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[Drama 2010] Secret Investigation Record 기찰비록

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I'm loving this drama! It's something different from the usual KDramas which is good. I hope this does well!

Can't wait for EP3! Too bad I don't have tvN :(

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Not all of epi 3 is fully subbed but what is done is good.---Done 

I loved the rice throwing.  Since when is that a sign to ward off evil....:lol:   Loved it....

Since there was not a clear transition from epi 2 to 3, it looks like once a chapter or series within an episode is completed the drama begins anew with another topic or frame of reference.  Anywho, it was strange how episode 3 started as I fully expected a continuation from the end of episode 2 unless I missed something at the end of that episode like why Researcher Huh burned Kim's mentor's book and the smoking guy shows up leading me to believe Kim saw him.

Episode 3 left me pondering the radioactive materials found 1000 years prior was the cause of deaths and deformities.  Now based on the ending of episode 3, I'm thinking time travel is included in the mix along with UFOs.  With this realization and possibility, I think Investigator Kim will realize that the situation is far to complex and beyond his pay grade to deal with and at the end just live his life with this knowledge gnawing at him.  I do not think he will have a happy ending because of what he finds out and concludes unless he can accept Researcher Huh by his side.  Given the fact that she keeps forgetting things, makes me believe she is either not fully human or was abducted herself. :vicx:

I also think the references made by Research Huh to "know things that she does not know" has a dual meaning for love not yet experienced, and what knowledge may have been taken from her, while he was referring to the "unknown mysteries surrounding him".  A woman I take it Investigator Kim has known.

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Joseon X-Files: Episode 2 by javabeans

This is a really well-done drama. Suspenseful, taut, and wonderfully produced.

In addition to a story that intrigues, Joseon X-Files is really great to look at — love the pacing, the cinematography, the contrast of colors and light. It’s an example of a drama not just being pretty for the sake of pretty, but using every aspect — visuals, sounds, light, dark, even empty space — to serve the whole.

EPISODE 2: “Secret Light, Part 2″

In the forest, Hyung-do’s vision blurs from the drugged dart that has hit him, as the man in black steps forward to warn him to stop digging for info. With smoke wafting from his pipe, he tells him not speak a word of this — if he doesn’t listen, he risks his life.

Hyung-do and Officer Jang are tied up for questioning — and surprise of surprises, the man who steps in to face them is the Gangwon-do official he’d met in Episode 1. He warns Hyung-do to keep his mouth shut, as he’s been given the okay to kill him if necessary.

Furious and uncomprehending, Hyung-do demands to know who would give such an order. What are they hiding? He saw the empty village and the strange light flying around. There’s no way he’ll just back off now; he vows to find out the truth and right the false charge leveled against the governor, his teacher.

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What a shock, then, to be told that the governor confessed to conspiracy.

Inexplicably, the official cuts the rope that binds Hyung-do, suggesting he help his teacher. Leaning in, he tells him he’ll allow him to escape, assuring him that he will not be held back. Go — and forget all this. (So it appears there is some sympathy after all, coming from one Gangwon-do official for another… or is there another reason?)


As promised, Hyung-do is allowed to leave, and he staggers out wearily. He drinks with Jang, who sees that he has fallen asleep and offers a few drunken words of advice, as the older hyung to his younger colleague:

: “Even if what you say is right, if a hundred people say it’s not so, then it’s not so. It’s not that you’re wrong, but the important thing isn’t fact or truth, got it? What’s important is reality.”

Hyung-do’s eye opens in time to catch those words of counsel. In the morning, Jang awakens alone to find Hyung-do gone, with a note instructing Jang to hie himself back to Hanyang and deliver his message to an investigator with the police.

Meanwhile, Hyung-do races back to the mountain with five peaks, stopping short when he spies a gathering of masked men in the forest. He ducks out of view — and meets a man wielding a rifle.

This man is the lone resident still here from the mysteriously disappeared village — he’d gone out hunting, and come back to find a strange light. The ground trembled violently, and then the people were gone.

The man leads Hyung-do to a clearing in the woods where he saw the light. The man is intent to find his disappeared child, and becomes distracted by a fallen shoe. Hyung-do, on the other hand, is on alert for the small flying ball that hovers in the air above them — which then dives straight for them.

Driven by rage, the villager demands the light to return his child and fires a shot, which misses. Hyung-do defends himself with a club, though he is unable to connect with the flying ball. 


And then, a big light.

Nearby, in a different clearing, the group of masked horsemen wait as a bright light shines down through the treetops from some source in the sky. Their purpose remains unclear, but their attentions are diverted by the sound of a nearby gunshot.

It’s been fired by the villager, who keeps shouting for the return of his child. Finally, the ball dives straight at him, and embeds into his chest.


Shooting electricity into the villager, the ball then detaches. With a big bang! it falls to the ground, now defunct, just a hunk of metal. The man collapses, dead, bearing a scorched mark on his chest; this explains the scorched dog in the previous episode.

At the sound of approaching horsemen, Hyung-do grabs the ball and hides.


The masked men find the dead man and carry his corpse away. The leader looks off into the distance toward Hyung-do’s hiding place; the latter sweats as his men approach. But the pipe-smoking leader — who seems aware of Hyung-do’s presence — orders his men to retreat.

Gulping a sigh of relief, Hyung-do makes his way out of the forest, where he sees a strange bluish light emanating from over the five peaks. He starts to climb.


Halfway up, a disembodied voice asks, “Must you see it?” It’s his teacher’s voice, but instead of being dissuaded, Hyung-do becomes more determined to find out what it is. Particularly when more small flying balls zoom through the air, passing him by on their way toward the big light.

Amidst growing shock as the balls whiz by, Hyung-do continues the steep climb, wondering if this is what his teacher had seen. As he nears the top, a rumbling, mechanical sound starts to grow and the light grows brighter. 


A huge vessel rises from the mountaintop. At first it lifts slowly into the air, and then with a loud whoosh, it disappears.

Across the rocky terrain, our pipe-smoking man does his thing: observing Hyung-do and looking enigmatic.


As instructed, Jang delivers Hyung-do’s missive to the royal police; the message provides his account to back up what his teacher had seen. He appeals to them to reconsider the accusations leveled against the Gangwon-do governor.

Alas, this is naive of him. Instead, the minister to whom he appeals simply decrees, “We’ve got one more crazy man.”


Now Hyung-do is interrogated, and his sidekick Jang brought as a corroborating witness. He is asked to confirm the contents of Hyung-do’s account.

To Hyung-do’s shock, Jang disavows knowledge and stutters that he knows nothing. Jang hangs his head in cowardice as he suggests that perhaps Hyung-do mistook what he saw. (It’s a beautiful bit of acting on Jo Hee-bong’s part; he plays Jang with nuance as one torn between loyalty to his friend and abject fear for his life.)


