Sell Your Haunted House: Episode 7
Both of our leads begin to seriously question what they know about the past, a case about an elderly ghost leads to a discussion of whether or not the truth should always be told, and it looks as though there may be more to one member of the team than meets the eye.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
In-bum slams Director Do into the ground, strangling him as he again demands the apartment he was promised. Freeing herself from her restraints, Ji-ah manages to get the necklace on In-bum and he passes out as Sung-shik’s ghost is forced from his body, leaving everything in chaos.
In-bum wakes up in hospital with a bandaged ankle and no memory of what happened. He teases Ji-ah about getting sloppy when she tells him she got jumped the same way he did — which isn’t true, she beat up the guys sent to kidnap her but went willingly when she found out In-bum was in danger.
Ji-ah advises In-bum to break their contract, warning him that he’ll be in danger if he keeps working with her. She’s not going to sell her house until she exorcises her mother’s spirit, so Director Do will keep trying to force her.
In-bum asks Ji-ah why she hasn’t managed it yet and Ji-ah explains that the vengeful spirits of exorcists are particularly strong. She thought she needed a stronger medium but she still couldn’t exorcise Mi-jin when she used In-bum, so now she’s out of ideas.
In-bum asks what Mi-jin was like and Ji-ah tells him she was bright and kind — and it was that kindness that killed her. Mi-jin died helping someone who didn’t deserve to be helped — an arsonist who had killed 7 people — and Ji-ah says that she can’t forgive that person no matter what. In-bum stares at Ji-ah horrified.
Director Do sits in his office with an injured hand and fumes. He orders SECRETARY CHOI (Lee Chae-kyung) to stop talking nonsense about ghosts and investigate Ji-ah and In-bum.
Ji-ah asks Hwa-jung to arrange a meeting for her with the police officer in charge of investigating Mi-jin’s death. Hwa-jung offers to go with her but Ji-ah turns her down, saying that she wants to talk to him alone.
The detective has pulled the Daebak team’s criminal records — full of fraud and extortion charges but no convictions. Dwelling on Hwa-jung’s, which is clean, he remembers interviewing a teenage girl when he was younger who boldly informed him that she had killed someone because she was afraid he’d hold her back, not seeming at all repentant about it.
As Hwa-jung calls the police officer to warn him Ji-ah will be by soon and forbid him from showing her Mi-jin’s case files, we hear the detective’s voiceover: “If it’s something that benefits her, without batting an eye, she is someone who would kill her own child.”
Ji-ah meets with the officer in charge of Mi-jin’s case, who tells her that the case files have been destroyed because she died of natural causes. He was the first officer on the scene and tells Ji-ah that he found 2 adults and 2 children unconscious but otherwise there was nothing remarkable about the incident — but the horrified expression we see on his face during a flashback to that moment would seem to contradict this assertion.
Secretary Choi’s done a background check on the Daebak Realty team and found that In-bum and Ji-chul have previously been involved with ghost-related scams, which leads Director Do to assume he’s been tricked somehow. She also reports to him that In-bum is Sung-shik’s nephew, and that the last place Sung-shik visited before he died was Daebak Realty.
20 years ago, Director Do watched through a hospital window as Sung-shik, restrained by doctors, babbles about how he didn’t mean to do it but he thought the place was empty, and there was a ghost in his nephew. As In-bum is wheeled past on a hospital bed unconscious, Sung-shik starts to scream that he deserves to die, he doesn’t want money or an apartment anymore, and pleads with the doctors to call the police.
Sung-shik wakes up in a private room later on to find Director Do standing over him, angry because he thinks that Sung-shik’s intention to turn himself in to the police is just a way of trying to extort more money out of him. Sung-shik says he’ll keep his mouth shut, but Director Do wants insurance and makes Sung-shik write out a confession before giving him a spiked drink.
In his office, Director Do remembers what In-bum said to him while he was possessed and wonders how he found out about what happened. Secretary Choi guesses that he must have found a secret contract which they’d been unable to recover at the time.
In-bum looks up articles on the fire 20 years ago, unable to reconcile the arsonist who set it with the kind uncle he knew and loved. He visits a former police officer who worked the case, who tells him that they suspected but couldn’t prove that the construction company developing the area was behind what happened, particularly as Director Do visited Sung-shik shortly before he died.
