the hospital. Soo-ho gapes as he realizes that Ji-seok faced off against Won-tae and won, and he declares that he would totally fall for Ji-seok if he were a woman. In the ambulance, Hye-jin holds the ring and wallet tightly in her hands.
Hye-jin finds Yoo Ryung in the hospital, and she thanks Yoo Ryung for reaching out to her. Hye-jin hands over the wallet and ring to Yoo Ryung. Hye-jin won’t be moving in with Yoo Ryung, but Yoo Ryung offers to still meet up with her. At this, Hye-jin tells Yoo Ryung that she has family and presses a USB key into her hand. Once alone, Yoo Ryung watches the footage of Ji-seok avenging her in Won-tae’s boxing ring.
Yoo Ryung wipes the tears away as Ji-seok arrives to visit her. He worries over her bruises, but she returns the worry at the sight of his swollen eye and torn lip. Ji-seok, of course, lies and says he fell while drinking.
The rest of the subway crew is excited to do a televised perp walk with Won-tae, and Ji-seok tells them that he’s no longer planning to transfer Yoo Ryung. Yoo Ryung watches the news from bed with a smile of satisfaction, and she’s not the only one who’s watching. In the commissioner’s office, Officer Jeon eagerly takes credit for Ji-seok’s heroics. Ma-ri watches in her mother’s office as well, and is that a hint a jealousy in her face when she hears that Ji-seok fought Won-tae to defend his new partner?
Once Yoo Ryung is discharged, the team meets up for a celebratory meal. And to make things official, Ji-seok finally presents Yoo Ryung with the fancy baton he bought for his new partner. The new official partnership is sealed with warm smiles and a toast.
As the team wraps up the Won-tae case, the guys review the security footage and spot the lanky figure in a hood following Yoo Ryung onto the train. Yoo Ryung comes over to look as well, and she immediately thinks of the photos she found in the station at night. But she denies knowing of anyone who might be following her, though she peeks at her drawer of evidence once Ji-seok leaves for the night.
Ji-seok leaves with a clip of the security footage on his phone though, and he’s still got it pulled up when bumps into a woman at his mother’s nursing home. As the woman picks up his dropped phone to return it, she seems startled to see the hooded figure in the clip.
Ma-ri and Woo-hyuk are working late as they walk the neighborhoods where phone calls were placed by the ghost. Ma-ri runs to the payphone where the ghost called his fourth victim, the one she is certain is near where the ghost lives. She dials a number, but the phone is out of service.
In the middle of the night, Yoo Ryung continues her exploration of the subway tunnels, and she finds a passageway not on the blueprints. The way is barred by a gate with a heavy lock.
Yoo Ryung nearly nods off in their department meeting the next morning, but they’ve got an important day ahead: it’s club day. It’s the end of the month, and the police hope to catch all the perverts that will be out with the crowds that Hongdae’s club day will bring in. Yoo Ryung eagerly gets on board with the plan when they suggest that good arrest numbers might help Ji-seok escape any further disciplinary action.
Soo-ho can’t help but film his chief and maknae’s new partnership, and it turns out he’s doing it for a personal vlog. Man-jin gasps that Soo-ho is giving away police secrets to the world, but it turns out that Soo-ho’s only viewer is his mom. Womp womp. Soo-ho turns the topic to the recent disappearance of a popular vlogger, Avocado.
He shows them the video, where Avocado returns home from the clubs and then looks beyond the camera in fear. The video ends suddenly, and Avocado has apparently gone missing. Some think it’s a hoax, while Yoo Ryung of course looks ready to pounce on the case. But Ji-seok drags her back, reassures her that another officer has already been assigned, and refocuses her on club day. And for once, Yoo Ryung listens. Now it’s time for disguises.
The whole squad steps out in slow motion in their best attempts at the club crowd, covered in glow sticks and sunglasses. Oh. Wow. Not to be outdone though, Chief Inspector Gong arrives with his crew all dressed as leather-clad rock stars.Chief Inspector Gong reminds them to stick to their turf, and the pervert hunt begins. As the gang tries to blend in, they hear a group of women discussing the Avocado case, and blaming it on a train ghost.
And because the ghost rumor is rising, Commissioner Kim calls Ma-ri in to investigate the Avocado case. Ma-ri is certain that it is not related to the Subway Ghost murders, but the commissioner wants to be sure.
Back in the subway, Yoo Ryung makes her first arrest when Ji-seok spots a guy filming a group of women with a camera he’s placed in a toy dinosaur box. This is the first arrest of many, as Yoo Ryung pairs her enthusiasm with her knowledge of the subway halls and chases down even the most evasive creeps. Ji-seok sends Man-jin and Soo-ho back to the station with their line of arrests, but Chief Inspector Gong is feeling hurt by their aggressive patrolling and banishes Yoo Ryung and Ji-seok to a distant exit.
There’s no one left to arrest, but the pair run into Ma-ri and Woo-hyuk. Ma-ri explains their involvement in the Avocado case, while Woo-hyuk asks to speak with Yoo Ryung alone. Ji-seok and Ma-ri are left standing bewildered as their partners duck away.