Next, we are officially introduced to the pipe-smoking man, who joins the investigation. Hyung-do sputters in recognition, but is sharply told to mind his place — this is Ji Seung, who occupies one of the top government posts as the court’s financial officer.

Agitated, Hyung-do exclaims that Ji Seung also saw all this, but the official feigns ignorance: “Have we met?” The more heated Hyung-do grows, the more crazy he’s starting to seem as he insists that Ji Seung has a hand in this, and that a man’s life hangs in the balance.

Unperturbed, Ji Seung chuckles and calls him “an interesting fellow.”

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The minister (of rites? — apparently this is Lee Yi-cheom) charges Hyung-do with plotting in league with the accused governor, who is currently imprisoned. The minister knows the truth, but he presents the situation as interpreted by the court: that the governor saw a comet in Gangwon-do but made up false claims of a monster in the sky, which agitated popular sentiment and therefore endangers national stability.

Moving in for the kill, the minister asks, “You want to live?” There’s one way for Hyung-do to settle public agitation, and success will enable him to protect himself and his teacher. The minister declares him the only suitable man for the task, because if he fails…well, Hyung-do’s life is already on the line. No extra risk. I’m starting to get the sense this minister’s a little unhinged, maybe. Crazy for power, and all that.


Hyung-do is released, but advised not to go far since he’s not a free man just yet. Jang hovers around the gates upon his release, and I find something very pathetic and stirring about how miserable he looks as he stammers out an apology for forsaking his friend. But Hyung-do tells him it’s all forgotten — and, repeating Jang’s words from earlier, reminds him that what’s important is reality.

Jang takes him to a place where he can get help for his secret task, and I think that the very fact that he was tipped off by someone at the police should raise his hackles. 


Passing through a butcher’s shop, they find a bookshop — the one run by Yoon-yi, the mysterious woman who spied on Hyung-do previously.

She has been apprised of the situation and ushers him in, showing him drawings of his particular area of interest: strange flying objects. He asks if similar objects can be made, though he’s not in a situation to divulge why he needs them.


Thankfully Yoon-yi doesn’t press, and replies that she knows some weapon-makers who should know how to make such items. Hyung-do asks her to keep this matter secret, saying earnestly that a precious life hangs in the balance.

The weapons-making team gets to work, assisted by Yoon-yi. A metal ball is forged with holes that shine light from within, and once completed, the flying metal ball is prepared for launch.


As they ready the proceedings, Hyung-do wonders what kind of person Yoon-yi is, given what he knows about her: she’s privy to these mysterious books, and she knows how to make unusual weapons. It doesn’t add up.

Yoon-yi says that she can’t answer that question, but it’s not meant to be coy; she means it literally: “I can’t remember my past.” But she doesn’t elaborate.

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Launch time approaches, and Hyung-do’s team waits for his signal. Across town, the minister also waits for the promised display.

Hyung-do orders the launch, and the fuse is lit on the metal ball, which is then loaded into a cannon. The force of the cannon propels the ball through the air, lit from within, and curious citizens look up as the ball of flame soars through the night sky. 


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Hyung-do looks upset with himself, or at the least conflicted over his actions. On the other hand, the minister appears satisfied, while the governor sees it from his prison cell with dismay.

The next day, a court herald announces to the populace that this was a testing of new artillery, as was the incident in Gangwon-do. This explanation seems reasonable, and appeases the people’s curiosity.

Hyung-do may not feel good about being part of this deception, but he is in a good mood because he believes his actions to have saved his teacher, per his agreement with the minister. Thus he is horrified — and confused — when Jang gives him the governor’s belongings, weeping that he is being executed by the court. 

True enough, the minister has reneged on his word (or, perhaps cleverly maneuvered the situation so that Hyung-do acted according to his plan) and prepares to execute the governor. Hyung-do races there, but he’s too late: the deed is done and the body already laid out. His disbelief turning into anger, Hyung-do fixes his gaze on the duplicitous minister, and starts following him with dogged steps.

But it’s probably a good thing for his own sake that he is stopped. A drugged dart catches him in the neck, and we’re given a brief glimpse of a police officer behind him as Hyung-do falls.


When he awakens, he is in a room with Ji Seung, who tells him not to resent him — Hyung-do was about to attack the minister of rites.

Hyung-do can’t understand — he did what was asked of him! Why was the governor killed? Ji Seung replies, “It wasn’t what I wanted either, but I didn’t kill him. They were just governing by national law.”

As far as Hyung-do’s concerned there was no crime committed, but Ji Seung returns with the official line — that the governor purposely incited the public by making that fireball to confuse them.


Hyung-do bursts out that he was the one to do that, not his teacher. Ji Seung informs him, “For your sake, your teacher confessed that he did everything alone. He knew that both of you could not live.”

Ah, so now we understand why the governor looked saddened at the sight of the fireball — he realized that Hyung-do had sealed his own fate in trying to save him, and that the minister would have him exactly where he wanted him.

Ji Seung tells him that if he feels this is unfair, then write down everything he saw. Hyung-do doesn’t see the point of this exercise, but Ji Seung prompts him to comply. And so he writes.


When he finishes, he is instructed to fold the paper and put it in a cylindrical container, which Ji Seung then seals with wax. That accomplished, Ji Seung says, “Now nobody can see this.”

Er, what now? What’s the point in writing something that nobody will read?

Ji Seung answers that this is a vault of secret records: “Bizarre and mysterious incidents that nobody can explain. These are records that contain the truth,” but which cannot be revealed. (This is also where our drama gets its name; I’ll talk more about it below.)

This vault, however, differs from the official annals of history: “Far off in the future, when all of these things can be explained, they may become nothing.”

He explains that these records started back in the reign of Taejo — the first century A.D. — and is showing Hyung-do this “Because you must work for these records now.” By whose order? “The king.”


Apparently the king respects Hyung-do’s seriousness and adherence to rules, “although we were a bit worried.” That is a curious word — “we” — but Ji Seung merely says that Hyung-do will come to learn of it in time.

Now begins his double life — as government investigator, and as an employee of these X-Files.

Hyung-do declines harshly: “I have no wish to live for the sake of a truth that I cannot reveal to anybody.” Ji Seung counters that they aren’t revealing the truth for the sake of the royal dynasty, “but for history.” He asks, “Won’t a time come when our descendants accept this with gratitude?”


Hyung-do is not really given much of a choice, and he tries to come to grips with this new information as he heads to Yoon-yi’s bookshop carrying his teacher’s diary. He asks a favor of her — to keep his book in safekeeping, because he can’t keep it himself. She agrees.

