Mouse: Episode 5
The clock is ticking for our detective to save a child held captive by the serial killer. Things initially look bleak, but with help from the public, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit together. The killer wants an answer to his question before time runs out. Can the team figure it out and prevent another brutal murder before it happens?
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Ba-reum records the masked child and distorts his voice to ask, “Do you believe me now?” He reminds them that the deadline to figure out why Han-kook was chosen as a victim is when the broadcast ends, then sends a package off with a courier.
On live TV, Hong-joo reveals the victims’ real faces and names along with a composite sketch of the unidentified homeless man. She urges the audience to call in with tips even if they seem minor.
Detective Park takes care of his sick wife and cringes when he sees that Moo-chi is doing the show after all. Moo-chi explains to the viewers that every victim’s middle finger was bent to point at a cross near the crime scene, indicating that the killer despises God.
Soo-ho and Halmoni are believed to be exceptions among the seven known victims – one was murdered out of vengeance while the other discovered the killer’s identity. Moo-chi explains that he did a deep dive into the other victims’ lives after the murderer confirmed that he selected them for a reason.
We learn that sewer victim Byun Soon-young was a widow who worked in the kitchen of a bar and struggled to make ends meet. She’d pack customers’ leftovers for her daughter but refused to sell her body to entertain male guests. A picture of Soon-young’s home is shown and one viewer notes that they have the same analog clock.
Clothing factory victim Park Jong-ho worked multiple jobs day and night. The serial killer collected “prizes of war,” taking important items from victims. The instant coffee mix belonged to Jong-ho, who lived off the coffee to survive the long workdays. Many viewers leave comments empathizing with the diligent young man.
Next, Moo-chi introduces the sole survivor Chi-kook as a stand-up guy who can’t ignore injustices. As a high schooler, Chi-kook saved someone from being assaulted.
The teleprompter alerts Hong-joo to check her laptop where she learns that Jong-ho ran a blog called Young Ant’s Escape from Poverty with the motto, “Those who are lazy shouldn’t even eat!”
The homeless man was popular with the rest of the community. He was quiet and even shared his food with others. One viewer flips through an old album, seemingly recognizing the man in the composite sketch.
The last victim is Jo Mi-jung, a tiny college student whose family struggled financially. To pay for her tuition, she uploaded mukbang videos online. Each victim was a good citizen who was disadvantaged within society.
An informant calls in requesting that their voice be altered, and it’s clear that they called with the intention to provoke Moo-chi. The caller brings up rumors about the detective taking part in illegal gambling, taking bribes from criminals, and being a bereaved family member of the Head Hunter’s victims.
They even reveal that Moo-chi watched his mother get beheaded. The caller insinuates that as a result, Moo-chi’s obsessed with killing murderers and is using the broadcast for his personal gain rather than caring about Han-kook’s safety. They feign concern and Moo-chi finally explodes, “You worry about yourself, you crazy bastard!”
The public begins to wonder if Moo-chi’s a crooked cop and demand that he be taken off air to protect Han-kook. Unexpectedly, Moo-chi calmly admits that both his parents were killed by the Head Hunter and that if given the opportunity, he’d love to kill that man.
He understands why his personal agenda may be a cause for concern, but he swears that he’s only doing this for Han-kook. The detective bows sincerely and promises not to be swayed by his own emotions.
At this time, a courier delivers an envelope addressed to Moo-chi – it’s footage of Han-kook. Everybody stops what they’re doing to watch, gasping when they see a kid tied to a chair. The kidnapper warns that they’ll see an unforgettable show if they fail to answer his question. When the courier leaves, another enters the studio.
Hong-joo notes that they’re unable to confirm the child’s identity because of the mask, so they call on his mother who tearfully confirms that it’s her son. The director is ecstatic that their station’s ratings are skyrocketing right now.
The second courier takes his helmet off in shock when he sees the footage being broadcasted. It’s Dong-goo. Alarmed, Moo-chi receives a panicked call from Ba-reum telling him, “It’s different than the one I sent!”
We rewind to 8PM, two hours before going live. The team was frustrated but Ba-reum remembered that a killer once got mad when his murder was reported to be done by someone else. He suggested that they infuriate the kidnapper by creating a fake Han-kook. Hong-joo agreed that these types of guys can’t stand someone else taking credit for their work.
