Sell Your Haunted House: Episode 12
We’re finally starting to get some answers about what happened in the past, but these revelations inevitably lead to more pain for our leads. In the aftermath of a possession more personal than most, our medium takes a trip to the countryside to visit family. Meanwhile, our exorcist discovers a betrayal close to home which drives her to take extreme measures in her quest for the truth.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Realising that Director Do would try and kill them after the exorcism, Ji-ah met with Detective Kang earlier that day to request police protection. He asked why she was determined to go through with it if it was so dangerous, and she replied that she had no choice because the ghost in question was Oh Sung-shik, In-bum’s uncle. Kang agreed, but emphasised that it was because he has a duty to help a citizen in need, not because he believes in the supernatural.
This means that Detectives Kang and Choi were sat in their car outside the building while all the chaos was going on upstairs. They somehow missed seeing Sung-shik jump from the window but heard the crash as he landed, finding only broken and bloody concrete slabs when they went to investigate. Kang decides to head into the building as Choi calls for back-up.
Detective Kang arrives just in time to save Ji-ah, who has been putting up a good fight against the remainder of Director Do’s thugs but is vastly outnumbered. As soon as she gets the chance, Ji-ah grabs her spirit awl and takes off after Sung-shik.
Director Do is being driven away from the scene, looking dazed and mumbling to himself about Sung-shik, when the driver slams on the brakes. In-bum, covered in blood, is stood directly in front of the car and the occupants stare at him stunned until Director Do, seeing Sung-sik’s ghost when he looks at In-bum, frantically orders the driver to run him over.
As the car accelerates towards In-bum, Ji-ah appears in the nick of time and tackles him out of the way. Do screams at the driver to try again but the police arrive with sirens flashing and the car speeds off into the night instead. Sung-shik staggers to his feet to pursue, but looks down and sees the spirit awl buried in his chest.
Director Do’s thugs had been terrorising the neighborhood to drive the last hold-outs against the redevelopment away, ransacking houses and throwing elderly people like Sung-shik’s mom out on the streets. They’d taken Sung-shik to a back alley and beaten him badly, before Do made him an offer: a new apartment in return for starting a fire.
Realising that his family would be homeless if he didn’t do it, Sung-shik accepted on the condition that Do write up a contract between them stating those terms, which Do was surprised by but agreed to. Sung-shik started the fire of his own free will and watched his neighbors scream as their homes burned down.
Director Do visited Sung-shik in hospital and moved the goalposts, refusing to hand over the promised apartment until he had some kind of security that Sung-shik wouldn’t sell him out. Sung-shik copied out a confession letter admitting sole responsibility for the arson, before accepting a drugged drink from Do and going to sleep, possibly never to wake up again.
After taking one last look at In-bum, Sung-shik’s soul departs. Lying bleeding in Ji-ah’s arms as Team Leader Jung calls for an ambulance, In-bum tells her that his uncle did commit arson but didn’t commit suicide, instead deceived and murdered by Director Do.
Ji-ah sits by In-bum’s hospital bed and waits for him to wake up. The first thing he asks about is whether Ji-ah is okay, and whether he hurt her, and Ji-ah apologises for putting him in danger. In-bum thanks her for helping his uncle’s spirit move on, but has to admit that he didn’t see anything about Daebak Realty in Sung-shik’s memories, which means that Ji-ah is no closer to helping Mi-jin than she was before.
Ji-ah lets Hwa-jung know what happened and Hwa-jung urges her to leave the past alone now and move on. Ji-ah says that she can’t do that until she knows why Mi-jin’s ghost is still trapped, telling Hwa-jung that she can’t understand what it’s like.
Ji-ah knows that Mi-jin’s spirit is cold and lonely and suffering while stuck here, but sometimes she’s still selfishly glad that she gets to see at least a part of her dead mother everyday, and hates herself for feeling that way. Ji-ah leaves Hwa-jung and goes to cry by herself in the stairwell.