Apologetically, he thanks her for her work in that “useless” errand of making the fireball. Yoon-yi demurs, saying simply, “It’s how I met you.”

Yoon-yi invites him to have some tea with her, and heads to stir the coals in their warming pot… where she drops the diary he just gave her. 


Hyung-do doesn’t see her burning the book, but she does give the camera the creepiest stare as she does it, just in case you weren’t sure there was some major shiftiness going on. (I can’t even look at that screencap. She freaks me out. Enjoy!)

And then, Ji Seung steps inside the shop, which strikes him as odd. Hyung-do looks around with growing misgivings, starting to wonder if something is off here….

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RUN AFTER THE BOOK! Go get your book back! Don’t trust the mysterious albeit pretty woman who is totally working behind your back for reasons which may or may not be nefarious but who in any case don’t deserve your trust!!

Regarding the title: Some of you may wonder why I’m calling this “Joseon X-Files” instead of the literal translation of the Korean title [기찰비록, Gichalbirok], which means (as Ji Seung explains) a secret record of events that cannot be explained. Which is basically what X-Files are. The word exists in our lexicon, so I figured I’d use it instead of going with an unwieldy literal translation.


I’m sort of in love with the look of this drama, which works so well with the skillfully built suspense. It’s sharp, and dark, and feels more like a film with its assured pacing than a drama series. Sure the actors are pretty to begin with, but the visual appeal is enhanced by the immediacy of the drama’s vibe, which is not quite raw but still a bit gritty.

Plus, the story is shaping up nicely, giving us hints of intrigue and mystery, but keeping things shadowy enough to pique our interest.

For example, there’s Yoon-yi and this shadowy secret organization, which is called Shinmuhwe. I know that Hyung-do’s a part of them now, but I’m not convinced that they’re all on the same side, particularly with Pipe-Smoker pulling his strings and Yoon-yi acting in accordance to higher orders. Perhaps Hyung-do hasn’t earned his place in the organization yet, but just because they’ve accepted him doesn’t mean they’re suddenly looking out for his interests. If I were Hyung-do, I’d be wary of trusting anyone, especially after even his sidekick turned on him.

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One thing I really appreciate about this drama is that it doesn’t hit us over the head with its clues. Often, I feel like dramas underestimate their audience and set up clever clues, then point them out overtly to us as though they’re afraid we’d miss the point. Here, some details may evade us at first glance, but the fact that they are laid into the plot without fanfare is appreciated.

In fact, sometimes I don’t catch certain things until I go back and rewatch certain scenes. Usually I get everything in a first watch, but I’m finding it necessary to make a second pass to grab details I may have missed.

For example, there’s an officer who remains in the background, plot-wise, who is more significant than he appears on the surface. He’s a part of the royal police force, dressed in blue, and at first his actions make us think he’s against Hyung-do — he rips up his missive detailing his eyewitness accounts, and he’s the one who darts him at the execution. He’s also the one who gave Jang the tip sending them to Yoon-yi. Sketchy indeed. However, it appears he’s actually a part of Ji Seung’s secret organization, and if you go back to rewatch his scenes, what once seemed menacing could be reinterpreted as wary and watchful. It could be that he knew the greater picture and was trying to warn Hyung-do before he created bigger trouble for himself — but then again, the story might prove otherwise later. As I said, trust no one.

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I have no idea of what to make of epi 4.  It actually scared me because I don't like zombie movies....

Researcher Yi is becoming more of a mystery by the episode.  The show should not allow her to walk off into the sunset with HD without his knowing who she is for his sake.  He likes knowing and not just accepting things. 

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Joseon X-Files: Episode 3 by javabeans | September 13, 2010


Another really strong episode. The plot thickens, and we start seeing the first hints of a romantic attraction — not too many, just enough little bits to intrigue.

The director really has a deft hand with building suspense and drawing out the tension of simple moments. The subject of this episode isn’t particularly scary in and of itself, but thanks to the whole package of editing, lighting, mood, acting, etc., this episode had more than a few creepy moments. And also a few drily humorous ones.

EPISODE 3: “The Curse of Silla Gold”


Now that Hyung-do is a part of Shinmuhwe, the secret government organization investigating X-Files, he is dispatched to a dark cave to investigate a curiosity.

He and Officer Jang both recoil when the subject of interest lifts his hat to reveal a grotesquely misshapen head that’s only vaguely humanoid. But human he is, and until recently he looked like a normal man.

The two men step aside while a doctor, Park Dae-su, inspects the patient, Chun Seok-beom. Park has been sent from the court to take a look at Chun, and states that he can’t be certain of the illness without an autopsy. What charming bedside manner.

Jang has difficulty watching without recoiling, but Hyung-do listens intently as Chun groans out that “it’s cursed,” and will afflict all who touch it. From the look of his open sores and the retching, this man is rapidly approaching the end of the line.

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Yoon-yi joins them for a breakfast briefing session. I like this team format — while the bonds are still tentative between the three, they’re settling into a rhythm.

Yoon-yi refers to other events bearing similarities to this one, where men have been born with deformities. The difference this time, however, is that the man only came to be this way recently — ever since the “curse.”

The men react to that word — Jang sputters his breakfast all over Hyung-do’s face — as Yoon-yi explains about a recent discovery of gold bars. Chun Seok-beom was the first to find it, and said he was led there by the energy (ki) of the gold. The other men in the party have since become sick, but Chun is the worst off by far; at least the others haven’t become disfigured. Apparently he didn’t even report his gold discovery for two months — hoping to claim the gold for himself — until after his face started to become disfigured.

While the gold is transported to Hanyang, the team heads to the site of its discovery. The easily frightened Jang, already unnerved by the sight of Chun’s disfigurement, grabs a handful of salt from the breakfast table as they head out. Lol. I love little details like that.

Traveling through the forest, the trio reach the outer boundary of the site. Hyung-do intends to inspect it right away, but Yoon-yi holds him back. Cowardly Jang concurs (muttering about ghosts and such), while she points to more concrete evidence of danger: small dead animals lie in the sand around the dig site. It’s a wasteland for a reason, she believes.

Skeptical Hyung-do grumbles at what he considers unfounded superstition — what’s the point of coming here if he can’t inspect what he came to inspect? He starts to head off — only to get a fistful of salt rained on him. It’s superstitious Jang, doing his paltry best to ward off potential spirits. Just in case.

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The gold has already been removed, but Yoon-yi fears that the bad energy may still linger. In exasperation, Hyung-do declares that he’ll have to feel that energy for himself.

The other two keep their distance and watch anxiously as Hyung-do walks right into the inner circle. He crosses the rope, past a dead rabbit, without any trace of fear.

