Mouse: Episode 7
The aftermath of the bloody confrontation brings the case to a close, although the results are less than satisfying for all those involved. Our kind-hearted cop wakes up with an ability that proves to be helpful in identifying a new killer in town.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Ji-eun wakes up in a cold sweat from a nightmare about her son taking after Seo-joon. Her employee found her wounded at home and brought her to the hospital. She asks if it’s because of Yo-han, but Ji-eun claims that he was only protecting her from self-harm and calls him urgently.
He’s unable to pick up, having just been shot by Moo-chi. As he bleeds out next to Ba-reum, Yo-han sheds a single tear. Moo-chi calls for medical help, then grabs Yo-han and demands to know where Han-kook is but unfortunately, he loses consciousness before anything is said.
Hearing the breaking news, Hong-joo tries to enter the ER to see her boyfriend. She stops struggling against the guards when she sees the horrific state that Ba-reum’s in when he’s wheeled in. News reporters believe that the killer broke into Ba-reum’s home to silence the sole witness of Halmoni’s death.
Ba-reum’s frontal lobe was shattered and Yo-han’s organs were punctured by the bullet. Things aren’t looking good for either of them, and both require surgery. Moo-chi finds a panicked Ji-eun asking the nurses about Yo-han’s condition. When she sees him, she yells, “My poor Yo-han…did you shoot him?”
He booms that Ba-reum’s skull was crushed by the hammer that Yo-han wielded. “His brain was destroyed and he’s dying, but I should feel sorry for your son?” The detective storms off and doesn’t acknowledge Hong-joo, who was watching on the side. Ji-eun slumps to the ground in disbelief.
Meanwhile, Seo-joon sits in his cell and reads an article on his phone about whether murdering is hereditary, using the Head Hunter as an example. He’s really living a cushy life in there, isn’t he?
Moo-chi returns to the station and learns that they didn’t find Han-kook in Yo-han’s house. He’s frustrated because he’s positive that the child was moved when they had his car searched. When the abandoned car is found, they discover traces of blood in the trunk as well as a secret compartment where Han-kook was likely hidden.
The police dig through CCTVs and finally find a lead – a building that was abandoned twenty years ago. Moo-chi checks out the side of the building and discovers burnt clothing, which Shin Sang recognizes from the suitcase. Moo-chi pockets a piece of an envelope with a logo on it.
Goatman branded snacks are found inside along with a syringe vial. After spraying down the area, it looks like a pool of blood was cleaned off the floor. A huge search team scours the surrounding woods for signs of Han-kook’s body.
The doctors hold a briefing and announce that Yo-han’s surgery went well. Unfortunately, Ba-reum suffered from brain hemorrhaging so his operation was cut short. Pained, Hong-joo observes Yo-han from afar and thinks, “I pitied you for suffering because you were a murderer’s son. I thought you were like me. You won’t receive salvation even after death, for what you’ve done.”
The next day, Hong-joo drives off to a secluded area by a set of train tracks and enters an abandoned place. Within the dark room, there are two operation tables that bring back unpleasant memories for Hong-joo. Steadying herself, she finds a shelf filled with dusty cassette tapes.
The government’s handling of recent events causes public sentiment to shift negatively – the president’s approval ratings drop by a staggering 40% and it’s questionable whether the ruling party will stay in power. The president’s chief of staff receives a package from an unknown sender. It’s a cassette tape labelled FPL, M16.395.ex.
When the swelling in Ba-reum’s brain goes down, the doctors operate on him again. The officers guarding Yo-han leave their post to drag Han-kook’s hysterical mother away, so Bong-yi slips into the ICU. “Ba-reum oppa is dying; you have no right to live,” she thinks as she disconnects his breathing tubes and suffocates him with a pillow.
Many flowers and notes are left for Ba-reum as the entire nation prays for his survival. Although his second surgery was a success, a third will be needed depending on how well he recovers. When it’s announced that Yo-han passed away from septic shock, Hong-joo takes the news in emotionlessly, Ji-eun sobs mournfully, and Moo-chi is angry that he didn’t reveal where Han-kook was before dying.
Ten days pass and Ba-reum remains unconscious even after his third surgery. Bong-yi places Eo Bong-yi in the room in hopes that the chirping sounds will help him awaken. Moo-chi finds Bong-yi by Ba-reum’s side and drags her to an empty hospital bed, worried that she’ll faint from exhaustion.
Bong-yi blames herself for what happened, but Moo-chi softly tells her not to feel guilty. He reassures her that the surgeries went well, and Bong-yi thanks Moo-chi for coming in time to save Ba-reum.
