Jirisan – K-Drama Episode 12 Recap & Review

Calm Before The Storm

Episode 12 of Jirisan opens in 2019 as the precipitation levels on the mountain spike and the situation becomes critical. The rangers immediately begin evacuation efforts. As Yi-gang drives back from the temple, she’s almost caught in a landslide and warns the oncoming traffic.

A temporary base is erected near Mujin Valley for emergency coordination. Il-hae radios the gathered rangers from Bidam Shelter to let them know that Geun-tak and Gye-hee were separated from his group near Fox Hill in Mujin Valley. Il-hae can’t begin a rescue from his end because of landslides blocking the way.

Yi-gang and Hyun-jo are tasked with finding Geun-tak and Gye-hee. When out on the mountain, Hyun-jo theorizes a link between the murders and the 1995 flood. Yi-gang blocks his line of reasoning, stressing that disasters on the mountain are always sudden, and anyone can be caught up in them.

Elsewhere, the lottery ticket girl finds her missing ticket. She celebrates the win as the man from the stone pagodas happens upon her.

Meanwhile, Gye-hee supports a limping Geun-tak as the two argue about the cable car. Gye-hee becomes enraged and asks Geun-tak why he poisoned the Black Bridge Village well. Geun-tak swears he didn’t do it before collapsing. Gye-hee unzips Geun-tak’s jacket to find that his abdomen has been pierced.

Yi-gang leads Hyun-jo to an emergency telegraphic reader, which boosts cell reception, where she suspects Gye-hee would have headed. They find him there along with Geun-tak and the stone pagoda man. Geun-tak’s condition is deteriorating and support teams are mobilized.

As Hyun-jo hoists Gye-hee onto his back, he notices the stone pagoda man’s black gloves. He must leave anyway, taking Geun-tak and Gye-hee to the support team. Yi-gang stays behind with the hysteric stone pagoda man, who has hurt his leg and cannot descend. She takes him to a nearby cave situated on secure bedrock to wait to be recused.

Gu-yeong and his team are heading to Hyun-jo when they hear the lottery ticket girl screaming for help, surrounded by gushing water. Lacking the gear to rescue her, Gu-yeong radios Dae-jin for help. All the other teams are already engaged so Dae-jin prepares to go out himself. Yang-sun stops him and insists on leading the rescue, confident that her extra training with Gu-yeong has paid off.

At the cave, Yi-gang tells the stone pagoda man that they must stay put to avoid getting caught in a landslide. The man panics, saying the rangers also advised that in 1995, but the people he left in Mujin Station were swept away. In a brief flashback, we see that he was one of the college students in Mujin Station with Yi-gang’s parents.

The man gets more paranoid and makes a break for it. When Yi-gang tries to hold him back, he pushes her. She’s knocked out by the fall and the shot of the man’s hand in the rain looks like the one from Hyun-jo’s vision.

We flash back to Yi-gang’s grandma scolding her parents after her father acted as the guarantor for someone’s debt and got their house confiscated. Yi-gang watches through a crack in the door.

We then skip to her parents’ funeral. Her grandma speaks to an insurance agent, who explains that if her parents’ deaths were suicides, then they won’t get the payout. Yi-gang interjects and denies the possibility.

After passing Geun-tak and Gye-hee to Gu-yeong’s support team, Hyun-jo radios Yi-gang. When she doesn’t answer, he races back.

We cut to Yi-gang, who has been brought back to the safety of the cave by the stone pagoda man. He apologises, having seen a landslide for himself while she was out. He tells Yi-gang that he came to the mountain to die but realised he wanted to live after going to the stone pagoda ground.

We then flash back to the man’s first trip to Mount Jiri as a college student on the day of the flood in 1995. At the stone pagoda ground, his group of friends meets Yi-gang’s parents and shares a picnic with them. He speaks with Yi-gang’s father, who wishes on a stone pagoda to become a good father. Despite his financial situation, Yi-gang’s father is positive that he can move forward.

In the present, Hyun-jo and Gu-yeong arrive at the cave. Gu-yeong escorts the stone pagoda man down the mountain. Yi-gang tells Hyun-jo that no one knew why her parents were on the mountain the day they died.

We briefly flashback to Yi-gang’s father giving her hand-picked flowers. She chucks them to the ground, angry that her family has been forced to move to the mountain because of their debt. She tells her father that she hates the mountain and her parents.

The flashback ends and Yi-gang explains that some people suspected that her parents went to the mountain to die so that she could claim the insurance benefits. While she denied it, she’s been privately torturing herself with the thought that her harsh words caused her parents to make that choice.

We flash back to Mujin Station during the flood. Yi-gang’s father tells Nam-sik that they won’t write Yi-gang a message because they will survive and deliver it to her themselves.

The flashback ends as the rain lets up. The stone pagoda man remembers the lottery ticket girl and informs Gu-yeong. We witness their encounter, during which the lottery ticket girl ran from him, scared he might steal her ticket. He tried to chase after her with the backpack she left behind and fell, injuring his leg.

At the base, the rescue teams filter in. Hyun-jo asks the stone pagoda man about the volunteer rangers at Mujin Station in 1995, but the man remembers nothing significant about them.

Gu-yeong listens in proudly as Dae-jin radios Yang-sun. She has located the lottery ticket girl and begins the rescue, using a throw-line launcher to cross the waters.

We catch a glimpse of someone in a black coat putting on black gloves and the rangers hear screams over the radio. The last shot is of Yang-sun’s radio lying next to her backpack on the floor.

The Episode Review

Episode 12 may have brought heavy precipitation with it, but it was more like the calm before the storm. The floods put a pause on the murder-mystery right as it was beginning to evolve. This far in, we can’t survive while only being drip-fed shots of the culprit’s black gloves.

Hyun-jo, ever the trooper, continued to look for a motive without luck. Yi-gang shutting down his flood theory was a frustrating relapse to her earlier dismissals. Even if it stemmed from the hurt she carried, when has anything ever been a coincidence on this mountain?

While we may not have gotten further into the mystery, Yi-gang finally has closure regarding her parents’ death and can start to release the guilt she’s been harboring. We saw a little of that healing process when she arrived back at the base and shared a tender moment with her grandma.

That hopeful high only lasted a few minutes before the culprit made their next move, putting Yang-sun back in danger. If she doesn’t survive that would explain why she’s absent from 2020 and why Gu-yeong is perpetually in a bad mood – a far cry from the proud smile he wore when he realised Yang-sun was conducting a rescue (a.k.a., the best part of this episode!)

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