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[Drama 2010] Secret Investigation Record 기찰비록


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Joseon X-Files: Episode 5 by javabeans | October 4, 2010 |

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Dare I say it? Okay, I’ll call it: Best drama of the year, folks.

Given that statement, I feel doubly guilty for letting Joseon X-Files fall behind — apologies for the delay, but in case you hadn’t noticed, there are a lot of dramas airing at the moment! Trust the year to backload everything so that it becomes painful to choose which ones get attention first.

The reason I’ve been slower with this drama isn’t because I like it less, but because it’s so good — I like to pay attention and grasp every detail.

EPISODE 5: “Sealed Book”

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A sickly looking young man sits at his desk, swaying uneasily. With his eyes rolling up in his head, he grabs his brush and begins writing feverishly, as though driven by whatever force is causing his physical distress.

As he writes, elsewhere a storyteller tells a creepy tale to a small audience of theatergoers: A woman walks in the foggy nighttime, is approached by a man, and her head is cut off. This appears to be the story the writer is scribbling, and just as it hits its conclusion, a police officer bursts in and charges the storyteller, Oh Soon-tak, of murder.

Oh Soon-tak is questioned, because his story matches the murder of a royal official that took place the previous night. Oh insists upon his innocence — why would he go around blabbing about a murder he committed? — and says he merely repeated the story as written.

The man was given the story by someone, but doesn’t know his name. He didn’t really care, since he was getting stories for free that were interesting and fresh. He hadn’t known they were based on real events.

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Following the interrogation, Hyung-do and Yoon-yi talk about the case. Hyung-do feels like they’re getting involved in something big, which gives him pause. Murder cases are for the police anyway, and not their purview.

Yoon-yi tells him not to think in such complicated terms — their job is to simply find out why the murderer is spreading the stories of his murders.

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The young writer visits a local newspaper man and hears of the new murders, which make him nervous. He’s a meek, anxious young nobleman, yet when his eyes start to roll upward, his personality shifts — he smiles chillingly and offers a few predictions for the annoying newsman, ending on his untimely death.

He’s beat up for the trouble, and as he walks out looking drained of energy, a man rushes past him, bumping him hard. This triggers another vision, wherein a man stabs a man wearing red clothing just like the guy who’d bumped him.

Later, the writer sits in his room, almost like he’s waiting for something, when suddenly a force hits his body and his eyes roll upward. He starts to wheeze as he laboriously reaches for his writing materials and starts writing as though possessed.

Whatever it is inside him seems to command his body but not his mind, and the man struggles against its power. He cries out, “No!”

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I love this scene:

Hyung-do is busy with research at the bookshop, and spends the night there reading. Yoon-yi comes into his room to see him asleep on the hard wooden floor still clutching a book. Gently, she places a pillow under his head, giving him a small smile, then withdraws to let him sleep.

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The next day, the writer walks through the marketplace again, thinking of that vision of the murdered man in red. He takes a seat at a restaurant table to await his contact — the man Yoon-yi and Jang are also there trailing, the storyteller.

The two men meet eyes, but the storyteller has noticed he’s being followed and shoots the writer a look, who takes that as his cue to hurry away. Yoon-yi recognizes the writer and shouts out his name — Oh Kyung-woon — and that sends him into a full-on run.

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Hyung-do tackles him and restrains him — just as Kyung-woon’s eyes roll back.

Just then, the man in red runs by, in fact leaping over Hyung-do, and crashes into a stall. He’s being chased by a man who stabs him with his blade — just as Kyung-woon had foreseen.

This spooks Kyung-woon as much as it does Hyung-do, and he bolts while the others are distracted with the murder. In the process, he drops a piece of paper, which Hyung-do picks up.

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The paper records a vivid description of the murder, which both Hyung-do and Yoon-yi can say firsthand is accurate. So how could he have known so clearly what was going to happen? Jang calls him a psychic, but the other two ignore him, searching for a more concrete explanation.

(Note: Kim Ji-hoon is good with dry humor, which he used a bit in Wish Upon a Star and is given greater opportunity to exercise here. Since Hyung-do is such a stickler for rules and comes off humorless, it’s particularly funny to see him in scenes like this: Yoon-yi asks what he thinks, and he takes an authoritative tone as he starts saying, “Well…”, as though he’s about to divulge an important truth. Then he leans in and asks, “What do you think?”)

The brainstorming session is short cut with Hyung-do’s discovery that he is missing his identification tag.

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It’s in the hands of Oh Kyung-woon, who tries to conjure a psychic flash as he clasps the tag. (His premonitions are triggered by physical contact, such as the bump that brought on the flash of the marketplace murder.) Kyung-woon gets a vision and starts writing furiously.

The team returns to the marketplace the next day to search for the ID, and have no luck. They do, however, see the storyteller walking through the area and follow. They don’t notice — and neither does the storyteller — that he’s being followed by two other men.

Arriving at a drinking establishment, the storyteller greets the man he regularly meets here: Kyung-woon, who calls him hyung. Ah, they’re brothers. They head inside a room to talk, which is when the two armed pursuers leap into action and raid the room.

Kyung-woon runs and the men take off after him, as does Hyung-do. The storyteller writhes in pain from a jab to the gut, but he’s more worried about his brother and begs Yoon-yi to see to him.

Jang finds a document left behind by Kyung-woon — the latest prediction, which is about Hyung-do and a sword.

The pursuit takes the two attackers into the woods, but they’ve lost him. Hyung-do arrives moments behind, panting, and the pursuer turns his anger on him. He delivers a blow to Hyung-do’s gut, then holds his sword to his neck.

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But he flips Hyung-do’s robe and reads his government badge. Though he keeps his sword drawn, he backs off a little, and asks what he’s doing in this chase.

Hyung-do recognizes the man as a government official and turns the question around on him. Why are they following him? The official leaves Hyung-do with the warning to stop chasing Kyung-woon if he values his own safety.

Thankfully, a book saved Storyteller Oh from greater injury — the blade was stopped by the thick pages. Team X-Files finds that the man is Kyung-woon’s half-brother, who raised him as a father.

However, he worries that his brother isn’t normal. When Kyung-woon started seeing things, he said he’d go crazy if he couldn’t write them down. At some point, Kyung-woon noticed he was being followed around.

Team X-Files believes him when he swears that Kyung-woon isn’t a murderer, but they still need to know how he writes down things that haven’t happened yet. Oh answers that Kyung-woon’s mother was a psychic.

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Oh doesn’t know what the book is, but figures it’s a novel; Kyung-woon had given it to him for safekeeping. Taking it back to headquarters, Hyung-do breaks the wax seal and finds two bound manuscripts. One is titled “Psychic Baek-yi’s disturbance,” while the other is labeled “Prophecies.”

Hyung-do takes the latter and starts reading, growing increasingly alarmed at the contents, which tell of an uprising to dethrone the current king and establish a new one.

