Mouse: Episode 9
In the town of Mujin, nothing is ever as it seems. In addition to uncovering a secret regarding a past victim, details surrounding a life-altering procedure come to light. They are terrible truths that are difficult to accept.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
With eerie red lighting and a classical track, Han Seo-joon felt completely at home in his surgical gown on the day of Ba-reum’s operation. He transplanted a portion of Yo-han’s brain into Ba-reum, mentally reassuring his son that he’d be able to live on this way.
Presently, Ba-reum scrolls through Head Hunter headlines once Bong-yi confirms that Seo-joon was the surgeon. One article focuses on victim Song Soo-jung’s pinky finger, which had a hole punched through the nail and F25.17S.ex tattooed on the side.
Ba-reum compares the marks on all of Seo-joon’s victims. The pinky hole reminds him of the mouse from Seo-joon’s cell, which had a hole in its ear. In the science world, this indicates that testing on the subject is complete.
With this information, Ba-reum figures out that Soo-jung’s tattoo meant that she was a female aged 25, and the 17th subject of experiment. He’s both horrified and disgusted to realize that Seo-joon ID’d his victims’ pinkies instead of their ears because he decapitated them all.
Pain shoots through his head as the memory of the older girl stepping on the mouse resurfaces. She’d said, “If you let it live, you’ll end up like that snake. There’s a bad brain inside this mouse.”
When Ba-reum asked about his heightened sense of smell, Doctor Park said that it could only happen if the frontal lobe was replaced (the olfactory bulb is housed there). Paired with Moo-chi’s observation that he seems different than before, Ba-reum seems to understand why he possesses Yo-han’s memories.
The officer confronts Seo-joon at the prison and demands to know whether he put Yo-han’s brain inside his head. Seo-joon just smirks, “You found out sooner than expected. How boring.”
The convict is rather proud of his murders and experiments to this day. He harvested their brains while they were still fresh and everything went well until he met “that kid” and got caught.
Seo-joon considers his victims’ lives the cost of saving humankind. When Ba-reum fumes at this, Seo-joon reminds him that without their sacrifice, he wouldn’t be alive today.
Detective Kang gets quite emotional at the sight of Moo-chi being dragged out in handcuffs. He takes Hong-joo aside when she rushes to the station after hearing about the arrest. She learns that Moo-chi pushed her away because of his plan to kill a criminal and ultimately get closer to Seo-joon. Knowing he’d become a murderer, he couldn’t drag Hong-joo down with him.
During a stakeout once, Detective Kang found a set of rings that Moo-chi intended to confess to Hong-joo with. He planned to do it the next day and was so nervous about it that his heart was pounding, aw! They tuned into her documentary called Forgiveness (the show where Moo-won forgave Seo-joon for his crimes) and Moo-chi’s face hardened to see the Head Hunter giving an interview.
Han Seo-joon claimed that he prayed every day and was able to sleep very well lately. This triggered Moo-chi, who still had nightmares and felt like he was in a living hell. Moo-chi decided to kill Seo-joon himself, since the country refuses to execute him.
When the target of his stakeout appeared, Moo-chi chased after him, missing Moo-won’s appearance on the show. Moo-won had apparently filed a petition to free Seo-joon from the death penalty as an act of forgiveness…no wonder Moo-chi was mad at him.
Moo-chi caught the criminal (the one who eventually jumped to his own death), but let him go and shot at him instead. Detective Kang held him back, but Moo-chi growled that he’d kill him if he ever stopped him again.
Detective Kang has too much to drink with Team Leader Bok and Detective Park, upset that they let Moo-chi join the Evidence Storage Team instead of firing him. He drunkenly asks if Detective Park took him in knowing that the pitiful Moo-chi would take revenge on his behalf. The mood is somber all around tonight.
Thirty years ago, Han Seo-joon worked for the Cambridge University Hospital in England. A patient was diagnosed with CP (Cerebral Palsy, a disorder caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls movement) and Seo-joon found out that a cleaner was giving her a dopamine supplement pill.
