Catch the Ghost: Episode 15
We know who the Ghost is, how they did it, and why they did it, and now it’s time for police to catch up. But there are some logistical questions lingering that make our villain difficult to catch. Meanwhile, our newbie and her chief support one another through the emotional highs and lows that challenge them this episode.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Yoo Jin stands at the locked door of Caregiver Choi’s home, while on the other side, Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung demand to be let in. It seems like Yoo Jin might just open the door, but while Ji-seok pries open the door, Caregiver Choi flees out the back with Yoo Jin.
Yoo Ryung spots the red shoes in the entry, and Ji-seok notes they aren’t children’s shoes. Ji-seok runs after the caregiver while Yoo Ryung works her way through the home. She spots two toothbrushes in the bathroom, and then enters the child’s room. She sees the adult-sized clothes hanging, and then the brush on the vanity. Ji-seok returns, no luck catching the caregiver, and they wonder who stayed in this room.
The latest news of the Subway Ghost makes it way back to Commissioner Kim, who tells Officer Jeon to keep the details of the hospital mis-lead out of the press. The commissioner isn’t just worried about bad press, but that making the police flounder around is exactly what the Ghost wants.
Ma-ri and the rest of the team are already reassembled and discussing what Hee-joon’s next move will be. Ma-ri wants to wait to chase down Caregiver Choi until they have the lab results from her house. Meanwhile, Ma-ri now understands that part of Hee-joon’s plan is to humiliate the police.
Woo-hyuk thinks that he won’t return to the subway, but Ji-seok disagrees. He says that the subway is an important piece of Hee-joon’s message, to say that it wasn’t the subway that killed his daughter, but the people who didn’t prevent it. They guess that he’ll show up on the first train the next day. But they’ve watched all the surveillance footage, and still don’t understand how he’s boarding trains unnoticed (why are we discounting the tunnel?)
And yeah, Hee-joon sits in the empty subway tunnel at that very moment, a large suitcase at his side. He stares at his photo of Yoo Jin, and then crumples it in his fist.
Man-jin and Soo-ho are on the night shift, and Man-jin’s all smiles as he recalls his heroics during the Grasshopper chase. His smile fades, however, when he gets to the part where he collapsed on the ground, exhausted, and he wonders if he should start exercising. Man-jin gets a few leg lifts in while Soo-ho wonders aloud of Ji-seok will call them in to help again soon.
And just then, they get a call from Ji-seok, who has arrived with the rest of Metro in tow. But the tired cops move past Man-jin and Soo-ho without so much as a nod of acknowledgement. The boys meekly lurk at the edges while Metro plans their strategy to catch the Ghost, and Man-jin even turns out the lights by accident. But when the Metro cops say they need to blend in, well, Soo-ho knows what to do. He sets down one of Chief Inspector Gong’s disguises on the table, and then another, and then another. Woo-hyuk is the first to move, and claims the hunter gear, and everyone else grabs something to wear. Ji-seok turns to Yoo Ryung to reassure her that once they catch Hee-joon, they’ll know where her sister is as well.
The next morning, everyone’s in their “disguises” (Ma-ri is just wearing glasses, Yoo Ryung and Ji-seok in hats) and stake out the early trains. There’s no Hee-joon on the platform, so Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung board. They move back through the cars until they hit the seventh, which is completely empty. Ji-seok recalls the stickers on the platform that indicated that the train would only be six cars long. But this is a ten car train, so someone placed those stickers to keep people off the back half.
Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung sprint towards the last car, and through the door they can see Hee-joon there, tucking Chul-jin’s body under the seat. The door to the last car is locked, and Ji-seok grabs the tiny emergency mallet and tries to break through the glass.
Yoo Ryung pleads with Hee-joon to tell her where her sister is. Hee-joon, a blank look on his face, lurches over and stares into Yoo Ryung’s eyes. “Alive or dead, that’s what I’d like to know as well,” he says, and Yoo Ryung’s face falls. Ji-seok renews his efforts to break through the glass, and he finally makes a significant break, but it’s too late, as Hee-joon pries open the car door and gives them a smile before he leaps into the tunnel.
