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Forest of Secrets 2: Episode 1

IT’S HERE! *ahem* tVN’s Forest of Secrets 2 is finally on the air three years after its first season’s run, returning with the same writer and the majority of season one’s cast including our leads Jo Seung-woo and Bae Doo-na. The hype for this has been real, and with the rarity of second seasons in dramaland as well as the high praise for the first season, this drama has a lot to live up to. We begin with our former special investigation team members scattered across cities and agencies, but thanks to a suspicious new case and tensions brewing between the police and prosecution, it looks like their paths will once again merge.

 
EPISODE 1

Lee Chang-joon, the late Chief Prosecutor and Blue House Chief of Staff, narrates in voiceover about the difficult, never-ending quest for the truth and change. It’s March 3, 2019, and a car slowly makes its way through a dense fog on an isolated road by the water. Inside is our favorite prosecutor, HWANG SHI-MOK (Jo Seung-woo).

As he listens to the news, Shi-mok receives a text asking where he is. A weather advisory about the insane amount of fog plays over the radio. Shi-mok pulls over and peeks his head out the window. He takes a call from his colleague who frets that Shi-mok will be late when he’s the guest of honor.

In true Shi-mok fashion, he skips right over that and asks for the Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation’s number to report damage to part of the barrier around a prohibited area. His colleague gets distracted by the arrival of the branch chief, though, so Shi-mok tells him to forget it and hangs up after saying it’ll be awhile before he gets there.

Shi-mok finally arrives at the hotel for the gathering, but he turns back around when he witnesses two emergency vehicles rushing by. He follows them to the beach where police have cordoned off the area. A crowd has already gathered and people gossip about a college student having drowned in the prohibited area.

A young man, wrapped in a blanket and looking shaken, identifies an expensive pair of shoes with a cell phone stuck inside as belonging to his friend. Soon after, the body of his friend is pulled from the water. He steps backward in a daze and doesn’t even notice when he bumps into Shi-mok.

Shi-mok watches the college kid cry as he tells an officer that this was their first college trip. He was so drunk he didn’t even realize his friends had gone out. Shi-mok glances at the two stretchers and envisions the scene as if it were happening in front of him, as is his custom.

The boys run around the beach screaming and whooping. One takes his shoes off before getting in the ocean. Shi-mok turns and watches his own car slow to a stop nearby where he ultimately decides not to call and report the damaged barrier. He watches his car pull away while one boy yells, “Seung-joon!” and rushes into the water to attempt to save his friend.

Back to reality. The ambulances drive off, and the friend is ushered into a cop car. Shi-mok barely listens as his colleague nags at him over the phone about missing his own going away party.

Meanwhile, our favorite officer HAN YEO-JIN (Bae Doo-na) lies in bed in her upgraded apartment (aw, I’ll kind of miss that cheap rooftop apartment) and browses Instagram. Amid photos of some Marvel festival – she’s awed by an Iron Man costume that matches her figurine, heh – she sees a photo of a couple in front of a no entry sign at Tongyeong Beach. “If it’s Tongyeong…” she muses.

Suspiciously, the picture disappears from the account moments later. She’s distracted by a TV news report about a police officer accused of interfering in the prosecution’s investigation. A high-ranking officer is being accused of leaking information to his friend who was under investigation. Yeo-jin wonders who the officer is.

The next day, following a news report that a deputy chief prosecutor fled a DUI checkpoint, Yeo-jin pauses when she hears that two college kids drowned in Tongyeong last night. People are criticizing the government for not fixing the prohibited area’s barrier which had been faulty for years.

Now a senior inspector at the National Police Agency, Yeo-jin arrives at work and pulls up that Instagram account again, but the photo is still missing. She searches online for info on the drowning incident.

Elsewhere, Shi-mok is getting yelled at for being a no-show at his own going-away party, while his assistants pack up his stuff. In his office, he gets a call from Yeo-jin asking about the drowning incident. It’s been declared an accident, so the news isn’t covering it in detail.

Shi-mok gives her the rundown. Three college students took an all-day drive to Tongyeong in the new car one of them got as a college-acceptance gift from his parents. That was the kid that survived. Once they got there, he passed out after a couple of drinks. He couldn’t get ahold of his friends after he woke up, so he went to the beach and saw his friend’s shoes on the shore.

Yeo-jin explains (after prompting him to be curious, ha) that she saw photos posted around the time of the incident of a couple in front of a no entry sign on the beach. Strangely, they were later taken down. The police claim the students cut the rope cordoning off the prohibited area, but Yeo-jin wonders if the rope was already cut.

Shi-mok notes that, if so, the question is whether the students got in the water first or the couple cut the rope line first. Yeo-jin plans to find out. She’s surprised he knows so much about the case when it’s not even his. He doesn’t mention being at the scene.

After hanging up, his assistant informs him their branch chief wants to gather for lunch to make up for the canceled going-away party. Clearly not a branch chief fan, Shi-mok almost rolls his eyes and leaves to revisit the scene, promising to be back for lunch amid the protestations of his staff.

At the station, Yeo-jin decides on an indirect approach and messages the user who took down the photos, pretending to be a “retro figurine” seller. He bites, but she gets nervous when he ignores her next message. Yeo-jin calls her Yongsan station colleague officer JANG GUN (Choi Jae-woong) for help tracking down the user.

Team Leader CHOI YOON-SOO (Jeon Bae-soo) snoops over Gun’s shoulder and sighs at Gun helping Yeo-jin without even knowing why. But his interest is piqued when Yeo-jin speculates that the drowning may not have been accidental. The three of them manage to figure out some digits in the suspect’s license plate and that he’s a member of a super exclusive gym at Winters Hotel by snooping through his and his girlfriend’s photos.

Yeo-jin and Gun tag-team it at the hotel where Yeo-jin’s Special Investigation Bureau badge and threats of a warrant get the employee to reluctantly hand over the man’s personal details. Gun wistfully notes that he should’ve transferred to the National Police Agency too.

On the beach, Shi-mok checks out the flimsy rope barrier and notices a section of it lying right by the waterline. The rope attached to the uprooted post isn’t cut – it’s burnt.

In the city, Yeo-jin and Gun wait outside the suspect’s house for him to return. Gun observes she’s been at the National Police Agency for a while now, but she argues she could be relocated anytime. They’ve been telling her for two years the project will wrap up soon.

She’s on a special team meant to reform investigative procedure, but the prosecution won’t work with them. Back to the matter at hand, Gun wonders if they can prove this guy did anything. Even if he cut the rope, it doesn’t mean he was involved with the drownings. With no signs of the man returning, they call it a day.

Of course, that’s right when the owner arrives home. They manage to catch Lee Yong-ho before he goes inside and ask about his trip to Tongyeong. He gets defensive and nervously tightens his grip on the lighter in his hand. We see a brief flashback of him and his girlfriend exchanging glances at the crime scene as police investigated that night.

