Vampire Detective: Episode 1 Recap

VampireDetective_01_02

It is taking a lot of me to not type out Vampire Prosecutor 3 right now. Actually – more like every time I type out this title. But it’s a good thing because Vampire Prosecutor is what made me check this drama out. (No, not Lee Joon.) And I think that if Yeon Jung Hoon is not to continue with the vampire franchise, then I think Lee Joon most definitely is a worthy successor to pick up the fangs.

Case 1 – The Night Life

When we first encounter Yoon San (Lee Joon), he’s already a prince of darkness. Sorta. Not really. Okay what he really does is beat up bad guys with his super strength as a vampire. His eyes glow a golden yellow, and so far that’s pretty much the only indication that he’s not human.

Flash back to five years earlier and we see Yoon San undergoing police training at the academy. He has a friendly judo match with his friend and classmate Kang Tae Woo (Jo Bok Rae) while his girlfriend Jung Yoo Jin (Kim Yoon Hye, also formerly known as Woori and in Heartstrings) watches anxiously on. Tae Woo wins, and just then all three are called by the dean. Looks like they’re the best performing students, as the dean assigns them an undercover mission where they must work in a criminal ring.

Flash forward a little while later and Yoon San risks the mission by going in to save Yoo Jin, who’s been tied up and held hostage. Tae Woo provides backup, and they all escape a business building fighting back the police (who, for all intents and purposes under their current mission, are the enemy). Tae Woo hits a few guys with the car and picks up Yoon San, who fights the enemies back with a pipe. They all run off, and Yoo Jin is unsettlingly calm about this whole thing. She feels guilty that she caused the mission to fail, but at the same time she doesn’t seem completely remorseful or receptive to San’s worries. And to think, they’re dating!

She asks Tae Woo to stop the car, and steps out for a bit of fresh air. San hurries after her to make sure she’s not trying to run away or anything. It’s not like it’s the end of the world, even though they failed the mission. That’s when Yoo Jin apologizes, and shoots him point blank in the chest. Sheesh! Something is definitely wrong here. Tae Woo doesn’t even rush out of the car, and drives off once Yoo Jin gets in, which means that he knew what was going to happen too! What happened in this mission that made them betray San like that?

Doesn’t matter – because they stop nearly a block away, after leaving San to die on the road, and the car blows up. What the heck.

Flash forward to the present day and San is working out in a rich, elegant house. But he’s not supposed to be running on the treadmill, as the bullet lodged deep in his chest did not heal properly and therefore he was advised against any strenuous exercise. He takes his medicine, and then joins his new partner Yong Goo Hyung (Oh Jung Se) on the foyer. They’re private detectives now, and they’re staying at Goo Hyung’s uncle’s place (an uncle who looks remarkably like Ryu Seung Ryong!). They pretty much act like private investigators for cheating spouses and such, and that’s one of their missions today as they camp out in front of a host club and catch an older woman meeting her boy toy.

There’s a hilarious bit where Goo Hyung tries to make San over and have him wear colorful suits, but in the end they settle on a black turtleneck with black leather jacket. San looks more badass that way.

After they get enough pictures, and get caught by the cheating wife, they get a call from Detective Park, who’d like their assistance with a case. A 40-year old woman was strangled to death in her home where the doors and windows were locked, and her husband was away for a business trip. So who could have done it? San walks through the apartment and asks if there was a power outage the night she died. How did he know? There were a lot of candles in the apartment, and a flashlight in the bedroom. He looks through the list of suspects and picks out a woman, Choi Jae Kyung. She’s a close friend of the victim, has glasses, and smokes.

Nonchalantly, San explains that Jae Kyung would have been invited in without a fuss since she knew the victim. She would be of similar build to the victim, so when she attacked it would have been a struggle to kill the victim. Hence the fight moved from the living room to the bedroom. During the fight, the victim would have knocked off Jae Kyung’s glasses, and since she couldn’t see she wouldn’t have noticed the flashlight by her bed. So instead she used a cigarette lighter to look under the bed; that would explain the singe on the bedding. Then Jae Kyung would have taken the keys and purse, locked the door from outside, and then dropped it back into the bedroom through the window.

Detective Park is quite impressed wth San’s deduction. So what would have been the motive? San muses, “As for the motive… Well, that’s for you to find out Detective.” And that’s pretty much all the services they can offer for free.

When they get home, San immediately senses that someone else is in the house. And too right there is – a young woman named Han Gyeo Wool is casually drinking their most expensive wine in the kitchen. She tut-tuts at Goo Hyung for not recognizing her, as they encountered each other before she was sent away to jail. In any case, Gyeo Wool has a mission for them. She wants them to help her boyfriend, Gyu Min. Gyu Min was a blood researcher at the hospital, but recently had been going out a lot at night and coming home with blood on his clothes. It’s not very extraordinary though since his work does deal a lot of with blood, but Gyeo Wool adds that she followed him one night and saw him interacting with a sexy woman who gave off a dangerous aura. She took a picture of them but it was dark. The only thing that identified the girl was her diamond pendant of a sun.