Yoo Ryung lunges for the emergency brake button to stop the train, and Ji-seok pulls her away as they struggle to the ground. Once off the train, Ji-seok swears to her that Hee-joon made him just as upset as she is, but he’s holding on because they still have hope. Yoo Ryung manages to smile as she realizes that Hee-joon doesn’t know where her sister is either. Ma-ri and Woo-hyuk join the pair, and Ma-ri checks to make sure Yoo Ryung is okay following the encounter.
They take the squad back to Metro, where Yoo Ryung walks them through how Hee-joon has managed to avoid them all this time. Hee-joon lured his victims to restricted areas during the day to commit the murders, then waited until night to enter the tunnel. He placed signs up to discourage passengers from boarding the train cars he wanted to use, and boarded the train from the tunnel to place the bodies via the emergency door, which he unlocked the night before.
Ji-seok gets a call from the lab with results of the DNA from Caregiver Choi’s home. Yoo Ryung follows him as he moves away from the table. He ends the call and turns to her, and delivers the news that the DNA on the hairbrush match Yoo Ryung’s, officially confirming that Yoo Jin was with Caregiver Choi.
Tears spring to Yoo Ryung’s eyes, and she realizes that Hee-joon failed when he tried to kill Yoo Jin, and that he only stopped short of killing Yoo Ryung that one night in the station when he noted that she didn’t have the same burn scar on the back of her neck as her sister. Woo-hyuk smiles when he hears the news, and even Ma-ri seems genuinely relieved to hear that Yoo Jin is still alive.
The team reconvenes at the Subway offices, and divides up the tasks. She puts Yoo Ryung and Ji-seok on finding Caregiver Choi, while her team will search for Hee-joon. They’ve determined that he didn’t exit via a vent, so he must have gone through the platform somehow. They’ll need to review all the security footage of the station, while Yoo Ryung and Ji-seok try to track the caregiver’s credit card. “Make sure to find Yoo Jin,” Ma-ri nods at Yoo Ryung.
As Ma-ri opens the meeting room door, Man-jin and Soo-ho tumble forward, clearly trying to listen in. Ma-ri needs someone to be tough with, so she admonishes Man-jin and Soo-ho for their efforts at the hospital the previous day. She says that because they are Subway cops they only saw the Grasshoppers, and let Hee-joon slip away. She demands that they gather up the security footage, and they both scamper off to retrieve some thumb drives.
Meanwhile, Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung hit a dead end. Caregiver Choi has turned off her phone and isn’t using her credit card. Ji-seok still has a plan though–they’ll visit all of the caregiver’s known relatives. Yoo Ryung takes a look at the map and tells Ji-seok to visit the ones near his mother, and Ji-seok smiles at her in appreciation.
The Metro cops are already frustrated and tired from reviewing the security footage. But we know someone who is great at scanning footage: Man-jin tiptoes over to Woo-hyuk and makes a couple of adjustments over his shoulder, speeding up the video and quickly clicking through views that aren’t helpful. Everyone else crowds over quickly when Woo-hyuk thinks they’ve found their guy, but then Man-jin rattles off various details that are different from their Ghost.
Everyone is impressed he can spot such detail with the video at that speed, and Ma-ri earnestly asks him for help. Man-jin can’t help but get a dig in, and asks if he won’t ruin their investigation. Ma-ri takes a moment, and then actually apologizes to Man-jin. With that out of the way, Man-jin gets to work.
Ji-seok’s mom is sleeping when he stops in wearing his dad costume. Ji-seok switches to calling her “Mom,” and tells her how hard he’s working to help Yoo Ryung. He says that he’s found someone he wants to protect as much as he wants to care for Mom, and pulls the covers up tight for her before he leaves. Mom wakes then, and wonders if she heard her sweetheart talking to her.
