Catch the Ghost: Episode 7
Metro and the subway police are officially united, at least temporarily, as they work the first train rapist case together. Our newbie finds herself in a new partnership, while our chief finds himself in an old familiar one. But even familiar relationships can feel different when you’ve found a new way of looking at things, and our chief inspector may no longer share the same world view as his former partner and first love.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
As the newly-formed joint investigation team for the Avocado case boards the elevator, Woo-hyuk asks Yoo Ryung to be his partner. Even though he’s got a logical reason behind it (they can easily share info across teams), Ji-seok’s jaw drops. Yoo Ryung agrees, and Ma-ri warns Woo-hyuk to keep things under control as they split up.
Woo-hyuk wants to drive Yoo Ryung’s scooter, and he gets his way when he mentions that he’d have to hold on to her waist while they ride. Ji-seok watches as they switch seats with a jealous scoff. Woo-hyuk drives cautiously at first, but a little goading from Yoo Ryung and he starts weaving through lanes, a satisfied grin on his face. Driving behind them, Ma-ri is surprised at her partner’s actions, while Ji-seok mutters that he’s being controlled, haha.
Ma-ri moves on to the topic of her mother, and wonders if she’ll ever please her. She tells Ji-seok that he was the first person who just accepted her without her having to impress him with her competence. Their conversation is interrupted by a phone call from Ji-seok’s mom, uh oh. Ji-seok answers via an ear piece so Ma-ri can’t hear the whole conversation, but she definitely hears Ji-seok call himself by his father’s name. But when she asks about it, Ji-seok avoids answering.
At the nursing home, Mom pouts that her oppa is always busy. The same cleaning woman from before is watching her, having spotted Ji-seok with her after the incident with the Subway Ghost footage. The woman approaches Mom to ask about her son, and of course Mom says that she’s way too young to have a child. Nurse Park sweeps in to explain Mom’s condition, and also lets slip that Ji-seok is a police officer.
Ma-ri and Ji-seok arrive at Park Yoo-mi’s place to convince her to give a statement. Ji-seok tries to convince her by telling her that there are other victims, but then Ma-ri charges forward and forcefully tells Yoo-mi that they need her so they can catch the perp and close the case. Ma-ri’s focus on the case, and not the victim, does not go over well and Yoo-mi slams the door shut.
Ji-seok’s not entirely convinced that they should leave yet, recalling Yoo-mi’s distressed behavior. But Ma-ri waxes about how victims can respond differently to trauma, so they need to just keep approaching other victims until they get the one who responds the way that they need. Ji-seok can’t help but recall every time that Yoo Ryung put the victims first in each of their cases so far, but he follows along as Ma-ri leads them to the next stop.
Meanwhile, Yoo Ryung and Woo-hyuk manage to make it in the door at Avocado’s place. Avocado denies anything happening at first, but her emotions begin to show as Yoo Ryung encourages her to cry when she feels helpless, and reminds her that what happened isn’t her fault. It seems like Yoo Ryung is getting through to her, until Yoo Ryung mentions catching the culprit. Avocado rises and shoves the detectives out of her apartment, accusing them of just wanting to get their arrest numbers up. Yoo Ryung can’t just leave the woman behind though, and so she settles onto the steps nearby Avocado’s apartment.
Inside, Avocado searches online for rape survivor stories. Other survivors mention how much it hurt when their family members found out, and how frequent trips to testify soon meant that everyone knew what had happened to them.
Woo-hyuk remains at Yoo Ryung’s side on the steps, and he asks if the fear and helplessness she spoke of with Avocado was really about her own feelings. Yoo Ryung avoids the question, instead observing that Avocado’s light is still on in her bedroom this late at night. Woo-hyuk tells her to go home, and Yoo Ryung says that she will as soon as Avocado turns out her light. Woo-hyuk refuses to leave his partner alone, so they both settle in for a long night.
Ma-ri and Ji-seok return to the station, having had no luck convincing anyone to give a statement. Ji-seok notes how tired Ma-ri is and offers to drive her home. Ma-ri looks like she wants to accept, but when Ji-seok refuses to give her a straight answer about the call from his mom, she declines. Woo-hyuk calls to report in as Ma-ri walks towards the station, and Ji-seok overhears that Woo-hyuk will be pulling an allnighter with Yoo Ryung. Poor Ji-seok, haha.