This is serious stuff — high treason, in fact, since it could be a threat to the current state and speaks of danger to the king. Completely unnerved, Hyung-do bursts into motion, grabbing a stack of books from the room to find one that approximates the damning text. He finds a good match and swaps it out, then re-seals the bundle with wax to make it look like this innocuous text was there all along.

The book of prophecies, however, he tucks away, sweating nervously all the while.

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Yoon-yi brings him records of people who claimed to see the future. The most recent one is of a court lady named Baek-yi, who was kicked out of the palace for making eerily prescient forecasts.

Hyung-do — who recognizes the name Baek-yi from Kyung-woon’s books — cuts Yoon-yi off, feigning skepticism in an effort to shut her down. She argues that this case is worth noting, but he is especially dismissive and ends this discussion. He hands over the rebundled texts, calling it an unremarkable novel.

The brothers have a tearful reunion, with Kyung-woon telling his brother that he’ll probably have to leave Hanyang. He hands him a letter, telling him to be careful, and turns to go.

Suddenly, his body is possessed by that force again, which tips him off to the two mysterious officials who are following them again. Grabbing his brother, Kyung-woon breaks into a run, and the two hide.

Alas, they are found and cornered. Oh pushes his little brother back and orders him to make a run for it, and is stabbed. Kyung-woon freezes in horror, but his hyung tries to delay the attacker to enable him to get away.

Kyung-woon finds safety in an empty warehouse — where he’s assailed by another vision. This one features Hyung-do, wielding a bloody sword and standing over a dead man.

A while later, he returns to the place where his brother still lies, dead. Kyung-woon places a note in his brother’s bloody hand.

Back in his own home, he finds a letter on his desk. It’s from Hyung-do, informing him that he read his book, which is dangerous material. He advises Kyung-woon to leave the capital and directs him to a certain gibang (gisaeng establishment, or house of entertainment).

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Yoon-yi takes a look at the crime scene, where she finds the piece of paper crumpled into the dead man’s hand. Snatching it before the police do, she takes the note and reads it, her eyes widening in shock at the contents. It is Kyung-woon’s description of his latest vision of a bloody scene at a gibang and a dead government official. And in front of him is investigator Kim Hyung-do, holding a sword.

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Hyung-do meets with Lord Choi, a government official who turns out to be the father of Kyung-woon. He admits to having an affair with court lady Baek-yi (who is Kyung-woon’s psychic mother), and Hyung-do understands that because of the relationship, he wasn’t in a position to help Baek-yi when she was thrown out of court.

Hyung-do makes the connections between all the recent deaths, which were of government officials, all of whom were connected with Baek-yi. Lord Choi looks genuinely saddened and disbelieving. He also asks Hyung-do to convey his worry to his son, though he professes to feeling unworthy of requesting a meeting, as he has not been much of a father to his bastard son.

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Yoon-yi seeks out Ji Seung to talk over the case. (It must be noted that as they converse, a curious-looking object, which looks like an inverted cone, hovers in the air. They ignore it, of course, as though such a sight is wholly mundane.)

Ji Seung shows her a book containing Baek-yi’s predictions on the Japanese invasion, written two years before the actual event. That got her thrown out of the court and everyone believed she’d died, but recently someone claimed to have seen her — her lover, Lord Choi. Ji Seung asks if a book was found, expecting more than Yoon-yi’s answer that there was a trifling story, nothing more.

Per Hyung-do’s instructions, Kyung-woon seeks out the gibang that night, where he is greeted by a gisaeng. Upon hearing why he’s here, the woman invites him in. Soon afterward, Hyung-do makes his way to the same gibang, followed once again by the two officials, who decide not to kick up a fuss here and leave.

This gibang business allows us another spot of levity (and character development!) because Yoon-yi is thinking of the prophecy she’d read. But when she asks Jang, a little cautiously, if there are any gibangs that Hyung-do frequents, there’s also that subtext of “So, which women is he seeing?”

Jang smiles at that (did he read the undercurrent of interest?) and answers firmly that Hyung-do doesn’t go to places like that.

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Except, of course, that he is at a place exactly like that at this very moment. Granted, he’s not here for fun, but it is apparent from the way he and the gisaeng speak to each other that they are familiar with each other, although they haven’t seen each other in a while. She’s sweet and tries to speak with friendliness, but Hyung-do speaks with curtness (more than usual, I mean) and rises to leave after thanking her for complying with a difficult request. (Kyung-woon is, at the moment, sleeping in the next room.)

Hilariously, when Hyung-do returns to the bookshop late that night, Yoon-yi leans in close and notes that he carries the scent of a gisaeng. Although he didn’t do anything untoward, he stutters a little and just says he had a reason for going off on his own tonight.

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Despite Lord Choi’s outer concern for his son’s welfare, it turns out he was the one who dispatched the two officials to chase him. He’s angry that they didn’t “take care of him” while they had the chance, but the officials reply that they couldn’t act because Hyung-do was also there. Daddy Dearest orders them to take care of him (Kyung-woon) and get that book. He confirms the neighborhood where the gibang is located.

Yoon-yi prepares some tea for Hyung-do, but it must have been laced with something because the next thing we know, he’s waking up at the table and finds that he’s been tied to the chair. Saucy girl! Yoon-yi has gone out on her own to speak with Lord Choi, only to hear that he has headed out for a certain neighborhood — he’s going to that gibang.

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The gisaeng gives Kyung-woon soothing tea, while he looks at her intently and asks why she didn’t tell “that person” anything. I’m not 100% positive that my interpretation is the right one, but I suspect he means that she has feelings for Hyung-do, which she is keeping a secret. We’ll have to wait to find out, because just then, the two pursuers leap over the wall and open the gate for Lord Choi.

With two swords drawn against him, Kyung-woon is ordered to hand over the book. Instead, Kyung-woon refuses and faces his father with dignified anger — is he going to kill him too? Is there no end to his corruption?

Lord Choi is in no mood to be lectured by his son and tells him to shut up, but Kyung-woon replies that he is fully aware of the importance of that book. Lord Choi is angered to be thus challenged, and raises a sword against his son, intending to strike.

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Which is when Hyung-do interrupts. He had been untied by Jang and hurried here — as Yoon-yi also hurries over — bearing the book. He declares that although he doesn’t know why they’re all in a tizzy to get their hands on the thing, if it’s true that its contents are not for the world to know, he can just burn it in front of them. Will that satisfy them?

That buys him some time and the advantage of surprise, because he tosses the book to Jang, then draws his own sword, not intending to give it up after all.

He turns to the minions to inform them that Lord Choi had lied to them about the book being a novel about his affair with Baek-yi. Realizing the truth, one of them slashes Lord Choi in anger, then engages in a fight with Hyung-do while the other goes after the book, intending to burn it.

After a fierce clash of swords, Hyung-do is knocked to the ground and loses his grasp on his weapon. His opponent raises his sword to make the killing blow — only to be stabbed from behind.