When Ji-seok meets up with Yoo Ryung, neither of them have had any luck in their canvassing. Meanwhile, Hee-joon pays a visit to his mother’s house, and when he sees the adult clothing hanging in his daughter’s former room, he grins widely with understanding.
Caregiver Choi waits with Yoo Jin at a bus stop. She sees Yoo Jin nervously rubbing her neck. Caregiver Choi reassures her that nothing like that will happen again, but then we see that it’s not the strangulation that is on Yoo Jin’s mind, but the moment when Yoo Ryung left her behind on the subway. Yoo Jin curls into Caregiver Choi’s arms for comfort.
As they canvas, Ji-seok spots Yoo Ryung drawing something on the back of her sister’s missing person flier. Ji-seok asks her what it is, and with reluctance Yoo Ryung shows him a childish street map from Yongshin Station to her house. Yoo Ryung explains that she made her sister practice drawing this map every night before bed so that she could always find her way home.
Yoo Ryung wonders now why Yoo Jin never came back, if she was safe from Hee-joon and knew the way. Ji-seok offers that there was no evidence that she was locked up in Caregiver Choi’s house, and that the caregiver may have been trying to protect her. When that doesn’t relieve her worries, Ji-seok recalls that Woo-hyuk told him that neighbors confirmed that they saw the two grocery shopping together and assumed Yoo Jin was her granddaughter.
And now Yoo Ryung finally shares her real fear, that after what happened on the subway, Yoo Jin may not forgive her. Ji-seok says that she can say it was a misunderstanding, and that he can serve as witness that Yoo Ryung did nothing but search for her sister from the moment she lost her. Yoo Ryung smiles through tears as Ji-seok recounts all the ways Yoo Ryung terrorized him, all in an effort to find her sister. He also lists off everything that Yoo Ryung has endured during her search, and she agrees that he’s her best witness. With new conviction, the two head together to Caregiver Choi’s aunt’s home.
Back at the subway offices, Man-jin starts to fade from hours and hours of staring at video. But then Soo-ho suggests that perhaps Man-jin could get a special promotion for his contributions to the case. Man-jin takes a look at the photo of his family on his desk (three little girls! awww) and is reinvigorated. Soo-ho provides eye drops, water, ramyun, and even an egg as Man-jin works, and then, finally, the two of them smile: they’ve found something.
Caregiver Choi is welcomed into her aunt’s house with Yoo Jin. Yoo Jin sits alone in an empty room while the women cook, and she finds a notebook on the floor. She begins to draw the same map Yoo Ryung sketched earlier, naming each stop on the way from the station her to their home.
Out in the kitchen, Auntie asks how Hee-joon is doing, and Caregiver Choi lies with a quick, “he’s good.” She tries to warn her aunt to not take any calls from Hee-joon, but before she can finish, the phone rings. It’s Hee-joon, of course, and oblivious Auntie tells him that his mother is there.
Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung are in the neighborhood and almost there, but Caregiver Choi is already running to the gate with Yoo Jin. Auntie doesn’t understand how she’s offended them, and Caregiver Choi grows increasingly agitated as she demands that her aunt lie to Hee-joon if he comes around and say Caregiver Choi didn’t bring anyone with her.
Caregiver Choi hails a taxi, but from the car’s window Yoo Jin can see her sister arrive at Auntie’s home. Caregiver Choi sees them as well, and after a moment, she turns to Yoo Jin and tells her, “Go to your sister.”
In flashback, we see what happened after Caregiver Choi found the abandoned suitcase in the tunnel. Yoo Jin woke up, and Caregiver Choi took her home and fed her. The caregiver looks at a photo of her lost granddaughter with a smile, and then back up to the child-like Yoo Jin, rubbing her neck where a red welt forms. Later, Caregiver Choi wakes up in the night to Yoo Jin’s screams, and she comforts the girl, her reality fading away to fantasy as she calls Yoo Jin by her granddaughter’s name.