San recognizes it right away – it used to belong to Yoo Jin! But Yoo Jin is dead! Curious to see where this case will go, he agrees to take it on. Even though Gyeo Wool has nothing to offer except her “services.” (Which I think has to do with hacking, since she says they can’t afford her services anyways.)

They do a stakeout and follow Gyu Min as he heads into a nightclub. Immediately Goo Hyung starts dancing with a girl, trying to “blend in.” Heh. San spots Gyu Min breaking through the crowds and going all the way to the back. He follows him to the second floor, where the kitchen is. Except no one’s doing any cooking there. Instead, it’s just a few guys cleaning up a bloody mess. Wonder what happened here…

San tries to extricate himself from the situation but he gets caught by the guys’ boss, who’s a lot tougher and full of furry clothes. Just in time, Goo Hyung arrives with a stun gun, and now the odds are in their favor. Aimed at the men, and taking out a few of the more threatening ones, San asks where Gyu Min is. And that’s when Gyu Min emerges from a freezer that is clearly a passageway to elsewhere. A look of fear passes through Gyu Min and he quickly shuts down all the lights. San and Goo Hyung immediately fire their stun guns, keeping it on the baddies as long as possible so that the blue electricity can give them some added light. Honestly, I think that’s so brilliant: light source and you take out the baddies. They catch Gyu Min’s shadow running away and the two guys chase after him, fighting off the baddies as they go.

Gyeo Wool joins in on the chase when she sees them emerge from the club, and that’s when San’s heart gives out. He collapses on the ground, unable to run further, as Gyeo Wool and Goo Hyung continue their chase. Eventually Gyu Min leads Goo Hyung to a dark alley, and then jumps on top of him to knock him out. San catches up to hit Gyu Min, but is quickly and violently tossed to the side. Before Gyu Min can hurt them further, Gyeo Wool arrives, and he runs off. Turns out, Gyu Min and Gyeo Wool are actually siblings.

When San comes to, he’s in a tattoo parlor that belongs to his doctor. Yes – his doctor is now a tattoo artist. And his doctor is the one who told him to stop running and take his medication. It’s hilarious that of all things his doctor is a tattoo artist. Like, San and Goo Hyung are already shady being private investigators, and the fact that they don’t go to a normal hospital for treatment just makes them seem even more unrefined.

In any case, San is not going to listen to his doctor, and he, Goo Hyung, and Gyeo Wool go to Gyu Min’s apartment. They find a picture of Gyu Min’s real girlfriend, and make Gyeo Wool promise to tell them the whole truth going forward. They find a translucent key that has the symbol of the club they were just in, so they head back, with Goo Hyung and San pretending to be health inspectors. They force their way in while a staff person calls up the boss again, and quickly inspect the kitchen. It’s definitely suspicious that nothing has ever been cooked in that kitchen, and San uses the translucent key to open up the freezer door. It leads into a lush office, and the key also unlocks the computer. Goo Hyung starts transferring all the files into a USB, and San pokes around the room some more.

Gyeo Wool calls: the Furry Baddie is back with his men, and they need to get out of there fast! But San unlocks another room – this time it’s really a freezer, and it stores a lot of blood. Different types of blood. What the hell…

We then see Gyu Min trying to get his girlfriend Yeon Joo to drink more blood. Turns out she’s a vampire! Yeon Joo doesn’t want to live anymore and tries to burn herself through the sunlight streaming through the window, but Gyu Min is insistent on saving her life. He got turned into a vampire too when she bit him soon after turning, and the two have been staying together, hoping to find a cure. When Gyu Min inspects Yeon Joo’s blood later that night, he gets a vision of what happened to her before she got bit. Yeon Joo was trying to treat an ER patient who was also a vampire, and got bit before anyone else could help her.

Furry Baddie and his men catch San and Goo Hyung in the kitchen again, but thankfully Gyeo Wool arrives just in time to knock over a fuel canister and hold a lighter above it. They do not want her to drop it. Slowly, San and Goo Hyung worm their way out of the group and then tell Gyeo Wool to drop it as they run. The Furry Baddie scrambles to catch the lighter, saving it before it hits… water!? Hah! Gyeo Wool tricked them completely!

The threesome jump into the car and drive off. One of the baddies manages to jump on and latch himself to the side door, but they push him off a few streets later. None of the others can follow as Gyeo Wool smartly slashed all their tires before going into the club. Furry Baddie is now in big trouble with his boss, who watches through the surveillance cameras in her office of what San and Goo Hyung did. Without much words and only close up glimpses of her eyes and necklace, we suspect that this fearful boss is actually Yoo Jin. And she wants Furry Baddie to take care of the private investigators and Gyu Min quietly. After all, if Gyu Min gave San the key, then he’s betrayed them and deserves to be killed off.

