Sell Your Haunted House: Episode 10
Newly reconciled, our leads realise that they have a common goal and decide to work together to unravel the mysteries of the past that led to the deaths of their loved ones.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
In-bum and Ji-ah go for food and she tells him off for following her, insisting that she was never in any danger because she has too much self-control to act impulsively on the ghost’s urges, even while in a trance. She asks why he didn’t wake her up sooner and In-bum struggles to answer, recalling the way Ji-ah looked standing on that stage.
As they arrive back at Daebak, In-bum returns his necklace to Ji-ah. He explains that his uncle gave him an identical one when he was a child which he now realises must have come from Mi-jin, and wants to thank her for enabling him to live a normal life.
Ji-ah admits that she was looking for Sung-shik’s nephew because she doesn’t know what happened 20 years ago either, and was hoping he could give her answers that would help her exorcise Mi-jin’s ghost. She apologises to In-bum for getting so upset with him and saying things that she shouldn’t have said, handing the necklace back and telling him to keep living normally.
Ji-ah finds Soo-jung waiting when she gets in, Ji-ah having grudgingly agreed to let her stay the night since she was scared to be alone — although not before she tried passing the responsibility off on Hwa-jung and Ji-chul. Over drinks, Ji-ah tells Soo-jung that she’ll find her a new tenant soon so she can move out of her apartment.
Soo-jung asks Ji-ah if she thinks that will solve the problem and Ji-ah admits that if the stalker was determined enough to kill someone to get to her then it probably won’t, but it turns out Soo-jung was more worried about the ghost.
Soo-jung falteringly admits that she realised Hyun-ju was in trouble when she looked back as the elevator door closed, recognising the silent plea for help in her eyes. Soo-jung was too scared to intervene so she pretended not to understand, telling herself that Hyun-ju would be fine as she turned away.
The lights begin to flicker and Soo-jung freaks out, despite Ji-ah reassuring her that she’d already exorcised Hyun-ju’s ghost. Losing patience with Soo-jung’s fears, Ji-ah informs her that Hyun-ju got back on the elevator that day to shield her, and her ghost hung around to protect Soo-jung because she knew Kang-tae would try to hurt her again.
Tears rolling down her face, Ji-ah explains that Hyun-ju wanted to be an actress and worked hard for years, but was murdered before she could take the stage in her first leading role. She tells Soo-jung that Lee Hyun-ju gave her life to save her, and she owes it to her to remember her name for the rest of her life.
Soo-jung apologises, crying hard, and Ji-ah tells her she has to choose now whether to live a life of guilt or a life of gratitude for the sacrifice Hyun-ju made. Ji-ah goes upstairs alone and sighs to Mi-jin that she’d forgotten how hard it is to live with the memories of a ghost.
Director Do is furious when he hears that none of his henchmen have managed to get the contract for Daebak Realty signed yet, all terrified of a ghost. Tae-jin films a pack of thugs held in thrall by Mi-jin outside Daebak, cackling as they scatter screaming.
Staring thoughtfully at the drawing of a knife Ji-ah gave him, Detective Kang goes to Kang-tae’s restaurant to pick up lunch and casually interrogates him about his shoulder injury, which he claims was caused by a fall. The detective wanders into the back kitchen and finds a knife-block full of knives with a cursive ‘M’ on the handle, just like the one Ji-ah drew. One knife is missing.
Tae-jin meets his underling clandestinely at a food stand for an update on Director Do’s movements, but gets ambushed by Secretary Choi and her thugs instead. She interrogates him about how exorcisms work, and learns that Ji-ah and In-bum go to the site alone first to do a preliminary survey.
Soo-jung has come to a decision, and asks Ji-ah to help her get the evidence needed to convict Kang-tae. Realising that there will be other victims after her and Hyun-ju if Kang-tae isn’t stopped, Soo-jung overcomes her terror and offers to act as bait to trap him. Ji-chul is worried that she’ll be putting herself in harm’s way and appeals to Ji-ah, but Ji-ah agrees with Soo-jung and instructs him to start installing cameras, devastating him and surprising Hwa-jung.