An hour later, Dong-goo found them a child actor from the acting school that his girlfriend works at. The parents were paid off to keep mum about the situation, and Han-kook’s mother was instructed to confirm that it’s her son. Ba-reum read off a script with the voice alteration and handed the USB to “courier” Dong-goo to deliver. Phew, this was all pre-planned!
Now, Moo-chi realizes that the first courier must’ve been the culprit. He runs off set with Dong-goo trailing closely behind. Ba-reum arrives by taxi and manages to prevent the guy from leaving the premises, then Moo-chi swoops in to apprehend the man.
The courier cries that he ran away because he was scared after seeing the news, but he’s actually a courier and received a call to retrieve a package from a subway station locker. Ba-reum and Dong-goo head there to check things out.
When Moo-chi gets back, Hong-joo is speaking to an informant who believes that the homeless man was a sponsor at her orphanage. She sends them a photo and the police team confirm that it’s a match.
The homeless man was CEO Kim Sung-kyu of a top transport company. He lost his family to an accident five years ago and gave his fortune away before disappearing. CEO Kim believed in a “no ownership” lifestyle and always liked to share.
A commenter claims that they saw Han-kook with a man just now, so they get a chance to speak on air. Hong-joo’s pissed to discover that it’s the provocative first caller again, who’s now claiming that their video is fake.
Moo-chi proves that this was sent by the killer by showing CCTV footage that Ba-reum had found and sent over. Han-kook himself placed the envelope in the locker for the courier to pick up. Han-kook’s mother runs up on stage and wails, “It’s not fake? Why’d you lie to me?!” They cut to commercial and Mom is sent to the hospital after collapsing in shock.
Hong-joo’s colleague runs over to tell her that Soon-young and her daughter’s heartfelt story was featured on their radio station about two months ago. She realized after seeing the commemorative clock that was shown earlier.
Back on air, Moo-chi puts all the new information together and realizes what the victims have in common. Hong-joo wraps up her segment and shows a clip of Soon-young and her daughter from the show, then Moo-chi takes over and explains that it was a heartwarming tale that became a hot topic.
He also shares that Jong-ho ran a blog that amassed nearly 50,000 visitors, Mi-jung had nearly 30,000 subscribers, CEO Kim was in the news for his generosity, and Chi-kook was interviewed by Hong-joo on national television for his citizenship award.
Yo-han watches blankly and recalls how Ba-reum had taken him aside on the day of Chi-kook’s surgery to tell him that the prison guard saved him back in high school. Ba-reum begged Yo-han to return the favor this time.
Eight years prior, bullies ganged up on Yo-han for being the Head Hunter’s son. They’d called him a monster, and Yo-han didn’t fight back despite threatening to kill them all. Two people came to his rescue, but his vision was so blurry at the time that he couldn’t make out who they are.
Back to the broadcast, Moo-chi explains that each victim’s lives were exposed to the public at some point. The murderer chose his targets after doing his research.
Suddenly, viewers switch channels to catch the program Fact Check, so Hong-joo and Moo-chi watch along. They play a clip from the documentary that Han-kook appeared in and compare it to the video sent to Sherlock Hong-joo.
The real Han-kook has a one-centimeter scar on his neck, but there wasn’t a scar on the second video. This leads to the conclusion that the kid in the video is not Han-kook, so they call on Sherlock Hong-joo to respond – did they create a fake video?
Moo-chi connects with their program and refutes their claims. He asserts that the video was sent by the culprit and that they’d need to analyze the video to see if it were fabricated. However, Fact Check has the child actor’s father on the line to expose the truth. They ask the audience to think about why they’d create a false video to deceive the public.
Moo-chi yells that it’s not a fraudulent broadcast and sends two videos to the police to verify their authenticity. Reporter Ahn, the other Fact Check host, states that kidnapped children are typically considered dead after 48 hours.
Moo-chi admits that they made a fake video to draw out the culprit. He stresses that before they could play their own video, the killer sent one in. Fact Check then breaks down the timeline at the lockers: Han-kook placed an envelope in locker 14 at 9:50PM and the courier retrieved something from locker 13 at 10:10PM.
Locker 13 was still empty merely minutes before Han-kook arrived. Reporter Ahn theorizes that the culprit knew about the fake video plan and put something in the next locker to taunt them. This lowers the chances of Han-kook’s survival, and Moo-chi looks quite freaked out.
Ba-reum gains access to locker 14 and retrieves the flash drive that Han-kook left behind. The files are corrupted, so he heads to Mujin Police Station to restore them. With fifteen minutes remaining, the staff are ordered to leave their positions and Hong-joo is told to wrap up the show. Instead, she locks herself in the control room with a writer and another PD.