The precinct is full of Director Do’s underlings, but despite the best efforts of the officers none of them are willing to rat on their boss and Detective Kang decides to go straight to the source instead. Director Do is holed up in his office having a breakdown over the reappearance of a person he murdered 20 years ago when Detective Kang arrives, but still has the presence of mind to deny any involvement in what happened the night before.
Kang notes how many accidents have been associated with Do’s reconstruction projects which conveniently happened to work out in his favor, both now and 20 years ago. Do vehemently denies the implication that he’s ever been involved in something less than legitimate, but seems unsettled that the police are now also digging up the past.
Now that In-bum knows that a contract proving Director Do’s collusion in the arson incident exists, he heads out to his grandma’s place to find it, and to let her know that her son didn’t kill himself after all. When In-bum gets there though he finds his grandmother collapsed on the floor, and has to rush her to the clinic, upset and guilty that he didn’t know she was ill.
When she wakes up the next day In-bum’s grandma makes him take her back to her house, wanting to die at home rather than in a hospital. In-bum tells her that the police have said that Sung-shik didn’t kill himself and she replies that she never believed that he had — and he didn’t die because of In-bum either.
Apparently In-bum’s grandmother had always told him he was to blame for the deaths of his mother, father and uncle, and he finally confronts her about it, asking how she could have done that to him.
Later, In-bum’s grandma puts food in his rice bowl and his reaction implies that she’s never done that before. She starts to apologise but can’t find the words and trails off, crying. That night she dies in her sleep as In-bum holds her hand, finally reunited with Sung-shik in the afterlife.
Ji-ah signs the sale contract for Daebak Realty and hands it over to Director Do, confirming that the ghost haunting him has been exorcised. She tells him that she’s realised he’s the living personification of an egg ghost, spreading death and misery wherever he goes, except while an egg ghost is created through pain and suffering, he’s motivated purely by greed.
Do tells Ji-ah that money is the most important thing in the world, determining whether people live or die, and she predicts that it will kill him one day too. After he leaves, Ji-ah picks up the envelope he left behind by the tips of her fingers, careful not to touch the cash inside, and drops it in the trash can.
In-bum calls Ji-ah out to the countryside, relieved when she confirms that his grandmother’s spirit passed on peacefully. She rests a hand on his shoulder as he sits in front of the funeral table with his head bowed.
Ji-chul is touched to find Tae-jin and the restaurant owners ready and waiting for him when he goes to join In-bum, wanting to show their support by helping to serve food to the mourners. However, later that night, Tae-jin takes the opportunity to search for the missing contract while everyone is asleep.
Ji-ah finds In-bum still awake, staring at the old family pictures on the wall, and he thanks her for everything she’s done to help his family, putting Sung-shik’s spirit to rest and enabling his grandmother to pass away without that doubt in her mind. His grandma always treasured that only portrait she had of the whole family together, and In-bum removes it from the wall to take with him — only to find the missing contract tucked into the back of the frame.
Looking at Director Do’s seal on the agreement, In-bum realises that he’s now in possession of concrete evidence that would prove Do’s involvement in the arson incident. He still can’t prove that he was responsible for Sung-shik’s death though, and decides to hold onto the contract until he decides how best to use it.
Unfortunately, Tae-jin has been eavesdropping on their conversation and now knows the value of the document In-bum holds. When it’s time to leave the next day both Tae-jin and the contract are missing, and In-bum realises what happened.
Tae-jin is stood in front of the Dohak Construction offices, contract in hand, when he gets a call from In-bum warning him to think carefully about what he’s about to do. If he admits to knowing Director Do’s weakness he’ll become a liability to him, and the director doesn’t like to leave loose ends lying around. Having already run afoul of Director Do once, this reasoning plants a seed of doubt in Tae-jin’s mind and he decides to keep his options open for the time being.
In-bum is banking on Tae-jin coming to them to negotiate instead of Do, once he’s thought through the implications of his choices. Ji-chul apologises to In-bum for falling for Tae-jin’s act, but In-bum says it’s his own fault for not guarding the document more carefully.
