Mouse: Episode 10
For our good-hearted cop, his whole identity hinges on proving that a man is innocent when the whole world believes him a killer. His search for evidence leads him into some very dark places, and the answers he finds may not be the ones he wants to believe.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Not long after Han Seo-joon was arrested for murder, his wife Ji-eun was nearly ready to give birth to their child. On her way out of the hospital after a check-up, she sees a woman trying to strangle her own son to death.
Hospital employees stop her and save the boy, but the woman pleads with Ji-eun not to give birth to her child. Ji-eun breaks away from the distraught woman and heads out of the building. Outside, she’s horrified when the woman slams into the concrete only inches away from her.
Ji-eun looks up and sees the woman’s son, peering down triumphantly. ~shudder~ Her water breaks, mingling on the pavement with the dying woman’s blood.
Back in the present, Moo-chi wakes up the morning after his confrontation with Ba-reum, still at Ba-reum’s house. He has no memory of their fight, having been drunk, but he notices that Ba-reum’s left hand is wrapped as if he’s injured. Ba-reum admits that he and Moo-chi fought, but he downplays what happened.
He asks Moo-chi to stop drinking, but Moo-chi only says he’ll stop once he kills Han Seo-joon. He gets loud, upset that no matter how hard he tries, he can’t get arrested so that he can get close to Seo-joon. Smiling, Ba-reum says that it’s his hyung, Moo-won, looking out for him.
After Moo-chi leaves for work, Ba-reum finds a bloodstained rock in the garden. He recalls how he strangled Moo-chi last night, then picked up the rock. A voice in his head had urged him to kill Moo-chi with it, while another voice begged him not to do it, until he’d finally screamed, “NO!!!” and smashed his own hand with the rock to make himself let go of Moo-chi’s throat.
Now he remembers that girl from the past saying that the mouse had a bad brain. Ba-reum wonders if the part of Yo-han’s brain inside his head will eventually kill him from within.
Ba-reum visits Seo-joon, who’s disappointed that Ba-reum is keeping the world’s first successful brain transplant a secret. Ba-reum confesses that he almost killed someone, so Seo-joon tells him that the first time he transplanted a violent mouse’s brain into a docile mouse, the docile mouse became violent and killed its mate. He’s curious whether the same thing will happen to Ba-reum.
Detective Park is shaken that all these years, the body he’d buried thinking it was his daughter Hyun-soo’s was actually that of Jung Man-ho’s daughter, Soo-jin. He understandably wants to know what happened to Hyun-soo, and he goes straight to Seo-joon to demand answers. Seo-joon just breezes that he never said the remains were Hyun-soo’s, and that he doesn’t recall where her body is.
A screaming Detective Park is led out, and Seo-joon tells Moo-chi that he’ll regret shooting Yo-han. Moo-chi agrees that he already regrets it — he should have killed Seo-joon first with Yo-han watching.
At a check-up, Ba-reum asks the doctor if he could be getting these new violent tendencies from the part of Yo-han’s brain inside his head. The doctor assures him that, despite what many donor recipients believe about inheriting traits from their donors, it’s not actually possible.
While he’s there, Ba-reum looks up Yo-han on Moo-chi’s computer and finds graphic photos of his victims. He tells himself that his reaction is just psychological, then takes his medicine just to be safe. Moo-chi finds him there, so Ba-reum says that he was looking for Halmoni’s brooch on the evidence list, because Bong-yi wants it but it’s not with the evidence box.
Meanwhile, Bong-yi gets accosted by Kang Duk-soo’s mother, who lives in her neighborhood. His mother yells at her to move away, but Bong-yi calmly replies that she’s the one at fault for having a son like Deok-soo. Mom attacks but thankfully Moo-chi is there to break it up, and when the woman arrives home, her evil son is there, grinning that Bong-yi has grown up to be very pretty. Gross.
With Kang Deok-soo out of prison, Moo-chi wants Bong-yi to live with him just to be safe. Bong-yi argues that she can’t live on the run, and that this is the only place she can afford to live, because her father built it.
Moo-chi finds Ba-reum planting flowers at the station and gets loud about how they’re making Ba-reum do garden work with his broken hand. He steps in, and while watching him dig, Ba-reum notices something. Woo Jae-pil had confessed to digging the hole where Jung Soo-jin’s body was found, but based on the angle of the hole, it would have been dug by someone right-handed, and Jae-pil was left-handed.
