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Zombie Detective: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread

Rapping, dancing, acting like a human–our zombie detective’s got it all down now. But now that he’s part of the human world, he’s facing what may be his biggest dilemma yet: how will he pay his bills?

 
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP

Last week, Zombie Detective closed with Sun-ji being kidnapped by a group of cultists, only for Kim Moo-young to swoop in to the rescue and avert their nefarious plot. This week, we catch up with Sun-ji as she’s recovering from an epic hangover with only a vague recollection of the previous night’s events.

It’s only when her brother-in-law, LEE TAE-KYUN (Ahn Se-ha) asks about her night and why she didn’t answer her phone that she rummages and pulls out her phone and a folded up piece of paper. The paper has her doing a giant spit-take: it’s a contract she signed, promising to pay Kim Moo-young a hundred million won in compensation for knocking him unconscious with a helmet.

Our zombie is taking in the many outstanding bills he now needs to take care of, when a certain smell gets his attention. It’s Sun-ji, ready to beg for a discount and/or more time to pay the contract. She’s pleading her case when Moo-young’s nostrils are assaulted once more: days-old unwashed hair, old food stains, and the stench of booze. Realizing she’s broke, Moo-young tells her to scram.

With his hopes for a quick payday gone, Moo-young heads out to try to bring in new clients by handing out flyers and putting up stickers. We get into a couple of tangential (for now) storylines, one revolves around Kim Moo-young’s professional rival LEE SUNG-ROK (Tae Hang-ho) and his anxieties about Moo-young’s growing popularity in their neighborhood. The other storyline is a meta aside, and we see budding auteur Tae-kyun shopping around a script he’s penned about a soft-hearted zombie.

Sun-ji is nothing if not persistent, and she returns to Moo-young’s office with a new proposition: she’ll repay him with labor instead of cash. He brushes her off at first, completely uninterested with the thought of working with a “broke moocher.” He only relents after a client comes calling with a job for him.

The client is a famous actress, Kang Go-eun, and she’s one of the real Kim Moo-young’s regulars. (Not even she notices what’s gone on, she only says that “Moo-young” looks better without his normal scruff, lol). Despite being in the public eye, she’s managed to keep the fact she has a daughter on the down low. But her daughter Yoon-joo left home one day and hasn’t been back in weeks. If Moo-young can find Yoon-joo, she’ll pay double his usual fee.

Moo-young and Sun-ji uncover a few important clues at Go-eun’s house. Yoon-joo had a boyfriend, Moo-young looks like a perv when he’s putting his super nose to use, and one of the last things Yoon-joo looked up on her laptop before disappearing was a place called Gangrim Fasting Center.

At the center, Sun-ji gets a peel at their guest log, and though Yoon-joo’s registered, it looks like the only way to get to her is to check in at the fasting center. The center actually refused Sun-ji entry, which means Moo-young has to take part himself. Conveniently, the center’s offering a free trial experience, but he’s not thrilled at the thought of being in there for three days.

Armed with his main tool (BB cream) and emergency rations (hunks of raw meat), Moo-young starts his trial fasting experience. Some late night prowling pays off when he comes across a secret, full-on cult revival, led by a man that everyone refers to as Chairman LEE GWANG-SHIK (Park Sang-myun).

Moo-young doesn’t get to see much more, as he has a group of Gangrim followers hot on his trail. The chase and getting cornered in a cabinet triggers some major stress and a hazy memory. Moo-young recalls someone in a raincoat pulling the trigger of a gun. The stress and memory also triggers his zombie-ness, complete with growling–not even BB cream could help him now.

What could be an horrific showdown turns to comedy, with Moo-young cleverly using a coat pulled over his head to hide his face and running off into the night. Literally, he runs straight out of a second-story window, past a dejected Sun-ji, and back into the safety of his private eye office. Alone in the darkness, Moo-young realizes his death was no accident–he was bound and murdered.

As he comes to grips with his memories, he’s also refusing to face Sun-ji. She tries just about everything, an appeal via megaphone, a Love Actually-style cue card appeal through his window, and a gopchang seduction. She assumes he’s traumatized by this experience at the fasting center and is just about to head home when Moo-young finally comes out of his office, cloaked by the night. He tells her his conditions for getting back to work: BB cream and one whole, raw chicken.