Back in the present, Caregiver Choi apologizes to Yoo Jin for calling her by a different name, and reassures her with a hug before telling her to go. So imagine my surprise as we return to Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung, and in the background the taxi drives by, Yoo Jin still inside. Back in the cab, Caregiver Choi directs the driver to the psychiatric hospital.
In a staff only area of the hospital, Caregiver Choi speaks in a hushed voice to someone, asking them to meet her at the Sunil Motel. Ji-seok’s Mom overhears her from the hallway, and she chases after her former caregiver as her memories of the scenes in the basement flood her mind.
Mom tells Caregiver Choi to turn herself in, and Caregiver Choi spits back that she has someone to protect, something Mom might not understand. That triggers a memory in Mom, of what Ji-seok said to her when he thought she was asleep. Caregiver Choi no longer has patience, and tells Mom directly that the person she thinks is her sweetheart is actually her son. “Stop breaking your child’s heart,” she says, and now memories flash rapidly in Mom’s mind, of all of the moments she’s seen Ji-seok, both as a stranger and as her boyfriend.
“Ji-seok, I’m so sorry,” Mom thinks as her face twists with anguish. But she holds tight to Caregiver Choi to delay her, and says that her son has to catch her to protect someone important to him. Caregiver Choi counters that she has her own son to consider, who will kill Yoo Jin and himself if she doesn’t get away. The two struggle, and then Caregiver Choi pushes Mom hard, and she lands hard on the ground, her head hitting the edge of a metal cart. Caregiver Choi gasps, but doesn’t try to help Mom before she escapes.
Ji-seok arrives at the hospital, where Mom is conscious but has a concussion. And more importantly, she calls him Ji-seok, instead of “Oppa.” Ji-seok sits at her side, his face full of emotion. Mom hurries on to tell him about the Sunil Motel, and apologizes that it’s all she can do to help him.
Ji-seok asks her why she put herself at risk, and Mom says that she did it because she knew he had someone to protect. She shows him with her hands how small he was as a baby, and how secure she felt when she held him. She places her hand on chest, and tells him he has the broadest shoulders in the world to her now, and she feels secure with him. Ji-seok begins to sob, and he holds his mother’s hands tight.
But Ji-seok can’t linger, because he and Yoo Ryung have to get to the motel. The front desk clerk doesn’t know whether Caregiver Choi checked in, so Ji-seok and Yoo Ryung start banging on doors. Caregiver Choi hears them coming and ducks out to the roof. Yoo Ryung spots her and follows, where she finds the caregiver near the edge of the building.
Yoo Ryung says that she only wants to know where Yoo Jin is, and Caregiver Choi tells her to catch her son first. She says that it’s more dangerous if Yoo Jin is with Yoo Ryung, since Hee-joon would know where to find her. Yoo Ryung fires back for Caregiver Choi to stop talking like she cares for Yoo Jin, since what she actually did was kidnap her.
Yoo Ryung begs to hear that Caregiver Choi took care of Yoo Joon these past two years, and seeing Yoo Ryung’s anguish, Caregiver Choi relents and asks if Yoo Ryung can keep Yoo Jin safe from Hee-joon. Caregiver Choi begins to tell Yoo Ryung where her sister is, but suddenly stops, and says that she doesn’t know.
Yoo Ryung follows Caregiver Choi’s gaze over her shoulder, where Hee-joon stands behind them. Yoo Ryung turns to face him, and her hand goes to her holster as Hee-joon readies his wire. But Yoo Ryung’s hand hesitates at her hip, as the two stare each other down.
