Sell Your Haunted House: Episode 14
In this episode, our team takes some time to piece themselves back together in the wake of recent events, and begin to understand each other and themselves a little bit better. Reunited at last, they face down their biggest foe with aid from an unlikely ally, but just when things seem to be looking up for our heroes, a tragic twist of fate puts one member in serious peril.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Ji-ah realises that Baek Hyun-joo is preventing her son’s spirit from moving on and tells her that she needs to let Chang-hwa go, but Hyun-joo blames herself for driving him away. 12 years ago, she and Chang-hwa had gotten into an argument about his unemployment and he’d walked out mid-meal and never came back.
Ji-ah insists that Chang-hwa’s death wasn’t her fault but Hyun-joo can’t accept that and wails, mourning her son, while his ghost watches on and cries. Ji-ah and In-bum leave unsuccessful, and Ji-ah refuses to explain why.
Ji-ah rushes back to her apartment and tries to summon Mi-jin’s ghost, desperate to know if she was actually the one that prevented her mother’s spirit from moving on. Her attempts fail and Ji-ah hurls the incense burner to the ground and sinks to the floor sobbing with guilt and frustration.
Below, In-bum hears the crash and goes to investigate, overhearing Ji-ah mutter to herself that she’ll disappear soon and it’ll all be over.
Meanwhile, Tae-jin is weighing the pros and cons of giving Sung-shik’s memorandum to Director Do and risking death for a greater reward, or dealing with In-bum instead and getting a smaller but safer payout. His lackey arrives and asks why they should settle for just one when they could have both.
Ji-ah is awoken by loud noises the next morning and goes downstairs to find In-bum and Ji-chul moving in, having been kicked out of their lodgings because the restaurant has closed down. Ji-ah is unimpressed, but In-bum manages to negotiate a week’s respite for them to find somewhere else to stay.
In-bum spends the day constantly knocking on Ji-ah’s door and asking her inane questions, and tags along when she goes on a walk that evening. She tells him that she wants to be alone, but he says that he can’t let her go by herself when she looks so upset.
Sat side-by-side with Ji-ah on the swings, In-bum explains that his grandmother always told him when he was a child that his birth had brought misfortune to their family, blaming him for the deaths of his grandfather, parents and uncle. He hated her for it then, but realises now that she needed to blame someone as a way to cope with her grief.
In-bum warns Ji-ah not to make the same mistake as his grandmother by pinning the blame on someone who doesn’t deserve it, particularly if that person is herself. He tells Ji-ah that what happened wasn’t her fault and that she doesn’t need to punish herself or atone for it by disappearing.
Ji-ah and In-bum attempt to exorcise Chang-hwa’s spirit again, and Hyun-joo prepares a table full of home-cooked food to see her son off. After confirming with Ji-ah that Chang-hwa’s eating it (although he’s actually not), Hyun-joo apologises for the harsh words she said to him, and tells her son to enjoy the last meal she’ll ever make for him and then move on to a good place.
Ji-ah’s spirit awl, which had been holding her hair up in a bun, dissolves untouched as Chang-hwa’s spirit disappears, and back at Daebak Ji-ah explains to In-bum over a beer that Hyun-joo was able to let go after giving Chang-hwa a last meal, to make up for the one he walked out on.
In-bum says that it seems to him as though mother and son were both holding onto each other, out of concern rather than regret. He tells Ji-ah to give herself more time, and when she goes upstairs Ji-ah retrieves a picture of herself and her mother from a moving box and puts it back on the shelf.
Tae-jin contacts Ji-chul to arrange a deal for the memorandum and Ji-chul shows up at the meeting place with a box full of cash, which is promptly stolen by Tae-jin’s henchman. In-bum appears and Ji-chul confirms that they took the bait, having planted a tracker in the box in anticipation of a double-cross.
Meanwhile, Tae-jin picks up his lackey and they briefly gloat about how gullible Ji-chul is before realising that the money in the box is actually fake. Tae-jin immediately switches to complaining about Ji-chul’s dishonesty — with no apparent recognition of the hypocrisy in that statement — before reminding himself that they still have Director Do.
After meeting with Detective Kang, Hwa-jung lights up with relief when she gets a call from Ji-ah asking to meet. They go to the park, and Hwa-jung struggles to keep the smile off her face as Ji-ah explains that CEO Yum told her she’d be no different from a ghost if she kept pushing people away.
Ji-ah says that Hwa-jung came running unprompted 10 years ago when she decided to re-open Daebak Realty, and thanks her for staying by her side ever since, preventing her from living like a vengeful ghost.
Hwa-jung tells Ji-ah about her baby daughter, Bom. She didn’t choose to have her but Bom was her only family and she loved her fiercely, working multiple jobs and caring for her while still a teenager. One day Hwa-jung left Bom sleeping on the bed in a motel room while she went out to work, and when she returned she found Bom dead — she still doesn’t know why.
The police thought that Hwa-jung had killed her baby, and she encouraged that belief out of guilt for not taking care of Bom properly. She was sent to a juvenile detention center and had decided to follow Bom, when Mi-jin appeared and told Hwa-jung that she knew she hadn’t killed her daughter. Together, they’d exorcised Bom’s ghost and enabled her spirit to move on.