When Gun mentions his photos of that foggy night, we see another flashback of Yong-ho and his girlfriend laughing as he tosses part of the rope barrier. Yeo-jin calmly asks why he uprooted the barrier, making him unconvincingly yell that he didn’t do it.

They ask him to go to the station for questioning and threaten to get a warrant if he doesn’t cooperate. Later, Yeo-jin tells Shi-mok that Gun took Yong-ho into custody, so he should contact him for updates.

At the station, Yong-ho is full of douchey rich-dude attitude and asserts the rope was already cut when they got there. Gun gets a text, presumably from Shi-mok, and knowingly comments that Yong-ho must’ve burned the rope with his lighter. Yong-ho’s eyes shake, but he quickly regains composure and calls his dad to get him a lawyer.

Yeo-jin rushes in late to a meeting with Chief CHOI BIT (Jeon Hye-jin) who is peeved and questions her priorities. Hmm … there seems to be existing tension there. One of the other officers reports on recent articles criticizing the police and points out that certain details within are only known to the prosecution.

This fight with the prosecution is getting ugly, and Chief Choi isn’t about to let the prosecution win. She orders her subordinates to publicize news about and leak info on supposedly dirty prosecutors. She mentions upcoming special reports by Sungmoon Daily. The first will claim Hanjo’s CEO Lee Yeon-jae was unaware of her husband’s actions but used him to get her father and brother out of the way so she could seize power herself.

The second report is the one she cares about. Given Yeo-jin’s previous work on the special investigation team, Chief Choi put Yeo-jin in charge of this one which will be about Shi-mok. It will claim his public statement on Lee Chang-joon’s intentions (“turning a murderer into a patriotic hero”) was done in exchange for the information on Hanjo. “But it’s a lie,” Yeo-jin boldly states. The rest of her team looks up uncomfortably.

Chief Choi isn’t the least bit concerned about the truth and tells Yeo-jin not to let her emotions get in the way. Yeo-jin pushes that, although the article may seem helpful to them now, it’s still untrue and would go against their purpose. She argues that positive articles highlighting good police work would be more effective than striking back at the prosecution. Chief Choi reminds Yeo-jin it’s not her call and dismisses them.

Yeo-jin calls Gun and learns that Lee Yong-ho was released and has a judge-turned-lawyer representing him, so it’s likely over. He still sent the restored photos of the couple on the beach to Shi-mok, though, who recognizes them as onlookers at the scene.

Shi-mok gets his assistant to pass them along to the team in charge along with detailed instructions on what to investigate, which I’m sure they’ll love. He also asks for a copy of the files and to be kept abreast of developments even after he relocates to Wonju (so not back to Seoul yet).

Elsewhere, Yong-ho’s girlfriend yells at him for giving the photos to the police, but he thinks he’d have looked guiltier if he didn’t. She’s mad he didn’t at least edit her out, proving she is not ride or die. The lawyer asks if they saw the students, but she comments the fog was too dense to see anything.

They meet with the surviving student to try to reach a settlement, and Yong-ho decides to blame the student for making him a victim – his going to the police station really scarred him, apparently. He even blames the kid for not looking out for his friends. Geez.

The lawyer gently scares Kim Hoo-jeong (the kid has a name!) into admitting that he didn’t see the couple at the beach and records his statement. They didn’t even have to offer him the money, the girlfriend remarks. The lawyer watches his clients with distaste.

At the National Police Agency, Director SHIN JAE-YOUNG (Lee Hae-young) informs Chief Choi that the prosecution wants to summon the Intelligence Bureau director who is the one accused of leaking information on an ongoing investigation. (They weren’t kidding when they said “high-ranking.”)

She unflinchingly advises they take him into custody first. They can use an unrelated charge and say they’re doing an internal investigation, later announcing he’s clean. I mean, I knew she wasn’t a beacon of honesty but still, damn.

Director Shin doesn’t think the prosecution will go for it given the fight over investigatory power. He shoots down Chief Choi’s suggestion to ask the Commissioner General to intercede with the Ministry of Justice to get their side and the prosecution to have a sit down.

She argues they need to take action. If they don’t, even their Commissioner General won’t be safe. Chief Choi promises to take responsibility and reach an agreement if a meeting with the prosecution is arranged.

In Tongyeong, Shi-mok is surprised to hear the drowning case has already been closed one day after it was sent to Seoul. He heads back to the office to check the file and finds they ruled there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. His brow furrows to see a familiar signature on the form: Chief Prosecutor KANG WON-CHEOL (Park Sung-geun). Oh nooo, has he gone to the dark side?

 
COMMENTS

It’s so nice to see these characters back on the screen, and I enjoyed all the callbacks to season one from the same opening theme to Yeo-jin’s propensity for putting her own simplistic drawings up on her walls. Now it looks like she even frames them, judging by that giraffe drawing above her bed. I hope she still gives “presents.” I knew the main cast was returning, but I didn’t realize just how many of the original cast members they got back, so that was a nice surprise. Of course, we haven’t even seen everyone yet since we focused almost exclusively on the police this hour. I’m looking forward to catching up with the prosecution and seeing their side of things. Mostly, I can’t wait until we have everybody in one place rather than doing their own thing in separate locations. As great as it was to see some familiar faces again, especially Shi-mok and Yeo-jin, it doesn’t feel right with everyone so separated.

In addition to the characters we already know, we’ve got some new players this time around like the brutally dishonest Chief Choi. She’s an interesting one in that she’s so blatant about her methods. While I completely disagree with her truth-be-damned ways, I do appreciate that she’s not being hypocritical about it; she knows what she’s doing and is fine with it. That will probably make her more formidable, though, seeing as she’s not going to back down easily or be swayed by others’ opinions of her. I anticipate her causing all sorts of problems down the road, and she’s already gunning for Shi-mok which is unacceptable. Thankfully, he’s got Yeo-jin on his side, although it looks like she’ll be put in an awkward position by sticking up for him (i.e. the truth).

It made me happy that Yeo-jin and Shi-mok have kept in touch over the years, and I can’t wait for them to be reunited. I am nervous that they’ll be pitted against each other in this intense fight between the police and prosecution, though. Not that those two would blindly follow their organizations but still. They need to be a team! Their partnership was a highlight of the first season, so I’m gonna need more of that. Please, drama?

I have to admit, if I weren’t already invested due to my love of season one, I don’t know that this episode would’ve fully gripped me. This season didn’t start with as much of a bang as the first season, and I think that’s partially because we’re playing catch-up with our characters who are currently scattered. We’re clearly in setup mode and working to maneuver everyone into place, so this part almost feels like prologue. Plus, the opening case is more subtle and less sensational than last season’s murder. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is less attention grabbing.