Crouching to take a look at the sand, Hyung-do scoffs, “Curse, whatever.”

And yet…! Some unseen force hurtles his way, represented by low, shaky camera work that speeds toward him. It gives the impression of being in the POV of a feral animal making its attack, and when the force hits him, Hyung-do suddenly loses consciousness and collapses.

When he awakens, he’s a little groggy but otherwise fine. Despite his teammates’ reactions to the so-called curse, Hyung-do ain’t afraid of a little bad mojo. Or rather, he’s skeptical that such a thing exists and doesn’t read into his fainting spell.

Yoon-yi asks pointedly if he’s always been this hard-headed, then asks about the bad energy. With a worried expression, Hyung-do starts to explain how it felt like something hit his body… until she tells him to cut it out — she knows he’s just teasing. (It’s a small beat, but very cute — they’re getting familiar enough to joke around and read each other’s reactions.)

It’s not long before Chun Seok-beom dies, at which point Hyung-do and Yoon-yi head back to the cave. It’s the first time the doctor, Park, has seen a disease like this that rotted the blood of the patient.

When the gold reaches Hanyang, something’s fishy: one of the men who was part of the transport team, Bang Joon-seok, hasn’t returned. Furthermore, the king himself has taken an interest in this matter, because of the gold’s origin: It is said to have been first discovered 1,000 years ago during the Silla dynasty.

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Hyung-do and Yoon-yi are allowed a look at the Silla gold, which is engraved with drawings. The drawings depict village people looking up at something, but what’s so significant about it that it merited recording?

Furthermore, there’s a blank space where one of the pieces has gone missing. The guard suspects that it was taken by the missing Bang Joon-seok, who is said to be suffering much more severe symptoms than the others.

While Hyung-do talks with the guard, Yoon-yi surreptitiously places a live chick in the space left by the missing gold piece, then closes the trunk. Moments later, she exclaims in alarm — the chick has died, for no apparent reason.


The proximity to the noxious gold also has an effect on Hyung-do, who feels faint and nearly falls over. Yoon-yi presses him to rest, but Hyung-do is determined to find Bang Joon-seok — they have no time to waste.

She protests, saying that he may already be affected by the evil energy, and after a brief argument, grudgingly Hyung-do gives in. He may not believe in the curse with his mind, but he can’t deny that he’s feeling some kind of effect with his body. He decides to leave Jang in charge of the case for now.

Yoon-yi reads his frustration and tells Hyung-do not to insist on working alone, “Because that means you can’t trust the person you’re working with.”

We know full well that there’s more to the story than she’s offering so I think he’s smart in hesitating to trust Yoon-yi, but admittedly we have more reason to be suspicious since we’ve seen her withholding information from him. It remains to be seen whether she’s operating for good or shady purposes, but we are right to be wary of her, I think. And yet, the intriguing thing about Yoon-is that I feel she’s being earnest in this moment; there’s an urgency to her demeanor, as though it matters to her that Hyung-do trust her. (Furthermore, while this scene has no romantic overtones, this episode shows the growing rapport between these two that will surely pave the way.)

As they leave the storeroom, they witness two officials in a heated argument about the gold. One of them, whom we will come to know as Choi, is upset that nobody believes him, and vows to prove himself right.

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Hyung-do wouldn’t have relented about taking a break unless he were truly feeling ill, and sure enough, his vision is clouded and his body weak. As he rests and drinks the restorative tea Yoon-yi gives him, he remarks that she sure knows a lot about this case. For instance, she know the location of the dig before she was told by the officials.

Yoon-yi answers that there were sufficient clues, and explains that people subsist on food and drink that comes from the earth, which we share with animals. Being in tune with them will lead us to our sustenance.

A thoughtful answer, but he asks how she remembers such words of wisdom when she can’t remember her own past. She doesn’t know either: “Those thoughts just come up in my mind.”

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Temporarily in charge of the case, Jang leads the search for Bang Joon-seok, posting wanted signs throughout the city. He gets particular satisfaction in altering the initial image to project the changes his face will have undergone, so that the eventual poster looks more like a goblin than a man.

Turns out he’s pretty on the mark, as we see when the real Bang Joon-seok staggers through town. With his grotesque sores and bloody cough, he keeps his head down as he struggles to keep going. And why yes, he does carry the missing piece of cursed gold. Looks like avarice is its own punishment.

He spies two armed men who approach with menacing gait, and that gives him the burst of energy needed to run away. These two men are doctor Park and official Choi, who chase him through the village but ultimately lose him in the crowd.


Feeling better from the rest and the tea, Hyung-do is eager to get back to work. The next place to check out: Hongmungwan, a royal institution that maintains a library, as Choi is one of its advisors.

Choi has been studying the gold, but he hesitates to disclose the full depth of his knowledge and speculations. Bitter about sharing his findings with the other advisors only to be deemed crazy, Choi is reluctant to talk more about it. Hyung-do and Yoon-yi try to draw him out with pointed questions about the engravings — what could the villagers be seeing? Why were the pictures engraved in the first place.

Choi briefly hesitates, then decides against confiding in them. He gives a vague answer about how the drawings are old and an explanation may never be given. He dismisses them coolly, declining to humor any more “useless talk.”

But then, a wave of dizziness washes over Choi, too. Our investigators notice, and Hyung-do asks if he often goes to study the gold. Choi regains his bearings and waves them aside.

It’s not until Choi asks why they’re studying the gold that Hyung-do shares his thoughts, and he’s deliberately frank, as though that might get Choi to trust them. He explains the rumors they have heard about a strange energy emanating from the gold, with some people even whispering of a horrible disease that afflicts all who touch it.

That elicits no reaction, and our investigators understand that they aren’t going to get any more out of Choi. On their way out, an observant Hyung-do makes note of an arrival — Dr. Park.


The doctor had arrived to take a look at a sick patient; Bang Joon-seok has been caught and lies in his death throes. Park emerges from the sickroom carrying a package, which he delivers to Choi.

Choi opens the box and chuckles in satisfaction at its contents — the missing gold piece taken from the dying Bang, whose engraving Choi now traces onto paper. He warns the doctor, however, that it appears that some people have “caught the scent” — meaning Hyung-do and Yoon-yi.

The two return to home base (Yoon-yi’s bookshop), but head out almost immediately when Jang delivers word that Bang Joon-seok has turned up, but is at death’s door.

Hyung-do and Yoon-yi race to speak to the man before he dies, and Hyung-do urgently asks about the gold. The man sputters, as though trying to gurgle out some words, but the two strain to understand what he’s trying to say.

The doctor joins them, and they step aside to give him room to treat the patient. Park deems the situation very dire and reaches for his acupuncture needles, asking for the other two to help hold the man down. Hyung-do watches anxiously as Park administers several needles, hoping for improvement.

