Sell Your Haunted House: Episode 8
The team deals with a case involving the death of a child, a detective becomes suspicious about where they’re getting their information, and just when our leads seem to be finding their balance, a secret is revealed which threatens to upset everything.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Ji-ah’s been looking through the exorcism archives and has found records reaching back hundreds of years that tell of calamitous events following the sighting of a faceless person. These are egg ghosts, harbingers of doom that are created when several people die simultaneously from a traumatic event, fusing their spirits together.
Ji-ah guesses that the spirits of the victims killed by the fire Sung-shik set had formed an egg ghost and possessed the faceless child he brought to Daebak Realty. The records state that an egg ghost cannot be exorcised with a spirit awl, which Ji-ah thinks Mi-jin would have known, but she distinctly remembers Mi-jin using a spirit awl that day anyway — so what was she trying to do with it?
Ji-ah had assumed that she couldn’t exorcise Mi-jin’s spirit because she wasn’t using a strong enough medium, but In-bum is very strong and their attempt still didn’t work so there must be more to it. Ji-ah thinks that there must have been something about the way Mi-jin exorcised the egg ghost that was unusual, and might have had repercussions for her own spirit.
Hwa-jung asks Ji-ah why she was digging through the archive anyway and Ji-ah tells her that she was looking for the records from 1979, which seem to be missing. Hwa-jung freezes wide-eyed in the background but Ji-ah doesn’t notice, too busy remembering that she found In-bum rummaging through the old casefiles before.
Ji-chul and In-bum are talking to the police after their van and room were broken into and their electronics stolen. Ji-ah asks In-bum outright if he’s taken any of her grandmother’s exorcism records and he says no, following her back to the office complaining about being accused without proof.
In-bum marvels at the number and age of the exorcism record books Ji-ah has, which were handed down by her ancestors, and Ji-ah informs him that she intends to be the one to end the family tradition. Exorcism has subsumed her whole life to the point that she sometimes feels as though she’ll be swallowed up by it, and she wouldn’t want to inflict that on her child. In-bum reassures her that she’s not someone who would lose themselves as easily as that.
Director Do has sent his thugs out to search for the lost contract anywhere In-bum is connected with — including his childhood home — but to no avail. Secretary Choi thinks it’s unlikely In-bum already knows what happened 20 years ago since he’s been trying to contact people who knew Sung-shik for information, but Director Do remains convinced otherwise, remembering what In-bum said to him at the abandoned warehouse. Suddenly a glass-fronted display cabinet in the office cracks, right over a photo of the Golden Apartments groundbreaking ceremony.
A man driving home at night hits the brakes when a ghost appears in front of his car. He goes to look and only finds a soccer ball there, but when he gets back in the car a little ghost girl smiles at him from the backseat and his screams echo through the night.
A husband and wife who have recently lost their daughter, Eun-byeol, have come to Daebak Realty looking for help. There have been rumors lately of a child ghost in the area and they’re worried it’s Eun-byeol’s spirit, unable to move on because her killer hasn’t been brought to justice. They’re willing to let Daebak sell their home, but it’s the exorcism that they really want.
At the team briefing, Hwa-jung fills everyone in on their suspected ghost. Eun-byeol, aged 10, was on her way home from a friend’s one evening when she was hit by a car at her apartment complex. Construction work nearby meant that the streetlights and CCTV cameras weren’t working that night, but the driver is claiming that Eun-byeol was already lying on the ground when he got there.
Rendezvous Apartments is a ‘social-mix’ apartment complex, which means that some units are privately owned and some are rented out to people on low incomes, creating a mixture of residents from different financial backgrounds. This socio-economic divide has caused a lot of conflict, and the property owners are in the midst of constructing a fence down the center of the complex to physically separate the two factions.
The renters are unhappy with the new fence as it blocks the road and causes access problems for them. Eun-byeol’s parents own their apartment and her mother was one of the more vocal advocates for the project, telling the tenants that just because they lived in the same type of property as the homeowners didn’t mean they were the same type of people.
Ji-ah’s wrapped up very warmly in a massive (black) padded coat for the preliminary investigation, and In-bum teases her about how cute she looks, laughing as she grumpily struggles with her seatbelt.
When they get to the apartment complex, Ji-ah complains about how child spirits are hard to catch because they don’t move logically and won’t stay still. It’ll be hard to work to find the ghost and Ji-ah’s temperature will plummet, which is why she’s dressed so warmly. In-bum reminds her he’s a special medium who can recharge her but Ji-ah just snaps at him to stop bothering her.