After he finishes putting his face on, Moo-young lets Sun-ji into the office and fills her in on what he learned. Yoon-joo was at the revival, praying her heart out, and Moo-young managed to sneak out one of the weight-loss supplements that were being handed out like candy.

Any lingering reluctance to re-enter the center Moo-young has fades away when he calculates how much gopchang and raw chicken he can buy. Sun-ji calls in a couple of favors, one to analyze what exactly the weight-loss supplement is made of, and the other to help transport Moo-young and Yoon-joo out of the center.

Complete with a fancy fake mustache and disguise, Moo-young re-enters the fasting center and locates Yoon-joo with Sun-ji’s help. Unfortunately, she’s fully immersed in the cult and screams that she won’t go with Moo-young. Yoon-joo’s screams make him nervous and he instinctively karate chops her neck, managing to knock her out.

Operation Rescue Yoon-joo goes badly awry when Yoon-joo regains consciousness before Moo-young can get her out. Just when it seems like he’ll be able to escape the center, he gets knocked out and brought to Chairman Lee. At the same time, we learn that the “weight-loss supplement” is actually a hallucinogen mixed with an appetite suppressant.

Chairman Lee shows Moo-young blackbox footage of Moo-young running full-speed into the kidnappers’ car and menacingly wonders how a person can be hit by a car yet appear to be totally fine. Moo-young thinks fast and says he can’t feel pain, which Chairman Lee tests out by stabbing him in leg with a fork. (Rude!)

He has a proposition to make–if Moo-young cooperates with him, he will hand over Yoon-joo. We don’t hear Moo-young’s answer, but we see Sun-ji stake out the perimeter and locate Yoon-joo from afar as Moo-young is subjected to some pain tests.

Moo-young covertly texts Sun-ji to be at the center the next night at 8 p.m. Moo-young’s attending a revival, watching uncomfortably as the chairman’s followers prostrate themselves at the sight of “miracles.” Chairman Lee calls Moo-young up to the stage and we see that Moo-young was needed to be a prop in his miraculous grifting.

Just like their earlier sessions, Chairman Lee twists Moo-young’s arm behind his back. But unlike their private sessions, this time Moo-young cries out in pain. When one of the chairman’s underlings hits him with a plank, Moo-young uses a well-placed juice packet to “bleed.” LOL. The cultists are all horrified by the violence, while Chairman Lee grows horrified when an underling informs him the police are on their way. He skedaddles and the cultists are enthralled to see regular human Moo-young pop up and run after Chairman Lee.

Sun-ji runs into Chairman Lee attempting to flee and their confrontation gets scary, fast. Chairman Lee stabs at Sun-ji with his cane, but Moo-young swoops in to take the full hit. A fire extinguisher and the arrival of the police saves Moo-young from having to explain the whole cane-in-torso thing to Sun-ji (for now). Yoon-joo and mom have a quick reunion and Moo-young wonders to himself if he has family waiting for him somewhere.

Finally relieved of his money troubles, Moo-young enjoys a candle-lit bubble bath and a huge dish of raw chicken when he realizes his shades weren’t down. Unfortunately for him, Sung-rok’s already seen him chowing down on raw chicken. And extra unfortunately for Moo-young, Sun-ji’s standing at the door of the office, aghast at his hole-y zombie torso and defined pecs.

I love that Moo-young’s secret is already out, mostly because I’m curious to see how Sun-ji and her family will react to knowing that there’s a zombie in the midst (her brother-in-law being a zombie aficionado can’t be a throwaway detail).

There’s so much attention paid to the small details, like the cracking of Moo-young’s body and the way he reverts to his normal zombie mode when no one is around. The show is such a delight, and the dedication to the concept is what has really elevated the whole story for me. Who knew a zombie could be so human and charming?

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Wow these episodes fell flat.
I can't remember the last time I loved the first week of the show and then turned up for week two and went, "meh".
This show doesn't know what it wants to be. It's trying to be too many things and nailing none of them. I'll give it another week but I found these episodes boring and tedious.

You want to make a classic Candy/tsundere kdrama that's a zombie homage with a side of noir? I'm all here for it. But a cult has nothing to do with any of those things and there was no payoff in this for any of the elements except Candy finding out he's a zombie. Two hours of show with about five minutes I cared about. That's... not good.