I’m not sure what to make of this drowning case yet. There’s obviously something sketchy going on, but it isn’t screaming murder as of yet. Smarmy rich dude Lee Yong-ho and his equally unpleasant girlfriend seem more entitled and irresponsible than nefarious. It crossed my mind that the student who survived might be involved or at least know something more than he’s letting on, but it’s all speculation at this point. Either way, the quick dismissal of the case doesn’t bode well nor does the fact that this dismissal was sanctioned by the Chief Prosecutor himself. He was the one clean higher-up from last season, and I liked him, so I’ll be sad if he’s gone corrupt. Guess we’ll have to wait for Shi-mok to get to the bottom of it, but I have no doubt the case will lead to corruption and secrets a plenty for our favorite duo to uncover. I’m assuming the case will tie into this feud between the prosecution and police somehow, and maybe the case of the Intelligence Bureau director leaking info, so I’m curious to see how it all comes together. There’s never a shortage of corruption, is there?

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Okay i finished off strangers season 1 and i must have missed something.. I thought shi mok was going to the US? How did he end up in a country town office?

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The US assignment was cancelled and he was assigned to a far flung area province instead after he closed the murders and corruption cases.

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Oh noooo 🙈🙈🙈. I'm catching up Season 1...sadly encountered some spoilers here 🙈😅🙈😅

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lol "encountered"?? You're literally on the page for ep1 season 2... that's more than a coincidence.

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That offer was taken back and he was transferred to a small prosecution office in some small town as a punishment. Now he's in a different office, meaning he's already changed twice since the events of season one.

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The waiting is over! After three years! Oh, the minute Shi Mok and YeoJin were on the phone, my heart was happy... They are still SO them. I loved when YeoJin told him "what about hello?" and he just said "hello".

I also felt this episode (and even episode 2) was just a prologue, introducing new characters and letting us know how our old friend had been doing. I knew we would see many old faces, but so far all the old police team squad is back. Even rookie detective Park!

I didn't want to miss anything because I know what this writer does, nothing is written just because. She always pays attention to small details, everything is important (it was even like that in Life, where nothing ever seemed to be happening). So I know the beach is important, photos are important, the way the shoes and the telephone were placed on the beach is important... I'm squeezing my brains trying to think!!

And just one more thing: Chief Prosecutor Kang can't be one of the baddies. No way. I totally refuse that.

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I'm a pretty passive watcher and usually miss a lot of details when watching a drama. I usually resort to the recaps to fill in the gaps (Sorry, I don't have good brain power!). But Secret Forest really has me paying attention and skipping back if I didn't understand a particular dialogue because everything is important and will most likely be recalled in the upcoming episodes.

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I agree about Chief Pros. Kang. My heart sank there for a bit.

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I found the entire set up for season 2 an interesting contrast to Western TV (this is the first kdrama I have watched which was given a second season). As there was no explanation or recap given that explained Shi-Mok's medical condition, the surgery and the resulting stunting of emotional response, I presume that the producers are conceding that the show is unlikely to attract a new audience but expect all the many viewers of season 1 to tune in again.

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Or they are super firm on the belief that whoever is gonna watch Stranger SS2 he/she has to go through SS1 first. Look how confident the producers are! :D

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I'm honestly glad that his condition was not the main focus in Season 1, and seems to be even less of a focus in Season 2. Those who know, know, and that's it!

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I didn’t notice that! A lot of ppl were anticipating this season bc of season 1 and most new viewers (from what I’ve seen) have been encouraged to watch s1 first.

I’m thinking his condition also won’t be as prominent of a theme this season as it was last season, so it might not be necessary to explain it rn? If I never watched the show before I’d prob just think he’s a lovably monotone guy aha. Ofc his character will still grow but we prob won’t get as many scenes of his headaches.

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The one thing I didn't like about this episode was how the case was "built" around a coincidence. Yeo-Jin AND Shi-Mok stumbled across the same case at the same time, and pushed each other to investigate. However, after watching the second episode (which I thought was much better than the first) I'm feeling a lot more as if the case was just the catalyst for the "real" plot of the story (the fight between the police & prosecution).

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I also thought that was weird, I'm holding out hope that Yeo-Jin had other reasons for watching the account as well, like she's secretly been monitering the guy for other criminal activity... but I'm scared it'll end up just being a coincidence.

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Yes that's a worry but I feel there are "larger things" at play which will explain away the coincidence eventually.

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I think it really might be a coincidence, but a single coincidence between Shi-mok and Yeo-jin after all these years isn't so bad! The writer tried quite hard to make it more plausible, like drowning accidents being sadly common in Tongyeong, and Shi-mok of course being Yeo-jin's go-to guy for anything Tongyeong-related.

Actually I might be more disappointed if this incident isn't just a coincidence whose main function is to bring all the players back to the game (and to be one of the many triggers for more police-prosecution mud-slinging). If it turns out to be part of some huge conspiracy, it'd be a bit too similar to Season 1 for my liking.

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agreed! maybe that also to show there's reason for yeojin to contact shimok..it's a case that happened in town shimok was staying

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It could be that the writers were making a reference to something that does happen in real life - if you speak of something/search for something in particular and the next time you scroll through instagram/facebook/social media, they will show something related on it. There's some kind of conspiracy theory that our phone is listening to us. I'd like to think that Yeo-Jin regularly speaks/search about Tongyeong that Instagram caught on. It's a cold theory though, most likely the writers really wrote it as a coincidence and I'm thinking too much lol.

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One thing that keeps bugging me is the way Shi-mok looked at the thumb? of the boy who survived. If I remember it correctly, he looked at the thumb twice. I thought there was something there...

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The thumb? I need to go back and rewatch...

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Yeah, what's that about? All things about that kid is suspicious.

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Yes!!! Why did they keep showing the thumb and Shi Mok looking at the thumb? Why? Why??

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I'm actually really confused. I totally didn't pick up on that--what thumb??

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@cozybooks If I'm not mistaken, in the beach scenes Shi-mok looked at the surviving boy when he was questioned by the police or something while wrapping a towel around his body. His left hand thumb could be seen, and Shi-mok looked at the thumb and how sad the boy seemed to be..

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"Yeo-Jin AND Shi-Mok stumbled across the same case at the same time, and pushed each other to investigate."

That is how they met. I liked it.

And I don't think it was that much of a coincidence. Yeo jin, who is in touch with Shi mok, was looking at pics of a follower that disappeared and she heard the news of the death on the radio. And then called Shi mok because he happened in his area.

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For me it was more that she just happened to be looking at the account of this guy right at the second he posted then deleted the photos. I found that a bit contrived myself, although the rest of it I had no problem with. She's a good cop who doesn't discount anything and keeps asking questions.

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It is looking like the real crime is not the fairly minor one of cutting the rope, but the attempts to cover it up by so many people. Nice way to raise suspicion.

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I binged watch FoS1 days before S2 premiere and can't imagine the FoS fans' excitement given the 3year-ish wait. 😁

The first episode is too slow for my liking but I'm willing to wait it out. An addition of a female character in power is quite good. Eunsoh was a strong female character but was not in a position of power (relatively). Of course, Yeojin's propensity to voice out what the right thing should be will get her in trouble for sure. I see Chief Choi as a strict boss but I do not sense any hostility (for now) towards Yeojin despite their differing opinions.

