Sell Your Haunted House: Episode 16 (Final)
Sell Your Haunted House comes to an emotionally satisfying conclusion as our duo deal with a few unpleasant last minute surprises. With the support of the Daebak team our exorcist re-evaluates what she wants in life, after a long-awaited farewell.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Do stabs Ji-ah and then throws her to the ground, telling her that she shouldn’t have expected to live after messing with him. In-bum is still weak but manages to push Do away, giving Ji-ah enough time to grab her nail gun and hit Do around the head with it.
Do is interrupted by the arrival of Hwa-jung and Ji-chul and runs away, leaving both Ji-ah and In-bum unconscious. While fleeing the scene he gets into a fight with a mob of homeless people and dies after falling down a flight of stairs, cash fluttering loose in the air.
On the way to the hospital In-bum’s eyes suddenly snap open and the lights in the ambulance begin to flicker, causing the driver to lose control and crash into a parked car. In-bum emerges from the smoking wreck and walks away, now possessed by Do’s ghost.
Ji-ah wakes up after her emergency surgery to the news that In-bum has disappeared. Upon learning that Do is dead she remembers that In-bum’s necklace was broken during their run-in with the egg ghost, leaving him vulnerable to possession, and puts two and two together.
Ji-chul has analysed the CCTV footage in the area around the crash and can track Do by following the path of malfunctioning cameras he leaves in his wake — he seems to be heading slowly towards Daebak Realty. Ji-ah guesses that he’s planning to try and kill her again after failing at Sky Building.
Hwa-jung wants to go to the police but Ji-chul objects, worried about the consequences for In-bum if Do does something illegal while in his body. Ji-ah reassures him that she won’t let that happen.
Hwa-jung drops Ji-ah back at home after she’s discharged, but begs her to re-think calling in the police because she’s still not in any shape to be fighting ghosts and performing exorcisms. Ji-ah tells her that she made In-bum a promise the first time they worked together to take responsibility for anything he did while possessed, and she intends to keep it.
Ji-chul has been tailing Do and calls Ji-ah (he’s saved in her phone as +1) to let her know that he’s close. Ji-chul intervenes when he gets in altercation with a driver — worried that In-bum will have to suffer the repercussions if Do seriously injures the man — and gets sent flying, lying crumpled on the ground as Do marches on towards Daebak Realty.
Ji-ah is ready and waiting when Do enters the office and launches herself at him, but as they fight her stab wound reopens and it becomes clear she’s struggling. While being choked by Do, Ji-ah appeals to In-bum for help and he manages to wrest control of his body back for long enough for Ji-ah to free herself.
Do regains control, but Ji-ah manages to lure him into the backroom where she’s prepared a salt barrier, trapping him inside with her. Ji-ah and Do fight again but this time the balance is in Ji-ah’s favor, as she uses a metal exorcism tool to get the upper hand.
Ji-ah pins Do to the ground and presses the sealing tool into his chest, where it bursts into flames as Ji-ah curses his soul to burn forever to atone for his sins. Do’s spirit is pulled from In-bum’s body into a sealing jar, and Ji-ah collapses to the floor unconscious after setting the lid in place, the hand that held the sealing tool a burned mess. In-bum crawls towards Ji-ah and places his hand in hers before following suit.
Ji-ah wakes up in a hospital bed to see In-bum asleep at her bedside, still holding her hand. Her gaze softens as she thinks about him struggling with Do to save her, but she quickly looks away when he opens his eyes, overjoyed to see her awake.
In-bum feels guilty that Do almost killed her using his body, but Ji-ah tells him she’d be dead if he hadn’t fought Do’s ghost for control at that critical moment and thanks him for it, and In-bum thanks her for surviving. Hwa-jung watches their moment from the doorway and decides not to intrude, dragging Ji-chul away for lunch.
In-bum asks about the burns on Ji-ah’s hand and she explains that those are the nasty side-effect of sealing that she mentioned before. She didn’t want Do to get to move on peacefully to a better place, she wanted to make him suffer for what he had done, and now his spirit will burn for all eternity in the sealing jar.