Photos show that Jae-pil had a cast on his left hand at the time of Soo-jin’s death, so he would have had to dig right-handed. Still, there’s no way he could have tied the left-leaning knots on Soo-jin’s hands.
Ba-reum still thinks the knots were clumsy, like a child tied them… and Jae-pil’s son Hyung-chul was twelve at the time. So, was Jae-pil covering for his son’s murders? Ba-reum and Moo-chi decide to focus on Hyung-chul for now, starting with his solid alibi at the time of Hong Na-ri’s death.
They visit the woman whose windows Hyung-chul was working on at the time of Na-ri’s murder. She confirms that she was home the whole time he was there, except for twenty minutes when her dog got sick and she briefly took it to the vet. Ba-reum concludes that Hyung-chul must have fed the dog something, then left to kill Na-ri.
Including travel time, Hyung-chul would have only had a few minutes to kill Na-ri. Moo-chi has Ba-reum tie him and strangle him to test the timing, but Ba-reum gets too into it. That voice in his head tells him to keep going, but luckily Moo-chi’s timer goes off and snaps him out of it.
They realize that Hyung-chul didn’t have enough time to kill Na-ri. Ba-reum is shaken, but Moo-chi doesn’t realize how close he came to death and tells Ba-reum that he’s a better cop after his accident, with his newfound ability to understand killers. Ba-reum gets Moo-chi a beer that’s been stored in a fridge that’s being used to cool a pot of bone broth, and suddenly, Ba-reum solves the mystery.
He and Moo-chi confront Hyung-chul, Moo-chi growling that killing is an addiction, and Hyung-chul challenging him to crack his alibi before more people die. He starts to stalk off, but Moo-chi says that he got sick after drinking milk that was in Hong Na-ri’s fridge and should have been fresh.
Ba-reum reveals that Hyung-chul didn’t kill Hong Na-ri that day — he’d killed her two days earlier, stored her body in her fridge, then he left the job only long enough to move her body back to the position where he’d killed her. Therefore, he’d secured an alibi by making it look like Na-ri was killed while he was working.
When Hyung-chul laughs at their wild theory, Ba-reum shows him that Hong Na-ri’s DNA was found inside her fridge. Hyung-chul snaps at them to produce a warrant, but when he turns his back, Moo-chi aims his gun and pulls the trigger. Thankfully, nothing happens — Ba-reum removed the bullets.
Hyung-chul tries to drive away, but Detective Kang cuts him off just in time, arrest warrant in hand. Moo-chi is furious… he wanted to kill Hyung-chul and go to jail so he could kill Seo-joon, but Ba-reum saved him against his will, again.
Upset by this new murderous voice in his head, Ba-reum begs his surgeon to do another transplant. He’s turned down, as a brain transplant requires a very specific set of circumstances. The doctor says that “we” would lose a lot of Ba-reum were operated on again, which infuriates Ba-reum, who snarls, “I could lose myself! Sung Yo-han’s mind might take over mine!” After he storms out, the doctor calls Chief Choi, who then makes another call to beg a favor.
Bong-yi catches a little girl stealing food in a convenience store and buys the food for her out of kindness. She’s worried that the girl’s mother doesn’t know that Kang Deok-soo is back in the neighborhood, so she walks her home. She tells her mother to move away, quickly, but the mother isn’t worried about Deok-soo and resents Bong-yi’s advice.
Bong-yi asks if it changes anything that she was Deok-soo’s victim, and she leaves the mother rethinking the situation. She finds Ba-reum huddled outside her house, and he leans into her arms and asks sadly if he’ll be alright.
The warrant against Hyung-chul is dismissed for lack of evidence, so Moo-chi turns to Hong-joo for help finding something concrete against Hyung-chul. Hong-joo has a diary written by Kim Young-hee (the woman who was killed at the dog park), and there’s a picture inside of her with a friend. Moo-chi asks Hong-joo to take care of someone for him, but she flatly refuses.
While walking home, Bong-yi gets spooked by a man and scratches his face, but it’s only Moo-chi. As she patches him up, he gives her the bankbook where he’s been saving all the money from Ji-eun and her to use the money to move to his neighborhood where it’s safe. But Bong-yi says that running away won’t solve anything — she wants to handle Deok-soo herself.
They’re both worried about Ba-reum, who’s currently at a church. He kneels and pleads tearfully, “Please don’t let anything happen to me. Please don’t let me become a monster like Sung Yo-han. Please protect me, lord.”