Moo-chi hosts alone and tells the audience that the kidnapper sent them a fake video to trap them and stop the show midway. He won’t give up and will save Han-kook. “If you’re confident enough, then stop playing pranks and come out,” he taunts him to call him. He takes a call from Ba-reum instead.
The station director gets a team to unlock the control room and forcefully drags everyone out, then the power cuts out. Suddenly, we cut to 10:50PM and everybody is back in place to finish the final ten minutes of the broadcast.
An entomologist confirms that the insect found in Jong-ho’s throat was a grasshopper, which reminds most people of the children’s tale The Ant and the Grasshopper. Three minutes before going live, Ba-reum noticed something in the reflection of fake-Han-kook’s mask. It was a drawing of The Little Red Riding Hood, which got Moo-chi thinking.
He reports that Soon-young was found with a red hat, reminiscent of The Little Red Riding Hood. Chi-kook was stripped, like The Emperor’s New Clothes. CEO Kim was discovered with an axe — The Honest Woodcutter. Lastly, Mi-jung was in a greenhouse vineyard — The Fox and the Grapes. He’s been killing based on children’s stories.
The killer dials in and confirms, “Bingo!” The police immediately work on tracing the call. He congratulates Moo-chi and asks him to continue explaining. Each fable comes with a lesson. The Ant and the Grasshopper was about laziness, The Honest Woodcutter about greed, Fox and the Grapes warns of gluttony, The Little Red Riding Hood taught the lustful wolf a lesson, and The Emperor’s New Clothes was about pride.
Sloth, greed, gluttony, lust, and pride…each story directly relates to one of the Seven Deadly Sins. The killer finds the deduction interesting and asks, “But did the people I killed commit those sins?” At this point, the police are about to pinpoint his location so Moo-chi is asked to buy some time.
Rather than answering, Moo-chi claims that psychopaths are meticulous with everything they do. The killer, on the other hand, leaves trails everywhere. He gives him a hint to guess where he slipped up: it happened fifteen days ago.
Knowing that he’s stalling, the culprit hangs up and the police lose the signal. Angrily, Moo-chi reveals that fifteen days ago, a woman working alone at a supermarket was held at knifepoint and was ordered to eat everything in the store. She was told that she would die if she didn’t, so she listened and stuffed herself with food. When she turned around at one point, the killer was already gone. The woman had called to report this just minutes ago, and Hong-joo had asked her questions to see if she fit the bill as a victim. They learned that she was an aspiring model and was featured in a few magazines.
Moo-chi called forensics and learned that nothing was in Mi-jung’s stomach, but she had food in her esophagus. Remembering how her hand was placed as if she were gagging herself, Moo-chi realized that Mi-jung was killed because she couldn’t eat.
The detective tells the audience that Mi-jung suffered from anorexia and immediately threw everything up after she filmed her mukbang shows. She was not at all gluttonous. Moo-chi is enraged because the criminal goes around punishing those who didn’t commit the sins.
Another call comes through and the killer commends him for being smart – it’s why he’s Moo-chi’s fan. He has the audacity to comment that Soon-young could’ve used her body a little, and Jong-ho wouldn’t have died if he were lazier. Mi-jung acted like she didn’t gain weight, and he just wanted to kill Chi-kook when he saw him acting humble during his interview.
Running high on emotions, Moo-chi asks about poor Halmoni. Bong-yi listens attentively and deflates to hear that her grandmother was just unlucky. To rub it in, the murderer says that the kill was boring…they need to resist for it to be fun. The police head out, having found the location, and the killer asks for his answer. Why will Han-kook die?
Moo-chi figures that Han-kook was lured with bread just like the Hansel and Gretal siblings. He plays a clip of Han-kook’s interview, where he was asked if he hated his father for leaving him. He’d answered “no” without hesitation and still loved him.
The remaining sins are envy and wrath. The witch from this story ate children out of anger, so Han-kook’s lack of wrath must be the reason he as chosen. The killer must’ve wanted him to be mad at his father. The police surround the building and confirm that a man is watching the broadcast while speaking on the phone. Moo-chi is instructed to distract him.
The killer must believe that he’s a god, punishing others for their “sins.” Moo-chi snarls, “You’re not a god. You’re not even human – just a despicable monster that can’t be saved.”