In-bum gets discharged first and goes to thank Ji-chul for stopping Do from harming anyone while he was possessing In-bum, and getting hurt in the process. Ji-chul was trying to hide his injury in case In-bum felt needlessly guilty over it, and grumbles about Hwa-jung selling him out.
In-bum shocks Ji-chul by telling him that he loves him, explaining that someone once told him that the surefire way to make sure he never becomes a vengeful ghost is to express the emotions that he feels. He’s grateful to Ji-chul and he loves him so he wants him to know that, and Ji-chul tells In-bum that he’s grateful to him and loves him too.
When In-bum visits Ji-ah at the hospital she tells him that she intends to try sending her mother’s spirit off again when she’s discharged and asks for his help. She’s convinced that Mi-jin is angry with her after Ji-ah forced her to show her how she died, but In-bum says that as her mother she’ll understand how Ji-ah feels.
Stood in the hospital lobby as she’s about to leave, Ji-ah looks around and realises that she can’t see ghosts anymore. When she gets home she rushes past Ji-chul and his celebratory cake and goes straight upstairs to summon Mi-jin, but can’t see her when she appears.
Ji-ah guesses that sealing a spirit must also seal away the exorcist’s abilities, which is why it’s only done as a last resort, and frantically wonders how she’s supposed to help her mother’s spirit leave without them.
Over drinks, Hwa-jung confides in Team Leader Jung that she’s worried Ji-ah won’t be able to recover from this setback, but he tells her to have more faith in Ji-ah’s strength. At Daebak, In-bum hesitates to disturb Ji-ah and tells the others to give her more time, as Ji-chul gripes that it’s just like Do to still be a thorn in their side even after death.
Ji-chul wonders if they could just use the awl while Mi-jin’s possessing In-bum anyway, but Hwa-jung quickly shoots that idea down by telling them that if someone without exorcist abilities did that then the medium would actually be stabbed.
Just then Ji-ah comes downstairs and the others all stare at her in shock when she announces that she’s going out to eat. At the restaurant, both Hwa-jung and In-bum fuss over Ji-ah, loading her plate with meat, and even Ji-chul donates a piece which gets a tiny smile out of her.
Ji-ah tells them that she underestimated the effects of the sealing ritual but she doesn’t regret doing it, because Do deserved what he got. She doesn’t know that the loss of her abilities will be permanent anyway, and the team resolves to help her look for a way to bring them back.
Ji-chul’s idea is for Ji-ah to put her hands in a cauldron of piping hot salt to recharge her energy, like wrestlers do, which she shoots down immediately. Hwa-jung has Ji-ah devour a table full of food in the hopes that it’ll help her recover her stamina, to no avail. In-bum attempts to hypnotise her with a pocket watch but accidentally entrances Ji-chul instead.
Sitting in the park at night, In-bum asks Ji-ah if she’s actually okay or if she’s just trying very hard to be. Ji-ah tells him that she always wanted to be normal when she was a kid, but now that wish has come true she feels like she’s nothing without her abilities. She’s not going to wallow in self-pity this time though, because she’s determined to regain her powers and send her mother’s spirit off.
Hyun-joo brings over boxes of food to express her gratitude to Ji-ah for giving her the chance to send Chang-hwa off properly with a home-cooked meal, and Ji-ah remembers how he’d left himself in the end without her intervention.
Ji-ah tells Hwa-jung that she thinks she can send Mi-jin off without using the spirit awl too, if she can let go of her. Her resentment towards Mi-jin for leaving her behind, her guilt for killing her, and her selfish desire to keep her mother by her side even as a ghost have been holding Mi-jin’s spirit back.
After facing the egg ghost and having to choose between sacrificing herself or allowing many other people to die, Ji-ah feels that even if she still doesn’t agree with Mi-jin’s decision, she can understand it a little better now. It’s taken a long time, but she’s finally ready to surrender her resentment and guilt towards her mother.
Hwa-jung takes Ji-ah’s hand and tells her that it’s not surprising that it took her time to get to this stage, because it’s always hard to let go of someone you love.
Ji-ah finds In-bum poring over the old exorcism records looking for a way to help her — Ji-chul has already conked out — and asks him to help her perform an exorcism. As Hwa-jung waits anxiously downstairs, Ji-ah covers her eyes with a blindfold and asks In-bum to remove his necklace.
