Vampire Detective: Episode 8 Recap

VampireDetective_08_06

Did we get a new writer? Are the better episodes being saved for the last half of the show? What’s going on!? For once we have a really spooky episode – one that involves spirits and ghosts and shamans. I wish we had this episode earlier, but what a nice follow-up to episode 7’s vampire-laden story.

Case 8: Judgment of the Soul

So… we’re just going to gloss over the fact that San somehow saved his friends and informed the club just in time to prevent them from getting bitten, alright? Because we need to have an important moment where Gyeo Wool reminds San (at home) that they’re a team and they need to go everywhere together. This is just to reinforce the fact that San has a new trio to take care of, and shouldn’t be so hung up on his original trifecta with Tae Woo and Yoo Jin.

Speaking of, I was fooled into thinking that Tae Woo was on the same side as Young Kwang because when his men scooped up So Yeon’s body, Young Kwang left with them so willingly I thought they were together. But nope, Tae Woo was there to abduct Young Kwang. He wants information, but Young Kwang isn’t going to give it up so easily. Now it’s clearer that Yo Na was looking to save Young Kwang from Tae Woo.

We then encounter a young woman walking around the streets of Seoul barefoot. She’s hearing voices from beyond the grave, and she loses consciousness. When she comes to, she’s in the hospital with her bloodied feet bandaged, and her brother has come to pick her up.

Her brother is none other than the good ol’ doctor! Worried, Hwang Jae Gook offers to take her home to their mother, but Jae Yeon whimpers in fear. She’d rather be with her brother, so he allows her to his office. Goo Hyung, who tagged along, doesn’t think that’s a good idea. After all, the doctor works at a tattoo parlor – full of needles and such. So, they end up taking her to Goo Hyung’s home, where the doctor tries to find out what happened to Jae Yeon.

Apparently their mother is remarrying, which isn’t normally a cause for concern. But Jae Yeon also can hear their dead father’s voice and it’s haunting her. Just in time, their mother arrives and tries to drag Jae Yeon home. She’s also brought her boyfriend in tow, Seol Hong Chul, a supposed priest who can perform exorcisms. She believes Jae Yeon is in need of an exorcism (because that’s what Father Seol says) while Jae Yeon and Jae Gook are resisting such “treatment.”

To add to the spookiness, Father Seol can tell right away that the house doesn’t belong to Goo Hyung, and that San is a former military man. That’s sort of true, but I’m more surprised that he didn’t pick up on San’s otherworldliness. (Methinks he’s a quaaaaaack… but we’ll see.) The mother continues fighting with her son, believing that as a doctor he’s completely useless. After all – he killed his father!

Flashback to when his father was wheeled into the emergency room years before. The mother tried to prevent Jae Gook from treating his father, while Jae Yeon frantically explained that their mother was having an exorcism performed on their father because he had terminal cancer. Jae Gook tries to prep his father for surgery, but his pulse slows down and suddenly he’s gone. All the while the mother screams that they should have just finished the exorcism and it’s all Jae Gook’s fault the father died from terminal cancer.

Father Seol inspects Jae Yeon and declares that she needs an exorcism. Just then she wakes up, possessed by the father, and spits out in rage about Mrs. Hwang’s affair with Father Seol, and how the priest is just trying to kill Jae Yeon too. Father Seol calmly decides to have the exorcism performed in Goo Hyung’s house and leaves to “make preparations.” That leaves the good doctor asking his friends for a favor this time: can they try to get to the bottom of whatever it is that’s haunting Jae Yeon? As much as possible he does not want her to go through an exorcism.

San, Goo Hyung, and Gyeo Wool want to help, but they have absolutely no idea where to start. After all, they’re private investigators of the physical, non-mystical nature. But Goo Hyung figures they ask a friend of his for help, who is a so-called shaman himself: Kang Dong Il. A former actor, Dong Il was suddenly “possessed” one time and now claims to have the seeing eye about a person’s life. This one’s definitely a quack, and he himself can’t figure out whether Jae Yeon is possessed or not. Even when his ear nearly gets bitten off during one of her crazed episodes.

But! He is helpful in one way: he provides the investigators access to some of the other top shamans in the area. These shamans have been very lucrative in their ability to read their customers very well, and when they go to the top shaman in their area, she quickly can tell that Goo Hyung has a failed love from the past (because what guy doesn’t?), Gyeo Wool has a frustration towards a man (her brother, and it’s vague enough that it leaves Gyeo Wool room to interpret it however way she wants), and that San needs to stop changing careers. Super vague, but specific enough to make their clients start dishing about their lives themselves.