Shimok is well... Shimok. I wonder what made him stop around the beach area? Did he see the damaged barrier? The college kid backing out is curious. Shouldn't he run towards his friend when he was brought out of the water?

A little speed wouldn't hurt, Show. 😊

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Same, I felt like the episode was slow... but I also felt like that was a purposeful thing, since season 1 also didn't feel fast paced, it just felt incredibly detailed and subtle. So I'm hoping by the end of the season, this will all have been woven together into one massive picture that will make sense and we'll go back to scour episode one for the clues.

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I started out feeling this was a slow start in the first few minutes. But overall, after watching both eps, I ended up feeling that it was the calm before the storm. The barrage we were subjected to after was quite complicated and hardly slow, I felt.

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I also just finished bingeing on S1 thanks to the anticipatory posts of many beanies and was super glad I was spared the 3 year wait time. I kinda dug the first few scenes where it was foggy and kinda ethereal where I was even confused initially if we were in a dreamscape. Also found the direction has added bits of flourish compared to S1. Special mention to the interesting way YJ's insta stalking was shown via frames . I felt that the team is confident that the viewers are all familiar with S1 and are doing a leisurely game of catch up. May be because I'm fresh off the S1 high, the pace looked ok to me.

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On Chief Choi, I definitely like her addition to the cast even if I'm not very partial to her. She's definitely someone who thinks that the means justify the ends and she acts on that principle accordingly.

At first I thought she didn't like Yeojin, but when I rewatched the episodes I realized she does. She smiled at all the compliments YJ gave her (even as she was being defiant LOL). It's evident that they both respect each other and I think Choi Bit's respect for is not only rooted in the fact that YJ is competent, but that she also looks out for her as a collegue and a woman in male-dominated institution.

I'm looking forward to know what Choi Bit's motives are, and I'm sure they'll clash with Yeojin's values at some point and I want to see how that plays out!

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Yeojin was also the only one on her team that didn’t refer to her report during the conversation, she remembered the entire thing! I also think Choi Bit respects Yeojins competency and honesty

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I personally didn't think it was slow at all. The hour just flew by for me. I found it gripping. The way the producer sets the tone works so perfectly for me.

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Season 1 : Beginning of the first episode, Shi Mok entered in a house and found a body.

Season 2 : Beginning of the first episode, Shi Mok stopped to a beach, they found 2 bodies.

I don't want to imagine the start of the season 3...

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Shi Mok stepped on a road bar, three bodies.

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HAHAHAH. I like how we are already imagining Season 3 even as S2 has just begun.

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I read somewhere that CSW was keen on going till Season 5..Sooo we could end up in a full-on murder house by the last season? 😅

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Season 5, ep. 1 : Shik Mok entered in a house and discovered a mass suicide by a cult.

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he said that during award speech when he won daesang for season 1 hahaha

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@kurama and @eazal what about season 4, then... shi-mok sticks his head out. of the window of his home. A gangwar with two kills on either side.

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Season 6 : It was never a coincidence, he was the culprit from the beginning!

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Nooooooooooooooooo.
Uri Shi Mok never!!!

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That would be The Twist. His brain surgery in S1 basically rewired everything. I'd buy that (although I'd be heartbroken too).

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@eazal and @pickleddragon

I'm kidding, I already lived it once, not twice!

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Good start to a sequal, hopefully it continues to rise! I'll admit I didn't quite see the point of everything that happened in this episode, it felt a little disjointed and not suspicious enough to warrant some of the reactions given (the beach murder, while interesting, doesn't seem odd enough to warrent such riveted attention). BUT I also needed to watch Forest of Secrets 1 like 3 times to understand all the random little details etc. that went on. So I'm willing to hold out for another few episodes (read: the whole series) and see where it takes us. I also will miss the rooftop apartment, and I hope they get to team up soon!!

PS I feel so blessed for being here early ahaha

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i like the start tho it still hard to understand but like it's gonna be connected with everything later? the lawyer who helped the chaebol is from hanjoo group..and kang woncheol signed to close the case..why? a student who testified the case lied..and how they shows the team still contact each other for help even they're separated at diff place

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It's hereee! Rejoice! The last time I waited so eagerly for any movie or related, was Avengers Endgame. The first episode started off perfectly. Let's commence the ride the folk's!

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It's here yay!

Nice to see Cho Seung-woo and Bae Doo-na in this series again.
Two episodes in and I can already feel the tensions between the 2 factions (police & prosecutors). It's a good start for Strangers 2 :)

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I might watch the first season of Forest of Secrets first in the future.

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First of all, I'm just so happy to see all these familiar faces. It's nice to know that Yeo-jin's old team still consisted of the same people from previous season. And it's doubly nice to know that she kept contact with them and Shi-mok despite them working separately for now.

I don't have any specific impression about the new season yet. I guess we have to see more to know how this will hold up to the first season. But from what little we saw, I think this shaped up into something more similar to Life. More exploration on deep seated problem without necessarily providing us with a neat answer, less fast-paced mystery thriller that I expected from season 1. And that's not a bad thing given that the growing resentment and battle of investigation right are something the police and prosecutors in SK have to deal with in real life. Let's see what insight the writer would impart us regarding that issue.

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There won’t be neat answer that would turn things around and magically solve problem in any of her drama. It was written in 2019 when she didn’t know what would be the outcome of the reform. For her “everything is the process, it is about making small change and keep moving forward” She make season 2 with the desire to be a participant instead of an observer.
Unlike season 1 which is more of the “fantasy” story, season 2 deals with law and legislations, she said it would be risky to claim which party is wrong. So guess it will be more about uncovering the hidden cases connected to corruption from both sides.

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I also had the same Life vibes as for the beginning.

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Your comment reminds me I must watch Life soon.

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Do it, do it. 😁😁

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You must watch. Nothing really happens but I couldn't stop watching!

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What I wish in this season: Hwang Shi-mok could eat his meals peacefully (other than udon in season 1) without his phone rings...

Our prosecutor needs to eat well... :D

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2) Shi-mok still get more “presents”
3) Shi-mok smiles
4) Shimok and Yeo-jin eating scenes without disruption
Plot is secondary 😁 It’s impossible to get average script from this writer anyway.

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The opening scene is awfully eerie, totally expecting something to pounce Shi-mok out of the fog...
Finished season 1 via recap because accidentally got spoiled about Eun-Soo's death and just kinda lose the will to watch, crossing fingers nobody I care much dies on this season! Choi Bit is definitely one scary lady, but somehow I feel the kinda chummy vibe between her and Yeo-jin, maybe from the way Yeo-jin confidently spoke up even if she knows she'll be overridden. And the apology for being late is kinda cute. Regarding @quirkycase's comment about Yeo-jin's awkward position, am hoping if ever she has to choose where to put her loyalty, it will be Shi-mok and not her boss...