But instead of helping, the body goes slack. Hyung-do and Yoon-yi watch in horror as the man dies.

The suddenness of this turn has Hyung-do stunned and confused, and he tries to puzzle out the sense in Park’s behavior. First off, why would a doctor leave the side of a dying patient to go to Hongmungwan? Furthermore, Park was present at the deaths of both men, Chun and Bang. Could it be possible that killed them rather than treating them? Hyung-do deduces that he used poisoned acupuncture needles, which they can test and confirm within a day.

This also means that the gold is now with Park… or Choi.


Now this odd collaboration starts to make sense. The two conspirators meet, and Choi confides that the gold harbors “an enormous secret.” The dynamic is thus: Choi is the scholar who has been studying the gold with near obsession, while Park is the uncomprehending lackey who really doesn’t care that much about the particulars, but has been swept along by Choi’s charisma and power.

Choi explains to Park Dae-su what he wouldn’t explain to our investigators: A thousand years ago, something appeared in the sky and caused chaos. He has also made the connection between the Silla UFO to the recent light spotted in Gangwon-do. The key is not the gold itself, but something melted in the gold. Finding that will prove that he was right all along, Choi says with satisfaction — being dismissed by his colleagues has imbued him with an obsessive need to vindicate himself.

Park is a simple man — he is to Choi what Jang is to Hyung-do — and worries that these claims are groundless and unprovable. Instantly, Choi’s smugness fades and he slaps Park across the face, angry at his impudence.

Park immediately cowers and apologizes profusely, and Choi is placated. Being discredited by so many has made Choi super-sensitive to disbelief, to an excessive degree that makes him, frankly, pretty terrifying. It’s not the violence that makes him a scary john tesher, but his volatility.

As Park hands over a map to a blacksmith “who can be trusted,” he worries that Hyung-do may be on to him. See, he was forced to use a poisoned needle…

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Team X-Files needs to find out what Choi is hiding, so Hyung-do instructs his team to split up. When Choi leaves his quarters, Hyung-do slips inside to search his office while the other two are instructed to follow him.

The search leads Hyung-do to Choi’s collection of tracings from the Silla gold engravings. The pieces start to fall in place in his head as he reads the note, “a huge light came down from the sky,” which evokes images of the massive flying disc he saw above the five-peaked mountain. Last of all, he finds a map.

The other two follow Choi all evening as he eats dinner, then makes his way toward a hut on the outskirts of the town — the trustworthy blacksmith Park told him about.

Yoon-yi peers into the hut as Choi entrusts the blacksmith to melt down the piece of gold, intent on discovering its secrets.

Instead of simply melting, however, the gold starts to emit a blue light, which spooks the unwitting blacksmith. Choi, on the other hand, laughs maniacally to be thus vindicated, teetering on the very brink of madness wrought by his obsession.

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The strange light also scares Yoon-yi, who turns back from the house and hurries away, running into Hyung-do, who has arrived following the map. He sends Jang to fetch the police, then starts to make his way to the hut, only to be stopped by Yoon-yi. Reaching for his hand, she insists that they have to get away from here, which gives rise to another argument. He wants to investigate, but she’s unnerved and feels that something bad is in the air.

Hyung-do shakes off her hand, asking if she’s hiding something from him — the trust issue rears its head again. While this conversation echoes their earlier argument, this one’s a heightened version, the emotions intensified with the urgency of the moment.

Yoon-yi fumbles to respond, saying that she can’t think of anything at the moment. Hardly a convincing denial, and it only increases Hyung-do’s mistrust of her. He refuses to walk away and says he must see this for himself, his voice growing heated as he declares that this is something that could right the injustice of his teacher’s death.

Yoon-yi’s genuinely spooked and near tears as she begs him to stop, because it’s dangerous. Hyung-do refuses and strides purposefully toward the hut — inside which Choi’s fragile hold on sanity finally makes a break. He revels in the green-blue light, seemingly unaware or uncaring of the little streaks of blood that are spattering his face, its source unknown.

But it doesn’t matter, because then the hut explodes.

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Thankfully, Hyung-do and Yoon-yi are at enough of a distance to escape harm, but it shakes their nerves badly. Particularly Hyung-do, who looks on in blank shock, and perhaps disappointment.

And, at a distance, that ever-present pipe.

Hyung-do debriefs with Ji seung, and asks about the Silla gold. Connecting some mental dots on his own, he asks if the engravings in the gold have anything to do with the light he saw in the sky. Choi died in a mysterious explosion, and the gold has disappeared. Was there something inside that gold?

Ji Seung scoffs — rather unconvincingly, I might note — that gold is just gold. Hyung-do presses — is there something that is being kept from him?

By way of explanation, Ji Seung shows him a woodblock engraving, which appears to be of a UFO. According to Choi, this is a depiction of the huge light seen in Silla times.

Ji Seung asks some loaded questions without clear answers: Why would Choi have made a tracing made when he could just look at the gold? Why would the gold disappear? He doesn’t understand Choi’s actions, either.

All this has shaken Hyung-do’s composure and perhaps even worldview. He sits in confusion, puzzling over the mysterious parts that don’t add up. He tells Yoon-yi, “I want to know what it is I don’t know.” Does she know what that is?

I believe that Yoon-yi is hiding things from Hyung-do per upper orders, but she seems to be sincere as she answers, “That is… something I would also like to know.”

His expression at that response is full of despair.


Meanwhile, elsewhere the Silla gold is buried once more into the ground… under the watchful eye of a pipe-smoking Ji Seung.


This was a great episode to introduce us to deeper storylines, now that the first two episodes introduced us to the premise. For instance, the curse has left us with more questions than answers, but not in a way that leaves me dissatisfied.

For example: What does Ji Seung know? What is Yoon-yi hiding? How much of her past is a total blank, and why does she seem so nonchalant about it, rather than being completely freaked out about it? (I don’t necessarily have a theory about what made her forget, but it would fit into the whole concept of alien abductions and missing village people.) These are all things we don’t know yet, but I have faith that the explanation will satisfy.

I love that the episode provided enough of a story to sustain an episode in a standalone fashion, but ties into the larger mystery of the huge light. Plus, it broadens the scope of that plot — these suckers have been around for a millennia, not just a month — so it’s no longer a matter of finding out what happened in that isolated incident, but piecing together long-buried and -scattered puzzle pieces.

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But most of all, what made Episode 3 stand out is the relationship developing between Hyung-do and Yoon-yi. They’re not a romantic pairing (yet?), and they’re not friends, but there’s a mutual respect there. There are little hints that suggest we’re going somewhere with this (yay), but I’m content to let the big mystery carry the drama and let the undercurrents remain, well, undercurrents.