Kyung-woon has intervened to save Hyung-do, but now the man turns to fight him, injured but still alive. Kyung-woon is no fighter, but Hyung-do hurriedly grabs his sword and slashes just in time, this time felling the man.

However, the other official has gotten the better of Jang, and holds a knife to his throat. The book is starting to catch fire from a dropped torch, and Hyung-do can’t save the text and his friend — looks like he’s going to have to make a choice.

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Or not — because just then, a bang sounds, and they all turn to look at the source. Yoon-yi has fired her gun and takes down the official (and how much do I love that the gun makes a reappearance, after its comic introduction in the previous episode?).

Yoon-yi sees Hyung-do standing over the dead body of an official, holding a bloody sword, just as the prophecy stated. She looks at a little stunned at this direct proof, while Hyung-do looks on in shock over everything. And the book continues to burn.

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However, we soon see the reason for his lack of reaction to the burning — because he, in fact, still possesses the real book. He had once again put forth a fake as the original, and now he contemplates the true text with a heavy mind.

It’s nice to see that Kyung-woon gets a happy(ish) ending: He publishes a novel. Hyung-do brings a copy to headquarters, where he sees the flowers on the table and inquires about them. It’s pretty obvious that they’re from a ladyfriend, and Jang hands over a pretty note while Yoon-yi rolls her eyes (LOVE her reaction!). She says pointedly, “I thought you didn’t go to gibangs.” Jang adds that he didn’t think he was that kind of guy, either.

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Hyung-do clears his throat awkwardly and reads the note, but not without casting wary glances at Yoon-yi. And that look on his face as he tries to read her reaction? Priceless.

COMMENTS

This episode was a bit lighter than the previous one, but it still managed that wonderful blend of intrigue and heart that characterizes all the episodes. How is it that I care about these new characters in every episode, who only have 45 minutes to make an introduction AND an emotional impression? Yet they do, without fail. Every episode impresses me even more, intrigues me, and moves me. I can’t spot any weaknesses, and everything fits together so tightly andthoughtfully.

This story was less scary than the others and possibly less intricate in its plotting, but it seems like it may tie in to the overarching story about possible government conspiracies and this secret Shinmuhwe organization. Anytime Ji Seung makes an appearance means we’re getting more bits and pieces about the Big Story, and it’s great to see the individual stories playing into larger themes.

This is also the episode that solidifies the romantic attraction between Yoon-yi and Hyung-do, and does it in a wonderfully droll way. They’re in the early stages, but it’s clear that the interest is mutual, and that both are at least somewhat aware of their feelings. I laughed out loud when the gibang detail was worked into the plot — way to make things work on multiple levels! I look forward to seeing this romantic awareness develop.

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Dare I say it? Okay, I’ll call it: Best drama of the year, folks.

This has to be in a "highly recommended" list of dramas for the year. Normally I do not watch period dramas but in this case, the intriguing plot and storyline matches the historical setting perfectly. For those interested, english subtitles are available on Viikii.

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^

^

Hi hjkomo, yeah it's a bit pity that a thread for a good drama does not run as many pages as it should be. But that does not stopus follow this drama, right?

Hi uboleha Thank you for your suggestion. I'll have to check it out via viikii. I just would like to know what happens to Hyung Do.

Just would like to share that this drama is in a Thai Magazine (October edition) about K-Pop. It shows that many Korean series lovers are also interested in this drama.

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Credit: Asta Mag

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I just watched episode 6 and the drama gets my mind busy day by day. I hope the last episode solves all the mysteries that have still not been answered.

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Guest Vierran

This has really become one of my favourite dramas. It's a pity more people aren't watching it!

Thank you for the torrent links, semi-fly!

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Joseon X-Files: Episode 6 by javabeans | October 16, 2010 |This episode was a little (okay, a lot) scarier for me to watch, because ghosts and supernatural stuff always gets to me a lot more than, say, aliens or monsters or mutations. That said, don’t let my wimpiness scare you off, since everyone’s got a different set of standards for what constitutes fear-inducing. I just happen to be a wuss when it comes to ghosts.

EPISODE 6: “Ghost of Lee Du”

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Our story starts here, at the deserted manor owned by Lord Lee Du, on a dark and stormy night.

A man comes into the darkened house carrying a lantern, making his way from one rundown room to another. The man comes upon a wall covered in a painting of a many-armed god as thunder sounds and lightning lights up the sky, striking a rod buried in muddy ground outside.

There’s an odd energy in this house, and the man senses a presence. Water ripples in a metal bowl, seemingly of its own accord. The ripples suddenly smooth out, and then the bowl shoots off across the floor. Rainwater falls through the dilapidated roof and puts out the man’s lantern.

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Fearfully, he takes out a talisman to ward off spirits, but to no avail — that unseen force takes hold of his bottom half and drags him across the floor.

In the morning, he is found dead, his body is strangely riddled with numerous small stab wounds.

Hyung-do and Jang Man are called to the scene, though they are puzzled as to their role here, not being coroners or policemen. Their contact explains that they were called because they purportedly deal with “bizarre matters” that defy explanation.

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The owner of the estate, Lord Lee, is the one who requested Hyung-do’s investigation. He’s a high-ranking government official, and explains that the dead man was a shaman sent to exorcise the house, which he says is haunted by a ghost. Despite the gravity of that statement, he speaks with a curiously light, smiling attitude as he requests that Hyung-do find out what’s going on.

The two men head over to the house in question, where Yoon-yi has already arrived and begun investigating.

Never one to take a risk when paranormal forces are at work, Jang sprinkles the ground with salt to ward off bad energy. Who else thinks this guy totally got into the wrong line of work?

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Before passing to Lord Lee, this property originally belonged to a certain Lord Choi, who was condemned for treason. Hyung-do’s investigative branch was involved in the matter, and he explains the circumstances of the incomplete, hastily wrapped-up case: Lord Choi had escaped from prison and disappeared, leaving his defenseless family to be rounded up for interrogation. Lord Lee had been the lead investigator at the time.

Team X-Files makes its way through the ruins of the house, which is littered with debris like little metal rings that have fallen from doorjambs. Hyung-do has his usual skeptic’s face on, not at all spooked at the creepy environs.

On the other hand, Yoon-yi reports that there’s something definitely off about this place. Metal objects seem to float of their own accord, and the foundation is shaky. Furthermore, the shaman was injured by his own tools during his attempted exorcism, and the stormy weather had continued in the face of the rites.

Hyung-do scoffs at the idea that the weather is related to the ghost, to which Yoon-yi clarifies that she doesn’t mean there’s a direct relationship. However, she senses some kind of correlation…

The group separates as they make their way through different parts of the house, and as Yoon-yi inspects one area, we become aware of a second presence in the room, watching her from behind. She spies a flash of light moving in a darkened room at the end of the hall, and approaches cautiously… all the while the strange presence keeps a close eye on her… and gives us a brief glimpse of a brightly colored girl’s hanbok…

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At the other end of the property, Hyung-do notes more scattered door rings on the ground. In one room, he finds charred logs, and starts to put together a logical explanation. For instance, if a person was here in the house that was supposed to be empty, and shadows witnessed from the outside, the proliferation of ghost rumors are understandable.