Just then Ji-ah senses the ghost watching them from behind a car, and it runs away through the fence. Exasperated, Ji-ah strips off her padded jacket and scales the fence to give chase, while In-bum looks on impressed. He follows at a more sedate pace and watches bemusedly as Ji-ah sprints randomly around the complex, chasing a ghost he can’t see.
In-bum catches up to an exhausted Ji-ah and offers his services as a spiritual battery, which she reluctantly accepts. Ji-ah notices the ghost peering over his shoulder and orders him to hold still while she tries to get a good look at the girl’s face, but they’re interrupted by a security guard.
When Eun-byeol’s mother arrives to clear Ji-ah and In-bum as her guests, the ghost child calls to her soundlessly and runs to hug her, but passes straight through. Witnessing this, Ji-ah confirms that the trapped spirit is indeed Eun-byeol.
Recovering from the shock, Eun-byeol’s mother asks Ji-ah if she can be there for the exorcism, so Eun-byeol won’t be alone when she leaves, but Ji-ah firmly refuses. In-bum stares at her judgingly on the drive home and Ji-ah defensively warns him not to start with her.
A mysterious figure watches In-bum as he walks back to the restaurant: it’s Tae-jin, who looks as though he’s been sleeping rough for a while. In-bum invites him in for a drink and Tae-jin tells him that Director Do threw him away after he failed to get Ji-ah to sign over her property.
Taejin is scared of Director Do and asks for a job at Daebak Realty, hoping they’ll be able to protect him. He offers to be their muscle but In-bum tells him that Ji-ah is all the muscle they need and Tae-jin has to cede that point. He desperately offers to cancel the debt In-bum owes him, but In-bum won’t budge and Tae-jin starts to sob. He looks so pathetic that even the restaurant owner he’s been terrorising for months feels sorry enough for him to give him a free meal.
Ji-chul is ecstatic after receiving a birthday gift of underwear from his girlfriend. He’s never actually seen her, having met her online, but they’re due to have their first face-to-face meeting next week.
A flock of well-dressed women arrive at the office the next day and barge in past Ji-ah when she tries to tell them they’re closed. They’ve come because they’ve heard that Daebak is handling the sale of Eun-byeol’s family’s apartment and they want to lay down some ground rules.
Apparently there’s an informal agreement amongst the residents not to sell their properties too cheaply because it’ll bring the rest of the property values down, and they’ve come to ensure that Daebak adheres to this arrangement. Ji-ah bluntly informs them that collusion is illegal and they splutter at her indignantly.
The women tell Ji-ah that Eun-byeol’s mom is emotional at the moment and made a mistake in coming to Daebak, and Ji-ah rebukes them for being more concerned about property values than the death of a child. They tell Ji-ah that what happened was very sad but they shouldn’t all have to suffer for it, and Ji-ah, livid at their self-centeredness, orders them to leave.
The exorcism will have to be performed outdoors, which means that the spirit incense will burn more quickly than usual, giving them limited time to act. Hwa-jung has bribed the security guard on patrol to ensure there won’t be any interruptions. In-bum tries again to convince Ji-ah to let Eun-byeol’s mom be at the exorcism, but she remains unmoved.
As Ji-ah and In-bum ready the site, Eun-byeol’s mother arrives and kneels in front of Ji-ah, pleading desperately to be allowed to stay so that she can be there when Eun-byeol’s spirit leaves. Ji-ah relents, on the condition that Eun-byeol’s mother agrees to wear a blindfold and stay within a small salt circle, no matter what she hears.
Eun-byeol’s mother is the perfect bait, and Eun-byeol soon appears but is stopped from getting near to her by the salt barrier. As she calls soundlessly for her mom, In-bum removes his necklace and the ghost is pulled into his body.
Eun-byeol’s mother can hear her daughter’s voice calling for her now, and instinctively goes toward it, breaking the salt circle around her. She steps into a featureless black space, and sees Eun-byeol standing opposite her.
Crying, Eun-byeol apologises to her mom for skipping study academy to play with her friend the day she died. She’d been ordered not to associate with the kids from tenant families, but when her mom was too busy fighting over the construction of the wall to walk her to the academy she went to play soccer with them instead.
Eun-byeol was late heading home that night, so she tried to climb over the fence dividing the renters’ and property owners’ sections of the apartment complex instead of going the long way round. She fell off and hit her head on the concrete, which killed her.