I don’t need this to turn into a romance drama, but I appreciate that there is obviously thought being put into the slow build-up, from Hyung-do’s frustration with Shinmuhwe’s secrecy (and her part in that), to Yoon-yi’s appeal for him to trust her. I love that there are layers complicating matters, such as their opposing worldviews (he the skeptic, she the believer) and personalities (he’s the rigid rule-follower, she’s more about getting to the goal). And, of course, there’s always Jang to balance things out and provide some wry comic relief.

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I like episode 5 so far [3 of 5 viewed/translated] and hope the young prophet makes it out alive by the story's end.  He has a lot to offer Investigator Kim...not the so-called team necessarily because I still do not know who to trust.  His foreknowing is a great asset to the drama esp the part about the king and the imposter....I was actually in shock when Investigator Kim read parts of his prophecy.  No wonder he is wanted....another tool.

Okay, just finished the last of this episode.  I am glad about the ending....I wonder what the prophet told the courtesan about Investigator Kim????

The researcher lady is kinda scary.  She had no right to bind him like that and if his courtesan friend had died, omo.....

alex1999, the plot is definitely thickening around the royals, and Kim needs to be watchful.  The researcher lady now knows he does not share everything with her nor she with him....  If she was not soooo mysterious, I'd say they were meant for each other. Jealousy is rearing its ugly head....

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I like episode 5 so far [3 of 5 viewed/translated] and hope the young prophet makes it out alive by the story's end.  He has a lot to offer Investigator Kim...not the so-called team necessarily because I still do not know who to trust.  His foreknowing is a great asset to the drama esp the part about the king and the imposter....I was actually in shock when Investigator Kim read parts of his prophecy.  No wonder he is wanted....another tool.


Hi and everyone, thank you so much for your contribution of this thread. I enjoy the drama so much since I love Kim Ji Hoon.

Hi mskololia1, I enjoy reading your post. Thanks for that. I think the story becomes more and more mysteroius. The lump of light seems to effect many people with different results. All these things are still to be discover whereas Kim Hyong Do has to discover the people around him as well. Looking forward to the English sub of Ep 4.

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Joseon X-Files: Episode 4 by javabeans | September 21, 2010


OH MAN. This episode is sofa king good.

Not only is it plotted tightly, staying one step (or, let’s face it, five) ahead of us, dropping well-placed hints, it has a strong emotional throughline. Despite having the most intense plot yet, it’s also the funniest episode thus far. I laughed, I cried, I gaped in awe.

EPISODE 4: “The Red Eye’s True Identity”


A man runs through a forest in the middle of the night, and comes upon a small pool. The tattoo on his forehead indicates that he is a criminal, and he’s on the run from the authorities. As he splashes himself with water, something watches him from the shadows with glowing eyes. A wild animal?

It bides its time before it pounces — but surprisingly, the figure is humanoid, though grotesquely warped, like an alien with a melted face. The figure leaps at the fugitive and drags him through the forest, leaving behind a severed arm and mangled corpse when it’s done.

Team X-Files heads to the location of this attack, Yangju, not too far from Hanyang. There, they confer with the local authorities regarding the man belonging to the arm, who remains unidentified.

While Jang freaks out like the scaredy cat he is, Hyung-do speaks with the magistrate, who informs him that this is the fifth such incident. The magistrate, who believes it to be a tiger attack, is frustrated with the lack of urgency with which Hanyang is treating this matter, not responding to his request for professionals to capture the menace.

Hyung-do finds that a few of the magistrate’s conclusions don’t add up with the facts. For instance, if a wild beast attacked the dead man out of hunger, why is it he took the head, with no meat on it, rather than the guts?

The magistrate doesn’t appreciate his skepticism and pointedly says that this isn’t a matter for his jurisdiction anyway. A second man, a local official wearing blue, speaks up to concur with his boss; it could have been a pre-emptive attack in self-defense.


As Hyung-do and Jang leave, they catch a glimpse of a young teenage boy retching. Jang is particularly sympathetic, saying that the horrific sight of the victim’s remains is enough to cause that reaction, particularly given that the boy looked sick to begin with. A girl his age tries to give him something, but the boy shakes her off.

At home base, Yoon-yi brings out a book that refers to a “Yangjubak,” a monster that purportedly feasts on people and animals. Hyung-do rules it out because of its physiognomy, which doesn’t jibe with the details of the corpse.

Hyung-do turns his attention to their newest toy: a gun. Jang is proud of his acquisition, but hilariously, he hasn’t actually learned to use it. Face falling in disappointment, Hyung-do tells him to go back and find out how.


He heads out with Yoon-yi to patrol, anxious because the attacks have occurred monthly and it’s been roughly a month since the last. He gets a perplexed response from Yoon-yi when he says he’s out to find “a monster that eats people regularly.” It’s not the words so much as it is the matter-of-fact way he says it, like there’s nothing at all weird about him — the skeptic! the pragmatist! — going out in search of fantastical, mysterious creatures.

While making their rounds, Hyung-do sniffs something foul in the air, which comes from outside a house: a bloody organ has been placed in a bowl next to medicinal packets. Ducking out of sight, they watch as the owner emerges to fix the medicine, which he carries inside to his sickly son. Hyung-do recognizes father and son from the autopsy scene earlier.

Sneaking forward, Hyung-do grabs the bowl containing the bloody contents, taking it with him to investigate.

Local jail. Late at night, a figure (whose face remains unseen) drops a piece of paper into a cell, where the tattooed prisoner grabs it. Reading the instructions and using the key wrapped inside, the prisoner frees himself, then knocks out the wooden bars of the jailhouse. He sneaks over the wall — and curiously, the girl in the red hanbok sees the man escape, ever present and watchful.

The prisoner races through the woods, meeting his helper — the man in blue — at a place marked by a wooden totem pole. He thanks him and guesses that he was let out for a reason. Do they want him to perform some duty for them? Perhaps kill a man?

The man in blue indicates the way, and the prisoner heads off in that direction.


He’s caught completely unawares by the monster, which leaps at him. It’s even freakier since we barely see the attacker — we’re in its point of view, hunting the prisoner down.

At home base, Jang ponders possible explanations for the bloody organ — mayhap the father is doing everything he can to cure his son’s illness, which includes killing a person for whatever reason. But that explanation doesn’t work for Hyung-do.

Jang brings out the gun again, having learned how to load and shoot it: You put in the bullet, then the gunpowder… No wait, the gunpowder goes first, then the bullet, pushed down with the rod… Then that wire is for… uh… well…


Wryly, Hyung-do tells him to tell him when he’s got it all figured out. This gun humor may be one of those things you have to watch to fully appreciate, because it’s all in the delivery with Hyung-do’s excitement, then exasperation.