A scream sounds — Yoon-yi’s — and the men race to her side. Yoon-yi has fallen to the ground, and Hyung-do sees a flash of red clothing moving outside. He chases the hooded figure, and Jang is able to make a flying tackle, preventing escape.

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The woman in red identifies herself as a shaman who was called to perform an exorcism on the house. She had left behind her ceremonial tools, and is merely here to retrieve them.

Or so she says — Hyung-do eyes her with a great deal of skepticism. He doesn’t outright accuse her of lying, but it’s clear that he’s listening to her explanation with a huge grain of (ghost-warding?) salt.

The shaman gives her take on the recent ghostly activity, stating that an ancestor of this home must be angered. In an attempt to ease this anger, she had performed exorcism rites and tried to correct the flow of energy through the house by digging a pond outside on the grounds (think feng shui). However, in the process of digging, she discovered something odd: a large metal post driven into the ground.

Sensing a strong, bizarre energy emanating from the post, she had tried to remove it, but it was driven so deep that she could not. And that was when the ghosts started to appear.

Yoon-yi interrupts this talk to lead the group to a room of particular interest: while exploring on her own, she had found the room at the center of all this mystery. The walls and floor are splattered in blood, still thick and red, and on the far wall is that painting of the many-armed god, which was among the last things the previous shaman had seen before meeting his untimely demise.

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Interestingly, Yoon-yi eyes the shaman with some distance and disdain. Although she agrees that something is odd here, probably something supernatural, she doesn’t easily accept the shaman’s words. She doesn’t contradict her claims directly, but it’s a curious thing to find Yoon-yi in a new place on the believer-versus-skeptic spectrum. Prior to this, she had been the believer counterpart to Hyung-do’s skeptic, but now she takes the middle ground.

(Also: I in no way want to reduce this dynamic to a mere romantic triangle, but I think it would be remiss to ignore that there’s a tiny thread of… antagonism?… weaving its way through the scene, with the ladies looking askance at each other, in turn. But it’s okay; I’d fight for Kim Ji-hoon, too.)

Hyung-do insinuates that the shaman may have arranged this creepy tableau herself, though Yoon-yi says that the scene is too elaborate and excessive for a person to manufacture.

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The shaman sticks to her line of reasoning despite Hyung-do’s challenge. Hyung-do decides to search the entire house to look for more marks in the walls, splitting up into two teams — Yoon-yi with Jang, and himself with the shaman.

She demurs, saying that the spirits are strong tonight and that they are safer waiting, but Hyung-do tells her plainly that he doesn’t trust her. He could always just decide to end the investigation by making her into the criminal — a warning not to cross him before he gets to the bottom of this on his own.

Hyung-do watches the shaman’s expression as he asks her questions — it’s as though he’s testing her answers, although neither she nor we know what he’s driving at. He asks if she had always worked with this household, to which she replies no; she had only come after hearing of its blocked energy. Sarcastically, he remarks that she’s quite brave to do so, when the former owner was a traitor who abandoned his family.

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Yoon-yi and Jang take a look around that particular room, where they notice something stuck to the ceiling beam. It’s a talisman — a red placard written upon in gold lettering, meant to ward off spirits. Jang climbs up to retrieve the talisman, and Yoon-yi notes how old it is. This was not placed here recently by Lord Lee, but appears to date back to the Goryeo period, which preceded the Joseon era that forms the backdrop of this drama.

By now it’s raining, and water seeps into the wall where the mural is painted, soaking the outer layer and revealing something written underneath. Yoon-yi and Jang pour more water over it to get to the hidden message, which turns out to be a record of this house, dating back to the Goryeo era.

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The record explains the circumstances of the house’s construction, which was interrupted by the actions of an angry ghost, who would cause thunderous storms. A shaman decreed that the foundation of the house was summoning the spirit, so the owner installed metal posts throughout the house, and that halted the ghostly energy.

Yoon-yi suspects that the entire house — whose layout and architecture is peculiar — was built in a style specifically designed to ward off the malevolent force.

One question niggles at Yoon-yi: Did the storm summon the ghost? Or, do strange things only happen on stormy days?

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That’s… not exactly a comforting thought, particularly as Hyung-do is currently outside with the shifty shaman as the rain pours down around them.

As they wait for the storm to abate, Hyung-do mulls things over and draws some conclusions. He asks the shaman about her attempt to dig the pond, which resulted in the ghostly appearances. But when she starts to make more of her vague explanations, Hyung-do cuts her off and says she must have killed a lot of chickens to splatter the room in blood.

She pretends not to understand, but Hyung-do points out that blood dries when it makes contact with air, but the blood in the room was still sticky and wet. As though someone deliberately spilled it there. And there’s only one explanation he can think of.

“Leave this house,” he says. That’s the message she meant to deliver, wasn’t it? What did she think to do after driving everyone out? What was she looking for?

The shaman sticks to her explanation that she was only here to collect her tools, but her voice wavers nervously and she steps backward as he advances. Hyung-do concludes that the only thing that had disappeared in this house was Lord Choi, the traitor. And that traitor had a daughter who is about her age.

Hyung-do has put together the pieces, and concludes that she has come here to get revenge upon her enemies using the ghosts, and is also looking for the father who abandoned her.

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The shaman stutters and looks mighty unnerved, but the confrontation is cut short by a huge flash of lightning, which strikes the metal pole in the ground. This has a curious effect — and slowly, the metal rings that had been scattered throughout the house start to fidget, then float up into the air.

As though guided by a magnetic force, all the metallic miscellany in the house twitches with energy and hovers still for a moment — but we understand, as does the shaman, that they are about to make their move.

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The shaman casts a look back at Hyung-do in that pregnant pause, and there’s a somber beauty about the moment as she braces herself for her fate. Hyung-do’s eyes widen as the metallic objects — rings, knives, shards — launch themselves straight at her, driving through her and embedding in the wall.

Blood splatters and she falls to the ground, dead.

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But that’s not all: more sharp objects fly through the air outside, this time aiming for Jang, who barely takes cover behind a comforting plank of wood. Hyung-do races outside and finds him badly shaken but safe, and when the crescent moon becomes covered in an eclipse, the energy seems to drain out of the metal objects.

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Yoon-yi is still in the room, and right before her eyes, the wall begins to repaint itself — the house record that she’d uncovered now becomes seeped with the dark colors of the previous painting of the many-armed god.

But that’s not even the creepiest thing: There’s another presence in the room with her. Yoon-yi becomes aware of it slowly, and with growing fear she turns her head to look behind her… where a little girl stands, watching her, dressed in a pink hanbok.