So where is Yoo Jin? Things got a little confusing when Caregiver Choi told Yoo Jin to return to her sister, only to see them drive away together. But Yoo Jin didn’t seem to be with her at the hospital or hotel, so I’m wondering if Caregiver Choi sent her home, to Yoo Ryung’s home. It’s a risky move, to send the girl out on her own, but Caregiver Choi knows that Hee-joon believes the two are together. Risky, but it might have been the smart thing to do. Yoo Jin will need that map soon, and I our finale’s tension will revolve around Yoo Ryung’s fears that her sister may reject her after all this time.
After fourteen episodes of building momentum to the end, this episode let me down a little. It seems like the show was just one episode too long, which isn’t realy so bad considering how many other shows limp through the second half. But I admit I’m a little disappointed to end my recaps on a down note.
Part of the struggle I think with this episode was that the reveals that impacted the characters most emotionally were ones where we knew the answers already. If Yoo Ryung had received the DNA evidence from the brush just one episode sooner, I think that scene would have felt more meaningful to me as a viewer, but instead I felt a nagging impatience for them to hurry up.
It also feels like the police should know by now that Hee-joon would use the tunnel to place the body. Ji-seok was so certain that he’d place a body on the train, so why would they think he’d go about it any other way?
And while we spent our time covering things we already knew, I feel like we missed Ma-ri’s pivot from dragging Yoo Ryung whenever she could to being supportive of her search. Just last week, Ma-ri was ragging on her in the car ride over to the hospital, and while the mood seemed to shift when they found the laptop with the video, we didn’t really spend any time with Ma-ri since then to see how her outlook has shifted.
I certainly appreciate that the momentum of the case has put Ma-ri into competent autopilot, where she cares about doing the right thing and doesn’t let her personal hang ups get in the way. But in this episode we see her earnestly support Yoo Ryung’s search for her sister. It just feels like we missed a small beat of emotional growth with Ma-ri, one that we had time for in this hour.
I’m also a little disappointed in Ji-seok’s mother’s seemingly miraculous recovery. Her condition has been presented to us as dementia, not a psychological block, so it didn’t seem like something that would resolve with a heated argument or concussion. It’s not that I wanted an unhappy ending for Ji-seok. I did expect that we’d see some hope for him and his mother, like perhaps a moment where his mother recognized him briefly, just long enough to have a sweet moment, and then faded out again. To me, that would have been realistically satisfying, and I would have sobbed buckets. This felt like a little too much. The actors were great in the scene, and I think they convened the emotions of the moment just right. It just wasn’t the right moment for me.
I’m sad to be such a downer, when I have otherwise anticipated each week’s new episodes eagerly. This show completely surprised me. I went in with trepidation, unsure how well the comedy would balance with the plot, not all that certain that there would be a plot worth following. And I found a great ensemble of actors, so much range and depth to their performances, and a story that was just perfect for my love of cozy mysteries and light thrillers. I don’t mind when things get a little away from the restrictions of the real world, so I was more than happy to overlook some jumps in logic to enjoy the characters moving through their realm.
I was a fan of Kim Sun-ho before this show, but his role as Ji-seok felt like a test to see how he measured up as a romantic lead, and I feel like he aced it. He really feels like the complete package–he looks great in a blazer, has great comedic timing, never lets the jealous moments go overboard, and he’s a great crier. Ji-seok goes through a lot, and I feel like he is the character who will come out the other side the most changed.
Ji-seok reminded us just how much everyone’s been through to get to this point, and I am ready for the Subway Ghost case to be closed and for our newbie and chief to see what their futures look like now with their new perspectives.
- Premiere Watch: Catch the Ghost
- Compatibility and chemistry in new Catch the Ghost teaser
- Subway cop team prepares to Catch the Ghost in upcoming tvN drama
- Moon Geun-young drama Catch the Ghost releases new teaser and poster
- Moon Geun-young, Kim Sun-ho patrol the subways in new teaser for Catch the Ghost
- First Script Reading for tvN’s Catch Yoo-ryung with Moon Geun-young, Kim Sun-ho
- Moon Geun-young returns to dramaland in new tvN rom-com