Taking Ji-ah aside, Hwa-jung questions her intentions in getting involved. Ji-ah tells her that she’s doing it for Soo-jung not Hyun-ju, because Soo-jung won’t be able to let go of her guilt until Kang-tae is caught. Ji-ah knows what it’s like to live a life of guilt, and doesn’t want Soo-jung to suffer that fate.
Soo-jung purposefully walks past Kang-tae’s restaurant and gets his attention, as the team enact their plan. In-bum and Hwa-jung sit in the van monitoring the cameras and bicker, but luckily they’re not so distracted that they don’t notice Kang-tae enter the building and let himself into Soo-jung’s apartment.
As Kang-tae crosses the apartment and enters Soo-jung’s bedroom, Ji-ah and Ji-chul emerge from another room and creep after him to listen at the door. As Kang-tae advances on her, Soo-jung says that she isn’t dating him and didn’t give him the passcode, and he says she’ll come to like him soon.
Soo-jung grabs for her phone and Kang-tae knocks her back onto the bed, telling her that she’ll die like that other wench if she doesn’t listen to him. She asks if that’s why he killed Hyun-ju and he confirms that it is; he hates bitches that won’t listen.
Ji-ah suddenly pulls Kang-tae backwards off Soo-jung and tells him that she also really hates sons of bitches who won’t listen, before throwing him across the room. He pulls a knife and slashes Ji-ah’s arm, distracting her and giving him a chance to run.
Hwa-jung and In-bum see what happened on the cameras and In-bum bursts out of the van and past Detective Kang, who’d just noticed them parked outside Kang-tae’s closed restaurant, to go to Ji-ah’s aid. Hwa-jung calls the police and reports an intruder with a weapon, gesturing for the detective to follow In-bum.
In-bum and Ji-ah pursue Kang-tae out of the building and through the dark streets, until he emerges from an alleyway and is suddenly hit by a garbage truck. Ji-ah’s breath turns cold as Kang-tae’s ghost forms in front of them, smirking evilly. Ji-ah and In-bum exchange a loaded glance before springing into action, Ji-ah using her own blood to scrawl Kang-tae’s name on her hand while In-bum tears off his necklace and pulls Kang-tae’s spirit into his body.
Ji-ah and Kang-tae grapple, the spirit awl in her hand and a shard of broken glass in his. Ji-ah soon manages to put Kang-tae on his back and seizes the opportunity to slam the awl into his chest, exorcising his ghost.
Ji-ah pulls In-bum to his feet as Detective Kang arrives, having missed all the action. Back at the police station the detectives watch the footage from Soo-jung’s bedroom in which Kang-tae confessed to Hyun-ju’s murder and threatened to kill her too, and Detective Kang tells the Daebak team that they’re free to go.
Detective Choi protests, pointing out a person died, but Detective Kang tells him that he saw the crime scene himself and it was a traffic accident. He wants to wait and hear back from forensics about Kang-tae’s knife before they take any further action, wondering to himself about how Ji-ah could possibly have known about it.
Outside the precinct, Soo-jung thanks everyone for their help. She accepts Ji-chul’s offer to drive her to her friend’s house, making him very happy, and In-bum watches as Ji-ah and Hwa-jung drive away.
Hwa-jung is the only one in the office when Detective Kang arrives the next day, and he tells her that they found Hyun-ju’s DNA on Kang-tae’s knife and secret photos of multiple women including Soo-jung on his computer, cementing his guilt.
Still thinking about Ji-ah’s drawing, he tentatively asks Hwa-jung if Ji-ah really can communicate with ghosts, admitting that he’s struggling to believe it. Hwa-jung retorts that he’s always had trouble believing things he can’t see and Detective Kang frowns, asking Hwa-jung if there was something he didn’t know back when she was a teenager. Hwa-jung replies that there are two sides to every coin.
As Ji-chul helps Soo-jung move her belongings out of her apartment, she tells him that she’s decided to take the police exam. There are a lot of bad people in the world and she wants to face them head on instead of burying her head in the sand. Ji-chul praises her cool attitude, but is a little taken aback by how much she suddenly reminded him of Ji-ah.