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There was nothing good about these two episodes except Choi Jin hyuk. Ffwd through both eps in super speed. But I was not expecting his secret to be out so quickly so I’m definitely going to check out next week’s episode. I can imagine her taking him to his house and having serious zombie conversations with him!

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These episodes weren't that bad to me, and I powered through them. I guess I'll see what happens next week. I am hoping that there will be some sort of surprise with him getting busted so soon.

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Second week's episode is still got me cackling a lot (that moustache under the mask and the long fight to keep Yoon-joo in the tub when she just popped out by herself, gah!) and gotta say am loving the way show pokes fun of itself via the interview between brother-in-law and his reluctant producer. His relationship to Sun-ji is super sweet.

It seems the intern has taken the great detective under her wings in terms of detection, LOL. The cult case stretching to 2 episodes is somewhat long (hope show won't rush that one case that matter: Santa + little So-ri!) but it's a good plot to establish the fact that the inside of our zombie is pretty much the opposite of his monstrous outer appearance.

Sun-ji's reaction to Moo-young impaled with a cane is somehow quite mild compared to the rival detective's over the chomping of raw chicken... Glad she found out about the zombieness, it's just about time and like @missvictrix, am also totally anticipating Sun-ji and her family reactions!

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it is funny that his monstrous appearance is the typical look for most estonian men...very ungroomed and just out of car accidents bruised and scarred.

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Sounds like they need an introduction to BB cream too ^^

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Yikes, have just realized it's @stroopwafel instead of @missvictrix, please accept my belated apology!

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@meowingme Don't apologize ^^ I did some of the early ones.... so you're not crazy :)

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All the drama relies on Choi Jin Hyuk but it doesn't bother me. He's really fun as zombie trying to look human.

I'm happy that the FL knows his true identity, I guess she will want to know more about his death and we will know more about him.

But I like the cop, so if there is a love story I hope it won't be with our funny Zombie because he's dead.

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Agree about the love story, am hoping all those sweet devotion from the cop isn't wasted. Plus, usually in noir the ending scene will be the hardboiled detective comfortably alone nursing his glass of martini (or maybe a basin of raw gopchang) anyway...

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It's funny because in The Ghost Detective, I wished the FL and the ML ended up together... and there was a nice cop in love with her too :p

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Maybe because there's still a chance the ghost isn't truly dead, but it's harder to de-zombify a zombie..? But if it's this show, they might have a way, LOL.

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don't forget he could come alive again. there are ways only the clams know for sure

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What... I saw zombie with belly-holed when he was showering and exposed his belly-hole.

My another funniest and most laughable scenes, was the zombie who wears facemask and that same guy who had a fake moustache.

In my opinion for my excited next episodes with a flashbacks onwards, I think it was on film or in fictional storyline when during before he was a zombie, he was a detective when he killed by a surprised unknown gunmen/gunman while he was on duty. I didn't know that either gunmen/gunman was played by male cameos/cameo and they're either famous or unknown actors. I think it will be emotional, unfunny but sad scenes.

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Yes this drama totally relies on Choi Jin Hyuk but I don't mind at all.
The whole setting is so ridiculous and so funny.
It's really fun to watch.

I love his inner voice and the fight scene (mustache under the mask lol) was hilarious.
I'd like to see how the story develops, Sun-ji and her brother-in-law's script and the rival detective across the street.

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Thank you for the recap! I'm having fun, even if I'm not super attached to either the plot or characters yet. Although now that people are finding out, I'm super excited to see where that goes!

I love Park Joo-hyun and I like Sun-ji well enough but I have to admit I was hoping she'd be more...zombie-like? I thought I recalled the teasers/trailers showing her as more zombie than a real zombie and so far she's been a fairly typical romcom heroine. Although maybe that says more about Candy's than anything else lol

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so, should I keep watching? life is short.

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oh but choi jin hyuk makes it worth while!

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kinda a bit Frankenstein-y?

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That whole cult story was... uneven and at the same time kind of boring. But I still like zombie-nim and I appreciate Choi Jin Hyuk ('s weirdly hot zombie body). I am also excited that the female lead will now be in on his secret and perhaps that will elevate her character and storyline. Well, as I was rooting for the cat in the Meow-drama, here I am rooting for the Zombie. Does the term bestiality apply for zombies, too?

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