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(You may have noticed that the be-hanbok-ed figure in the earlier scene was wearing pink while the shaman wore red, although we were meant to think they were one and the same. But now we see that this girl is in fact a separate entity.)

Yoon-yi scrambles out of the house, panting in fear, and dashes off toward the woods, trying to light a fire to replace the lantern she dropped. Alas, she tumbles into a pit, and despite a desperate grab for purchase, she is dragged downward into the hole.

By now the men are thoroughly spooked and tear through the house searching for Yoon-yi, but find no trace of her. Jang finds her compass on the ground and wonders fearfully if she’s been dragged off by a ghost. Adding to the eeriness is a whirring, mechanical sound that starts to come from the metal pole, which starts to shoot electric sparks, accompanied by dancing lights. (They look curiously like the lights emitted by the cursed gold of a previous episode.) A glance at Yoon-yi’s compass shows the needle going crazy.

It turns out that Yoon-yi has landed in a well — and next to her is a skeleton, long dead. She also sees more metal poles embedded into the ground in the well, and that same curious energy causes her metal necklace to float in the air, then shoot toward the pole, where it clings with magnetic force.

Thankfully, Hyung-do and Jang are able to find her in the well, and retrieve her to safety. By now Hyung-do believes that there’s a strange (as in paranormal) force in the house and is eager to be gone — and that’s even before Yoon-yi warns him that there’s yet another person in the house.

  

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With this ordeal behind him, Hyung-do makes his report to Lord Lee, explaining that Lord Choi’s corpse has been found in the well behind the house. Lord Lee is unimpressed with Hyung-do’s conclusion of this case, saying that he has discovered nothing of import at all. Hyung-do merely responds tersely that they’ll be seeing more of each other in the future.

What that means we don’t yet know, but we can be assured that there is more behind this official than a mere haunted house — and after Hyung-do leaves, Lord Lee joins his other guest: pipe-smokin’ Ji Seung.

Back at her bookshop, Yoon-yi wraps up her part in this case by writing a report of her findings. Although she can make a number of educated deductions, ultimately they are unable to make a conclusive statement on this case.

What she does deduce is that there is some energy, accompanied by stormy weather, that causes metal to react in an odd way, as though with a magnetic pull. The unusual architecture of the house has something to do with it, and somebody or something is definitely at work here, but they are unable to know what that is.

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That unidentified somebody returns to the house, where (s)he picks up the dropped talisman from the rubble and dusts it off. Lifting up a torn corner reveals complex gridlike pattern underneath. And last of all, a straw doll — often employed for hexes and curses — is dropped on the ground, bearing the name “Kim Hyung-do.”

COMMENTS

This drama has a remarkable ability to introduce a puzzling, mayhap even confusing plotline that somehow comes together with surprising clarity as it reveals its conclusion. I always think I’m going to have to go back and watch it multiple times to understand the story, but as it turns out, that confusion is masterfully paced out so that at the end, the pieces just click into place. That’s impressive.

To be perfectly honest, this wasn’t my very favorite episode, although it was still a strong outing. I might have liked more in the way of a conclusion, because this one was left more open than previous episodes. Ultimately I’m not that bothered by it because we got more glimpses of the overarching plot, and it excites me to see hints that the drama might manage to tie these threads together in a way that I don’t see right now. It’s as though I’m standing too close to the puzzle to see the big picture, but I can steal peeks at the jigsaw pieces adjacent to mine and am intrigued at how they fit together.

For instance, it can’t be coincidence that this metal emitted the same glow as the cursed gold, right? Or that the humming noise coming from the metal post sounded almost like the humming of the alien craft in Episodes 1 and 2? (I really hope they link them somehow.) Although, the mere presence of Ji Seung at the end is pretty much a statement that it does all fit together.

As for this individual plot: Based on Hyung-do’s terse meeting with Lord Lee at the end, I wonder if he suspects that Lee had Choi killed and dumped in the well, rather than Choi running away. There’s more to this case, I’m sure…

I find myself still wondering about the identity of the shaman versus the traitor’s daughter. Hyung-do guesses that she is the same person, and the shaman’s nervous reaction seems to support that. However, the ending suggests that that was a misdirect — and that the true ghost of the home was Choi’s young daughter. That would mean that Hyung-do was spot-on about the daughter’s motivations — anger at her enemies, and also at her father — only he’d picked the wrong person as being the daughter.

Or, considering that ghosts were spotted as far back as the Goryeo era, perhaps this is just a tragic line of ancestry with more than one angry spirit left behind to haunt the living.

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Hi mskololia1, thanks for the comments from javabeans and screen caps. Ep 6 is good. The way it was filmed seemed scary but it was not so scary after all. I really like that. The mystery is still mysterious. Hope everything will be revealed by the last Ep or before.

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Hi Alex...I just saw epis 9 raw and it is good....it seems some loose ends are being tied up for us....they have a cleaner so the plot thickens. I feel sorry for Investigator Kim....I go back to my original thinking that he will never be the same nor be able to be happy after all he will see and experience...the trust and/or innocence factor is gone....But this is kdrama so anything is possible.  I mean, he can have a happy ending, right?

Yes epi 6 had that mysterious theme or undertone going as if the drama needed more.  I have seen my share of horror flicks but the imagination runs away from me at times.....Wait til you get to episodes 7 and 8....Prepare yourself for another mind bender...

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Hi mskololia1, I wish to have the happy ending as well but I just can't imagine the ending of this series. It's so different from others.

The English subtitles of Ep 7 was released through VIA, will check it out soon. Another thing that I like in this series is, even though the story in each episode is not really continued to each other, but it has some connection (I think) and it makes me would like to see the next episode once I finish the current one. You know what I mean, right?

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Hi alex (I hope it's okay to abbrev), I know viikii wants you to use their plug-in so I can see the delay in watching. 

Episode 9 was so different from the others so I wonder where they are headed and why the slight detour unless this is how they will attempt to wrap up the drama....I will have to see epi 10 because I assumed they we were seeing things in chronological order but perhaps not after watching that episode.....:)

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Hi mskololia1 yes, it's ok to abbrev in deed. wow, as you said Ep 9 is so different, I have to check it out real soon. Tonight is Ep 10, I think we will know how things/events link together from ep 1 to the end. I really wnat to know Korean now! Thanks for sharing. Love this drama.

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Joseon X-Files: Episode 7 by javabeans | October 22, 2010 | xf7-00042a.jpg

Oh man, this episode is brilliant. The more I think on it, the more brilliant it becomes. If we were giving this the U.S. television treatment, this episode would be the one to win a bunch of Emmys.

I understand if it was confusing for viewers, though, because it’s not an episode whose message is clearly spelled out at the end — there’s room for interpretation and although I’m fairly confident in mine, I’m sure there are other ways to read it. Plus, not only does this episode play with the concept of time, parts of it are told out of chronological order. Hopefully the recap is helpful rather than confusing.