Meanwhile, Father Seol has already prepared the bedroom for an exorcism ritual, with tons of talismans and candles and such. Mrs. Hwang was quite adamant that Jae Yeon be treated by the priest, despite Jae Yeon and Jae Gook’s protestations. It gets quite violent, with Jae Yeon screaming herself hoarse as she gets tied down to the bed posts and Jae Gook has to forcibly restrain her from hurting herself. It’s this kind of commotion that drives everyone else crazy and why Dong Il ends up taking the investigators out to see the shamans in the area. Se Ra stays in the house to act as their contact at “home base” to let them know if anything happened.

There is one new clue that San also learns while they’re all out and about. When they see Father Seol’s car and driver, San spots a bit of blood on the wheel’s metal rim. The driver tries to move in front of San and block his view, but that just makes the driver even more suspicious. This driver needs a lesson on “how to act cool” in front of investigators. This, added with the fact that San thinks they’re being followed as they go to other shamans, just adds to San’s suspicions about Father Seol.

So the investigators split up: Goo Hyung goes to Daehak-ro, where there are a lot of theaters, to ask Jae Yeon’s former company about how she was, and Gyeo Wool and San head to meet with Father Seol’s previous clients. Gyeo Wool looks through Father Seol’s bank statements and past; he’s squeaky clean and never accused of conning anyone, but he’s been paid royally for his work. They visit one of the clients at the hospital, who is the mom of a disabled son. It turns out her son was suffering from terminal cancer and she turned to Father SEol for help. He suggested an exorcism, and she paid an exorbitant amount for it. However her son was absolutely resistant to the idea so Father Seol only said that if they don’t get the evil spirit out, something bad will happen to him.

And it did – he got hit by a car and is now in the hospital severely disabled. San realizes that Father Seol’s driver is the one who hit the son, sort of to bring about the prophetic vision that something bad would happen to him. Seol Hong Chul is quite the savvy con man. As they leave the hospital, San notices their tail again, and he and Gyeo Wool manage to pin the guy down and catch him for questioning. This stalker of theirs is actually a private investigator too!

As for Goo Hyung, he learns that recently Jae Yeon had started acting funny at work, saying things like she saw her father or heard his voice. A fellow coworker knew that Jae Yeon felt bad for her mother for falling victim to the priest’s charms, and also heard that Father Seol had killed her father somehow. He had also said that acting was bad for Jae Yeon and her mother tried to pull her out of the theater company.

Back at the house, Father Seol is still trying to banish the spirit in Jae Yeon’s body. Jae Yeon wakes up, somewhat calm, and tearfully tells her brother not to bear the full burden of guilt over their father’s death. It really wasn’t his fault that he couldn’t treat their father. And then suddenly she turns maniacal and accuses Father Seol of killing her (father) again. So Father Seol decides he needs to take a break and escapes to his car. He’s tired of this family, which means he’s conning them! He decides that he needs to end things quickly, so he decides to do the “same thing to Jae Yeon as (he) did to her father” – and that means pouring poison into his sack of rice that he usually gnaws on during the ritual.

Goo Hyung meets with Detective Park for an obligatory eating scene. And Detective Park just gives him some papers on how Jae Gook resigned from his post as a doctor at the hospital so that the matter was settled quietly and quickly. We figured as much that that happened – didn’t need a scene about dumplings for this.

During the break, Se Ra goes to Jae Yeon’s room with some porridge for her to eat. In a moment of trying to keep the girl calm, she reminds Jae Yeon of how lucky she is to have a good and protective brother like Jae Gook. But suddenly Jae Yeon turns and harshly asks, “Who are you?” Uh oh… Downstairs, Mrs. Hwang is smugly saying that it’s Jae Gook’s fault for all this misfortune on their family. Father Seol said that if he became a doctor, all their lives would be ruined. Jae Gook then replies, “Don’t you remember? You were the one who wanted me to be a doctor.” Oooh burn. Mrs. Hwang sniffs, “That was before I (was enlightened by the great and wonderful) Father Seol.”

Back to San and Gyeo Wool – they rendezvous with Goo Hyung and talk to their stalker in his office. His rudeness towards Gyeo Wool earns him a nice bit of shattered glass in his face, and with the specks of blood San figures out that the investigator has ties to Father Seol. In fact, he investigated all of his clients. Gleaning that all the information on the clients must be in the safe, Gyeo Wool quickly cracks it with her decoder and they find a file on the Hwang family. It turns out Mr. Hwang left his entire inheritance to Jae Yeon. So that’s what Father Seol is after.

At home base, Father Seol is taking matters into his own hands with force. He has his men beat up and hold Jae Gook and Se Ra hostage so that they don’t stop him from his exorcism ritual, then heads upstairs to viciously tie up and beat Jae Yeon. Se Ra manages to send a text to Goo Hyung (who’s utterly excited by such a text) but it’s only letters. The stalker-detective manages to figure out that Se Ra was trying to say “Save us!” instead of “I love you!” (which Goo Hyung would have preferred), and so San, Gyeo Wool, and Goo Hyung go pick up Dong Il for some help and rush back home.

