Catch the Ghost: Episode 13
Just as promised, the subway police caught the Ghost in a week’s time–or did they? Some things add up, some don’t, and there’s new evidence revealed as they push the Grasshoppers to confess. With that new information arrives a little hope for our newbie, though it’s dampened by signs that suggest her sister may have been implicated in the killings from the very beginning.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Ji-seok slams Grasshopper Hyung to the ground, and Hyung peels himself off to look Yoo Ryung in the eyes to drop the shocking news: her sister is alive. Both Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung demand to know where Yoo Jin is, even as Ma-ri and Woo-hyuk arrive and place Hyung under arrest and take him away to Metro. Yoo Ryung stares into space, absorbing the new information. Ji-seok turns her around gently and tries to reassure her that even with the unknowns, the important thing is that her sister is alive.
Commissioner Kim notes the deadline to catch the Subway Ghost is just a month away now, and she resigns herself to having to step down. But just then she gets a call with the good news–the Ghost is officially in custody. The commissioner is so excited, she races down to Metro to see the Ghost himself. Grasshopper Hyung takes a glance at the evidence board as the Major Crimes detectives jog off to run his prints and check his identity.
Commissioner Kim strides right past Ma-ri and instead congratulates Yoo Ryung on her success. The commissioner also tells Ji-seok to take part in the interrogation, and Ma-ri’s protests that this is Metro’s case gets only a dissatisfied scowl from her mother. Commissioner Kim reinstates Ji-seok to his former position, and also asks him to provide support to the Subway Ghost investigation.
Yoo Ryung and Woo-hyuk watch through one-way glass as Ma-ri and Ji-seok begin interrogating Grasshopper Hyung. They’ve finally determined his identity: Kim Hee-joon. Hee-joon locks his eyes on the glass, right where Yoo Ryung stands on the other side, and Ji-seok steps between to block his dark gaze. Without hesitation, Hee-joon begins his confession.
He says that he loves tunnels and how secret they are, but that one day he found a suitcase in the subway tunnel, opened it, and discovered Yoo Jin inside. Hee-joon laughs gleefully that he’s not the Subway Ghost, but a witness to one of their crimes. Ji-seok demands to know what Hee-joon was doing with Yoo Jin’s necklace and how he knows that she’s still alive, and Hee-joon elaborates.
He says that he was in the tunnel with the other two Grasshoppers, and stepped away to pee when he found the suitcase. He says that he could feel her breath on his hand, but that he didn’t want to be framed, so he took her necklace and ran.
Yoo Ryung can’t take it anymore, and she barges into the interrogation room and grabs Hee-joon by the collar. Ji-seok pulls Yoo Ryung back, and Hee-joon says that he thought that Yoo Ryung was the girl in the suitcase and that she had survived. Yoo Ryung asks what he was doing lurking around her apartment then, and he says that by then he had learned that she was the girl’s sister and was considering returning the necklace to her.
Yoo Ryung lunges again, and Hee-joon says that the experience has haunted him too. Ma-ri orders Yoo Ryung out, but she blocks Ji-seok from leaving with her. Ji-seok promises Yoo Ryung that he’ll do everything he can to get answers, and Woo-hyuk leads her away.
Back to the interrogation, Ji-seok points out that all they have is Hee-joon’s word, but Hee-joon says that his Grasshopper buddies were there and saw the suitcase and necklace. And indeed, when Ji-seok questions them in their jail cell, they tell the exact same story that Hee-joon did. They also say that it seems unlikely that Hee-joon is really the Ghost, since he’s such a coward.
Hee-joon fawns over himself in the one-way mirror while our police team watch through the other side. There are still gaps and holes in the story, despite the consistent story from the Grasshoppers and the likelihood that a team of pickpockets using the same tunnel network could have stumbled on the Ghost’s crime scene.
Ma-ri’s not quite convinced yet though, so when the interrogation resumes, she asks about Hee-joon’s DNA found on the wallets of the murder victims. Hee-joon’s face morphs to shock at the news, and then he giggles that he’s a very accomplished pickpocket, so it must be that he happened to steal from the victims too. Ma-ri tells him that he stole the wallets, lured them out by promising to return them, and then murdered the victims.
Hee-joon acts surprised to hear the Ghost’s modus operandi, and says that he always sold the wallets right away to his fences. The Grasshoppers change fences a lot to avoid detection. Ma-ri presses on to her next question: how does Hee-joon explain that he lives in the same neighborhood as the Subway Ghost. This gets an even bigger laugh, and he says that there are lots of people who live in the neighborhood.