When Eun-byeol’s mom discovers that the fence she built killed her daughter, she falls to her knees sobbing, ridden with guilt. Eun-byeol hugs her before her spirit dissipates, and back in reality, the spirit awl dissolves in Ji-ah’s hand.
As they drive home, In-bum asks what happened to Eun-byeol — he didn’t get her memories the way he normally does. Ji-ah explains that she managed to exorcise the spirit without piercing him with the awl, the first time she’s ever done that.
Hwa-jung’s waiting anxiously for Ji-ah when she returns. Ji-ah asks if she was the one who tipped off Eun-byeol’s mom that they’d be there, and Hwa-jung says she’s a wretch who killed her child with her own hands herself, so she couldn’t just ignore another bereaved mother.
Sitting in her car, Hwa-jung thinks back to when she was a teenager being interviewed by Detective Kang Han-seok after killing her child. He’d asked her why she’d gone so far when there were other options available, like an orphanage, and she’d replied that she didn’t want to be trapped.
Hwa-jung meets the officer in charge of Mi-jin’s case at a pop-up bar, and he informs her that Ji-ah is still digging into the past. He’s refused her request for the case files on Sung-shik’s suicide, but he’s worried that she’ll discover something if she keeps looking. Hwa-jung says firmly that she’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.
Detective Kang is visited by Eun-byeol’s parents, who tell him that their daughter wasn’t killed by a car after all but by falling — they heard it from her first-hand. Detective Kang is skeptical, and immediately suspicious when he learns of Daebak Realty’s involvement.
Ji-ah files the case away before heading over to the restaurant for lunch, but finds it closed. In-bum tells her that the owner went to the countryside to follow up on a potential sighting of her son and invites Ji-ah to a chicken restaurant instead, where he watches wide-eyed as she orders half the menu for herself.
Eun-byeol’s autopsy confirms that she died from a fall, not from a car accident. This is the second time that Daebak Realty has known things about cases that it shouldn’t have been possible for them to know, and a detective remarks that they should start consulting them — but Detective Kang thinks that there’s something dubious going on.
Detective Kang has been looking into Daebak Realty and has found a tangled web of suspicious connections. Hwa-jung was the person to report the incident in which Mi-jin died 20 years ago, and 2 days later Sung-shik, who’d been present at the scene, had killed himself, leaving behind a suicide note claiming responsbility for a fatal arson attack. Prior to that the police had suspected Golden Development — now known as Dohak Construction — were responsible for the fire, but Sung-shik’s confession conveniently cleared them.
Detective Kang thinks Sung-shik had started the fire on the orders of Golden Development, who had then arranged for Mi-jin to kill him to cover their tracks. Something had gone wrong and Mi-jin had ended up dead instead, and shortly afterwards Golden Development had killed Sung-shik and disguised it as a suicide instead. The only thing Detective Kang’s struggling to understand is why Mi-jin’s daughter and Sung-shik’s nephew are now working together 20 years later.
After lunch, Ji-ah and In-bum walk home through the park together and she asks him if he’s thought any more about quitting working as her medium. In-bum wants to keep going, explaining that he finds the work they do difficult but rewarding, and he might even become a good person if he keeps going. Ji-ah tells him sincerely that he already is a good person, and In-bum is surprised but touched, even getting a little tearful.
The restaurant owner has hired Tae-jin, to In-bum’s disbelief. Ji-chul thinks she saw him moping around and was reminded of her son, so she took pity on him. Meanwhile Tae-jin meets up with some of his former henchmen and tells them that he plans to learn In-bum and Ji-ah’s weaknesses and win back his place at Director Do’s side.
Thinking about the faceless boy, Ji-ah remembers Hwa-jung telling her that Sung-shik’s nephew went off the grid after finishing school and decides to follow up on that lead. In-bum’s just arriving with snacks in hand as Ji-ah leaves, and wants to go with her but she tells him it’s a personal matter. He gives her the macarons for the road, since he bought them specially for her, and Ji-ah eats them as she drives, smiling to herself.
Ji-ah arrives at Sung-shik’s mother’s home and finds her lying inside clearly in pain, so takes her to the local doctor. Apparently she has cancer and should be in hospital, but is refusing to go. On the drive back, Ji-ah asks why she hasn’t contacted her kids or grandson and she replies that her children are dead and she hasn’t heard from her grandson since he left home.