Hwa-jung is ecstatic when she hears from Team Leader Jung that she’ll be discharged the next day, but her mood changes abruptly when she learns that Ji-ah has gone to her house to get her a new set of clothes. Sure enough, while looking through Hwa-jung’s dressing room Ji-ah discovers the missing case files from 1979 that Hwa-jung had hidden from her.
Later that day Ji-ah drives to the hospital to confront Hwa-jung over her deception. Hwa-jung tells her that she received the record book from the police with the rest of Mi-jin’s possessions after her death, and it’s Mi-jin’s blood soaked into the pages.
Ji-ah refuses to believe that, insisting that there was no blood when her mother died, but Hwa-jung gently reminds her that her memories of that day are flawed. She tries to calm Ji-ah, but Ji-ah pushes her away, telling Hwa-jung that she can no longer trust anything she says.
Ji-ah goes back to Daebak to read through the notebook, which details the process for exorcising egg ghosts. If the name of the deceased is not put inside the spirit awl, the awl won’t become intangible when the medium is stabbed and will instead inflict physical damage. In order to exorcise an egg ghost, the medium must be stabbed in the heart with a tangible spirit awl, killing them.
The book notes the possibility that the exorcist may be possessed rather than the medium, and Ji-ah realises that Mi-jin knew there was a good chance she could die when she chose to undertake the exorcism. That means that her death wasn’t Ji-ah’s fault after all.
Ji-ah summons Mi-jin’s ghost, angry and betrayed that she acted so recklessly, knowing that she might be abandoning Ji-ah. Crying, she screams at Mi-jin for not choosing her own daughter over some possessed boy she didn’t even know, and Mi-jin’s spirit starts to cry as well.
Ji-ah tells the ghost that she’s finally going to see what happened that day for herself, purposefully reaching for her and inducing possession. On her first attempt Ji-ah is thrown out of the memory, but she tries again and finds herself in Mi-jin’s position, kneeling on the floor in front of her younger self with a spirit awl buried in her chest and her hands covered in blood.
Ji-ah is thrown out of the memory again and induces possession again, although she’s rapidly losing strength and hurts both herself and Mi-jin’s ghost in the process. She snarls at Mi-jin that she’s had enough of fake memories and demands to be shown what really happened, but Mi-jin refuses to give in and the scenario plays out the same way it did before, Ji-ah waking up on the floor yet again.
In-bum notices that there are no lights on at Daebak and decides to call Ji-ah. Meanwhile Hwa-jung, thinking about what Ji-ah said to her about uncovering the truth, grabs her car key and heads over to check on her.
Deathly pale and shivering uncontrollably, Ji-ah staggers towards Mi-jin’s ghost again, refusing to stop trying to find the truth even if it costs her her life. Ji-ah wraps her arms around her mother’s spirit, and outside In-bum watches as the lights in the building begin to flicker madly before all dying out at once.
After Mi-jin had taken Ji-ah upstairs, she’d called Hwa-jung to tell her that a child possessed by an egg spirit had been brought to her, knowing that the only way to exorcise an egg ghost was to sacrifice the medium. Realising that the ghost would cause more and more deaths if it wasn’t stopped, Mi-jin planned to kill the child and then turn herself in, and asked Hwa-jung to look after Ji-ah while she was in prison.
Sung-shik overheard the conversation and was horrified at what Mi-jin intended to do, refusing to let her harm In-bum even if it cost the lives of other people, and they’d fought.
In-bum rushes into Daebak to find Ji-ah kneeling on the floor alone, tears rolling down her face. Voice weak, she tells him that her mom was murdered, before collapsing unconscious into In-bum’s arms.
I was expecting In-bum to be much more seriously injured after how worried Ji-ah was in the last episode and all the comments about how a ghost can inadvertently harm the medium while in possession of their body. The big leap from the window turned out to be relatively anti-climactic, but maybe Sung-shik’s spirit imbued In-bum with superhuman endurance as well as super-strength. I’m glad Ji-ah had enough sense to speak to Detective Kang before walking into Director Do’s trap, which was uncharacteristically reckless of her. I know it was a desperate situation and they didn’t have many options, but both Ji-ah and In-bum have shown they’re intelligent people and I honestly expect them to make smarter decisions. As it was, both Detective Kang and Team Leader Jung were largely ineffective but I guess something is better than nothing?
