Memorist: Episode 7
Our detectives finally have a solid suspect, but this suspect is pretty, well… suspect. He’s definitely strange and knows more than he’s letting on, but is he the actual killer? Unfortunately, it may take a few more murders (and their clues) to figure out what’s truly going on.
EPISODE 7: “Memory Eraser”
Dong Baek reads Sun-mi’s memory and deduces that Reporter Jo was probably getting tipped off to the Executioner’s murders by his photographer. This makes the photographer the most likely suspect, so they go to his home and come face-to-face with him on the street outside his front gate.
His name is JIN JAE-GYU (Jo Han-chul), and he recognizes Dong Baek, who says that Jae-gyu almost seems to be expecting them. He leads them into his yard and starts picking up scattered tools, putting Sun-mi on edge. He says that he dreamed about Dong Baek, and Dong Baek sneers that he also had a premonition of meeting a photographer who kills while wearing a mask.
Sun-mi tells Jae-gyu that they can do this the easy way or the hard way — he can let Dong Baek read his memories, or they can use the search and seizure warrant she’s carrying to search his house and property. Jae-gyu declines the memory scan, so Sun-mi summons her team who have been waiting just out of sight.
Inside the house, Dong Baek checks out the office, and Jae-gyu’s bookshelf in particular. Sun-mi talks to Jae-gyu as the others look for anything to connect Jae-gyu to the murders. She asks if he thinks he was dispensing justice by committing those murders.
Instead of answering, Jae-gyu says that Sun-mi is awfully close to Dong Baek for someone who doesn’t seem like the type to believe in supernatural powers. She says that he seems to know her well, just like the killer, and Jae-gyu counters that he only looked into her soul.
Sun-mi’s team searches all night, but by morning they still haven’t found anything linking him to the murders. Se-hoon and Chief Gu complain that Dong Baek is just chilling while the others search, and they follow Sun-mi when she goes to talk to Dong Baek. Dong Baek has noticed that the house has a large chimney, but no fireplace on the ground floor.
They go inside and find the fireplace on the second floor, which is a very unusual design choice. Dong Baek looks inside and sees a ladder built into the inside of the chimney. He climbs up and finds himself in a secret attic, where there’s some kind of idol made from bones on an elaborate altar, and tables covered in more bones.
Sun-mi is passing the kitchen, where Jae-gyu is eating breakfast, when she hears him say in a hollow voice, “The killings will continue. Three more will die. One… by… one… brutally.”
Se-hoon takes a video of the bone room and sends it downstairs to Sun-mi, who immediately arrests the eerily calm Jae-gyu. At the station, Jae-gyu insists on speaking to Dong Baek only, but Chief Byun refuses his request unless Sun-mi can guarantee that Dong Baek won’t attack Jae-gyu… and that’s how Dong Baek finds himself questioning Jae-gyu while handcuffed to a chair, ha.
Jae-gyu immediately starts grinning, and Sun-mi has to remind Dong Baek to stay calm. Dong Baek asks if the murders are a religious offering, and when Jae-gyu mentions the Executioner, Dong Baek asks how he knows of that name. Jae-gyu says it’s a strange feeling to be the only one who knows the truth, so Dong Baek asks if he can also read memories.
Jae-gyu says he doesn’t have powers like Dong Baek — he can only peek at the truth, like a shaman, and with a lot of prayer he can hear the deity. Dong Baek scoffs at that, and disappointed, Jae-gyu asks if he wants to know about the woman who was killed with a claw hammer twenty years ago.
His eyes go blank and he starts to shake as he grinds out, “That pretty woman who died. She was your mother, right?” Dong Baek whispers, “It was you… you killed her.” A bizarre noise comes out of Jae-gyu, then he says that it was Dong Baek’s fault that woman died by drawing danger to himself.
Ignoring Dong Baek’s furious demand to know if she really was his mother, Jae-gyu snarls that there will be three more murders before the end of the month, people cursed by Dong Baek. Jae-gyu has to be restrained, while Dong Baek is forcibly pulled out of the room. Meanwhile, the forensic report comes back on the bones from Jae-gyu’s house, and it’s almost disappointing that they’re all animal bones.