When Mi-jin asked her 20 years ago to take care of her daughter, Hwa-jung decided to protect Ji-ah in Bom’s place. Ji-ah says that it’s because of Hwa-jung’s protection and support that she was able to endure her work until now, but Hwa-jung doesn’t need to keep making sacrifices for her any longer.
Hwa-jung asks if she’s being fired and Ji-ah replies that she’d never be able to find someone else who could handle her temper, taking her hand as Hwa-jung teases her.
Tae-jin is on his way to deliver the memorandum to Director Do, having come to a lucrative deal for it. Unfortunately the director has no intention of letting Tae-jin leave with knowledge that could destroy him, and has his goons ambush them in the parking lot.
Bruised and beaten, Tae-jin manages to break free and runs out into the street, where he finds In-bum and Ji-chul waiting, having tailed him using the tracker they planted. He hops into their van and they manage to lose Do’s thugs.
In-bum pulls over and demands Tae-jin hand over the memorandum, but he says it was in the jacket that he lost at Dohak Construction, distraught at losing his golden ticket. In-bum is devastated to realise that the only piece of evidence against Director Do has been lost, and furious at Tae-jin’s greed.
Tae-jin fires back at In-bum for trying to take the moral high ground when he’s just as much a con man as Tae-jin or Director Do himself, pointing out that In-bum was the one who scammed him first. In-bum stares at him in disgust before getting back in the van and driving off without a word, leaving Tae-jin standing alone in the street.
Ji-ah notices that things are suspiciously silent downstairs at Daebak the next day and goes to investigate. Ji-chul tells her that the memorandum is gone and she heads to the park where In-bum’s brooding alone to ask him if he’s really going to give up that easily.
Ji-ah tells In-bum to pull himself together, because Director Do needs to be stopped before he creates more vengeful ghosts. She offers him her hand, and he uses it to pull himself up.
The Daebak team is complete again with Hwa-jung’s return, and she fills them in on the progress the police have made while investigating Dohak Construction’s finances, uncovering a paper company involved in a money-laundering operation that they suspect Do’s been using to bribe officials.
Ji-chul laments that many people wouldn’t have had to suffer if the police had investigated more thoroughly 20 years ago, and Ji-ah tasks him with looking into Secretary Choi’s background.
Hyun-joo comes home to find Tae-jin asleep in her spare room, having nowhere else to go. He’s surprised that they’re closing the restaurant but assumes it’s because Chang-hwa came back, taking credit for passing on their phone number.
Shocked to learn that Tae-jin actually met Chang-hwa, Hyun-joo tearfully asks how he was and whether he missed his parents and intended to come home. Tae-jin is dumbfounded to hear that he died in an accident at the construction site, and tears up when Hyun-joo thanks him for giving Chang-hwa that number so the police could contact them, enabling them to give their son a proper funeral.
Hyun-joo gives Tae-jin a hot meal and one of Chang-hwa’s old shirts, telling him off for going around in rags. She says that she knows he’s a good boy really so he should start acting like it and settle down, because all people really need in life is a safe place to go home to and a good meal at the end of the day.
Tae-jin drinks alone that evening and has a moral crisis, eventually heading over to Daebak to throw his shoe at In-bum. He tells In-bum that he wants to live a simple life too, and orders him to use the memorandum hidden in that shoe to take Director Do down.
Team Leader Jung holds a press conference to announce that Director Do is being investigated for ordering an arson attack in 2001 that led to the deaths of 7 people. Sung-shik’s case has been re-opened following the discovery of irregularities in his suicide/confession letter that seem to point to foul play, and the police will carry out a search and seizure at Dohak Construction’s headquarters as a result of the ongoing investigation into their money laundering.
Director Do seems unperturbed by these developments, warning Detective Kang that it’ll take more than that to catch him before making a call to the Director General. He’s told that he’ll need to be interrogated at the police station at least once to keep up appearances, since the media have latched on to his case.
The Daebak team are joined by Tae-jin for a celebratory dinner, and Ji-ah gives her customary toast to not becoming vengeful ghosts after they die. She watches everyone bicker and laugh together and smiles to herself, and In-bum watches her fondly.
On the way back from buying supplies, Ji-ah warns In-bum not to get too ahead of himself because Director Do has a lot of friends in high places and it’ll be an uphill battle to make him pay for what he’s done. She says that now they’ve begun they’ll have to see it through, and In-bum is relieved to hear it but doesn’t let on, hoping that that declaration means that Ji-ah’s changed her mind about disappearing.
At the station, Director Do admits to his part in the arson but insists he had nothing to do with either Sung-shik’s death or embezzling funds, pinning the blame on Secretary Choi. Meanwhile, Ji-ah meets with Secretary Choi to ask why she’s willing to take the fall for her boss.
Choi explains that she owes a lot to Director Do, who was the only one to help her when she was abandoned by her parents. He may have taken advantage of her hardship to earn her loyalty and devotion, but she believes that he’d never abandon her. Ji-ah warns her not to throw her life away for a man like him.