When Ji-ah opens her eyes Mi-jin is standing in front of her with her arms open, looking the way she did in life, and Ji-ah rushes into her embrace. Ji-ah tearfully apologises for making Mi-jin suffer on her behalf by holding onto her, but Mi-jin replies that it’s been a pleasure to watch Ji-ah grow up so well.
Mi-jin tells Ji-ah that it’s time for her to go, and asks her to apologise to In-bum on her behalf for what she almost did to him. Ji-ah can’t accept it and pleads with her mother not to leave her alone again, but Mi-jin smiles and replies that Ji-ah has never been alone, in the past or in the present, because she’s surrounded by people who love her.
Mi-jin tells Ji-ah that she’s a better exorcist than her mother ever was, and she’s proud of her for all the people she’s helped and all the people she will help in the future. Tears rolling down her cheeks, Ji-ah tells Mi-jin that she won’t have to be cold anymore and lets go of her hands, and Mi-jin’s spirit disappears, leaving Ji-ah sobbing alone.
In-bum drops to his knees as the spirit awl disintegrates by itself, and realises that Mi-jin has gone. He gently removes the blindfold from Ji-ah’s face, and holds her as she cries her heart out.
Before she leaves, Mi-jin’s spirit appears to Hwa-jung and apologises for entrusting her with such a big responsibility before she died. Hwa-jung tells her it was her pleasure to care for Ji-ah, and Mi-jin thanks her for doing it so well.
Ji-ah gets a call from In-bum telling her to get dressed and come outside, where she finds him posing against a convertible. He drives her to the columbarium to visit her mother, having heard from Hwa-jung that she’s never been, and tells her to come here whenever she misses Mi-jin and wants comfort.
As they leave, Ji-ah tells In-bum that she never really had any dreams about what she wanted to do in life when she was a kid, not seeing the point since she was fated to become an exorcist anyway no matter how she felt about it. He asks what her dream is now, since she’s free to choose, and she tells him that she’s decided she wants to be an exorcist.
In-bum says that he’s also decided what he wants to do but won’t tell Ji-ah, and she sniffs and pretends she wasn’t really curious anyway.
When Ji-ah gets back to the office Hwa-jung asks her if she’s said her farewells to In-bum and scolds her when she finds out that Ji-ah still hasn’t told him she’s decided to head out on a trip to recover her abilities, not knowing when she’ll return.
Watching Hwa-jung immediately start to touch up her makeup after getting a text, Ji-ah asks if she’s going on a date with Team Leader Jung but she denies it. Ji-ah tells her she should go out and enjoy herself even if it’s not with Team Leader Jung, since she sacrificed so much of her free time for years looking after Ji-ah, and Hwa-jung tells her that she’s always had a thriving personal life so Ji-ah can stop being so dramatic.
In-bum and Ji-chul watch on as Hwa-jung extinguishes the Daebak Realty sign and locks up for the last time. Ji-chul complains that it was too cruel of Ji-ah to just leave without saying goodbye, but In-bum has faith that she’ll return.
Hwa-jung says it was fun while it lasted and orders the guys to stay out of trouble, and Ji-chul tells her to stop acting like this is goodbye for good because he intends to text her every day. After one last lingering look at Daebak, they get into their separate vehicles and drive away.
One year later, Ji-chul meets with a bereaved mother and tells her that he’s deleted all digital traces of her deceased daughter’s online presence, as she requested. He gets a call from Soo-jung and enthusiastically agrees to meet up the next day to celebrate some good news.
Chang-hwa Restaurant has reopened and Tae-jin serves tables full of hungry customers, fussing over Hyun-joo and bashfully agreeing when a man asks if he’s the owners’ son. Hwa-jung, Team Leader Jung and Detective Kang enjoy themselves over dinner and drinks at a pop-up bar.
Ji-ah walks down the street towards Daebak Realty wheeling a suitcase behind her, and passes under a banner proclaiming the redevelopment cancelled. In-bum emerges from the record room as she climbs the stairs, and both are surprised to see each other. In-bum asks nervously if Ji-ah found what she was searching for and she simply smiles and holds her once-scarred hand up for him to see.
