Catch the Ghost: Episode 16 (Final)
So I was wrong, and Episode 15 wasn’t my last say on this series, haha. Let’s resolve this case at last and indulge in cute epilogue moments! Our newbie and her chief face the Subway Ghost in the end, though his capture may not bring the case to a close. Everyone involved must decide what it really means to close a case when a victim remains missing, and what it means to do the right thing instead of following protocol. And then, those cute epilogue moments…
On the roof of the Sunil Motel, Caregiver Choi almost tells Yoo Ryung where her sister is, until she spots her son Hee-joon. Yoo Ryung and Hee-joon face off, her hand at her sidearm and his wire at the ready.
Yoo Ryung starts with an apology–she takes responsibility for what happened, since she is Yoo Jin’s guardian, but then also adds that it was an accident. Hee-joon snarls back that it’s easy when it doesn’t affect you, but that she wouldn’t say the same thing if Yoo Jin had died instead that day.
Yoo Ryung acknowledges that she understands the pain and resentment he feels, but she says that the moment he chose to kill people as a way to kill, he became nothing but a murderer. Hee-joon says that he isn’t interested in healing, since it wouldn’t be fair to his daughter’s memory.
Hee-joon asks if Yoo Ryung would like to know what Yoo Jin looked like the last time he saw her, and then he mockingly mimics the girl’s cries, pleading for her sister. Then he invites Yoo Ryung to shoot him and holds his arms out wide, leaving his chest open. He says that Yoo Ryung wanted to kill him too when she thought he was the one who killed her sister.
Yoo Ryung says she doesn’t kill people, but then Hee-joon tells her that if she doesn’t take this shot, he’ll hunt Yoo Jin for the rest of his life, and he’ll relish telling her that it’s because Yoo Ryung didn’t kill him. Yoo Ryung readies the gun, her finger pulls toward the trigger and then… she lowers the gun and holsters it again.
Infuriated, Hee-joon lunges forward and begins to choke Yoo Ryung with his wife. His mother watches on, begging him to stop, and eventually she runs over and bites him to try to stop him. He releases Yoo Ryung, who remains unconscious on the ground. “Mom, why are you always not on my side?” he asks, and demands to know where Yoo Jin is.
It turns out, she’s not too far away. Nurse Park runs down the motel stairs, dragging Yoo Jin along. In flashback, we see that it was Nurse Park who met Caregiver Choi at the hospital, and who later showed up at the motel to take Yoo Jin with her. But now that Nurse Park tries to escape with her, Yoo Jin resists and the two come to a standstill in the lobby.
Back on the roof, Hee-joon brandishes a knife at his mother, demanding to know where Yoo Jin, his daughter’s killer, is. His mother tearfully responds that she thought she was protecting her son who was suffering, but she sees now that her son is a serial killer, and she’s a murderer too by association. She says that she should have stopped everything in the beginning, and looks over the rooftop to the ground.
Hee-joon drags Yoo Ryung to a hidden corner just as Ji-seok bursts onto the roof, but his focus is on Caregiver Choi, who perches precariously on the roof edge. “I’m sorry about your mother,” she tells him, and then leans backwards until she’s falling from the roof. Yoo Ryung rouses just in time to witness this, while Hee-joon sprints to the stairs and Ji-seok follows after him. Ji-seok stops to check on Yoo Ryung, and she urges him to catch Hee-joon.
Hee-joon rushes to his mother’s side, and holds her head in his hands as she slips away. Nearby, Yoo Jin also heard the commotion and comes running to Caregiver Choi as well. She grows frantic when the woman doesn’t respond to her calls of “Grandma!” but Hee-joon’s eyes grow wide and he has his knife out, wavering as he reaches for Yoo Jin.
Ji-seok stands before the scene, his gun raised. He demands that Hee-joon put down the knife, and soon Yoo Ryung is at his side, her gun also at the ready. Yoo Ryung’s face crumples as she witnesses her sister’s anguish. Hee-joon doesn’t put down the knife, and Yoo Ryung struggles to pull the trigger to disarm him. And so it’s Ji-seok who finally fires, the bullet hitting Hee-joon in the arm. As he falls to the ground, Yoo Jin starts running, and Yoo Ryung chases behind.
Yoo Jin crosses the railroad tracks, and Yoo Ryung is stopped on the other side by the safety gate. She begs her sister to stay put until the train passes, but Yoo Jin hesitates only a moment, and then slowly turns her back on Yoo Ryung. The train roars past, and Ji-seok arrives to fold the frantic Yoo Ryung in his arms. When the tracks clear, Yoo Jin is gone.