A doctor confronted Seo-joon about his patient Emma, who supposedly died due to a medical accident. However, they believed that Seo-joon killed her and he was being investigated by Dr. Gary. The doctor warned that they’d reveal Seo-joon’s true self soon.
Sometime later, Seo-joon wheeled the CP patient into a room full of doctors. He claimed that Dr. Gary misdiagnosed her fifteen years ago, and she’d been stuck in her wheelchair since then. To everyone’s disbelief, the patient shakily stood up without assistance. She actually had Segawa Syndrome, a rare disease caused by a lack of dopamine.
Seo-joon noticed that this patient didn’t exhibit symptoms of a typical CP patient and prescribed her with dopamine supplements to replenish the deficiency. He credited the cleaner of her ward, Daniel Lee, for figuring it all out.
Turns out, Seo-joon had gone looking for the cleaner who gave the patient the pill and overheard Daniel speaking to his sister Jennifer who suffered from Segawa Syndrome as well. He peered into Daniel’s home and saw that his wall was filled with research on genetic chemical structures.
Thanks to Daniel’s discovery, Dr. Gary quit and Seo-joon cleared his name for Emma’s death. Daniel was thankful to Seo-joon, as he was invited to join a genetic research team and given the opportunity to attend school. To show his gratitude, Daniel gifted Seo-joon a bag of mice for research purposes.
Ba-reum follows Seo-joon’s directions and arrives at his lab. In the past, Seo-joon spent his days conducting experiments on mice, attempting to eradicate immunorejection of a brain transplant. He liked that by altering somebody’s brain, he could change a life…like God.
Daniel had shared his own dream of researching “good” genes to create a utopia with no war. Seo-joon suggested that isolating a “bad” gene found in criminals could prevent crime itself, so Daniel happily went down that route instead.
Seo-joon had returned to Korea after killing his girlfriend Jennifer and solidified his status as the country’s top neurosurgeon. It wasn’t until the world went crazy over Daniel’s discovery of the psychopath gene that Seo-joon remembered his original goal.
The doctor regretted influencing Daniel to dedicate his life to researching the psychopath gene which he believed invaded his “realm of God.” Soon, Seo-joon became dissatisfied with animal testing and needed a human brain to work with. He lured a homeless man with the promise of food, who became his first victim.
Ba-reum enters the dusty lab and carefully picks up a child’s hair bobble with a handkerchief. He pulls back a curtain and gags at the sight of brains preserved in jars. Backing up, he knocks over a bucket of skulls and bolts for the exit. When he turns back, he imagines Seo-joon extracting brains on the operating table.
Ba-reum’s next stop is Seo-joon’s old place, now covered in red paint labelling it as a killer’s house. Seo-joon had told Ba-reum that things were great – he nearly perfected the brain transplant procedure, and his child was about to be born into the world. Then, he received a call from Daniel who was returning to Korea.
In Seo-joon’s eyes, the former cleaner was a mere pawn in his plan and he refused to give up the “divine realm” that he dreamed of to someone with “inferior” genes. When Daniel came over for dinner, Seo-joon grew anxious to perform one final experiment immediately. Moo-chi’s family had asked him for directions to the campsite and in his rear view mirror, Seo-joon counted a family of three – just what he needed.
Ba-reum heads over to the campsite and imagines the events of that night playing out, wincing at the imagery of Moo-chi’s parents being brutally murdered. Seo-joon killed twenty people that year without a single mistake but by failing to account for Moo-chi, everything fell apart.
Moo-chi sits in jail anticipating the showdown with Han Seo-joon, thinking about his family. A guard tells Seo-joon about Moo-chi’s arrest and the convict chuckles, “You actually did it, kid. You better keep your neck clean.”
During the visitation, Ba-reum had asked a key question: how did Seo-joon perform the operation while sitting in jail on death row? Seo-joon cryptically said that an important guest came to visit the day after Ba-reum’s accident.