Sun-mi and Dong Baek end up back in Chief Byun’s office, discussing the need for more evidence. Chief Byun asks about Jae-gyu’s assertion that one victim was Dong Baek’s mother, but he says that all he knows is that Jae-gyu mentioned a dream he has sometimes. Without more concrete evidence, they’ll have to release Jae-gyu, so Dong Baek and Sun-mi talk Chief Byun into putting a constant tail on him since he’s said three more people will die soon.
Dong Baek and Sun-mi wait for Jae-gyu as he’s leaving the station, to tell him that they’ll see him again very soon. Jae-gyu says that they’re surrounded by vindictive spirits, then he gets another vision of two women fighting each other. He predicts that there will be another murder tonight, then he snaps out of his trance and says that he hopes they can stop it, otherwise they’ll be responsible.
An intense number of cops are assigned to watch Jae-gyu, and Sun-mi watches several video cameras trained on his house from her command center. The house is observed until dawn and nobody sees anything, but when Sun-mi’s team check the records, they find that there’s been a new murder overnight.
Just as Jae-gyu predicted, it’s someone Dong Baek knows… CEO Oh, the scumbag “agent” who exploited and sold women, including Chairman Park’s victim Seo-kyung. He was bludgeoned to death in the secret room off of his own office, so the building’s CCTV cameras didn’t capture the murder.
Interestingly, because the Executioner kills his victims exactly how they victimized others, he took a secret video of himself murdering CEO Oh and left it behind. It only shows CEO Oh, of course, and back at the command center, they watch the video for clues. The killer’s reflection can be seen in a window at one point, but he’s wearing a black mask.
While everyone discusses the fact that Jae-gyu never appeared to leave his house or contact anyone last night, Dong Baek closely watches the video feeds as Jae-gyu goes for a walk. He stops on a corner and watches a group of children across the street, a fond look on his face as one particular boy appears to smile at him.
Dong Baek gets Chief Gu and Se-hoon to go with him to the children’s school, with Dong Baek in a police mascot costume (LOL). He’s not sure which boy it is, so he touches each of their heads until he finds the one that Jae-gyu was looking at. He scans the kid’s memory and learns that his mother cares for Jae-gyu’s greenhouse, and that Jae-gyu gave the kid a phone.
He calls Sun-mi to get a warrant and meet him at Jae-gyu’s house. In the meantime, Chief Gu and Se-hoon pull over the kid’s mother, then call over Dong Baek. He poses for a picture, and while Se-hoon is taking the pics, hacker Bong-kook pushes a cloning app onto the kid’s phone and Se-hoon downloads it. Ha, smart.
The mother and boy head to Jae-gyu’s house, and he hugs the kid and takes the phone he gave him. Everyone watches through the cloning app as Jae-gyu opens an encrypted messaging app, which must be how Jae-gyu is communicating with an accomplice. But Jae-gyu seems to feel something is wrong, and instead of contacting anyone, he deletes the app.
Luckily, Mi-ja did get his call logs, and they see that he always calls the same number — a number for a broadcasting station. They’re interrupted by a visitor at Jae-gyu’s home… Reporter Jo, his old partner.
Dong Baek and Sun-mi arrive while Reporter Jo is still there, and he sneers that he got a tip that Sun-mi is the young girl who asked for his help all those years ago and plans to make her search for her father’s killer into a documentary. He talks about Jae-gyu’s “gift,” and how he admires the Executioner for punishing evildoers, so he’d find it just swell if Jae-gyu is the Executioner.
He tells Sun-mi that she’s in denial that her father deserved what he got, which makes Dong Baek grab him and growl that he’s the one out for revenge, not Sun-mi. While the others bicker, Jae-gyu starts to get that look in his eyes, then he tells Dong Baek in a gasping voice not to lay his hands on others. He says that the three who will die all have one thing in common… their memories were read by Dong Baek.