In-bum goes to scope out Dohak Construction and is shocked to see Hwa-jung there with Secretary Choi. Hwa-jung finds In-bum waiting for her when she arrives at work later that evening, and says that she expected him to quit after what happened. In-bum tells her that he can’t leave Ji-ah when she needs him most, and Hwa-jung laughingly remarks that it’s rare to find a conman with a sense of responsibility.
In-bum asks Hwa-jung if Ji-ah’s aware she visited Dohak Construction that afternoon, catching her off-guard, but she quickly recovers and replies that Ji-ah’s not aware of it, just as she’s not aware that In-bum is Sung-shik’s nephew.
In-bum wasn’t expecting to have that secret thrown back in his face, and Hwa-jung tells him to keep his mouth shut and leave when the contract’s up. As she walks away, In-bum calls after her that if she found out about his connection to Sung-shik and didn’t tell Ji-ah, it must mean that she’s hiding something about the past.
The atmosphere in the office is strained, but the tension is broken by the arrival of a new client. YOO YOUNG-SOON (Lee Joo-shil) sits in the corner while her adult children do the talking, telling the Daebak team that she wants to sell her haunted house.
A tenant recently moved in with her son, and has been plagued by shuffling noises in the dark and doors unlocking and opening themselves. One night she was woken by a sound and found her son crouched on the kitchen floor, shovelling sugar into his mouth by the handful.
When she called the boy’s name he scuttled behind the counter, and she watched as his sugar-covered hands crept up slowly over the edge, followed by the face of an elderly man. She fainted, and her son just stood by the counter blankly licking the sugar off his fingers.
The client’s children say that they can’t find tenants anymore and are struggling to sell the house for a decent price, so they’ve come to Daebak Realty because they’ve heard that they specialise in haunted properties. Ji-ah asks Young-soon directly if she wants to sell, offending her children, but she insists that it’s Young-soon’s house so it’s her decision, not theirs.
Young-soon hesitates but is pressured by her kids into agreeing to sell. Outside, Young-soon sits in the car and listens to a muffled argument her kids are having about whose turn it is to look after her next.
On the way to the house, In-bum asks if the boy living there’s a medium like him and Ji-ah says he probably is. In-bum stays outside with the mother and son as Ji-ah goes into the house to investigate and finds the docile ghost of an elderly man, who’s just trying and failing to open the sugar jar.
Ji-ah tells the tenants that the property is haunted, and advises them to find somewhere else to stay until the problem’s been resolved. After a moment’s hesitation, In-bum takes his necklace off and gives it to the boy, telling him that it will act as a shield to stop weird things from happening to him so he should never take it off.
Ji-ah pelts In-bum with salt when they leave the house, angry with him for being so reckless as to remove his necklace and open himself up for possession when he knows there’s a ghost nearby. In-bum shrugs it off, telling Ji-ah that he couldn’t just leave the kid suffering and he knew she’d look after him if anything happened.
Ji-ah tells In-bum that just because the boy has the potential to be a medium doesn’t necessarily mean that he will become one. “Normal” men date and sleep with women as they grow up, diluting their yang energy with yin energy that will stop ghosts from possessing them. In-bum, unsurprisingly, is highly offended by the implication that he’s not normal.
Ji-chul has been researching the background of the house, and tells the team that Young-soon grew up there but she moved out 50 years ago and has rented it out since then. He’s found 4 elderly people who died there and is about to go into more depth about them when Ji-ah barges in front of him to look at the photos on-screen and declares none of them their ghost.
Ji-ah and In-bum pay Young-soon a visit to ask why she’s so reluctant to part with the house despite not living there for 50 years. She tells them that her father had a stroke when she was 20 and got dementia shortly after, and she cared for him.
We see a young Young-soon arguing with her brother about hospitalising their father and selling the house. He wanted to use the money to fund his new business and told Young-soon that their father couldn’t recognise them anymore so he was practically already anyway. Young-soon slapped him and ordered him to leave, and that night their father disappeared.
Hwa-jung plays a game of hwatu with the neighborhood ahjummas to get the local gossip and hears that there were rumors the son had killed his father. The son was known to be no-good and apparently the police were suspicious of him but were unable to pursue the case because there was no corpse and no evidence of foul play. He left shortly afterwards and never returned, which the ladies take to be an admission of guilt.