Now, Ba-reum demands to speak to the President’s Chief of Staff but is stopped by her guards. When Chief Choi arrives, Ba-reum skips the small talk and blatantly says, “You should have something to say to me.”
She brings him inside to meet with a doctor who confirms that they grafted Yo-han’s frontal lobe onto his. Chief Choi was sent a tape that showed Seo-joon performing a brain transplant. Desperate to save Ba-reum (because the entire nation was watching), she asked him to attempt the procedure. It didn’t hurt to try, since Ba-reum was as good as dead otherwise.
Seo-joon wanted to be pardoned for his crimes in return because his talents were being wasted behind bars. Thankfully, Chief Choi didn’t agree to it. When Seo-joon got up to leave, the chief got onto her knees to beg him to save Ba-reum – it’d be Seo-joon’s one chance at atonement.
Ba-reum is understandably livid, not understanding why it had to be Yo-han’s brain specifically. Unfortunately, complications arose with the brain they were planning to use. When Yo-han suddenly died, Han Seo-joon gave his consent as his biological father. (That just seems…wrong. He was never a father to Yo-han.)
It’s clear as day that they committed this crime to stay in power; if Ba-reum died, it would’ve affected the presidential election. He leaves without another word but they know that their secret is safe – he wouldn’t want to reveal to the world that a killer’s brain lives within him.
Chief Choi does wonder why Han Seo-joon changed his mind about doing the surgery after saying that he had nothing to repent. He merely considered himself a lion hunting rats.
Hong-joo shakes the thought that Ba-reum has caught onto anything, wondering why he needed to see Han Seo-joon’s interview. Glancing at an image of the serial killer, Hong-joo thinks, “I should’ve killed him back then.” She was given ten minutes to interview Seo-joon for her documentary. Hong-joo clutched a fountain pen tightly but fled the room in tears when flashes of her childhood came back to haunt her.
In his cell, Seo-joon tunes in to some classical music and thinks about who anonymously sent Chief Choi the tape. “You somehow survived,” he muses. He remembers that interview and realizes that Hong-joo is Hyun-soo, Detective Park’s daughter. Seo-joon figures that she must’ve wanted to kill him by filming the documentary, but Moo-won ended up dead beause of it instead.
Ba-reum finally makes it home after his long and gruelling day, only to find Bong-yi waiting for him. He begins to apologize for forgetting their movie plans, but she’s more concerned about Moo-chi’s arrest. This is news to Ba-reum, so he calls Hong-joo to confirm.
He learns that Moo-chi confessed to the crime, but Hong-joo points out how odd it is that he used a scalpel rather than his gun. The two of them inspect Jae-pil’s corpse and Ba-reum notes that Jae-pil’s hands show no signs of self defense.
Judging by the depth of the wounds, Ba-reum senses extreme anger. Somebody lost control and kept stabbing even when Jae-pil was dead. Moo-chi’s goal was to get jailed, so he would’ve just hit a vital spot to do so.
They sift through the CCTV footage at the hospital and notice a visitor holding something shiny. Hong-joo is surprised when she realizes that it’s Detective Park’s wife. Ba-reum looks at another clip and figures out who the culprit is, so he leaves to investigate.
Hong-joo drives to Detective Park’s place and sees that Ba-reum is already there. The detective asks Ba-reum not to scare his wife by arresting him, because he’s already on his way to confess. Ba-reum just asks where his daughter was buried.
Meanwhile, Moo-chi is released and Team Leader Bok tells him that Ba-reum’s on his way to meet Detective Park and catch the real criminal. Bewildered, Moo-chi asks how Ba-reum knew that the detective’s wife killed Jae-pil, but the rest of the team is confused by this.
Detective Park takes Ba-reum to his daughter’s grave, only to find Jung Man-ho (the volunteer who was questioned for being in Hong Na-ri’s neighborhood) crying and about to poison himself. Detective Park knocks the poison out of his hand and the man sobs that the girl beneath this grave is actually his daughter. What?!