The night wears on, and Woo-hyuk does his best to stay awake alongside his temporary partner. Yoo Ryung keeps her eyes on Avocado’s window, where the light never goes out. Ji-seok’s also awake at 3am, unable to keep his thoughts away from Yoo Ryung. He drafts a text demanding that she report in regarding the investigation, but he looks at the time and deletes the draft.
Woo-hyuk wakes up alone on the stairs the next morning. He’s a little miffed that Yoo Ryung just left him, but then she returns from her brief errand to tease him. She asks how he slept so well on the concrete and he shoots back that he always sleeps well when he’s with a woman he likes (oww oww). He hopes that Yoo Ryung has breakfast for them, but instead she darts inside Avocado’s apartment building. Yoo Ryung offers the bag to Avocado and says that she hopes it will help.
Ji-seok snips at Yoo Ryung when she returns to the station, and reminds her that she’s still on probation and should check in regularly regarding the status of the investigation. Ji-seok doesn’t even wait long enough for Yoo Ryung to whisper an apology and ducks out to Metro.
Night arrives again, and back in Avocado’s apartment, she pulls out the candle that Yoo Ryung gave her. Yoo Ryung included a note, explaining that she’d seen Avocado’s light on all night and that she hoped to help her sleep at night with the candle (just like Ji-seok did for Yoo Ryung). Avocado breaks down in tears as the candle softly lights her room.
The next day, Soo-ho bursts into the office with news—Avocado has posted a new video to her channel. The subway team crowds around to watch, as Avocado shares with all of her viewers that she was a victim of rape. Avocado shares her feelings of helplessness, as well as her new resolve to file a report and help the police catch the rapist. Comments of support and encouragement pour in as women all over watch the video.
Avocado makes her statement to Ma-ri and Ji-seok, and Avocado explains that it’s because Yoo Ryung stayed outside her apartment to protect her all night long that she was finally able to come forward. Ji-seok’s pride in his newbie is clear in the smile that lights his face when Yoo Ryung leads two other victims in with her ready to make statements. That smile grows as Yoo Ryung focuses on Avocado and holds her hand to thank her for coming forward.
Together, the women provide details that lead the team to believe that the culprit works at the subway station as an electrician. All three report a thick bandage on his ankle, but no limp. Ma-ri and Ji-seok light up at the same time at that—it must be an ankle monitor, which means they can look at monitor records to pinpoint their guy. The team races out, though only Yoo Ryung turns back to thank the women for their help and courage.
The team has a match: Hwang Chi-wol, and they head out to the station where his ankle monitor currently reports him at. But the news of Avocado’s video is spreading, and Chi-wol makes a run for it as soon as he overhears the news.
The team follows the monitor signal to the men’s bathroom, where Ji-seok and Woo-hyuk discover the monitor cut and ditched. There are too many exits for the crew to cover, but a very convenient civil defense drill blocks all the exits for them. Ma-ri orders everyone to cover the exits, but Yoo Ryung turns to her subway skills to determine all the places an electrician might know to hide. Ma-ri is skeptical, but Ji-seok remains attentive (the man pulls out paper to take notes, ha!)
Each spot turns up empty though, and when the team regroups, Yoo Ryung can think of only one other location to check. They head to the storage room near some recently canceled electrical work. Ji-seok and Woo-hyuk reveal the criminal Chi-wol hiding behind a bay of lockers. Ma-ri steps forward to make the arrest, but Chi-wol isn’t giving up without a fight. He knocks a bucket of water on the floor as he leaps out and reaches for a live wire in the half-finished electrical box.
Woo-hyuk reaches for his gun, but Ma-ri cautions him to back off. Ji-seok doesn’t even try to do the same with Yoo Ryung, and so she flips a mop from the floor into her hands and knocks Chi-wol back. As she does, the wires connect and deliver a shock to Chi-wol as he drops. Yoo Ryung kills the power at the switch and then prods Chi-wol awake, while Ji-seok snaps photos to document that the damage to the electrical was present before they got there, haha. Ma-ri and Woo-hyuk watch, speechless, as Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung cart off the bad guy, business as usual.
On the way out, Yoo Ryung stops to call the first woman they approached when this investigation started, the one whose wallet had been found. The woman is at the same subway station, and Yoo Ryung explains that she was concerned.