The news of the Subway Ghost capture spreads, and Ji-seok steps up for a press conference to answer reporters. The room explodes with questions, from the role of the subway police to the rumor of a special promotion. When the room quiets, the first question to Ji-seok is what reasons the Subway Ghost had for hiding bodies on the subway.
Ji-seok explains that they believe the Ghost wanted to show the world that it was the apathy of subway riders, and not the subway itself, that had killed his daughter. When the reporter asks if the Ghost got his message across, Ji-seok says that he believes that people don’t agree with him and understand that murder isn’t justified, no matter the circumstances. The next question is about the first victim, Yoo Jin, and whether they’ve located her yet. With this question, Ji-seok hesitates to answer.
During the presser, Yoo Ryung sits home, alone, staring at the hand-drawn map of her neighborhood. Her thoughts are on the moment at the tracks, when Yoo Jin turned away from her. After the press conference, Ji-seok hangs missing person fliers up. Yoo Jin is still missing.
But while things remain unresolved for our core team, Officer Jeon beams as he reads aloud to Commissioner Kim all of their great press. The commissioner seems reluctant to celebrate though, and she asks Officer Jeon to bring the press in for an interview.
With reporters gathered, Commissioner Kim says that she promised to resign if they didn’t catch the Ghost, and though the Ghost was captured,the case isn’t closed yet. She removes her badge and declares that she resigns as of this moment. The commissioner admits that the police ignored initial reports of the Ghost’s first victim, and that victim remains missing. She takes responsibility for Ma-ri’s efforts to push Yoo Jin’s case aside, and she shoots a smile at her daughter to acknowledge this.
Once Ma-ri returns to her desk, her team has a new case assigned. But she pulls a photo out of her desk and stares for a while. It’s a picture of Yoo Jin, but instead of the brutal one from the Subway Ghost crime scene, it’s the one Yoo Ryung provided, of her sister smiling sweetly for the camera. Ma-ri announces that they need to close this case before they move on, and asks who is willing to help.
Woo-hyuk volunteers immediately, and one by one the rest of the gruff Major Crimes cops stand up too. They want to do something for their fellow officer Yoo Ryung. The team scatters as they agree to canvas and review security footage, and the former commissioner stops by. She smiles as she sees her daughter hard at work, and tells her how cool she looks. Ma-ri smiles back, the two finally on the same page.
Major Crimes has some competition, as the subway team is also hard at work looking for Yoo Jin. The boys know how difficult the search has been for Yoo Ryung, and they worry that she’s more upset now than she was when she thought her sister was dead.
And then Yoo Jin appears on a street, peeling one of Ji-seok’s posters down to look at it. A weary Ji-seok turns and asks the stranger not to tear down his efforts, but then he stops as he realizes who is standing right next to him. She begins to run from the stranger, but he grabs hold of her arm and quickly explains that he knows her sister. He asks if she’ll just listen to him for a moment, and tentatively releases his grip. He says that he knows that Yoo Ryung abandoned her, but that she’s been searching for her non-stop ever since. He asks Yoo Jin to return to her sister just once, to ask for herself whether Yoo Ryung would ever abandon her again. Without turning back, Yoo Jin walks away.
But she heads to Yongshin Station, the first location on her map of her neighborhood. She passes the pharmacy and reaches the chicken restaurant, and she can hear her sister’s voice urging her to make a right there. Trailing behind, Ji-seok watches from afar as Yoo Jin heads home.
Yoo Ryung sits outside her building until dusk, when she eventually heads inside. She peeks her head out the door one last time, but sees no one and turns inside to watch the news. It’s dark when the door eventually opens, and Yoo Jin comes in. She sees her sister, asleep on the floor in front of the tv, the map of their neighborhood at her side.
Yoo Ryung opens her eyes the next morning, and curled up next to her is Yoo Jin. They each whisper that they’ve missed one another, and Yoo Ryung apologizes and reaches out for her sister’s hand, overjoyed to have her returned.
Ji-seok smiles outside his mother’s hospital, a big bouquet of flowers in his hand. But when he enters his mother’s room, she’s returned her hair to the childish braids, and she appears confused when he calls her “Mom.” Ji-seok’s face falls, and he mutters that he must be in the wrong room and slips outside. Sigh. This is the pain I was expecting.
But Ji-seok rejoins his mother on the park bench outside the hospital. She says that she recognizes him from before, the last time he sat next to her on this bench and asked about her age. He pretends to just remember himself, and says he did so because she was so pretty. Mom asks if he has family at the hospital, and he says that his mother has dementia and doesn’t recognize him. His mother sighs that it must make him so sad, and Ji-seok smiles and says that he’s okay because his mother is happier like this.