EPISODE 7: “Village of the fourth dimension”

Rain.

A young boy stands still in the wet, holding a sword in his hand. The slow-motion cinematography and the lovely music give the scene a strangely beautiful look, even as it takes a macabre turn:

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Policemen gape, shocked, motioning for him to stop. The boy ignores them, raising the sword to his chin, and then — thrust!

Blood splatters, mingling with water. His body falls, and slowly, the sound of the rain fades in, stripping the ethereality of the scene and letting reality sink in.

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Hyung-do sits in an empty room, a haggard mess. Words ring in his ears — recently spoken by Yoon-yi — that warn him in hushed tones: “You must pull yourself together. You should not be in this place.”

Tiredly, Hyung-do makes his way through the village, and comes to a gate where the latest notice has been posted: It’s a drawing of a missing nobleman’s daughter, wearing a red ribbon in her hair.

Jang finds him here, and they head off together to the bookshop, where Yoon-yi notices how sick Hyung-do looks and offers him some hot tea. Hyung-do waves off his fatigue (Jang chortles at Hyung-do catching a cold when it’s not even cold season), and insists that he is fine to continue with work.

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The case at hand, which Yoon-yi briefs him on, deals with the daughter of Lord Choi and a runaway slave boy. The young lovers had stolen off together, launching a search, and just recently the boy was discovered. He was found in an absent-minded daze, and it is rumored that the young couple had gone to a place they are calling New Land. This is the latest in a string of similar cases of so-called travelers to New Land who return in this dull state of near-catatonia.

Asked where the boy is now, Yoon-yi replies, “He’s dead. Smiling, he stabbed himself in the neck.”

A flashback shows us that she is indeed referring to the opening scene: Two police officers had found the boy sleeping (note a straw doll dropped in the grass) and started to carry him away, but the boy awakened and grabbed one of their swords. With that curiously blank look on his face, he had stabbed himself.

 Yoon-yi explains that the boy had claimed that he’d been forcibly removed from paradise. It’s a place without a difference in social classes, where time stops and you don’t grow old or get sick. The boy had declared he would return to paradise, and killed himself. The girl has not yet been found.

Hyung-do nods off toward the end of Yoon-yi’s explanation, the tea cup slipping from his hand and breaking on the floor. Yoon-yi advises him to rest today, but like a good workaholic he insists he’s fine. Together with Jang, he heads out to the scene of the incident.

As he examines the corpse, Hyung-do sniffs, catching a hint of something. This is his first clue, as everybody who came back from New Land apparently smelled like glue.

Off they go to a neighborhood called Banchon — and for those Sungkyunkwan Scandal viewers, this Banchon bears no similarity to that one. This one is a miserable place, characterized not only by poverty but also drug use (opium?) and gambling. Many of the denizens lounge around in a drug-fueled stupor.

Hyung-do has come here because there is a likely connection with glue, made of animal bones, and the butchers who make up a large portion of this local population (butchers, historically, occupied the lowest rungs in society). Hyung-do deduces Choi’s daughter is likely to be here in Banchon, which is so suited for secret activities.

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He sends Jang to inquire after carpenters using glue, while he makes his way to an artist’s studio, as artists also use glue. Inside, a particular hanging scroll captures his attention — it’s a woman, who looks rather familiar. The artist didn’t draw her, and says it’s quite old. As he takes a seat, we see that the artist is currently working on a drawing featuring two youngsters.

Hyung-do moves on to his main purpose and asks if the artist has any glue. The man no longer deals the stuff, only making little bits when he’s painting, but he offers a small pot to Hyung-do.

A wave of fatigue washes over Hyung-do briefly, and the artist offers him some tea to help his fever. Hyung-do drinks, although the music tells us to be wary of the man and perhaps his tea. The artist turns back to his work — a closer look shows us a girl and boy holding knives, and a box.

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On his way out of the artist’s studio, Hyung-do catches a glimpse of a girl walking ahead of him. This drama is seriously making me wary of young girls in hanboks, but he spies the red ribbon in her hair, which makes him think of the drawing of the missing girl. He follows her through dark corridors, past butchers’ stalls, and outside — into the bright sunlight.

Wait, wha-? Hyung-do knows something is wrong, but he doesn’t understand what just happened, and looks around in bewilderment. He trudges along until he comes to the same gate from before, only now the girl’s missing poster is torn — has time passed?

Based on Hyung-do’s lack of a reaction, it seems like we are back at the top of the episode, when he first saw the drawing. Only, instead of Jang finding him here, this time it’s Yoon-yi.

She asks why he’s here, and he answers that he’s here to meet Jang — but she asks who that is. Hyung-do laughs at her joke, speaking in his usual familiar way, until he realizes that she doesn’t know who he is, either.

Alternate Yoon-yi is offended, thinking he’s taking liberties, and tells him curtly he’s better off going to a gibang (gisaeng establishment). Hyung-do looks around in alarmed confusion, and the scene ripples, like heat waves.

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Realizing that something is very wrong here, Hyung-do goes to Yoon-yi’s bookshop, where he accidentally catches a glimpse of her changing her jeogori top, which reveals a scar on her shoulderblade. Not exactly the way to reverse that bad first impression, and she orders him to leave in a hard voice.

The camera lingers on the tea, which triggers a memory to the teacup he dropped, and he says, “I’m sorry. I think I’ve lost my way.” She figures that that’s typical of Banchon, explaining that this is at the edge of that neighborhood, and offers to draw him a map.

As she draws, Hyung-do tells Alternate Yoon-yi that she looks a lot like someone he knows. She interprets that as more smooth talk (lol at his uncomfortable reaction to that), and asks how he came to be here.

He answers that he’s looking for someone whom he hasn’t found yet. As he sits there waiting, we fade back to the flashback of the previous scene when he’d followed the girl through Banchon. (The fact that some of these flashbacks are coming to Hyung-do later suggests that he may have forgotten some of these things until later, which explains his dulled reaction in the aftermath.)

However, the events of this flashback differ from the scene we’d previously witnessed — this time, Hyung-do loses the girl but sees the boy and follows him to a hiding place within Banchon. The slave boy reunites with the young girl and tells her that the arrangements have been made with the palanquin bearers (a transportation service) for tomorrow. They’ll carry her away from here, but he’ll have to meet her separately, because slave hunters are on his trail.

The girl wants to travel together, but he says it’s more dangerous that way. With youthful innocence, the couple assure each other that it will work out and speak in loving tones. He declares himself satisfied with her safety, and she assures him that she’s happy right now, with him.

Hearing slave hunters approaching, Hyung-do hurriedly steps out into the main courtyard — into daylight, once again confused.

Emerging from the flashback, Hyung-do now asks Alternate Yoon-yi what’s going on — how can the slave who died now be alive? Intently, he asks, “Is this the New Land that people talk about?” She answers, “There are some who say that, but it is not new land. It has been here for a long time, but has merely been unseen.”