Yoo Ryung’s call gives her pause at the door meant for station personnel only. She turns away from the door and leaves, and thank goodness she does, because on the other side awaits the Subway Ghost, wire at the ready. The Ghost lowers the wire as they realize that they won’t have a new victim today.
With the criminal carted away, Ji-seok turns to Yoo Ryung to tell her what he thinks about changing partners. But Woo-hyuk interrupts to claim his new partner, saying they still have work to finish on the case. Ji-seok isn’t deterred by the audience though, and he tells Yoo Ryung that even though it’s hard on him, he wants to remain her partner. Yoo Ryung tells him that she’ll return after the case is closed and leaves with Woo-hyuk.
When Ji-seok returns to the station alone, he follows a homeless man into their offices. But the man turns out to be Chief Inspector Gong in yet another way-too-method disguise. It seems Inspector Gong has been transferred to their team. Inspector Gong wonders where Ji-seok’s partner is, and says that she’s a really good officer.
Ji-seok doesn’t get to think on that too long though, because he gets a call from his realtor announcing that they’ve found a buyer for Ji-seok’s house. The buyer wants to move in quickly, and Ji-seok says he can get out immediately. Ji-seok sighs to himself that he doesn’t even have a home anymore.
At Metro, Ma-ri interrogates Chi-wol as the women he raped watch through one-way glass. Chi-wol remains cocky until Ma-ri confirms by phone that they’ve pulled a fingerprint from one of the victim’s homes. Rage stirs a confession out of Chi-wol, and Ma-ri walks away satisfied. Woo-hyuk and Yoo Ryung escort the women out, and Yoo Ryung chases after them to ask that they reach out to her anytime things get hard.
Officer Jeon eagerly shows Commissioner Kim his press release featuring the rape case. He’s featured Ma-ri as the headlining officer, but the commissioner says that the credit should be given to Yoo Ryung. Ma-ri interrupts just then with the case file, but she’s here to discuss other matters.
She asks if her mother knew Ji-seok’s reasons for stepping down to the subway police. In flashback, we see that Ji-seok did tell Commissioner Kim what was going on with his mother. She asks why he wants to keep it a secret from Ma-ri, and he tells the commissioner that he has no future to offer her. Back in the present, Ma-ri tells her mother that Ji-seok is pretending to be his late father for his mom, which gets a groan from the commissioner.
Ji-seok is dressed as his dad at that same moment, and failing to convince his mother’s caregiver not to quit. The cleaning woman listens in nearby, and soon she introduces herself to Ji-seok and offers to serve as his mother’s new caregiver. Ji-seok adds his number to her phone, and asks her to call him anytime to report on even the smallest things.
With a caregiver in place, Ji-seok packs up his home and moves out. He has nowhere to go though, so he’s moving his belongings to a storage facility for now. The cables across his truck loosen on him while he’s driving, and as he tries to tighten them, a box full of plates falls to the ground. Cars honk as he tries to scoop up the broken pieces and get back on the road. It takes several minutes before he notices that he’s cut his hand, leaving blood all over the steering wheel and plates.
It’s finally too much, and tears well in his eyes as Ji-seok pulls over to the side of the road. He thinks about how since his mother’s diagnosis he’s just been driving forward without a plan, and wonders why he suddenly wants to know where he’s headed in life.
Yoo Ryung returns to the station, and the first thing she notices is Ji-seok’s bandaged hand. The second thing she notices is Chief Inspector Gong dressed as a maid, as Ji-seok announces that there’s an opening for Yoo Ryung in the team Inspector Gong left. Yoo Ryung tries again to explain that her request has nothing to do with Ji-seok, but he says that he understands how anxious it must have been for her to follow someone with no clear direction.
Ji-seok’s phone rings with a call from Ma-ri, asking him out to dinner. He Ji-seok agrees to meet her and leaves, as the boys gossip about Ji-seok meeting up with his first love for the first time since their break up.
The gossip sticks with Yoo Ryung as she leaves the station, though she tries to tell herself it doesn’t matter to her. Her face lights up though when she gets a call from Ji-seok, but it’s all business as he goes through all the paperwork she needs to fill out before switching teams. She records his quick instructions for later, and Ji-seok ends the call as he arrives at the restaurant, Ma-ri following him in shortly after.
Yoo Ryung meets up with a friend, who just so happens to be the nurse at Ji-seok’s mother’s facility. Nurse Park checks in with Ji-seok’s mom, and Mom giggles when she hears Yoo Ryung’s scary name. Yoo Ryung steps back to wait for her friend, passing Ji-seok’s mom’s new caregiver as she goes.