As Yoo Ryung and Woo-hyuk await news, Woo-hyuk gets a call with the fingerprint results from the pay phone. He ducks away to find Ma-ri and reports to her that the fingerprints on the coins don’t match Hee-joon. With another lead against them now, Ma-ri hands Hee-joon a piece of paper and asks him to write down every one of his fences so they can verify.
Meanwhile, Woo-hyuk and Ji-seok both hover near Yoo Ryung. Yoo Ryung manages to say that she’ll just have to assume that her sister escaped and survived, for now. Ji-seok smiles and says that he was thinking that too, since she’s Yoo Ryung’s sister. Woo-hyuk catches on and agrees, saying that she must have just lost her way home.
Ma-ri can only think of her mother and the way that she heaped praise on Yoo Ryung when she sees them all, so by the time she rejoins them, she kicks Yoo Ryung off the investigation and orders her to collect every single wanted poster of the Grasshoppers from the neighborhoods. Ji-seok tries to defend Yoo Ryung, but Ma-ri says that Yoo Ryung is too emotional to work a family member’s case, and tells Ji-seok that he can go out and help Yoo Ryung with the fliers.
Ji-seok returns to the subway police substation with a stack of fliers. Man-jin and Soo-ho can’t believe he actually collected them, but they quickly move on to other news. It seems that today is Yoo Ryung’s birthday, and the guys seem eager to do something special.
When Yoo Ryung returns, the office is dark. From the back room, the guys come out singing with a birthday cake. Yoo Ryung’s face falls, and she flees from the office. Ji-seok follows after her, but it’s Woo-hyuk who heads her off at the top of the stairs with a bouquet of flowers. He stashes the flowers behind his back though when Ji-seok runs up, concerned.
Yoo Ryung explains that today is Yoo Jin’s birthday too, and that she feels guilty celebrating it without her. Yoo Ryung apologizes and pivots away, leaving the two men behind. As she walks away, she recalls a happier birthday spent with Yoo Jin. In a field, Yoo Ryung lit the candles on a cake and then rushed through the birthday song before Yoo Jin blew out the candles. The two of them smile, laugh, and clap.
Back to the present, Yoo Ryung turns around, where she finds Ji-seok and Woo-hyuk trailing behind. The trio ends up at the Han River by evening, and slowly but surely, the two men inch towards Yoo Ryung on the steps, and they’re soon sharing beers and smiling together.
They each apologize for making Yoo Ryung uncomfortable. Smiling now, Yoo Ryung asks if they’ve gotten any gifts for her. Ji-seok asks what she needs and offers to get anything she asks. Woo-hyuk calls his offer lame, and says that gifts should be things someone wants, not needs. He suggests a bag or shoes; whatever Yoo Ryung would like, he’ll get. Ji-seok glares playfully at Woo-hyuk over Yoo Ryung’s shoulder, asking where their truce has gone, ha ha.
The three clink their beers, and Yoo Ryung declares that she has her gift already, and thinks to herself that she wanted to be able to smile again.
The next day, Commissioner Kim overhears the Major Crimes cops gossiping about Ma-ri’s treatment of Yoo Ryung. The commissioner calls Ma-ri into her office, and asks about why Ma-ri removed Yoo Ryung from the investigation. Commissioner Kim says that looking at Yoo Ryung hurts her heart and that she wants to hug her. Ma-ri sticks to her usual, “it was the right thing to do.” Her mother tells Ma-ri that she’s already the best, so she should be able to help those who are hurting.
Hearing this from her mother now, tears well in Ma-ri’s eyes. She asks her mother why she’s only saying this now, and where her hugs and comfort were when she was working so hard. Ma-ri flees the office, barely keeping her tears from falling as she makes her way through the halls and out to her car for a good sob. Ji-seok pulls up alongside and almost knocks against the window, but he holds himself back.
Instead he heads in to see the commissioner, and explains that he can no longer be the person at Ma-ri’s side who accepts her no matter what. He asks Commissioner Kim to be that person now, and the commissioner leans back, stunned by the situation.
Choi Mi-ra’s funeral is taking place, and the Major Crimes unit and subway teams are in attendance. But the racking sobs of Mi-ra’s family members drives first Ma-ri away, and soon Yoo Ryung flees with Ji-seok on her heels. Only Man-jin and Soo-ho remain at their table, until they’re joined by Mi-ra’s father. Man-jin asks why Mi-ra quit the force, and her father tells them about an encounter she had on the job.