Ba-reum wakes up alone and by the time Bong-yi returns, Eo Bong-yi is gone and people are gathered outside the window, shocked at the state of the poor bird. Bong-yi hugs Ba-reum in relief when she realizes that he’s awake, but she’s only met with a blank stare.
The doctor checks up on Ba-reum who is able to answer general questions, but gets stuck on his name and doesn’t even remember his aunt. The surgery temporarily affected his memory and it may take a while to regain them. Bong-yi’s hurt that Ba-reum views her as a stranger with his newly hardened gaze. Aww.
A crowd of people gather outside the hospital to congratulate Ba-reum when he gets discharged. His aunt brings him home, but even that feels unfamiliar to him. Ba-reum’s relieved to hear that he was a kind and upright guy, but is frustrated that he can’t even remember that his own mother died in an accident one rainy day.
Team Leader Bok preps Shin Sang and Moo-chi for their disciplinary hearing. As instructed, Shin Sang lies that he acted irrationally because Han-kook reminded him of his nephew. Despite help from Detective Park, who’s on the disciplinary committee, Moo-chi claims that he aimed to kill and should be investigated for murder.
The committee clears him of misconduct because he saved Ba-reum and Moo-chi receives one year of probation with a six month salary cut. Moo-chi approaches the committee and argues that he should be sent to jail for killing someone. While holding the detective back, Shin Sang accidentally gives the commissioner a bloody nose by elbowing him in the face. Oops.
In the days following, Hong-joo gets an abortion and the police announce that Yo-han was indeed the serial killer. With Dong-goo’s help, Ba-reum moves out of his home to be closer to his aunt. Dong-goo borrows an old textbook and announces that he’ll study to become a prison guard so that he can work with Chi-kook once he wakes up. Dong-goo explains that the three of them were inseparable friends.
Ba-reum gets flashes of memories from the night of the attack, but shakes it off. Bong-yi watches secretly as the moving truck drives away, and she recalls how safe and happy she felt at Ba-reum’s place that night. Ba-reum had left her a necklace with a card, promising to marry her when she comes of age. Bong-yi rips off the necklace and stuffs it in her pocket.
Sex offender Kang Deok-soo is released with a shortened sentence after claiming diminished capacity. The citizens of Mujin are strongly against this decision, and protesters call for his execution. Moo-chi surveys the crowd gathered around the prison, relieved that Bong-yi isn’t there.
Moo-chi is the one who locked Deok-soo up in the first place. He warns the convict that he’ll actually kill him if he attempts any crimes of the sort again. Deok-soo murmurs in agreement and promises to live in repentance for the rest of his life.
ONE YEAR LATER.
Loud campaigning outside Moo-chi’s place serves as a reminder that presidential elections are just around the corner. He mutters that he’ll vote for whoever plans to execute those on death row. He gets a call informing him of his new assignment now that his one year probation is over.
Shin Sang’s year in the boonies (because he elbowed the commissioner) is also coming to an end and the detective is excited to rejoin the Violent Crimes Unit. Ba-reum will take over his position and on his first day reporting to Pyeongan Precinct, an entourage of reporters document the moment.
Ba-reum’s reinstatement is a political move by the current party in power hoping to improve their popularity prior to elections. He’s not fully recovered yet, so the higher ups don’t expect nor want him to do any real work.
When patrolling with Shin Sang, Ba-reum shares that he has regained most of his memories, but doesn’t actually remember Moo-chi. He wipes markings off of a vandalized poster of presidential candidate Shin Sung-min and declares that he’ll be voting for him since he seems the most sincere. Hee, this earns him a big bear hug from Shin Sang, who’s Candidate Shin’s son.
They witness a motorcyclist stealing a purse across the street; Ba-reum sprints past Shin Sang who yells, “You’ll shake your brain!!” Pfft. Ba-reum chases the man into a stream and manages to hold him down. He discovers a corpse hidden between the grass on the water bank, but he barely reacts to it. As Ba-reum takes in the details of her tied up wrists and bruised face, he wonders, “What’s this feeling?”
Moo-chi’s new job is to manage and store evidence under Detective Park because nobody else was willing to take the troublemaker detective under their wing. He huffs that he’d rather resign, but Detective Park reminds him, “Don’t you have something left to do?”
Their team goes on site to collect evidence sometimes and are therefore issued firearms. Although not explicitly said, Detective Park is counting on Moo-chi to kill Seo-joon. He’d do it himself, but has a wife to take care of.
Violent Crimes arrives on scene and Detective Kang labels it as a robbery gone wrong. “It’s not,” Ba-reum interjects, claiming that it only seems that way. Markings discovered in the mud confirm Ba-reum’s suspicions – somebody drove the corpse here and dragged it across the ground.