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I was worried they'd try to make him the culprit because he was there.

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Eeeee, where have you been? Haven't seen you in Memorials recaps lately...

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I have been out of it for a bit! And I am yet to catch up with eps 13 and 14 of Memorials, actually - partly because I didn't have time, and partly because I don't really want it to end...

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Glad to hear it's not a case of drama slump ^^

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I wonder if there was some mutual grudging acknowledgment between Choi Bit and Yeo-jin. After witnessing the other 2 male detectives on her team being all agreeable about whatever they need to do, it's possible that Choi found Yeo-jin's blunt honesty and clearly-voiced disagreement refreshing. Both women clearly have differing view on justice and all that, but Choi seemed to be (fond of?) Yeo-jin. Like you said, they both knew that Yeo-jin's opinion is going to get overridden, but I got a feeling that they both enjoyed their (repetitive) verbal sparring somehow.

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Got same vibes from the two ladies in the brief combo scene in EP 1.

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It would be nice to have some solid female bonding on this show, and hopefully they survive the season!

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True about the verbal sparring, you describe it nicely ^^

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I'm confident that Yeo-jin will always try to do the right thing, bosses be damned! Anyway, in Season 1, she struck the perfect balance between integrity and loyalty. Also, did anyone notice Choi Bit's tiny smile after Yeo-jin left her office? I think she's actually quite fond of YJ, but yes generally she does seem pretty scary, the kind of person who'd sacrifice anyone and anything in order to achieve her goals. That includes integrity, her bosses and her subordinates.

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Oh, great and powerful panacea for my drama slump, please be as good as the last season. Binge watched the first 2 episodes and even took out a sub to Netflix for this when I'm so stingy I wouldn't even buy a shoe for my toebeans if I could help it.

When Changjoon narrated the opening scene I cried ;~; Feel like real shit man, I just want him back ;~;

Fun fact though: Ace Factory (who is the management company who's in charge of Dongjae [Lee Joonhyuk], Yeonjae [Yoon Se-ah] and Changjoon [Yoo Jaemyung]) updated shortly after this episode with a side by side story for Yeonjae and Changjoon specifically. Who knows if my man will return?

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Ooh so there will be some flashbacks and a special appearance, sounds like? Nice!

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I won't knock on it, but one may only hope ;~; Maybe he's just in a coma or something ;~;

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I can’t wait to catch this episode. I have been in such a slump since ‘I’ll go to you when the weather is nice’ I’ve found it so hard to concentrate on dramas since this Covid business took over the world

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Besides the fact that a large part of this episode felt like it was the calm before the storm, the thing that struck me was how OLD our stars looked. You could see their age on their faces. I don't know if this is deliberate and a part of the story, or it is just the show being generally sensible and not overdoing the makeup.

Anyway, I liked it. It seemed as though the world had made them weary and tired. And they needed an energy booster to jump back up again. Season 2 is it. :D

I don't have anything coherent to say except that I am biased and I loved the first episode. I loved the complexity of the story, which will take me some time to unravel and properly understand. I loved the opposing dynamics of the police and the prosecution. And I am excited about how our hero and heroine will navigate the tensions of being on opposite sides, and reconcile that arrangement with their beautiful friendship.

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You're not the only one to think they look older.
@blacksesame has just posted this video on the wall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60i6SQiB1g0

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Interesting! Thanks for the link. The subs make so much difference to the experience. I usually ignore these making videos.

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I noticed they both look weary. I think it Is deliberate, mostly because of the new hairstyle and make up. BDN said in the interview the reason she had long hair was to show the “burden” of time passed and character changes. They joked please don’t look too closely when watching :))
the writer said for this season she is careful not to let the story flow look too fantasy.

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Yeo-jin's hair does look so burdensome, it's like dragging her down! Feels like she's not the type to care for long hair, but I just thought, ah, maybe she's too busy and can't be bothered going to the hairdresser... And maybe she's a bit puffy because she keeps eating ramyeon for late dinners ><
Glad to know there's a purpose behind it, tho am missing her fresh, short hair much.

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Same, I miss het short hair. We all love season 1 so much and still feel nostalgic about it. It would take a few episodes to accept the changes of our beloved characters.

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I noticed during the press con that Bae Doo-na has short hair again. I wonder if she'll cut it off later in the series.

Or maybe that's just how Bae Doo-na wants her hair and it has nothing to do with the show LOL.

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She said she cut her hair for a new project.

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You're right on the older and weary look but I supposed this is real life right? Can't really looked spotless while you have to work all day :P

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Yeah, I liked the look a lot. I'm not complaining. It felt real.

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I just realized that all of our main characters hairstyle have changed. Even Dong-jae too have slightly different hairstyle. And I miss Shi-mok previous hairstyle, he looked masculine and cool. Yeo-jin looks a bit older with long hair.

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i thought cho seungwoo still look the same hahaha but seriously i can't believe both of them are in their 40s already

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The opening fog on the beach was eerie, and something feels off about the timing, so I went back and picked up as much of the timing as possible. This is just from Episode 1:
1. The light goes out
2. The time in Shi-mok's car as he drives along the beach front: 8:17, 8:19. He's at Yongnam at 8:25
3. 8: 49 He arrives at the Tongyeong Tourist Hotel car park and sees ambulances going past
4. The estimated time of death is between 7:00 and 8:30
5. The photo was posted after 8:00
6. There are some further timing details about the photos, when they were taken in episode 2, as well as the time that the boys went onto the beach
All combined, there is a very narrow window for the drownings.
Even more so, all of this means that Shi-mok must have been at the beach at the same time or close to the same time when the boys were drowning in the water. He heard nothing - no cries for help. Admittedly, there was a thick fog and sound is deadened in fog.
Also, when he returns to the beach a bit more than 20 mins after he arrives at the hotel, the couple who took down the safety rope were at the scene of the rescue, and yet they were not at the beach when he was there the first time. Did they go and come back and then delete the photograph?
The limited edition designer runners are also suspicious. Were they affordable for a student working part time? How did he come by them?
I also checked out this part of Korea because the road beside the beach, the closed off beach, and the fog was so otherwordly and unique. Tongyeong is at the southernmost tip of the peninsular and it's where Admiral Yi Sun-sin (of Roaring Currents fame) against impossible odds defended Joseon against the Japanese invasion. It is an iconic spot in Korea's history and even now when relations with Japan are still uneasy. I'm wondering if some of that significance will leak into the drama. It's very exciting, and having just rewatched Season 1, it's like meeting old friends again.

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Thanks for pointing out the timing. Do you remember why he stopped?

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Was it because the barrier was down? What did you think?

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Yes I think so because we see him peering out of the window so that means smth caught his eye. He then stops the car and calls the assistant to ask for Korea Marine Environmenet Managment Corporation's number to report a broken barrier. So that must be why he stopped.

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He stopped because he saw the barrier down.