The neon sign above the door lights up once again, proclaiming Daebak Realty open for business. A wealthy man enters and is greeted by Ji-chul, Hwa-jung and In-bum, and Ji-ah makes a dramatic entrance to ask her customary question: have there been any deaths in the property recently?
In-bum and Ji-ah stand in front of a large building at night as Ji-chul tells them through their earpieces that he’s secured the area and Hwa-jung nags them about being more careful not to damage anything this time. They stride forward together, ready to perform another exorcism.
And so Sell Your Haunted House comes to a reasonably strong end with most of the loose ends neatly wrapped up. I actually think it was stronger in the first half and missed the case-of-the-week format once we moved away from it, but overall I enjoyed the ride. For the most part the writing has been consistent and well-reasoned, and the maturity of the characters and the clear communication between them was refreshing. Ji-ah and Mi-jin’s farewell was lovely and a fitting conclusion to their story. Ji-ah had been mourning her mother for 20 years but was finally ready to let her go after reaching the final stage of grieving: acceptance.
I’m a little conflicted about this episode because I wasn’t happy about a couple of major things that happened — namely Do’s abrupt death and Ji-ah losing her exorcism abilities — but I did like the consequences of them. Do’s death and possession of In-bum felt rushed and way too convenient to be believable (which even the writers acknowledged, lampshading it with a comment from Detective Kang about it seeming absurd), but Ji-ah sealing his soul away to burn forever as punishment for his crimes was exactly the kind of justice I wanted to see. Call me vindictive, but that was way more satisfying than a prison sentence.
Ji-ah losing her abilities also came out of left-field (why would the books just say there were serious side effects and not elaborate?) and I know she said later she’d make the same choice if she could do it again, but I think her decision would have had more impact if she’d known what she was sacrificing when she did it. Having said that, I love that when freed from the burden of her abilities Ji-ah makes a deliberate choice to become an exorcist again. It shows how far she’s come from the person who was holed up in her own shell, resenting her role and trying not to involve herself in people’s lives any more than she had to. It was a pleasure to watch her grow and regain her confidence and trust in others over the course of this drama — although I’m really glad she stuck to her signature black and didn’t revert back to pastels!
Ji-ah was the heart of this drama and Jang Nara gave a phenomenal performance — I couldn’t look away when she was on-screen. She’s really pushed herself out of her comfort zone with this role and proven herself a much more versatile actress than I’d previously given her credit for. Kudos also goes to Jung Yong-hwa who I initially had doubts about — he wasn’t quite a traditional leading man but brought a softness and vulnerability to In-bum that suited the character really well and complemented Ji-ah’s strength and stoicism.
I am disappointed with the lack of romance between Ji-ah and In-bum, because I feel as though it was often teased and hinted at but never came to anything. What a waste of such amazing chemistry! They had such an amazing, supportive relationship and there were some lovely moments in this episode, from In-bum holding Ji-ah while she was crying to the soft look on Ji-ah’s face when she woke up in hospital to find In-bum holding her hand. I love that Ji-ah was so intent on fulfilling her promise to In-bum to take responsibility for him while he was possessed, and live up to the trust he placed in her, and I love that In-bum took the time to really ask Ji-ah if she was okay — he’s a great judge of knowing just what she needs, be that advice, someone to listen, or just some space. The respect, trust and affection they had for each other showed in all their interactions, and their relationship truly was a partnership.
I’m rarely a fan of time-skips and I’m not convinced this one was necessary, but I am happy that Ji-ah got some time to heal and that everyone ended up back together again. The Daebak team dynamics were great, as they grew comfortable with each other over time and In-bum and Hwa-jung got over their initial hostility and bonded over doting on Ji-ah, and she started looking less annoyed and more fondly exasperated at Ji-chul’s antics. I also really appreciate that the writers gave time to little moments like Mi-jin thanking Hwa-jung for looking after Ji-ah, In-bum letting Ji-chul know he appreciates him, and both Tae-jin and Hyun-joo flushing with pride and happiness at being mistaken for a mother and son. It felt genuine and really fleshed the characters out well, and the kindness and love in those interactions was heart-warming to watch. I really loved the central tenet of this drama: express your emotions freely and live with no regrets.
I’d happily watch another season, just saying.