And Ji-seok also has his memory of that brief, flickering moment, when his mom recognized him. He knows how proud his mother is of him, somewhere inside, and also asked him not to try so hard for her. He smiles again, and says he’s just fine. Okay yes, now I’m crying.
The subway team gets a day off as a reward for their hard work, and they all hang out together in the garden where Yoo Ryung liked to take Yoo Jin. Now Yoo Jin wanders the fields of flowers while the crew sits together on their picnic blanket. They’re impressed with the nice spot Yoo Ryung found, but she admits that she misguidedly used to bring Yoo Jin here because it was secluded. Yoo Ryung now understands that she herself was the one who felt bad going out in crowded places with Yoo Jin, and that Yoo Jin felt Yoo Ryung’s panic. Yoo Ryung says that she doesn’t mind it anymore, and Ji-seok remarks that Yoo Jin really does feel everything her sister does. He teases that Yoo Jin must have a hard time taking care of her difficult sister, haha. Ji-seok goes out to the flowers with Yoo Jin, and steers her towards the group as they walk to a nearby waterfall.
Man-jin and Soo-ho splash and play in the water, and Yoo Jin laughs at them splashing one another. Yoo Ryung runs over to gently splash her sister, and they smile at one another. Ji-seok’s got a jewelry box of some sort, and he rallies some courage as Yoo Jin steps away to watch Soo-ho catch a fish barehanded, ha.
Ji-seok turns to Yoo Ryung and asks if she’s figured out a living situation for Yoo Jin now that Yoo Ryung has a full-time job. She says that she’s found a group home in their neighborhood where she can work on social skills and sleep when Yoo Ryung has the night shift. Now Ji-seok hands over the jewelry box, and inside there’s a necklace. On the disc is written Yoo Jin’s name, and below are both Yoo Ryung and Ji-seok’s phone numbers. He says that he wanted to give it directly to Yoo Jin, but that she won’t even look at him yet. Yoo Ryung notes his phone number below hers, and he says that he should become friends with her as well so that she trusts him enough to call if she needs help.
It’s time for another night shift, and Yoo Ryung can’t help but watch as Ji-seok tousles his wet hair (same girl, same). He catches her watching him, and then it’s time for bed. They settle in, the curtain hanging between them, and then Ji-seok asks for an answer to his previous question. Yoo Ryung knows the one, when he asked her to be his girlfriend after the case was resolved, and Yoo Ryung doesn’t hesitate much before saying yes.
Ji-seok springs up and pounces through the curtain. He’s all smiles and dimples, saying that he’ll make her happy “forever, er, from now on,” haha. He closes the curtain finally and the two settle into their pillows, but Ji-seok can’t help but sneak his hand over, his palm facing up, Yoo Ryung spots it and lays her own hand on top, their fingers entwining.
Yoo Ryung is chipper and ready to go the next morning, and sleepy Ji-seok eventually catches on to her enthusiasm. He has his hands ready for a secret hand hold behind his back on the escalators, but Yoo Ryung smiles and walks past. He pouts and holds out his hand, and she takes it, turning the pout into a broad smile.
But by the end of the day, these two don’t have any smiles to offer one another. Yoo Ryung’s face is cut, and Ji-seok yells at her disobeying orders yet again and fighting a guy barehanded instead of using her taser. Ji-seok sits down on subway car bench and pats the spot next to him, but Yoo Ryung pointedly takes a seat across from him instead.
But soon a reel of their best moments is playing in Yoo Ryung’s mind (and in the windows of the subway car), of every moment that Ji-seok defended her and fought for her. Ji-seok also recalls some of their greatest hits, from Yoo Ryung’s creepy train lovers’ club to them dancing together. And of course who could forget Ji-seok ramping a moped into a car, one that Yoo Ryung’s arm was stuck in? Yoo Ryung sits next to Ji-seok now, and he fusses over the cut on her cheek. They hold hands and lean in together for the remainder of the ride.
And now it’s date night, and Ji-seok’s whole face lights up when Yoo Ryung emerges from her apartment all dressed up. When he asks what she’d like to do, Yoo Ryung says she’d love to do nothing. He laughs and suggests it’s impossible for her, and she says that’s exactly why she wants to give it a try. So they settle down on her rooftop and just talk. Ji-seok asks what Yoo Ryung was like as a kid, and she says that she was one of the kids who was always in trouble for talking too much in class. Yoo Ryung asks about Ji-seok, and he says he was the class president writing up all of those troublesome talkative kids, haha. She asks what little Chief Ko’s dream was, and he said he wanted to be Superman and catch all the villains, even in space. But his attempts to practice flying didn’t yield the best results, teehee.