Nurse Park and Yoo Ryung settle in for some convenience store ramyun and drinks, even though Nurse Park wishes Yoo Ryung would make home-cooked meals once in a while. Nurse Park hands a drink over to Yoo Ryung, and she agrees to have just one.
Meanwhile, Ma-ri confronts Ji-seok with the real reason they broke up. Ji-seok confesses that he has no future to offer to her, and Ma-ri says that she never wanted him to make promises like that. She just wants them to get back together, and says they can break up when they’re genuinely sick of one another.
And back outside the convenience store, Yoo Ryung and Nurse Park have had more than just one drink, and they sway, tipsy, as Yoo Ryung confesses her request for a new partner and the way Ji-seok has taken it personally.
Nurse Park encourages Yoo Ryung to call Ji-seok and tell him that it’s not his fault. Yoo Ryung tries, but it goes to voicemail. With prodding from Nurse Park, she calls back again and records a message on the voicemail. But in her drunken stupor, she starts to ramble on, first about how she wants to stay by Ji-seok’s side, and then… about how she has a secret reason for joining the subway police and something that she’s been doing behind Ji-seok’s back.
Nurse Park tells her to delete it, but Yoo Ryung’s drunk fingers press send instead. Ack. Yoo Ryung knows she needs to get to the message before Ji-seok listens, so she plays back the call from Ji-seok earlier to try to guess where he might be now. Even drunk, Yoo Ryung’s knowledge of the subway system allows her to use context clues from background noise to guess the station where Ji-seok exited.
The restaurant isn’t far from the station, and Ji-seok looks up from the table to see Yoo Ryung trying to peer through the one-way glass in front of his table. Ji-seok calls Yoo Ryung to let her know he’s nearby, and Yoo Ryung rushes in with the excuse that she’s meeting someone at the restaurant too. But Ji-seok can smell the booze on her, so she moves quickly and “accidentally” spills wine on his phone.
Yoo Ryung retreats to the bathroom with the phone. But Ji-seok has a passcode on his voicemail, and he’s smart enough to not make it a simple one. So instead Yoo Ryung just deletes the notification.
Ma-ri shows up in the bathroom then, and Yoo Ryung hands over the phone. Ma-ri notes that Ji-seok doesn’t know yet why Yoo Ryung joined the subway police, and Yoo Ryung asks why Ma-ri hasn’t told him yet herself. Ma-ri says that she doesn’t want him to get hurt if he discovered he was being deceived.
Ma-ri returns the phone to Ji-seok, asks him to let her know when he has an answer for her regarding their relationship, and leaves the restaurant. Yoo Ryung makes it outside, but she has to sit down. Both Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung stare ahead of them, faced with decisions that need answers soon.
I am so excited for Ji-seok to listen to that voicemail. And I don’t think it will take that long, because he is expecting lots of messages all about his mom from her new caregiver. I am so ready for all the big reactions once he gets this unexpected confession. It’s going to be so full of conflicting emotions, because on the one hand, Yoo Ryung is on the record wanting him at her side. But before they can move forward, she’s going to have to finally confess her real reasons for being with the subway police.
I think the love triangle here is compelling because up until now, Ji-seok and Ma-ri made so much sense together. So often in dramas, a woman from the past shows up and there is no chemistry at all. And that’s usually because we haven’t spent any time with this old pairing. We’re too caught up in the new, blossoming potential relationship. But here, we’ve seen how good Ji-seok and Ma-ri are together, we see a life interrupted, where there was no good reason that these two broke up. Not only that, but when Ma-ri finds out what happened, she forgives so quickly. She’s understanding, and she still wants to give things a go.
Unfortunately, she’s catching on just as Ji-seok is reevaluating his entire life up to now. Poor Ji-seok and his existential crisis. He’s had a chaotic life lately, but it’s a box of broken dishes on the side of the road that does him in. Isn’t that just always how it goes?
If Ma-ri had caught on sooner, I have no doubt that Ji-seok wouldn’t have hesitated to bring her back into his life. But the question of their relationship is no longer just about his complicated life circumstances. He’s starting to learn something from Yoo Ryung, even as she makes mistakes. He sees the difference in the way the two women in his life operate at work, and for all of the bad choices Yoo Ryung has made, he can’t deny that it’s all driven by a desire to protect people, and that touches on a way he feels about his own work. For Ma-ri, the way she thinks about solving crimes seems more about herself. She tries hard because she wants to prove herself to her mother and get out of her mother’s shadow. That has nothing to do with the victims who come to her for help, and it shows.
