A Wild Goose Chase
Episode 13 of Jirisan opens as Hyun-jo insists that Yi-gang’s grandma – who came to the base to give the rangers food – rides the cable car group’s bus back to the village.
Out on the mountain, Yang-sun helps the lottery ticket girl step into a harness. The girl slips and almost falls into the flood waters until Yang-sun swings her back to safety. The force unbalances Yang-sun and she is swept away instead.
The rangers hear their screams through the radio and mobilize immediately. Gu-yeong goes in the direction the waters are flowing to try and save Yang-sun as she’s pulled along.
The culprit redirects the bus carrying Yi-gang’s grandma onto a bridge. As they point to the bridge, it becomes clear that this is the real scene from Hyun-jo’s vision.
The precipitation levels spike higher than they did before, and Dae-jin gives the order to withdraw. Hyun-jo and the other rangers have to hold Gu-yeong back from jumping into the flood waters to find Yang-sun. At the same time, the bridge crumbles beneath the bus and it is also swept away.
Days later, the rangers search for the missing bodies and find everyone except for Yang-sun. Hyun-jo also finds a mobile phone with a bee sticker on the back. Gye-hee eventually advises Dae-jin to end the search.
Yi-gang refuses to accept any help with preparations for her grandma’s funeral. Hyun-jo visits her and asks her to stop pretending to be okay. She cries and blames Hyun-jo for her grandma’s death since he insisted she take the bus.
Later, Hyun-jo needs to prepare the final flood report but can’t bring himself to start. Woong-soon arrives, asking for the daily log from during the flood so that the police can investigate why the bus turned onto the bridge, which was closed due to the danger of a collapse. They have found no explanation yet and there were no CCTV cameras in the area.
Hyun-jo heads to the bridge and finds a broken tree. We flashback to the culprit kicking down the detour sign, directing the bus onto the bridge, and pushing the traffic barrier into the flood water.
Hyun-jo realizes that the culprit misdirecting the bus was the scene from his vision and blames himself for not preventing it.
Yi-gang returns to work. She tells Dae-jin that when she tried to leave Mount Jiri, she realised she had no place to go. She says that her whole family was there, so she wants to stay too. Hyun-jo voluntarily takes a position at Bidam Shelter now that his relationship with Yi-gang is strained.
Hyun-jo visits Chae-kyung and discovers that all three of the volunteer rangers at Mujin Station during the 1995 flood grew up in Black Bridge Village. He then finds out about the 1991 Black Bridge Village incidents from Dae-jin.
Dae-jin directs Hyun-jo to the Black Bridge Village migration project record for a list of the old residents. He realises that the connection between the murder victims is Black Bridge Village and not the 1995 flood. He also works out that Yi-gang’s grandma died because she was on the bus that Geun-tak was supposed to be using.
Heo Jin-ok, the stranded hiker Hyun-jo and Yi-gang rescued from the cave in Black Bridge Village, is also on the residents list. She’s at the hospital when Hyun-jo calls her to arrange a meeting. After ending the call with him, she views a text message instructing her to come to Black Bridge Village at 3pm.
Hyun-jo has a vision of blood dripping down a phone screen displaying the same text message Jin-ok received. More images show the victim’s hand going limp, the culprit stabbing downwards, and the culprit taking the phone. Hyun-jo heads straight to Black Bridge Village.
We switch to where we last left off in the 2020 timeline. Il-hae reiterates Yi-gang’s earlier question, asking Gu-yeong why he was on the mountain when Da-won died. Gu-yeong says that he went to see Yang-sun and we flash back to him leaving flowers on the ridge he first hiked to with her.
An SOS alert is issued for a hiker experiencing severe chest pains at Magpie Hill, 20 minutes away from Black Bridge Village. Il-hae and Gu-yeong respond, leaving Yi-gang behind to wait.
Elsewhere on the mountain, Hyun-jo’s spirit has a vision of the culprit standing near a snake. The vision changes to them planting something near the edge of the cliff and then pushing their next victim over.
Hyun-jo rushes over to Yi-gang after hearing Gu-yeong and Il-hae mention her location. Meanwhile, she records herself using a wildlife motion sensor camera and pulls out a taser when twigs start snapping around her.
The Episode Review
So, while Yang-sun was killed off, her death was not connected to the murder-mystery. Instead, it served as a stark reminder that the rangers don’t need a killer lurking around for their job to be dangerous.
Before we even had the chance to mourn, Yi-gang’s grandma became collateral damage in the culprit’s grand scheme. This devastating turn of events was out of alignment with the culprit’s methods so far, which haven’t included sacrificing multiple people just to hit one target. It’s also pretty easy to see into big, untinted bus windows.
Surely they would have noticed that the bus was filled with old grandmas and not the cable car group (who also stuck out in their bright yellow jackets).
Now, just as Yi-gang started opening up to her grandma, she’s left with no family at all. The loss became a catalyst for her to finally appreciate the mountain as her home – something she’s been fighting since her family was forced to move there.
Unfortunately, it also led to her using poor Hyun-jo as a figurative punching bag to vent her grief on, which was less organic and more like an easy device to distance our leads during this crucial time in the mystery.
It also turns out that Yi-gang was right; the 1995 flood was just a coincidence. While there’s something to be said about the portrayal of the inherent danger of the mountain, it feels like the drama cheated its viewers out of the intricate layers of mystery it appeared to promise in previous episodes.
This disappointment might have been avoided if we hadn’t been given the full 1991 story already. Hyun-jo’s belated catch-up to where viewers have been for a while now lacked the intensity needed to be interesting after the 1995 flood was shown to be nothing more than a wild goose chase.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|