This hits too close to home for Detective Park, who recalls how he’d called out the Head Hunter on a news broadcast the exact same way. He still remembers coming home to discover that his daughter was taken, and all that was left behind was a bloody drawing of a headless stick figure.
Moo-chi has delivered his answer, so he demands that Han-kook be released. The police sneak in and pin down their target…but it’s not the killer. They were following the signal from a phone that was slipped into this man’s bag. Bewildered, Moo-chi asks, “I got it right…where’s the child?”
The police send over the restored file from locker 14 – it’s a video of someone watching a show that Moo-won participated in. Oh, no. Something shocking is sent to everybody’s phones, and the director orders the team to broadcast it live. Hong-joo fights against it, but is physically restrained.
Moo-chi turns around to see that Moo-won is held captive. The person who truly needed to feel wrath was him, not Han-kook. Watching from home, Bong-yi grabs a weapon and Halmoni’s photo before leaving her house.
The detective ekes out, “Hyung…” and the killer says that it doesn’t make sense that Moo-won forgave the Head Hunter for killing both of his parents. He’d gone onto a program and explained that he felt peaceful after choosing forgiveness and decided to live diligently for his brother instead.
Pained, Moo-chi screams, “You bastard! I’m going to kill you if you lay a hand on my brother!” The killer is willing to forgive Moo-won’s “sin” if he is willing to get mad. Moo-chi tearfully urges his brother to curse Seo-joon out, but Moo-won sticks to his principles.
Moo-chi asks him to get mad at him instead because if he’d kept quiet years ago, Moo-won wouldn’t have been injured. “Hyung, I made you that way,” Moo-chi apologizes and desperately begs him to get angry.
Moo-won smiles and softly tells Moo-chi, “I don’t want you to destroy your life for revenge.” Switching tactics, Moo-chi kneels in front of the camera and begs the killer to let his brother go. It’s difficult for everybody to watch him offering his own life in exchange.
Moo-won smiles and says, “No matter what happens to me, it’s not your fault,” apologizing to Moo-chi. Everybody shrieks as they watch the killer slice Moo-won’s throat on live television. Hong-joo shuts off the broadcast and Moo-chi howls in grief.
Bong-yi had hopped into a taxi and approaches the cathedral with a knife in hand. By the time Ba-reum gets there, he has to push through a large crowd of people. He sees Moo-chi fighting to get into the crime scene.
He pushes past the officers and we’re reminded of his provocative words to the murderer, saying that he’s in delusion for thinking that he’s a god. Moo-chi is absolutely traumatized by the sight of his brother hanging by the alter. Behind him, “I am God” is written with blood.
That was so difficult to watch. I can’t even begin to imagine what Moo-chi’s life will be like after this. My heart breaks for him, just like it did for Bong-yi when she grieved for Halmoni. He told Detective Park that he had nothing left to lose when he was warned not to go through with the broadcast, but unfortunately, he did. It makes it worse that Moo-won was killed because he forgave the Head Hunter. It’s the exact reason why Moo-chi angrily cut him out of his life. Until the end of his life, he kept his promise to Mom and protected his younger brother with everything he had. While I can’t understand why he couldn’t at least pretend to be angry to save himself, he’s such a principled man that it’s not surprising that he stuck to his beliefs.
I find it interesting that the killer gives his targets an opportunity to be “forgiven for their sins,” and that he actually lets them live if they comply. He definitely has a God complex of sorts. Although it seems quite clear that Halmoni’s killer is Jae-hoon/Yo-han, I’ll refrain from naming the serial killer as such until it’s 100% confirmed. However, under the assumption that it is Yo-han, then it’s obvious that his God complex was born because his prayer to not become a monster didn’t work. It almost seems as if he seeks out these targets to push them into committing the sin just so that he can feel better about not being able to control himself. He labels himself as God and punishes those who don’t commit the sin even when facing death. He needs some serious help, and Moo-chi’s going to have to recover quickly in order for the police to have a chance at catching him.
I’m quite impressed by Moo-chi’s ability to think under pressure, and how the broadcast team is able to prepare visuals in record time. They basically went into it with no idea how the hour was going to go, but with every new tip, Moo-chi was able to put the pieces together. The show seems to know exactly what direction it’s going in, which is a hopeful sign. I feel off-kilter when watching because this doesn’t seem like episode 5 material! In any other crime thriller, this kind of content would be expected in the later episodes. I remain hopeful that whatever is coming up will be written well, as the acting is excellent and has me sold.