While reviewing the CCTV footage, what Ba-reum had seen was Man-ho bumping into Detective Park’s wife and picking up the scalpel she dropped. He checked the evidence from Hyun-soo’s case and discovered that the DNA test was done on the hair bobble found with the remains. It matched the one he found at Seo-joon’s lab.
Ba-reum wracked his brain to figure out the connection between Jae-pil admitting that he killed Hyun-soo and his best friend Man-ho killing him out of anger. He remembered that Man-ho mentioned a daughter that he didn’t have when they conducted the interviews at the volunteer center. After doing some research, Ba-reum discovered that Man-ho was a single father whose daughter Soo-jin went missing in 1994.
After Jae-pil’s arrest, Man-ho had gone over to his place to see what was happening. The police was securing evidence and among the items strewn about the lawn, Man-ho noticed a rabbit charm hanging from a knife. It was identical to a charm that Soo-jin used to wear around her neck.
Man-ho went to confront Jae-pil, not wanting to believe that his friend killed Soo-jin. After all, Jae-pil worked really hard handing out missing persons flyers – there’s no way, right? The former detective had purposely planted Hyun-soo’s hair tie with Soo-jin’s body all those years ago. He apologized to Man-ho, having struggled with the guilt all this time.
Impassioned, Man-ho repeatedly stabbed Jae-pil without fully realizing what he was doing. Scared, he dropped the weapon and ran out just as Detective Park’s wife walked in and picked up the bloody scalpel. In the present, Man-ho gets arrested and another DNA test will be conducted on the remains to determine whether the corpse belonged to Hyun-soo or Soo-jin.
Ba-reum hides the fact that he figured out the true culprit because of the hair bobble and instead, claims that it was because he saw the CCTV. He doesn’t want people to know where he found the hair tie, as he’s not willing to disclose that he now has part of Yo-han’s brain. Hong-joo thanks him for catching the criminal but Ba-reum’s sure that Moo-chi will resent him.
A fight breaks out at the prison – an inmate urges a gangster not to harass their cellmate, Mr. Kim. Without hesitation, Mr. Kim throws himself between the two as the gangster moves in to attack. The prison guards had been watching and steps in to break up the fight.
Later that night, Ba-reum thinks about his interaction with Hong-joo earlier and wonders if Dong-goo was wrong about Ba-reum not having a crush on her. His friend arrives at his place drunk and bloody from the prison fight.
Dong-goo explains that Mr. Kim was jailed unfairly for committing a crime while trying to catch the man who assaulted his daughter. He protected the other inmate without hesitation while Dong-goo was too scared to move. He feels bad about it and muses that Chi-kook would’ve acted.
The forensics team digs up the grave to collect DNA directly from the buried remains. Hong-joo finds Moo-chi surrounded by empty bottles of soju at a restaurant and apologizes when he asks why she pretended not to know who Han Seo-joon’s son was. “If you cared even the tiniest bit about me, you wouldn’t have dated that murderer’s kid,” he says.
Hong-joo lowers her gaze and can only say sorry. Moo-chi loudly demands to know why she had to date Yo-han of all people, and she quietly answers that she was drawn to him because they were quite similar. Merely inches from her face, Moo-chi snarls, “How are you similar? Did you kill people like that bastard?” He angrily tells Hong-joo to get lost.
Back when Hong-joo was reporting on Ba-reum and Chi-kook’s heroic story, she visited Yo-han at the hospital after learning that he was the Head Hunter’s son. Hong-joo caught him about to jump out of the window and dragged him off the ledge. She angrily told him that the bereaved family of his father’s victims were suffering more than him. He should show them that he was different from Seo-joon.
Years later, they met again when Yo-han treated her as a doctor at the hospital. Hong-joo recognized him but he betrayed no reaction. “Wow, you don’t even recognize the person who saved your life. That’s quite upsetting,” Hong-joo had said while hiding a small smile. In the present, Hong-joo gets home and tends to a baby. She didn’t go through with her abortion after all!
At the Pyeongan Precinct, Ba-reum resumes his duties and doodles mindlessly while two women report a neighbor that they are concerned about. Officer Nam doesn’t offer many helpful solutions and just promises to patrol the area more. He shakes Ba-reum to back him up, which causes him to drop his notepad.