Yoon-yi arrives to tell them that they’d jumped to the wrong conclusion. Those materials were merely medicine, which dismays Hyung-do to hear because it means they’d stolen medicine from a sick boy. Oops.

Learning that more screams were heard near Yangju, Hyung-do sets out to investigate. Jang protests — he’s not keen on finding out firsthand that it was a ravenous tiger — but just then, in his lapse of attention the gun’s wick lights on the nearby candle. The fuse ignites and the gun goes off. Bang!

Jang quakes in his boots as he looks up nervously — he has put a bullet hole through the rim of his own hat. HA!



In the Yangju forest, Yoon-yi catches a glimpse of someone walking through the woods — that girl again.

Following her through the woods to a bamboo forest, Yoon-yi finds her kneeling by a pond — the same one where the first convict had paused to wash himself. The girl reaches out to touch the water, then pulls back tentatively. When Yoon-yi asks why she’s here, the girl gets skittish and flees.

Yoon-yi looks curiously at the pond, and draws out her compass as she walks closer to it. The needle goes crazy as something glimmers beneath the surface of the water, as though looking up at her.


The magistrate inspects the cell of the escaped prisoner. He’s displeased at this disappearance, but tells the man to keep this quiet.

Back in town, Yoon-yi happens across the girl again, who dashes off into a house, which identifies her as the magistrate’s daughter. Yoon-yi speaks to the closed window, earnestly asking her to tell her what she knows, and if it has anything to do with these deaths.


The girl opens the window to say she doesn’t know anything, but her eyes widen in alarm when Yoon-yi asks about the thing in the pond, confirming that she saw it too. That unleashes a flurry of questions by the girl: Really? She saw? Does she know what it is? But seeing the magistrate appear behind Yoon-yi, the girl gets scared and shuts the window.

A massive hunt is put into motion to find the tiger/monster/attacker. As usual, Jang quivers at the thought of joining the hunters, saying he has a feeling something bad will happen. Unaffected by that reaction, Hyung-do asks if he’s ever had a good feeling about anything. Touché.


Thus, Jang eagerly takes the first excuse to back out: Yoon-yi has been unsuccessful in trying to deliver medicine to the official they’d stolen it from. Jang offers himself, leaving Hyung-do with the gun.

Hyung-do grumbles that this is a pointless weapon since they don’t know how to use it, at which point Yoon-yi draws her own. With a jaunty smile, she says that she could have told him how to use it if he’d thought to ask her.

Hyung-do looks at her slack-jawed, then chases after her, asking, “Wait, you knew how to shoot the gun? Why didn’t you tell me?” LOL. It gets funnier and funnier. I love know-it-all alpha males put in their places by sassy ladies who know how to handle them.

At Yoon-yi’s suggestion, they split up. Hyung-do spots that girl walking through the forest on her own, and with his curiosity piqued, he follows.

He loses sight of her but forges onward, arriving at the bamboo forest — and by now, we know that strange things happen in the bamboo forest, don’t we?

He spots something in the distance — a small figure with a slimy head crouched on the ground. It growls to see Hyung-do, and when it staggers forward into the light, Hyung-do rears back in horror.

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Falling to the ground, Hyung-do slashes at the thing wildly with its sword, then fumbles for his gun. He finds another severed arm and screams, and despite the horror of the moment, it’s completely hilarious.

The thing is, the red-eyed monster is no longer the fast-pouncing predator but staggers slowly, blood dripping from an injured arm. And then, poof, it’s gone, and Hyung-do falls back in relief.


That night, Yoon-yi and Jang fight their growing worry over Hyung-do’s long absence — well, Yoon-yi does, while Jang is in hysterics. Finally, Hyung-do stumbles in looking catatonic, not responding to Jang’s cries of concern. Hyung-do hands over a bloodstained bag, and out comes a severed arm.

Hyung-do says numbly, “I saw it clearly with my two eyes.” Yoon-yi asks what he means. He answers, “The monster.”

The girl in the red hanbok comes upon the official’s home — the man in blue, the father of the sick boy Goon-chul — and sobs, “Ajusshi, save me.” She’s frantic, and blood stains her right arm.

Ladies and gentlemen, now for our “holy mini cooper” moment — it’s HER???

Team X-Files does some research: Hyung-do flips through a book of monsters, scanning descriptions of dragons with women’s heads, griffins, snake creatures — and one shriveled creature that supposedly takes human shape. Thinking of the girl, Hyung-do wonders if the human form it assumes is male or female.

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Yoon-yi reports the results of hunt: an armless corpse, two wolves, and a tiger. But there was an oddity — instead of running, the tiger stayed still as though sick.

Hyung-do overhears two policemen whispering about the captured tiger, which had been bitten by another beast. Fearful of what animal could have the power to bite a tiger, the men wonder if it’s a mythical monster.

Meanwhile, the official in blue carries his son Goon-chul home on his back, the boy’s arm dripping blood, while the girl trails them.

AHA! Another “oh mini cooper” moment! (The girl’s arm was bloodied from contact with Goon-chul, the true monster. He must have been injured in a fight with the tiger.)

Yoon-yi calls in a specialist to inspect the bloody arm, and a few conclusions are drawn. First off, the thing was motivated by hunger, as indicated by the pattern of teeth marks. Yoon-yi deduces that the creature was human — and one with a small face, at that. The expert points out that the victim was a criminal, as evidenced by the tattoo.

I love the rapid exchange between Hyung-do and Yoon-yi as their minds whirl, filling in the blanks together as they make important deductions. The victims are all criminals, which explains why they haven’t been able to identify the dead. This also means the authorities are somehow involved.

Onward they go! Armed with these findings, they head off.

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Outside the hut, Goon-chul’s father mixes powder into the medicine, then takes it inside to the boy. With shaking voice and tears in his eyes, knowing he’s about to kill his own son, he tells Goon-chul to take his medicine. He’s probably telling himself it’s all for the best, to put his son out of his misery.

Goon-chul sits up weakly and retches blood, then takes the bowl. He looks at his father with teary eyes and shakes his head no — perhaps aware that the medicine is poisoned. Dad lets a tear fall and says, more pleadingly, to drink.

Jang comes by with the replacement medicine and tries to drop it off nonchalantly, but the man sees and invites Jang in for a drink. The glint of hope in his eye makes my stomach drop — Dad has just had An Idea. Perhaps he’s found an easy way to satisfy his son’s craving tonight?


Hyung-do arrives at the magistrate’s quarters, announcing that he is here to return the arm since it belongs to one of the magistrate’s criminals. He cuts through the my happy poopoo and cites the relevant facts — how all the criminals who died managed to escape the jail — and orders them to show him the jailhouse.