He says, “They call it paradise. It seems like a place that cannot exist.” She replies, “Places that are necessary are not always there from the start.” She adds that if you decide with your heart, your body follows naturally (which suggests that people’s desires have somehow contributed to the creation of this place).

New Land Yoon-yi
: “In this village, the memories, fantasies, and desires that were earnestly hoped for become reality. What is it that you saw, and came here for?”

Hyung-do thinks of the boy who died and answers that it seemed the boy was asking for his help. He wants to help the two runaways — how can he?

Yoon-yi answers that he can go back to the place where they first intersected. At that, Hyung-do heads out immediately, though he pauses to turn back.

Hyung-do
: “How did you come to be here?”

New Land Yoon-yi
: “There is a person I want to meet.”

Hyung-do
: “Have you met?”

New Land Yoon-yi
: “I had thought I had, but it seems that I have not yet.”

Hyung-do heads out in the drizzly night to retrace his steps through Banchon, and spots the boy in the marketplace. Unfortunately, that also draws the attention of the two slave hunters behind him, and the boy runs into the forest.

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Hyung-do follows, managing to tackle the boy, insisting that he’s here to help him. But the boy panics, his eyes rolling back in his head. He’s in no condition to listen to Hyung-do’s pleas to tell him where he’s going before the slave hunters catch up to them.

He can hear the hunters shouting behind them, but when he looks, he sees nothing. Where are the voices coming from? The landscape is empty, though he can clearly hear them yelling, “There he is!”

The boy manages to get up and runs off. Hyung-do, so bewildered by these strange events, looks around in a daze. Finally, the slave hunters appear and rush by him.

Hyung-do asks Yoon-yi what he can do to right this scenario, because he couldn’t stop anything from happening. She answers calmly, “Did you not see for yourself? It’s already too late.”

Hyung-do
: “This isn’t paradise. Didn’t you say it was where you could be happy forever? But those two — why in the world must they encounter those things?”

Yoon-yi
: “The happiness people wish for cannot always be the same. If the happiness wished for by one person differs from the desire of another, they cannot help but repeat their own ways.”

Hyung-do
: “Then what happens to Lord Choi’s daughter?”

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The answer is not pretty. The girl is carried in the hired palanquin by two men who pause for a break. Leering, one man grabs a knife and readies to use it, which alerts the girl to impending trouble.

Menacingly, the men ask for more fare — but it’s not money they want. With a lecherous laugh, they grab her, beat her, and tie her to a bamboo stalk.

Horrified, Hyung-do asks if this scenario is bound to repeat, over and over. Yoon-yi answers that “they” are also fixated on what they want for themselves. Ah, so there’s the rub — this New Land’s promise of “getting what you want” applies to evildoers as well. Quite a tricky Catch-22, isn’t it?

Handing him the map she has drawn, she urges him to hurry out of this place. Hyung-do, however, now has more important things to accomplish than leaving New Land, and declares that he will help the youngsters leave, too.

Yoon-yi reminds him that they came here because they wanted to. Hyung-do retorts, “How would they have known that what they wanted would turn into hell?”

She counters, “Is the outside world that much better than this?” She warns that if he continues to meddle in their lives, he will not be able to leave, either.

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The boy runs through the woods, searching for the girl, and finds the palanquin empty. Racing through the bamboo forest (oh god, not that accursed bamboo forest again!), he finds her tied up and frees her.

The girl is badly beaten but smiles to see her lover. She presses a pouch of money in his hand (her fare, I presume), and tells him that it’s enough that he can leave here and live comfortably. She means on his own, though, because she’s fading fast. Weakly, she tells him, “I’m glad I got to see your face.”

With that, she slumps, and the boy cries out in anguish.

Hyung-do declares that he will sever the loop by making sure these events never begin in the first place. If this is a place where you only see what you want to see, well, that can work for him. Those kids may have thought this would be paradise, but how can dying every day — only to be revived, only to die again — be called happiness?

He burns her map, saying, “That wasn’t what I wanted to see.” Yoon-yi warns him that he may be hurt, but he is prepared for that. She says, “You were always that kind of person” — and that sure captures his attention. Eyes widening in shock, he asks what she means by that. So she DID know him? Who is she?

Yoon-yi doesn’t answer, and tells him to hurry if he wants to break the cycle.

When we return to the girl, we’re in the moment before she is attacked. Only, true to his word, Hyung-do appears in time to prevent injury, and fights off the two men, who scurry off.

Thus when the slave boy arrives, she’s still here, safe and sound.

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And yet, that would be too easy of an ending, and we see Yoon-yi looking over a familiar drawing. It’s the same one that the old artist was working on, only now we get to see how the scene ends. Previously, the girl and boy had been facing an empty palanquin with knives in their hands. Now, blood pools around it, and a body lies inside.

In the forest, the happy couple leave together, hand in hand. They stop to bow their gratitude to Hyung-do, who waves them off feeling mighty gratified at this satisfactory outcome…

…until a knife is thrust into his back — by the slave boy.

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Hyung-do gasps, “What are you doing?” And another knife stabs him from the other side — it’s the girl. Both look down at him impassively as he falls to his knees, mortally wounded.

A third figure joins them — the artist who gave him tea. Hyung-do glares up at the man and asks if he’s the one deluding people into thinking there is such a thing as New Land. The man tells him that he merely opened the door a little; Hyung-do came of his own free will.

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Smiling, the artist tells him, “From now on, you’ll have to enjoy rescuing these children. Welcome to New Land.” Meaning, of course, that Hyung-do is now sealed into this New Land paradise of never-ending loops.

The world blurs around him as Hyung-do loses consciousness, and it begins to rain…

When the world fades back in, Hyung-do is standing in the rain again, at the entrance of Banchon, looking at the (torn, old) drawing of the missing girl.

A familiar scene: Yoon-yi pours him tea as he sits in a daze. Ahhhhhh, and now we understand why he’s so “sick”! Traveling back from New Land saps the spirit, and Hyung-do’s illness isn’t a cold so much as it is the aftereffects of such “travel.”

The scene progresses almost identically as it did at the top of the episode, with Yoon-yi filling him in on the case of the runaway who killed himself after being dragged back from paradise. Yoon-yi and Jang’s words are exactly the same as before, but this time Hyung-do’s reaction is different as he registers this eerie sense of deja vu.

The word “paradise” rings a bell, and Hyung-do looks up sharply as he puts together the pieces. Previously he had dropped the teacup out of fatigue, but this time it crashes to the ground because he loses his grip. And, creepily enough, this time there’s a fluttering insect that falls out of the tea (ewwww).

He bends down to look at the mess, but (thankfully!) the insect is not there. Yoon-yi’s whispered voice speaks to him the same words he’d heard in the beginning of the episode, saying urgently, “You must be sent back. You do not belong here. You must be sent back to where you were.”

Speaking these words is New Land Yoon-yi on the other side of reality, who whispers, “No, this is not what I wanted.”