Woo-hyuk asks Yoo Ryung if she’s really going into the tunnels and asks her to stop. Yoo Ryung wants to know if Woo-hyuk finally believes her after ignoring her two years ago. Woo-hyuk replies that he thinks it’s impossible to transport bodies in the tunnel. When Yoo Ryung asks him why he invited her to Metro, he replies that he knows that she won’t stop looking, so they may as well work together until the end. In flashback, we see that even as Ma-ri and Woo-hyuk rejected Yoo Ryung’s request for help, Woo-hyuk was there to hold an umbrella over Yoo Ryung in the rain.
Yoo Ryung retorts that she needs a detective who will find her sister, not offer pity, and she stalks back to Ji-seok. Ma-ri, meanwhile, is still thinking about Ji-seok defending Yoo Ryung, and she awkwardly departs (“I hope you catch a big pervert since you’re all dressed up,” haha).
Ji-seok looks surprised when Yoo Ryung launches into complaints against Ma-ri and the way she disrespects Ji-seok. When Yoo Ryung asks why Ji-seok isn’t at Metro, she doesn’t seem impressed with Ji-seok’s explanation that he was looking for a safe job that let him go home every night.
Ji-seok is ready to give up on arrests for the night, but he catches a wistful look on Yoo Ryung’s face as they look across the street at the crowd of dancers. He thinks about their last stop in a club, and he asks if she envies the partygoers a bit. She denies it, but Ji-seok drags her across the street to join in.
It turns out it’s a silent dance party, and everyone is wearing headphones with music pumping through them. Yoo Ryung resists the headphones, and then takes them off when Ji-seok makes fun of her chicken-esque head bobs. But he puts on his own headphones and shows off his own lack of dancing skills, and soon the two of them are shimmying and shaking together in the crowd, their grins growing larger by the moment.
It’s nice to see an “average” day for the subway team. Like Ji-seok said, it’s impossible to live at Yoo Ryung’s speed every day, and I’m glad that for once she’s listening to her partner and sticking to the task at hand.
I think this gradual change we’re seeing comes with learning to trust her partner, and Yoo Ryung understanding that Ji-seok isn’t just another cop who dismisses cases and the people involved. Ji-seok taking on Won-tae is the most unrealistic fight ever, but I’ll allow it if it means that Yoo Ryung finally sees that Ji-seok isn’t just your average police slacker. I think she’s starting to see that she’s part of a team, not just some renegade with her own agenda, and that she needs to give as much to Ji-seok as he’s willing to give for her. Partners need to stick together, and it can’t be Ji-seok always chasing after Yoo Ryung.
The resolution of the Won-tae case is… complicated. I remain in agreement with Ji-seok when it comes to this case and exercising caution and restraint. Yoo Ryung put a lot of people at risk, especially the woman that she wanted to help, when she kept pushing at Won-tae. Ultimately, her efforts did backfire and Yoo Ryung was dealt some serious damage. But Yoo Ryung is not to blame for what happened to her. Yoo Ryung made some really bad choices, but I am not here to blame the victim. It is not her fault that Won-tae attacked her, no more than it’s Hye-jin’s fault that he was abusing her. So while I’d like to see Yoo Ryung temper her impulses, I don’t see this as comeuppance.
The real take away here is that these two need to start working together, and that’s only going to come with honesty. Won-tae was the one who brought up trust issues in his own creepy way, but it’s a problem that Yoo Ryung and Ji-seok are going to have to eventually sort out with one another if they expect to figure out how to work together. Honestly, it feels like the whole main cast is harboring secrets that are going to somehow add up to the Ghost Subway reveal. It’s going to be about finally trusting one another to get to the end together.
I’m not sure that I like the way that they’ve cut the last few episodes, ending with a cliffhanger for one crime of the week and then splitting the next episode between two different situations. I suspect it’s meant to prolong the building tension, but I like an episode that can be summed up with one theme threaded through, and these cuts leave the episodes feeling unbalanced. We’ll see how that shifts in coming weeks as we likely move from crime-of-the-week to more focus on the ghost.
Speaking of the Subway Ghost, I’m officially declaring my first suspect: Woo-hyuk. Part of it is that there’s so much chemistry between the cast members in every other scene, so when that moment when Woo-hyuk spoke with Yoo Ryung fell flat, my hackles rose. And boy did that scene fall flat for me. Woo-hyuk’s romantic interest in Yoo Ryung just doesn’t ring true right now. It feels more like a fascination, and the way the Subway Ghost has been trailing Yoo Ryung feels similar. Yoo Ryung may be particularly interesting to the Ghost because she looks exactly like his first victim, her sister.
Woo-hyuk’s pity for Yoo Ryung or confidence in her detective skills also don’t add up to me. The moment that got me was when he told her that he didn’t believe her tunnel theory. We know that the tunnel is important, so why would Woo-hyuk want to work with Yoo Ryung if he really thought it was a dead end? It would be a really great idea for the Subway Ghost to keep his enemies close, and if Woo-hyuk really is the murderer, he’s already got the most competent detective Ma-ri as his partner for safekeeping. Now that he knows that Yoo Ryung is on to the tunnels, the best way to get her off his trail is to lure her away from the subway and to his side.
I’ll be watching his shoulders for any twinges in the next few episodes, and rooting for Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung to keep breaking down their barriers and being cute together.
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