An officer provides a lame excuse about being stumped by the escape, but Hyung-do easily finds the window with the loose wooden bars. The officer protests that the men were locked into their neck blocks, but Hyung-do points out that someone could have helped them. The hole in the wall is not big enough for a full-grown adult, but surely could admit a child.

The magistrate bristles, asking if he’s insinuating that his daughter helped criminals escape from jail. Hyung-do says shrewdly, “I never said that.”

When Yoon-yi comes in to report that the girl is missing, Hyung-do starts to put all the pieces together — in a BRILLIANT bit of effective directing that sends chills down my spine — as he thinks of how the girl is always nearby…

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He imagines the young boy crawling through the hole… dropping a key into the cell… being helped by his father, the local official.

He also realizes that since they didn’t find something to eat last night, he’ll be looking for something tonight… and remembers that Jang is with them.


Back at the house, the father exchanges a look with Goon-chul, who watches from inside and wipes his mouth. Dad suggests that Jang, by now very drunk, needs a guide and sends his boy to show him a quick route home.

Ugh, the tension is superb as Goon-chul leads Jang along, all the while Hyung-do races to the man’s hut to stop the murder.


Hyung-do finds the house empty and addresses the father sitting outside. He demands to know where Jang is, ordering him not to lie since he knows everything. The man looks at him impassively and says, “He is on his way to die.”

Hyung-do furiously charges the father with leading men to their deaths so his son could eat them. The man answers that they were condemned lives anyway, and might as well have filled the belly of his dying son.


Hyung-do angrily draws his sword and holds it to the man’s neck, threatening to cut his head off if he doesn’t tell him where they went. But the man just smiles, and tells him to go ahead. He has no reason to live anyway.

I doubt Hyung-do would have done it, but he isn’t given the opportunity because Yoon-yi finds him to tell him that the magistrate has launched a search for his daughter.

As the two teammates hurry off, the official takes up the bowl of medicine intended for his son and drinks.


Goon-chul arrives at the totem pole in the woods, his eyes glowing red. Jang follows drunkenly as they continue to the bamboo forest, where the boy completes his transformation.

Hyung-do and Yoon-yi hear Jang’s shout of horror and race to find him. The boy hisses grotesquely as he approaches, about to attack.

Before he does, however, the girl steps in front with her arms outstretched, begging him to stop.

Goon-chul lunges at her and knocks her to the ground, readying to take a bite — but then he recoils, as though conflicted, as though his human self inside the monster is telling him not to do it.

Hyung-do and Yoon-yi arrive and see him making a second attempt, but again he jerks back, this time staggering away. Unhurt, the girl looks up to see the police approaching. Grabbing his shriveled hands, she sobs, “I’m sorry, Goon-chul, everything is all my fault.”

And now we see how this began:

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The two youngsters had been at the cursed pond, happy young sweethearts. He had given her a pretty ornament, but she had dropped it into the pool.

Goon-chul had reached down into the water to retrieve it — at which point the thing inside had taken hold of his arm, and that force began to infect him.

Facing his monstrous form now, she cries one more time, “I’m sorry.”


He lunges for her again, but this time a gunshot sounds — the officers have arrived in the distance and shoot him in the back. Goon-chul falls, while the girl blocks him from the officers, begging them not to continue.

The boy starts to sob, and she cradles his face to wipe the tears. OH GOD this is breaking my heart — what a way to wrench your emotions. Young children in love robbed of their youth and innocence! Way unfair, drama gods.

Seeing the officers advancing, she hurries Goon-chul to his feet and urges him to run away. He does, staggering deeper into the forest.

Now safe from danger, Hyung-do rushes forward to check on Jang — thankfully he’s just unconscious — while Yoon-yi cradles the sobbing girl to herself.


Some time later, Yoon-yi heads back to the forest to the mysterious pond, looking down at the thing inside, while it looks back at her.


What I find refreshing is that this series isn’t going out of its way to explain the supernatural. The nature of the premise means we can’t have concrete answers, so it makes sense that while Team X-Files gets to the bottom of the individual case (Goon-chul is the killer, and the authorities are complicit), the larger culprit remains shrouded in mystery (the force in the pool). We’re given little hints that we may be dealing with the Yongjubak monster, sort of like if an American sci-fi show took a look at the origin story of Bigfoot, for example.

I loved the story in this episode, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective without the director’s mastery of pacing and editing — it’s incredibly difficult to string viewers along without giving the whole thing away, yet not confusing them too horribly until the moment of reveal. Some of you may have guessed how this would end up, but I was happy to be swept along for the ride and surprised at the right moments. Plus, what amazing use of music and lighting and sound effects — just wonderful.

I have never wanted a kdrama to be extended, because frankly in my book dramas need concrete ends. Finite plots are best. And even though the option of another season negates some of the concerns of an extension, broadcast dramas haven’t had much success with the multiple-season format. (There’s Goong S and Athena and Queen of Reversals, but none of those are true sequels; they just borrowed the term for marketing purposes.)

That said, I TOTALLY want another season of Joseon X-Files. The writers (there’s a team of six) have been doing a great job plotting out these standalone cases that are strung together with a loose overarching arc — a lot like American dramas, actually. That’s the formula for longevity, since there’s no finite end built into the premise.

Cable dramas have historically done better in Korea with the multi-season format than the broadcast stations, probably because they are produced with slightly different expectations — those aren’t the blockbuster miniseries or the long-running epics. Examples: Chosun Police (Byulsoongeom, 벌순검) has three seasons, and Rude Miss Young-ae (막돼먹은 영애씨) a whopping seven.

Alas, I’d be more hopeful for another season if only Kim Ji-hoon weren’t up for military service soon. True, this drama is strongly written and directed enough to survive without him, and I recognize that he’s not the only actor who could do this role, but I’d miss him. It just wouldn’t be the same with cast changes.

Oh well, at least we’ll have 12 great episodes.


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Ah! I'm glad I found this thread!!

After reading some really rave recaps (alliteration!) from Javabeans, I found myself being compelled to watch it because I'm a sucker for mysteries/sci-fi. 

The first two episodes really caught my attention (and adoration) for this drama. The way the director/producer incorporated the UFO theme into the episodes was great. I love the way the drama seems as if it has been filmed like a movie. The pace was just right and the plot was just enough to keep me a little bit tense at some parts. I was a little disappointed to see that the whole series wasn't exactly Hyung-do and Yoon-yi trying to find out about the UFO but them two solving other cases that kind of connect to the whole underlying UFO theme. Episode 3 didn't really interest me too much until the end but episode 4 got me right back on track. I haven't had a chance to watch episode 5 yet but I promise I will!

- Kyu

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