Shin Sang calls Ba-reum to give him the news that he’s going to be put on the evidence managing team with Moo-chi. While they’re on the phone, Shin Sang gets a call that a body was found that shares similarities with Yo-han’s murders, a finger pointed at a cross.
Ba-reum meets Shin Sang at the scene, where a teenage girl’s beaten and burned body was found, just like Yo-han’s first murder of Song Soo-jung. The police are assuming it’s a copycat, a fan of Yo-han’s, but Ba-reum not only sees this as the work of a professional, he also smells mint like he used to at the murder sites.
Remembering Halmoni’s missing brooch, Ba-reum asks Moo-chi to see the pictures of Yo-han’s basement, then the video from the killer during Hong-joo’s broadcast. The walls are different, meaning that Yo-han may not have sent the video. Ba-reum realizes that he only remembers hitting Song Soo-jung, not killing him — Yo-han may not have been the killer after all.
Ba-reum tells Moo-chi and Shin Sang that he thinks the killer may have been someone else. Moo-chi argues against Ba-reum’s theory, asking why Yo-han had those photos in his basement and why he smashed Ba-reum’s head in. Ba-reum tells him about the mint, but Moo-chi can’t accept that he may have shot and killed an innocent man and kicks him out.
Not long after, Ba-reum is called to the scene of another death, at first thought to be a suicide by hanging. The mint scent in the room puts him on edge, and he notices that the woman’s hand is at her throat as if she tried to free herself. Only one finger is stuck under the rope — it looks as if the killer arranged her hand that way.
A closer look shows that she’s wearing Moo-won’s missing cross locket with his family’s photo still inside. Startled, Ba-reum falls, and he spots something fastened to the edge of the woman’s bathrobe… Halmoni’s brooch. This is a message.
He runs out to call Moo-chi and Shin Sang to the scene, but by the time he returns to the body, Moo-chi’s necklace and Halmoni’s brooch are gone. The other cops dismiss Ba-reum’s claim to have seen them, except for Moo-chi, who finds a card for an illegal massage parlor (the same card he found in Hyung-chul’s office) in the woman’s purse and rushes back to the station.
Ba-reum sees this as proof that Yo-han didn’t kill anyone, and it gives him hope. He vows to catch Hyung-chul and prove he’s the murderer, and that he doesn’t have the brain of a killer inside his head.
Moo-chi calls Ba-reum back to the station to talk, and while he waits, he messes up Ba-reum’s tidy desk just because it irritates him, hee. He notices a paused video on Ba-reum’s computer and recognizes the girl on it from Young-hee’s photo. He goes looking for the girl, Hye-won, but apparently she disappeared after telling her boss she was marrying a lawyer but texting all her friends that she was going to study abroad.
With Hong-joo, Moo-chi works out that Hyung-chul is the connecting factor between the dead girls, as he volunteers to counsel troubled and runaway young women. Moo-chi believes that Hyung-chul is killing women he sees as “unladylike,” like when he killed Min-joo after seeing her enter a hotel with a man or Na-ri dating while separated from her husband. He targeted Bong-yi because he was Deok-soo’s lawyer, and knew she was one of his victims.
Hong-joo leaves for an appointment, and unluckily, Hyung-chul is at the doctor’s office and sees her with her child. He asks the doctor, the same unethical jerk who proudly admits that he tipped off the reporter that she was dating Yo-han, and who confirms that she was Choi Hong-joo the TV producer.
Ba-reum and Shin Sang meet with the doctor performing the autopsy on the burned high schooler. The doctor says there was no evidence of strangulation so Ba-reum asks him to look again, impressing Shin Sang with his knowledge of advanced technical terms but concerning Ba-reum himself.
Jung Man-ho, the father of Soo-jin (whose body was buried in place of Park Hyun-soo) is dismayed to find out that Jae-pil didn’t kill his daughter after all but took the blame to protect his son. He tells Moo-chi that Hyung-chul’s mother once tried to kill her son, then committed suicide.
He tells Moo-chi how to find Hyung-chul’s uncle for more information, and Uncle talks about how he once took Hyung-chul’s mother to meet someone — Daniel Lee. Later he took her to a research institute, and he says that after that, her mind seemed blank. Moo-chi notices some hydrangeas on a hill nearby, and Uncle says that Hyung-chul planted them there.
Some of them are leached of color, which Moo-chi knows means there’s iron in the soil. He digs up the flowers, and sure enough, he finds a knife in the ground next to an as-yet undiscovered body.