Now Hyung-do glances around warily, looking around with new eyes. He sees the tea set, which triggers his memory of the artist’s tea, the chase in the forest, and all the events from New Land. Mixed into those “memories” is the image of a bloodstained Hyung-do, dying from his stab wounds.

Hyung-do makes his way through the bookshop as the truth falls into place, and pushes open a door in the back, coming face to face with… himself.

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HOLYmini cooperOMGWHAT?

The two Hyung-dos stare at each other, stunned, for a moment.

Then, blackness opens upon a different image — of a worn, battered Hyung-do awakening in some sort of pit, whcih appears to be in, or linked to, Yoon-yi’s bookshop. This tired Hyung-do stares up, and then Yoon-yi finds him there in the well, asking worriedly if he’s okay.

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We are taken through these moments in brief flashes, and land on one memory in particular. It’s the parting of Hyung-do and New Land Yoon-yi, who repeats those words from before: “You must leave quickly. You must come to your senses. This is not where you should be.” She warns, “If it’s not now, you cannot ever leave.”

The Hyung-do in the well says, “At first, I thought I was called to this land because of that gaze.” (He refers to the woman in the painting.) The Current Hyung-do also repeats those words to New Land Yoon-yi — it’s as though some things remain constant, no matter which “cycle” one is caught up in — and he realizes, “It was you who called me. Why are you not letting me go?”

New Land Yoon-yi admits that it was her own personal greed, but adds that he does not belong here. The moment is fraught with emotion as he realizes that their connection runs deeper than he’d known, but that they’re about to part ways again.

Hyung-do asks, “Will you go with me?” With sadness, she shakes her head no. He asks, “Can we meet again?” Handing him her necklace, she tells him that since they have crossed each other’s paths once, perhaps they’ll meet again. She leaves him with the last words, “I was glad to see you again.”

Now we’re back in the present, with Hyung-do at the doorway between his world and New Land. He sees New Land Yoon-yi through the open passageway, and they keep their eyes fixed on each other, with tears in hers, as Hyung-do slowly closes the door between them.

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Rain again. Hyung-do finds himself in an empty room, just like the one from the opening scene. He’s tired and out of sorts, but reacts when the innkeeper turns out to be Yoon-yi — or, at least, one more iteration of her. She doesn’t seem to recognize him, but he senses something familiar about her, although he doesn’t immediately understand what or why.

Hyung-do asks what happened, and she explains that a hallucinogen was slipped into the tea the artist gave him. In disbelief, he asks, “Are you saying I was just hallucinating?” Yoon-yi answers that she doesn’t know what he saw, and he replies firmly, “It wasn’t a dream.”

Lightly, with a smile, Yoon-yi says, “Then you must have seen New Land.”

Hyung-do’s eyes widen to see the necklace Yoon-yi wears, which is the same one that New Land Yoon-yi had given him. This Yoon-yi explains that she’d lost it a while ago, but thankfully found it recently.

She rises to exit his room, leaving Hyung-do puzzling at this odd sense of deja vu…

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COMMENTS

Pretty damned brilliant, if you ask me. I love how all the little details fit into place. At first watch, it’s a bit puzzling, but as you wade through the episode, things click into place so securely, so intricately, that I’m left amazed. But first let’s clear a few things up:

New Land. Is it a real place, or a state of mind? A metaphysical in-between? Is it merely the work of a hallucinogenic drug that trips everyone out into thinking they’d been somewhere when they’re just strung out on some psychotic brew?

It seems to me that New Land is somehow parallel to this hallucinogenic state, but it’s not ONLY a hallucination. It’s not all in the head. I think of it as akin to the Matrix, where there are two realities occurring simultaneously, linked and yet separate. The hallucinogen may “open the door,” as the artist said, but it’s not merely a bad acid trip. And what happens in New Land has an effect on what happens in the real world, which would not be the case in a dream. It also makes sense that Banchon, which sits at the entrance to New Land, is littered with junkies, no? I’m sure some of those laggards aren’t just druggies, but feeling the dullness that comes with the return trip from New Land.

It appears that Yoon-yi’s bookshop is the gateway, which is a very interesting detail. Let’s not forget that there’s the “very old” painting of her in the artist’s studio — plus the fact that both of them offer Hyung-do that very suspicious tea. So what’s the connection? Are they in cahoots? Or is Yoon-yi using the artist? Vice versa?

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Hyung-do and Yoon-yi’s connection goes back farther than he’d suspected. No surprise, given her mysterious past — and the fact that the Current World Yoon-yi has no memory of her past may play into this. Perhaps it’s not that she’s deceiving him, but that she isn’t aware of the connection in this world. When Hyung-do first meets New Land Yoon-yi, she says that she has not yet met the one she’s waiting for. She means Hyung-do, but this version of him hasn’t recognized their link — whereas, at the end of the episode, he has realized their connection. That must be the one she wanted to see, the one whom she was “happy to see again.”

The nature of this story is what also makes the episode confusing on first watch, but so awesome on second watch. The “flashbacks” that we occasionally see are from previous loops, which explains why they’re told technically out of “chronological” order. For the Current Hyung-do, his memories and flashes are occurring chronologically, if we take him as the linear standpoint — we see them unfold as he sees them. But in terms of the “loop,” it seems they’re occurring out of order. If that makes sense.

As for the purpose of New Land… I think it’s bloody brilliant how they constructed this episode to show the paradox of everybody getting what they want. First of all, it’s a nasty sort of paradise, to be held up by a technicality — sure, it’s a place where time stops and nobody ages, because nothing ever moves the john tesh on. If you’re doomed to die, then live, then die again — I suppose technically you never die, right? And the thwarted lovers will always end up together… until the loop takes them back to the beginning, when they’re apart.

Plus, if you open up this world to everybody getting their selfish desires, then how do you reconcile the slave who wants to escape, and the slave hunter who wants to catch him? By letting them both get what they want, of course! And to keep the “promise” of eternal wish fulfillment, you just lock them into a continuous loop so that they keep getting what they want, forever.

Likewise with Hyung-do. He enters New Land late into the game — notice that the picture of the missing girl gets increasingly tattered, because each time he arrives at that gate, he’s in a new “cycle.” So Yoon-yi warns him that he can’t stay too long, or he’ll get stuck into that cycle, too. When he decides that his earnest wish is to save these two kids, he locks himself into their loop. In order to keep saving them forever, he has to fail… forever.

See, in the real world, time is linear and the very nature of that linear time makes desire and ambition and striving worth the payoff in the end. Because we achieve it. But to KEEP achieving it? You have to keep finding yourself in the same situation. Literally.

It’s a clever way of making true literally what is already true on a philosophical level.

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Guest sexy_kakashi

hi ^^

was ep 10 aired last night?

i wanted to DL it this morning but i couldn't find the torrent file for it.

so i concluded that it wasn't aired >_<

right?

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