He stops fighting whatever is coming over him, then he suddenly goes still, and his voice is flat and dark as he says, “They will die mercilessly. As the moon gets fuller, those you have made contact with will brutally die. One is already dead, and two will soon follow.”
As they leave, Dong Baek tells Sun-mi that there’s no way Jae-gyu could know who he’s scanned unless he really is a shaman, which he doubts. He decides to test how much Jae-gyu really knows, so they visit the little boy’s family with the excuse of confiscating the boy’s phone.
They warn the parents not to go near Jae-gyu, and ask how the mom ended up taking care of Jae-gyu’s greenhouse. A few months ago, Jae-gyu bought some equipment from the father’s business, saying that his basement flooded. He’d brought a cell phone for their son a few days later, saying it was a gift so he had an extra one. He saw that the mother ran a flower shop and asked her to care for his greenhouse.
Afterward, Dong Baek texts Sun-mi a list of everyone he’s scanned, and she asks why she’s not on the list. He pointedly doesn’t answer and says he’ll stay behind to do some extra sleuthing.
Sun-mi gets an urgent call from Mi-ja to turn on the news — someone has given an interview all about how her father was murdered and now she’s in charge of the case. People are calling it an abuse of her authority, as it’s against the law for a victim to formally investigate a personal case.
Chief Gu and Se-hoon are sent into Jae-gyu’s neighborhood to check the water lines, disguised as city workers, and Sun-mi tells her team not to interfere with them. Her team receives notice that Sun-mi has been abruptly reassigned, with her new assignment to be determined. Seconds later, Deputy Chief Lee summons Sun-mi to headquarters.
She finds Deputy Chief Lee at the shooting range and asks angrily why he’s reassigned her. He explains that the media are out for her blood, but that they’ll quiet down if she disappears. Sun-mi says that it’s cowardly to do this just as she’s about to catch a killer, but Deputy Chief Lee says she’s still in charge of the special team, so to keep investigating, and if she still hasn’t caught the Executioner in about a week he’ll say he needs her and reinstate her.
He’s even made it known that her orders are to be obeyed as if they come straight from headquarters. But he tells her to run the team remotely for the moment, so she reluctantly thanks him. As she leaves, she sees Reporter Jo’s name pop up on the phone which he’s laid down, and she asks if they’re close. Deputy Chief Lee says he barely knows the guy, but after Sun-mi leaves, he checks his call history and sighs. What is up with this guy, is he helping Sun-mi or not??
Dong Baek calls Sun-mi and tells her that he’s figured out Jae-gyu’s trick. Chief Gu and Se-hoon found a warehouse near Jae-gyu’s home that’s been owned by a company for twenty years, and that was sold yesterday, and the new owner is Reporter Jo’s teenage son. Dong Baek believes that Jae-gyu must have been the old owner, so he instructs Chief Gu to ask Reporter Jo why he bought the building without mentioning Jae-gyu.
Sun-mi wants to get a search warrant, but Dong Baek hasn’t got time for that and lets himself into the warehouse, which coincidentally has a new water pump. He follows the water pump into a basement, and as they search he tells Sun-mi that there’s a movie where soldiers in World War II found themselves locked in a church basement.
They’d believed there was a secret escape route, but they never found it and committed suicide when the enemy tried to flood them out. The reason he mentioned it is because in Jae-gyu’s office, it was the only movie on his shelves. It gave Dong Baek the idea that Jae-gyu had a secret escape route somewhere but might have needed a water pump because it kept filling up with water.
Dong Baek and Sun-mi eventually find a secret room, which is filled with equipment including costumes and prosthetic makeup, and a set of stairs in the corner. Sun-mi climbs the stairs… and she’s inside Jae-gyu’s greenhouse. It is a secret escape route. She suggests they set a trap, but Dong Baek says it’s too late… Jae-gyu is already gone.
