Memorist: Episode 11
It feels like our team is getting closer to the serial killer’s identity, while at the same time, everything is conspiring to keep the truth from them. The truth is rooted in the past, but when your main investigator has no past, how do you know where to look?
EPISODE 11: “A Deep Wound”
The Eraser manages to get access to Jae-gyu and Sun-mi by dressing as a SWAT team member, and though Jae-gyu grapples with him and Sun-mi shoots at him, he gets away. He leaves Jae-gyu gravely injured and runs to the roof, where Dong Baek catches up to him.
Assuming he’s got the Eraser cornered, Dong Baek orders him to take off his mask and show his face. In an electronically altered voice, the Eraser asks why Dong Baek did nothing to save his mother, then laughs, asking if Dong Baek even remembers how she died. He mocks young Dong Baek’s cries, then vaults over the railing and rappels down the side of the building, and Dong Baek takes the shot.
Downstairs, Jae-gyu is dying from his wounds. He tells Sun-mi, “Don’t forget my last words. You must find it. Don’t forget the meadow… the meadow…” He dies, leaving Sun-mi with no more information.
The Eraser falls to the pavement and lies unmoving, but after a moment he stirs. Dong Baek shoots him again and then runs downstairs, calling the SWAT team on the way. By the time he arrives at the spot where the Eraser fell, the killer is gone, leaving behind a blood trail leading to an open manhole.
Chief Byun arrives on the scene as Jae-gyu’s body is being taken away. Sun-mi says that she’ll take responsibility for the failure of this plan, but Chief Byun snaps that even if they’re both dismissed, it won’t be enough.
Reporter Ji-eun is kicked out of a meeting and told not to come back until she finds something that will bring Dong Baek down. She starts to call Chief Gu, then Se-hoon, but she changes her mind and just hangs her head and cries.
In-tae is recovering well from his complete memory wipe, re-learning language and spelling, though he still hesitates to speak. Dong Baek’s doctor tells Sang-ah that In-tae may be having a problem with identity, and she promises that she won’t give up on helping him.
He does pay very close attention when the news announces that Jae-gyu was killed by the Eraser last night. Reporters seem particularly interested in the fact that Dong Baek was there at the time, and a since-redacted statement that Jae-gyu’s killer has supernatural powers.
Prosecutor Seok-do shows up at the Seoul station with a search and seizure warrant. He relishes telling Sun-mi that this is all her fault for letting Jae-gyu be murdered while in her custody. Deputy Chief Lee confronts Seok-do and bets that he leaves empty-handed.
He mentions the time Seok-do assaulted and arrested Dong Baek, heavily implying that he has video proof. He says he won’t make an issue of it if Seok-do leaves quietly, and that it would be a terrible shame if the video, say, aired on the news and Seok-do lost his job. It works, and Seok-do scuttles away.
In private, Deputy Chief Lee asks Sun-mi to resign and turn herself in to the prosecutor’s office. She asks for a little more time, but he calls her a bad leader who humiliated the entire police force and gives her no choice.
Elsewhere, the Eraser digs bullets out of his leg and bandages it himself. He puts his black mask back on, puts on a jacket with distinctive buttons, then limps out for another night’s work.
Sun-mi gets home to find Dong Baek sitting on her couch (she accuses him of reading her passcode from her memory, but he snaps that she left her fingerprints on the keypad, ha). Dong Baek says testily that he’s worried the Eraser will come after her, so she shows him a body camera she’s wearing and says that if the Eraser does kill her, everyone will find out who he is.
The truth is that Seok-do put out an APB on Dong Baek, so there are cops at his apartment and the hotels he normally stays at, and he has nowhere else to go. He tells Sun-mi that the Eraser killed his mother, and that he’ll see this through to the end no matter who dies in the process.
She asks how, so Dong Baek says that the Eraser only goes after famous killers like Jae-gyu, except in one case — the Shimbae incident, when he made seven students kill each other. Dong Baek believes that there’s an important clue in the reason why the Eraser had to kill those seven people, that will lead them to the Eraser’s identity.
He asks Sun-mi for her help, but she grumbles that someone lost the killer and got her sacked. Dong Baek fires back that she lost the Eraser first, and he’s the one who tried to catch him. He says he needs her brain, not her title, and she preens a little at the compliment from a genius, which brings her around.
She tells Dong Baek that before he died, Jae-gyu told her, “The Eraser is hiding in Dong Baek’s past.” Dong Baek dismisses the statement since he has no memories of his past. Sun-mi pushes harder, sure that Jae-gyu wouldn’t give her a useless message as he was dying. She thinks he may have been referring to a memory that wasn’t erased, that Dong Baek either dismissed because it was common, or repressed because it was too shocking.