Shin Sang thinks that the victim must’ve been acquainted with her killer, judging by how her body was placed face down. Ba-reum refutes this point as well, which the detectives aren’t quite happy to hear. He’s silenced by Shin Sang with the explanation that he injured his head and is speaking nonsense.
While organizing the boxes of evidence, Moo-chi finds one from the Head Hunter case and discovers the birthday present his parents got for him. There was a loving note from Mom and Moo-won had written: Happy birthday! If anyone bothers my brother, hyung will teach them a lesson.
Moo-chi chokes up when he finds a locket with a family portrait and slips it into his pocket. When Detective Park enters, he hides his tears and asks why they’re still in possession of the evidence. The Head Hunter case provides great material for future investigations, so Detective Park had requested not to destroy the evidence.
Their team is responsible for compiling investigative research materials as well. They’re a tiny team of two, which Moo-chi complains about, but nobody is willing to join. If Moo-chi wants help, he’ll need to recruit someone.
Ba-reum visits Chi-kook, who’s still in a coma, then meets with Dong-goo for dinner. Dong-goo updates Ba-reum on his first day working as a prison guard, while Ba-reum shares that he found a corpse today. Their conversation is cut short when Dong-goo’s friends and fiancée join. He’s getting married and wishes Bong-yi could attend, but she disappeared and Ba-reum doesn’t remember her.
A few drinks in, Dong-goo’s friend drunkenly discourages Dong-goo from marrying his girlfriend when she excuses herself to go to the restroom. He claims that she’ll cheat on him to get a main acting role. Dong-goo punches him in the face and Ba-reum gets caught in the crossfire when trying to intervene.
Ba-reum knocks the “friend” out with a single punch, then washes up in the restroom. At one point, he thinks he has a nosebleed, but it was just his imagination. Dong-goo checks up on him and wonders when he became so strong.
Moo-chi gets annoyed when Detective Kang’s team drops off an evidence box with missing items and is told to go pick it up himself. He peeks into the meeting room where Detective Kang is consulting an expert on the knot that was used to tie the victim up.
It’s a modified version of a quick-release knot called the Highwayman’s hitch, often used by hikers. Detective Kang figures they should look into any mountaineering enthusiasts in the victim’s life. Team Leader Bok notices Moo-chi spying on them, so the detective grabs the evidence and tells them to sign it out if needed.
On his way out, Moo-chi overhears detectives discussing Ba-reum’s comment about the killer not being an acquaintance. He’s happy that Ba-reum has been reinstated and visits the Pyeongan Precinct the following day.
Reminiscent of their first meeting, Moo-chi nearly runs Ba-reum over. The memories come flooding back because of the déjà vu moment and both men hug it out, happy to see each other. Ba-reum explains that when he remembers a person, the rest of their memories return, too. How convenient.
Ba-reum shares his thoughts on the recent case and pulls up photos of the victim to explain that the loosely tied knot was used to give the victim a false sense of hope. The killer enjoyed seeing her struggle before ultimately choking her to death.
“Only a psychopath would kill like this,” Moo-chi comments. Ba-reum decisively says that this wasn’t their first murder; the crime scene was too clean. He has a feeling that f they don’t catch the killer soon, another murder will happen. Moo-chi notes that he seems different.
When Moo-chi returns to the station, he watches Detective Kang interrogate a co-worker of the victim, Kang Min-joo. His tires match the markings, he owns hiking ropes, and his semen was found in Min-joo’s body. Moo-chi laughs at himself for believing Ba-reum, and Ba-reum’s worried knowing they caught the wrong guy.
Moo-chi checks the evidence submitted for a different homicide case and notices that the victim’s wrists show evidence of rope burn, but no rope was found on site. The detective is rather dismissive of Moo-chi pointing this out, so Moo-chi heads to the crime scene himself and searches everywhere until he notices something odd about the clothesline.
Dirty clothes are hung on the line, perfectly spaced apart. Moo-chi moves the shirts and sure enough, blood stains the rope. He recreates the Highwayman’s hitch and realizes that Ba-reum’s right – this is the work of a serial killer.
He brings Ba-reum to the crime scene and explains that victim Hong Na-ri’s face was slammed against a mirror, breaking her front teeth and cutting her forehead. It seems like it was done by an acquaintance, as there were no signs of breaking and entering. He gets thirsty from explaining and takes a sip of milk from her fridge. Ew.
Everything about this case is different from Min-joo’s. While Na-ri was found lying on her side in her own home, Min-joo was face down and kidnapped. Ba-reum is very certain that this was done by the same person after scrutinizing the scene.