Do’s lawyer sees Choi take Ji-ah’s business card and reports back to him, and although the director doubts she’d betray him he realises that she knows too much and could potentially become a liability. Do tells his lawyer to take care of her, and he gets her out on bail and sends her home in a cab.
In-bum is revealed to be driving the car, and he plays Secretary Choi excerpts from Director Do’s interrogation in which he pinned all the blame on her, offering her a plea deal in exchange for testifying against Do. Choi keeps insisting she really was the one responsible for Sung-shik’s death, not Director Do, but In-bum doesn’t buy it and drops her off at home to mull their offer over.
As Secretary Choi waits for the elevator, In-bum and Ji-ah’s words run around her head and she starts to doubt Director Do. She calls Ji-ah to agree to testify, and as she steps onto the elevator a man in a helmet steps off.
Outside, the man removes the helmet and In-bum, recognising him as the guy who lured him and Ji-ah into the freezer where they were almost killed, realises that Secretary Choi is in danger and runs after her. Meanwhile, Choi’s apartment has been filling with gas and explodes as soon as she opens the front door, killing her instantly.
Ji-ah sees the explosion on the news and realising that In-bum was near the building, rushes to the scene to find him. The plaza is full of injured people and emergency workers, and Ji-ah searches for In-bum desperately, eventually noticing his necklace lying on the floor.
Ji-ah sees In-bum standing in the middle of the plaza with his back to her, and when he turns round she sees that he has no face — he’s been possessed by an egg ghost once again.
Oh great, another egg ghost. That would have been a cruel cliffhanger if it wasn’t for the preemption that shifted the broadcast schedule. For a moment there I thought In-bum might actually have died in the explosion and become a vengeful ghost, so I was actually quite relieved to see that grotesque facelessness. I suppose it’s fitting that things have come full circle with the egg ghost, allowing Ji-ah and In-bum to break the cycle and start again without bloodshed this time — I don’t buy that either of them is actually going to be sacrificed, although I expect that they’ll both try to die for one another. My guess is that In-bum’s special medium powers will save Ji-ah somehow, but possibly he’ll lose them in the process and become a normal person — or maybe Ji-ah will no longer be an exorcist.
Is that the end of Director Do? It definitely felt a little anticlimactic, to be resolved so neatly by the police without the direct involvement of the supernatural or the Daebak team. I do like the way Do’s selfishness and underhandedness came back to bite him, creating a seed of doubt in the minds of both Tae-jin and Secretary Choi that In-bum was able to use to turn them against him: if you’re not loyal to others, they won’t be loyal to you. The fracturing of Do’s side contrasted well with the Daebak team coming together again, and emphasised that people are stronger united than divided.
Jang Na-ra did an excellent job as always portraying the pain that Ji-ah felt when she realised that she was the one holding her mother’s spirit back. It’s been a tumultuous few episodes for Ji-ah, but after so long bottling her emotions up I think it was necessary for her to get all that pain and anger and grief out of her system before she could start to move on. I think her focus has begun to shift away from the past and what she lost, and towards the people who love and care about her in the present.
This was an episode of conversations, reconciliations and resolutions, but despite that it didn’t feel that slow to me. I think every interaction served a purpose, allowing the characters to understand each other and themselves a little better. Both In-bum and Hwa-jung opened themselves up to Ji-ah and confided their pasts in her, deepening their relationships, and I very much enjoyed how aggressively supportive In-bum was when he realised Ji-ah was struggling — I laughed at the montage of her opening the door to find him standing there in different poses. In-bum’s remarks about a mother and child mutually clinging to each other rather than one holding the other back, the difference between concern and obsession, and using misdirected blame as a coping mechanism helped Ji-ah look at her relationship with Mi-jin’s ghost from a different perspective, and I particularly liked the emphasis he put on being kinder and more patient with yourself and others, and giving yourself time to heal, during both this episode and the last one. And of course Ji-ah returned the favor when In-bum was in need of some words of wisdom himself.
A single teenage mother and cot death — Hwa-jung’s backstory was even more tragic than I anticipated. I’m glad that her intentions were good, even if she went a little too hard on the overprotectiveness, and it was lovely to see the bond between her and Ji-ah re-established. The hand-holding could easily have come across as overly saccharine and out of character for Ji-ah, but somehow they managed to hit exactly the right note of sentimentality.
I’m never sure how I feel about Tae-jin. He actually wasn’t wrong when he said that In-bum and Ji-chul conned him first, and although we know that they’ve changed — and possibly that their intentions weren’t all that bad to begin with — I think Tae-jin really does consider them no different from himself or Director Do at heart. Yes he double-crossed them, but in his world you either play or you get played, and he’d expect them to do the same to him if their positions were reversed. I don’t think they could ever have changed his mind. It was Hyun-joo’s belief in him that made him want to do the right thing, and there are some interesting parallels between Ji-ah telling In-bum he’s a good person and Hyun-joo telling Tae-jin that she knows he’s a good boy. I think those words were something they’d both secretly always wanted to believe in but never quite could, until they heard it from the mouth of someone upright and unflinching that they respected and trusted to tell them the truth.