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Shi-mok's insistence on repeatedly checking the time of the events also pinged an alarm in my head. The whole case looks like an unfortunate incident for now, but I have a niggling feeling that this is going to be important later on. There's just this sense of something not being quite right about it.

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Thanks for pointing out all these details.
I can feel that something is fake. I mean, I feel that what's ShiMok thinks. Something doesn't suit. He didn't heard anyone shouting for help, and he supposedly was there when the boys drowned. So, you are totally right: why was the couple still there when they found the bodies if it was almost 40 minutes after the incident and they were not when ShiMok drove by? Why are the runners so suspicious? Maybe the boys didn't drawn there but were taken there?

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I'm starting to wonder that too. No autopsy mentioned either. That's strange.

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Maybe the couple was there when Shi Mok stopped but he didn't see them because of the thick fog?. After all even the surviving kid didn't see the couple so this could be a possibility?

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It could be. Maybe what they did had nothing to do with what actually happened on the beach. They could be a red herring.

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I also didn't think the couple has anything to do with the drowning but a plot device to connect the case to corruption.

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The story on the beach doesn’t work. The 3rd student was trying to cry, trying to look like someone in his position should look, but not quite cutting it.

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He seemed both shocked and frightened.

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There is something not quite right about the surviving student. The way they focused on him, the shoes and the timing of the photos.
Why a former judge involved for someone who just cut a rope and it was not even proven that the couple did it?

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The former judge is hired by the rich guy's family as his lawyer. However, he doesn't hide much of his disdain for the rich bofriend and girlfriend - and even asked them to lower their voice. He could be an interesting character or even a key witness down the track.

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I sense that the judge is definitely going to come into play majorly going forward. He obviously doesn't like his clients. So will he turn the tables on them at some point of time, is the question. Is he loyal to The Law, etc.

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You and @jorobertson remind me of something suspicious I found in that series of scenes as well.

1. The surviving student: You are right. The way he looked at the bodies of his friends, the reasoning that he was drunk when his friends were playing at the beach was pretty suspicious. And you’re right about the shoes: Was a student working part-time being able to afford such shoes when the surviving student could not ? Given that his house was quite poor? The way Shi-mok saw him being afraid of instead of rushing to see his friend’s body, the way Shi-mok looked at the student’s thumb twice, all pointed to my conclusion that this is not an ordinary drowning case. I also think this is why he objected when the case was abruptly closed.

2. If I remember this correctly, Shi-mok is very sensitive to sounds. ( or am I remembering this correctly?) It’s strange why he couldn’t hear anything at the beach if he was there around the time the students were drowning. He was driving very slowly ( as he thought the barrier wasn’t installed appropriately), so he should have heard something if there was anything going on at the moment.

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Good point about the sounds and ShiMok being oversensitive to it (although it’s supposed to have stopped when he had the surgery), but the point is that he didn’t hear anything when he stopped, and when he “reconstructed” the scene, he placed himself on the road the moment the boys run to the sea. So maybe the boys weren’t already there...
But the thing that is more out of place to me are the sneakers and the phone: if the boy was drunk, would he had placed them that way on the sand? I totally get him taking them off, but being drunk he would have left them anywhere and not so tidy... and that damn thumb.

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I admire everyone's commitment to timings, it's amazing.
But the thing that struck me mostly was the shoes - there was only one set of shoes and two dead boys.

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Yeees. Good point.
If also you take into account the times given in episode 2
Photo 1 taken :19:47
Photo 2: 19:53
Photo 3: 19:55
Photo posted after 16:00
Drama began at 16:06 when the boys left the hotel
Shi-mok in his car by the beach at 16:17
The window of time narrows, if the boys drowned soundlessly
Unless they died elsewhere and were taken to the water. Now we also need to know if one boy had his shoes on, and if he didn't, where are they?
I'm sure this will all come back to us at a later stage.

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Thank you for the recap @quirkycase!

This feels surreal. I didn't even dare hope for a sequel when this show ended in 2017. And now it's here and I'm both excited and apprehensive because Stranger is my all-time favorite and the expectations are high.

I love that Lee Chang-joon got to open this show, albeit posthumously. His words about the never-ending search for truth tied neatly with the season 1 finale, because the fight doesn't end with getting the corrupt people in jail (they'll always find ways to get out and come back with a vengeance).

I am glad that Shi-mok is still Shi-mok! Yeo-jin having to prompt him to say hello back is exactly the kind of relationship that I expect between them.

That Instagram investigation scene was nicely done! I love it! Though I was kinda expecting them to get called out for using social media openly on their work computers and having to explain that it's for a case. It also serves as a reminder to be careful about your personal data online. Bonus points to Chief Choi for that sick "He must have used 100 apps" burn.

Now the question is, would S2's villain(s) be as epic and tragic as LCJ or would it be the more abstract corrupt justice system as a whole?

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I really like the Instagram bit. It left me thinking, "Okay, these are competent police officers." :)

Would they have more of the digital bits in the next episodes?

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Hopefully! Episode 2 was more of the police vs. prosecutor war gathering momentum so there's not much investigation.

Season 1 episode 3 had the same vibes when Shi-mok was retracing Park Moo-sung's steps. There was a mini-map overlay and a blinking blue dot indicating where he is, and then the perspectives would change like in a video game. It was so darn cool!!!

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I burst out laughing at the chief's burn as well...The douchey rich guy looked soo offended 😂 And it was doubly funny coming from the chief when Gun had previously reprimanded him sticking his 'ugly' face during Gun's phone call with YJ. I like that the police team feels more lighter this season

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Yes to that "ugly face" comment 😂

Yeo-jin must miss her old coworkers because the current ones are not as fun. And those two guys... are they jealous of her or something?

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It seems so. The National Police Agency where Yeojin is assigned seemed more political than the field team (i.e. Yongsan Police Station). Being part of the Police-Prosecutor council would've given them more exposure.

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And I loved Yeo-jin squealing "CHIEF!!!" on the other end of the line when she realised ugly face was nearby.

Yeah @lszj09 I think she misses them...

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Finally after a long wait of 3 years!! The first episode went by so fast, I kept
waiting for Seo Dong Jae and Lee Yeon Jae to come on screen and then the episode ended. Couldn't believed an hour has passed.

So far I'm liking the first episode. Their first phone call scene cracked me up. It's nice to know that Shi Mok and Yeo Jin is still the same person from season 1.

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Haha, same. I kept waiting for Shimok and Yeojin to meet. :/

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I liked the first episode. The atmosphere is great, the fog, the people working, everything and everyone is kind of grey and exhausted... As other commenters already mentioned, I also didn't like the convenient coincidence that Yeo-jin was just scrolling on this dude's instagram when he deleted the pictures. Well, I hope show has a clever way to have it all be part of an overarching pattern/story I can believe in. And now I crave Udon noodles :)

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Secret Forest is one of my fav shows of all time so I was excited but nervous about the new season. Overall, it doesn’t disappoint so far. I actually like the slow pace and how Shi mok has gotten softer. He was transferred to a smaller area after an intense case in s1 and met different people along the way (Yeo jin especially). It makes sense that he changes. It would be weirder if he stayed the same, hairstyle and all!