This makes Dong Baek think of a day eight years ago, when he was nineteen. He’d stood on the roof of a building, but just as he’d been about to jump, a calm voice had asked him to do that somewhere else. It was a young woman, and she’d said this was her spot, unnerving Dong Baek so much that his foot slipped and he’d nearly toppled backwards off the building. The girl had grabbed his hand and saved his life.
Chief Gu and Se-hoon show up at Sun-mi’s door with food, and Dong Baek cringes — LOL, he forgot to tell Sun-mi he invited them. Luckily they also brought some new information on the Shimbae incident, which gains them entry. The seven victims all lived in different areas and went to different schools, but Se-hoon found that they had been in the same private tutoring group since kindergarten.
Sun-mi says they already knew that, and Chief Gu complains that all of the families were wealthy and none would talk to the police. Se-hoon finds that very strange, and he adds that he noticed one name because it was unusual — So Philip, whose name was on some internal investigation paperwork. Sun-mi finds that odd since there was no internal investigation regarding the Shimbae case, and Se-hoon says it was probably erased.
The paperwork has the name Chun Ki-soo on it, which makes them suspect he’s the one who got rid of the investigation results. Sun-mi remembers him as the cop who wouldn’t listen to her when she first returned to Korea. Chief Gu knows him, and has already arranged a meeting with him tomorrow. They ask Sun-mi if she’s willing to help them investigate now, but she just says they can stay for tonight (Chief Gu: “Aww, we can’t call ourselves the Avengers without her!” Dong Baek: ~glares~).
Dong Baek stays awake long after the others have fallen asleep, thinking about the girl who saved his life. She’d caught him following her around, and he’d told her not to hurt herself, thinking she’d been on that roof for the same reason he was.
She’d denied it, but he’d told her that he’d seen her memories of several attempts when their hands had touched. That had made her angry, but Dong Baek had persisted, saying that he saw that she was abused, was saved before she was killed, and was adopted. He had taken her hand and read her memories again.
In the morning, Chief Gu learns that Chun Ki-soo was in an accident last night. Sun-mi agrees to go with them to see Ki-soo (Chief Gu: “Okay, let’s go Avengers!” LOL), and when they arrive at the hospital, Ki-soo is distraught because he can’t remember anything about the accident.
What he does remember is driving his sleeping son home, and when he’d stopped at a red light, someone had reached through the window and touched his arm. The next thing he knew, he was stuck inside his car, which had gone off an embankment and flipped onto its roof.
Someone had dragged him out of the car, ignoring his screams to save his son, and the car had gone up in flames. Ki-soo tells Dong Baek that no matter how hard he tries, he can’t remember the face of the person who pulled him from the car.
He demands that Dong Baek read his memories, but as soon as he touches Ki-soo’s hand, Dong Baek flinches and pulls back. He tries again, and this time he clearly struggles, but he manages to see the Eraser’s black mask and red eyes. He confirms that it was the Eraser, making Ki-soo sob that his son never did anything to deserve to die.
Ki-soo gives Dong Baek a button that he’d pulled from the Eraser’s sleeve and swallowed, hoping it would serve as a clue. Sun-mi takes a picture and expands it, and she thinks she recognizes the emblem of a torch encircled by a Rose of Sharon on the button.
She sends the picture to Bong-kook, who confirms that it’s the logo of the fire department. They head to the fire station in Shimbae and ask the fire chief about the button. His second-in-command recognizes it from their ceremonial uniform, which is given to those who serve the department for more than twenty years.
The fire chief remembers the incident twenty years ago that killed the students, and he even recalls that the families blocked the media from reporting on it. He says there was a rumor the students were doing drugs when they fought, and died from carbon monoxide poisoning from their campfire.
Meanwhile, the second-in-command does some digging regarding the uniform. She discovers that one of the fire captains who’s received the ceremonial uniform lost his when he took it to be dry-cleaned. She gives Dong Baek and Sun-mi a list of the nine people who’ve been given the uniform, but of the six men, only three are at the station today.
Someone posts on social media that Dong Baek is at the Shimbae fire station, so Seok-do heads there to arrest him. Deputy Chief Lee gets a call about Seok-do’s plans so he tells his man to keep an eye on Seok-do, then clears his schedule for the day.
Dong Baek’s team asks the fire chief if he remembers anything else about that day, and he reluctantly tells them there was one strange thing… there was a police officer on the scene before the first responders had arrived, who had left when the firefighters got there.
In such a case, the fire department is called first, then the police, so it’s very unusual for a policeman to have been there first. Dong Baek asks the fire chief who saw the cop at the scene, and perhaps not very coincidentally, it’s the captain who just admitted he lost his ceremonial uniform.