Ji-ah has decided to exorcise Sung-shik’s spirit, in the hopes that his memories will unravel the mystery from 20 years ago. She’s surprised when Hwa-jung forbids it, arguing that Sung-shik’s apparent super-strength makes it too dangerous to attempt. Hwa-jung asks if Ji-ah wants to do this for In-bum, pointing out that he won’t even know that his uncle’s a ghost if they don’t tell him, but Ji-ah questions if it’s really alright to remain ignorant of reality.
Ji-ah tells Hwa-jung that her decision has nothing to do with In-bum anyway. Seeing Soo-jung’s determination to catch Hyun-ju’s killer even at the risk of her own life made her realise that she hasn’t really done anything but talk about exorcising Mi-jin and she wants to take action. Hwa-jung reassures her that she’s tried everything she could and Ji-ah points out that she hasn’t tried exorcising Sung-shik yet, upsetting Hwa-jung who tells Ji-ah to fire her if she’s just going to ignore her opinion.
In her room, Ji-ah tells her mother that she understands Hwa-jung’s worry but she can’t see any other way forward. Mi-jin can only sit and listen to Ji-ah as she wonders whether or not she should tell In-bum, unable to give her advice.
In-bum remarks that a conman and a policewoman could never work out as he helps Ji-chul get ready for his last date with Soo-jung before she enrols in the police academy. They’re interrupted by Ji-ah, who brusquely orders In-bum to join her for food.
In-bum exits the restaurant in a white suit and poses for Ji-ah who’s been waiting outside, clearly proud of himself. He tells her that he dressed in white to match her black, and Ji-ah, unimpressed, asks if he thinks they’re playing baduk.
On the drive over, In-bum tells Ji-ah to say whatever she wants to say, noticing the serious expression on her face. Ji-ah explains that the vengeful ghost which possessed In-bum when Director Do kidnapped them was actually his uncle’s spirit, which has attached itself to the director.
In-bum sits looking out at the river, trying to process that his uncle’s a vengeful ghost. He asks Ji-ah how long she’s known and she says that she recognised the ghost immediately as her mother’s last client, but she didn’t know at the time that In-bum was his nephew.
In-bum wants to exorcise Sung-shik’s spirit immediately but Ji-ah asks him to consider sitting this one out, concerned that he’ll find his uncle wasn’t the person he believed him to be. She tells him that having to deal with the last memories and emotions of a person he knew and loved will be more painful than living with the memories of a stranger, and she’d also like to witness Sung-shik’s memories herself so she can find out first-hand what happened in the past.
In-bum admits that he’s honestly afraid to have his worst fears about his uncle confirmed, but after the past 20 years of doubt and uncertainty he needs to know the truth, no matter how painful it might be.
Back at Daebak, Ji-ah explains to In-bum and Ji-chul that there’s a difference between ghosts that attach themselves to a location and those that attach themselves to a person — in order to exorcise Sung-shik, they’ll need the cooperation of Director Do.
Ji-chul, disguised as a cleaner, sets up cameras in the Dohak Construction offices as In-bum arranges a face-to-face meeting with Director Do on the pretext of selling Daebak Realty. Taking the opportunity to bug the director’s office, In-bum admits that he’s actually there to ask Director Do about his uncle, as he was the last person to see him alive.
Director Do tells In-bum that Sung-shik had demanded money from him since his arson attack had smoothed the way for the redevelopment, threatening to tell the police that Golden Development ordered it if he didn’t pay up. Unsettled, In-bum denies that his uncle would have done something like that and leaves.
Ji-chul joins In-bum outside the building, enjoying the thrill of a con, but In-bum doesn’t share his excitement, still thinking about what Director Do said to him. Meanwhile Director Do summons Secretary Choi to his office to tell her to proceed with their plan.