In flashback, we see Mi-ra catch up to a student whom she accuses of recording people without their consent. Mi-ra tries to pull up the video she recorded of him as the kid pleads for mercy, but then it seems that the video has been deleted from his phone. The kid now turns indignant, and tells her that he plans to sue her for defamation with the help of his dad, a judge. Mi-ra tells the kid he can just go, but the boy demands that she apologize on her knees. With the threat of a lawsuit, Mi-ra kneels down as a crowd forms and the kid laughs.
A strange look crosses Man-jin’s face as he hears the story, and he suddenly exits, leaving Soo-ho to chase behind. He heads to the substation, where he sits the crew down to tell his story of something that happened to him two years ago.
In his recollection, he encounters the same boy that Mi-ra did in the story her father told. But it’s not just the same kid. Everything that happened to Mi-ra happens, only to Man-jin instead. As he kneels down on the ground in front of the boy, Man-jin looks up and spots Mi-ra standing back, also watching.
After hearing Man-jin’s confession, the subway team realize that Mi-ra made his story her own to hide the real reason that she quit the force. This story is even recorded in her file, and is what the Major Crimes team heard when they questioned her family during the Subway Ghost investigation. Man-jin gets on the phone to reach out to Mi-ra’s former partner.
Meanwhile, Woo-hyuk collects the lists of fences from all three Grasshoppers. Hyung-soo hesitates when Woo-hyuk gives him a look, and then writes down one more name, Kim Chul-jin. Hyung-soo hints that he wanted to leave him off the list because he also suffers from mental illness. And sure enough, the address where the wallets were delivered is a psychiatric hospital.
Woo-hyuk takes the info to Ma-ri. He’s confirmed that all of the shipments to this address were right before Subway Ghost murders, and his identity has been falsified on the bank account where the money was sent from.
As they arrive at the hospital, Ma-ri notes it’s the same one where Ji-seok’s mother stays. The receptionist won’t hand over private patient information and Chul-jin’s doctor is away, but he will allow the detectives to visit the patient.
While Major Crimes follows their lead, the subway police press Mi-ra’s former partner, Detective Song, for reasons Mi-ra would have left the force. Detective Song does recall a big incident that happened at Wangsoori Station about three years ago, but he says Major Crimes handled it, not the subway police. It involved a mentally ill homeless man killing a child by pushing them onto the tracks.
Back at the hospital, Chul-jin isn’t responsive and only mutters to himself, “Say it’s your fault, don’t make noise…” The nurse informs them that this is a closed ward, so Chul-jin can’t leave, and there’s no noticeable shoulder tick. Ma-ri offers Chul-jin a coffee, retrieves it from him when he’s done, and exits. Outside the hospital, she directs her team to run the prints from the can against the prints on the payphone coins. She leaves an officer at the hospital to act quickly if they get a warrant, and asks him to check again on any medical records or records of Chul-jin leaving the facility.
Before she leaves, Ma-ri spots Ji-seok’s mom outside. She runs over and greets her, but Ji-seok’s mom responds with confusion to her “omoni” greeting. Ma-ri apologizes, and Mom smiles obliviously. As Ma-ri leaves, Caregiver Choi joins Mom and scolds her for slipping away.
Back to the Subway Police, they confirm with Detective Song that the child who died was a girl, and they suspect she could be related to the clothing locked in the Subway Ghost trunk. Even though Major Crimes took over the case, our crew knows how easily Mi-ra could still have been involved.
Major Crimes is busy piecing together things as well from their own angle, and soon Major Crimes and the subway police collide as they discover they’re looking for the same case. The two teams come together to share information. From the new case file of the murdered girl, they discover that the identity of the homeless man has been obscured, and Ma-ri suspects it was deleted on purpose.
The detective still at the hospital calls in to report that while Chul-jin is currently in a locked ward, he has been transferred to new hospitals each time a Subway Ghost killing occurred, due to liver infections. Those previous hospitals weren’t locked down, so he could leave the facility as he pleased. And then the final piece of the puzzle: they receive notification that the fingerprints on the coins are a match to Chul-jin. It’s time to move.
Yoo Ryung asks if she can come too, since she’s been kicked off the case. Ma-ri hesitates only a moment, and then tells her to follow her to the car. Ma-ri also warns Ji-seok to call his mother, since they’re headed to her hospital. Ji-seok tries, but Caregiver Choi isn’t answering her phone.
The whole crew huddles together in a single cop car, and Yoo Ryung tries to puzzle out how her sister could be involved. Ma-ri doesn’t miss a moment to insist that Yoo Jin is responsible for the young girl’s death, and Ji-seok tries to run interference between the two, saying that “responsible” isn’t an appropriate view, but that Yoo Jin could still somehow be involved. Yoo Ryung says that her sister rarely left her side, and if she did, her friend Nurse Park always stayed with her.