Ba-reum has been doing his own asking around about Hyung-chul and come to the same conclusion, that he’s the one killing these women. He finds Dong-goo waiting for him, upset that he hasn’t been answering his messages about his wedding tomorrow. Dong-goo brings a suit for Ba-reum to try on, and he mentions that he hasn’t heard from his fiancée, Seul-gi.
Only now does Ba-reum recall that Hyung-chul was at the dinner where Dong-goo’s friend told him not to marry Seul-gi, and he grows worried. He’s right — Hyung-chul was there, and he’d judged Seul-gi unworthy. He’s at her place right now, talking his way into her apartment with a delightedly murderous look on his face.
He dresses Seul-gi in her wedding gown and ties her up in his usual style. He starts to strangle her, but thankfully, Ba-reum and Dong-goo arrive just in time. Ba-reum sends Dong-goo to call for help and breaks into Seul-gi’s apartment, but Hyung-chul attacks him from behind. Ba-reum turns the tables, throws Seul-gi’s veil over Hyung-chul’s face, and starts to hit him over and over.
He stops when the amount of blood seeping through the white silk shocks him, and Hyung-chul manages to get away. Hyung-chul jumps off the balcony and Ba-reum chases him, catching up when Hyung-chul’s car is hit by a truck. Hyung-chul hides in an empty warehouse and knocks Ba-reum unconscious when he shows up.
When Ba-reum wakes, his hands are tied behind his back so he keeps Hyung-chul talking to buy time to work his hands from the knot he instinctively knows how to release. Hyung-chul admits to the murders, including that Soo-jin was his first when they were children.
All he’d had to do was pretend it was an accident and his father easily believed him, and even helped him disguise Soo-jin’s body to look like Park Hyun-soo’s. His mother, however, thought there was something wrong with their son. She’d had Daniel Lee test Hyung-chul’s DNA and learned he’s a psychopath, so she’d tried to kill him but ended up dead herself.
Ba-reum asks why Hyung-chul targeted Bong-yi, and Hyung-chul starts to laugh evilly. Ba-reum has freed his hands and he flies at Hyung-chul, tackling him to the ground and hitting him repeatedly. He asks why Hyung-chul killed the other victims, including Halmoni, but Hyung-chul insists that Sung Yo-han killed him.
Suddenly, Ba-reum sees images that he could only come from Yo-han’s brain… Halmoni lying dead in the alley, knocking over a barrel to set Soo-ho’s body on fire. Horrified, he thinks, It really was Sung Yo-han. He grabs Hyung-chul again and throttles him as the voice in his head croons that people like Hyung-chul deserve to die.
It’s not until Hyung-chul stops breathing that Ba-reum realizes what he’s done… he’s become a murderer. He looks up to see Yo-han standing in front of him, jeering, “How does it feel? Isn’t it exhilarating to kill a person?”
The lines between Ba-reum and Yo-han and Jae-hoon, and who is really whom, are so blurred, and I’m no longer sure if the writer intends for me to be confused or if I’m just missing something important. I still don’t know if Yo-han was really a murderer or just misunderstood, so I’m unsure how to feel about Ba-reum carrying around part of his brain… does Ba-reum literally have the mind of a killer now, or are his fears unfounded? I wanted to believe that Yo-han was innocent and that his actions had a logical explanation, such as that he was also hunting down the real killer and that his movements simply put him in the wrong places at the wrong times, but now? I have no idea.
Everyone just assumed after Yo-han’s death that he committed those murders, even though we never saw definite proof, but I’ve continued to believe he didn’t do it. Now these new murders are being considered copycats, but I’d like to think it’s the original killer who couldn’t keep quiet anymore. After all, whoever killed this most recent woman posed her like the previous murders, and he had Moo-won and Halmoni’s things and knew to put them on the body to taunt Ba-reum. In addition, Ba-reum is smelling the same mint scent he used to smell near the old killer’s victims. It all seems to point to Yo-han being innocent and the real killer still being alive, but there’s so much going on in each episode that I’m having trouble keeping everything straight.
That said, there’s still a lot this show has going for it. I particularly loved the scene of Ba-reum kneeling in a church, the way Jae-hoon did all those years ago as a child. The setting and plea were almost identical, but where Jae-hoon was angry and resentful when he ordered God not to make him a monster, Ba-reum was scared and vulnerable. He’s terrified that he’s acquired the mind of a serial killer, and now he seems to have actually killed someone, and enjoyed it. Things are going to get a lot worse for Ba-reum until he solves these murderers and catches the killer — only then will he be able to find some peace.