Back at Daebak, Ji-chul is dismayed to find that although the devices in the boardroom and stairwell are working, the one in the director’s office isn’t, despite In-bum’s insistence that he installed it correctly. Ji-ah says the office is where the real ghost is, so they don’t need to worry about creating a fake one in there anyway. The guys have launched a rumor campaign that Dohak Construction is haunted in order to drive Director Do to contact Ji-ah for an exorcism — which sure enough he does.
Ji-ah is shown into Director Do’s office, where she finds Sung-shik’s ghost staring at him intently. Director Do explains to Ji-ah that he apparently has a ghost problem so he called in a ghost expert to take care of it, clearly not taking her very seriously.
Ji-ah explains that a ghost has attached itself to him and offers to exorcise it at no cost, but Director Do just laughs mockingly. He turns on the TV to show footage of Ji-chul setting up cameras in the boardroom, and tells Ji-ah that they’ll have to do better than a shoddy con like that if they want to trick him.
The team regroups back at Daebak and try to come up with another plan — In-bum suggests they just kidnap Director Do like he did to them, but Ji-ah dismisses it immediately as a stupid idea. They all clam up suspiciously when Hwa-jung walks in to inform Ji-ah that they have a new client, and In-bum and Ji-chul realise they don’t know why it’s a secret from her.
Desperately in need of money, the new client is trying to sell an abandoned warehouse but a ghost keeps scaring off potential buyers. Ji-ah and In-bum set off immediately to carry out the preliminary site visit.
As they arrive at the old factory, In-bum asks if Ji-ah is keeping their plan a secret from Hwa-jung because she doesn’t trust her. Ji-ah tells him that Hwa-jung is the only person in the world she trusts.
Meanwhile, Hwa-jung meets Director Do at an abandoned construction site, at his request. He wants to know why Ji-ah told him he had a ghost attached to him and what her plans are but Hwa-jung refuses to answer, only concerned that he didn’t take Ji-ah up on her offer to exorcise it.
As Director Do walks away he remarks that it’s a real shame she wasn’t more willing to cooperate, before a load of timber suspended overhead suddenly plummets towards Hwa-jung, presumably crushing her.
Ji-ah and In-bum explore the warehouse but Ji-ah is unable to sense a ghost and decides it was a false alarm. Just as they’re about to go, the doors of the walk-in freezer she and In-bum are inside suddenly slam shut, and the coolers come on full blast.
Unable to get a cell signal or open the door, In-bum sits next to Ji-ah and takes her hand, saying that at least one of them should be warm. She tells him that his recharge won’t work because his touch can only reverse the effects of a ghost, but he wants to keep holding hands anyway.
They huddle together as the temperature keeps dropping, and In-bum falls unconscious after telling Ji-ah that he doesn’t want to become a vengeful ghost if he dies. Ji-ah stays conscious through sheer force of will, refusing to die until she frees her mother’s spirit.
The lights suddenly flicker and the building begins to shake, as Ji-ah breathes out the cold vapor that heralds the arrival of a spirit. The freezer door is suddenly wrenched open to reveal Mi-jin’s ghost, come to save her daughter, and Ji-ah gapes at her in shock.
I have conflicting feelings about Soo-jung abandoning Hyun-ju like that. My initial reaction was scorn and anger at her cowardice, but after thinking about it I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. Hyun-ju did an amazingly brave thing when she stepped up to protect Soo-jung, but she went above and beyond. I don’t think we can really condemn Soo-jung for not being willing to risk her life for someone she barely knows. That said, it’s not like the only options were to either step in and put herself in danger or completely ignore it — why didn’t she ring the police or ask the neighbours for help after she got out of the elevator?! That inaction really is inexcusable. I think Soo-jung’s confession casts some of the comments she made about Hyun-ju’s party girl lifestyle in a different light though — with hindsight she was clearly trying to make excuses for why she didn’t act, attempting to convince herself that what happened wasn’t her fault and that anyone would have done what she did.