The mood shifts as the two grow more and more comfortable with one another, and soon Ji-seok is leaning in for a kiss. Yoo Ryung closes her eyes and tilts her head, but somehow they get the angle all wrong, and Ji-seok curls around and pulls back out, embarrassed. But Yoo Ryung breaks the tension by delivering a kiss to his cheek, and now Ji-seok goes in for a real kiss, the stars in the sky shining overhead.
And then it’s another day at work. Soo-ho runs in with news that he spotted “Knife,” a thief with a knife they’ve been chasing for a while now. Man-jin points out that since it’s armed robbery, Major Crimes got involved. But when asked if they should pass it on to another department, Ji-seok declares that they have the authority to investigate violent crimes too. Yoo Ryung gives him an approving smile, and Man-jin gives a nod to their new plaque honoring their efforts in the Subway Ghost case, confident they have the skills for this work.
It’s time for disguises and a stake out. Our perp, Knife, enters a subway train car. There are a few characters arranged on the seats, including a sleeping woman with an expensive bag, a man in a bucket hat, a woman with her head tucked over her eyes, and a sleeping man sprawled out with his wallet hanging out of his back pocket.
Knife goes for the sleeping man and the back pocket wallet, and a pair of familiar, long legs stretch out across Knife’s lap as he tries to lean in. After a few tries, he retrieves the wallet, and that’s when Ji-seok rolls over and reveals himself. Yoo Ryung jumps with a yell, throwing the hat back up off her face. But wait, it seems that Major Crimes is here too. Ma-ri jumps up from the other side, abandoning her purse, and Woo-hyuk pulls off the bucket hat and charges into the fray.
Ma-ri yells that this is their case, but Yoo Ryung throws her leg up over the middle, and slaps the cuffs on first. “Whoever cuffs him first gets him,” Ji-seok nods with approval at his newbie. But Ma-ri and Woo-hyuk won’t give up the fight, and the group struggles together, a heap of arms and legs and handcuffs.
Was this the perfect final episode? I can’t deny that I have no issue with a show that just gives me sweet moment after sweet moment for the last half hour. It feels like we’ve earned this, right alongside these characters who have been through so much.
This last episode delivered everything the show promised. Yoo Ryung and Hee-joon faced one another, saw how similar their circumstances were, but Yoo Ryung ultimately chose the right path and didn’t take revenge. For someone who has been so brash since the beginning, this makes the same point that Ji-seok makes at the press conference. Things in life can be unfair, and other people can contribute to your hardships, but there is a line that should not be crossed.
Hee-joon may have even had a moment of clarity before he was apprehended. I really enjoyed how unclear his intentions were in those final moments. He didn’t look angry when he saw Yoo Jin at his mother’s side, but he also didn’t lose grip of that knife he pointed at her either. It may be that Hee-joon can still consider his actions and realize how wrong he was. You know, in prison.
The subway police finally get the recognition they deserve, the entire police force has learned to focus on the people rather than just closing a case and upping their numbers, Yoo Jin gets a chance to grow and change as Yoo Ryung sees the ways that she held them both back. Everything is so satisfying.
The most interesting resolution, I think, was Commissioner Kim taking responsibility for the ways the Subway Ghost case went wrong, mostly due to Ma-ri’s actions. This is the commissioner’s moment to admit that she sees how her cold demeanor towards her daughter created an environment where Ma-ri could stop caring the people she was meant to serve. The Subway Ghost chose the wrong path forward when faced with an uncaring and unforgiving world, but Commissioner Kim wants to show Ma-ri that she can accept the role that she played in everything, and give Ma-ri the freedom to change for the better.
This episode even came through and saved it for me with Ji-seok and his mother. In Episode 15 I was a mixture of happy (for Ji-seok) and disappointed in what felt like too much when his mother seemed to miraculously remember him. I don’t want to say that I was happy to see that she had reverted and believed she was a teenager again, but I am so glad that they went this route, because this resolution is so much more nuanced and bittersweet and hopeful. Mom’s dementia may come and go, but Ji-seok has the memory of that moment when his mother saw him for him, and she was proud of who she saw. And she also gave him permission to stop trying so hard just for her, because it isn’t what she would want for her son. That doesn’t mean that he stops seeing her, but it does mean that he can give up dressing up like his dad every other day just to spend time with her. In this new chapter, he can be himself and have her in his life. Though she may not realize it every day, her son loves her very much and will stay by her side always.
I love that in the end, the takeaway isn’t that we should break all the rules or follow all the rules. It’s that we should put people first. Don’t leave anyone behind. Don’t let your bias or your personal issues prevent you from helping others. And be willing to let new people in. Yoo Ryung and Yoo Jin were so isolated, but now they’ve got people who will come through for them no matter what. One big (police) family.
- Premiere Watch: Catch the Ghost
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- 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