Ba-reum freezes and runs to the restroom while clutching his illustration. It’s of a person hanging on a noose, and another lying on the ground with a knife protruding from their chest. Shocked, he rips up the gruesome artwork and flushes it down the toilet.
Bong-yi visits the station with dinner in hand and learns that Ba-reum was feeling unwell and headed home early. Ba-reum finds a note from his aunt along with a photo of him from kindergarten, proving that the boy with the mouse was not him. It was Yo-han’s memory.
He gets a migraine from thinking about young Yo-han’s interaction with the older girl who killed the mouse and claimed that it had a bad brain. The pregnant stray cat keeps meowing despite Ba-reum telling her to be quiet so he strangles the animal, but is interrupted by someone at his door.
A drunken Moo-chi blames Ba-reum for catching the killer, which just adds to Ba-reum’s annoyance. “How much longer are you going to whine? It’s so childish,” the officer snaps. When Moo-chi punches him, Ba-reum wraps his fingers around his neck and squeezes until Moo-chi turns purple. He grabs an object nearby and strikes the detective repeatedly, blood splattering onto his smiling face.
I have all my fingers and toes crossed that they’re not killing Moo-chi off halfway through the drama, but I also wouldn’t put it past them to do so. Moo-chi feels really rough around the edges but like the people near him, I feel protective of him and want him to live out the rest of his life happily. Detective Kang’s attitude towards Moo-chi was deeply rooted in fear of what the younger detective would resort to in order to enact his revenge. When Moo-chi handed in his resignation letter during the Han-kook investigation, he’d said in passing that Detective Kang should be happy now that he quit. It makes sense now, knowing that Detective Kang wanted to minimize the opportunities Moo-chi had to kill a criminal. Team Leader Bok has always been lenient with Moo-chi as well, supporting his crazy hunches.
I had always assumed that Moo-chi became a detective to kill Seo-joon, but he was truly dedicated to catching criminals at the expense of his own health. His revenge plan was born from the outrage of hearing that Han Seo-joon felt at peace despite his horrible crimes, and anger at the government for not executing the person who caused him and many others immense grief. It’s unclear exactly when this documentary was aired, but his vendetta can’t have lasted more than a couple years at this point. To have him die at the hands of Ba-reum, who is only acting like this because of Seo-joon just seems too cruel.
Ba-reum keeps wondering whether he had a crush on Hong-joo prior to his accident. This is obviously the Yo-han part of him speaking which means that Yo-han really had feelings for her. This contradicts the fact that psychopaths like Seo-joon supposedly can’t fall in love, so it differentiates Yo-han from his father already. I’m sure that despite his death, Yo-han’s story doesn’t end here and I’m very interested in getting to know more about how he grew up, why Ji-eun was in such disbelief that he destroyed Ba-reum’s skull, and what Hong-joo saw in him as his lover.
It seems to make sense that Hong-joo is Detective Park’s daughter, especially because his wife caught her peering into their yard and recognized the bracelet she was wearing as Hyun-soo’s. The question is, why is she hiding her identity and how did she survive all this time? She was still a child when Seo-joon got arrested; if she somehow got free and knows who her parents are, why didn’t she reunite with them even if it had to be as an adult?
The mouse that young Yo-han let into the snake enclosure supposedly has a “bad brain.” It attacked the snake, and the older girl warned that letting the mouse live could come back to harm Yo-han. It draws parallels to Ba-reum’s situation. Although he’s the other child who supposedly had the psychopath gene, he would normally be considered prey by a predator. With Yo-han’s brain now infecting his, he’s been losing control of his free will during vulnerable, unguarded moments. Could this mean that the mouse (Ba-reum) could ultimately defeat the snake (Seo-joon) and unexpectedly take down the predator for good? Although each episode brings an onslaught of questions, it’s clear that Mouse knows which direction it’s going in and will let us in on the secrets when it’s time.