The difference between Ma-ri and Yoo Ryung is empathy versus sympathy. Ma-ri has some basic sympathy for the women who were victims of the rapist. She tries to understand how they are feeling, but only as far as it helps her close the case. She still sees them as part of her job, and so there’s the disconnect and the brusqueness. Yoo Ryung, on the other hand, knows what it’s like to be hurt. She may not have their exact experiences, but she sees things as a civilian first, and sees everyone as people, not just part of her job.
It’s why Yoo Ryung and Ji-seok are now compelling. He’s been so frustrated with his new partner, and rightly so, but with the opportunity to compare his past partner with his present, he sees what he would have been on the path forward if he hadn’t detoured. He’s felt adrift for the last two years, his plans for himself derailed, but now he has to consider that perhaps it’s where he’s supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about Yoo Ryung a lot lately, and I’m wondering if she could be considered an anti-hero. In the modern sense of anti-hero, it’s usually someone who plays outside the norms of what we expect a hero to be. It’s someone who often breaks rules and is terse and unlikeable, but they’re still getting heroic things done, just in their own way. The only thing really that different from Yoo Ryung and a vigilante seeking justice is the badge she carries, and honestly, the badge may very well just be her batsuit. It’s the persona that she has to hide behind to get what she actually wants done. When we watch superhero movies, we cheer the hero on even as they defy the law because we get to see a fantasy world where things get done. It’s pure wish fulfillment. And I think it’s because Yoo Ryung carries the badge, because she’s in a role that is supposed to represent those laws, that it’s so difficult to root for her and her behavior sometimes.
It’s not that hard in this episode though, as Yoo Ryung dials back the bad behavior. She remains vigilant without squashing important laws in place to protect citizens, and she and Ji-seok have clearly adjusted to working together. I loved when they treated electrocuting the bad guy as business as usual, while Ma-ri and Woo-hyuk were left to try to sort out what they’d just witnessed.
Yoo Ryung’s attentiveness to the people is what saves a woman from the Ghost in this episode. I am all aboard Yoo Ryung as a cop who really sees the people she is working for. It’s just when she’s violating privacy laws and risking lives that I really have a hard time taking her side. I think it’s also important to remember that she’s a rookie, and I think the last couple episodes do a good job of showing that. She’s involved in this high profile case, but she has a lot to learn. Ma-ri and Ji-seok’s training and experience make them better at some things, such as picking up on behavior cues, and Yoo Ryung would likely benefit from that experience if she took the time to learn.
As soon as someone mentioned a phone call regarding their lost wallet, I knew we were going to somehow link the Subway Ghost up to this investigation. We know that all of the victims received phone calls, and that no one had any connections to loan sharks or other potential threats. The scene with the Ghost standing behind a door just waiting was absolutely terrifying.
You might be wondering if the show has managed to convince me that Woo-hyuk isn’t our ghost, considering how kind he’s been to Yoo Ryung lately, and how much effort he’s put into the rapist case. But no, I am officially doubling down on my theory.
There are a lot of scenes where we see Woo-hyuk with Ma-ri on the scene, and the next cut is to the Subway Ghost. If I’m right, these scenes are being cut together purposefully this way, to lead us away from suspecting him, while also putting him at the scene when the Ghost appears. In Episode 6, Ma-ri sends Woo-hyuk away to find a sketch artist, and he never comes back. Ji-seok leaves after giving up waiting on him. Meanwhile, the next scene cuts to the Ghost cutting the power on Yoo Ryung, who he would have known was alone because he heard it from Ji-seok.
And now in this episode, he’s with Ma-ri at the station as Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung take away Chi-wol. Moments later, we see the Ghost waiting on the other side of a door at the very same station, and then Woo-hyuk turns up alone to pick up Yoo Ryung as his partner outside. That gives him a gap of time where he could have been anywhere.
So now I’ve just got to make a connection between him and Ji-seok’s mother’s new caregiver. This woman definitely knows something, but it’s unclear yet whether she wants to help the police or the ghost. I’ll be paying extra close attention to the both of them now. I’m watching you, Woo-hyuk.
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