So, I like that we get to see a different side of him. Although, both him and Yeo jin seem really sad and tired and lonely. If that’s intentional, I hope it plays a part in the narrative.

My only complaint about the season after the two episodes are some weird shots and cuts during deep conversations. I would’ve preferred longer uninterrupted scenes. It was really distracting at times. I honestly find it weird that they would edit some scenes in a way that doesn’t match the tone of the show! Hope it gets better.

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The wait was long but since I rewatched S1 a few weeks ago, it felt like it just ended then.

Welcome back team! It was funny how they were working together on a case despite being on different areas and agencies. Hoping this is not the last time we will be seeing them working together, since S2 is about the pitting them against each other. I was slightly worried about the change in PD, but so far, the premiere week's style didn't bother me too much. We still got Shi-mok imagining himself at the scene of the crime and those aerial shots look pretty.

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Yes, the callback to S1's signature crime scene imaginary reenactments was good. From what I remember, though, Shimok put himself in the shoes of the perpretator in his re-enactments, which didn't happen here. I was very nervous about the change in PD too, but so far so good!

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I guess since this case didn’t have a clear perpetrator and it also happened that he was in the area at the same time, the way it played out was cool.

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Thank you, @quirkycase, for a detailed recap! I watched the first FOS without following recaps since I waited until a couple months after it aired to see it. I now see I forgot (or maybe never saw) a lot of the details of the first with this recap. I may have to go beck and read the previous recaps! With that said, there was a lot of dialogue to set everything up here. And I don’t know if I like two women going toe to toe here. I know it happens, but it makes me feel so much more uneasy. Poor Shi-mok seems to have been demoted here while Yeo-Jin has had a promotion. Hopefully, his lower position will allow him to go more under the radar in Seoul (unlikely). I did want them to mention our first villain-non-villain more though, so we could see how his suicide/sacrifice may have improved the state of things, but is seems like likes are just as corrupt as they were prior.

And I agree that this episode was slower than the first season’s episode 1. But this show has loyal fans who don’t need a lot of flash it get them in. We already love these characters and just want them working together again.

Bring on episode 2! And if you haven’t seen it, a surprise awaits! I liked it better than the first episode!

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ep 2 made me very happy too :)

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Woot! Thank you for the recap!
I'm so excited for the new season~ I agreed - we're still in set-up mode and the first two episodes are clearly that. I guess it doesn't bother me at all because of how invested I already am (lols), and truly, we haven't seen anything that dissuades me from it yet. Our leads are amazing, and their friendship/partnership is going strong even though it has been years of working in far-flung places from each other. I'm intrigued to see where the drama takes us after proposing the (outrageous) idea of our leads being pitted against one another! jk~ The one thing that makes Shi-mok and Yeo-jin's partnership so great is that they're honest with each other so I have no doubt that this season, they'll make a great team even though they're technically on opposite sides.

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Here is the rough translation from the interview with the writer. Unfortunately I don’t know Korean to translate properly. I used Google translate and posted only parts that I could understand.

Q: Viewers waiting for'Secret Forest 2'are most curious about the difference from Season 1.

I think last season is more of a fantasy. In fact, all dramas are fantasy, but this time I was careful not to let the content flow too fantasy, as I thought that I should be responsible for the material I chose. (But the fantasy is fun!) The top priority when writing this script was that you should never self-replicate, so I considered the most different composition.

Q: In'Secret Forest 2', Hwang Si-mok (Cho Seung-woo) and Han Yeo-jin (Bae Do-na) meet again at the counterpoint of the'Gun-gyeong Investigation Authority Adjustment'. What is the intent of this setting, which may be compelled to conflict?

From the moment the issue of reconciliation of investigation rights emerged, I thought that the relationship between the protagonists had no choice but to be affected. The main characters mentioned here include not only Hwang Si-mok and Han Yeo-jin, but also Choi Bit (Jeon Hye-jin) and Woo Tae-ha (Choi Moo-sung). If you look at Hwang Si-mok and Han Yeo-jin as one axis, and Choi Vit and Woo Tae-ha as another axis, I think you can see why this relationship was created by the time the 16th episode was reached.

Q; Most of the actors who appeared last season, such as Jo Seung-woo, Bae Doo-na, Lee Jun-hyuk, and Yoon Se-ah, joined us. In addition, actors Jeon Hye-jin and Choi Moo-sung have newly joined. Are there any special expectations?

I'm really glad. If the original members don't get together again, it doesn't make sense, it's not a matter of dimension, but because this project itself cannot be established. 'The Secret Forest 2'was made possible thanks to the contributions of the actors. It is very fortunate that both actor Park Seong-geun of Kang Won-cheol prosecutor's office and detectives Yongsan-seo can unite again. Jeon Hye-jin and Choi Moo-sung are expected to be acting, even supporting actors and minor roles are doing so well, People who do have appeared one after another. Thank you to everyone who took this opportunity to come out, and those who came out from last season.

Q: I wonder what kind of story you would like to finally tell through'The Secret Forest 2'.

It is'for a better world'. Romantic comedy tickles and flutters for a moment, family drama makes the whole world feel warm. Drama of any genre I think all are made'for a better world'. I will not be able to give you this emotional relief because the content of'Secret Forest 2' but I hope it will be an opportunity to take a moment to look back on what a better world will be.

Source: https://entertain.v.daum.net/v/20200814110832488

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Thank you for this! I always like to read about the creative process as much as watching the final product. I also remember reading someone's post on the fanwall that there was also some climate change issue that the writer wanted to bring up in this season - this was also from an interview with the writer, I think. A 'better world' awaits!

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Thank you!
And wow, I just keep liking this writer more and more! It's interesting to get all these insights. And I'm very pleased to hear that she didn't want to self-replicate, because that's one of the main things I was/ am looking out for in this second season!

As much as this is a continuition from s1, and that comparisons will abound, I want/ think it will be more interesting for s2 to have a different perspectives. From the premiere week it already feels like this season is going in the direction of examining things from a top-down perspective instead of the bottom-up focus of s1.

In s1, we saw how the system affected individuals, so it would be interesting to see the opposite of how individuals use the system for their own gains this season!

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I think you are probably right regarding people using system for their agenda. I doubt there would be another mastermind behind a big conspiracy like S1. From what shown so far, look like there will be multiple cases to be uncovered.