Sun-mi calls Mi-ja who says that they were able to restore the phone records and that Jae-gyu searched a few names… Boss Choi, the gang boss that Dong Baek fought when we first met him, and prosecutor Seok-do, who kept trying so hard to arrest Dong Baek. Boss Choi is out of jail on medical exemption and back to his old tricks, and Seok-do was promoted after he interfered with the murder investigation, which led to Ye-rim’s death.
They agree that the Executioner is probably going to go after Seok-do, but Sun-mi still feels like they’re missing something. According to the murder patterns, the killer always leaves a hint next to the victims that ties in with the next victim, such as the victim found in plaster wearing a shirt that says “hammer,” which is CEO Oh’s company name.
They check the photos from CEO Oh’s murder scene, and the strange thing they found there was spilled ink. They realize that tonight’s intended victim isn’t Seok-do, but Reporter Jo, and sure enough, right at that moment Reporter Jo is being stalked across his house by a hooded figure. The killer takes a fountain pen from Reporter Jo’s desk and uses it to brutally stab him.
As the Executioner is fleeing the scene, Chief Gu and Se-hoon catch up and draw their guns on him. Se-hoon goes to handcuff him, but as soon as he touches the hooded figure, he involuntarily freezes in place. Chief Gu grabs the Executioner’s other hand, but he also freezes, allowing the Executioner to easily escape their grasps and take Chief Gu’s gun from his hand.
Horrifyingly, Chief Gu and Se-hoon are still conscious, though they don’t seem to know who or where they are. The Executioner aims the gun, and fires.
Nooo! I am going to seriously flip a table if the Executioner just killed either Chief Gu or Se-hoon. They’re two of my favorite characters in this show, with their constant bickering over how Chief Gu lets Dong Baek, his junior, boss him around. They’re willing to do whatever needs to be done to help Dong Baek, no questions asked, and we need both of them alive, dammit! I’m hoping the gunshot is just a fakeout, because the Executioner only kills those who have benefited from the deaths of others, and Chief Gu and Se-hoon are good men. One thing we know for sure after their interaction with the Executioner, though, is that he definitely has the power to control people. He somehow managed to paralyze them both, which is terrifying, and it explains why he seems to have such an easy time killing people even in front of an audience.
Speaking of the killer, Jae-gyu is certainly a strange character, but I’m still not sure if he’s the actual killer or not (though Jo Han-chul makes a fantastic villain). He has all the credentials and he certainly has some bizarre ability to see visions, but for me, the clues line up a little too perfectly. I’m mostly interested in his vision about Dong Baek’s mother, and how he said it was Dong Baek’s fault that she died — it sounds like he was saying that Dong Baek’s ability attracted his mother’s killer. On the other hand, Jae-gyu does have a secret exit from his house, and he was doing something shady with that phone, so there’s definitely something not-okay going on with him. I just feel like, if he’s the killer, he wouldn’t have been so forthcoming with information, but he might be an accomplice.
I really want to know more about Dong Baek and Sun-mi and their pasts, because I think that owning their pasts might be the key to catching the Executioner. For people without much backstory, I like them quite a lot (normally it’s the other way around), because the show has managed to characterize them pretty well even without the audience knowing much about them. I love how Dong Baek is the brawn and Sun-mi is the brain, and how they both have a strong desire to right the wrongs of the world — but I’m ready to know why. How was Dong Baek (as Jae-gyu claims) responsible for his mother’s death, and why can’t he remember anything of his childhood? And what did Sun-mi’s father, who seemed like a gentle, caring man from her perspective, do that was bad enough to draw the attention of the Executioner?
At least Jae-gyu gave us a lot of clues, such as who the Executioner’s next victims might be… people who have benefited from the death of an innocent, and whose memories have been read by Dong Baek. CEO Oh and Reporter Jo are dead now, and from what I remember, the others that Dong Baek read (who are still alive) are Doctor Nam from the nursing home, Sun-mi, and Bo-yeon, the girl who was rescued from Chairman Park’s dungeon. We know that Bo-yeon, at least, might match up with the killer’s criteria, because she was indirectly responsible for Ye-rim getting captured and killed. But what about Doctor Nam and Sun-mi? Could one of them be next?
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