He puts himself in the murderer’s shoes and explains that they intentionally smashed Na-ri’s face into the mirror to watch her painful death. Moo-chi mentions that there were signs that CPR was administered, so her husband was arrested as a suspect. They lived separately and did not get along.
Ba-reum is certain that the killer is the one who performed CPR, reviving her only to kill her again. He explains that the murderer is getting progressively more violent and is experimenting on ways to enjoy the hunt. Alarmingly, he admits that he is sure about this because it’s what he’d do if he were the killer.
Moo-chi isn’t completely on board until Ba-reum accurately guesses that the killer likely used the clothesline to tie her wrists, then put it back with clothing spaced out evenly – he seems to be a perfectionist.
Convinced, Moo-chi proposes that they catch the killer together. He wants a second chance to end up in jail with Seo-joon. Ba-reum turns down his offer since he needs to work at the precinct, but Moo-chi tells him that he doesn’t have to show up to work. They leave without realizing that Hong-joo was in the apartment all along, snooping around the crime scene.
Moo-chi gets an upset stomach and does some thinking on the toilet. He creates a knot out of toilet paper and suddenly remembers seeing something similar from the Head Hunter evidence box. This knot was used on Detective Park’s daughter.
After Detective Park’s outburst, the Head Hunter took both his children from their home. His son Hyun-seok was hit by a car the next morning while escaping. The military was sent to search for his daughter Hyun-soo, but she wasn’t found until five years later, buried deep underground. The DNA was a match, but Detective Park still has a difficult time believing it and digs around to search for her body.
The expert confirms that the knot used on Hyun-soo was tied by the same person who killed Min-joo. However, the knot was done clumsily as if a child tied it. Hong-joo has been looking into these murders herself and heads to the evidence storage to see what the knot looks like. She lets herself in and digs into the evidence box, taking the rope out and inspecting it with her bare hands.
She overhears Moo-chi and Ba-reum discussing that whoever taught Seo-joon the knot or learned it from him would be a suspect. She leaves when they decide to visit the prison. Ba-reum stops in his tracks and notices that the box was angled differently than how he left it, but Moo-chi dismisses his concerns.
Seo-joon refuses to see Moo-chi but accepts a visit from Ba-reum. He offers him an insincere apology on Yo-han’s behalf, and mentions that they met once before. Ba-reum doesn’t remember and Seo-joon tsks that his surgery didn’t seem to go well.
Ba-reum takes out the rope used on Hyun-soo and demands to know about the knot. Seo-joon claims he has never used the knot before and frustrated, Ba-reum turns to leave. However, if Seo-joon’s not lying, then there’s a possibility that he didn’t kill Hyun-soo.
Seo-joon wants to introduce Ba-reum to a “friend” and pulls a live mouse out of his pocket. It triggers memories of a child in a yellow raincoat placing a mouse in the snake enclosure. Ba-reum is shaken, not understanding what this memory is.
Eek, I get the chills whenever Ba-reum gets a little too immersed in describing what he’d do as a murderer. We always knew that he possessed the psychopath gene, but he never truly exhibited any signs of actually being one. Those who aren’t predators are at least considered geniuses, but Ba-reum didn’t seem like one before his accident. After his three surgeries, it’s like his brain has been reset or rewired because his psychopath tendencies are beginning to show.
It seems like a bit of a stretch if Ba-reum just knows exactly what the killer would do, but it makes for a very interesting ability that could solve these difficult serial killer cases. Is Ba-reum just able to understand a psychopath’s mind, or does he know all these details because he’s the one behind this? Maybe he just doesn’t know it? Ba-reum mentioned that the killer seems to be a perfectionist, and he himself was quite eagle eyed with how he noticed that the evidence box was off by a few degrees.
I question the competency of the police force for a few reasons. First, the Detective Kang’s Violent Crimes Unit is so stuck in their own ways. They don’t really accept other people’s opinions and are often tunnel visioned on the wrong suspects. They often dismiss the possibility that Ba-reum or Moo-chi could be right in their line of thinking.
Second, how can somebody slip into the evidence storage room unnoticed and casually take something out of the box? I was so annoyed watching Hong-joo tamper with the evidence with no gloves on. Even if she spent years working with the police force on her show, she’s not authorized to have access to these important materials for ongoing cases. She could have undone the quick-release knot or ruined important clues by putting her DNA all over that rope. It just doesn’t sit well with me, and the fact that the door wasn’t even locked to keep people out is such a red flag.
I’m not sure how I feel about the show in general at this point. It’s just brutal murder after brutal murder, and…not much else, if I really think about it. It’d be nice if they took some time to focus on other things for a change of pace, otherwise this will become a long 20-episode run of different ways a psychopath can kill.