I was proud of Soo-jung when she told Ji-ah that she wanted to catch Kang-tae not just to avenge Hyun-ju’s death, but to prevent him from harming other women in the future — it felt very much in the spirit of living her life in a the way that would have made Hyun-ju proud. I like Soo-jung’s character arc in theory — from selfish and cowardly, to reevaluating her attitude and values after Hyun-ju’s sacrifice, leading to her willingness to put aside her fear and do the right thing, and finally deciding to devote her life to protecting others as a police officer — but ultimately I don’t think the actress was quite capable of pulling it off convincingly, which was a real shame. I’m also glad Soo-jung and Ji-chul appear to be over and done with, because they never quite clicked as a couple for me. He seemed far too over-enthusiastic and eager to please and she never seemed to like him all that much.
Stray thoughts this episode: did everyone just abandon In-bum at the police station without a ride home? Detective Kang was laughably ineffective, but at least he seems to have moved past being intentionally obstructive. I quite enjoy In-bum and Hwa-jung’s petty bickering and the streak of childishness it brings out in the normally poised and mature Hwa-jung. There were so many missed opportunities to care for each other’s wounds (In-bum held a shard of broken glass bare-handed!), and I was surprised In-bum didn’t seize the chance to fuss over Ji-ah. And for a very brief moment, I thought they were going to reveal that Director Do was the father of Hwa-jung’s dead child.
Ghost lore is starting to get more complicated! So far we seem to have 3 types of vengeful spirits: those anchored to a place (water ghost, old man), those anchored to a person (Sung-shik), and wandering ghosts that have no anchor (painter) — plus child ghosts which are apparently a category of their own. Ghosts seem to have a wide range of sentience, from the ghost student who just climbed the stairs he died on every night, to the water ghost’s thirst for revenge and attempts to drown others, to the child ghost who seemed almost unchanged in death. Perhaps a ghost’s power and presence are linked to their emotions as they died — the painter and water ghost both had grudges against their killers before they died and their spirits were fuelled by anger and bitterness, while Hyun-ju’s didn’t know her murderer or have any strong feelings about him prior to the moments immediately preceding her death, so her ghost was instead motivated by her protective nature. Sung-shik’s ghost seemingly has had little impact on Director Do’s life, despite the intensity of his stares — was the super-strength he displayed while possessing In-bum a sign that his grudge is very powerful or did the biological link between them somehow super-charge the possession?
And then there’s Mi-jin’s ghost, which defies classification. She previously seemed to be anchored to Ji-ah’s apartment but this episode blew that theory out of the water. She’s obviously very powerful because we’ve seen her hold multiple people in thrall at once and she can also affect the physical world, knocking Ji-ah’s shoes over. She seems incredibly sentient and aware of what’s going on, scaring away thugs and judging Ji-ah’s shopping addiction. Is this purely because she was once an exorcist? Or has more of her spirit been trapped here than is normal? I strongly suspect that Mi-jin’s ghost remained on this plane to watch over Ji-ah, unable to abandon her daughter to grow up alone. I wonder if the key to Mi-jin’s exorcism is actually Ji-ah’s happiness, allowing her to let go and move on, secure in the knowledge that Ji-ah will live well without her. The pacing of the mystery is great though, I can’t believe we’ve gotten this far along with so few answers and I still feel satisfied with how it’s progressing.
I’m continually impressed by the way these characters act and communicate like mature, rational people, even though that probably shouldn’t be as remarkable a quality in kdramaland as it often is. I’m glad that Ji-ah gave In-bum a sincere apology for the way she treated him when she found out about his connection to Sung-shik, even though he’d obviously already forgiven her and she could have taken the easy way out and just not mentioned it. Ji-ah never flinches away from difficult things, and it was nice to see that she’s capable of admitting to her mistakes.
Ji-ah approached her conversation with In-bum about Sung-shik’s ghost in the same resolute way. Instead of hiding it or trying to make the decision for him, Ji-ah informed In-bum of the facts openly and gave a clear, reasonable explanation for why she didn’t think he should be the medium for the exorcism, admitting her concern for him. Rather than reacting emotionally or recklessly, In-bum listened to and tried to understand what Ji-ah had to say, and then made a calm, well-thought-out decision which she respected, even though it went against her wishes. Moments like these show that Ji-ah and In-bum see each other as equals and partners, and their relationship is founded on respect and trust as much as affection or attraction.