Speaking of Nurse Park, she hears from reception about the visit from Major Crimes and goes to peek in on the patient they visited. But when she sees who exactly the patient is, Nurse Park gasps and drops to the floor to brace herself. Uh oh…
Ji-seok finally reaches Caregiver Choi, and warns her that there’s a murderer in the hospital and that she needs to stay put with his mother. Caregiver Choi, however, is much more concerned about what is about to be found out, and she leaves Mom behind in her room while she runs to Chul-jin’s room. Chul-jin waits at the barred door of his room, and oh no, is that a shoulder twitch?
The cop car arrives with our team, but Caregiver Choi is already at Chul-jin’s door and unlocks it. Chul-jin steps into the hall, just as a voice calls out from the darkness. It’s Ji-seok’s mother, who has followed her caregiver downstairs. She calls out, and Chul-jin’s eyes lock on her menacingly.
Y’all, I’m pretty sure it’s red herring time.
It’s a good red herring too. I remain super convinced that the bad guys are Grasshopper Hyung and his mother Caregiver Choi working together, and yet there were still moments during this episode where the new information almost swayed me.
But this is what I’m thinking: Grasshopper Hyung Hee-joon sent those wallets to this guy because he knew his mom could pick them up at the hospital. I’ve been thinking that Caregiver Choi was the one making the phone calls, but perhaps she and her son have been using Chul-jin to get things done and keep themselves out of sight. I couldn’t help but notice that Chul-jin’s mutterings about saying things are his fault could be someone’s attempt to coach him to take the fall. Chul-jin has the shoulder twitch, but we haven’t seen that version of the Ghost actually go through with a murder. I’m pretty sure there was no shoulder twitching when Mi-ra was attacked.
Or maybe Chul-jin really is Caregiver Choi’s son, and Hee-joon is blackmailing them both into working for him. Whatever the details, I remain convinced that Hee-joon is our guy. I’ve still got my Mi-ra flashback evidence in my favor. And Hee-joon’s nearly manic giggles as he confessed at the police station. There’s no way that guy isn’t guilty.
Or maybe I’m wrong, and it really is time to abandon the Grasshoppers. I think not, but we’ll see soon.
The point is, I am really enjoying how much theory-crafting I get to do each week with each new episode. Rather than veering into gritty thriller, this show has leaned in to an almost whodunnit style of mystery, with background clues and constant pivots from one suspect to the next that has kept me involved in the plot in a way I rarely am. I almost hate to admit how rare that is for me with dramas, but honestly I’m usually hanging on for the last few weeks solely because I love the characters, not because I expect anything from a plot.
I’m not saying that the show isn’t predictable. My wayward attempt to peg Woo-hyuk as a serial killer aside, I’ve been able to guess at each twist just a little bit before they happened. And that’s what I’ve really enjoyed about each episode. I feel like a mystery story delivers the right energy when there are just enough clues for you to possibly guess the right answer, so that you feel satisfied when your guess is confirmed. I feel like this show has nailed that energy, and I am eager to ride that into our last few episodes to a satisfying conclusion.
This is not to say that the story favors plot at the expense of its characters. Yoo Ryung and Ji-seok have phenomenal chemistry, Woo-hyuk and Ji-seok are the most cuddly, non-offensive boys in a love triangle ever (though I still think Woo-hyuk and Yoo Ryung fall completely flat), and as much as Ma-ri’s actions hurt me most of the time, they also make sense.
I actually love the moments when Ma-ri waffles between her desire to be petty and the voice in the back of her head still trying to tell her to do the right thing. We saw that in this episode when she so desperately wanted to tell Yoo Ryung to go home, and instead let her come to the hospital to face Chul-jin. Of course, two steps forward one step back for Ma-ri, who can’t not try to get under Yoo Ryung’s skin by blaming Yoo Jin for everything on the ride over. I was glad that Ji-seok was there to mediate, since Nurse Park’s reaction to Chul-jin suggests that there is something that connects this death three years ago and Yoo Jin.
The news of Yoo Jin being alive leaves Yoo Ryung facing new emotions. She’s been resigned to having to avenge her sister’s death for two years, and now she instead has to examine alternative endings for herself and her sister. But the situation ultimately feels hopeful, and I was glad to see Yoo Ryung smiling with her new friends at her side on her birthday. Yoo Ryung’s life has changed, and no matter what happens in the end, she’s going to have people who stick with her.
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