Over a meal, In-bum’s grandmother asks Ji-ah if she’s looking for In-bum because he owes her something — and Ji-ah freezes when she hears that name. Frantically searching his childhood room, Ji-ah finds an old photo that confirms the old lady’s grandson is indeed the In-bum she knows.
Unable to sleep, In-bum wanders over to Daebak to look at the exorcism records from 2001 but is interrupted by Hwa-jung. She snatches the files off him and shoves him out of the archive, reminding him that she warned him to keep his head down until the contract was up. When In-bum asks why she’s so desperate to get rid of him Hwa-jung says that she can’t trust him, and he replies that she doesn’t seem that trustworthy herself.
Ji-ah’s arrival interrupts their stand-off, and she throws them both off-guard by angrily demanding to know if In-bum was the boy from 20 years ago. She wants to know what happened to her mother but In-bum shouts back that he doesn’t know either, that’s why he’s here trying to find out what her mother did to his uncle.
Shoving him backwards, Ji-ah snarls that Sung-shik died because In-bum is a medium. If it wasn’t for him, neither his uncle nor her mother would have died — In-bum killed them.
This case wasn’t my favorite. I would have preferred it to be more about Eun-byeol and less about her mother, but it may have been a deliberate choice on the writers’ part to focus on the living rather than the dead. If that was the case though it would have been nice to see whether the experience changed her at all, even if she just became a little bit kinder and compassionate to those less fortunate. To me, Eun-byeol’s death felt too contrived to effectively communicate whatever lesson we were supposed to take away from it. It’s probably supposed to be “don’t be a snob” or something similar, but honestly “don’t build fences across roads” would be more applicable.
And yet another death caused by impact to the head! I’m starting to wonder if there are broadcasting standards preventing them from depicting more violent deaths — although the strangulation at the pool was pretty visceral. It feels odd to be asking to see a stabbing or something, but a little more variety would be nice. And I haven’t been keeping track of the ratings but the sudden uptick in PPL this episode suggests things are going well. If Ji-chul’s mysterious girlfriend turns out to be a normal person with no ulterior motives I’ll be shocked, but I’m not sure if her specifically telling Ji-chul to give In-bum a pair of underwear was purely an advertising ploy or supposed to be foreshadowing.
We learned that the person Hwa-jung killed was her own child, by which I assume she means that she had an abortion and not that she actually murdered a living baby. Her insistence that child ghosts are not the same thing as vengeful ghosts and the fact that she was apparently the one to stumble upon whatever happened at Daebak 20 years and call the cops strongly suggests to me that Mi-jin exorcised Hwa-jung’s baby’s spirit — which brings up all sorts of thorny theological implications about at what point a foetus develops a soul. Hwa-jung doesn’t have anything to hold over In-bum anymore now his secret’s out, so will he let Ji-ah know that she’s been hiding things from her?
I’m continually pleased to see In-bum deferring to Ji-ah’s experience and judgment, even when he disagrees with her. I thought he’d jump in and say yes to Eun-byeol’s mother when she started begging to attend the exorcism, but it turns out he wasn’t even the one who let her know they’d be there. In-bum might try and persuade Ji-ah, but he never goes over her head and overrides her, and I really appreciate the respect he has for her. It was also great watching everyone prepare for Eun-byeol’s exorcism like a well-oiled machine! Seeing Ji-chul and In-bum automatically pitch in and pack Ji-ah’s bag really emphasised how comfortable they’ve become at Daebak, and how they’ve started to think of themselves as part of the team.
In-bum is so far gone for Ji-ah and it’s a delight to watch! We’ve been getting fond looks for a while, but now he’s practically mooning over her, queuing up to buy her treats and waiting eagerly for her to get home. I think Ji-ah telling In-bum that he is a good person was the tipping point — you could almost see her unhesitating sincerity crack his heart wide open. The only question is: has he realised yet how he feels about her? Ji-ah’s feelings are more subtle, but I think she’s also more self-aware.
It was very characteristic of Ji-ah to confront In-bum immediately when she found out he was Sung-shik’s nephew, she always confronts her problems head-on. I know they’ll make up eventually, but Ji-ah really went for the jugular at the end there. I think she was caught off guard and much more hurt and betrayed than she expected to be, and that caused her to lash out so viciously, trying to hurt In-bum as much as he’d hurt her. I’m very interested to see how In-bum and Ji-ah handle this new conflict, because so far they’ve both been quite open and good at communicating with one another and it would be nice to see them deal with it maturely once they’ve moved past the first rush of anger.