They find Se Ra and Jae Gook already tied up and gagged in the living room. San easily dispatches of Father Seol’s men and driver, with Goo Hyung’s help, and a bit of blood from the driver confirms San’s suspicions about his involvement in the hit-and-run accident.

Upstairs, Father Seol is ready for his coup de grâce in the exorcism ritual – feeding Jae Yeon the poisoned rice. Jae Yeon knows that there’s poison in it this time, and struggles against his grip. A flashback reveals that Father Seol had done the exact same thing to her father despite her protestations, and after the father was force fed the rice he died in the hospital.

Thankfully San and company arrive upstairs just in time and stop the torture. Dong Il suddenly puts on an act (as directed to by Goo Hyung), listing all the previous victims of Father Seol’s who have paid a terrible price under his hands. Father Seol goes mad, disbelieving that he will be haunted by the ghosts of his victims. Suddenly Dong Il shudders, and then his entire demeanor changes; he’s been possessed by Mr. Hwang. For real.

He accuses Father Seol point blank for trying to steal his inheritance and now killing Jae Yeon for it. Jae Yeon had actually been putting on a bit of an act this entire time to try and expose him eventually. She recognizes her father is in Dong Il though, and she profusely apologizes for what she did back then. What did she do? Well, Father Seol is only too happy to explain: Jae Yeon had poured poison in his sack of rice that he’d been eating in the hopes of killing him and getting him to stop torturing her family. However Father Seol smelled the poison in the bag and knew what she was doing.

Everyone is pretty much aghast: so Father Seol knew his rice was poisoned and still fed it to Mr. Hwang!? Mrs. Hwang is now disillusioned after having believed in him for so long. She even had an affair with Father Seol and kept doing the exorcisms just so she could be around him more. Dong Il/Mr. Hwang turns to Jae Yeon and assures her that it’s not her or Jae Gook’s fault. His cancer had progressed to the point where he could not be saved anyways.

Mrs. Hwang thinks Dong Il is a fraud and this is all a ruse, but he then says, “The day I was diagnosed with cancer, do you remember what I said? For our son’s sake, I want to rest now.” That hits home for Mrs. Hwang, which means that that line is legit. San sneaks over to Dong Il and mutters that he can drop the act, but then Dong Il shudders again and says, “You’re not someone of this world are you? You came back to life didn’t you? Don’t worry, it’ll all be worth it. You’ll meet that woman soon.”

Whoa…

Dong Il shudders again and nearly collapses but Goo Hyung is on hand to prop him up. Dong Il doesn’t know where he is, as if an entire ten minutes has been erased from his memory. Goo Hyung is surprised: his fraud friend actually had a spirit in him?

In any case the damage is done and Mrs. Hwang has finally opened her eyes to the con. And Jae Yeon is safe.

Skip to a nice hotel room where Tae Woo sits next to Yoo Jin. (She looks pregnant, but her shirt could just be puffy.) They’re not getting much information from Young Kwang, and they know Yo Na is going to retaliate soon. Yoo Jin is tired though, as she wants all this to be over. Not quite sure why yet, but Tae Woo reminds her that he’s done a lot for her to get to where they are now. And – her boy Yoon San is still alive.

Dun dun dun!

Comments

Finally we’re making use of the supernatural aspect of this show! I wish it came earlier, but I think it’s also because the cases from the earlier episodes felt so weak. And, we’re getting the backstories of each character too – first San, then Gyeo Wool, then (after a while) Goo Hyung, Yo Na, and Jae Gook. (I never realized his name was Jae Gook until now either.)

Though fairly straightforward of a case this week, I actually quite enjoyed this week’s case because I actually felt like they had a worthy foe to pin down. Seol Hong Chul was pretty slick, because he was clean and they just had to prove he was a fraud. And I’m glad they were able to despite the fact that you needed Jae Yeon’s confession to seal the deal. Maybe the blood stain on the car was too easy, or the fact that they had another private detective on their tail to help give them the answers, but I could feel the threat. Kudos to the guest actors in this episode because Mrs. Hwang was such a frustrating character and Seol Hong Chul was actually a bit creepy.

This is definitely an episode that I feel should have come a bit earlier in the series, but I guess the show wanted us to build some camaraderie with the good doctor before giving us his backstory so that we’d be more invested in him. Not that I built any camaraderie with him in his sporadic and convenient appearances, but I guess seeing him for seven episodes and getting his sad story is better than getting it as the third episode.

Wonder how this show is going to tie up. It’s a very easy show to watch, but nothing exciting to recap about these days.

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