The Blood-Spattered Snow Suit
Episode 11 of Jirisan begins in 2020 with Yi-gang sprawled at the start of a mountain trail after trying to go find Hyun-jo herself. Sol finds her and drives her back to Haedong Station. Before they part, he voices how easy it would have been for anyone to get their hands on Dae-jin’s gloves.
Yi-gang visits Dae-jin at the police station where he is being held to find out why he went to Jeonmukgol on the day Da-won died and why he possessed the blood-stained yellow ribbons. As their allocated time runs out, Dae-jin instructs Yi-gang to visit Il-hae.
After getting an urgent call, Yi-gang heads to the hospital where Hyun-jo’s body is. A nurse notifies her that ever since his last seizure, Hyun-jo hasn’t been able to breathe without assistance. He’s nearing brain dead status and his family is likely to take him off life support soon.
Yi-gang thinks that Hyun-jo’s spirit is stuck on the mountain because of his desire to catch the culprit. She resolves to catch the culprit so that Hyun-jo’s spirit can return to his body before his family cuts off life support.
Returning to Haedong Station, Yi-gang tries to speak with Gu-yeong. He refuses until Il-hae, who now uses a cane and works at the ranger headquarters, makes an appearance. Yi-gang explains the murders to Gu-yeong. Il-hae confirms that Dae-jin also suspected the accidents were murders and found yellow ribbons leading away from the peak after investigating two of the 2020 murders.
Dae-jin also found an empty yogurt bottle lying near a dead animal, and when the herb collector told him another was spotted in Jeonmukgol, Dae-jin went to confiscate it. That ultimately led to him meeting Da-won before she was killed.
Gu-yeong tries to insist that this could all be coincidental until Yi-gang reveals that Hyun-jo knew who the culprit was. She says that he went up the mountain in the snow to catch them.
We flash back to 2019 and Yi-gang is searching for Hyun-jo in the snow, unable to contact him. She spots a hiking stick plunged into the snow at the edge of a cliff. She reaches it only to discover that it doesn’t belong to Hyun-jo. The cliff edge crumbles beneath her feat.
When she regains consciousness, she’s in a cave with Hyun-jo. He asks her to hold tight while he goes to find cell reception since the radios aren’t working in the heavy snow. Before he leaves, she tells him about the hiking stick.
Briefly pausing the flashback, Gu-yeong remembers that Hyun-jo called the station for help, which alarms Yi-gang and Il-hae.
Returning to the flashback, Dae-jin picks up Hyun-jo’s call. The line is weak, but Dae-jin hears Hyun-jo’s location at Black Bridge Valley. When the rescue team arrives, Hyun-jo is already unconscious and covered in blood.
In the cave, someone wearing a blood-splattered ranger snow suit and black gloves stands over Yi-gang. They leave after hearing the approaching rescue team.
Skipping forward, Yi-gang gives a statement to the police from her hospital bed. When she tries to assert that someone else on the mountain purposefully led her to the cliff and hurt Hyun-jo, the officers dismiss her because of the total lack of evidence.
Back in the present, Yi-gang and Il-hae recruit Gu-yeong to join them on their mission to find the evidence Hyun-jo must have been looking for in Black Bridge Village. They trek up the mountain with Yi-gang on Gu-yeong’s back.
We flashback to four hours earlier when Yi-gang first met Il-hae again. She tells him that she suspects Gu-yeong is behind the murders since the culprit was wearing a ranger’s snow suit and Gu-yeong was on the mountain when Da-won died. She lays down a plan to lure Gu-yeong, with the knowledge that she has evidence on him and then catch him when he inevitably tries to kill her for it.
In the present, Yi-gang asks Gu-yeong why he was on the mountain when Da-won went missing. He only gives a vague non-answer.
When the trio stops to rest, Gu-yeong asks if Hyun-jo told Yi-gang anything before he went to Black Bridge Village. She answers negative, saying that she hadn’t been able to see Hyun-jo since the incident last summer.
