Through the Darkness: Episodes 5-6 Open Thread
The emergence of South Korea’s first serial killer sends the police force into turmoil. Our heroes must put their heads together in a race against time, so as to prevent the murderer from claiming yet another victim.
EPISODES 5-6 WEECAP
We wrap up last week’s Jo Hyun-gil case with a prison interview. Boorishly self-centered, Hyun-gil keeps blaming other factors for why he turned out the way he did, saying that little Soo-hyun shouldn’t have caught his attention that day. Disappointment clouds Ha-young’s eyes as he realizes just how unrepentant Hyun-gil is.
Months pass by as our team works hard interviewing criminals, eventually taking us to September, 2003. A new chief, KIM BONG-SHIK (Seo Dong-gab), transfers into the special crime squad. Bong-shik is condescending and rude, flicking his name card at a bewildered Woo-joo and lounging in Ha-young’s seat as if he owns the place. Worse yet, he’s in cahoots with immoral reporter Moo-shik, sending him tips about cases so he can break exclusives.
There’s clearly history between Bong-shik and Tae-gu, given her clear discomfort at working with him. We soon learn that back in 1996, Tae-gu had been chasing a suspect when the man had ambushed her and held a knife to her neck. Luckily, Ha-young arrived in time to disarm and take down the culprit, allowing her to cuff him. That got Tae-gu promoted to inspector, and during the award ceremony, Bong-shik whispered scornfully that he’s surprised she lasted this long rather than quit and get married. Ugh.
Of course, petty Bong-shik also has a bone to pick with Ha-young. It turns out that Bong-shik, while brown-nosing his connections, had ended up taking bribes and arresting the wrong suspect. Ha-young hadn’t been fooled, leading to Bong-shik’s demotion. That got Ha-young branded as a backstabbing troublemaker, and to this day Bong-shik still holds a grudge.
But enough about Bong-shik — there’s a new case, and it’s the murder of economics professor Han Seok-hoon and his wife in their luxurious residence. The crime scene is too clean, meaning the murderer overpowered them easily with little resistance. Though the police still have little idea what the murder weapon could be, we see that it’s the work of the sledgehammer killer from last week.
Another blunt trauma murder victim is discovered, and police officer In-tak notices the same hiking shoe footprint left behind at both crime scenes. He brings this discovery to our team, and with the report of a similar third victim in another district, they realize they’ve got a serial murderer on their hands.
However, a fourth victim disrupts the pattern. This time, the crime scene was set fire to after the murder, and the interval between killings increased to a month. The culprit has never stolen any valuables from his crime scenes, but this time he took a single thing — a black jacket, belonging to the victim’s husband, that was left on the couch.
Bong-shik proves he has peas for brains when he theorizes that the pattern lies in the names of the districts, since Suseong, Gungok, Jinjung, and Hwanghwa all have repeated starting consonants. LOL, I can’t.
In contrast, Ha-young astutely realizes that all four districts have a common characteristic — they’re easily accessible by public transport. That would explain the need for the culprit to steal the jacket, since the temperature dropped the morning of the crime. The jacket would also serve to cover his bloodstained clothes.
When CCTV footage capturing the culprit’s back is discovered, Ha-young declares that they need to put out an APB. He theorizes that the increased attention on the cases, due to the press reporting suspicions of serial murder, was what led to the increased time gap between the third and fourth cases. However, it only made the killer hesitate, rather than stop entirely. Hence, they need to instill more fear in him in order to prevent yet another victim.
Unfortunately, there are still no leads after two months, turning public opinion against the police with accusations of incompetence. Tae-gu reassures Ha-young that the APB decision isn’t his responsibility to bear alone, and that they’ll make sure to catch the culprit.
Ha-young voices his concern that the murderer may have changed his MO, and we see that he’s not far off the mark. The culprit is now wearing sneakers instead of his usual hiking boots, and he’s reading books on anatomy to study how to cut a person up.
We end this week with a preview of a new murderer, who ominously sharpens a knife and follows a young woman home. He stabs her multiple times right outside her door, then flees the scene. Oh no, does this mean our team will be chasing two killers simultaneously? That doesn’t bode well, given that the other squads are already pointing fingers at them for poking their noses where they don’t belong.
Any more moves that draw criticism will be additional leverage to push for the disbandment of the Behavioral Analysis Team, and I have a sinking feeling that these two cases won’t be easy to solve. The murders of wealthy senior citizens in their homes pretty much confirmed that our sledgehammer killer is based off the Raincoat Killer, which means that our team will likely be led on a lengthy and convoluted pursuit. This week’s episodes felt like the calm before a storm, and it seems like a big one is brewing.
Amidst the frantic urgency to track down the killer, we didn’t get to linger on our characters as much this week, but there were still a few standout moments that I loved. Fed up with Bong-shik’s constant patronizing, Tae-gu finally snaps and calls Bong-shik out for his misogynistic behavior.
She points out that she’s a fellow detective, yet he treats her like a woman. Laying it out as it is, she calls him narrow-minded, shallow, prejudiced, and immature. When he threatens that he’d have hit her if she wasn’t a woman, she responds with a tight slap. Yessss, that was so satisfying.
Also, Ha-young’s been smiling more! He’s really settling comfortably into his partnership with Young-soo, whose jovial disposition is clearly having a positive effect on him. Young-soo is steadfast in his optimism, and I think that serves as a solid anchor for Ha-young to tether himself to when he needs to ground himself after facing a particularly disturbing criminal. And their friendship is adorable!
Unfortunately, the show will be preempted until February 25 due to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. In the meantime, I’ll be rewatching that scene of Young-soo feeding a rice cake to an embarrassed Ha-young.