I don’t think enough emphasis has been put on the fact that Sung-shik was a murderer. He was both threatened and bribed, but at the end of the day he chose to set that fire and that makes him responsible for the deaths of those people, even if Director Do had a share of that responsibility too. Personally, I don’t think that his motives come anywhere close to justifying his actions. Although he had a bit of a crisis of conscience in the hospital and talked about turning himself in, I think that was only because his actions had affected In-bum, and he quickly changed his mind when Director Do dangled the apartment in front of him again. Sung-shik’s ghost lingered because he had a grudge against Do for cheating him out of their deal, not because he felt guilty or wanted revenge for the people he killed, and I think that says a lot about him as a person.
I think Sung-shik got off too lightly here, with his sentimental goodbye to In-bum and tearful reunion with his mother in the afterlife. Everyone was concerned about the emotional impact finding out his uncle wasn’t the person he believed him to be would have on In-bum, but we didn’t get as much of that aftermath this episode as I expected, unless he’s still processing it. Even Sung-shik’s mother seemed far more preoccupied with whether her son killed himself or not than the fact he was a murderer — when talking about his suicide she actually says that she “knew he wouldn’t do a thing like that” but doesn’t seem to have the same compunctions about believing Sung-shik capable of arson. It just seems like an odd reaction to me, but then Grandma also thought it was okay to tell her grandson that he was responsible for the deaths of his mom, dad and uncle, so maybe her moral compass isn’t really that reliable.
I’ve also changed my mind about Tae-jin, he’s too two-faced for my liking. I was expecting a redemption arc for him: starting out pretending to be a good guy to infiltrate Daebak, and then slowly having a change of heart and realizing that he quite liked these people after all and maybe he really should turn over a new leaf. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be where his character arc is going. Tae-jin had no moral compunctions about taking advantage of the funeral and In-bum’s vulnerability to get what he wanted, and he only had second thoughts about selling the team out to Director Do because he was worried about his own skin, not what might happen to them. He has absolutely no integrity or sincerity in him at all.
I really do love Ji-ah’s style. Two little details I particularly appreciated in this episode: the way she picked that money Do left up by the tips of her fingers as though it was something disgusting and then just neatly disposed of it (what a power move), and the fact she’s saved In-bum in her phone as ‘Medium (Special)’!
I loved the repeated possessions at the end! It was heart-breaking to watch Ji-ah throwing herself against a wall again and again, but her conviction was incredibly moving. Jang Na-ra is doing a phenomenal job expressing the pain and rage Ji-ah is feeling, and I can’t take my eyes off her when she’s on screen. Has Mi-jin’s spirit actually moved on now? I’m really interested to see what happens to Ji-ah in the next episode, as she processes what she learned about the past and has to figure out what to do next now she no longer has that purpose driving her.
So how did Mi-jin die? She apparently wasn’t planning to sacrifice herself for In-bum after all, but I think she almost certainly would have died for Ji-ah’s sake. I assume that the egg ghost somehow possessed Ji-ah instead of In-bum when she came downstairs and Mi-jin couldn’t bring herself to kill her own daughter, so somehow transferred the ghost into herself instead?
My other guess is that Ji-ah refusing to take the awl was part of Mi-jin’s false memories, to protect her from the knowledge that she literally did kill her mom by stabbing her in the heart after all. But what about that comment Hwa-jung made to In-bum that she wouldn’t let Ji-ah suffer for Sung-shik’s sake, in the present or the past? We’ve seen Do watching Sung-shik in the emergency room and then standing over him in a private room, getting him to copy out a confession, and handing him a drink which rendered him unconscious — and I assumed dead. However, Hwa-jung has said she also spoke to Sung-shik while he was in hospital, and I’m not sure where that conversation is supposed to fit into the timeline. Maybe Hwa-jung killed Sung-shik to prevent him from telling anyone that Ji-ah was actually responsible for Mi-jin’s death.