Young-soon also thought her brother was responsible and pleaded with him to tell her where their father’s body was so she could give him a proper funeral, but he left without a word. Young-soon couldn’t live in the house after that but also couldn’t bring herself to sell it and move on.
Ji-ah recognises the ghost as Young-soon’s father from a photo of them together, and Young-soon tells her that he loved sweet things. As he and Ji-ah leave, Young-soon waving them off from behind a barred gate, In-bum observes that that expensive apartment seems more like a prison.
At the house, Ji-ah piles a mound of sugar on the floor as bait and the spirit shuffles slowly into their salt trap. When he possesses In-bum, he stands still and doesn’t fight back as Ji-ah plunges her spirit awl into his chest.
The old man remembers his daughter crying when, not recognising her, he thanked her formally for buttoning his shirt. He heard his children arguing about putting him in a home and that evening his son crept into his room when he thought his father was asleep, intending to strangle him.
Ultimately he couldn’t do it, and cried because he pitied his sister for having to care for a man who didn’t even know who she was anymore. His father heard him and, not wanting to be a burden to his children, walked alone into the woods later that night and threw himself into a well.
In-bum falls to his knees gasping, looking destroyed, and Ji-ah crouches next to him and pats his back comfortingly. He gets up and marches straight to the well where Young-soon’s father killed himself, which is now fenced in and chained shut.
Knowing what he intends to do, Ji-ah tells In-bum that knowing a spirit’s memories does not mean he’s entitled to meddle in their lives like a god. In-bum says it’s agonising to live on not knowing how someone you loved died so he thinks Young-soon deserves to know what happened to her father. In-bum’s felt the same way about his uncle, and he’d want to know the truth, even if it was painful.
Sitting in the car in front of the office, Ji-ah tells In-bum that she used to believe that telling people the truth was the right thing to do too. When she was younger, Ji-ah told a man that his middle school aged son had killed his wife, and he’d responded by slapping her and telling her he’d sue her for fraud. She found out shortly afterwards that the man had killed his son and then himself as a result of what she’d told him.
After that tragedy Ji-ah resolved not to get involved in other people’s lives, no matter what she found out during an exorcism. She may have good intentions, but she can’t know what unintended consequences her interference might have. In-bum understands where Ji-ah’s coming from and agrees not to tell Young-soon what happened, but he does still want her to know where her father’s body is.
The well is opened up and Young-soon sobs over her father’s remains as In-bum watches on. Back at the office Ji-ah wonders whether they should tell Young-soon the truth after all, thinking about how she wasted 20 years believing lies about her mother’s death. Hwa-jung tells her that sometimes the truth can create hell.
Hwa-jung and Ji-ah visit the house with Young-soon and a potential buyer, and find In-bum already there cutting the hedge in a trance. Hwa-jung tells the buyer he’s just ensuring the property is in good condition for the sale as they go inside to look around.
Young-soon waits in the garden with Ji-ah and In-bum and reminisces about growing up there. In-bum offers Daebak’s services to look for her younger brother but Young-soon tells him that she’s considered him dead since he left 50 years ago.
Young-soon stays behind after the others leave to look around the house before it’s sold, but Ji-ah suddenly returns and tells her outright that they learned during the exorcism that her brother didn’t kill her father, he committed suicide.
In-bum looks stunned but recovers enough to explain to Young-soon that her brother never really wanted their father hospitalised so he could sell the house and get his inheritance, he could just see that she was suffering and wanted to help her. Their father knew this and wanted his children to be happy so he took his own life, not intending for them to spend the next 50 years estranged from one another. The shock of this revelation is too much for Young-soon and she collapses.
Young-soon lies unconscious in a hospital bed, and her children blame Ji-ah for putting her there. In-bum brings Ji-ah a drink and fondly tells her he’s the one who’s supposed to cause problems, not her, just as Ji-chul arrives with Young-soon’s brother. Young-soon wakes to find her brother — who now looks just like their father — holding her hand, and they have a tearful reunion.
When she’s recovered, Young-soon comes to Daebak Realty to apologize to Ji-ah and In-bum for scaring them, and thank them for reuniting her with her brother. She says that she would never have been able to accept her father’s decision when she was younger, but now she’s gotten older and is becoming a burden to her own children she can understand his perspective a little better. Young-soon has changed her mind about selling the house, deciding to move back in herself instead.