We jump back to the 2019 timeline. All the rangers, bar Yi-gang, attend a summer disaster prevention workshop. Dae-jin briefs them on localised torrential downpours that occur when clouds can’t pass over the tall mountain peak. The phenomenon is dangerous because it can’t be predicted by forecasts and the clear weather at the bottom of the mountain makes it easy to underestimate.
Later, Gu-yeong explains to Hyun-jo that Yi-gang’s parents were in Mujin station when it was swept away in the 1995 Dowon Valley flood. He also reveals that the other people at the station left messages for their loved ones in a logbook, which was kept dry in a safe, but Yi-gang’s parents wrote nothing.
Meanwhile, Il-hae greets the Wildlife Ecology Evaluators for Mount Jiri Cable Car led by Geun-tak. They’re joined by Gye-hee and his environmental organisation team before beginning their hike up the mountain.
On a nearby slope, the lottery ticket girl continues her search. An unidentified man stands among the stone pagodas.
The yearly rites for the Dowon Valley flood victims roll back around. As Hyun-jo helps with preparations, he notices a picture of the 1995 Haedong Village Volunteer Rangers. Among them is Choil Il-man, the dead snake-catcher. Two of the other men, Kim Jin-deok and Lee Jong-gu, were murder victims that fell from cliffs.
Hyun-jo goes to find the logbook that the Mujin station flood victims left behind. The logbook was updated by ranger Kim Nam-sik. He lists Dae-jin, Yi-gang’s parents, an old hiker couple, three college students, Il-man, Jong-gu, and Jin-deok as the other people at the station with him.
Half of those people, including Dae-jin, the volunteer rangers, and the college students, chance the flood waters and go down the mountain while the others stay. By 9:40pm, the station is flooded and there is still no sign of a rescue team.
Nam-sik explains to those left behind that he’ll put the logbook into the safe for people to find. The old man asks to write a message to his family. Nam-sik offers Yi-gang’s father the opportunity to do the same but he declines. Nam-sik has already written his own message.
In the present, Hyun-jo flips to the back of the logbook to find Nam-sik’s message, addressed to his son Hyun-su. Hyun-jo uses his army connections to check the name of his junior’s father. It’s confirmed to be Kim Nam-sik. Hyun-jo realises that all the murder victims are connected to the 1995 flood.
Out at the mountain temple, Yi-gang is approached by Sol, who says he is tired of the yearly rites. She asks if he came to the temple for Gwigam Rock, the huge carved surface she sits beside. Sol changes the topic to ask Yi-gang why she’s there.
She doesn’t answer, taking notice of a shift in the air. Soon enough, sirens begin blaring across the mountain and the village.
The Episode Review
Many viewers will come out of this episode frustrated with the slower pacing, especially at the start of the 2019 timeline. But, where murder-mystery momentum was sacrificed, we got summer levity interwoven with Yi-gang and Hyun-jo’s love/hate connections to the mountain – it was enjoyable to languish in the sun with them for a time.
And surely no one will complain about the cheekily adorable moments Hyun-jo and Yi-gang share in 2019! Romance may not be one of this drama’s genre tags, but our leads have more chemistry than other couples on screen at the moment.
Despite the pacing, the stakes reached an all-time high in 2020 now that Yi-gang must save Hyun-jo before he becomes brain dead and clear Dae-jin’s name. She’s set on Gu-yeong being the culprit but it’s equally likely that he’s another red herring since he was on the rescue team when the culprit was in the cave with her.
Answers won’t be coming easily, with the 1995 flood thrown into the mix of considerations to make when searching for a motive. And, possibly, Gwigam rock? Add that to the 1991 Black Bridge Valley murders and the goblin fire and it’s enough to send anyone’s head spinning.
One nagging contradiction that popped up was Yi-gang’s claim that Hyun-jo knew who the culprit was. If so, why wouldn’t his spirit have conveyed their name to Yi-gang via the herb collector? She may have gotten her information wrong, or perhaps he’s experiencing ghostly memory loss. Either way, this gap needs to be filled.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|