San and Goo Hyung analyze the data in the folders, and the most they can come up with is the fact that there is an underground blood ring going on and Gyu Min is part of it. They ask Gyeo Wool if she knows anywhere else her brother could be hiding, and she can only think of Yeon Joo’s house in the countryside. They arrive just before sunrise, and Goo Hyung agrees on letting Gyeo Wool come with them to the house instead of staying in the car. However, Goo Hyung positions her as lookout out on the front.

San and Goo Hyung cautiously enter the darkened home, where all the shades are closed, and they’re suddenly attacked by Gyu Min. Gyu Min beats the heck out of Goo Hyung with almost no effort at all, and then takes out all of the weapons he has in his jacket. He then orders San to take out all his weapons as well. San can’t believe he’d be so ruthless, and Gyu Min replies, “I can do anything for the person I love.” San: “But what about your sister?”

Gyu Min doesn’t want his sister involved in any of this mess, so San asks about the files on the computer. What does it mean by “helper,” which is the label for a lot of folders in the computer. Gyu Min admits that all he promised to do was create a new strain of blood for them. San asks if it’s for the woman with the sun pendant, and Gyu Min is surprised to hear that he knows the woman too.

Just then Yeon Joo steps in. She wants Gyu Min to stop whatever dangerous thing he’s doing. She wants it all to end. But it’s not going to yet – because Furry Baddie just arrived outside of the country house and has Gyeo Wool at gun point. He demands on getting the USB of research and the new strain of blood as promised from Gyu Min, otherwise he’ll shoot Gyeo Wool.

San and Goo Hyung step out of the house first, as the other two can’t go out in the sunlight, but they can’t do anything as Furry Baddie is a bit too psychotic right now and can easily hurt Gyeo Wool. Yeon Joo wants to step out and help, and tells Gyu Min that she’s received a lot of love from him already. Gyu Min tries to hand her a hypodermic needle full of something that supposedly can “cure all diseases.” It’s a bit of a far-fetched claim, but ok I’ll go with it. She hugs her boyfriend and leaves it with him instead, pushing him back on the floor and opening a curtain from the window so it’d be hard for him to pass through.

Then, Yeon Joo runs out and is blinded by the sunlight. Her skin turns red as if she has a rash growing on her cheeks, and her eyes turn bloodshot red. Her fangs grow out, and then she rushes towards Furry Baddie, knocking Gyeo Wool out of the way. She grabs on to Furry Baddie’s wrist, the one holding the gun, and then waits until her hand goes on fire.

The fire spreads up and around Furry Baddie’s body, and she lets go. Set aflame, he starts firing wildly, with one of the bullets hitting very close to Gyeo Wool’s unconscious body. San crawls over to try and protect her while Furry Baddie dispenses all of his remaining bullets. Four… five… six. Finally the baddie burns to death, and Goo Hyung emerges from behind a tree to check on his friend. San’s been shot – this time the bullet is close to his heart.

Yeon Joo has been exposed to the sun for too long, so she turns to look at Gyu Min one last time and then dissolves into ashes. Gyu Min steps out, completely hooded and covered up, and looks down at San’s body. He’s dying, and Goo Hyung goes off to call an ambulance. Gyu Min then uses the needle with blood – the vampiric blood that supposedly can cure everything – and injects it into San’s neck. Memories of Yoo Jin flash through his mind and his eyes turn golden yellow. The wounds start closing up though, and San regains consciousness.

Gyu Min then apologizes to Gyeo Wool’s still-unconscious body and then removes his hoodie. Within seconds, he too burns up and disappears with the wind.

Comments

This episode was crazy good. It sets up a lot for San, Goo Hyung, and Gyeo Wool – our new three musketeers. I’m surprised that when we meet San he’s not already a vampire, but instead we see him turn into one in the first episode. It also makes it more original that he was not bitten, but rather injected. Being a vampire in this world has been treated more like a disease or epidemic than anything else.

I’m very curious to see how San delves into the vampiric underground world, as obviously his girlfriend was turned into one five years ago. It’s possible she turned, and then realized the dangers of it so she didn’t want San to come and rescue her. But he did. Or, after the bomb exploded she was saved somehow. But I don’t think there’s any way anyone could have survived that blast. Hopefully this means we’ll see Tae Woo soon too.

I really enjoyed Oh Jung Se’s performance here because he added some comedy to the show and acted like he was the slacker, but he’s really not. He appears just in time to help San out; he just has a different approach to investigating. And I really like that. As for Lee Se Young, initially I thought it was Im Joo Eun talking because they both sound so similar. Lee Joon looks strikingly like a smaller and younger Jung Gyu Woon here, which is a good thing in my book always. I was also really impressed with his acting here. Not a moment felt too forced. You could forget that he was an idol ever.

I’m very excited to see where this show goes as it’s a crime procedural, and it follows the Vampire Prosecutor franchise sort of. I’m curious to see what other powers other than super strength he’ll get, and can’t wait to see the mystery unfold.

 

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