Later on In-bum asks Ji-ah why she got involved after everything she said, and she tells him she’s been infected by his meddling ways. In-bum’s glad they got to dispel the ghost’s grudge but gladder that they reunited the estranged siblings and freed them from the burden they’d been carrying for 50 years.
Ji-ah echoes what Mi-jin told her about exorcism helping the people left behind as much as the vengeful spirit and In-bum says that’s a good philosophy. Ji-ah replies that Mi-jin was a good exorcist, and she didn’t really appreciate what her mother was trying to teach her until she got older.
Ji-ah closes the case as Hwa-jung complains that they’ve had 2 cancellations in a row, and Daebak will go bankrupt if they don’t sell a property soon. When she goes into the archive to file it away, Ji-ah notices that the records from 1979 are missing.
When Hwa-jung, In-bum and Ji-chul go back to their respective homes they find that they’ve been ransacked. Alarmed, Hwa-jung runs to a wardrobe and removes a wooden box, opening it to reveal the missing 1979 record book, and we hear a voiceover of her telling Ji-ah that sometimes the truth can unleash hell.
The mystery surrounding Hwa-jung deepens. Not only is she withholding information from Ji-ah about Mi-jin’s death, she’s hiding case files from 1979 and may well have killed someone when she was a teenager.
Hwa-jung isn’t old enough to have been directly involved in a case from 1979, so presumably either it relates to a family member, or — if she did know Mi-jin — perhaps there’s something in there that she knows Mi-jin didn’t want Ji-ah to find out about. Even Mi-jin and Director Do would only have been in their early teens in 1979 (if we assume the actor’s ages are roughly accurate for their characters) so I’m definitely intrigued about what could still be so important about a case from so long ago. There was a lot of debate this episode about whether or not it’s better to know the truth even if that truth is painful, and given how most of our cases have echoed the overarching plot it makes me wonder if Hwa-jung thinks she’s protecting Ji-ah by hiding something potentially devastating from her.
Was the teenage girl who so blithely admitted to murdering someone actually Hwa-jung? The way Sell Your Haunted House has employed misdirection to great effect so far makes me wary about making assumptions about anything that’s not explicitly stated as fact. We weren’t given a date when that interview took place and I’m not sure what the age difference between Hwa-jung and Ji-ah is supposed to be (the actresses are 2 years apart, but Ji-ah is clearly younger than Jang Na-ra’s actual age) but if Hwa-jung and Mi-jin did know each other, perhaps it was related to this incident.
And is Hwa-jung actually colluding with Director Do? If he already had a mole there, why would he have asked Secretary Choi to investigate Daebak Realty? Shouldn’t he already know about Ji-ah? Either the link between him and Hwa-jung has nothing to do with Daebak, that was the first time Hwa-jung had been there, or Hwa-jung was actually there to see Secretary Choi. At the moment, everything we learn about Hwa-jung just seems to lead to even more questions.
I enjoyed the horror this episode! Our least aggressive ghost so far was conversely also the creepiest to me, between his slow shuffling walk and his unnerving habit of opening doors and staring at sleeping people. And that possessed child scuttling around the kitchen floor was the stuff of nightmares.
In-bum and Ji-ah are definitely getting closer. There have been fond looks on In-bum’s side for a while now, but this episode Ji-ah was noticeably more comfortable around him, sitting around drinking with In-bum and patting his back after he was possessed in the same way she hesitated to do during the artist case. Ji-ah’s also begun to let her guard down and confide in In-bum, telling him about her mother and the reasons why she doesn’t get involved in people’s lives anymore. I’ve already mentioned that Ji-ah doesn’t trust many people so I think it’s going to hit her hard when she finds out that Hwa-jung has been lying to her, but I also wonder how the tentative trust she’s starting to build with In-bum will fare when she finds out his true motives too.
I very much like that In-bum respected Ji-ah’s position and was willing to accept her judgment about Young-soon even though he disagreed with it, rather than trying to pressure her into changing her mind. I also love how proud and admiring of Ji-ah In-bum always is when she does choose to get involved. Now that our leads have gotten to know and trust each other, I’m ready for some more development on the romantic front soon.