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Thanks for the recap @quirkycase
So excited to get on this train...
*I lorvved that our favourite prosecutor and detective had kept in touch in the intervening years.
*I was pleasantly surprised to see the old police squad. Especially Gun. His scenes with YJ and their camaraderie. I felt his longing when he oh so casually asked YJ whether she'll be back. Ah the silent angst of missing one's work bestie. Gotta admit whil binging S1 last weekend,I kinda initially shipped these two. He seemed to be her only ally in the squad at first. But I loved the platonic besties they were shown to be as the season progressed so I definitely did a whoop to see him back.
*Like some of you have pointed out, didn't love the twin coincidence of both our heroes 'stumbling' into the case and am a bit puzzled by the scrutiny it's receiving from EP 1. I mean given the show and writing it's definitely gonna get more complicated than an unfortunate drowning but would a preferred a slower focus with more substantial evidence but it's a minor quibble and I am sure I am likely to eat my words when the episode count goes up.

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It is here! So excited to delve in this new season.
With that, I agree that there is never a shortage of corruption. Shi Mok and Yeo Jin have their work cut out for them. That is what they do best.
This episode do feel more of a setup for us to know where everyone is and what they are up to. So watching this episode felt more like a welcoming hug back in this world.
That drowning was suspicious especially on how the surviving teen reacted when his friend's body was fished out of the sea by the police. We will find out more about this in the succeeding episodes and hopefully find a conspiracy.
I do not like Yeo Jin's boss and feels like she is up to no good. Would be interesting to see what more lies she is willing to sensationalize.

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Thank you for the recap! I'm glad for the recaps and comments because I always felt I missed things in season 1 and season 2 is shaping up to be much the same ^^;

I feel there's something suspicious about the deaths but also objectively this sort of thing is super common unfortunately. Maybe it's the crazy dense fog. Given the amount of coincidence in Shi-mok and Yeo-jin's stumbling across it, I'd also be fine if it were just a lead-in to the prosecution vs police and leaked information issues.
Although I do hope they don't make Shi-mok and Yeo-jin too much at odds, it doesn't suit them.

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Gosh it's so good to have these characters back!
I do agree that this first episode was very shrouded in mystery and not as "attention-grabbing" as how season 1 started, but that was fine with me. It's clear that it was only setting the stage for what's to come.

The thing I was most looking for in the premiere was that this season would still have that FOS vibe, especially given the fact that we switched Directors. The directing was one of my fav things about this show. So I'm really happy that this director is also on par and I like his immersive style!

The highlight for me this episode (like many) was that phone call btn Shimok and Yeojin, because I somehow hadn't expected that they would've kept in touch or something! 😭😍💖

I also liked that we could kind of feel/see how our characters have grown since the events of s1, they seem more confident and detailed in their work!

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I know something had been switched out, I didn't know it was the director!! Kudos to them, I totally still got the same vibe. Not the exact same, but hopefully it will fall into a good rhythm. I liked the scene with the online stuff, I thought that was really cool and well done.

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Jeon Hye-jin is getting all the good character roles these days. Before 'Misty' I has never heard of her, except for one tiny role aaaaall the way back in 1999.

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I hope that the second season gets better because, so far, I think it is moving slow and the new cast member that they added is not as good as the first season.

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Oh no! I’m late to the Forest of Secrets party. 😁

All I kept thinking throughout the first episode was how much I adored ShiMok and YeoJin and how glad I am to have all these characters back on my screen. This way the pace of the episode worked for me because I could luxuriate in the details and get into back into the FoS world where action is three characters doing interest research to identify a suspect.
That scene is an example of what I love this show for, they give you so much information and walk you through the characters thoughts but still manage to keep the big secrets, well secret. It’s amazing.
I missed YeoJin’s rooftop house. I also once again immediately felt how alone these characters are in their worlds. Not necessarily lonely but alone. Regarding the over arching plot I’m not sure it is related to the drowning but rather to the procedures and process related to how the case was handled. Especially, the second episode made me think along those line but that’s for the second episode recap. I like Chief Choi and am intrigued by what’s in store.

Overall, the first episode was just what I needed and I am very, VERY happy FoS2 is here.

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I just keep watch the whole episode because I love the show so much.
If only I didn't watch FoS back then in 2017 which grabbed my attention since like its first 10 minutes, if only this is my first time watching Shi-Mok, Yeo-Jin and the rest, I would probably stop in the middle.

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Yeah, totally agree. I watched S1 unintentionally. It was like the first 10 minutes airing on my TV, start watching it out of curiousity and.. wahh I just can't stop watching after that. Then my love for this drama grows.
When I watched the S2 first episode I can't help but thinking "If I never know this drama before would I continue to watch this?" maybe no. But I have high hope for this season, because it is Forest of Secrets, probably stop if this was another drama.

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Ahhh~~~ So late to the party! Words cannot describe how happy and excited I am that season 2 has finally started! I must have spent 2-3 hours on every episode because I didn't want to miss a single detail and I was keeping a mental note of everything. So glad to see Shi Mok being Shi Mok, always polite but isn't afraid to ask the right questions and do the right thing. Yeo Jin, on the other hand, felt a little toned down compared to season 1, I miss seeing her being badass and commanding. I'm slowly warming up to the new characters but I kind of miss the old team. I don't have a problem with the pacing, I can see the show taking its time to settle our characters into a new but familiar setting, I am just excited to see Shi Mok and Yeo Jin in the same frame again. Why is it not Saturday yet?

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I only watched S1 a year ago but it feels like I’ve been waiting forever aha I’m so glad it’s finally here!

The first episode was slow but good at setting the scene. I loved seeing YJ and Jang’s friendship (and ofc YJ and SM’s — even tho we didn’t see much of it in the first episode).

Judging by the first and second episodes, I feel like this season is going to be slower than the first since it doesn’t revolve around a murder case. In S1, the murder case was the main focus while the corruption/political scandals were the complex web hidden beneath it. In S2, I think the main focus will be on the politics (prosecutors vs. police) while the cases will be used as support for both sides (and maybe even to show what fatal consequences have arisen from the prosecutor vs. police conflict).

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After watching both the episodes this was my read too. That it’s more about the politics and turf wars rather than a particular case. I don’t want ShiMok and YeoJin to be at odds but it would be an interesting character study to see how these characters handle that’s situation.

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Waaooow!!! Thank you for the recap!!
I am kinda late to to the stangers party, I only watched season 1 a WEEK ago! Cannot thank myself enough for that because I don't know how I could've waited for three years for the second season haha.
I feel also that this episode was a little slow compared to the beginning of s1 but I will take it to as the story was catching up, so I didn't mind it to much, I definitely think that next week's episodes will pace it up. Can't wait!!

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Late to the recap page so I think everything has mostly been said. I didn't find this episode slow at all, I thought the pace was perfect. Given that this show deals with the persistent never-ending problem of corruption, starting it shrouded in fog and having the lights of Shi-mok's car break through it - however weakly - was such a lovely metaphor for the whole thing.

But, honestly, what I love about this writer mostly is that she never spoon feeds us anything and she gives us the credit of being able to keep up without stopping and giving us annoying exposition or clunky flashbacks. I like when a writer treats their audience with respect. It makes the whole thing feel organic and lived-in, like we've been dropped into a real world with real people. It's a skill and she's great at it.

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