Sun-mi puts it all together and realizes that the button was bait, and the captain is the Eraser’s next victim. He’s on his way to a fire and refuses to shirk his duty and come back, so the team decides to go to him. On the way, Seok-do’s men arrive for Dong Baek, so Chief Gu and Se-hoon stay behind to block them while Dong Baek follows the captain.
At the scene of the fire, the team gets the blaze under control and is about to pull out of the building when they’re notified that there’s a victim in need of rescue on the second floor. The captain volunteers to go, and he hears a woman calling for help. But all he finds is a mannequin and a speaker, and while he’s trying to figure out what’s going on, someone dressed in firefighting equipment sneaks up behind him and cuts his oxygen line.
The captain collapses, and his attacker leans over him and waits for him to pass out. He puts something in the captain’s nose, then leaves him there to be found by his team. Dong Baek gets there first (in an oxygen mask) and carries the captain out of the building, and Sun-mi and the others show up moments later.
Dong Baek gasps that the Eraser is close, so Chief Gu and Se-hoon run off to look for him. Dong Baek wants to read the captain’s memories, so he and Sun-mi jump into the ambulance with him. Dong Baek is weak when he tries to read the captain, and Sun-mi begs him to stop, but he stubbornly hangs on.
He sees that day twenty years ago, when the captain had arrived at the scene of the massacre. He’d seen a man standing over Sang-ah’s unconscious body, with a gash on his right forearm that was bleeding badly. The captain had focused on getting an oxygen mask on Sang-ah, and when he’d turned back to ask the cop to call for backup, he’d been gone.
Dong Baek is very weak when he leaves the memories and tells Sun-mi that the cop on the scene will have a scar on his right arm, but that he was wearing an oxygen mask so he couldn’t see his face. His nose starts to bleed, and he collapses.
Somewhere in the city, someone dressed all in black encounters a man beating a woman in a park. He yanks the guy away and punches him repeatedly, then continues on his way to a home nearby. He removes his bloody gloves, then his hoodie, to reveal a long scar on his right forearm. He pours himself a drink, then takes a sip… and it’s Deputy Chief Lee.
Nope, I’m not buying it — there’s just no evidence that Deputy Chief Lee is the Eraser other than one person’s memory of a scar. In this show, a memory isn’t reliable evidence, and even if that was Deputy Chief Lee at the scene of the massacre, that doesn’t mean he’s the Eraser. Plus, Deputy Chief Lee being the Eraser would be almost a letdown because it’s been telegraphed for so long and in so many different ways that he might be a Bad Guy, so it feels too easy, I guess. As a viewer, I will be disappointed if Deputy Chief Lee turns out to be the Eraser because there’s no shock value to it, and this show has been pretty decent with its twists being real surprises. I do think Deputy Chief Lee is involved, deeply involved, but I don’t think he’s the Eraser.
Which leads me to… I’m even more convinced now that the Eraser could be a woman. I paid very close attention during this episode, and in every single scene, the Eraser appears to me to have a narrow frame (especially in the shoulders), a delicate neck, and a “feminine” way of moving, if that makes sense. In addition, when s/he doctored their injured leg, that leg was smooth-shaven and fine-boned. But the biggest piece of evidence was when they were talking to Dong Baek — although their voice was altered, the voice underneath sounded very high-pitched and soft, very female. The Eraser is quite physically strong, which might point towards a man, but there are a lot of women who are strong.
I’ve suspected for a while, and that rooftop scene raised my suspicion to about 90% certainty, that the Eraser is — stay with me now — Dong Baek’s mother. S/he seemed very resentful of Dong Baek’s inaction while his mother was being attacked, as if they are carrying a very personal grudge (though I’m not sure what a child could have done, but it’s not like any of this is normal or healthy behavior). It would also explain where Dong Baek’s ability comes from… it would make sense that he inherited it from a parent.
It also lines up with the Eraser’s fixation on Dong Baek, because if it is his mother and she’s been nursing hatred for Dong Baek all this time, then of course she would go to great lengths to make his life a living hell. Jae-gyu even said that the Eraser is linked to Dong Baek’s past, and the only memory he has is of his mother — and although Jae-gyu was sick, his visions were always right. I think Sun-mi is on the right track when she says Dong Baek repressed his memory of the Eraser because it was too shocking, and what could be more shocking than learning that his mother is a serial killer?
- Premiere Watch: Memorist, Hospital Playlist, Kingdom 2
- Yoo Seung-ho fights against crime in new teaser for tvN’s Memorist
- Stills of crime-solving duo Yoo Seung-ho and Lee Se-young released for Memorist
- tvN Memorist holds first script reading with Lee Se-young, Yoo Seung-ho
- Le Se-young, Yoo Seung-ho offered tvN supernatural-thriller Memorist