Cat and Mouse Chase
Episode 3 of Bulgasal: Immortal Souls begins with Sang-Un rushing away from Hwal. As he skips down the stairs, he runs into a couple of officers who question him over a theft case. It’s a momentary distraction but enough for Sang-Un to leave and get a taxi away from there.
As she heads back, Sang-Un rings Si-Ho, concerned and in need of help. She knows Bulgasal is back and that spells big trouble for her. Through flashbacks, we see Si-Ho and Sang-Un both stayed at Sang-yeon’s sisters’ place all those years ago.
While they continue to evade Bulgasal, Dan Hwal relentlessly searches for Sang-Un. With numerous burner phones connected to different investigators, he rings each of theme methodically, trying to find a scrap of knowledge regarding where Sang-Un is. Hwal’s big drive is to get rid of his curse, giving that to Sang-Un and making sure she lives eternally instead. This is the way he wants to atone for his sins.
Sang-Un’s searching too, intent on trying to find a way to kill Bulgasal once and for all. After doing some reading, she believes this may well lie in an antique sword. She heads up to see a dealer, pretending to be a sword enthusiast. With Sang-Yeon’s words about “recognizing it when you see it” echoing in her mind, she draws the sword from its scabbard… and realizes it isn’t the right one. The search goes on.
At the bus stop, Sang-Un runs into a reincarnated monster who winds up chasing her through the streets. Sang-Un is smart and manages to trap him. This maniacal man, the same one who was driving the bus last episode, has actually been following her all this time. For now Sang-Un manages to stop her but it seems it’s only a matter of time before he returns.
Hwal meanwhile, finds a mass murderer who is responsible for killing a number of different kids who have gone missing. Hwal stops his car and kidnaps him, smacking his head open and questioning the guy about Sang-Yeon and Sang-Un. This man happens to be the reincarnated old painter we saw during the Joseon period last episode. He also has a heightened sense of smell and, thanks to a hairband left behind, Hwal can now sense it too. Or at least sense a mass amount of detergent which Sang-Un has been using.
With this new tip and several gold bars, Hwal returns to that private detective, Mr Gu, and sets to work trying to track do own Sang-Un. His search brings him to another detective, someone kicked off the Sang-Un and Sang-Yeon case 15 years back. When he’s shown the picture of the two girls to him, he instantly recognizes them but demands to know who the client is they’re working for. Mr Gu is silent.
This detective also knows more than he’s letting on, as we flash back and see him incredulous and worried when Sang-Un, sitting in a hospital bed, told him Bulgasal is coming. It seems he too has had a run-in with the demon.
Hwal receives a tip-off from Mr Gu that the detergent is used in big factories. He heads off to search himself, especially when he learns it’ll take 3-4 days to complete the search themselves. The thing is, Sang-Un obviously works in one of these, so Hwal is drawing near. She senses this too, but tries to shake the horrid feeling building up inside her.
Sang-Un’s alias has served her well, and as she heads outside to smack down the various dusty rugs, dressed in a disposable hazmat suit and goggles, she manages to fool Hwal who actually ends up helping her out with the rugs when she clumsily drops them all on the floor.
As a show of thanks, she hands over a gift which happens to have the same scent on it as her hairband. When Hwal heads back in his car, he realizes she’s Sang-Un.
However, it’s the maniacal bus driver who finds her first, tracking down the plant and knocking Sang-Un down. Somehow Sang-Un manages to hold him off. Just before he stabs Sang-Un, Hwal appears and saves her life, grabbing the knife and taking out the monster.
Hwal turns on Sang-Un, ready to strike, but there’s a big twist to the tale. Si-Ho has grown up now and as she shows up at the scene, Hwal recognizes her as the reincarnated Dan Sol, his wife from the Joseon period. What a wonderful little twist!
The Episode Review
Bulgasal returns with a slower episode this week, as we settle on the present day timeline with thin slivers of flashbacks to pad out the 75 minutes. Now, it would appear that Dan-Sol is actually Si-Ho and that’s almost certainly going to make Hwal question his motives and his task.
This chapter essentially serves as one long cat and mouse chase, with Hwal searching for Sang-Un and our female protagonist doing everything she can to evade him for as long as possible. This sets up a nice balance of power, while Sang-Un desperately tries to find a way to kill Bulgasal.
Given what we’ve seen here, I’d imagine we’ll start to delve into romance a bit, potentially with either Sang-Un or Si-Ho, and shift the genre ever-so-slightly toward something more comedic. We’ve seen that a bit across this episode with the blonde-haired kid incredulous over Hwal’s wounds and Sang-Un’s mishaps at the factory, but we’ll have to wait and see if that comes to fruition.
Either way though, Bulgasal has been an enjoyable watch and that twist at the end is enough to make the next episode an unmissable one!